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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, '12, 2:34 am
The blonde fighter was returning from her usual nightly stroll, when, under the starry sky, in a perfect solitude that matched mood for looking into her own soul, and learning more about herself. Life has not been kind for the girl, who had become both a seasoned warrior and a hardened woman. Her daily moments of introspection served as therapy sessions for the officer who had no one to serve as her confessor, no one to whom she felt comfortable in sharing whatever happened inside her disturbed mind. She had only one close friend alive, but she lacked the life experience someone who had the intention of helping the mentally devastated soldier needed in order to provide her substantial help. Not that the girl distrusted her friend; she held their friendship as something sublime, holy, and valued nothing in her own life more than the mutual feeling the two girls shared. However, every time her friend attempted to bring her comfort and soothe the pains that consumed her soul, not only she failed, but also she ended upset for not being able to heal some of the blonde warrior's wounds. Then, the tormented woman preferred to try to deal with her own demons by herself.

Judging by the advanced hour, Anna expected everyone to be sleeping. She also needed some rest, because the next day would be decisive. After acquiring the Maruera gum and making the final preparations, the group was ready to raid the Climatrol, hoping to find a definite answer for the climate problems and biomonster outburst that was crippling Motavia's ability of sustaining the large-scale production required to mantain the high-technology Motavian society. However, Anna's metabolism didn't demand many hours of sleep, a feature acquired the hard way, after long restless nights being haunted by her traumas, that now proved to be useful. As she was walking down Rolf's house main corridor, who would take her to the laundry, the room she chose to be her bedroom inside the stranger's residence, a faint whisper startled her.


The girl spun on her feet, surprised. She knew who was calling her in the late hours of the night first because she was able to recognize her friend's voice perfectly, and then because no one else would be calling her at such a time. Wondering what have kept Nei awake till so late, for she was usually the first to fall asleep due to her mixed nature, the blonde officer asked in a low whisper. "What happened, Nei?"

The Numan answered with an invitation. "Could you please come here for a moment?"

Anna hesitated a bit because of an instinctive fear of the unexpected, and the serious tone that Nei used to invite her was revealing about the nature the invitation. Never in her life, though, would Anna leave her sole friend's calling unanswered. The blonde guardian's blue eyes, fitter for dark environments, could discern part of the Numan's face features in the night, especially the outline of her long pointy ears and her crimson eyes, sparkling with worry and despair. As her heart skipped a bit, predicting the bad news that she would be confronted with, Anna promptly answered the question in an even quieter whisper. "Of course, Nei."

In silence, the blonde girl entered the room slowly. Her friend was standing by the door, in a satin white nightgown, giving her an aura of purity and innocence. That image was not far from the reality. Although Nei tried very hard to adjust her mind to her accelerated growth, she was still just a girl in many aspects. As Anna entered, Nei closed the door behind her and escorted her friend to take a seat on her bed. The room was almost completely dark, saving for a faint light coming from the other side of the bed, from a small lamplight Nei always left turned on. Her early days running and hiding from the hunters which were trying to claim the life of the creature they considered an abomination had traumatized her. The long periods hidden in the dark, cringing at the faintest sound, living in a permanent state of terror, had taken its toll, and she could only feel comfortable enough to sleep if the room was not completely dark.

Both girls sat at the same time. Anna was staring at Nei with a worried expression on her face. Nei forced a smile, because she was glad Anna was with her. However, knowing that the reason of that meeting was very serious, she couldn't help transpiring some worry through her countenance and movements. Taking Anna's hands into hers, Nei hesitantly broke the silence. "Well, Anna, tomorrow we will be storming the Climatrol."

The blonde guardian slowly nodded. Maybe because she was used to overcoming dangerous situations when she was clearly underpowered compared to her foes, Anna was not frightened by the prospects of facing a very hard challenge. She could understand Nei's hesitation, though. Anna had suffered so much in her life that she stopped valuing her existence. In fact, there were many occasions when she considered committing suicide, but only her own cowardice prevented that. The same thing could not be said about Nei, who was always cheerful and upbeat. Although she showed some traces of a thwarting behavior when facing life-threatening situations, as if she had a secret death wish, attacking the enemies and risking her own life recklessly, she also showed a love of life that was unmatched. Not even Shir, who was so full of life, could compare to Nei.

"And... well..." The Numan girl was excessively hesitant, and her behavior disturbed Anna because she was able to catch in the air the gravity of the situation. Nei would not have stayed waiting for her over a negligible thing. The blonde fighter wanted to apologize for not coming back earlier, but any disruption would not add anything of substantial, and it could have exactly the opposite effect, by making Nei lose focus on what she had to say. After some indistinct babbling, the Numan girl got angry at her own lack of control and suddenly let out all the words that were stuck in her mouth. "Damn! Anna, I can't tell you everything, but there is a good chance I don't come back from our mission."

"Don't say that Nei, we will never let anything happen to you." Anna added with a stern tone, but, in fact, she was somewhat scared with Nei's words. She didn't believe in foretelling, but she had heard many stories of people who could sense that something bad would happen to them before the tragedy struck, claiming their lives.

"But... it is unavoidable, Anna." The Numan looked down. She shyly played with a ribbon in her nightgown with her left hand while squeezed Anna's hands with her right hand. After a few moments, she decided to break the silence, because she was not expecting any comment from her friend. "Anna, you know you are my best friend, and I felt that I had to share it with you..."

As she silenced again, this time for a longer period, even the cold soldier was not able to stay impassive anymore. She was already suffering a lot from expectation, because just the thought that something bad would happen to Nei was a devastating blow to her mind. Mind that was already hanging on the threshold of insanity. Joining Rolf's group was the alternative she had found to committing suicide, for she had no hopes left anymore. She had already exhausted all the alternatives of breaking the unending cycle of tragedies in her own life, but every time not only she was unable to break that cycle, but also her own sense of morality and self-control spiraled downwards, making her commit terrible atrocities.

Anna asked in a faint voice. "What, my dear?" Nei didn't notice it, but her friend's blue eyes were wet.

Still avoiding a direct stare, Nei added. "Anna, I'm not completely sure about it, but I have an idea of who may be causing the biomonster outbreak. And if I'm right..."

"What?" Anna had completely lost her usual coolness. She was feeling desperate. Not even in her worst nightmare she expected to be facing such a situation like that one. Although the emotional part of her mind tried to keep some hopes up, her rational part had already nailed it. Nei would announce that she were to die. And Anna could not believe that the same tragedy would repeat itself in her life once more. That the person she loved would die a tragic death, before her eyes, and she would be unable to prevent the death of her loved one. Nei was not only her best friend currently, but she was also the best friend she had ever had in her life. To lose Nei would be the coup-de-grace for the blonde guardian, who didn't have any other reason to remain alive.

It was as if providence had selected Anna to torture her madly, just to see how long she could keep it up. Anna was so distressed with all the times that the same cycle had repeated itself that she didn't want to love anymore. That is why she had been extremely cold, and even hostile to her companions. However, Nei had melted away all the layers of ice covering her heart with her genuine and innocent affection, her contagious lively and upbeat mood, her inhuman sweetness. Her love for Anna had sweetened the hardened guardian, who gradually became more sociable and kinder. However, without Nei, Anna didn't think she could carry on. Nei`s death would mean the end for Anna too.

"I will have to surrender my life to save the whole mankind from the biomonster threat once and for all..."

Nei said so in a sad resignation. She didn't have the courage to face her friend, but she considered it very important. Unlike Rolf, who would certainly give up his quest if he knew that Nei`s life was threatened, the Numan girl counted on her best friend to help the group to carry on if the worst alternative was confirmed.

"Why? Tell me it isn't true..." Anna's voice was just a faint whisper. Her legs were shaking so much that the blonde guardian started falling from the bed slowly, as her legs bent forward. The Numan girl had not noticed her friend's state. She expected Anna to be upset by the news, but she believed her strength of mind would allow her to recover faster from the upsetting situation.

"Sorry, I can't tell you why, Anna, but if I'm right, I must die..."

Nei finally tilted her face upwards, in order to stare at her friend. For her surprise, though, her eyes met the wardrobe standing by the opposite wall. An unexpected embrace to her legs startled her briefly, and she turned her head down to see Anna with her face buried on her thighs and her friend`s golden locks scattered all over her lap. Anna was sobbing desperately, and her tears started moistening Nei's nightgown and skin.

"No... not again... not again..." With her head resting on Nei's lap, Anna was slowly adopting a fetal position, showing all her fragility at that moment. Her biggest fear was about to come true. Anna was tired to play against death and lose. Had any other member of the group been destined to die, she would be obviously saddened, but she would think about it as an unfortunate event that had come to pass. However, it had to be Nei. It was as if everyone she dared to love became marked to die. As if Nei`s condemnation was a deliberate attack on Anna. The blonde guardian didn't want to live anymore a life where she was not allowed to love freely, as her heart dictated, as her beliefs ordered. If she were to love all the mankind, would it mean that they would face extinction? Was she the incarnation of demon herself? The one whose love poisoned those who received it and death meant their freedom from her devilish influence. The one who had only one way of helping the humanity, by dying and setting their free forever?

"Why! Why!" The blonde girl cried out loud, not caring if her screams would wake up her comrades, for she was crying her heart out, letting the providence know that she couldn't take it anymore. Nei had become distressed by Anna's unexpected reaction. She instinctively embraced Anna's body and leaned her trunk over her head, as a protective act. The comfortable and warm feeling made Anna feel as if she was being sent back to safety of her late mother's womb, a place where death and all the other cruelties of life could not reach her. The place where she could cherish her most innocent dreams, not knowing that they would never meant to become true. The place from where she should have never gotten out. Never being born was preferable to living a life where everyone she loved was fiercely persecuted by death.

Anna's tone was childish, and muffled by the closeness of her mouth to Nei's legs. "Not the one I love. Not again... I can't fight against you anymore! Why don’t you leave me alone? If you hate me, why don’t you have mercy on them? Take me, not her… not her!”

Anna choked on her sobs, and soon, just a low moan could be heard. Nei stayed in silence, still deeply affected by Anna`s heartrending plead to death for mercy. The blonde soldier had never told Nei details of her past, but the Numan girl was aware that her past had been tragic, because her friend was so traumatized that she asked Rolf to give her a new name in order to help her forget about her past. From the disconnected sentences among the sobs, Nei had realized that the tragedies of her past must have involved the deaths of her loved ones. It explained why she was so distraught by Nei’s revelation. The Numan girl could feel all the pain and sorrow in her best friend’s spirit, and, for a moment, she regretted having told Anna about her bleak future.

Nei stared at Anna with love. Her friend’s fragility and her golden locks spread all over Nei’s lap gave the impression that Anna was an angel. Pure, innocent, fragile, with no resemblance to the tough, cold, and almost psychopathic woman they were accustomed to. It was a crime to make her woman suffer that much. Nei, in all her innocence, was the only person who could look into Anna’s soul and see the kind, gentle and dreamy girl deep inside. Now, she grieved for knowing that, involuntarily, she would shatter the last fragments of hope in her heart. But it was something she had to do, for the sake of her own peace of mind. When she realized who should be behind the biomonster outbreak, Nei knew that she was hopeless. If she did not die fighting, she would have to sacrifice herself in the end. She was ready to become a martyr, to embrace death with no regrets, as long as she was able to save the mankind. However, she knew she had to prepare the terrain for those who would survive her. And Anna was the key piece in her plans.

Drowned in her sorrow, Anna could not think in anything else but how much she loved Nei. She loved the Numan so much that her feelings toward her were beyond anything she has ever felt for anybody else. The feeling was so intense that Anna hated to admit it to herself, but she loved Nei, in a special way that could be even considered romantic. However, her love was just spiritual; although she had her face buried on Nei's thighs and the Numan had her healthy chest touching Anna`s back, she didn't feel thrilled by the physical contact, just comfortable by the spiritual implication her protective stance had. A comfort that she wished she could experience every single day of her life. For Nei, she would do anything, everything. She would gladly surrender her life in order to let Nei live. Although both shared a tragic past, Nei was everything Anna wasn't, and everything Anna wanted to be: kind, cheerful, upbeat, and happy. Nei's cheerfulness was contagious, and the cold woman benefited so much from it that she wished she could spend the rest of her life by the side of the fire that burnt inside the Numan's soul.

However, out of a sudden, the Numan girl she loved so much shattered her dreams of a happy future by her side announcing that her death would probably be inevitable. Anna had no words to describe the feeling of hopelessness and despair that invaded her soul. All she wanted to do was to run away, disappear, and probably build up the courage needed to abandon herself from the top of a cliff and let the ocean wash away the remains of her tortured life to the void of eternity. And Nei's loving embrace was so pleasurable that it was her ideal of spending the eternity, so Anna didn't dare to move or say a thing, trying to prolong that heavenly experience, that was fated to be unique. However, after a long time, her tears dried, and Nei tried to take Anna out of her gloomy mood, gently pulling her cheeks up, and greeting the blonde woman with the sweetest of the smiles.

“Anna...” Nei was staring her friend with a mixture of sadness and sweetness in the crimson hues of her wet eyes that almost caused Anna's heart to stop. The blond girl would not dislike it, because she would leave her life with the image of what she loved most imprinted in her mind. However, though the news had been overwhelming and Anna hadn't guessed the reason why Nei was telling her that, it should not be without purpose.

“So...?” Anna asked laconically. Unwillingly. As if avoiding the subject would change prevent the impending tragedy from happening.

“You must be strong, Anna.” Nei smiled, trying to encourage Anna to get out of her gloomy mood.

Anna shook her head. “How can I be so strong when you say that my biggest fear will come true, and I will lose what I cherish most in my life?”

The Numan tried to reason with her friend, but she knew it would be hard to tell her what she had in mind. Nei was surprised how bad Anna had took the news, but somehow, she still believed in Anna's emotional resilience. Maybe it had been just a mistake, a misjudgment on her part, and she expected more than Anna could deliver, but who else she could trust? From what she knew about Rudo, Amy, Hugh, Kain and Shir, they were all good and trustful comrades, but only Anna qualified to be the pillar to support everyone in the times of need. With all that love and affection stored inside her heart, the blonde soldier was one of those people who can work wonders in times of need, so the Numan insisted.

“I know, Anna, but I need you...”

“You know very well that I didn't want to connect with you because I didn't want to love and lose it again. And that is what you tell me that will happen. What did you expect from me now that I love you more than you will ever know?” Anna's response was harsh, although she wasn't angry with Nei. She was angry with herself. No matter how hard she tried, she always ended being powerless to save the ones she loved. Anna was a mere victim of fate.

“I know, Anna...” With a sweet smile, Nei helped Anna up, and made her sit by her side, taking Anna's hands into hers meanwhile, and staring intently into the blue eyes, which were bluer than ever. “I understand how you feel, but...” The Numan hesitated for a while, hoping that Anna, in her terrible state of mind, would not mistake her words and mistake the deep meaning of what she had to say. “But if you love me...”

“Of course I love you!” The blonde woman answered with the despair of the lovers who are confirming their feelings before bidding the last farewell, trying to reassure their loved ones in a few words that their feeling is an ever burning fire inside their souls.

“Anna, if I don't come back from the Climatrol, please, be the pillar, the upholder of the group. Be the one who will keep the group united when there are setbacks. Be the one who will comfort Rolf, because I know he will not be able to carry on without me...” Nei said so almost begging.


Nei didn't let her friend to speak, because she had already guessed which would be her objections. “I know everybody will be upset. Especially Kain and you. But I know my brother very well to know that, unlike you, he will want to throw it all in the air. Unlike you, he is sometimes reckless...”

“I'll throw it all...”

Anna tried to protest, but Nei, who was shaking her head, interrupted her. “I know you won't, my love. You are stronger than that. That is why I trust you, Anna.”

Nei had her serene smile Anna loved so much stamped in her face, and, in silence, the sparkle of her eyes said more than words would ever be able to say. Anna felt a warm feeling inside her chest, reassuring her she would be able to accomplish the mission the Numan had entitled hero. Because she loved Nei more than everyone she had ever loved before, and losing her would be another devastating blow to her wounded soul. But, unlike the other occasions she had lost everybody she loved, this time she had reasons to carry on. She had people who trusted and loved her. She had dear friends to support in times of need. Surely, her spiritual love towards Nei was unmatched, but Kain would suffer a great deal losing his sweetheart. He was the only one who believed his feelings towards the pretty Numan girl were secret, and despite her lack of experience in love, Anna could feel that there was more inside his heart than just infatuation. And there was also Rolf, who could not stand the thought of someone harming his sister. He was extremely protective, and even jealous of Nei. Besides, Anna knew that Rolf was on the verge of sending her away at the very beginning, when he considered the cold and eccentric ex-hunter could mean a threat to Nei's safety. If only he knew how much Anna loved Nei, he would love her with the same passion Anna loved his sister. But it didn't matter. She would have to forget about her feelings, and be stronger than ever. She knew she could do it again, forgetting about herself for a greater cause. And, above all, for the love of Nei.

Anna nodded. “I'll try, Nei. I swear to you I will.”

Nei embraced her friend tightly. “I knew I could trust you, Anna.” The embrace provided a pleasant feeling to the distraught guardian. The contact with her beloved friend gave Anna the ethereal sensation of absorbing part of Nei's soul, merging it with her own, for it seemed that Nei was giving herself completely to Anna. It was enough to cheer up Anna's spirits, because, contrary to the other tragedies of her life, she understood that her feeling for Nei was much more mature than the feelings she had for her parents, siblings and close friends in the past. After all those years, Anna had suffered a lot, but also learned a lot. And Nei's affection was a catalyst for her personal growth. After meeting the Numan girl, love became a completely different feeling for her, as if it was something new. She was feeling considerably more attuned to the spiritual world than in the past, so she could see that it didn't matter that she would not be able to live that loving relationship for the rest of her life. What was really important was that she was there, ready to love and be loved, freely and completely.

Besides, despite her sadness, deep inside her heart, Anna knew that it would not be the last time she would have the privilege of feeling Nei's love. She would ways carry it inside her heart as long as she lived, and she was hopeful to meet her beloved friend after her journey through the material world was finished. During some of her talks, Nei, who was not particularly religious, was interested in learning more about Anna's beliefs. And, though Nei was more curious than interested in understanding Anna's faith, one doubt consumed her mind. Because she was a result of an unnatural experiment, she wondered if, according to Anna's beliefs, she had a soul or not. Although Anna never doubted her friend had a soul, now she was sure Nei not only had a soul, but also had one of the purest and most holy souls to ever live.

And Anna knew it was not needed to say anything. They were so spiritually connected at that moment that it was as if both girls had become one. The embrace lasted for a long time, and none of the girls wanted it to be different. They both knew that, in silence, something was being built between them, for the eternity. Something that would make Nei fulfill her mission without regrets. And something that would make Anna be able to leave her tragic past behind, and carry on, doing her best to make other people lives happier, and working with all her strength to make all Nei's wishes to come true. Even in her absence, because she would always be present inside Anna's heart.

On the following day, the group left for their Climatrol raid. And the rest is story...
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