[I had originally cut this out, but then oh well, why not~ ]


Dreams came to her always first in a faint haze of red, only to blossom into full color more vibrant than she could ever imagine the real world being.

Wide eyes flittered open to light streaming through a white canopy. She found herself in the bedroom of a beautiful palace, all done up the way any little girl would have envisioned. Before she could blink there were faceless servants imploring her to rise, dressing her in fine red satin and frills fit for royalty before a three-sided mirror. Long white tresses were brushed just so and her head was lastly crowned with a little wreath of roses.

A familiar voice called out to her; that of the king's hand- tall, blonde, always carrying with him a wise smirk and an air of dignity. He would offer out a hand and, deciding to humor him, she presented her best curtsey in return.

Izumo suddenly clutched at the chest of the dark red tunic he wore, emblazoned with gold.
"Charmed. Straight through the heart," he swooned. "That was flawless, m'lady."

She suppressed a giggle at his theatrics and took his hand to be lead through a long corridor. Together they descended a winding staircase lined with tapestries all scorched by fire on the edges.

The pair followed the steps down to a pair of doors much larger than life.

"They're waiting for you." She could hear the smile in Izumo's voice, though it was a bittersweet one.

In that moment she could only stare down at his tall boots, filled with a sudden sense of foreboding even as the doors opened to reveal an opulent throne room before them. High ceilings with brilliant banners were reflected back on the dark marble floors. The king's guard stood at attention in two straight lines. As she passed by Anna inspected them. Chitose. Rikio. Eric. All the rest, dressed in uniforms of rich blood red and black.

Some sort of witchcraft had transformed them from the scrappy band of boys she knew in reality into a well groomed battalion. But they came to greet her just like always, in a sudden, friendly ruckus that broke their lines and made her feel as though she were home after all.

Even Basashi was there, and fanned out white wings happily for her. Izumo lifted her up so that she could pet the horse's forelock. How nice of you to come.

"Anna!" another familiar voice rang out and bounced haphazard against the walls. On the steps before the two great thrones- trying to make himself look as tall as he could manage- Yata flashed a smile once he had her attention. There he looked as proud as a young Prince of Flame had the right to be. She almost didn't recognize him in such a well fitted coat and cravat. It was so strange.

But while he bent to kiss her hand she could only stare up where sunlight streamed down from tall windows upon two figures at the center of everything.

The King's form was unmistakeable, though his back was turned and hidden behind a long, trailing cloak. Stoic power seemed to radiate from him even while standing so rigidly still. It was as if he were more statue than man. His attention lingered off somewhere far in the distance; she could sense how something was troubling him. At his side elegant robes draped down and trailed just as long from his Queen's thin frame. Wisps of dirty-golden hair caught that same sunlight as he moved. Totsuka had never looked so stunning to her; he appeared to glow there, waiting for her to come into his arms. Again, as it felt that he always would.

Everything else melted away at once in the way that dreams do. Anna found herself wrapped in that embrace, lifted off her feet again, wishing to never be let down.

"Lovely isn't it?" His cheek pressed against hers as they lifted their eyes to the magnificent set of thrones and to the chandeliers that seemed to drip with gold above.
"It was always our wish to leave all of this to you. As a gift," Totsuka's smile warmed everything around them, "But I'm afraid there really is no good way to say goodbye..."

"Goodbye?" The word left her lips in a whimper.

"King and I are being called away on very important business." He tapped her nose gently with one finger.

"Oh." Anna tilted her head to the side. "Will you bring me something back from far away?"

His eyes gave away the regret he was trying to conceal.

"Well, see it may be difficult for us to return. Impossible, really." That did not sound like him at all. Totsuka never used the word impossible.

She couldn't understand.
"Then you do not have to go."

"Fate has her reasons, my Princess. We have to go."

But HOMRA's Queen wouldn't loosen his hold on her for even a moment then. They would not let her go until she was ready- would they? Was she?

"You can't-" Anna demanded, grasping on desperately to his robes, "you have to stay with us. The castle... the castle will fall."

"It's still strong, even now. Our bonds don't break so easily. But you are stronger than any castle. You'll see, Anna-chan~"

Out of the corner of his eye Mikoto glanced back at her. Anna was certain she could see the very edge of his tired smile. But as he stepped forth the light streaming down appeared to swallow him whole and she would reach out for him with every ounce of effort she had. Light would take them both, senselessly while they took hold of each other, but in their wake it felt as though it cradled and comforted her as well. The two men she had loved so dearly became that light itself.

Her fantasy world could not be for long. They would be there when she woke, sleeping against each other after the storm had passed and morning came. But Anna had grown accustomed to the harshest of realities, even in the sweetest of her dreams.