By Amber Michelle
"You are to watch over him and determine the danger he will present to the world......"
Watch over him. The Contact.
How, pray tell, was one supposed to do that?
Shitan tightened his grip on his swordhilt, leaning on the weapon as he stared out over the sleeping city of Aphel Aura. It might have been a scene from a fairytale, so perfect were the houses, and the starry night behind them.
So come the perils of family...... He had never known before, how hard it would be to carry on his missions when loved ones were liable to be harmed. After all...... he had had no family. How easy it had been to follow orders when he had not had a daughter to raise, and a wife to love. How easy to shed blood without a thought, to risk his life for the knowledge......
But did he regret marrying Yui? Did he regret Midori?
No, he did not. He most definitely did not.
Sighing, Shitan straightened and walked on, following the skyway to a set of stairs that spiraled around the commerce building. It was a dream-like trip, leaping from one ot the other in the darkness, while clouds drifted below and sometimes through the city to obscure his already imperfect sight. But he made the last jump, landing on spongy, fragrant grass and clover in the garden atop the building.
Almost as high as the gazebo atop Zephyr's palace, the garden offered one of the best views of the city and the terrain passing by below the shimmering curtain of the Gate. It was also one of the more quiet, secluded spots, used for meetings...... goodbyes......
No, this is not a permanent good-bye...... I will not allow that. But it was still a long parting...... He did not know how long he would be watching over the Contact, but he could not put his family in danger by taking them along.
Chivalry is charming, Shitan, but really...... He could her her saying those words now, or something like them. But then...... he rather expected to lose this discussion in any case.
Still, it did not hurt to try.
He crested the hill, and the vista of Aphel Aura was spread out before his eyes. One lone figure, silouetted against the moonlit city, stood not more than four yards away, immediately catching his eyes. Her back was to him, but he would have known her blind. No one had the same willowy figure, or shimmering hair that seemed to catch every bit of light like a crystal...... And her voice, her breathing, so soft...... almost like she wasn't there, at times.
Maybe it was just love blinding him...... but he did not believe any imperfections marred her classic beauty, inside or out.
"Yui......" He said her name softly but his voice carried, seemingly loud in the silent night. She turned, and he stepped forward again, taking her offered hand and folding it in his own.
"You're late......" She smiled. "What is it you wanted to discuss? I assume you didn't ask me to meet you here just for the view." She was quiet a moment. "Does it have something to do with your dream?"
His dream. Shitan coughed and looked away, out over the city. "I suppose you could say that."
"Something you don't want to tell me?" She shrugged. "I can guess...... But you won't say anything, will you?"
"I......" He sighed, trailing off. There really was nothing he could say. No excuses, and certainly no lies. He would not lie to her, no matter how difficult the resolution made things for him. But there was only so much he could do...... "I am sorry......"
She shook her head. "I knew from the beginning you were still connected to Solaris. I...... I don't want to know how, as long as it doesn't interfere with us."
As long as it doesn't interfere with us......
"You...... know why I am here, do you not? You know that I must leave......"
"Please, Shitan......" She smiled again, and he felt his face grow warm. "You talk in your sleep. It's very sweet, in a way......" Her smile widened, then faded after a few moments. He said nothing, and she continued. "You're not going to leave us behind."
Steel was softer than that statement. He looked at her in surprise. "The danger......"
"I don't care about the danger. I won't let them seperate us. And I don't think you will either...... will you?"
He had not wanted to jump into the discussion so quickly, but one look at her eyes, and he bit back his concilatory statement. They were like quicksilver, moving from one expression to the next so swiftly. He wasn't sure which half he was speaking to at the moment, and he wasn't sure he wanted to test her.
Why not just...... give her what she wants? She does not exactly need my protection......
"What about Midori?" he finally asked, looking out over the city again. Stubborn....... she is stubborn...... "I cannot......" Hadn't he expected to concede victory to her, tonight? It wasn't exactly giving in to her........ and that wouldn't matter in any case, would it? This was not an argument, or something to be won.
He should have come up here after thinking it through. He was only making himself look like an idiot.
He smiled slightly, amused at his own blunder. "Nothing. If you wish to come......" He could not refuse her. And if that made him a sentimental fool, so be it. "...... I have no objections."
Her smile reflected his own, and her dark eyes were knowing. But she remained silent, leaning against him and following his gaze out over the city. He wrapped her in his arms.
No, he had no objections at all......