This is the first story I have ever written, so please go easy on me. Constructive criticism from writers who have been doing this longer than me would be greatly appreciated.

I do not own either Halo Reach or Valkyria Chronicles III; they belong to Bungie and Sega respectively.

This story is set one year before Valkyria Chronicles III and three days before the start of Halo: Reach.

Anniversary

How long had it been since he had walked down this road? Twelve years, perhaps? A long time for most, but for any SPARTAN time seemed to have no noticeable markers, no point of reference. For them, the only time any of them bothered to take notice of was the operational length of a single mission, or just the periods between the endless numbers of those missions. Beyond that, they either didn't notice time's passage or didn't care. It was the same for all of them. It did not matter to them.

This was true for all SPARTANs.

All of them, except one. One who did care how much time it took in-between HIS mission.

He always came in secret, and always on that exact day of every year. A single Pelican and the cover of night, that was all he ever needed to come and visit. Walking through the tangled thickets of the shadow-shrouded pines, taking the least travelled paths through the mountainous terrain, never stopping until he came over the hill and beheld the lights of the small town nestled in-between the arms of the mountain chain like a newborn cradled in its mother's arms. He never stopped to admire the view, for he had no time.

Timeā€¦ time he was always painfully aware of. Because no matter how many times he had managed to come back, time would not let him stay here, uncaring of how much he longed to do so.

Down the hill, cutting across the open fields, through the sleepy streets with their stony tiles, and past the houses that stood on either side, their occupants dreaming and unaware of the stranger in their midst, moving quickly and without a sound toward the house at the very edge of the little village, tucked away behind a screen of hedges and willows.

It was small, with cream colored walls chocked with green ivy and small windows that barely let in any of the meger sunlight that did manage to sneak in through the thick branches of the bordering trees. Old stone tiles, covered by a thin carpet of moss, seemed to blend into the blackness of the night. Even if he couldn't see it clearly, past vists reminded him that there was a small garden by the foot of the door with a variety of roses in colorful bouquets. Their scent drifted across the street to where he was standing, filling his senses with the flower's sweet perfume.

Roses. They were still her favorite things to grow, even after all these years.

Here, by the far side of the little paved road, he always came to a stop. Camouflaged both by the black of night and by the color of his armor, the Spartan would stand there, observing through the windows of the home.

His conditions stated that he was only to have contact if she was asleep. If not, then he was to immediately return to the Sometimes when he came, there would be a light on somewhere in the house, alerting him to the fact that she was still awake. When that was the case, he would have no choice but to turn and sadly take his leave.

But tonight, nothing seemed to stir. All was quiet and still. Whenever this was the case, he would cross the road, walk up to the door, find the spare key hidden under the rug, and unlock the door. He would slowly edge the old door open, wincing if it happened to make a loud creak, waiting in case the occupant of the little home had woken, close the door and stand in the living room careful to make sure that the added weight of the heavy MJOLNIR armor he was forced to wear would not make the floorboards creak. He would make his way toward the master bedroom in the house, softly open the door, and peer inside.

And there she was, lying curled up on her side like she always was when she slept, one arm tucked under her head, her long silken hair cascading across her shoulders and the white bed sheets. The Spartan never sat down, but kneeled at the side of the bed facing the front of the young woman's sleeping form. As quietly as he could, the super-solider would remove the helmet encasing his head and set it quietly beside him.

If someone could have looked at the two of them then and now, they would be astonished by how similar they looked like each other. They were alike in many ways. Both possessed the same two-toned red and silver hair color, though the red in the man's hair was slightly darker and the silver in his hair was shorter in length. If one could have looked both of them in the eyes, they would have been startled to see that both shared the same shade of blood-red irises. Both were slender in body, though the man was more slightly built and was an inch or two taller than her, even without the added size of the man's armor. The man looked like his was about the same age as the woman, in spite of the fact that he was only older than her by a year. All in all, you could have thought that they were siblings.

Siblings. A sister who thought that she was the only member of her family to survive a terrible accident, and a brother forced to fight a war he never wanted to be a part of, forbidden to make his existence known by those who had taken him from his family and his world.

Every time he came the man would remain kneeling there at the front of the bed, just content to gaze at the sleeping girl, his younger sister, dreaming whatever it was she was dreaming about, with the sound of her breathing the only thing breaking the stillness of the night. He would always wait for as long as he could afford, brushing back the hair behind her ear when it drifted in front of her face sometimes or cautiously reach out to intertwine his fingers in her own , holding her hand as gently as possible so as not to disturb her. As much as he treasured these precious moments, all too soon came the time when he could no longer stay and had to leave.

As the young man, once known by his family in the past as Peter Marcellis, now known only as Spartan- B312 to his superiors in the United Nations Space Command and later Noble Six by his new teammates on Reach, stood up away from the bed of his only sister Riela Marcellis, resident of the Principality of Gallia, he tried to fight back the tears that always came with his departure.

Leaning down, he gently kissed Riela's forehead, before whispering into her ear, "Dream in peace, dear little sister, and keep on living for me. I promise to always stand by you in spirit. And as long as I'm here, I'll make sure that you shall never have to look up at the stars in fear, but gaze upon them in wonder."