ECHOES OF DESTINY:
Bearit's Notes: Yay! It's over! A couple of days later than I would have preferred it to be finished, but close enough to the end of November for my satisfaction. I'm not too happy with this fic as far as execution goes (I love the story, but it didn't come out the way I had hoped), but I will make improvements on it sometime in the future (this is where your reviews come in). For now, please enjoy!
One may say that everything ended as it should have: Hikaru Shidou became Pillar, and through her strength she managed to save Eagle's life and change Cephiro for the better by abolishing the Pillar system. It annoyed the Creator, but he left, with the Mashin, for another dimension with the reassurance that the people of Cephiro were nothing like the people of Earth. In fact, Cephiro managed to achieve something--without the Pillar--the people of Earth could only hope to dream of attaining: world peace.
And it was not only within Cephiro they had attained it. The alliance of Autozam, Chizeta, and Fahren sooner than expected extended to accept Cephiro as well, and since there were no other known nation in the other world (many assumed that Mokona made it that way, for with less nations comes less tension and simpler issues to deal with), war no longer became an issue, so Autozam's military simmered enough to put a lot of ships out of commission temporarily, such as the NSX. That made traveling between Autozam and Cephiro easier for Geo and Zazu; they had a smaller ship for their visits.
Unfortunately, Geo had yet to make any visits to the other country, for just as soon as the Pillar was abolished and since Geo was undoubtedly in command since the Audi TT had indeed conquered Eagle, he reported to the president and immediately found himself gone from the country. Zazu stayed behind to handle the direct diplomatic business, but Geo needed to get several paperwork items completed and take care of explaining to not only President Vision and his cabinet about what went wrong and how they can improve on the developments in Cephiro, but to Congress. Geo was not the best speaker in the government, and on top of that, he had many loose ends to worry about. Luckily, when the president realized this, he immediately sent Geo back to Cephiro.
For that, Geo was thankful.
At first, he couldn't realize the point of it all: his main concern was Eagle, and if Eagle had the Audi TT hit him... well, Cephiro was filled with unbelievable deeds. Perhaps Eagle's father knew something that Geo didn't?
The first thing Geo noticed about the land was the lack of lifelessness. Green began to sprinkle across the once barren terrain, and skies shimmered a clear blue to match the ocean that lay beneath the floating mountains. The palace itself, three long crystals in the center of the largest island, gleamed with a brightness that a blind man could see. Geo laughed at the irony of those thoughts before grimly reminding himself why he had been forced to return.
Lantis greeted him in the aerial gateway, and together they walked to the room Eagle slept. For a while neither spoke, and Geo wondered what had happened after he left. It didn't take too much longer until he discovered it.
"Eagle told me what happened between the two of you ever since the fight you had with Chizeta and Fahren," said Lantis. "I do have to admit, it cleared a lot of things up for me."
"Oh?" asked Geo suspiciously. "And what else did he say?"
Lantis smiled coyly then, and Geo blinked in bewilderment. "He has also told me about the disease he has which caused everything... by the way, he still hasn't recovered from it."
Geo stared at Lantis quizzically for a moment before realization set in. Eagle was still asleep. But, a cure? And he can talk? "WHAT?" he gasped.
"You'll see," the swordsman replied as he stopped in front of a closed door. "Go on in. From the sounds of it, you two need to talk."
Lantis flashed one more quick smile before he started down the hall again, and Geo shook his head to clear all irrelevant thoughts away from his mind. He pushed the curly lever down and opened the door, and in the middle of the room laid an unnaturally pale yet peacefully sleeping Eagle Vision.
Geo inhaled sharply and wondered why he had done this, and what kind of joke Lantis was trying to pull. Though, at the same time, and through some weird force that he could not explain, he could almost feel the life force permeating the room, and despite how stupid he knew he would have felt at any other time for doing this, he called out softly, "Eagle?"
No answer. He took another deep breath and stepped inside the bright room, the door shutting silently behind him. He slowly made his way to the bedside and gently sat next to the sleeping figure. He bit his lip and stared at the calm face of his friend before he sighed. What was Lantis going on about earlier?
"Eagle, I--" he began, but hesitated. He clenched his fists and turned his head away, hoping that nobody would barge in at that particular moment. Geo sighed again and stared at the ground. "I'm sorry."
Geo yelped and hopped to his feet, staring incredulously at Eagle, whose face had magically transformed cheerfully mischievous. A bell-like laugh rang in his ears, in his mind, in his heart, and Geo knew immediately that somehow, Cephiro's powers had allowed Eagle to communicate while he was in his comatose state.
"You scheming little," Geo growled as soon as the shock wore off. "You had it all planned out that you would do this, didn't you?"
Eagle laughed again. "You're too easy to anger sometimes."
Geo scowled, and although his eyes were closed, Eagle must have known it somehow, for he chuckled once again, but instead of prodding on the subject further, he went back to the bleak atmosphere of before.
"Again, I ask, what are you sorry for?"
Geo held his breath. Why was it so much easier to apologize when he believed that Eagle wouldn't have been able to hear him, much less respond? He knew what he was going to say and how he was going to say it, but now the words refused to slip out of his mouth. Yet again, he sighed, and he sat on the bed, deciding that if he didn't look at his friend--were they still friends?--everything would go much smoother.
"I'd like to say everything," he said slowly so that he would not trip over any single syllable, "but that would be a lie. I'm not sorry that I asked the princesses of Chizeta and Fahren to stop you from fighting. I'm not sorry for trying to get answers out of you because I know damn well that I deserved those answers, but what I am sorry for is--" He swallowed a lump of pride. "I'm sorry that I wasn't there for you the way I should have. I didn't understand your motives well enough, and I became so reckless that--"
"You were just being a good friend," sincerely said Eagle, "and I have nothing to hold you up against. I should apologize, too, I suppose, for not trusting you with my real plans from the start."
"You had a perfectly good reason not to, I see it now."
"No. We're best friends, aren't we?"
Geo blinked and looked at a more serene Eagle as he mulled over the present tense. We ARE...
"Fighting you was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Now that I look back on it, I can't believe I went through with it. I was rash and stupid."
Geo smiled. "You weren't the only one."
"You're a good friend, Geo. I'd hate to lose you, and every time I thought about it... it would hurt. Remember when you said that for my sake you would become Pillar? You did remember that it was a sacrifice, right?"
"And you know why Hikaru ultimately won and became the Pillar?"
"No. The Creator chose not to reveal that bit of detail to us."
"She knew how much she was worth to everybody. She knew that if she became Pillar what kind of sadness that would impose on everybody. And, yet, she didn't want anybody else to suffer such consequences, and she wanted so much to get rid of the Pillar System. Her heart was stronger as was her will. She knew her worth. I now know mine. Lantis, too. You were the fourth candidate. Did you know? Do you know?"
Geo frowned. "About that..."
He could not finish his thought, and he cringed as he remembered what had happened as soon as Tatra had told him...
He shook his head. "No. Not quite."
Eagle laughed quietly. "You are really worth more than you believe. I gave you such a bad impression back on the Bravada when I... you know. I apologize for that as well. Am I really the only bright thing in your life? Are you sure there is no other?"
"Now," said Geo with a sigh, "I don't know. There might be one other..."
Geo could tell through his voice that Eagle smiled warmly in his heart. "Well, then, you better hold on to that person as well as you do me, maybe even tighter. She, perhaps, may be the one who will show you your true worth to the world."
Geo blinked. "She? How did you know...?"
Eagle gave no answer.
After Eagle caught Geo up to everything that had happened since the destruction of the Pillar System, Geo left the room quietly to uphold a good diplomatic relationship with the people of Cephiro. Besides, he wished to meet the girl who had accomplished what he had constantly failed to do: convince Eagle to do anything.
He silently shut the door behind him with a satisfied smile that not all had gone to waste, and something good had come out of the entire ordeal. He and Eagle had reached a new level of friendship for they trusted and had a better understanding of each other now. Eagle was not doomed for eternal sleep, and there was a great peace established among the four countries. What could be better?
When he turned around to walk the way Eagle had instructed him to, he found his answer. Geo stiffened and his voice caught in his throat allowing him to speak but one word:
The elder princess of Chizeta stood at the end of the corridor wearing fancier garments than she had when they first met. She, too, had frozen in spot with widened eyes, and for a while neither moved nor spoke.
Despite the happiness Geo felt after the conversation with Eagle, his lingering friendship with him was not his main concern. Always, somewhere in the back of his head or somewhere in the front, he had her in mind. Ever since the Path opened, he thought about her and the heartache--could it really have been that bad?--he had put her through. To her, was he still worth anything?
Finally, Tatra sighed, shook her head, and silently approached him. Geo swallowed a lump of confidence as he wondered what she would say to him, what she would do to him. The fear was irrational, for when Tatra finally came within arm's reach of him, she collapsed into him and embraced him tightly.
He blinked, astonished. "T-tatra?"
"I did not say it to kill Eagle-san," she said quietly into his chest. "I said it because I wanted you to see what you were truly worth... to save your life. I had no intentions on letting anyone die."
"This isn't hypothetical, is it?"
Geo cringed as he remembered what she had told him many weeks ago while Hell danced in the debris of Cephiro, and what the Creator had told him in response to it: "You could have almost made it to the Path. Your will to save the life of your friend was strong enough; however, a recent proclamation allowed you to have second thoughts. Your will broke. There are others who are stronger..."
He shook his head slowly and wrapped his arms around her. "Nothing of the sort was on my mind. I blame you for nothing. I know you had good intentions."
Tatra pulled away slightly and her watery eyes met his. "I-- I didn't lie when I told you. I really meant it."
"I--" Geo hesitated. The feelings he had in the cockpit of the GTO returned: worry, apprehension, guilt. He had put Tatra through the same emotional ride he would have gone through had he not decided to do anything and everything within his power to stop Eagle from becoming a suicidal maniac. He had been no better than Eagle. He sighed. "I know. You wouldn't have said it if you hadn't meant it."
She weakly smiled. He quickly returned the smile before he became serious once more, and he asked her slowly, "After I went back to Autozam... were you really that worried that I... blamed you?"
Tatra sighed. "I was afraid that you had come to hate me. We had only known each other for a short time, less than a day, and yet... I did not want to lose you as quickly. I wondered if I had made a mistake, but every time I told myself that I did the right thing. But I believe I did. I only hoped that you thought the same, and that you were not angry with me. I think I may... really love you, Geo-san."
He sighed. "I was never angry. I only wondered how much I hurt you-- was it really that bad?"
"It would have been worse if you died."
Geo gazed into the shimmering sincerity in her eyes, and he held back a small sob as he felt the emotions she would have experienced if he had been in the Path and killed. Did she truly...? Could she?
Impossible, and yet he knew it was no fantasy.
He tightly shut his eyes and pulled Tatra closer to him and whispered into her soft, scarlet hair, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I should have never--"
She wrapped her arms around his neck and said softly, "No, Geo-san. You only did what you felt was right. Saving your best friend's life is never anything to be sorry for, no matter if he doesn't want it. No true friend would let him go." She distanced herself to look at him once more and again their eyes met, but this time a soft smile danced upon her lips. Geo felt his eyes sting just by looking at them, but he could not look away. He did not want to look away. "That's what I love so much about you. You're loyal and kind and gentle and sweet. Who could ask for anything more?"
Geo weakly smiled in return. "Those aren't exactly the best compliments to give to a soldier."
"No. They are compliments you give to the one you love, but only if they are true."
"Do you really... still... love me?"
Tatra laughed softly, as if he thought the idea of being in love with him was ludicrous. Well, it was. "Of course. Please never think otherwise."
Before he knew what he was doing, he closed the space between the two faces and gently kissed her lips. She responded accordingly, and both basked in the brilliance of each other's warmth until they pulled away for a breath of air.
Geo grinned and said, "You know, I'm glad Eagle's fate was not mine. I would have never been this happy if it had been."
Tatra smiled. "But your fate was like his. You both came out of it realizing how much you are worth to everyone you love, and that is most important thing of all."
"I guess so."
The two embraced once more, and everything ended the way it should have.