(AN:This story was based on the premise:What if Kevin's plan were a little bit more...sound, and his claim of loving Shion were easier to prove. Some of the original script was left unchanged to remind the viewers what was supposed to happen.)

And they ran up across the room, through the hall of the most powerful gnosis known...Azazels and Amaroses...the mages of the Gnosis, and the swordmen. They were good training, though they still wore the team of 7 and 1 supporter down. And in that last room, was a familiar man in a Red Cloak.

Shion, of course, was happy to see him, even if nobody else was. "Kevin!"

Kevin, for his part, had taken stock of the situation, including the blue eyes on Kos-Mos, and T-elos's defeat. And greeted them appropriately, at least to his own perceptions. "Shion. And Mary, too. Welcome."

Shion, of course, tried to reach out to him, "Kevin, I-"

Kevin responded before she could even finish the sentence. Empathy? Perhaps. "I know. You're scared, aren't you? You don't know what you should do or even who you are. You don't know where you belong. You don't need to be afraid any longer. I'll give you those answers." And he believed he had those answers too.

Shion, still far more trusting then perhaps she should be, spoke his name again. "Kevin..."

Kevin felt it was time to tell what HIS history actually was. "I once felt the same way as you do. When this planet was destroyed, I lost everything, even my sense of who I was. It was then that he appeared before me."

chaos knew well there was only one man who could've given Kevin the power to become a Testament, and clarified. "Wilhelm, you mean."

Jr, who never thought of Wilhelm as anything but a corporate top dog, was surprised to hear that. "Wilhelm?! Vector's CEO?!"

Kevin, then, recounted his own past...what was once told to him after he lost his family and everything. "This is what he said to me:

Changing his voice to sound a little like Wilhelm's "Because of a certain phenomenon, our world is on the path to destruction. The universe is slowly but surely being destroyed. No one can stop it, even if they had the power of God."

Then, in his own, more childlike voice. "The universe is going to die?"

In Wilhelm's voice, "But do not despair. There is one way to save this universe."

His child self was a bright young lad. "And that's "eternal recurrence?""

In Wilhelm's ever reasonable voice. "If we are fated to die, then we shall stop our history at a certain point and restart it. And we shall repeat that process eternally. How do you feel about our world? What do you want to do with this world that drove you into the pit of despair?"

Naturally, as a child who just lost his mom... "I hate the world. A universe like this one is better off gone. And then I can live in a new universe with Mom."

Wilhelm was pleased. "That's a good answer. You should accomplish that dream. I'll be happy to aid you, Kevin Winnicot."

Then Kevin dropped out of flashback mode.

And continued his explanation. "He'd been preparing for this since before the loss of Lost Jerusalem. Ormus, Vector, even the Federation all existed under his will. After that meeting... I joined the Zohar research team as Joachim Mizrahi's assistant, to prepare for the day that would come. To awaken Mary Magdalene, I created KOS-MOS as her vessel. In it I placed her consciousness, which had dissipated in the U.M.N., and entrusted her to you." Surely, this all made perfect sense?

And all Shion's friends were FURIOUS he did all this planning!

Starting with her brother. "So everything went according to plan? I feel sick just hearing it." He couldn't believe how well orchestrated everything had been, how well all the moving parts had fit together, like mere cogs in a machine, instead of people.

To Jr., Kevin sounded like Yuriev 2.0, and there was nobody he hated more then his dad. "You heard him, Shion. He planned everything from the beginning. He was just using you as well!" Just like Yuriev used him!

Shion's emotions were all over the place...was she really being used that harshly? "Kevin, when you died, was that all just an act?"

Kevin continued explaining quite calmly. "No, it was real. I died on that day. In order to obtain power, it was necessary to cast aside my physical body. I needed to deepen your bond with KOS-MOS for Mary's awakening, by removing myself from your life..." But the angry looks on their faces suggested they weren't really getting his reasoning or logic behind why he was doing what he was doing.

Kevin pointed out, "Besides, what would you have had me do, Jin? Refuse Wilhelm's offer?" Time to lay down the options in front of them. Maybe they'd get it then.

Jin, with his fingers toying with the hilt of his sword, said, "Well, of course." He wanted to get the talking out of the way so he could start chopping this sister deceiver up.

Kevin nodded, "So, you wanted me to become your father?" Suou Uzuki was example A of what trying to live on as a mortal would've ended up like for him. He wanted a better path. Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results was the definition of insanity, after all.

Now Jin was confused. "Become...my father?" Now what's he going on about?

Kevin nodded. "Yes. Let us go over what would happen if I refused Wilhelm's offer. I would've proposed to Shion. She would've accepted. We would've been married. She would've had a child, perhaps two. And then she would've slipped into a coma, just like her mother, and died. Because I'm not particularly likely to be killed by berserk realians, I would've lived to see what your father never had to live to see...my children also succumbing to UDO's sickness, slipping into a coma, and dying in turn. And you, Jin, would've been brother and uncle to all that. Does that sound like a good solution to you?" Seriously, he watched Shion's father live that life, mercifully shortened, and decided trying to live that life would've been a TERRIBLE idea. There had to be a better solution. And he went looking for one.

Jin, "...No. But there could've been a cure!" He was sensing a shadow on Kevin's heart, and he wanted to determine what it was.

Kevin again nodded. "Yes, a cure. I tried that myself too. I didn't believe Wilhelm when he said there wasn't one, so as Mizrahi's assistant, I had your father trying to save his wife, Joachim Mizrahi trying to save his daughter, and my own future knowledge that the girl I'd eventually fall in love with would die, and my future children would eventually die from the same thing. Even with all that motivation to find a cure, the lot of us couldn't, and Wilhelm proved right. So I had to take Wilhelm's offer. There is no cure for what ails Shion...but as a Testament, I can act as indefinite life support...taking the shocks of UDO's consciousness on my Testament form. As it turns out, UDO can only drive the living insane. The dead, like me, are immune to the effect." He'd given it his level best. He'd done everything he could possibly do to find a cure, to prove Wilhelm wrong. And he had two of the brightest men in existence helping. None of it did any good.

Jin tried again. "There'll be no family from the path you've chosen." Was that the shadow?

Kevin shook his head. "Wrong again. I left some of my DNA in storage on the Dammerung. It'll have to be done In Vitro, but we can have as a big a family as she desires." He did have time to plan for his death, after all, and plan for what living in the future with Shion as a Testament would require.

Shion was kind of in a stupor from listening to Kevin's rather methodical planning for how he was going to live with her as a Testament. "I can't believe it..." Has Kevin really been planning for YEARs to keep her alive, doing some things he apparently never wanted to do, a lot of which hurt her personally, just to give her a longer life?

Jr. was still convinced he sounded like Yuriev. "You've gotta be kidding me! Everything you've done has been a lie! You're the biggest con I've ever met." Such methodical planning sounded like a bunch of hogwash to him.

Kevin now had to apologize. "Shion, I'm sorry about what I've done to you. But I want you to understand. To save you and the world, I had no choice. With this power, I can free you from the terror of death. I can spend my existence with you. I want to save you, Shion." That was the primary difference between him and Voyager. Voyager was trying to save his own ass. He was saving Shion. In fact, his own death was fairly irrelevant. He got through that one with little real trouble.

From Shion's point of view, he looked at the alternatives, found from his own experience there weren't any, and her heart was lifted. It would be easy to forgive him for past hurts if she could have future happiness now... "Kevin..." There was already forgiveness in her eyes.

But Allen wasn't going to put up with this brilliant planning. "How can you SAY that?" Kevin merely raised an eyebrow at him.

Shion now looked confused again. "Allen?" Now what was he going on about?

Allen was on an emotional rampage. "You try to make it sound good, but in the end, all you were doing was using her!" How dare that bastard just...use Shion like a toy to play with and discard when it suited him?

Kevin replied, "Using her for what, exactly? How is refusing her father's life using her? How is working my ass off looking for a cure that didn't exist using her? How is taking the offer of the only man who seemed to have a solution using her? I haven't heard any better solutions for giving Shion a normal life. And if there is one...Yeshua?" It's all well and good for them to dump on his plan, but unless and until one of them came up with a better one, he would remain convinced he chose rightly.

chaos shook his head. "If I had the cure, I'd have used it already. I don't want her to suffer. Talking to Abel doesn't work either. I tried that too." Very few people could truly converse with Abel. He and Nephilim just happened to be two of those people.

Kevin added, "Also, URTV, even if you don't seem to like me right now, I must thank you." He hoped he might changed the URTV's opinion by telling him a fact or two about what he'd done for Shion.

Jr, still livid, "Thank me for what?" What terrible thing did he do to play into this bastard's plans?

Kevin said, "Don't you recall how your anti UDO waves extended Sakura's life? You may not have been trying to, but your presence in Shion's life extended her life as well. Had you not been there, she would already be in a coma. Thus, we planned to make sure you became her friend. It gave us more time we wouldn't have had otherwise." He was willing to give credit where it was due.

Jr. felt like shooting something, preferably Kevin. "Great, now even I'm part of the damn plan." He had HAD it up to his adult height with UDO be damned plans!

Shion turned on Jr. "What, are you sorry you kept me alive?" There was a hurt look in her eyes.

Jr, "Well, no, but...damn it, I hate being part of somebody else's plan! It's all dad ever did was use me in his damn plans..." That's what it was! Kevin reminded him of his recently departed father. A plan for everything, and a plan to plan his plans with.

Kevin shrugged. "It seems your anger with me has less to do with me, and more to do with Yuriev. I am not Yuriev. I had a different objective." Kevin dismissed the apparently displaced anger thereafter.

But Allen wasn't through with Kevin yet. "You think you're allowed to do anything you want if you think it'll protect someone's life? That it's all right to

ignore the Chief's feelings? I refuse to accept that way of doing things!" Hurting her feelings just to come up with some convoluted plan to save her life simply wasn't going to fly with him.

Kevin cut right into him. "You refuse to accept it? Do I need to request your approval? The fact is, she will die. Are you saying that you will accept Shion's death? That you will abandon Shion to her suffering?" The choice seemed pretty clear to him. Option A or Option B. Death or Life.

Allen had no further answer. "No, I-that's...But-" He was losing momentum.

Kevin shook his head. "Remember what I said about what would've happened had I not taken Wilhelm's offer? That is the only life you can offer her...short as it is. You would become her father, just as I would've. If the world could be saved through passion, all of this would've been unnecessary. If the world could've been saved through research, I would've found the answer to her illness on Miltia. Now, come, Shion. You've done more than enough. You don't need to sacrifice yourself anymore. It's all right to think about your own happiness. You know, don't you? That there's no place for you there." It's not like she had any real alternatives anyway if she wanted to live. Who else could even try to save her? Yeshua, maybe. But that was it.

Shion was believing him. "Oh..." Somebody had a plan! An honest to God plan to let her live to see 30. And maybe even more!

Allen was not. "Chief, don't go!" But he could only reach out to empty air.

Jr. still had Kevin=Yuriev in his mind, and said, "Leave her alone, you bastard!" Punctuated with a shot from his gun!

A shot that Shion deflected with her MWS. "Stop. Don't hurt him."

Now it finally got through to Jr. that he'd convinced Shion. "Shion? Are you serious?" He couldn't understand what was worth protecting about this son of a...well, something.

Jin was just as shocked. "Shion..." Why'd she protect this guy?

Shion turned to her confused brother. "Jin?" Why was her brother trying to stop her reunion with her boyfriend?

Jin explained, "Shion, you know what he's trying to do. There is a shadow in his heart. And yet you still intend to go with him?" But what was the Shadow? It was different from Voyager's, or even Marguilis's.

Shion was tired, confused, and her head hurt from one UDO too many. "I don't know. I don't know what I should do. I'm tired. I don't want to hurt anymore. None of you saved me. Only Kevin has made a place for me." That is, only Kevin had a concrete plan for her to live to see age 30. Nobody else did, that she could see.

Jin tried to explain. "Shion, none of us want you to suffer. Don't you understand that?" Of course, not wanting her to suffer and actually being able to prevent her from suffering were two different things.

Shion, however, was in a very cutting mood. "I do understand. But that's why I hate it! I've had my fill of pity. And isn't it already too late? It's not like you understand other people's feelings. If you had, Pellegri might not have had to die!" It was a LOW blow. Jin winced visibly.

Jr. immediately called her on it. "Shion!" He couldn't BELIEVE she just said that!

Allen backed him up. "That's not true. Besides...Kevin? There's a little flaw in this great plan of yours." And he realized, finally, what the big gaping hole was.

Kevin merely said, "A flaw? Go on." How could there possibly be a flaw with HIS plan? He doesn't do flaws.

Allen said, "Your plan for living a happy life with the Chief depends on time being linear. Eternal recurrence, resetting time...Shion won't 'live' another 24 hours...nor will the rest of us, once Zarathustra performs its fuction." And for the first time, Allen looked confident...even smug, at having found the flaw in Kevin's great 'master plan.'

Now it was Kevin's turn to stand there looking dumbfounded. "..." How did he miss that? He was Wilhelm's #2, and knew more about his plans then the rest of them.

chaos shrugged, "I would've mentioned it if he hadn't. You thought of everything except how Wilhelm's plan and yours don't exactly coincide." He didn't interfere, only confirmed truths. The choice of what to do with it must remain with the Testament. It was always so.

Allen harped on it. "So this plan of yours...you were using all those magnificent powers to run away! Virgil, Voyager, Ormus, all of them were running from something."He was sure he had Kevin on the verbal ropes, now!

Kevin shook his head. "Running away? I miscalculated concerning Wilhelm, but I was facing the problem of her death head on. And chose the only known method of giving her a mostly normal life."

Allen actually smiled then, "So, Mr. Magnificent planner of everything, what're you going to do now? Looks like you have to save the Universe from recurrence to give the Chief the life you wanted for her." He could at least hope that, if Kevin didn't wimp out, he'd get himself killed fighting his master.

Shion also turned to look up at him. With considerably more love and trust then anyone else. "What...are you going to do?"

Kevin wasn't a genius for nothing. Wilhelm wasn't the only being who could sustain his existence. So he turned to the only other being who could do it. "Yeshua. I need you to reroute the power to yourself."

chaos raised an eyebrow. "Reroute the power?"

Kevin said, "If I fight Wilhelm while I'm connected to his power, the best I can manage is mutual destruction. That is, I can take him out at the cost of my existence. I need to be connected to you if I'm going to survive this." Already, he'd accepted what Shion wanted and needed from him, and tried to come up with a plan to survive the unsurvivable.

chaos turned to Kos-Mos. "Mary?"

Mary shook her head. "I have to release your power of Anima before you can sustain a Testament."

chaos nodded. "I figured. Releasing my power is part of my plan, but I'm not sure you'll exist long enough to benefit from it." That 'mutually assured destruction' Kevin talked about was pretty likely, after all.

Kevin sighed, shook his head, "Gotta risk it. I'm not going to be Shion's enemy." The universe was expendable too him, but Shion was not. While that wasn't a particularly balanced view of things, it was the truth he was living by.

Allen said, "Are you really going to turn on your master and die for the Chief?" Cause...that would kinda suck, from a personal point of view. His chances of winning Shion's heart would die as Kevin turned out to be less of a bastard by the limit.

Kevin shrugged, "I already died for her once. If I have to do it again...so be it." Again the truth was clear...he had no particular terror of his own death, but he WAS terrified of Shion dying, and that was his version of the 'Terror of Death' common to the Testaments.

Jin looked surprised. "I'm not convinced about your character, but at least you saw the truth when it was presented to you." Jin still thought he was a bastard, and the 'road to hell paved with good intentions' idea kept rolling around in his head, but he still found himself putting his sword away.

Shion, at this, embraced Kevin. "chaos...you have to try to save him."

chaos said, "Can't promise that. Wilhelm is every bit as powerful as I am when my power's released, and it's not released yet. But I will try." chaos believed in redemption. And second chances. If this Testament was willing to turn away from the power, even after he claimed...chaos would at least try to see to it he was reborn on Lost Jersualem.

Kevin brushed a hand along her cheek. "Shion, if I don't make it, and my odds are honestly lower then the rest of your friends, I love you. Always." It seemed to be the most sincere thing he ever said.

Shion started sobbing, "I...I love you too." She felt a little vindicated. Kevin wasn't the complete wacko everyone else thought he was. Everyone else wanted his head on a plate. But look at him now!

Jr. finally calmed down a little. "Guess he's like Mizrahi. Everyone thinks he's a lunatic till you sit down and talk to him for a while." That was as much grudging consideration as he was willing to give.

MOMO smacked Jr. "Don't call daddy a lunatic!" If there was one thing she hated, it's when people called daddy bad names.

Jr. "Ow, I didn't! But I was definitely calling Kevin a bastard." He rubbed the back of his head a little. He deserved that, but he wasn't gonna do any apologizing to Kevin.

Allen, meanwhile, facepalmed vociferously. "I was supposed to win her AWAY from that guy, not push her into his arms..."

Ziggy was getting sick of all the crossplay, and wanted to get on with it. "Since this seems to be resolved peacefully, we need to head to Zarathustra. Keep your minds on the mission!"

Jr. "Yeah, yeah, old man...we're getting there. Nobody could've anticipated a Testament turning."