00.PROLOGUE


O! Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,

that monthly changes in her circled orb,

lest that thy love prove likewise variable.


Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 109



I



Saori held Seiya tightly between her arms, still unable to believe that the boy was dying. Countless times they had been in that situation, her waking up while he drifted away, drained for her sake. She would stretch her hands towards him then, calling him by his name instead of his title, her voice soft but unwavering, and he would always answer, bright brown eyes that seemed to be always smiling opening up just for her.

He was her Saint of Hope after all, the one that had taught her that no matter what was to befall them, they would always be together once the nightmare was over.

'' Seiya... '', she whispered, unsuccessfully trying to clean the blood from his face, '' Seiya, come back to me... Seiya... please...''

But this time, she had called and words had fallen without answer, the boy’s skin growing paler by the minute, the ground around them turning a deeper shade of red.

 

The rest of the Saints watched her in silence, their faces gaunt. Their eyes betrayed their fears, pain she wasn’t used to seeing in them oozing from their orbs whenever they would travel over the Lord of the Underworld’s sword, which stood as the last laugh of the God that had wielded it, tall and insulting through Pegasus’ torso.

The world around them was ending, claimed once again by darkness, but none seemed to mind, all caught still in that last battle-cry, their joint voices calling for their friend and unofficial leader’s name.

''We must go,'' Hyoga muttered, avoiding his brothers' eyes, ''this place won’t hold for long.''

Ikki nodded, walking towards the young woman turned goddess. “Saori,” he said, placing one of his strong hands on her shoulder. She made way for him, looking at him but not really seeing him. She watched as the eldest of the bronze saints lifted Seiya’s body and placed one of his arms over his shoulders to carry him. Shiryu hurried to the opposite side, grabbing the other arm. Blood gushed forward at the jerking movement, making her jump. She rushed forward, her small, delicate hands –the hands of a pianist, so different to the ones of her warriors- stretching before her to press firmly over his wounded chest.

 

Remember who you are, her inner voice told her, remember. Saori took a deep breath and felt herself regaining control over her emotions. The known memories of her grandfather, the late Mitsumasa Kido, were a backdrop that ran through her mind while her eyes could only see blood tinting her pale hands red.

She was Saori Kido, head of a commercial empire, trained since her early years to remain calm in the most strenuous situations.

She was Athena, born to protect the world in those days of madness. If she had succeeded so far, against Saga, against Poseidon, against Hades, if they had succeeded that far, then this, Seiya fading away from her, bleeding before her eyes, was something she could stop.

 

Golden cosmo grew from her fingertips, spreading through the void like a firestorm. But it wasn’t the underworld the one she wanted to infuse with life, but the boy before her. Like a scalpel, she wanted to reach his heart, through that sword that was poison to them, through his flesh and his bones…

 

Remember the selfish words you always tell him

 

“Wake up, Seiya. Answer me,“ she said, certain he would wake up.

 

Never lose hope. You lose him if you do

 

Nothing happened. Hyoga looked away from the sight of his dying brother, away from Saori’s calmed eyes, as calmed as his mother’s when turning to face death, and even when he knew he shouldn’t, he could feel his heart getting ready to lose one more person who meant the world to him.

He could feel his own body fading, getting closer to the brink of unconsciousness. He didn’t feel pain anymore, not even the constant throbbing of his empty eye socket. Even when Hades was gone, Death was walking around them, breathing at their necks. Shun shuddered at his side, his defensive chain drawing a small circle around his feet.

 

“Seiya,” Saori repeated, her cosmo becoming more and more focused, like a burning white star.

Yes, death was closer, closer to Hyoga, to his brothers, and even closer to Athena, although he doubted death could take her. She was a Goddess, wasn’t she?

Like the one they had just killed.

They had to take her to safety. No matter what, he couldn’t let Seiya’s efforts go to waste. As long as one of them remained, they had to protect her, keep her alive for his sake.

''It's useless, Saori,'' said Ikki, his deep voice taking the ice saint out of his thoughts. ''Even your cosmo has weakened, you don't have the strength that is needed to... ''

Her eyes didn’t move away from Seiya’s form, the calmness unwavering “Cosmo is endless, Phoenix.”

“Ikki is right, Saori. This place is falling apart.”

Still she wouldn’t waver, driving Hyoga further into his memories. His mother, turning his back on him as he screamed for her from that tiny boat…

“We are taking him with us. But we can’t stay here. If something were to happen to you…” he stopped midsentence, understanding too clearly now the feelings that his mother must have had, bravely choosing, like they all did, to put a life before her own.

Seiya, live, he found himself wishing, his cosmo burning to life to join that of Athena. Live, for I will not forgive you if you die here.

 

“Seiya will be fine,” Shiryu voiced his wish with certainty, the dragon’s power twisting around him.

Shun smiled shyly, the chain around him relaxing while his cosmo returned to its usual gentleness. Death had been around them all their lives, but if there was someone who had never cared about that, had been Pegasus.

Seiya would be laughing right now, joyful at having brought his precious Saori once again to safety.

“He better wake up soon. The brat is heavy,” Ikki grinned, eternal fires warming everything in their path.

 

No matter if they were in the depths of the underworld, the land coming to nothing under their feet, they were all still together, still breathing.

 

Alive.

 

“Seiya” Saori repeated, burning her cosmo further, down the sword to his heart. She counted his eyelashes, noticing, not for the first time, how long they were, how much like a child his face was.

She needed to reach him, and to find a way to leave that place, back to the sun, to Athens.

Sanctuary.

 

Never the word had meant that much to her.

 

A door for him, a door for them.

Sanctuary, her inner self repeated over and over, begging to the gods. The underworld gave way under her touch, turning to dust under her cosmo. One door, just that, an opening.

 

[ You are doing this the wrong way, Athena ]

 

Her eyes flung open when hearing that unknown voice, her cosmo reacting to the sudden intrusion. Where was it coming from? She felt afraid, and angry. Not another enemy, not when they were so weakened…

 

[ Don’t you understand that this is the very thing that sends your family against you? Look around you, at the destruction you’ve brought. Our world keeps getting destroyed for your sake ]

 

Not another God.

 

Another sigh, and the memory of Mitsumasa’s reassuring hand on her shoulder. If she gave in to despair, she would lose, which was something she couldn’t afford.

Seiya and her saints were the ones that mattered, even if a new enemy were to come to them. All the ones that had fought to protect her and the world that they loved. She needed to stop the bleeding and keep him stable till she could drag him to a hospital. She needed to give them a chance after all the suffering…Outside, she needed outside.

[ Look at the blood of your loved ones, and understand that what you call justice, is nothing but your egoistic interpretation of what’s right and what’s wrong. Of your tendency to force your convictions on others by force, and lock away whoever disagrees with you till they are crippled and insane ]

 

Even if the other voice belonged to a God, she was still Athena. She pushed further, reality wavering under her strength. The sword seemed to lose form before her, the world following suit. Seiya’s heart was still beating, and she had the certainty that he was trying just as hard to reach her as she was trying to reach him.

 

I will not lose my hope

 

Away, far away, she could sense a pathway, a place that still remained in the nothingness that surrounded them. Outside.

But a barrier made of the same unforgiving energy that seemed to ooze from that voice made her stop.

[ That door will not bulge. I told you, you are going at this the wrong way]

 

The voice grew stronger, the barrier thickening, as proud as any of her relatives and more domineering than most she had met.

Whatever. She needed out, and she would have that.

She cupped the boy’s head between her hands, like she had already done once, years ago, when he saved her from the crows.

Back then, she had known that he would grow to mean the world to her. If he fought to save her, she would always fight to protect the world he lived in. Regardless of whatever that might involve.

Saori leaned closer, her lips kissing his softly, kissing his cheek, resting by his ear.

 

“ Come back for me, Seiya”

 

Open the door for me, I beg you, she prayed to the voice, resting all the weight of her powers against the barrier. A cosmo like the night shoved her away violently, darkness burning with a million stars suddenly visible inside her mind’s eye.

 

[ You are not listening. Leave that path alone ]

 

The absolute tone, again. Her soul reached for the ones of her bronze saints, those boys that were family to her. She could feel them in her own blood, them and the fading whispers of the warriors that had sacrificed themselves to open their path to Hades.

 

Seiya’s heart was beating slower as he bled to death against her hands. Dying, just like the world around her, like her saints, like the ones that were gone already.

 

I need a way

 

[ On that we agree ]

 

Then help me!

 

[ Now you are going at this the right way. That door you are pushing was one of Hades’. You don’t want to follow that one, not after all this mess ]

 

Saori stopped pushing at the mention of that name.

 

[ Besides, why would I be here otherwise? I came to reach you all, after a hard won battle. That’s the path you should follow ]

 

“Saori...” Shun called as he looked behind them. As the world crumbled, a dimly lit path crossed the darkness, heading deep into a black horizon, from which a circular door was rising.

 

[ That’s the door I can open ]

 

“What’s that?” Shiryu asked.

“Someone... is guiding me” Saori answered, not sure if to trust the stranger. But time wasn’t on her side. It would have to be a leap of faith. “We can get out of her through that door.”

 

[ Hurry, Athena. I might be able to exist in this world, but I can’t do so for long ]

 

“Are you sure of this?”

“No, but we don’t have much choice, Hyoga.”

“We’ve done weirder things.” Ikki said, signalling Shiryu to hurry his pace. The two Saints dragged Seiya through the path, the rest following them. It was like walking on shallow water.

Shun reached the door first. It glowed in that same pale, barely there way, that the path did.

“It’s closed” he said, as he placed his hand over it.

[ Before I let you go, there’s something I want you to do. I want you to look around, and admit it, with honest words. Admit why you fight for ]

 

Yet another deep breath, and her inner voice telling her not to lose it. Around her? Around her there was darkness. Nothing but ruins would remain of the underworld, eaten by the shadows. Those men that had fought for Hades would have nothingness as their graves, just like those that fought for Poseidon had nothing but the depths of the sea, their lives forgotten without mourning. She knew. She knew. But still.

 

I can’t let him die!

 

She could almost see it, a Cheshire cat’s smile of satisfaction in that voice.

 

[ Next time you declare war on one of us, remember those words and keep your lies of justice to yourself. Not everyone is your enemy, not everyone wants the world ]

Saori felt a sudden coldness pierce her chest, making her bend over her waist and gasp. She rested one of her hands on Seiya’s limp figure to mantain balance, while the other one flew to her left side. There was cold metal under her fingertips, a known fear running down her spine.

She had lived this before, one of the many things her nightmares were made of.

 

An arrow, the colour of milk, had pierced her armour, the head well inside her flesh. She could taste blood in her mouth, red droplets falling on the glowing path, which suddenly turned a bright crimson that tinted the door.

 

[ You should know by now, that when it comes to our kind, blood is the only thing that matters ]

 

The foreign cosmo enveloped her and invaded her own with ease; reaching the ones of those she loved through it, of all those lives that had fought beside her in Sanctuary’s name.

 

“ Seiya…” she whispered once again, her forehead pressed against his shoulder. Hyoga and Shun reached to help her. She felt herself vanishing, her legs weak even when her cosmo kept growing and growing, shattering everything at is pace. She closed her eyes, unable to keep them open anymore, and smiled gently at a known warmth...

 

Seiya...

 

[ Keep him tight into your heart, now, all of them, your cosmo entwined with them as if all of you were one, sister, and think of home before you cross ]

 

“Now” she told her Saints, touching the red surface the door had turned into. It was liquid now. She could go through.

 

It was open. They were out.

They would live.


______________________________________________________________________

next -->


 

written by derrewyn ::: info ::: contact ::: facebook::: home :::