Drawing on paper in color pencils, wax crayon and golden acrylic. Illustration for the novel. Enjoy!
I am the Ocean, wild and restless….Passionate and tumultuous….running from shore to shore, embracing coasts and sands….lighted up by my bold lighthouses….Goddess…Cradle….Lost in love between the Land and the Moon
River god: Joren
River goddess: Janysse
Forest goddess: Shantania
Animal kingdom: Faunes
There was a time when the planet was just a barren bulge of rock rolling around the sun, followed closely by its equally dull companion, the Moon. The surface of the Earth was dull-brown, cracked and dusty and the grey moon in its skies was much closer than nowadays.
In the eerie silence of the hollow space surrounding this odd pair, Time was monotonously flowing and there was no sign that things would change anytime close. Oh, but that was just an illusion! As soon as the news of an untouched and hopeful planet spread through the Universe, fleets of young and bold gods took their course towards the planetary system. They were coming from different corners of the stellar vastness, their knowledge gained and polished throughout many other such challenges. There were land-gods and water-gods, air-gods and moon-gods, ice-gods and fire-gods, wind-gods, forest and plain gods, star-gods, thunder gods, rain gods and everything imagination could bring to life. They came in various shapes and size, greeting each other as old friends. Soon, the Earth was undergoing huge changes and some of these creative young spirits were ready to call this new planet: home.
The excitement and the hardship of the challenges of reshaping of the planet brought some of the gods and goddesses close and love took flight in blaze under the new skies. The mighty Adanes, leader of the land-shaping gods had no eyes but for Eneys, the skillful goddess of the planetary ocean. They quickly teamed-up and while the young man was putting all his strength into rising rows of towering mountains, the graceful young woman was bringing the blue waters up to the rim of the land, washing the shores, smoothing the lines, filling them with soft, silken sands and colorful pebbles.
On the land, Joren, the River-god and his sweet-heart, Janysse, the River-goddess were running free, sometimes alone, sometimes together, cutting deep in the flesh of the rock, creating steep or large valleys, jumping on boulders, falling in sprinkling, splashing, roaring cascades….Their children, crystal clear springs, glittering streams, boisterous rivulets were crisscrossing the land in an huge life-giving web.
To keep close to his loved one, Adanes raised islands inside the swaying expanse of blue-green oceanic waters while Floriesse, goddess of the Vegetal Kingdom adorned them with lush greenery and exotic flowers. Then came Faunes, god of the Animal Kingdom and filled the branches with colorful, noisy birds and under his artful touch, some of the flowers took flight, becoming butterflies. Enchanted by the beauty of these unexpected gifts, Eneys’ heart was flooded by her love for Adanes and she rolled the frothing waves around the islands, building magic underwater gardens below their shores.
As the final touch of creation was done upon the planet, the gods and goddesses gathered on the top of the highest mountain to celebrate and to enjoy the fruits of the land.
-What a beautiful work we did, my friends!-exclaimed Shantania, the forest goddess. I’ve never felt so inspired like I felt here! I’ve loved to dress up in greenery your bold heights, Gormell-she continued with a charming smile towards the giant god of the mountains. I raise this cup of wine to all of you!
Lying lazily on his comfortable chair, the Sun-god was shaking his head in slight disapproval. He made a grimace as he took a sip from his glass ….
-Yeah, you’re right Shantania. This place looks great now! But that dull piece of rock following this magnificent planet is annoying. It spoils the harmony of the entire neighborhood; it’s lifeless, colorless and hopeless…I wish it didn’t exist!
-Don’t be so cruel, Arauss!-exclaimed Eneys, distraught by the harsh judgment upon the poor little moon. It’s too small to contain life but I think it’s still a lovely companion for the planet.
The other gods laughed and that just spilled oil on the fire; the Sun-god got angry. He was a temperamental guy, usually joyful and nice but on a short fuse. He jumped to his feet and trashed his glass.
-I could send that useless pebble to the outskirts of the system!!!
-Don’t. You. Dare.
The voice saying this was something between a hiss and a growl, instantly sending shivers on the spine of the audience. They all turned towards the newcomer and so did Arauss. The Sun-god was about to deliver a shattering reply but as he faced the stranger, he reddened and swallowed his fury.
-Oh, I see….It’s you…-he muttered.
The shortness of his response left everyone stunned. They weren’t used to see the flamboyant young man stepping back from a confrontation. Who was this stranger anyway? The gods watched it with unhidden curiosity.
The young woman standing before them was tall and slender, an androgynous appearance. She was wearing a dark blue velvet tunic and slim pants and her black hair was braided in a complicated coiffure. But the most astonishing, even disturbing feature was her face: it was half black, half silver-white and the almond shaped eyes were matching the opposite colors. From the black half, the eye of liquid silver was watching them coldly, piercingly while the night black eye of the silver side had a warm but melancholic look. The woman bowed politely towards the audience.
-I salute you-she said and this time her voice was deep and soft. Let me introduce myself: I’m Selurys and Arauss is my step-brother. I came here to change the fate of the modest companion of this planet.
In a spur of a moment everyone surrounded her, talking excitedly, offering her treats and wine and a place at the table of gods. Though he stood morose at first, Arauss reconciled after a while with the presence of his step sister and the feast went on joyfully.
-I’m glad that she came to give a chance to the little moon!-said Eneys, her wide turquoise eyes twinkling happily. She seems to be a nice person.
She cuddled in the arms of her husband and Adanes laughed, squeezing her lovingly.
-You have a wonderful heart, my darling. By the way: I’ve tried to get some information about Selurys from her brother but I think that Arauss is already drunk because he mumbled something about her being a trickster or some kind of a magician.
-She looks strange but I remember my grandmother telling us stories about some elusive gods of light, called “tellurians”. It came to my mind the moment I saw her. I don’t care if she’s going to perform tricks or magic as long as she can keep the moon safe from her brother’s rage! Arauss can be so annoying sometimes…
-I’m sure she will-chuckled Adanes, kissing Eneys. Don’t worry! Let’s go dance!
Late that night, Eneys was peacefully sleeping in the arms of her love, under the dome of sparkling stars. The planetary ocean was gently rocking from shore to shore, the night breeze playfully ruffling its glossy surface. All the gods were resting except for one.
From her vantage point, Selurys was watching the world. She held up a hand, her long, graceful fingers moving in a slow, mysterious dance until a bluish white light sparked on her fingertips. Selurys caught that luminescence, rolled it carefully in both palms and then, with a swift gesture she spread it over the world bellow. Minutes later the light reached the surface of the ocean, making it translucent for the fraction of a moment. Selurys was watching intensely, searching for something hidden in the liquid abyss. When she finally spotted it, she nodded and left the place with a small sigh.
Up in the skies, not so far from the planet, the silent moon was waiting for her.
Standing in the middle of the dull-grey plain, the young goddess was spinning round and round, her long, silver streaked black hair flowing in the air like a magic veil. Black and white, black and white…the two-faced goddess was turning with arms raised to the skies…Black and white, black and white….
Mesmerized by her spinning, stars were leaving their places one by one, gathering in an enchanted flow, spreading, crashing to the ground with the sound of a million crystal bells…Swoosh! Selurys was turning and the velvet canopy trembled and stars were falling like the rain…Swoosh! The Goddess turned and the glow draped her in a silver cocoon…Swoosh! She kept turning as millions of shards and star-splinters were sinking deep in the soft dust…
Black and white, black and white…Selurys was dancing, swirling, while under her feet, graceful dandelions erupted, turning the plain into a swaying ocean of silver globes. When the last dusty grey spot was covered in silver white, the goddess stopped to catch her breath. The surface of the moon was gleaming and glittering in the milky light.
With a faint smile on her face, Selurys left the bright side of the moon and turned her attention towards the one hidden in the shadow. This side was eternally facing the star-specked darkness of the Universe and light could not survive on its surface. Nonetheless, the moon deserved beauty on both its sides so Selurys traced a few magic signs in the dust and slowly blew air over them.
A shiver ran across the dark land and the rocky crust seemed to waver…then cracked. Tall, dark stems were rising one by one from the cracks, bearing clusters of glossy, black flower bells. The thin, cold air was filling with sweet scents and tiny, silver-spotted black butterflies were flying up and down the dark plain. The work was done; the Moon, faithful friend and follower of the Earth was shining in full glory. Exhausted but happy, Selurys lay down and fell asleep. The Gates of Dawn were soon opening and Arauss was ready to give the start of a new day.
Eneys was wondering if Selurys has managed to do anything for the little moon. It was impossible to get a glimpse of it in broad daylight; Arauss was the undaunted master of the skies for now and all she could do was to wait patiently till the end of the day. Eneys sighed and turned her attention to the rolling waves of emerald and blue. A family of dolphins was splashing playfully, cutting the waves and the goddess of the Ocean joined them with a smile. She summoned a foam horse and led him towards the glowing horizon. The early wind sprayed the salty water into her face and covered her into a shimmering cloak of mist. The galloping of the Sea Horse ended as he reached the soft sands of the shore of a small but spectacular island.
It was one of Eneys’s favorites, with two high pointed peaks and lush forests. She jumped quickly off her horse’s back and run happily along the shore, splashing the water under her feet…..
A large and dark butterfly crossed her path and gracefully sat on her left shoulder. Eneys halted her run and held out her arm, inviting the butterfly to walk into her palm. It was a beautiful creature, with glossy black wings spotted with silver specks….like the night skies. The goddess was amazed; she has never seen such a butterfly before. Yet somehow this fragile creature looked familiar and Eneys was wondering where that feeling was coming from….
-You like my butterfly, Ocean Goddess?-asked a velvety voice behind her.
Eneys turned swiftly and faced the tellurian goddess. Selurys was looking at her with head slightly tilted.
-Your butterfly is beautiful-said Eneys. Now I know why it felt so familiar; it resembles you in both colors and grace. How is the moon doing?
-You’ll see it tonight-said Selurys with an enigmatic smile. You’re invited to visit. The butterfly was meant to be my messenger but then I decided to join you. Would you show me around the island? It’s been a while since I’ve talked with someone….We, the tellurians we are regarded as some oddities by the other gods-she added with a grin.
Eneys shook her head and smiled.
-I would be delighted to show you everything you’d like to see. Come, let’s take this path through the forest; there’s a beautiful waterfall at the end of it and a passageway to the Ocean that only I know.
Selurys bowed courteously and followed the turquoise eyed goddess. Soon, the curtain of greenery closed behind the two young women as they delved deep inside the sanctuary of the tropical forest.
As one footstep followed another, connection blossomed with every word the two young goddesses were exchanging. Like leaves opening one after another on the growing vines thirsty of sunlight, the ongoing conversation was constantly growing and entwining, opening new doors and paths inside the soul of each of them. By the time they reached the remote waterfall, they were both feeling like they knew each other since the beginning of times. The sudden bond was rooted somewhere so deep that they were oblivious where it lied. So when Eneys reached for Selurys and took her by the hand to show her the entrance to the underwater cave, the slim fingers closed in a familiar hold.
-Look down, Selurys!-whispered Eneys, excitement filling her sweet voice. Do you see that light in the depth?
Selurys scrutinized the shadow-filled hollow at their feet and she spotted the bluish patch of light.
-What is there?-she asked.
Eneys playfully shook her head, her long blue-green strands floating in the air and she gave a short laughter.
-There’s a row of stairs leading there. That, my dear tellurian, is my Secret Garden. It’s the place where my foolish heart is hiding to dream and I don’t know why, but I feel like showing it to you. Something tells me that you won’t laugh of me. Come!
The row of stairs was narrow and slippery, the air was damp and cold while the light was scarce in the high cave. But that dimness was not a problem for the eyes of the tellurian goddess; she was a child of Shadow and Light and she was more comfortable here than under the blazing of his brother’s sun. As they stepped off the stairs, the scenery opened before their eyes. It was a shore, a sky and an Ocean inside the planetary Ocean. An unexpected sighting. A personal area. The glow was seemingly coming from an invisible source or maybe the light was encompassed in each grain of sand, in each drop of water and each breath of air. It wasn’t the light of a sun but an inner radiance.
The sand was smooth and silky, the waves gentle and the breeze was soft and scented. Eneys and Selurys sat on the shore, quietly talking. With a few swift moves of a hand, the Ocean Goddess was building ephemeral cities of water while Selurys was sending clusters of silver spotted butterflies to fly around the translucent towers and bridges. Another gesture and the cities were crumbling just to make place to floating islands or fantastic water creatures. The velvet butterflies were gathering and splitting in complicated ballets and the two young dreamers were laughing joyfully.
-It’s getting late and I have to go-said Eneys with an apologizing smile. Adanes will soon return from the continent.
-It’s time for me as well-chuckled Selurys-or I’ll miss my appointment with the Moon. Take your loved one and watch the sky tonight!
They rushed back to the cave, taking the stairs in a hurry. Behind them, the radiance of the Secret Shore was fading. Only the soft, ivory sand was still holding the memory of the two rows of footprints…
The night embraced the world, softening the sounds and effacing contours. On the high dome of the skies the twinkling chandeliers of stars were lighting up one by one. No one was sleeping on the planet. As Eneys spread the word, gods and goddesses, nymphs and naiads and other magical creatures were gathering in excitement, watching the sky.
The wheel of stars was slowly turning when a new light glazed the rim of the horizon. The silver glow gradually spread, conquering more and more of the dark waters of the heights. A thin slice of a white disk emerged beyond the horizon and the stars retracted from its way. All murmurs died on Earth as everyone was holding breath.
One smooth push and the Moon sailed into the ocean of dark above, showering the planet in silver light, casting an eternal spell upon every corner of it, upon every living creature, upon every dreaming soul. Standing in the middle of her dandelion field, Selurys enjoyed the flow of awe mounting towards her. She searched the faces for the one she felt close and there she was! Eneys was riding her carriage of dolphins and she was leading the waves of the ocean towards the light that was falling from above. The waves were rising higher and higher, their fingers of foam reaching to the Moon and the people of mermaids and mermen were riding the rolling waters, saluting the new jewel of the night sky. Eneys stopped and bowed with a smile before Selurys, her green eyes shining like emerald, reflecting the moonlight. Selurys returned the smile and with a spin, released the seeds of the silver dandelions to fly. Millions of tiny sparks filled the air, landing in a slow and graceful swirl on the planet bellow. By the time Eneys reached the island where Adanes was waiting for her, a delicate veil of silver dandelion seedlings was covering her long, blue-green hair.
-You look like a bride, my dear with this flower veil-said Adanes teasingly and kissed her. You’re the Moon bride, I might say….
-It’s beautiful, isn’t it?! The Moon.
Eneys was truly excited by the splendor of the planet’s companion.
-I must admit that Selurys has performed nothing less of a miracle with that seemingly hopeless boulder- boomed the voice of Arauss from his chair hidden in the shadows.
-I have invited our friend to join us tonight-said Adanes to the Ocean Goddess. He wasn’t in the mood for the crowd.
-Good evening, Arauss!-said Eneys, embracing their guest. You seem to be impressed by your sister’s work. May I ask then why do I feel that there’s some bitterness between the two of you?
-It’s not easy to talk about. The Clan of the Tellurians is a strange and challenging one. Whoever lets them in its life can be sure to live through the heights of joy and the depths of misery. They can vanish without a trace and without explanations, leaving you empty and devastated. That’s what happened to my beloved father; one day he woke up to an empty bed and was left with a troubled little girl that never fitted in our Court life. Selurys has remained an oddity despite our father’s best efforts. Not that I was of any help. I was too cocky to accept her and to defend her in front of my friends. She left the Palace as soon as she became of age and since that, we never crossed path.
-She’s very creative and I think she likes me. Despite the appearances, we seem to have a lot in common as points of interest-said Eneys cheerfully.
-And I can understand if she has fallen under your spell-chuckled Adanes. Who wouldn’t? –he asked with a blink.
-Just keep in your mind that she’s a natural charmer, Eneys-warned Arauss. But who knows; maybe your charm will prove more powerful and you will tame her.
disclaimer:THIS IS A SEQUEL TO FINAL FANTASY7. I DON”T OWN ANYTHING,ALL CHARACTERS BELONG TO SQUARE ENIX….EXCEPT FOR ORION AND CAITLIN. THOSE 2CHARCTERS ARE BORN OUT OF MY IMAGINATION IN A HOPE TO REDEEM SEPHIROTH. I AM THANKFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY,SQUARE ENIX.
Ten years have passed since then. The Planet was healing beautifully; it looked like humans and their land never got so well together since the day the Cetras have descended on the very young Gaia.
Genesis’ and Orion’s attempt to expand the Banora White to other regions has proven to be a real success. Blooming and ripening orchards were scattered all over the planet and new products of the fragrant fruit were created almost on a daily basis, much to the pleasure of the customers. The World Regenesis Organization has gained a well deserved reputation for the recovering of the large areas affected by the exploitation of Mako and by the latest conflict generated by the abominable Jenova. The Gaians were happy and trustful about their future. Only a very small area of the planet’s surface was still barren; it was the Northern Crater, the place where once Jenova landed with the Meteor. It looked liked this particular area needed a very peculiar solution that wasn’t found yet. Though Reeve Tuesti and his team of dedicated and gifted scientists were working hard to find a solution to heal this last scar on the planet’s skin, they weren’t reaching any satisfactory result.
Reeve has acknowledged another peculiarity in their surrounding; all of the former Soldiers, all those who have been subjected to the Jenova–cell treatment had quietly vanished over the last ten years. Only Genesis was still alive and well but he was known as the appointed Guardian of the Planet and he was clearly protected by the Goddess Minerva. On the other side there was Orion, child of Sephiroth, bearing all his father’s features but protected both by Gaia and Minerva. Reeve shrugged and dismissed these troubling thoughts. Genesis and Orion were his long-time friends. The solution for the problem of the Northern Crater must be somewhere else…
Yet Reeve Tuesti was pretty close to the real problem. The planet has almost completed her healing process and there was only one obstacle in her way in closing the hurtful gap: Orion. The young man was the last remnant living on the planet surface who carried Jenova’s cellular legacy. As long as he lived there, Gaia was unable to finish the healing process. On the other hand, he was the one that saved her from Jenova so removing him without his consent was out of question even for the Planet. It was greatly disturbed by the fact that It had to talk him into leaving his life long before time. And there was Orion’s great love for Genesis…
As time was ticking, the Planet and the Goddess decided to contact Orion. There was no more time left; if the planet wasn’t completing the healing process, It would have become unstable and dangerous for the humans.
Orion sensed something; for weeks he has had moments of weakness and short black-outs that he was carefully hiding from Genesis. That night he slept badly. Glimpses of his entire life, his struggle and fight against Jenova were surfacing from time to time from the troubled waters of the dreams. The whole scenery cleared as a sudden glow enveloped the surroundings and Minerva appeared in front of him. Orion could clearly sense another presence behind her: it was the Planet.
-Orion-said the Goddess in a grave voice. Meet us tomorrow at the Cavern. We have to talk. There’s a good chance now that Genesis would be in Midgar. Please! It’s very important.
Before Orion could answer her the image blurred and he fell back into the dark waters of the Land of Nod. The rest of the night went on uneventful, yet the morning found him tired and deeply disturbed. He did his best to avoid any question from Genesis. Luckily his companion was busy to put things in order for the meeting he was about to have in the capital city. After a quick breakfast they parted and Genesis drove off. Orion followed him until the road shrank and plunged into the greenery stretching all over the horizon. He sighed then took out his car and proceeded towards the Great Banora Cavern.
As business went on smoothly, Genesis finished long before he expected. The city has grown bigger and more colorful. Though he was slightly tempted to look around for a while, he soon discovered that there’s no fun for him without Orion. The feelings have not faded at all during the ten years spent together. Genesis decided to turn back home to Banora.
He arrived shortly after noon and found the house empty. There were no signs of Orion around and the car was missing. Genesis was surprised; it wasn’t like Orion to vanish without a trace. He asked around but it seems that nobody saw him leaving. Genesis meticulously recalled all the moments they’ve spent in the morning. He suddenly remembered that his loved one looked paler than usual and that he was somehow silent and seemed preoccupied. Even when they parted, there was a tint of despair in his embrace…
As hours passed by, Genesis became increasingly frustrated and worried. He was just about to explode when he detected the faint hum of a car motor. In a few moments, Orion’s car parked in front of the house. Genesis flew out the door in a mix of worry and anger. He arrived just in time; the memory flash helped him act in a split second. He caught Orion before he could hit the ground. He carried him inside and laid him on a sofa.
Soon the younger man got back to his senses; he opened his eyes and looked right into Genesis’s sparkling blues.
-Where were you?! What happened?! Why haven’t you left a notice?! I was worried sick…
Pain washed over Orion’s handsome face.
-I couldn’t…I was at the Cavern, summoned by Minerva and the planet.
Genesis was puzzled.
-Why? What’s wrong?
-Genny…I’m dying. The Planet kills me slowly; it has to. No…please, listen. I am the last remnant of Jenova. The Planet cannot close the Northern Crater area because of my Jenova genes. They interfere with its healing power and if this closure is not performed soon, then the Planet will become unstable and dangerous for the Gaians. So it’s all up to me; I have to join the Lifestream before time. There is no other choice….
Genesis sat in silence then asked in a muffled voice:
-How much time do we have?
-Not much…it ends this evening…
Orion’s voice broke. He closed his eyes trying to hold back the tears that were running down his cheeks. Genesis sat next to him and held him close, burying his face in the silver strands. Orion’s body shook as he sobbed quietly for a while; Genesis bit his lips in anger and despair.
-Read me “ Loveless”, Genny-whispered the young man. I love the sound of your voice…
Genesis complied; he emptied his mind and opened the book they both loved. He started to read with his velvety, chanting voice while he held Orion as he was leaning against his shoulder. The shadows of the night covered the meadows and hills and the stars lit, one by one. Genesis kept reading like he was reading for his life…In fact, he was; life without Orion was meaningless and empty.
When the last line was over, Orion was already in a state of suspended animation. He wasn’t conscientious but he wasn’t gone either. He couldn’t enter the Lifestream; their connection was too strong. Genesis took a swift decision. He left a short note for Reeve Tuesti and then took Orion in his car and drove off to the Cavern.
He placed Orion in a comfortable spot and looked around; he knew that the Goddess was watching them. She quickly appeared and Genesis faced her defiantly.
-Give him back to me-he said, looking straight in her eyes.
-It’s not possible; you know well by now, Genesis. He has to go. I’m sorry.
-Then I’ll go to. I have no wish to stay behind.
-It’s not your time yet-protested Minerva. Besides, you’re the Guardian of the Planet. I have appointed you, remember.
Genesis laughed a short, bitter laugh.
-The planet can take care of itself by now; it doesn’t need me. But I need Orion. And he doesn’t want to leave; not without me. You have no other choice but to release us together!
The Goddess watched him with sorrowful eyes.
-I’m jealous, Genesis. You’re ready to give up on me for this mortal. I could make you immortal. What can he give to you?
-All I ever needed: himself and his love. I don’t need anything else. Not even your immortality. Let us go together. Peacefully. Please.
Minerva watched him silently for a moment; Genesis stood her stare. She lowered her face and whispered:
-So be it. Good by, Genesis Rhapsodos…
There was a sudden gush of strong wind and Genesis plunged into darkness. He woke up dizzy and nauseating. He was lying on his back in the grass, eyes closed. The air had a strange scent; pleasant but unfamiliar. He stirred, trying to clear his mind.
-Are you going to sleep all day here, Genesis? –came a deep baritone voice from above him.
Genesis’ eyes popped open and he quickly sat up, looking incredulously at the dark, handsome guy in front of him.
-Angeal? What are you doing here? Where am I?
His old friend laughed and helped him to his feet.
-You just fell from the skies –he heard the purring soft voice behind him. He took a sharp turn and bumped into Sephiroth. The Legendary Soldier watched him with a grin, laughing silently.
-Wait.Wait. Are we in the Lifestream?
-No-answered Angeal. In fact we are somewhere…behind it. This is The Promised Land of the Cetra. We ended up here by the courtesy of the planet. We cannot go back but we’re fine here. All those subjected to the Jenova experiments were transferred here. Luckily. Of course, the Planet disposed of our tormenters…
-Just in case you missed Hollander…Sephiroth gave a friendly push to his longtime friend.
Genesis grinned and shook his head.
-No, thanks. Seph, have I landed alone ?
-No. Don’t worry. He is the house with Caitlin. He is still asleep but he’ll be fine. Thank you for standing up for him.
Genesis felt immensely relieved. He looked around for the first time. It was a beautiful land, peaceful and buoyant with life. Another…Gaia. There were charming houses scattered all over the place, with blooming gardens and …Banora White orchards. There were birds and butterflies and a translucent, blue sky above, with fluffy flocks of clouds floating slowly.
-Do you all live here?-he asked incredulously.
Angeal smiled and patted his back.
-We are and so would both of you. There is a perfect place meeting your taste. It’s right there, beyond that spot of trees. We already fixed it for you when we heard that you’d be about to come.
-Who told you that?
-It was the Planet. It contacted us while you were pleading with the Goddess. The Planet has already guessed the outcome of that conversation. She realized that neither you, nor Orion would part from the other. On the other hand, it was a more suitable solution for the Planet itself. It felt badly about hurting any of you…
Genesis felt his heart warming up.
-Thank you, guys…he murmured. I am a lucky bastard.
-So you’re Genesis!-said a pleasant voice from the house.
Genesis turned and saw a smiling, pretty brunette crossing the grassy spot and watching him with undisclosed curiosity. There was a soft, warm glow surrounding her and Genesis felt a pang in his heart. He could easily identify that glow; just like his mother, Orion had the same soothing aura. Overwhelmed by the sudden burst of emotion, the Crimson Soldier turned red and remained speechless, much to his old friends’ amusement.
-Well, Caitlin-chuckled Sephiroth while Angeal was smirking –you managed to rend our friend mute. That is almost the equivalent of a miracle…
-Can I see him now?-came a coarse whisper from Genesis.
Caitlin smiled and pushed him gently towards the house.
-Go! He’ll be soon awake.
The redhead turned and fled away.
-Shame on you, boys!-said Caitlin, looking to the two Soldiers. Tormenting your poor friend like this…Come, let’s take a walk. After all, they deserve some privacy.
The house was pleasantly cool and shaded. Silence was deep but somehow soothing. Genesis stopped for a moment, trying to detect the room where Orion was asleep. Finally he spotted the cracked door and hurried to the small bedroom. His love was still adrift in the realm of dreams but was slightly stirring as the waters of that elusive world were clearing and thinning. Like somebody surfacing from the depths, he took a deep breath and sighed. The translucent green eyes opened right into the piercing azure ones.
-Genny…-whispered the younger man, happy and amazed by his lover’s sight.
-Precious…you’re back, thanks to the Goddess! Genesis was relieved to see that life and color have returned to Orion’s face. He helped him up and they embraced each other closely.
-How did you end up with me here? –asked Orion. It wasn’t your time yet…
-I’ve told you several times before that I would not give up on you, no matter what. It seems that the same happened to you: the Planet was unable to separate us and the Goddess had to give in to my request. They both sent us to the Promised Land of the Cetras. It seems that we would be safe here. By the way, your family and my friends are also here…
-Mom? Is my mother here? –Orion watched incredulously his lover.
-Seph is here to along with Angeal and many more… Come, let’s go out and find them. I suspect they’ve left us alone on purpose…Genesis chuckled and ran his fingers through Orion’s silver strands.
The younger man laughed softly and they both got out, looking for the rest of the team.
During that week, Genesis and Orion moved to their own house. It was a small piece of jewelry, friendly and familiar. They felt home in an instant. Just as Angeal told them, they had their own Banora White orchard. The following weeks they met a lot of new people from this enchanted land and learned about how things work. Just like the Cetras long before, they became some kind of a Cosmic Guardians for young planets and emerging civilizations.
The future has an odd sense of humor
LJ started the day with a minor headache; the previous day has been an overcrowded one with all kind of meetings and an endless pile of paperwork towering on his desk. Though he liked his work and the occurring responsibilities, he longed for more free time. As a bachelor he has allowed work to invade his personal time. Now it was hard to get it back.
But having a pool all for him in the basement of his house, he could enjoy his favorite sport: swimming. The place was comfortable, air conditioned and pleasantly lit. It was a quiet and undisturbed space that belonged only to him. So he started the day descending in this peaceful spot; he immersed in the cool liquid and swam up and down the length of the pool until the pressure in his skull subsided.
Now that hid mind has cleared, he came out and leaned on a couch trying to gather his thoughts for the challenges of the new day. Something was bothering him. At the age of 30 LJ was a handsome guy, clever and well placed, an eligible bachelor, courted by many ladies.
He was tall (1.9m), athletic with a pleasant, manly face, slightly exotic due to his native ancestors. The high cheekbones gave an interesting shape to the dark-brown eyes. He had a straight nose and nice, full lips. His skin was light-amber and his thick black hair was cropped short above his neck. By the whole he gave the impression of a powerful, big cat something like a mountain lion.
His co-workers liked him because he was reliable and dedicated. He had a well developed sense of humor but he wasn’t joking about his tasks. The one who seemed to give him headaches in the future was the new guy employed at the Art department.
It looked that he was quite blasé, totally unimpressed by those working beside him. He seemed to live in a world of his own; he was polite but out of reach except for a limited amount of sentences. They haven’t met yet face to face. All that LJ knew about him came from his colleagues working with him.
“ Artists…”mumbled LJ and stood up. It was time to go to work. He dressed up and eat something; he then took his car and left for work.
He left his car in the parking lot and quickly headed to the elevator, his mind wandering. As the automatic door opened he almost bumped into a person has just arrived from the opposite side. He let him in, mumbling some apologies; the other guy nodded curtly but said nothing and turned his back on LJ. It looked that he wasn’t in a mood to socialize.
He was almost as tall as LJ /around1.8m/ slender with long limbs. The medium long rebellious black hair was tied in a short pony tail. As they stopped at their floor the silent guy took left and headed to the Art department. LJ watched him departing; so this was the odd new guy; he made a mental note and turned to his own headquarters.
After a brief look over the daily duties he called for Eric Rocha, his friend from the Art Department. They both took a cup of coffee and stood to talk about some new developments.
-By the way-said LJ casually. I think I just bumped into the new member of your crew. He wasn’t very talkative; all I could see from him was his back.
-Well, usually it’s the best you can get from him if it’s not about work-chuckled Eric. He’s not a bad guy; he’s just very private. He has already helped a lot with the art-work and the younger ones like him. But he hates small talk.
By the way, have you ever seen his works? No? Let me show you; he’s quite impressive.
Eric’s fingers flew over the keyboard and there were lots of art-works signed simply “FB”. LJ watched intently and he had to agree that the guy was talented. His works were powerful but filled with a sensitive mystery that was quite elusive. Oddly enough LJ had a familiar feeling looking at the works…
-You’re right-he said to Eric. But what made him to come and work for us? He was already famous as a freelancer.
-He said something about personal issues and that he needed a permanent job. On the other hand we needed a fresh view and a personality like him came at hand.
LJ turned his head thoughtfully.
-I hope that in time we’ll find a way to communicate. Until then we have to work.
They both laughed and returned to their offices. The days went on uneventful until LJ got himself buried under a load of urgent matters so he decided to stay at the office late. It was quiet around as the evening was setting on the city. The building looked deserted except for the caretakers and those cleaning the offices.
LJ stretched and turned off the computer, locked up his things and took his coat. He locked the office and headed to the elevator when he spotted a dim light coming from the Art Department. Surprised he turned back and headed there to see who else was still working at that hour. The new guy was working on the computer, his back turned at the door. LJ hesitated for a moment but curiosity got the best of him. He knocked and stepped inside. The young man didn’t seem to notice; he was changing and twisting some images with the ease of a magician.
-Good evening-said LJ as he came closer. I thought I was alone on this floor…
-Creative work requires some intimacy-came the reply in a soft voice. I’m still adjusting to the work in a crowded office.
The young man kept working while he was talking; LJ couldn’t see much of his face. Some of the rebellious black strands were falling forward, hiding him from the viewer.
-I’m LJ White-said him hoping to capture the young man’s attention.
The latter gave a small nod and kept focusing on his work.
-I know. And you know me to. I’m FB, the new guy from the Art Dept.
Suddenly he raised his face and took LJ by surprise. The young man was stunningly beautiful. He was in his mid-twenties; there was a sweet softness lingering in the oval of his face, in the fine line of the jaw, in the fresh, nicely curved lips… But the straight nose had fine, nervous nostrils and above all, he had mesmerizing lavender eyes, underlined by thick, black eyelashes. Those eyes were clear but deep like the water of a glacier lake high in the mountains.
LJ saw a quick flicker in those eyes as they connected with his eyes but it died out almost instantly. LJ stared at the young man, unable to utter a sound until the latter turned pink under his gaze.
-I’d rather you don’t stare at me. I’m not some freak of Nature-he whispered and turned back to work.
Surprised and embarrassed LJ said a short “Sorry” and left in a hurry. He felt stupid…yet he captured a faint comment that lately kept nagging him:
“ Cocky as usual…watching but not seeing.”
At home he took a shower and then sat on the top of the bed, recounting all that happened. The beauty of that face took him by surprise but he found those eyes the most disturbing feature. He felt that there was some kind of expectation in their look that it faded into…disappointment. LJ felt angry, confused and discomforted.
What was that youth thinking? Was he testing him? How dared he?
But no matter how humiliating the previous night seemed, LJ woke with a restlessness pushing him to get to work early. Despite anger and frustration he wanted to meet again the young artist. As he was the first one to arrive he could watch the others coming one by one. He saw the small, two seated silver sports car stopping at the parking lot outside the building. The young man descended and locked the vehicle. He was dressed simply, casually with a white, Russian style shirt and blue jeans. He walked gracefully, his long, untied hair flowing around in the same rhythm.
LJ counted the moment he would arrive at their floor and he took a few steps towards the elevator. They met face to face and stood still, watching each-other in silence. The lavender eyes shone with a mysterious inner light.
-Good morning-said the young man. You’re early- he added with an amused smile and turned towards his office, leaving a speechless LJ behind. A sudden rush of air blew a scent of wildflowers in his direction and he staggered. That scent was stirring up memories that he couldn’t yet properly touch. He desperately tried to unlock that place where something was building up and pushing the surface. At that moment he couldn’t see the young man staring back at him, watching unhappily his struggle…His face turned blank as he entered the office.
From a shaded corner a clearly surprised Eric Rocha was watching the unfolding of the events. It looked that somehow his friend was in connection with this young artist but at the same time he looked uncertain.
Eric took two coffees and knocked at his friend’s office. LJ looked slightly confused and thoughtful.
-You look like you have seen a ghost-said Eric jokingly.
-I might have-murmured LJ. But I can’t remember him properly.
-You mean FB?
-Yes. How do you know?
-I’ve seen his face; he looked…pained and desperate as he watched you. He didn’t know I was there. Is he bothering you? Shall we get rid of him?
LJ shook his head.
-No, no…on the contrary. I need to know more about him. This nagging feeling that’s coming from inside is genuine. There’s more than meets the eyes and I want to know what lies beneath.
He was back to his old self.
-Now, let’s get back to work. We still have a great deal ahead and I’d like to finish the projects as soon as possible.
LJ was pleased with the way the projects worked out. He could not ignore the fact that FB proved to be a great addition to their team; he had skills and good instinct so things worked out excellently. Even the communication between them got better. The young artist became less monosyllabic and he was more at ease with LJ.
Since the projects were finished successfully they decided to throw an office party to ease the tension and fatigue built up during work. LJ talked FB into joining the party and give up his shyness.
-Why should I?-asked the young man looking at LJ thoughtfully.
-Because a great deal of the success is due to your work and talent and you deserve to be known for it.
-Is that all?-came the following question.
-No. I would like you to be there. It’s… a personal request.
LJ reddened as he finished the request.
-Ok then-said the young man in a soft voice. I’ll come; I promise.
The two shapes of light watched them attentively.
-Do you think he’ll manage this time?-asked the taller.
-I hope so; he’s very much involved. I’m a little bit worried; he looks so desperate sometimes…
-He’ll be fine, you’ll see-said the taller.
-He’s so fragile-murmured the shorter one. He’s our special Child; I don’t like to watch his sufferance.
-I know, I know…but we didn’t expect this…
They all met at a small restaurant with a pleasant garden running down to a grassy meadow and a thick spot of forest. The place was lovely and had a familiar atmosphere. The music was good and the mainly young team greatly enjoyed every moment of the party. LJ scanned the happy crowd looking for FB. He was already there, talking with some girls; though he was very simply dressed, he stood out from the others. He was wearing a white T-shirt decorated with an intricate pattern and he wore a silver wrist-band on each wrist. He wore jeans and his hair was tied up as usual but one or two strands fell on his face.
He was slightly smiling while the girls were giggling around him. LJ watched him in amazement; the young man proved to be a pleasant company; only on certain occasions something made him withdrawn.
LJ made the tour of the party, talking and enjoying his colleagues’ company but he kept a constant watch on the young artist. The latter seemed oblivious about the watch; he had acknowledged LJ by the flicker in his lavender eyes and a short smile. The party went on and the afternoon turned almost too warm. Luckily the garden had many shaded, cool spots and narrow alleys where you could relax. LJ approached the young artist and invited him to find a quiet place to talk. They walked until they got near a wide, old tree and they sat on the ground, leaning against the rugged trunk. LJ lead the conversation and his companion listened with a slightly amused smile on his face. He rarely commented but this time he seemed to enjoy LJ’s company. LJ turned to him from time to time, watching the delicate profile and wondering why was he feeling so comfortable sitting here with this unusual young man.
There was an inner sense telling him that they shared a connection deeper and older that those days and weeks at the office. He had recalled many times the whispered words about his lack of ability to really see what was in front of him. LJ was determined to find out this time what was buried deep down in his memory. He also had to admit that the proximity of the young man made him restless. LJ stopped talking and gazed at him; the young man returned his gaze. His beautiful eyes were thoughtful and he turned serious. LJ felt as warmth built up inside him and he stood up while his companion followed him. They looked at each other silently then LJ closed one arm around his waist, pushed him with his back against the tree and kissed him. He felt the slender body stiffening but then giving in to him. The bittersweet, fresh scent of wildflowers surrounded them stirring up memories. A shining expanse of water and long, thick grass passed in front of his eyes…a lovely face looking back at him, eyes filled with tears and sadness…LJ’s vision blurred. He held the young man closer and buried his face into the warm hollow of the neck; he felt his breath quickening and he moaned as LJ kissed his neck…He tried to free himself from the grip; LJ grabbed his wrists and one of the silver bands fell to the ground. LJ felt under his palm the twitching pulse and the long, thin scar crossing the wrist. Shocked by the finding he released the hand while his mind was overwhelmed by strong images; there was a sudden pain in his chest as he helplessly watched the blood dripping into a bath tub filled with water… He grabbed the young man’s shoulders and asked in a coarse voice:
-Is this something I have caused to you?! Tell me!!!!
The young man freed himself and turned away from him.
-It’s no use…he whispered in a desperate tone. Leave me, please…We’ll end up hurt, both of us!
-No! I won’t!-LJ shouted. I want to know what is this all about!
-It’s no use!
The young artist pushed him aside and ran down the faraway meadow; LJ fled after him angry but puzzled. His mind was ticking feverishly and he was taken aback by the turmoil of feelings and fragmented memories surfacing from the cracks of his mind. He realized that this wasn’t the only time in his life when he had chased this elusive young man. His image was carved deep inside his soul and it was bitter-sweet. LJ ran and took off his shirt; it was getting hot in this pursuit. FB was light as a feather and was running at top speed trying to escape from LJ. But the older man was strong and well trained and after a while he got the younger man, grabbing his T-shirt in his attempt to stop him.
The fabric of the shirt tore up revealing a colorful tattoo on the young artist’s shoulder; it was a beautiful butterfly that looked almost alive. Suddenly everything in LJ’s mind fell into place: the elusive butterfly, the mesmerizing amethyst eyes, the scent of wildflowers, all the pain and the passion…He barely heard the young man’s plea: ”Leave me, please…just let me go…”
He grabbed him and shook him:
-Stop! Stop it!-he shouted. FUYUKI!!! How many times are you going to run away from me?!
Fuyuki fell into his arms shaking and panting; tears were running down his face and he was unable to utter a sound for long minutes. Little John held him gently and caressed him to ease the shock; his whole life changed its perspective. By some strange twist of fate he was holding the forbidden and lost love of his previous life. He wasn’t about to question that; all he wanted for now was to keep him and never let go. As Fuyuki calmed down he took him round the shoulders and they sat on a shaded spot near the small forest.
-Fuyuki…asked LJ in a soft voice. Is this a dream or is it for real?
-It’s for real-whispered Fuyuki. You wished for it and so…did I; besides I made a promise. So here we are…
Little John buried his face in his hair and inhaled deeply the familiar scent. He squeezed him lovingly while Fuyuki folded in his arms.
-What about Yoshiasu?-he asked casually.
-He’s not here in this cycle. It’s only you and me.
-You’re younger-said Little John watching him closely.
-I had to wait a little until you get wiser and less cocky-chuckled Fuyuki. You’re still overconfident sometimes. I thought you’d never remember me…
-But I fell in love with you anyway. I’m sorry if I made you worry but why didn’t you tell me?
-It doesn’t work like that-said Fuyuki. Anyway, you wouldn’t have believed me; I had to annoy you a little to get you into act.
He laughed softly; Little John bent and kissed him.
-Would you move with me, Fuyuki?-he asked. Like…today?
-Don’t be afraid, I won’t fade away-smiled the young artist.
-You’re a gift of the gods so I won’t take any unnecessary risks. Anyway, I owe you a new shirt-chuckled Little John. Let’s go back; the others might be looking for us. I’ll ask Eric to help me out with your T-shirt.
They stood up and slowly walked back to the party. Little John found his shirt and dressed up; he called Eric and asked him to find something for Fuyuki and bring it to them. Eric was slightly taken aback by the strange request but he has seen them leaving together more than an hour ago. Finally he managed to get a proper shirt for the slim young man; he descended in the garden, looking for his friend and the young artist. He saw them coming; LJ was holding FB by the shoulders and they looked very happy together. It was a surprising development even for Eric Rocha; the two young men were radiant and for the first time the young artist’s unexpected beauty became evident. Their ease together spoke about a long and deep relationship…As they got closer LJ smiled and his companion blushed; he was half naked and he had a wonderful butterfly tattoo on his left shoulder. Eric quickly remembered a photo taken by a magazine from a young artist called “The Lost Butterfly”. He was almost sure that the young man in front of him was the same man; he handed on the shirt and turned to LJ while the other man dressed up.
-I knew there were some difficulties between the two of you but I didn’t expect to turn out so stormy-he chuckled. I see that you made amends and that apologies were accepted-he said to LJ.
Little John smirked.
-All for the best-he said. At least my memory has returned and it wasn’t empty handed. Fuyuki and I were high school sweethearts but we’ve lost track of each other; even then I had caused him a lot of pain but it seems that the good days were more important to him so he searched for me until we finally met.
Eric looked at him somehow incredulously but decided to accept the story delivered by his friend, at least for now. They all turned back inside where the party was still on; there were some surprised looks as people realized the intimacy of the relationship between LJ and their new colleague. There was a new light coming from inside in both young men and the young artist looked stunningly beautiful and relaxed. Soon everybody returned to the music, drink and chatter and the evening went on without any more disturbances.
Little John and Fuyuki drove together to LJ’s house. They had already taken some of Fuyuki’s personal things from his place. As the night fell over the city, they stood side by side under the stars, enjoying each other’s company. Fuyuki leaned against Little John; he untied the young man’s pony tail and ran his fingers through the silky black strands. He bent over the beautiful face and kissed his love until he melted in his arms. He then carried him in his arms into the bedroom; he placed him on the bed and sat beside him, running his fingers slowly and gently across that delicate face. Fuyuki blushed and turned, his breath speeding up.
-Please-said Little John. Stay; don’t turn away. I never had the chance to watch you closely as much as I wanted. Don’t get shy; you’re so beautiful…
He ran his fingers over the soft lips and then over the fine line of the jaw, running down to the warm hollow of the neck. Fuyuki moaned and shivered under the touch.
-First time I saw you Old John warned me: Don’t stare! He’s already taken! I wondered even then: Why?! Why are you there?! Why are you so fuckin’ beautiful and friendly?!
Why are you already taken?! Why was that happening to me?!
Little John’s hand brushed gently over the chest and over the sensitive nipples. Fuyuki closed his eyes as his breath hitched. He turned towards Little John and braced himself against him raising his body to meet him. Little John rolled atop and kissed him deeply and whispered into his ears:
-You are pure beauty and joy and I love you…Don’t leave me anymore!
Fuyuki cried out as he felt him inside and they made love passionately, over and over again as they did last time when they were together. Just that this time they belonged to each other so they gave in uninhibitedly.
Taken up by the maelstrom of feelings and emotions Little John mentally thanked the gods who allowed him to live this magic, to love and being loved by Fuyuki.
They woke up holding each other; Little John was pleased to see happiness sparkling in the lavender eyes. They descended to the basement and both enjoyed the morning swimming. After a short breakfast they left for work together, in Little John’s car. Fuyuki took farewell from the Art Team but offered them his help and inviting them to call whenever they needed. He shook hands with Eric Rocha:
-I hope I haven’t created too many problems to you. Please, excuse my previous behavior; it wasn’t meant to you…I really enjoyed working with your team-he said.
Eric laughed pleasantly.
-I’m accustomed to artists’ oddities; you’re a mild case! We will miss you and your skills. By the way, may I know your real name?
-I’m Fuyuki Tanaka and yes, I’m the Butterfly Artist. I’m working on my next exhibition and all of you are invited. And as I’ve already told everyone…my house is your house.
They’ve parted in good terms; Fuyuki returned to Little John and they agreed to meet at lunch time. Little John watched him walking away; life with Fuyuki wouldn’t be a quiet, dull one, he knew it well from their previous existence. But he was madly in love with him and he knew that this time Fuyuki belonged body and soul only to him. A gift from the gods…
Fuyuki woke up in the middle of the night and sit up in bed. The room was dimly lit by the fool moon peeking through the windows.
The young man looked at his sleeping lover. Little John slept peacefully breathing slowly; Fuyuki smiled, his companion was quite handsome. He looked content and his manly features softened as he relaxed in his dream. The slightly pouting full lips reminded Fuyuki of the cocky young native he once knew. Now that young man was a more responsible adult and a proud man in his early thirties. The roles were reversed; Fuyuki was five years younger, with more delicate features but with the same passionate heart.
He sat in the half-lit room deeply immersed in thoughts. It looked like he was connecting with somebody on a mind-level. As minutes passed by his concentration deepened and his breath sped up. He was slightly trembling but stood still and continued the effort. The air around filled with electricity and two dim silhouettes emerged from the darkness. Their contour was underlined by a shade of phosphorescent light. Each of them sat on a chair looking silently to Fuyuki. The young man raised his eyes and fixed them.
-So…he whispered. You came.
-You have called us, Child- answered one of them in deep baritone.
-Aren’t you happy now?-asked the other one with a lighter voice.
Fuyuki sighed and bit his lower lip.
-Happy…What do YOU know about happiness? Or…do you care?
-You are with him now-said the baritone. Wasn’t that your deepest wish?
-Yes-said Fuyuki and his voice sank. Yes, I wanted to be with him because I was and I am in love and I missed him. I missed the love that never had a chance to become reality because at that time it wasn’t meant to be.
Yes, I am happy with him now; but each day of happiness brings with it another day of deep despair in the future. The more I love him, the more I’ll suffer when we’ll have to part. Then you’ll ask me to choose one of them for the next cycle and you’ll sit there watching the new story unfold.
-What’s wrong with it?-asked tenor. Don’t you love them both? You seem to be equally happy with both of them…
-What’s wrong?!!!-Fuyuki stood up and came near them. He stopped in front of the shapes. Everything is wrong! What am I to YOU?! A toy? A gadget? A pet? An object of experiment? I am less than your damned ship….
He braced himself for a moment then burst out passionately:
-I am YOUR Child! You let me be born and raised as a human. I am a human! I have a heart, I have feelings! I love and I hurt! YOU know nothing of it! You see only the outside but you haven’t experienced it from the inside!
Yes, I love both of them and that’s why I can’t choose between them! YOU…YOU are tearing me apart and you don’t even realize that! I don’t want to choose between them!
I want to DIE! And I want the two of you to live forever with the thought that you caused my death! I curse you for your stupid kindness that knows nothing and understands nothing! Now I know why people hate their gods! They understand nothing about the poor, unhappy creatures they’ve created…
Fuyuki fell on his knees crying desperately. The two shapes looked at each other in surprise. The baritone tried to say something but the tenor stopped him by raising a hand. He stood up and stopped next to the sobbing young man. He crouched and gently touched his shoulder.
-Child, don’t cry. I can’t say that I fully understand your reproaches but I realize the depth of your sorrow and despair. Maybe you’re right; we played a cruel game with you and you’re the one who lost.
Not knowing it doesn’t excuse us; we’ve failed you. This won’t happen again. Look at me please.
Fuyuki raised his face and looked into the shadow-face. The tenor cupped his face with both hands, gazing deeply into the lavender eyes shimmering with tears. He spoke softly.
-Relax, Child; your fight is over…
Fuyuki’s eyes shut and he fell asleep. The baritone helped the tenor to place him in bed.
-What are you going to do?-asked the baritone.
-I’ll relieve him from his burden and put an end to his torment. I have suppressed their previous memories. All they know are the present facts: that they are in love with each other. Let them fully enjoy the cycle…
-What about the future?-asked the baritone.
-I made the choice for him and he doesn’t have to find out anymore about that.
The baritone thought for a moment then he nodded.
-Whom have you chosen?
-You might find it surprising but I’ve chosen this young guy. He’s very passionate and quite untamed; I have a feeling that no matter what would we do, he would not give up on Fuyuki…
-So be it-said the baritone. He caressed the face of the sleeping young artist. You are a wonderful Child but you are quite a handful. These humans with their intense and contradictory feelings…I don’t think I’ll ever understand them properly.
He turned to the tenor.
-Let’s go-said the other. We have some reports to fill and we have a lot to explain…
They turned and slowly faded. A rush of cold air flew around the room and made Fuyuki stir in sleep. He cuddled in Little John’s arms; instinctively, his lover held him closer and they slept quietly till morning.
Little John sat on the edge of the bed watching silently the sleeping young man. His sleep was deadly deep; there wasn’t much hope that he’ll wake up again. He wasn’t sick or drugged or anything like this; he just didn’t want to wake up. He faded away inside him and shut the doors behind. There was only a thin channel of communication left but that was connected only to Little John.
The two silhouettes were sitting in this room just as they did before once upon a cycle, long time before. They were stunned by the young man’s resolve.
-Don’t take him away-said Little John in a restrained voice. He doesn’t want to go.
-But…we have to go. Our mission has ended and we’re about to depart. He cannot stay here; he doesn’t belong here. He’s …our Child.
-He’s human now and we belong to each other. We have developed our own connection during the cycles. I can follow him to the edge of the solar system, but as soon as you cross it, our connection will break and then…he will die. Are you ready to face that?
-He’ll die anyway if we’ll leave him here! It’s an awful choice! We were not prepared for this!!!
Little John sighed and watched them closely.
-Then you can understand now his torments and dilemmas…Leave him with me! We love each other and I’ll do anything to protect him and make him happy, even if this is the last cycle of our life.
The baritone gave an inquisitive look to the tenor; the other one was sunk in deep thinking. After a while he looked up and spoke to Little John.
-I always had special feelings for him; I knew this was our most unusual and precious Child. We leave him in your care…we cannot save his life against his will. I think this is what humans face when their own children are starting their life…Come-he said turning to the baritone-there’s no need for us here anymore.
-Little John!-said the baritone to the young man. Tell our Child that…we love him and we wish him to be happy on his own terms!
The silhouettes slowly faded. Little John ran his fingers over Fuyuki’s soft cheeks. The Lost Butterfly stirred in his sleep and mumbled something, then turned towards the caressing hand and sighed in sleep. He was back, close to the real world.
Little John leaned over him and kissed him lovingly. They had the whole life ahead…
The two silhouettes were woven of light; one of them was taller and stronger than the other that looked slender. They embraced and held each other for minutes. When they parted (for a moment) the slender one was holding a cocoon of light in his hands. He offered it to his companion and they both supported it with their entwined hands until the cocoon started to glow with a soft light. The light became shinier with each moment and the cocoon slowly lifted in the air. It hovered over their hands…then rose higher and higher until it disappeared in the azure background of the sky. The two silhouettes embraced once again, the slender one cuddling in his companion’s arms. They watched the cocoon departing then they turned on the opposite direction, walking slowly in the twilight.
-He’ll manage, don’t worry-said the slender one.
-Our first Child…how wonderful-murmured the taller.
-We’ll be around whenever he needs us-completed Fuyuki, leaning against Little John.
His lover squeezed him gently, lovingly and kissed him. He encircled his shoulders with an arm and they slowly faded into the shadows, leaving behind a warm, golden glow.
Somewhere in the colorful world of the Blue Planet a new Butterfly was ready to emerge from his cocoon of light…
“Hey, hey come on…
“I have wonderful news…
“The first half light-half human Child was born!
“Oh! But how…?
“It’s what humans call “the Power of LOVE”
“I’m happy and I’m impressed; there’s hope for both our races.
“And our Child is really…special.
“You were right from the beginning. Probably that’s why…I love you, if I may say that.
“So do I, you big fool…humanly speaking.
They laughed a happy laugh; the Universe kept spinning but in a better mood. His Children were improving, slowly but surely…
A blow from the past
The man at the door was medium high, fortyish and well dressed but inconspicuous. He took off his sunglasses before he addressed to Fuyuki. He had piercing blue eyes watching intently under the strong eyebrows.
-Mr. Tanaka? May I talk to you?-he asked handing him a personal card.
The name was unknown but Fuyuki remembered the firm. It was of that man from his past. He let the man in and offered him an easy chair.
-What can I do for you?-asked Fuyuki looking at the mysterious visitor.
The secretary (he was the secretary of …the man) watched him intently.
-My master died recently.
-I’m sorry to hear that.
-Thank you. His death relieves me from certain obligations about keeping certain things secret. He never ceased to feel guilt for the way he treated you…
-That was…buried and long forgotten-said Fuyuki following the man’s account with attention.
The latter returned the attention and stared at him with undisclosed curiosity.
-It’s for the first time that I can see you from close. I have to admit that you really are attractive…I followed you while he lived because he wanted to know about your whereabouts. Now that he died I followed you for my own reasons.
Fuyuki’s eyes flickered.
-And what would be your reason?-he asked quietly.
I wanted to find a crack on your perfect image-said the guy with scorn in his voice. And I found it some time ago but I never had the heart to show it to my Master. But he’s gone and all I have is my need for revenge over you!
Fuyuki blinked, taken aback by the hatred flowing from the man; he tried to ease the tension.
-I’m sorry if I hurt your master but I never did anything on purpose. I had the feeling that he finally understood and that he came to term with all…
-He did. But it was an entire chain of unhappiness generated by your pretty face and your damned perfection. He loved you, you didn’t love him, I loved him but he had no eyes for me…
-So-said Fuyuki slightly puzzled-what do you want from me?
The man took out an envelope and handed it to him. It looked that there were some photos inside. Fuyuki took them out and watched them one by one. He turned pale and he felt sick. He raised his eyes and looked into those blue ones fixing him:
-What do you want?
-Do you agree that I caught you red handed?-he asked with malice.
-Yes and no-said Fuyuki in a restrained voice. I can’t remember anything from this even if I can identify the persons.
The man looked at him incredulously but Fuyuki seemed genuinely shocked by the photos.
-I know that you’re not a liar-agreed the man. But these shots are for real, I assure you. Well, if you don’t have any recollection of the events, you have to unravel this moment of your past and live with it. Consider it a…gift from your sworn enemy.
The man got to his feet and left the room. He silently closed the door behind him, leaving a very distraught young man behind. As the door clicked shut, Fuyuki broke out in despair. He grabbed his head with both hands, closed his eyes and franticly searched through his memories. But his mind was silent, the doors of memory sealed and he was left only with a void filled with pain and despair. He bit his lips until they bled and curled up in bed shaking violently, moaning and crying helplessly. It took him a good deal to calm down and put himself together.
He started the computer and called Little John on cell phone. While the phone was ringing, he scanned the photos and sent them to his friend. He barely finished the sending that a deep, pleasant voice answered his call.
-Fuyuki? Is that you, my friend?
Fuyuki Swallowed hard to calm down but even so, his voice came out coarse and insecure:
-Yes…Little John, open your mail. I’ve sent you something and I need you to watch it now!
Little john sensed the emergency of the call so he proceeded as instructed. He opened the attachment and…almost fell off his chair. The images were unmistakable; his deepest secret, the wild night spent with Fuyuki on the night of his bachelor party was poignantly depicted by those pictures. They had been captured with a powerful camera so the faces were clearly visible. Their passionate kissing under the starlit sky, Fuyuki lost in his arms as he carried him to the small rear room, the moment they entered and the moment he carried him out in the morning and took him home to Old John…
Little John was speechless; he could hardly utter a sound.
-Fuyuki…he whispered. Who gave you these pictures?
-A friendly…. enemy of mine. He wanted to take revenge upon me and he came to confront me with these photos…Little John, tell me why can’t I remember this?!
Little John was unable to answer; his mind was searching for a reasonable excuse but he couldn’t find one. He could clearly sense Fuyuki’s torment and he was afraid of what he might do in such a state of mind.
-Fuyuki-he pleaded in a worried voice. I’ll come and we’ll talk this over! Please, don’t do anything stupid! I’ll leave tonight and tomorrow morning I’ll be at your place. Please, Fuyuki! It’s my entire fault…
Fuyuki sighed and kept silent for a few moments. When he finally spoke, his voice was broken:
-I’ll wait for you but you have to restore my memory no matter how painful that would be. I can’t take anymore lies about my life…Please, ask Soraya to forgive me for taking you away right now; but I need help. Good day, Little John. Take care!
-You to, my friend. Wait for me-said Little John and hung up. He deleted the photos and hurried to pack up for and early plane.
Soraya was worried about Fuyuki; she urged her husband to leave at once. Little John felt like a cheater that moment; His stupid and selfish actions from his past were getting back on all those he loved and cherished.
Fuyuki disposed of the photos but kept them on the computer. He did his best in behaving normally. He told Yoshiasu that Little John was coming to visit them the next day; Yoshiasu had a small, nagging feeling that Fuyuki was troubled by something but he was too tired to dig deeply. All he could do is to hold him closely and reassuringly.
Little John arrived early and found Fuyuki waiting for him. They embraced and he watched his friend closer; clouded by inner turmoil, Fuyuki’s eyes were almost black. He looked tired and subdued. He moved around like a sleepwalker, unable to find his balance. He had already made some coffee so he handed a mug to Little John; they sat in the living, around the small table, silently, unable to start to speak about what was bothering both of them.
Fuyuki stood up, slowly pacing up and down, fingers clutched to his mug; Little John watched him for a while then he set his mug on the table.
-Fuyuki…Fuyuki, my friend…Forgive me; it’s entirely my fault!
At the sound of his voice the young artist shuddered and almost dropped his mug.
-Why? Why can’t I remember?! What have I done?!-his voice trailed. He buried his face into his palms, shaking his head…
Little John wished he could comfort him but he was afraid to touch him; he came close, talking in a warm, soft voice.
-Fuyuki, you were made to forget in order to protect you from the burden of this memory.
When I came to Old John to invite you to the bachelor party, you were reluctant. Old John took me aside and warned me: “Be careful; he is your friend and he loves you. Take care of him; he’s more vulnerable than he looks. Don’t take advantage on him!”
I easily dismissed his concerns; I was overconfident. Then you came and I fell apart. Old John gave you some sleeping potion and used a spell to block your memories. He wanted to protect you…from me. You wanted to help me get over my obsession for you and follow the proper path for me. You generously gave up all and selfishly I took all! My madness was finally cured but you were deeply scarred. That’s why Old John decided to lock up those memories.
Fuyuki my friend, I would do anything to bring back your peace of mind! I am ashamed and I admit that I badly screwed up all!
Fuyuki listened quietly Little John’s confession; his suppressed memories slowly seeped back in his consciousness.
-Oh, gods!-he whispered. What have I done?
He staggered…he then grabbed his coat and his keys and stopped for a moment, looking into Little John’s puzzled face. He sighed…then he shook his head.
-I’m sorry…I have to go out…I need some air…Yoshiasu-his voice broke-he’ll be here; wait for him, please! Tell him that…that…I love him!
Before Little John could even protest, Fuyuki fled without telling where he was going. Fearing the worst, Little John sent a message to Yoshiasu; there was no way back.
“Yoshiasu, we have a problem; Fuyuki left but I don’t know where he went. Come home quickly; you’ll find me here!”
Fuyuki stormed out of the building. His head was spinning and he couldn’t focus properly on anything. He couldn’t face himself, he couldn’t face Yoshiasu. He was like a cornered, wild animal: desperate and ready to snap! He was quickly falling apart. His face was flushed and tears were building up in his eyes. He took a cab; he didn’t want to cry on the street. The cab left him in front of his studio. There was no one around to see him entering.
He shut the door behind him and sat on a chair, trying to gather his thoughts. He could see no way out of this mess. He knew that Yoshiasu would be deeply hurt and Fuyuki couldn’t bear that thought. He has reached the end; he couldn’t fight anymore. He looked around the studio, looking for something. He looked up and saw himself in a mirror; he shuddered. All that beauty has caused him only trouble and pain. The only good thing in his life was Yoshiasu and his love; now that he foolishly lost it, he had no more reasons to get going. He took a cutter from a shelf and went to the bathroom. He started the warm water and let it fill the bath tub. He slowly undressed…
Outside in the street the man sitting in an inconspicuous cart was watching intently. He was pleased to notice how much those photos had affected the young artist. He was quite curious what else would follow. He waited patiently, like a spider waiting for his catch…
Yoshiasu was intrigued by Little John’s message but he suspected that it has to do with Fuyuki’s odd behavior and clouded face. Little John opened the door and shook hands with the older man. To Yoshiasu the young native looked deeply under the weather. He decided to let him speak on his terms. Little John turned the computer screen towards Yoshiasu and opened the photo file. He said nothing just pointed to the images, stood up and stopped at the window, his head buried in his hands. While Yoshiasu watched the photos, the silence in the room became heavy, dense almost tangible.
-I won’t mind if you’d beat out the hell of me-said slowly Little John-But don’t blame him! He couldn’t remember anything! I was totally crazed at that time and I wasn’t accustomed to take no for an answer. The moment I laid my hands on him, he cried out for you. After four months without you he was almost desperate though he never let it show.
I was a stupid, cocky, selfish bastard at a major crossroad of my life but I was unable to let go. The world was mine, at least I thought so. He was afraid I might do something foolish and hurt everyone/including myself/ so he gave in to my pressure to satisfy my ego and get me back on the right track.
All I can say in my defense is that I was young and confused and that he has always been beautiful and magic. It was Old John’s decision to make him forget; he cared about Fuyuki and wanted to protect him. He was a gifted medicine man; he gave him a powerful drogue and kept him in a deep sleep while he suggested him with a false memory. But now that he knows all, I’m afraid of what he might do…
-And that’s not the only dilemma-murmured Yoshiasu. He wasn’t even angry; his logical and analytical mind followed the recount but his inside was numbed.
-Where did those photos come from?-he finally asked.
-Fuyuki said that it was given to him by a friendly enemy. Somebody visited him two days ago and gave him the pictures. Fuyuki was shocked and disturbed by them and mainly by the fact that he was unable to remember anything. Here is the man’s card…
Yoshiasu took the man’s card and read it; he quickly realized who it was. He also understood that this whole thing was meant to destroy Fuyuki by breaking up his relationship with Yoshiasu. His mind cleared in an instant; Fuyuki wasn’t an ordinary person. Despite all the good moments of his recent life, he was still very vulnerable and defenseless. Deep inside, he has remained the same trustful child, unable to see the evil in the people around, always considering himself the only one to blame for whatever occurs.
Yoshiasu turned towards the young native; Little John has matured quickly after marriage and the birth of his first child. He was a handsome young man, powerful and attractive but much more composed than when they first met. He could understand why Fuyuki has fallen for him, lonely and confused. Little John proved to be at that time an irresistible…stalker. As these things settled in his mind, Yoshiasu grew increasingly worried about Fuyuki. By now he blamed only himself for not being around Fuyuki when he needed him. His mind raced to find where he could go; he stood up and looked for the keys. The ones from the studio were not in place; Yoshiasu turned to Little John.
-Come on, hurry up! We have to find him before it’s too late and he does something to himself.
-My car is outside-said Little John. Let’s go; just tell where…
They arrived at the studio but there was silence all around. There was only one parked car on the opposite side of the street. They left Little John’s car and hurried inside.
The moment they burst inside the studio Little John already sensed the nauseating smell of iron: it was blood, fresh blood. The studio was dead silent; there was nobody in the small kitchen or in any of the rooms. As they turned towards the bathroom, the smell increased, hitting hard the young native’s keen senses. He signaled towards Yoshiasu and gave a strong push to the bathroom door. For a moment they both stared in horror; the one they were looking for was in the bath tub, eyes shut and very pale. He was barely breathing. The water around him was reddened by the blood seeping from his slashed wrists. Fuyuki has committed suicide.
Little John Quickly pulled him out and carried him to the bed while Yoshiasu was franticly searching for something to stop the bleeding. They finally garroted Fuyuki’s arms; put some bandages on the wrists and Yoshiasu called 911. They sat on the bed and tried to get Fuyuki back to his senses. It was a hopeless try; he was barely alive.
Seeing Fuyuki lying there, broken and bleeding to death Yoshiasu realized what a fool
he had been even for a moment. All his life, Fuyuki has given away what everybody wanted from him: his body. He has kept for himself only what was untouchable: his heart and his soul.
His heart belonged to Yoshiasu; he was in love with him and that was something he wouldn’t have given away. Just as he said, he gave Little John all he could give; the rest was not for him to give away. But when his memories returned, Fuyuki realized that Yoshiasu might not understand that and his only reason to live/his love/ could be lost forever.
Yoshiasu felt ashamed; once again he failed to protect the one he really loved, the one who really counted in his life. Swallowing hard he gently ruffled the black strands lying on disarray on the pillow. His hand was visibly shaking as he caressed Fuyuki’s face. He desperately cried out:
-I am such a fool! How could I let this happen?! What was in my mind? I’ve promised so many times that I’ll protect him…
-I’d never forgive myself if anything happens to him-said Little John in a restrained voice. I have equally caused this; I breached his trust and used his feelings for me to satisfy my own selfish ego…
They looked at each other desperately searching for hope in the other’s eyes. At that moment the paramedics arrived and took care of Fuyuki. They asked the two men to come down to the hospital and give some blood for their injured friend; after that they left in a hurry.
Yoshiasu and Little John returned to the flat; the young native sank on the bed, numbed while Yoshiasu did his best to put himself together and prepare a small bag of personal items for Fuyuki. Little John went to the bathroom to wash his face; when he remembered the blood streaks on the bath tub and the smell of blood, he got sick. Yoshiasu put a hand on his back.
-Come-he said comfortingly. I’ve made a strong coffee for you and me; there’s something to eat to before we leave for the hospital. You should call your family; Soraya must be worried by now.
Little John washed his face and gave a silent nod. He called Soraya and told her that Fuyuki has been rushed to the hospital and that he would stay overnight at Yoshiasu until their friend is stabilized. Soraya was very upset to hear about Fuyuki; she expressed her concerns and her hopes for the best. Fuyuki was their beloved friend; she made Little John promise to call her as soon as possible about his condition.
The two men sat at the kitchen table, holding the coffee mugs and picking from time to time small bits of food from a plate. Little John looked around; in this modern environment there were a few colored spots, discreetly placed. Those were the unmistakable signs of Fuyuki’s touch. It was Fuyuki’s natural gift to fill the world around him with warmth and magic. He did it with the same ease as he was breathing and he asked for nothing in exchange.
-He never asked for anything-said suddenly Yoshiasu, like he was guessing Little John’s thoughts. He never kept anything for himself. What have we done to him?
He looked straight into Little John’s eyes.
-We cornered him until he broke-he continued. I should have known how fragile he was inside…
-I knew nothing about him and it was so easy and comfortable to take him for its face value…sighed Little John.
He stood up and washed his empty mug and so did Yoshiasu. They left the house and hurried to the hospital. Fuyuki was still in critical state; the doctors stopped the bleeding but he needed a transfusion. Yoshiasu and Little John were compatible so they quickly donated the necessary amount. They were not allowed to see him; the doctor asked them to return the next morning and promised to keep them informed about Fuyuki. For the moment he was in intensive care, his life hanging on a thread. The two men returned to Yoshiasu’s flat. They took a brief lunch and looked for something to fill the day. So they talked. Yoshiasu played for a moment with a silver wristband left on the table by Fuyuki; he then broke the silence and turned to Little John.
-As you can easily imagine, I am upset about the photos. Yet, you have an excuse in all this: you didn’t know and even now you know nothing about Fuyuki’s past.
Little John raised an eyebrow questioningly.
-Fuyuki has never owned his body. Since his early childhood he has been constantly used and abused by his father. All he could keep for himself were his deeply buried feelings. The two of us we share a special connection; I’m sure that finding him on that cold morning, buried under a pile of leaves and dirt was something meant for me. And we really love each other.
The only thing that comforts me in this mess is that I know that Fuyuki cares for you. If things were meant to happen, at least he wasn’t taken by force. In his own, unusual way he has given himself willingly.
My pride is hurt but my mind says that it’s only male selfishness. I’ll survive that; I love him more than anything.
Little John was shocked but for the first time in his life he came to a deeper understanding of people. What Yoshiasu has just said explained Fuyuki’s vulnerability and torment. Little John regretted deeply all that happened; if only he had known, he wouldn’t have touched his friend even with a finger. Old John’s insight about the young artist proved correct…
-Despite all this mess-he said in a low voice- you are lucky Yoshiasu. I know that Fuyuki loves you deeply.
You know, at the beginning things went smoothly and he enjoyed the time spent in our land. But as time went on the separation from you started to wear him down. After he realized my interest in him, he did his best to avoid me. For him it was another blow and by now it was too much. While I was busy with my wedding preparations, he worked along with Old John and the craftsmen of the neighborhood. All these things filled his days but the evenings were empty. So each evening he rode out in a spot where you used to stay together and he curled up in the grass, crying for hours. Each evening, each night. For hours. Desperately, heartbreakingly. He never complained but I knew.
I was worried about him so I followed him silently and witnessed his pain. I couldn’t comfort him; I knew it would end badly. But it was deeply disturbing to watch his torment and not being able to help.
Little John paused for a moment and looked to Yoshiasu; the older man was visibly shaken by this recount.
-I never suspected that it will affect him so much…For a moment I took his bravery for real. You’re right; I was so lucky but I haven’t properly noticed it. Fuyuki is more than meets the eyes…
Little John hesitantly put a hand on Yoshiasu’s shoulder.
-It won’t do us any good to stay here all day long and think about our mistakes. Let’s go back to the studio and clean up the place. Some real work will at least exhaust us properly.
Yoshiasu agreed; they drove to the studio and stopped in front of it. They were about to leave the car when Yoshiasu grabbed Little John’s arm.
-Stay still for a moment; we’ve been followed-he said in a tense voice. His face was dark with anger. I think it’s the bastard who has caused all this!-he said. He’s following us to gloat over our grief!
Little John lifted his eyes and looked into the rearview mirror; a car stopped on the opposite side of the street. The young man remembered the car and the shaded face inside it. His eyes n arrowed dangerously; he could sense Yoshiasu tensing and breathing heavily next to him. Finally the young Japanese made up his mind.
-Let’s go inside before he realizes that we know about him. I have something in my mind.
The man in the car watched as the young native drove off leaving behind the Japanese guy at the studio. After a while, the latter descended and placed a notice on the entrance door, then returned inside. The man waited for a while but curiosity got the best of him; he came out and crossed the street to read the notice. It stated that the studio was for rent. Well, it looked like the young artist was in trouble; the man knew about the suicide attempt. He smirked then he rang the bell. When the young Japanese opened the door he pretended to be interested in renting the place. The young man let him in and showed him around. The place has been cleaned but there was a faint odor of blood lingering in the air. The man smiled inside; this was the place where a tragedy has freshly unfolded. He watched everything with eager eyes, looking furtively from time to time to his host.
The young man was visibly upset but composed. The man asked about the previous owner but the answer was that he was ill. The man promised to return the next day with answer; but as he was heading to the door he found himself face to face with the young native. The well built young man was baring his way out on purpose; his eyes were dark and his face tense.
-So-he said slowly. You became curious; but curiosity killed the cat…You came to see us crumble and rejoice over our misery…That’s not nice, not nice at all!
-And it wasn’t wise either-came the voice from behind.
The Japanese was staring at the man in cold furry. The man felt cold sweat running down his spine; he was trapped between two tall, strong and very determined young men. He had no chance against them. He tried to deny his identity but they laughed at him. Yoshiasu had kept the card and he had the memory of a high-tech computer. The man knew that the trick was useless. He was at their mercy.
And they toyed with him; they didn’t touch him but talked about him and his fate over his head. They made him sweat profusely and tremble for his life. They knew he was almost broken after two hours of talk but they looked through him and proceeded. By the end of the third hour the man was a total mess, begging for his life and trying to capture their attention. Then they stopped and turned to him.
-You’re a speck of dirt, nothing else. If anything happens to Fuyuki what you have heard is only a tiny bit of what you’ll get from us-said the young native.
-Now, take this pencil and write down that you’ve blackmailed Fuyuki into suicide and that you are ready to face the consequences.
The Japanese guy held out a paper and a pen and watched over him until he finished the declaration. He read carefully the paper then he folded it.
-You can leave now-he said in a cold voice. Go and prey for Fuyuki’s recovery and for your miserable life.
He opened the door and let the man out. He shut the door without even looking after the departing guy. Yoshiasu turned to Little John.
-Mission accomplished. Let’s go home, my friend.
As they arrived home, they called the hospital and asked about Fuyuki; he’s been stabilized and the hopes for his recovery were higher by now. Both young men felt relieved; suddenly they were leaning on each other for hope and com fort. Just like before, Fuyuki was bringing them together. They sat on atop of the bed with the TV on but with their mind set elsewhere.
-Yoshiasu-said Little John quietly. Would you talk to me about Fuyuki? Please…
-Only if you tell me more about you and your family-came the answer.
Little John smiled.
-Gladly; I promise. I wanted to tell you about a certain moment. You know, at the bachelor party my friends tried their best to convince Fuyuki to dress up as a girl. They wanted to trick me and they all agreed that he was the best candidate. Fuyuki said that he had once such an experience and that it was more than enough for him.
After the endless nagging of the boys he talked them about the party and they all laughed a lot listening to his recount. He made it sound very funny; it was quite enjoyable. He found a picture on his cell phone and we could finally see him dressed up.
Yoshiasu, weren’t his unmistakable lavender eyes, I would have never guessed that it wasn’t a real girl…she was stunning; the boys looked incredulously at the picture and with a lot more respect to him.
-It was our friend Angela’s idea and neither I, or her boyfriend knew what to expect-said Yoshiasu as he was recalling the memory of that party.
We were already dressed up/I was a …samurai and George was a knight/ and we were surrounded by happily chatting young ladies. There was enough noise mixed with music around us to realize that at one moment, it ended brusquely.
I saw George’s eyes rounding up and I turned when Angela called me telling that she has found what I’ve lost. I stood there speechless and watched him for minutes. Just as you said, only those unusually beautiful eyes hinted out that it was Fuyuki. I was afraid to even touch him; he was so beautiful and delicate. George said that he was afraid that I might faint.
On the other hand Fuyuki felt scared and intimidated by all those people staring at him and by my silence. He turned pink and I saw the tears building up in the corner of his eyes. Only then I was able to speak and finally tell him that he was beautiful and that I loved him. George himself was amazed and he couldn’t believe that this image was not due to make up tricks. All that evening and night nobody knew that my companion was a young…man. Fuyuki himself stood close to me, afraid that somebody might ask him for a dance. Probably I looked menacing enough to keep him safe but I assure you, Fuyuki was the most beautiful girl at that New Year’s Eve party.
-I see…murmured Little John.
Yoshiasu turned to him.
-Tell me about your family, Little John. Are you happy?
-I-‘m the luckiest bastard on Earth, believe me-said Little John, his mood suddenly lifting. I have a wife that is equally beautiful and wise. I’m blessed with her love and a wonderful child. What else should I wish for? Well, I hope our next baby to be a girl, just like her mom-he grinned. The riding school is a real success, thanks to both of your help so we have a good life together! By the way, I’m going to call Soraya to tell her that Fuyuki is getting better. I know she worries about that.
Little John went to the living to call Soraya. They spoke for quite a while until Little John was sure that she has relaxed a bit. Her pregnancy went well and her young husband was doting over her. Yoshiasu smiled for himself; the young man was concerned and protective with his loved ones. He really was lucky. Yoshiasu thought about Fuyuki; the house…no, his whole life was empty without him. He fell asleep with his mind set on his love.
The next day they were at the hospital almost at the first hour; they looked for the doctor and found him at his personal headquarter, looking over some medical files when the two young men knocked on his door.
-You can visit him now. He’s still very weak and dizzy but he can put up with a 10 minutes visit.
Yoshiasu and Little John looked at each other with embarrassed faces. The doctor raised an eyebrow:
-Is there a problem?
Yoshiasu swallowed and opened his mouth.
-Yes. In fact there is…
-And what would that be -asked the doctor, his curiosity aroused by the two grown –ups looking like two guilty school-boys.
-The problem is that we don’t know how he will react…
-Aren’t you his closest relatives? He’s married to you, isn’t it?-he asked watching Yoshiasu blush.
-But we are the two idiots who caused this!-blurted out Little John.
The doctor looked from one another.
-Then-he said stressing each word- it is about time to make amends and prove him that he’s important for both of you. He needs a reason to get well and live. Quit being idiots! You’ll find me here if anything occurs.
He turned back to his papers while the two men left the room. They looked at each other, trying to find the necessary resolve to face Fuyuki. Finally Yoshiasu sighed and gave a friendly push to Little John.
-Let’s go; we deserved this.
-I know-mumbled the young native. But I’ve never been so nervous in my life…
The room had a large window facing the corridor. Surrounded by ticking instruments, hoses and wires Fuyuki looked even thinner than he was. He was still asleep.
The two men cautiously stepped inside, closed the door and stood next to him, watching in silence. Fuyuki was pale, almost translucent with dark shades underlining his eyes. His breath was shallow but even. Each wrist was wrapped in bandages so his hands looked like broken wings resting on the blanket. Seeing him so fragile and torn, Yoshiasu turned his head in pain while Little John growled in frustration. Fuyuki opened his eyes and looked at them. The deep, violet eyes were glazed by pain. The moment he focused on them, Fuyuki bit his lower lip and shut his eyes but he couldn’t stop the sudden flow of tears. For a few moments he struggled to hold back but he choked then burst in violent sobs.
The two were numbed by this sudden burst of pain and anguish; they felt helpless and unhappy with what they’ve caused. Yoshiasu broke first; he sat on the bed and took Fuyuki in his arms, holding him tight.
-Fuyuki, please…please, stop crying! I’m sorry, I’m sorry; I’m such a fool and an idiot! Please, don’t cry anymore!
Fuyuki encircled his neck with his arms and hid his face in Yoshiasu’s shoulder. His body was still convulsing but he was crying silently. Little John sat on the opposite side and put a hand on his shoulder:
-Fuyuki, please…we’ve been through Hell; we thought we’ve lost you. Can you forgive us?
Fuyuki slowly turned back but he was shaking from weakness and the overwhelming emotions. Yoshiasu laid him own but kept holding his hand. Little John gently placed his palm on the other hand. Fuyuki closed his eyes for a moment then opened them again.
-I messed up everything-he whispered. I thought you would be better without me. I’m a nuisance and all I can do is to make trouble; I’m not able to take even a decent decision…
-Don’t be silly-said Yoshiasu. We might be fools and idiots but we both love you…
-Each of us in his own way-chuckled Little John. Soraya is expecting her second child; you have to come to see it, you are my best friend.
A tiny smile lit up Fuyuki’s face.
-Give her my love-he said –but tell her I need a little time to get over this.
-Ok, I will but don’t do anything stupid anymore! You’ve been quite a handful! Promise me!
-I promise…whispered Fuyuki.
Little John squeezed his hand and left. Yoshiasu accompanied him; they shook hands.
-Take care-he said as he turned to leave.
-You too-said Yoshiasu and returned to the room.
Fuyuki watched him intently, sadness washing over his face.
-You’ll always remember it and you’ll end up hating me-he said and his voice broke.
He turned away and closed his eyes; he felt deadly tired. His body was weak and his heart was broken. He wished he had died before anybody could’ve found him. Yoshiasu sat down and watched for a moment his broken and confused butterfly.
-Stop blaming and tormenting yourself for nothing-he said. I blame myself for all that happened; I have let myself forget how lucky I was to be loved by you and how empty my life was before I found you. Little John and I we agreed on the fact that both of us were selfish bastards, trying to own you and competing over your feelings. We almost lost you. At least he has a beautiful family that makes him whole and happy; but for me…you are everything. You make me whole and I’m happy and proud to protect you. Please, don’t fade away. Please!
Fuyuki looked at Yoshiasu with eyes filled with a mix of hope and despair.
-I feel so lost-he whispered.
Yoshiasu gently kissed him and held close.
-Don’t be lost; you’re my precious and I love you.
He caressed him until Fuyuki fell asleep; Yoshiasu took off his coat and took a chair. He sat next to his sleeping lover; he wasn’t going to let Fuyuki alone, desperate and insecure. Ever.
As days passed by Fuyuki was slowly recovering; yet one day the doctor called Yoshiasu for a close talk. He was worried about Fuyuki’s state of mind.
-Mr. Tanaka-he said. We face a very serious problem; despite his very mild and kind personality, for the first time in his life Fuyuki hates somebody. Unfortunately he hates himself. If you hate somebody else it is easy to demonize him and to prove yourself that the person deserves your negative feelings. You can more easily dismiss him.
But once you hate yourself, the problem becomes more complicated. If you end up feeling guilty, worthless and despicable it’s hard to find the necessary strength to forgive yourself and heal.
If you will not succeed in proving Fuyuki that he is wrong about himself, he’ll try to end up his life until he’ll succeed.
The doctor left, letting Yoshiasu to think it over; he knew Fuyuki was on the edge. Despite the best efforts he was fading away slowly but steadily. Just like the young martian of Ray Bradbury’s story, he was about to die trying to make happy the humans who fought over him. Fuyuki was torn apart by the fact that he wanted to help his crazed friend get over his obsession and he sacrificed his peace of mind. He couldn’t believe that his companion would accept that without resentment and he hated himself for betraying the one and only person he was in love with. And Yoshiasu knew that all arguments were futile; he had to act quickly, before it was too late.
So at the end of the week he came for Fuyuki. He thanked to the doctor and took his love away. There was a cab waiting for them at the rear door; Yoshiasu did his best to avoid the eager eye of the press. They’ve already learned about the young artist’s gesture and were ready to make it front page news. So Yoshiasu luckily skipped them and got his love into the car. The young man looked a little bit surprised but he couldn’t find the necessary strength to react. He was just tired, hopelessly tired. He closed his eyes and leaned against his companion. The cab stopped at the airport and they quickly embarked on a plane.
They ended up in a quiet resort with small, pleasant houses, a nice forest surrounding the place and clean, crispy air. Yoshiasu quickly unpacked then took Fuyuki by the hand and left the house. They took a narrow pathway and after a while they ended up in a small, sunny clearing. They sat in a half-shaded spot, Fuyuki leaning against Yoshiasu, eyes closed. He still looked fragile and pale but there was a shade of pink in his cheeks after the walk.
Yoshiasu untied the short pony tail and let the silky, black strands fall freely and frame the delicate oval of the face. A small smile crossed Fuyuki’s lips at Yoshiasu’s touch over his hair and his neck. He sighed and cuddled in his arms.
“Fuyuki”…whispered Yoshiasu and the young man opened his eyes, looking at him. The sun sparkled through the foliage above them and lighted the deep, pure amethyst irises. They were beautiful and spotless. Yoshiasu bent closer to him and felt Fuyuki’s breath speeding up. He kissed him gently and Fuyuki’s stiffness was slowly melting. He moved carefully, not to scare him away. He unbuttoned Fuyuki’s shirt and kissed the soft curve of the neck; Fuyuki moaned and closed his eyes, leaning against Yoshiasu. He caressed and kissed his fragile love until all the bad memories were washed away.
During that week of rest and recovery, they talked less but held each other closer and closer, bonding again, entwining intimately as they always were. Their deepest ties, not severed by all the external pressures and misshappennings, got even stronger. Lovingly and patiently, Yoshiasu rebuilt Fuyuki’s broken inner world and trust. Step by step, with each gentle touch and kiss, with each passionate night of love he re-conquered his lost butterfly and mended his shredded wings.
As they returned to the city, Yoshiasu reconsidered his priorities; he never again allowed his work to take him away from Fuyuki.
The cycle ended without any more unpredicted trouble; at least that’s what the creatures of light thought so. But they were completely wrong; the moment the Child had to part from his human companion and leave him in the stasis he suffered a real heartbreak. In a split second all his memories were completely restored and he had to face so many hurtful and contradicting facts that he almost collapsed.
He found himself in the middle of a crowd of curious light creatures who were, in a way his closest relatives. At the same time he has been separated from the humans who were equally his…relatives and, unlike the other Children, he was the only one that still looked and…felt like a human. He felt alienated and lost; he soon also realized that all his sufferance came from these curious creatures who had already gathered a lot of data about humans but were unable to really understand not only the mind but the heart of the humans.
His life throughout the cycle turned out well but there was a part of him that was connected secretly and intimately to another human. By a twist of fortune their souls connected for a moment only to be separated again by fate. It had hurt both of them and they longed for another chance. The spirit of that human was stubborn and passionate, unwilling to give up on that short connection. Just like the creatures of light who were driven by an insatiable curiosity to get a deeper knowledge of other intelligent life-forms, the human was driven by the strong curiosity about the Child, that particular Child.
The Child was unhappy and lonely; he was trapped between worlds and there was nothing he could do to end that. He sat on a corner, leaned against the wall and shut his eyes. The tears were slowly seeping through and running down his cheeks; at first he cried silently but he ended up curled in fetal position, crying desperately like a human child lost among the stars… The other light creatures were deeply disturbed; they called his…parents and showed them what was happening. The taller one picked up the Child and carried him to their rooms. The thinner one followed, shaking his head in disbelief.
“This is what humans call “a narrow escape”. What are we going to do now?-asked the first shape of light.
He gave a short look at the Child that was sitting in a corner of the room, looking out silently to the stars. They have tried to talk to him but he was constantly ignoring them.
“His whole memory is back and he’s unhappy. We have to put them together somehow. Maybe if they spend a cycle together, he’ll get over his pain.
“And what if he won’t?
“Then we’ll reconsider things as they’d be at the time. The Child has become unpredictable to…-said the second creature of light.
“We’re walking on thin ice…Well, maybe you’re right; let’s see what happens this time. After all we have collected a huge amount of priceless data due to our Child. He deserves a little happiness of his own…
“And what about the first, Yoshiasu?
“He’s almost ready but he’s in standby. We can’t let them mix again. He might join us into the light; amazing how the Child has changed his whole life-cycle…”
“I know he is the most talented Child ever…But his second choice gives me the creeps; he’s too powerful.
“Listen to yourself…you are talking like the humans: the creeps, you say?
-This proved to be our most challenging assignment until now; I’ll ask for a vacation at home…This Child wore me out!
-Don’t complain-said the other. He’s our Child and that makes him…special!
-Now, you are talking like humans!
-I’ve told you, he’s talented; he’s affected even the two of us…
They walked away to start the preparations for the Child’s returning to Earth; the thinner one gave a look to the Child. He was sleeping quietly in his corner…the creature sighed and closed the door.
The planet turned slowly in the golden light of his sun. It was a silent and peaceful planet; only the wild animals were roaming across its various landscapes, covered by lush greenery and deep, dark forests. The crimson sea was moving on and off leisurely, kissing the untouched sand of the shores.
During the last 500 years the civilization of the Angels slowly died out. Their cities crumbled to the ground and Nature reclaimed every piece of land that has been taken away from her. The planet became a paradise for the archeologists and tourists. The supposed place of the long lost capital of the planet teemed with life. The ANTARES4004 was a scientific starship and hosted a large number of young and enthusiastic researchers. Human race has successfully stepped into the Galactic Era and a large number of intelligent creatures worked together to unravel the mystery of the planet of the Angels. The team was lead by Commander Soren and Dr. Gillian.
Shawn and Gavin were childhood friends and they were inseparable. The playful and boisterous Gavin and the idealistic Shawn got very well together. They shared the same passion for search and discovery. They were struggling to free their way through the thick bushes grown over one of the remote research sites when Shawn suddenly exclaimed:
-Hey, Gavin! Come over quickly! I think there’s passageway hidden under this growth.
Before stepping inside the dark hole they’ve sent a message to the base with their coordinates and then proceeded with the descending. At first the way proved to be difficult because the corridor has crumbled on many sections; but as they went deeper inside they found intact walls decorated with intricate signs and symbols. They ended up in front of a huge door that had no doorknob. After a moment of hesitation, Shawn placed his palm on the surface and pushed the door a little. Much to their surprise the door opened, leading them into a large, round room, dimly lit by a bluish light.
The room was filled with numerous tanks covered by thick glass lids. The tanks were connected to a web of instruments and it looked that some of them were still functioning. A thick dust covered everything. In the middle of the room there was a promontory with an entirely separate tank.
Shawn stepped up and cleared the glass lid from the gathered dust, peering curiously inside the tank. He almost fell off from the surprise. Gavin caught him from behind.
-Hey! Hey! What’s wrong, man? Have you seen a ghost?
-Look it for yourself-said Shawn in a husky voice.
Gavin leaned over the tank and he gazed inside. He whistled.
-Man, this is beginner’s luck! They’ve spent years on searching for the inhabitants of this planet and here comes you-a rookie-and stumbles upon a whole bunch of them. I’ll send a message to the base!
Shawn looked in awe to the special tank. The glass lid was covered with unknown signs but there was a star shape that repeated itself on and on. Inside the tank there was a young man, deeply sleeping. His eyes were closed and the handsome face looked calm and serene. He had shoulder long rebellious black hair and a pair of big, pearly white wings.
The thorough study of the circle room added up more than one hundred tanks, most of them badly damaged. Those that looked almost intact or better preserved were taken out and transported to the basis for further analysis. The one containing the sleeping young man was almost pristine and offered the biggest surprise at all.
One of the most sensitive and accurate instruments used to detect life forms blinked while the tank was passing under the detecting rays. The scientist watched in disbelief and decided to give another try. The blinking repeated itself. It showed a faint but definite sign of life inside the cryogenic tank. However this raised a whole new range of questions.
What if they can bring him back to life? How would he cope with the fact that he would be the sole survivor of his race? How would he integrate in a whole new world that didn’t exist 500 years before? His revival for scientific purposes wouldn’t be an act cruelty towards him? Can they afford to lose the chance to speak to the last living member of a great race?
All these questions were in debate for many days in a row. Scientific reasons clashed with issues of moral and ethics. Finally they all agreed that if there was a chance to give back life to an intelligent being it was worth to try. Many weeks were spent in the careful study of the intricate mechanism that allowed the person to be kept in such a good condition. The medical team built up a system that connected to the existing system and supported the reviving of the body functions. The first audible heartbeat was the biggest step taken towards the full success.
It took another full week until they were confident that the body is functioning properly by itself. The MRT showed no damages inside the body or the brain. The awakening was getting close.
Shawn and Gavin visited their “discovery” almost every day. Shawn was particularly interested in him although he couldn’t point out why. Maybe it was the fact that the face behind the glass looked somehow familiar. He decided to leave this to the future and to wait for further developments.
That specific day the entire base was in a state of excitement. Everybody wanted to witness the waking up. So many of them watched the process recorded by the video cameras. Shawn and Gavin were next to the open tank, along with medical staff. They were looking for slightest movement when the young man’s eyelashes trembled and he opened his eyes. A pair of deep set blue-grey eyes looked intently right in Shawn’s eyes then turned around with undisclosed curiosity. He sat up, stretched his neck and his back and slightly tilted his head questioningly towards the people around him.
Dr. Gillian approached and asked him tentatively:
-How do you feel? Can you understand me?
Kian listened attentively; the language seemed familiar but a little distorted. He took a deep breath and asked in a husky voice:
The people around him were taken aback and were arguing excitedly. Shawn put an end to the noisy excitement:
-I speak English. Our family kept the knowledge as a tradition. I just hope it’s the same English that he asks about. Does this sound familiar to you, sir?-he asked turning to the young man.
-Close enough, thank you. Could you please help me out of here?-he said, pointing to the tank. I think we all need some debriefing.
The following weeks were really busy ones. After a thorough medical check run by her team Dr, Gillian declared Kian perfectly healthy and released him from her custody. With Shawn’s help he learned Standard Galactic easily removing all the communication difficulties.
Kian’s memory was slowly coming back. He had his first reality check learning that he was the last survivor of his race. All his relatives, friends, the entire population of Angels had vanished in the meanders of history leaving behind more questions than answers. The fact that he couldn’t recall anything from his personal history troubled him but Dr. Gillian reassured him that in time he would get it back. She strongly advised him to be patient and find himself something interesting to do around the base. The friendship he developed with Shawn and Gavin proved to be support he needed to adjust to this new reality.
The trio decided to take a jet plane and fly down to the seaside. They landed near a rocky section of the shore and climbed on the top of a higher cliff right above the calmly undulating sea. The sight was pleasant and peaceful. They decided to descend to the shore. Shawn and Gavin suggested that they swim in this harmless looking water. On his side, Kian expressed his wish to take a flight before his wings get rusty so each of them took another pace to the sandy shore.
The first contact with the sight of the sea moved something inside the young angel’s mind the flash back was too short and blurry for the moment. It was more a bit of heartache… He flapped his wings and flew down, next to his friends. Shawn and Gavin were already in the water, laughing and splashing each other. Kian smiled and sat on the sand to watch them. Their happiness was contagious and he laughed wholeheartedly for the first time since his awakening. He undressed and walked into the water, trying not to wet his wings. The water was warm and crystal clear and he could see the bottom of it. Smooth, rounded rocks and various shells were pilling up in the sand under his feet. He caught a glimpse of a silky white shell and he bent to pick it up.
But the edge of that white shell proved to be razor sharp, cutting his hand. The red droplets fell quickly, coloring the water. Kian took a sharp step back, eyes wide open. He watched his bleeding hand and the memory of blood reddened waves came back nauseatingly. He took a few staggering steps, getting out of the water and fell to the sand, shaking. He wasn’t able to stop the shivering. The worried Shawn and Gavin helped him up, carried him back to the jet plane and took him back to the base. They were speechless. Who would’ve thought this could end so badly?
Dr. Gillian tended Kian’s wound and sedated him. Then she turned to the two very unhappy young men.
-It’s not your fault. Things like that will happen in the future. Not all the memories are happy ones; he has to face them all and he’s still at the beginning. Let me show you something. I’ve noticed it the first time I saw him closely.
She took the sleeping angel’s hands and turned them up, revealing the deep scars on each wrist. The boys were taken aback.
-There was a tragedy somewhere in his life and I’m sure it has something to do with that spot on the shore. Slowly but steadily the memories will come back. Now, you two take a break and leave him to sleep. He’ll be fine tomorrow.
Dr. Gillian was right. The next morning Kian was as good as new.
He washed, dressed up and decided to shorten his hair. Gavin had short, funny copper hair while Shawn’s chestnut was cropped short on his neck. Kian was about ready when his friends knocked on his door.
-Hey!-exclaimed Gavin. What have you done to your hair?
-I’ve decided to fit in the gang-smiled Kian.
-You know, now the two of you look almost the same-said Gavin with a large grin. You even have the same color of the eyes-he added.
Shawn and Kian exchanged puzzled looks.
-You’re right-mumbled Shawn. That’s very odd.
-Now let’s leave philosophy for some other time-pushed them Gavin. We still have some assignments left.
They took another flight to a ragged area covered by lush greenery. Kian had a distinct feeling that this was once an inhabited zone so he pointed out a few spots on the map. They sent the coordinates to the base and went farther. Late in the afternoon they got back with more then a dozen new sites taken into evidence. During the excavations the archeological team found the long lost cities of Angels’ right where Kian indicated them.
That evening they were sitting under the night sky, watching the stars and leisurely talking when Kian said:
-I have a nagging feeling about this sky. In my mind there’s the memory of a bright satellite and a pattern of 7 stars that I cannot find here.
-Could you draw them?-asked Gavin.
-I guess I could-answered Kian. Just lend me your notepad.
With a steady hand he sketched the spotted face of the Moon and the 7 stars of the Ursa Major. He handed the drawing to his friends. They looked at it with astonishment.
-Are you sure this comes from your memory and not from one of our books?-asked Shawn.
-Are these somewhere in your books?
-Well…this is our Earth’s satellite, the Moon and those are the stars from the Ursa Major, a constellation that can be seen only from the Earth.
-That means…That means that in the past I’ve seen your sky with my own eyes…
-And this is how you learned English…
The three young men looked at each other.
-Let’s keep it secret for the moment-suggested Gavin. I’m sure that everything will come out in the end. Patience, my friend. There’s no need to hurry.
They sat in silence for the rest of the evening. A few days later the discussion seemed forgotten. They went on with their everyday routine and Kian was genuinely happy being useful. One day Gavin called them to show some of the things that he received from his family. Kian was fascinated by a translucent cube containing the vivid image of two small boys running up and down, laughing and jumping. They were Gavin’s little brothers and he was very proud of them.
Those happy images triggered Kian’s hidden memories. He saw with the minds eye a happy and numerous family and the two boisterous little angels pestering him…He covered his face to hide the tears building up in his eyes.
-What’s wrong, man?-asked Gavin worriedly. Did you remember something?
-I saw my family-whispered Kian. My mom, my father, my brothers and my sisters…It was long, long ago…They’re gone…Please, forgive me. I need some fresh air.
He jumped to his feet and ran out. He took a flight to the edge of the forest neighboring the base. He leaned against a huge tree and closed his eyes. For a moment he wished to die. But he couldn’t. He was the sole survivor and the only one who could remember them, all of them. So, no matter how much it hurt, he had to go on.
He felt a hand touching him gently. He opened his eyes. Shawn stood in front of him with a concerned gaze. He embraced his troubled friend. Kian sighed.
-Thank you-he said in a low voice. Let’s go back.
Dr. Gillian noticed the special relationship building up between Kian and Shawn. She also noticed that they shared some features like the remarkable deep set blue-grey eyes. She took Gavin aside and talked him into giving some extra time to his two friends. Gavin was very perceptive and he also noticed that there’s an extra connection between his childhood friend and the young angel. He agreed to take some assignment for himself only and leave the two of them together.
At Shawn’s advice Kian started a drawing-diary and in relatively short time he gathered a whole data base containing drawings about places, signs and symbols, portraits of peoples he remembered. Lately, these drawings proved to be very helpful for the researchers.
There was a small “white spot” left unearthed uphill the sea shore. Commander Soren asked for Kian’s help. He was studying the map along with Dr. Gillian when Shawn and Kian arrived. They leaned over the maps trying to figure out some details when Shawn’s silver necklace fell on the table in front of them with a sharp “cling”. The opalescent blue stone swirled on the surface of the table.
Kian was thunderstruck. He watched the necklace with eyes wide open. He was shaking.
He held out a hand and took the blue stone, then turned to Shawn:
-Where did you get this?-he asked and his voice cracked.
-From my father. It belongs to my family…
Kian cupped his trembling hand around the gem and warmed it up. The others watched him silently. He opened his hands and gave the glowing stone to Shawn.
-Look closer-he whispered and turned away.
His body was shaking convulsively and he burst into tears.
-Oh, Goddess! Maya, my love…my child…Oh, Goddess! I’ve lost them all!
He bent in deep pain over the table and then collapsed. Commander Soren and Dr. Gillian rushed to help him up while Shawn was looking in bewilderment into the stone: from the top of the rock above the crimson sea a young angel was looking back at him. It was Kian.
He was in deep shock when they took him to the medical section and for days the doctors fought for his life. Shawn never leaved his side. He was worried sick that Kian might not survive, leaving him before he can understand anything. But he was 100% sure that their connection ran deeper than anybody expected. On his side Gavin worried about both of them.
Kian was still unconscious and Shawn was watching by when Dr. Gillian visited them.
-You should try to talk to him-she said to Shawn. He can hear you but he doesn’t want to wake up. He’s lost his will to live. Give him a reason to change his mind. She then left and closed the door.
Shawn leaned over Kian. He watched the pain spread over his handsome features and the imperceptible tremor of the long eyelashes.
-Kian-he said pleadingly-please, don’t die. Look at me, please.
Kian shifted and slowly opened his eyes, looking at Shawn.
-I’m sorry-he whispered-I have no wish to live. I’ve lost so much…I can’t bear it…Everybody I loved…they’re gone…
-No! Look at me! I’m still here! I am family! You’re my ancestor, isn’t it?
Kian sat up silently. For a moment he gazed into nothingness and then he turned to Shawn.
-I guess I am and I’m thankful for it…But it hurts so much…I need time…
Shawn grabbed his shoulders, forcing him to look in his eyes.
-Don’t you dare to leave me! I have unearthed your tank and brought you back to life. I don’t want to loose you again. You are my friend.