They called him a hero. They called him a menace. In the start of the war he was War Dog 1. In the end he was a ghost of Razgriz. He had saved the world from itself. Through the fires and bloodlust of corrupted men, Blaze had ended a war many thought would continue until the history books ran out of pages. Yet this hero never returned for a grand ceremony or received a hero's welcome. His only recognition took place in a back room of a capital.
Blaze sat tiredly in his flight suit in the stuffy room of the capital building. He had not once received a break since his last sortie to stop the SOLG. His hair was messed up and all he could do was sit quietly in an office chair in what looked like a cramped study. The ticking of a nearby clock further agitated his impatience.
"Mr. Foulke, nice to meet you." A man in a full suit walked in. His hair was white as snow, wrapping around his head and leaving the top bald and shining in the dim lighting of the stuffy room. This fat politician was obviously here to inform him of his position and he was getting sick of the red tape he was having to wade through. He had already signed a disclosure agreement with the president in return for not having to finish out his military service and getting his benefits. The poor ace was getting tired. The wings that carried him from airspace to airspace were broken and weathered. "You are quite the legend."
"What is your point sir." The weary ace growled up at the politician.
"Anton Foulke, or Blaze as your comrades call you, you should be a hero but yet the history books will know nothing of you." Anton groaned as he anticipated another lecture about why he needed to keep his mouth shut. The previous conflict had looked for both countries. Traitors among the two enemies lined their pockets with the blood of brave men and women for extra money.
"I have already signed four twenty page non-disclosure agreements and honestly I like it like that." Anton replied annoyed. "If you are worried about that, don't worry. I resigned from the military." The politician chuckled and his belly waved with each laugh. It sickened Anton to no end. He had already gauged this man had some ulterior motive for why he was here and it didn't involve Anton's silence.
"That last part is why I am here." The fat politician put his hand on Anton's shoulder. Anton shoved it off. The past years of death and turmoil were caused by slimy disgusting politicians like the one before him. Anton scowled harder; trying to make this man know they were never going to be friends. "Testy I see…Well anyways…"The politician was unfazed by Anton's aggression. "See, you are a very valuable asset to the Osean military." Anton sighed as he could already tell where this conversation was going. "Your experience fighting in the Circum-Pacific War and your knowledge of Belkan fighter tactics makes you priceless if we ever go to war again." Anton could only sigh.
"Just tell me why I should join back." Anton sighed.
"You are a military hero. You just flying in the air makes ground troops fighter better and the enemy lose their morale instantly." The politician recited events Anton had been over and over again. Anton was tired of hearing those tales. To those around them they saw a white knight going over mach 2 but he only say people dying and a war that was brought on by greed and pointless revenge. There was no honor and all he cared for at that moment was for the world to go away. "Cancel you resignation and come back to the military. There are a ton of generals and admirals just waiting to talk with you and put you at their side."
"No." It was the only answer Anton would give.
"Are you serious?" The politician looked at Anton in shock.
"Is that all you can say?" The politician was now furious at how his master proposal had been shot down so easily. Anton could tell this man had not seen what he had. He had not seen a plane crashing into the ocean and burning men alive. He had not seen a burst missile destroy to aircraft carriers and her crew. He had not watched a friend crash into a stadium to avoid hitting civilians.
"I will have nothing to do with war anymore." Anton yelled. "I am sick of being a dog for the military and having a scumbag like you pulling my strings and the strings of my wingmen." Anton stood up. The height difference between the two was astonishing. Anton towered over the politician as he quivered in his tailored suit. "My answer is no and will be forever no. Is there anything else?" The politician only scuffed and stormed out of the room. Anton sat back down and waited when he was allowed to leave.
He began to think of his future at this point. He wanted to stay a pilot but he wanted to do it for himself and not to harm or kill anyone else. He thought about being a commercial pilot or stuntman. He also wondered what Kei Nagase would be doing after this. He had seen her tire just as he did. They were both sick of the war. After Chopper's death, it really dragged down her spirits and the betrayal of Sand Island only made it worse. He could still remember the night it all came to ahead.
(Just after being shot down over Sand Island)
Blaze sat quietly in his room on the Kestrel. He could feel the ocean gently rock the ship as he laid about in his small cabin. The peace was suddenly disturbed by the banging on his door. He looked over and wondered who would be wanting to visit him this late in the night.
"Come in." He yelled loud enough for the person on the other side to hear. The door slid open and Kei Nagase stood in the doorway, with tears rolling down her face. Anton's face lit up in shock and bolted out of his bed.
"Hey Nagase, what's wrong?" Anton thought the worst. He feared the worst. He knew his second-in-command had been taking the brunt of the burden alongside him. She had been the only one there from start of the whole affair. She had even watched as he went from rookie pilot to the most feared ace on the battlefield. She had also been there through the loss of her captain and the loss of a dear friend and wingman. He had always seen her with that emotionless expression on her face but now sorrow had completely taken that away from her.
"I can't take it." She screamed. She ran and tossed herself into his arms. Anton barely had time to react. He could feel her sobbing violently and the tears rolling down his flight suit. This was the first time she had ever shown weakness to anyone. He didn't know wither to feel honored she chose him or disheartened he had to see it. All he could do was guide her to the bed and hold her as she did the only thing anyone could do at this point. They had lost so much. They had lost their allies. They had lost their reputations and they had lost too many of their friends.
"It'll be okay." Anton whispered in her ear. This was going beyond his duties as a captain. No fiery speech could help the woman sobbing in his arms. He had to be there as a friend and maybe something more.
"No it won't" She whimpered. "We will still have to fight. We will have to fight friends now. I hate this Goddamn war." She screamed into his chest. He couldn't argue with her. They were no longer on a side. They were on their own fighting two armies and a group of blood thirsty men looking for revenge.
"I know…" It was the only thing Anton could say. Nagase looked up at him. Her tears were still slowly rolling down her checks. "But, we need to keep on. There are good men and women out there who don't know the truth but we do. If we do nothing, this war will only destroy all we care about." The two looked at each other as his words came out his lips. He could see the moment of eureka in her eyes but he couldn't tell what the realization was. "I will continue to fight because there are things I care for." Anton grabbed her hands as if something was compelling him to do so. She began to blush. "I need you to be there. I need everyone on our side to be there. Can you do that for me? Just promise you got my back when this is all said and done." Anton knew out of everyone, Nagase would walk into Hell with him if he asked but he wanted to hear her say it.
"I will and Foulke…" Nagase stopped mid-sentence.
"Call me Anton. We aren't military anymore." Anton laughed. Anton looked at Nagase as she slowly began to approach his face. The rest of the world went away and the air rushed out the room. Anton could feel the sparks bursting from his chest as the inevitable came closer. Each millisecond became an eternity. Finally, there was a release. During this emotional ocean of chaos, Anton had found a tiny island of happiness. Their lips locked and he didn't want her to stop. In his mind he begged her not to stop but she did and horror was on her face. She started to jump up in shame at how she had let herself drop her guard.
"I'm sorry, Foulke, I didn't mean…" She was about to run out the door but a firm hand grabbed hers in a gentle but unyielding grip. She looked back around and saw her captain standing right behind her. His eyes glimmered in the low light.
"I told you to call me Anton, Kei." She had never heard him speak her first name and he could tell this had shocked her as the intimacy began to grow. He finally gave into his urge and yanked her in close and they kissed once more.
(Back in present)
Anton blushed as he recalled that night. He had always had a crush on Nagase. She was one of the best pilots on Sand Island at the time and most people agreed if anyone could take down the legendary ace, it was Nagase.
As his day dream continued he heard the door open once more. He looked over to see Nagase slowly entering the room hesitantly. Anton smiled and his mind became at ease. Her hair was bit messy but he thought it made her adorable.
"I heard you yelling. Are you okay Anton?" Anton laughed at the mentioning of his own name. Between kid and Blaze, he never thought anyone would remember what his real name was and somehow it sounded best coming out Nagase.
"Some damn politician the military has in their pocket. He wanted me to return to the military." Anton groaned as he recalled the fat man's attempt to have him return to the very thing he just got out of.
"What did you say?" Nagase asked. He felt a bit hurt. Of all people he figured she would know the answer. He could only figure she wanted assurance his sentiment had not changed. He had no intention of ever returning to the skies as a fighter pilot. He had given the world peace and he had every intention to enjoy it.
"No." Anton replied quickly.
"Did they ask if that was all you could say?" Nagase giggled at her own question.
"Yes." Anton snickered at her joke. He looked at Nagase as she was still laughing. He couldn't help but wonder what was next for his favorite wingman. "What about you? What will the legendary Edge do in peace time?"
"The president offered me a job to work on the next Ark Bird." Anton in a long while had finally seen her smile. Over the course of the entire war, he had only see her smile as she read her favorite book and when the war was over. The rest of the time, she always had this serious and melancholy look about her as if she had no desire to be where she was. "What about you?" she asked back. He had never given it much thought. He did wish to remain in the air.
" I want to be a test pilot." Anton answered back. He figured it was the best of both worlds with him still being in the air but without having to kill someone to stay in the sky. "And have a family." Anton smiled over at Nagase who began to blush a deep crimson once again.
"What do you mean?" He laughed at how even now; Nagase still had a slight issue with romantic or social situations. Anton sort of wished Chopper had been there to give her a hard time about it like he used too.
"I am getting too old for this. It may be time I settle down and try to enjoy the peace for a bit." Anton smiled at Nagase as he dreamt of the future. "So one kid or two?" He asked her. She began to blush even brighter as she realized Anton wanted her to be part of that family.
"You did promise you would have my back." Anton smiled at her wickedly. "Or is the legendary ace pilot Kei "Edge" Nagase afraid of children?" She looked amusingly angered at that statement.
"I am not!" She barked. Anton laughed and she smiled back. Those two looked at each other and saw a future with no more killing and no more violence. It would just be them, a family and just a new horizon.