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Slowly he moved along the lake side, staring out across the golden waters, that reflecting the bright sun light back into his eyes. His slate gray colored hair, looked a dark blue/gray in the late evening sun light. It was the first time in nearly two years that he'd been back to this place. -Back at the mansion.- It felt strange being back again, even more so, now that one of their midsts was gone, one of them would never come back.
Shu sighed, pausing on the shores of the lake, to watch the gental waves brush against the long grass that hung down into the clear waters. He could see them all swimming in that shimmering surface, chasing each other about the clear blue waters on some hot summers afternoon. He could even hear the laughter that had echoed about the place. But it was something of the past something not of the present. A ghost of something that had once been a vivid reality, almost as real now as it had been then, but never quite real enough.
His body seemed slow and his mind, tended to wonder as he tiredly sat down among the roots of an old cherry tree. He wondered aimlessly how long the tree had been there, though he had no clue. But from the size of the tree and the spread of it's crown, it had seen them come and go, even before that it had seen more. The large warrior stared up at the drooping branches of the tree, wondering how much the ancient tree had seen in it's time.
"Why did it have to be like this?" Shu whispered, tearing his gaze from the tree to stare back out at the lake. It didn't feel like it had really been two years. -It feels like only yesterday since I was here last. Since I left... God has it really been two years?- He closed his eyes tiredly. -Why did it have to be like this? Why?- Shu did nothing to check the few tears the slide down his cheeks, he was tired emotionaly, physicaly, and mentaly.
When his eyes opened again, they were heavy with the sad weight that pulled upon his soul upone his being. Threatening to drag him down, beneath the waters of his emotions. Unlike Seiji he'd never had the control over what he felt and what he showed others, then again he'd never really wanted it. Though somtimes when his temper got out of control, sometimes... Somedays...
Blinking back tears, Shu remembered the last time he'd seen his friend. It had been only a few months ago, they'd all gotten together, like they did every couple months. Just to talk about old times, catch up on the recent times. To be together with others who understood. Only this had been the first time that not all of them had been able to make it.
Ryo's plane had been laid over in Australia for nearly five hours so he arrived about ten hours later then was planned. Seiji was punctual as ever, even managed to drag Touma away from his studies. After his accident a few years back he'd given up his dream of ever going into space. Now he was studying to get his teachers degree, so that perhaps he could share with others. Then here was Shin. He'd been a little late, having gotten stuck in rush hour traffic, but we'd all arrived safely in the end. Except for Nasuti, who hadn't been able to get away from her work in France.
I remember watching Shin as he walked up to the door, a unusually cheerful look on his face. He still looked almost the same as he had the day I left. A little bit older perhaps but not much, still that boyish look about him. Still I never expected the news he had to tell us all. Neither did the others from their reaction. They were just as surprised as I was. But he was still the same old Shin I knew, with a smile, a hug, and a laugh for everyone. "I'm getting married." He'd announced later that day, as we were finishing up dinner.
"What?" I asked in surprise, too shocked to say anything else. "Who is she, Shin?" Touma asked grinning. "What's her name?" Ryo put in a minute later. "Congradulations." Seiji said, leaning back in his chair at the other end of the table.
He just stood there and smiled at us all. "Her name is Leona. I meet her while I was working on my projected in Hawaii." I could tell from the look on his face that he was totally taken with her, from the pictures he showed us, she was defiantly a lovely woman. She even sounded really nice, I don't know what it was though, I couldn't really feel happy for Shin. Just couldn't find it in my heart, even though he was one of the best friends I'd ever had. It was only what... About a month later when the phone call came. Shin and Leona had been in a car accident a few days earlier, for some reason they hadn't been able to get in touch with any of us before now. I was the first one they'd called... -God why did it have to be me? Why did it have to be Shin? Of all of us... Why Shin?-
Even now I don't remember a lot of what happened after that, I guess because I really don't want to remember. Shin was dead before any of us even got there, we never even got to see him... His mother had made the arrangments, before the rest of us got there. They'd already sealed his body up in the coffin. -I just wanted to say good bye...
But no of course not.- I do remember that, Leona recovered but she would never walk again, she was paralyzed from the waists down. We never got to talk to her either though, her family came and collected her a few days after I got there. I tried to see her a couple of times, but the nurse only let me in once, she was sleeping...
After that I don't know what happened, sometimes I don't think I really care, and yet. I guess the other guys were there. It's all a blur...
We buried Shin after that the way he would have wanted it. At sea. I can see that picture so clearly in my mind. It's the only part of those events that's clear. The rest of it, it's like it never happened. But I know it did. And now. Now we're back here... All of us but Shin...
He blinked slowly turning to see who had called his name. Finding Touma standing a ways down the lake shore near where the dock had once been. Only the posts still stood sticking up out of the water though, the rest having sunk into the lake, from disrepair.
The blue haired archer, looked a lot older then he had before, his hair was lighter now to, no longer the same shocking blue shade it had been when they were younger. Shu always attributed it to his accident only a year before. Though it felt like a lot longer then that, and yet at the same time it felt like only yesterday. Even those days after Touma's accident, they were vague to Shu, as if he'd filed them away in the back of his mind as something to forget about. Like so many other horrid events, that made their homes in all of their minds.
"Shu are you down here?!" -He's worried...- Shu sighed. "Over here Touma." He shifted with a sigh, realizing that the lake was now dark. -The sun has set... Sometimes...-
"There you are." Touma, stood a few feet away watching him. "Are you ok Shu?" "Yeah, just thinking..." He looked away. "About Shin." "Oh." Touma sat down next to him. "It's strange being back here." "I know." Shu nodded. "You know I never told him." "Never told him what Shu?" Touma asked quietly. "I loved him Touma-kun... But I never told him, and then..." "And then Leona." Touma finished softly. Shu nodded sadly. "I guess it's better I didn't."
Touma sighed sadly. "Perhaps. I think perhaps he would have wanted to know though. You two were always close in a way that you and I never where." "I know." Shu looked over at Touma and reached out to put a hand on his friends knee. "How are you doing Touma? We haven't talked in a long time... I've missed that."
"So have I." Touma met Shu's gaze for a few minutes before turning away. "Hanging in there, I guess... Tired lately, always seems like too much to do. You know I never imagined I'd be a teacher. I'm still not sure it's really what I want to do. Yet I don't know what to do anymore... I'll never obtain the one thing I really wanted..."
"It was hard for you after the accident." Shu paused.. "You always wanted to go into space so bad... I'm sorry. If there was something I could have done..."
The archer looked away. "There wasn't anything anyone could have done Shu-kun. Not for me or for Shin... But I think Shin wouldn't have wanted us to be sad like this. He would have wanted us to go on..." Touma stopped, with a sorta lost look on his face for a few minutes. "Perhaps someday in another time you'll get to tell him. No one knows for sure, afterlife, heavan, reincarnation... Who knows?"
"Perhaps." Shu said softly. "Sometimes knowing that he wouldn't have wanted it isn't as easy as doing it." He saw Touma nod in agreement, knowing the other understood. Somehow Shu felt that Touma understood even more then he let on, in regardes to many things. "How are Ryo and Seiji doin?"
"Their talking at the mansion." Touma looked at the dark lake. "Nasuti just called from the airport she'll be here in about an hour... We can do what we planned tomorrow." Shu nodded sadly, with a sigh. "We should go back." "It's getting dark." Touma agreed absently. "I guess we should..."
Slowly together the two old friends, made their way back along the lake shore, pausing near the cabin, and the dock. Both paying a last mind to their friend and commerad as they took one last look out across the lake. As they headed up the hill to the mansion, Shu paused now and then to help his friend over a couple of especially rough places. Touma no longer being as spry as he had once been.