Author: Twilidramon PM
Loaño Ishida is probably the weirdest girl you'll ever meet. Insane jokes, crazy schemes, and so far, nothing special about her. Until, however, two new kids enter and change her whole perspective on the World and the things in it... Believable or not!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - Chapters: 789 - Words: 2,045,971 - Reviews: 1,770 - Favs: 130 - Follows: 56 - Updated: 04-26-13 - Published: 10-09-08 - id: 2581873
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
754: Cooldown Effect (Part 7: The End of Calm)
Aveline sank up to her freckles in the hot, steamy water, her nose poking out above its surface so that she could breathe. Celena and Naoko were in up to their shoulders, settling in as well. Aveline, feeling terribly self-conscious, wrapped her arms around her stomach.
"Oh, get up will you Avy-chan?" Naoko complained. "It's no fun to sit around and chat when you're mouth is underwater."
Aveline responded with a stream of bubbles. Celena smirked wryly at her and looked to Naoko. She chided her, "She's just doesn't want us seeing her naked. I don't really know why, but she's always been like that."
"Seriously, Avy-chan?" Naoko wondered, sighing. She rolled her eyes and said, "It's not like we've never seen breasts or vaginas before. You're our friend. We're not making fun of you for being pregnant or anything."
Aveline flushed and spat more bubbles in response. Naoko and Celena raised an eyebrow at her and seemed a little confused as to her behavior. They both shrugged and turned to one another. Celena opened her mouth to chat, but Naoko looked back at Aveline and stopped her.
"Seriously? You're not going to talk to us?!" she demanded.
Aveline spoke more with bubbles. She blinked at her friends and then cringed. The only person she wanted to see her naked was Atlas and Dr. Haru – she was done putting herself out on exhibit for others. Though she did trust her friends, she simply wasn't ready to do that sort of thing yet.
"At least pick your face up," Celena requested. "So you're not drinking the water."
Aveline complied with that request. Water dripped from her chin and she reached up to wipe it away, only to find that her chin came away wetter than before. She grunted and looked back at her friends.
"It's not that… I don't want to talk," Aveline said, in her defense, "I just don't have much… much to say."
Naoko shrugged. "It's not like we're going to be talking about politics or anything," she said. "It's just harmless girl-talk."
"I don't really… I mean, I've never really had a girl-talk," Aveline admitted.
"Were you raised in a convent or something?" Naoko complained loudly.
Aveline's eyes widened and she hid herself behind her hair. Celena sighed and offered, "Naoko… Aveline had a pretty rough childhood. She didn't really have any friends when she was younger."
"Oh," Naoko breathed. "Sorry…" She splashed gently over to Aveline and wrapped her arms around the smaller girl. "I'm sorry, Avy-chan… I didn't mean it like that…"
Aveline squirmed and wriggled out of Naoko's arms. She pressed herself against the wall of the spring and replied, "I know. I didn't expect you to know. I just… Sorry."
Naoko smirked and offered, "Well… there's a first time for everything, I suppose. Come on; girl-talk is harmless. Anything we say stays between us. It's a good time to get some things off of your mind." She put a hand on Aveline's shoulder and added, "Just vent. We're here to listen."
Aveline settled herself back into the pool and took a deep breath. Naoko moved back into her spot in the springwater and the three girls began to talk – about boys, about life, about their problems… about anything that they could think of. They talked about Aveline's baby and when she and Atlas were to get married, though Aveline wasn't able to answer all their questions, and they asked each other about silly things.
At the end of it all, Aveline felt a little better about herself… and the people who surrounded her.
Naota slipped a shirt over his head and poked his arms through the sleeves. The shower had been hot and nice, and he felt pretty clean. Izumi had opted out of showering with him. She was standing in front of a window that displayed he outside world, her face expressionless. Naota had tried to talk to her, but she'd dismissed him.
He sighed. "Izzy," he said, walking up to her. "Kidd wants us all to go down and have dinner together. That means you, too."
Izumi didn't respond to him.
Naota touched her on the shoulder and asked, "Is something the matter? Izzy, please, tell me."
Izumi ignored him.
Part of Naota hurt to see her like this. Energy welled up inside of him and he felt it seep through his fingers and into Izumi. He felt the energy touch the power that lay within her, passing through all her barriers and walls. His head swirled, and he pulled his hand away from her. Everything halted just as soon as it'd begun.
That's… that's really weird, Naota thought. I just got the sense that Izumi did something she hadn't wanted to do… It involved Tarot…
Naota blinked and shook himself. He guessed, "Tarot knows about you, doesn't she? About what happened to Flora?"
Izumi frowned and replied, "Aye."
"Sorry," Naota told her. "I just… I couldn't help but get the feeling… Ever since what happened with Mnemosyne and our memories, well… I don't know how I helped you, but I did… and somehow that sort of happened again. I'll try and control it better."
"It'wasn' jus' you, t'was me, too," she replied starkly. She turned to face him. Her green eyes were the same as ever, like unwavering stone. "Tha' sort'a thin' don' 'appen wit'out permission. I don' know qui'e wha' it'was, yet… but I'll fin' out."
She walked past him and opened up the drawer that contained her clothes. She turned to him and asked, "Wha' shoul' I wear fer this dinner, eh?"
Naota sighed and gave her a smile. "Whatever you want, Izumi; whatever you want."
Yuugata adjusted himself, swiping dirt off of his clothes. He looked down at his knees and realized that there wasn't any dirt there to begin with. That the vineyard had all been a dream, like it was every time. That his time with Saria was nothing but a dream. He sighed, feeling heartbroken and old; so very old.
He stood up and felt weak at the knees. He sat back down on his bed and placed his head in his hands. He closed his eyes and thought, How much longer can I do this before I completely lose the will to awaken? Oh, Saria… No… I have to keep going. My role in this isn't done yet. The little one needs me – Kidd needs me, too. They all need me. For them, I must awaken.
Yuugata pushed himself up and found that his legs didn't bother him. He walked over to his dresser and began looking for something suitable to wear. He found a pair of slacks and a dress shirt and put them on over himself, changing out his pants for the slacks. He looked in the mirror and realized that his hair was getting a bit longer, slightly scruffier than he was used to seeing it. Stubble was also growing alone his chin.
He grunted. Facial hair in Elves was usually very fair and light, hardly noticeable. In he and his father before him, however, it was very much noticeable if it was left alone for too long. In his years of solitude he'd found that his facial hair was much easier to deal with than his actual hair.
Yuugata, with a thought, summoned forth the magick needed to shave his face clean of the stubble. It was painless and left his face very smooth. He touched it and chuckled to himself.
"You always used to like it when I left a little," Yuugata said. "You liked feeling it."
In his mind, Saria chuckled. In her tongue, she said, It always felt so nice. It still does.
"How do I look?" he asked, looking in the mirror. He held his arms out to welcome her criticism.
A faint image of Saria appeared just behind him. She smiled at him through the mirror and then wrapped her arms around him from behind. He watched it happen through the mirror, knowing that if he looked for himself she wouldn't be there. He felt her squeeze slightly.
You look amazing, she promised. You always did.
Yuugata smiled faintly to himself. "I miss you, Saria," he admitted. "I miss you so much…"
And I you, she replied. But I am here… I will always be here. One day we will be together… without the aether between us. I know this because I have seen it.
"How soon is this, my love?" he asked.
She chuckled in his ear. That would be cheating, my love, she said. But you still have many things left to do in this world, the Living World. Do not anguish – I am always here for you.
Yuugata closed his eyes. "I just wish I could hold you again…" he said. "I wish that I could feel you… not just in my dreams."
He felt Saria move to be in front of him. He felt the ghost of a wind brush his face and he knew it was her hand. He felt a bit of air touch his lips, and he gently pressed back, knowing it was her. Her taste lingered on his lips and on his tongue for a moment and he lamented that the magick it would require to bring her back to life would ultimately kill him.
You'll be late for dinner, she said. Now go… and I shall be here waiting for you.
Yuugata nodded and went on his way, knowing that what she said was the truth. He left his room, leaving the light on for her.
Saria stood in the aether and watched him go. She wished just as much as he did that she could be living again… but it was naught but a wish. She knew that she had lived her life. She wasn't going to beg for more time that she had no right to. After all, she and Death weren't in the best of relationships at the moment, seeing as how she refused to go with him.
She floated through the walls. She would be back in his room by the time Yuugata returned, but she was a restless spirit, after all, and restless spirits moved here and there from time to time.
Saria phased out of the resort completely, taking in the aether for what it was – a strange, magickal place. She could see little things floating here and there, and every sound she made was a symphony to her ears.
She felt something brewing in her mind. Feeling queasy, she closed her eyes and allowed the vision to come forth. She prayed to whatever Gods would listen that it wouldn't be a terrible vision.
They didn't listen.
She saw huge, hulking monsters, big and small, rampaging through a place she didn't recognize. A place with many doors. She heard screams and the crackling of flames, the sounds of destruction ringing through her ears. The sky changed tones from a blood-red hue to sepia, and she could almost feel the world around her distorting and twisting into unnatural shapes.
Saria tried her best to pull away from this, but she couldn't help but be sucked into the vision. She saw a man riding a horse made of nothing but bones and flame and a line of warriors streaming behind him, riding to meet an army of malformed spirits – Abominations! They clashed, and the vision changed.
This one she understood less than the other. Huge buildings began falling down on top of one another, crushing and killing all those who stood below. People ran and screamed in fright when they were blocked by what seemed to be more Abominations. They were killed and a bright splash of blood ended the visions.
Saria gasped, pulling herself away to find that she was still in the aether. She shivered and shook, feeling horrified. She shook her head and breathed in a tongue unfamiliar to her, though she had heard the word many times, "No…"
She felt cold breath on her shoulders. "Oh, yes…" someone hissed into her ear. She felt something touch her arm. "And you can be part of it, my dear…"
"No.. Mai! Partire sono, lei il mostro!" Saria swore back. She pulled herself away from the cold touch and went on, "Non tradirei mai che quelli che ama servire uno così orrido poiché lei!"
"Of course…" they snarled back. "I forgot; you're loyal to them… Well, they won't be able to do anything to stop me. Not even if you tell them."
Saria shook her head, refusing to meet the eyes of her newfound tormentor. "Anche se non possono fermarla in qualche modo, lei non riuscirà. Vedrò a ciò!"
"Good luck with that, dear," they laughed. "I am on a mission from the Fates – nothing can stop me. I will have my revenge… I will have what's mine!"
Saria shivered as she felt them disappear. She turned and put a hand over her mouth, feeling horrible. She shot back to the resort, only to find that she was blocked. She felt hands on her head, and a great, terrible burning sensation coursed through her body.
"Now… even though I gave you permission to tell them doesn't mean that I want you to," her tormentor sneered.
"Mollare di me!" Saria demanded. "Mollare!"
They laughed, cackling, "They are on vacation, after all… I don't want you spoiling that for them… and giving me no time to prepare."
The burning increased to the point where Saria thought her soul would go up in flames. Instead, she was beginning to see spots dancing across her eyes.
"Don't worry, dear; you'll be able to tell them," they said, "Just… not until it's too late."
Saria struggled until her vision became nothing but Darkness. She felt herself fall to the ground, and that was all she felt for a little while more…
When she awoke moments later, she was alone… and she remembered nothing.