Peace was supposed to be easy.
But then again, peace was supposed to be a lot of things. At first she'd thought peace was to be a series of days sliding idly by spent swimming in the bays of Ga-Koro, receiving visitors to the village and occasionally traveling to the others, listening to Lewa lead a Le-Koran band or helping Onua carve out a mine for his village's next excavation. Then she'd thought it was to be the city of legends revived, the Matoran returning to their ancestral home and building it into a haven for their lives, a tribute to the Great Spirit who watched over them all. And after that she'd believed it would be the revival of that same Great Spirit, their universe reviving and her people setting off into its great seas in search of other settlements and Toa with whom they could live in the era of freedom that awaited them. And after that she'd believed - she'd prayed - peace would be all of them getting out alive, that somehow they would stop an enemy - the enemy, the one who'd always broken her dreams for the future – that now lived within the very land she struggled to protect.
And they had. Against all odds, they had. It still filled her with joy to think about it; they'd held together and believed in the three virtues, and in return their Great Spirit had saved them all. And they'd been lead, as always, by that Toa - unwavering in his resolve, unwilling to admit defeat, unable to compromise his valor.
She remembered meeting Tahu in the aftermath of Teridax's fall; he had been watching the Matoran streaming out of Mata Nui's body, stepping out onto a brave new world they never could have imagined. He'd been smiling, then, an easy, unwavering smile more suited to Lewa. She'd joined him, watching their people find their peace at last. They'd said nothing; the scene spoke for them.
But it hadn't ended there. It would have been nice if it had, the Matoran victorious over Teridax at last, a new world waiting for them, a peaceful, happy civilization inevitable. It was the sort of scene that, someday, one of the scrolls in the Archives passing down memory into history would end on. But it hadn't. There were too many loose ends - missing friends to be found, escaped enemies to track down, peoples to lead. The Matoran had never thought this would be how it ended, their Great Spirit revealed to be a scout for a race long gone, themselves copies of a people left behind to grow bitter and dangerous. Mata Nui had done much to help the Agori, but the Matoran and Toa were strangers in a strange land - the Mata Nui they believed in was remote from the Mata Nui who had become a hero to the people of Bara Magna.
Gali had faith in the Turaga and the Matoran; she knew that with time, the two societies would be able to become one, that Mata Nui's final plea would not go unanswered. They were at peace, after all.
But as she glanced at him now, the smile long gone, weariness and anger patterned across his mask, she began to wonder if peace could hurt them in ways war never had.
A fist slammed against the slab of stone that served as a table. "This is absurd!" spat Tahu.
A murmur rippled through the crowded hut; Agori and Matoran alike lurked in the corners, gazing intently at the long slab which filled the center of the room. Around it sat Toa and Turaga, Glatorian and Agori leaders, their eyes fixed on the Toa of Fire and the solitary green Agori who stood across from him. A lone window high on the wall let in the last rays of the setting sun, bathing the room in an oppressive orange light. The Agori flinched slightly, then rallied.
"Absurd!", he shrilled, "you think this is all just absurd? You think that my closest friend - my partner in business as long as I can remember, the best blacksmith I know - being found burned to death is absurd? If you saw his body, would that make it less absurd? This is all very real, Toa, and I don't believe for a second that you've got nothing to do with it!"
Tahu's eyes narrowed. "I don't know what you're trying to pull here, but I am a Toa. I don't know who your friend was, but even if he was my worst enemy, I am not a killer. Do you understand?"
A few whispers of support floated in from the crowd, only to die away as the Agori met Tahu's gaze with his own. "Listen, all you've got going for you is your word! All I know is, Hanith left to go talk with you about his new weapons, and an hour later I hear yelling and I see a bunch of people pulling his charred body out of a bunch of rocks at the back of the village." The Agori's voice slipped into sorrow as he tipped his head forward. "He just wanted to talk to you! He wouldn't stop talking about how with all these - these Toa around with their fancy powers he could smith all sorts of things! He… he really thought you guys could help him." His head snapped up, and a sudden ferocity seemed to fill him. "And you- you just killed him! What, did you think a blacksmith was too much of a challenge against a Toa of Fire!"
Chaos erupted in the room. Gali heard Turaga Vakama slamming his staff against the table, trying to shout for order above the din of accusations that now filled the room. She looked at Tahu and saw his breathing had shallowed, the fist still on the table now shaking and, if her eyes weren't playing tricks on her, actually sparking. He paid no attention to her; his glare remained directed against the Agori against him. Instinctively, she reached out a hand to him, her mind whirling as she tried to think of something to calm him.
A resounding smash silenced the room. Gali spun to see Onua standing in the doorway, the Glatorian Ackar beside him, a satchel in his hands. Onua withdrew his fist from a pile of rubble that had been a boulder moments before and nodded to the room. "My apologies for the dramatic entrance - it seemed the quickest way to acquire your attention. Ackar and I have something we would like to say."
The duo stepped into the room and approached the table. Ackar opened the satchel he'd been carrying and pulled out a number of smithing tools, laying them on the table as he spoke. "Toa Onua and I were in agreement that before any accusations were to be made, a thorough investigation of the deceased was in order." He paused for a moment and regarded the room with a gaze Kopaka would have been proud of. "It is a shame our view was not shared my most of you." Murmured apologies filled the room as several of the Agori did their best not to look at their leader. Ackar continued. "We thought it pertinent to examine the workplace of the deceased and see if there were any… inconsistencies with the apparent facts. I hope you don't mind, Kann?" He fixed his gaze on the Jungle Agori across from Tahu, who was now standing stock-still.
He smiled weakly. "Ackar, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with you just barging into our workplace like that - he really treated that place as a sanctuary, you know…"
Onua stepped forward. "Ah, is that so? I know quite a few Matoran who feel the same way about their workplaces. I don't think any of them ever took to lounging in the furnace, however. I believe they usually left that to their materials."
Kann's smile grew thinner. "Why, Toa Onua, I'm not sure I know what you're talking about…"
Gali heard someone mutter that Kann didn't seem to know much at all, and glanced over in time to see one of the Jungle Glatorians - Gresh, if she wasn't mistaken, jab the Water Glatorian Kiina in the side. She turned back to Ackar, who held up what appeared to be a badly charred hammer. "Really? You know, Kann, this is a very unique hammer your partner was carrying on him. Superb material. Has to be, to work with a forge. You wouldn't expect it to get burned there at all."
Kann nodded feverishly. "Ex-exactly! You'd need something much hotter than a normal forge to char a hammer like that. Only a Fire Toa could burn something that hot!"
Ackar turned it over in his hand. "Still, I wonder, if you really put the forge to work, could you burn it? And if you did… what then? I imagine it'd leave behind a funny sort of ash, wouldn't you?"
The Agori's smile was frozen. Onua nodded, and drew from the objects on the table a small bag, pouring from it a pile of powder. "This ash is from the furnace in your friend's smith. It's rather difficult to make anything of it as it is now, however…" A brief glow surrounded the ash, which abruptly split itself into several small piles of varying material. Onua smiled a small smile. "…being the Toa of Earth has its advantages."
Ackar nodded his thanks to Onua and picked up a second hammer, unburnt but otherwise the same as the first. "Hanith always did like to keep spares. I do feel sorry for burning one of his favorite hammers, but I'm afraid there's no way around it." The Glatorian's hand burst into flame, fingers spread to allow the ash to filter down onto the table. Another wave of Onua's hand, and the evidence spoke for itself.
The room's occupants stared at Kann, whose mouth was now opening and closing in such a way that Gali suddenly found herself recalling the fish that swam in the waters of Ga-Koro. Finally, he spoke, his voice barely more than a whimper. "You- you don't understand! He- he was going to just- just throw me away! He figured if he could talk to- to one of you damn Toa and get your help he'd be set for life!" The Agori began breathing in and out heavily, trying to compose himself.
He didn't. Instead, he snapped his head up at Tahu and screamed, "WHAT THE HELL- what the hell gives you- gives you Toa the RIGHT to just waltz in here like you own the place and- and just- and just- how the HELL are we supposed to deal with you all? What's stopping you all from just deciding you don't need us one day? If it's Agori vs. Toa, how could-" – his voice choked – "how could we ever hope to win?"
Silence filled the room. Gali waited for Tahu to respond, to give one of his rousing speeches, to show the room that Toa were as much heroes in peace as they were in war. Instead, the clanking of his footsteps filled her ears as he turned and trudged out of the hut. No speech. No heroics.
Turaga Vakama shook his head. "I believe this incident has shown us all of us problems we may not have wished to see." He sighed. "Glatorian Ackar, if there is any action you wish to take against Agori Kann, I would ask you do it now. As for the rest of you… I implore all of you to use that time to fetch your friends and families and return here. I believe tonight we all have a great many things to discuss."
Gali silently filed out of the hut along with the crowd of Agori and Matoran. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Kann listlessly allow himself to be led away by Ackar. As she stepped out into the dusk, a familiar hand on her shoulder stopped her. She turned to Onua, his green eyes filled with concern. "Sister, I must ask you a favor."
Gali nodded. "I understand, brother. I'll find him."
Onua returned the nod. "He has been facing challenges he has never known before, and I fear tonight wounded him in a way he could not have prepared himself for. If anyone can help him from this… I believe it is you." The two glanced over at a set of footprints headed towards the village's exit. "Go. Tonight, we will do our best here to help ensure this does not happen again."
Gali silently offered her fist to Onua, who returned the gesture solemnly. Then the Toa of Earth stepped away from her, and she turned and followed the steps out into the dimming light.
The winds of the desert were shockingly cold at night, and Gali shivered as she followed her friend's trail. When things had finally settled down enough for them to found a New Atero, her vote would be for someplace more temperate. As it stood now, it was like living in Po-Koro during the day and Ko-Koro at night – with the added bonus of no snow. For a moment she wished Kopaka and Pohatu were with her, but they'd yet to return from their investigation into a series of killings that had cropped up in the wake of the migration to Spherus Magna. More problems. Always more problems.
The footsteps in front of her seemed to have no regard for terrain; they simply trudged forward over hills and down gullies, never stopping at any of the sparse vegetation that dotted the landscape. She cursed herself as she reached the top of a hill and saw the trail leading up into a rocky outcropping jutting out of the sand; she hadn't expected him to cover so much distance so quickly. She sighed as she started down the hill. "Nothing's ever easy with you, is it…"
She continued on for what felt like hours, stopping only to summon some water and drink to refresh herself; she'd seen barely better than a muddy gulch as she'd traveled. The trail hadn't even stopped there; she knew Tahu was resilient, but this was absurd, even for him. The trail stopped only once, near a patch of sand that carried scorch marks and the tracks of some large creature that seemed to have quickly decided dinner was better found elsewhere. A gnawing concern grew within her; the trail before her hardly seemed like the tracks of someone who intended to return anytime soon. She'd caught herself on the verge of jogging more than once; she forced herself to slow down. Tahu was smart enough not to get himself hurt.
At last, as she climbed to the top of another ridge, she saw light in the distance; a solitary fire in the middle of the desert, near no particular landmark that she could see. Tahu sat cross-legged near it, gazing into the flame that shot up from the desert sands. He seemed undisturbed by the sound of her footsteps approaching, looking up only when she stood across the flame from him, arms crossed. There was no change in his face, no smile or grimace or frown.
A pause. He looked back at the fire. "Sister."
A touch of frustration played across her face, but Gali returned the greeting. "Brother."
Another pause. Gali approached her friend and joined him sitting on the cool desert floor, instinctually drawing close to the fire. She looked at him, but again he made no response. She sighed. "Tahu, what happened back there…"
He didn't bother to look up. "…Wasn't my fault. Doesn't represent all the Agori. Shouldn't get to me. Gali, if all you've come out here to say is that, you're wasting your time."
Again she felt a moment's frustration, but determinedly pushed it away. "You can belittle it all you like, brother, it doesn't change the fact it's true. It was never going to be easy integrating with the Agori. We all knew that."
His voice was bitter. "Why yes, we did. We all knew that our reward for dedicating our lives to protecting our people would be having to play peacemaker with a bunch of people who think we're all here to kill them. All there in the great legends of Mata Nui. Praise to the Great Spirit."
If he'd been angry as he'd said it, she would have been able to handle that. It might have ended with her summoning a waterfall over his head, but she would have been able to work with that. Instead, the echoes of despair in his statement threw her for a loop. The gnawing concern that she'd tried to bury planted itself in her breast as she sought for some way to reply. "Tahu, I realize tonight was frustrating. But you can't just give up on everything because of one rotten Agori."
The words sounded pointless even to her. He looked up at her as she finished, his mouth a thin line, his eyes regarding her with something approaching pity. The gnawing worry deepened. She recognized that look – she'd seen it years ago, as they overlooked the ruins of Ta-Koro. There'd been an excuse then, a gash across his mask pouring poison into his mind. There was no gash now, no way for her to dismiss the look on her friend's face as some Makuta trick to be washed away.
Tahu looked away from her, up towards the night sky. Stars littered the view, impossible to identify; the revelation of their universe's true identity had even cost them their night sky. "You always were so optimistic, Gali. You never doubted we'd beat Makuta, did you? Or that we'd all find some way to live together, Agori and Matoran, Glatorian and Toa, all one big happy family?"
Her answer was immediate. "No. I didn't."
Tahu laughed, a sharp, hollow, sound. "Why?"
Gali paused for a moment. "Belief. We believed in us. The Matoran believed in us. We believed in Mata Nui and whatever awaited us."
Another laugh. "Unity, duty, and destiny, then. Of course. Turaga Nokama would be proud." Now anger sparked within her; he was mocking the very principles a Toa lived by. Before she could respond, he stood and gestured around them grandly. "So, sister! What is this, then? Do you see unity in our little society, with all its murders and accusations and secrets? How about duty? How is your duty going, Gali? No more Makutas to fight, just politicking and arguing, truly a Toa's job. And destiny! Doesn't this big, empty desert just scream "destiny" to you? Praise to Mata Nui and the beautiful new world he's given us! He's even been generous enough to hide himself away so we don't have to share it with him. Praise to our Great Spirit!"
The crack of her hand against his mask echoed across the desert. Frustration and fear battled within her as he turned his head back to her, eyes unfeeling and narrow, waiting for her to speak. She wanted to lay into him, to berate him for mocking their new world and the Great Spirit who they'd always believed in, to show him the fury of the deep. But as he glared at her, empty bitterness across his face, she forced herself to think. To listen. She'd always been the great listener, the great mediator. And if she listened closely enough, her friend wasn't just frustrated. He was scared, and that alone struck fear into her own heart.
She breathed in and out and met his gaze. "Why?"
He held her gaze for a moment, then turned away. His shoulders slumped. "Tell me, Gali, was this ever the way you thought things would turn out? Leaving everything behind? Abandoning our villages and legends and being left to fend for ourselves? Were we fools for thinking we would just live out our lives under the guidance of the Great Spirit?" He sat again and looked into the fire once more. Gali said nothing as she joined him. After a moment, he continued.
"From the beginning, we were told that as Toa, we had a place in the universe. No matter what would happen, it was our duty to protect the Matoran and our way of life. Our people put their faith in us, and through that we conquered any challenge that came our way. But now…" he shook his head. "Now we know so much more. Our whole universe was nothing but a scout for some long-lost overlords, flitting from star to star in the hopes of finding a new home for them and their people. And we… we were cogs in a machine. Cheap copies of the Agori and Glatorian, never meant to be anything more than failsafes." He turned and looked at her. "Today, when I heard that Agori's confession, I finally realized that to all of them – to everyone but us – 'Toa' is meaningless. In the past, we always knew that we could make a difference. That we would make a difference. Now… now I begin to wonder if that's the case."
Gali shook her head. "Tahu, you and I both know that just because the universe is bigger than we thought it doesn't mean there's no place for Toa. The Matoran still hold us as heroes in their hearts. Doesn't that count for anything?"
A sigh. "Perhaps it does, sister. But now I think of the Matoran and all I feel is worry. The Agori are still distrustful of them and they of the Agori; I see it in the confused faces of the Matoran when the Agori sit and eat, in the way an Agori merchant's eyes slide over the Matoran browsing his shop. I worry because if the worst does happen – if an Agori strikes down a Matoran, or a Toa clashes with a Glatorian – they will turn to us. And I fear that we may not be able to protect them and still call ourselves Toa. The Agori are not enemies, Gali. I know this much. But if the lines were drawn, if it were us against them, I do not know which I fear more: that I could not draw my blade against them, or that I could."
Gali reached out a hand and placed it on his shoulder. "Then we will not let such a conflict ever arise, brother. Is that not what the Turaga work for each and every day?"
Tahu barely acknowledged the gesture. "Yes, and the Glatorian, and us, and even many of the Agori and Matoran. But you and I both know that it is not a simple thing to do. And Toa have always been at their strongest when there is an enemy to battle - I fear we are of far less use in times of peace." He closed his eyes. "At the end of things, when we found the Ignika and heard Mata Nui's final proclamation, I thought it was noble of him to leave us to forge a new path without his influence. But now I find myself wishing he had stayed among us. The Agori speak of him often, you know. Their… Toa Mata Nui. He could have done so much to stop this strife, to remove these worries, and yet…" Another shake of the head.
The crackling of the fire was the only sound in the minutes that followed. Gali waited for Tahu to say more, but he had returned to staring into the fire, lost in thought. Gali closed her eyes for a moment and tried to focus her mind. Tahu's doubts were not without merit; lying awake at night, she'd been visited by many of them at one point or another. But now, seeing her friend like this, she felt more determined than ever to drive them away. It was typical of a Toa, she supposed; banishing the dark not for her own good but for another's.
"Tahu, tell me something. Why do you think we were victorious, in the end? Why are we here, and not still running from Makuta or dead?"
He made no response.
"Is it because it was our destinies? Is that it?"
His voice was tired. "If you can think of another meaning for the word 'destiny', I'd love to hear it."
She ignored the bait. "How about that time Ga-Koro beat Ta-Koro in the Kohlii championship? Was that all predecided too?"
Tahu glanced at her out of the corners of his eyes. "If you're about to suggest we hold a Kohlii match to smooth things over with the Agori, I doubt they know how to play."
"How about that time Jaller made you a sheathe for your sword, because he thought you'd like one to show off with? Or the time Lewa broke Kongu's flute on accident and his Gukko Bird chased him up a tree until Kongu talked it down? Or all the nights Turaga Nokama spent telling me and the villagers stories on the lilies of Ga-Koro, with nothing but the stars above us and a few Lightstones lighting the village, nothing to hear but the waves and her voice? Was all of that just destiny?"
Tahu had turned to look at her, his expression betraying nothing. She looked him in the eyes and went on.
"You're right. Back on Mata Nui, we always knew that as Toa, we were destined to shape the universe and protect the Matoran. We could always take solace in the ancient legends, in prophecies and writings, in the order of things. But none of that did any of what I just said. Everywhere it's written that the Toa must protect the Matoran, and that the Matoran must respect the Toa. Nowhere is it written that we must love them, and they us. And yet we do."
Tahu remained silent, but his gaze had softened just a fraction. "Maybe we were all just pieces of some big planet-searching machine. But if you ever think that's all we are – then you're wrong, Tahu. We're here today because of who we are, not because of some dusty old scrolls or ancient beings."
He chuckled. "Toa Gali, disrespecting the legends? Turaga Nokama would be ashamed."
She smiled. "Turaga Nokama used to be an everyday Matoran, Tahu. If anyone knows Toa are more than their roles in the legends, she does." There was the ghost of a smile on his face now, and she felt emboldened. "You're right to be worried about everything that's happening, Tahu. But we've faced worse before, and we've come through fine. I refuse to believe that the only reason we did was because destiny said so. If we have to show the Agori what a Toa is rather than have them learn it from some old story, then I don't intend to back down."
His smile had eased, but there was still a flicker of doubt in his eyes. "And after today? What makes you so certain the Agori will accept us when they're afraid enough to try and get rid of us simply out of fear of what we might do?"
Gali shrugged. "I never said it was going to be easy, Tahu. But you and I know that being a Toa never is."
He chuckled again, but the doubt remained. "Your point is taken, sister. But still… with what happened tonight, I doubt the Agori have much trust in me. Do you really think it wise that I stay as such a leader? It was Onua's diligence that showed the truth today. You can make peace better than anyone I've ever known. Why should a warrior like me risk causing more strife?"
Gali took a deep breath. "Because if any of us can show the Agori why the Toa were heroes… it's you, Tahu."
His brow raised in surprise. "Gali…"
She plowed on. "Tahu, in all the time I've known you, I've never seen you stray from what a Toa should be. I've seen your love for your people and your determination to reward their faith in you time and time again. Even your anger and doubts have always been on their behalf. Were you listening to yourself earlier? Everything you told me was out of fear that you couldn't protect your people and still remain a hero to them. Mata Nui left you to lead because I think he knew if anyone could become a hero to both the Matoran and the Agori, it would be you. To us he would always be the Great Spirit, but you… you're Tahu. You're our leader and our friend. He believed that you would become the same to the Agori. And I believe that too."
Tahu looked down for a moment, then raised his head and met her gaze once more. "Gali… thank you. But… if you think that I was able to be such a hero to you all just because that's who I am… you're wrong. If it hadn't been for all of you standing with me, I wouldn't have been able to come this far." He reached out and took her hand in his. "So as long as you're here, Gali… I'll do it." A spark danced in his eyes and confidence returned to his voice. "I'll show those Agori what a Toa is even if it kills me."
She laughed. "There's the Tahu I know and love."
The phrase was innocuous enough that there really was no call for the awkward silence that followed it. The two Toa sat there, her hand in his, for a moment forgetting all the problems and dangers that awaited them.
And then, because he never could take a hint, Gali kissed him.
Onua woke to the sounds of the village getting its morning under way; he could hear Agori propping open their storefronts and Matoran pounding away at homes for themselves. Onua frowned at the thought of the latter – if all went well, they would all be moving to a new Atero soon enough. But he supposed it couldn't hurt for the Matoran to make themselves comfortable in the meantime.
As he left the hut he shared with the other Toa Nuva, he was surprised to see Gali leaning against the side of the stone building that served as the village's jail. Ackar had taken Kann there last night, before the village meeting had gotten underway; the Agori's fate was still undecided. She nodded to him as he approached. "Brother."
He returned the nod. "Sister. Were you able to find Tahu?"
She nodded again. "He didn't make it easy, but yes. We just got back; Tahu's in here now, speaking with Ackar and that Agori."
Onua crossed his arms. "If you're letting him talk with someone who tried to frame him for murder, you really must have been convincing when you found him. Is everything all right?"
She smiled softly. "Yes, I think so. I think he needed to hear what I had to say more than he realized."
Onua raised his brow, but let the subject drop. "So why the visit to his accuser? I can't imagine it's to forgive him. Scared of us or not, he still murdered his partner and tried to pin the crime on someone else."
Gali shook her head. "That's not it at all. But he told me he has a promise to make to that Agori."
Onua tilted his head a touch. "A promise?"
She smiled once more. "Yes. He told me he was going to promise that Agori that his people would never have a reason to fear any Toa."
Onua frowned again. "Somehow, I don't think Kann will be much inclined to believe him."
The smile remained as she glanced over at the door of the building. "Probably. So I guess Tahu'll just have to prove it to him the hard way. He always was more for action than words, anyways."
Onua watched her for a moment, and then smiled. "It sounds like you were the right person to talk to him after all." A touch of playfulness entered his voice. "Peace through action… you know just how to manipulate him, don't you, sister?"
She grinned and waved him away. "Oh, please. You don't exactly need to be a Makuta to get Tahu fired up."
He laughed. "But it does take quite a lot to keep him from lighting anything on fire while he's doing it. Thank you, sister. Tahu's got a hard job ahead of him. It's good to know there's someone looking after him."
Another grin. "Well, he certainly needs it. Speaking of which, how was last night's meeting?"
A hint of exhaustion crept into Onua's voice. "Long and loud. Kann might have had a few gears loose, but I'd be lying if I said none of the Agori sympathized with him. But they're willing to talk, and I think as long as we're willing to listen, we've got a shot."
Something flickered in Gali's eyes at Onua's remark. "I'm glad to hear that, brother. Truly."
Onua smiled once again. "I thought you would be. Anyways, I'm on my way over to speak with some of the Glatorian. They'd like some help surveying the area for mining purposes, and I thought I'd offer a hand. There's always room for another, if you're interested."
She shook her head. "Maybe another day, brother. I'm going to wait for Tahu to finish. He and I still have some things to talk about."
I'm sure you do, Onua thought to himself. He bumped fists with Gali and went on his way, weaving through the bustle of the Agori and Matoran, picking up a Po-Matoran's dropped hammer as he went and tossing it back up to him. Before long he came to the storefront where he'd agreed to meet his soon-to-be partners; the Agori there was selling fruit of some sort. He and the clerk exchanged greetings as he leaned against the wall to await the Glatorian. In the distance he saw Tahu leave the prison and approach Gali; a tap on the shoulder distracted him. The Agori was holding out a fruit he'd never seen before. "You're the Toa who caught Hanith's killer, right? He was a good man. This isn't much, but… take it as a thank you."
Onua smiled. "There's no need for that; that's what Toa do, you know."
The Agori nodded, but left his hand outstretched. "If that's the case, then take this anyways. Someone who upholds the peace just because that's who they are, and not just because they were hired to do so or because it's their village… someone like that deserves a gift once in a while."
For a moment, Onua was surprised. The Matoran had always appreciated them, but this was the first time he could remember being thanked just for being a Toa. He smiled warmly as he accepted the gift and turned back to the crowd. Far off he saw Tahu and Gali walking away, deep in conversation. It was hard to tell this far away, but it looked like they were smiling.
He turned over the fruit in his hands as he watched them turn a corner and vanish. Peace wasn't what they'd thought it was going to be. But he had the feeling that just maybe, with a bit of luck and enough work, it was going to turn out even better than they'd hoped.
A/N: Okay. So, I wrote that. That happened. Still sort of surprised. This was for Jiayi and tayana on Tumblr especially, and for anyone else who likes the pairing. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it wasn't too out-of-character or mushy. I also apologize for the vaguely Ace Attorney intro scene; I felt like a frame-up would be a good way to set Tahu off.
Also I do not know how to genre, but I ultimately went with Romance/Friendship over Romance/Crime since, I'm going to be honest, I see Romance/Crime and get ideas that have nothing to do with this fic. It was Romance/Family earlier (in reference to Gali, Tahu, and Onua's connections to their people) but that seems to give the wrong impression as well. Though the "brother" and "sister" terminology also probably didn't help matters.