A Vanguard Bandits fanfic
by Keith LaMothe
Stretching, all the way out, beyond the vision of the eye of eyes.. but was it stretching?
No, more akin to flowing, over the sheer surface of reality.. or was it?
Whatever it was, it was green, very green.. and then I saw the lines..
Grass.. lots and lots of grass.. then flowers and trees.. a verdant paradise..
Detail at once was before me, every blade, every petal, every leaf..
Even the glinting early light through the morning dew.. every angle, every facet..
Then it all began to change, all fading.. or was it? Maybe it was being drawn..
Collected.. called upon.. to form.. something? .. soon it was all black..
Serene, Tranquil, Black..
And then, there was something even more incredible.. that one.. true.. kiss..
"Morning, cutie," Cecilia whispered softly to Bastion, then smiled warmly.
Smiling back, he lay there a moment, his eyes speaking his love for her, then rose with her to begin the day, another wonderfully pleasant day..
Soon they were having breakfast together, but he still felt as if in his dream, and time passed by..
A small portion of lucidity returned to him as he finished the meal, and he gazed across the table at her, finding her in a similar daze..
After a moment, they joined hands and left their cabin, to walk to the nearby promontory.. to look over the cliff at the view they had so come to enjoy..
"Ok, you first," he said, somewhat surprised at the words, but she understood nonetheless.
"Thinking.. lots of thinking, that's most of what I've been doing since we went to sleep.. about you, mostly.. but also something different, something I don't quite understand.. no, that I don't understand in the slightest.. you?"
"We are so different, yet so similar.. such is life, I suppose.. I thought of you, and something else, I know so little else of the latter though.."
"Just now, as we awakened, I felt as if in a world all it's own.. just me.. nothing else.. then you were there, as if nothing could keep us separate.." she suddenly laughed softly, causing him to glance inquisitively at her.
"Oh, sorry.. I was just thinking how grandly ironic that last bit was.. I was taught of the perfect calm as I became a ninja.. it is the ideal detachment.. so that nothing stands between one and the mission.."
"And the irony?"
"One of the things the calm is directed most strongly against is love.. yet it seemed even more sublime when my love for you broke through.."
At this, he laughed softly as well, then smiled.
Almost simultaneously, they noticed a black shape on another cliff, it kneeled, stood, and was gone again.
"Cecilia.. having spoken of it.. do you suppose?"
"No, that was not one, for various reasons.. there are nearly infinite ways, I suppose.. but it seems very unlikely to be.. that.."
He began to speak, but found all fading.. and then was claimed by the black, the
Serene, Tranquil, Black..
The last he felt was her warm embrace..
Her gentle hand ran through his hair as he again drank of consciousness.. she marveled again at what a wellspring of change he was, for so much.. and for her..
"Apologies," said a voice of unfamiliar tone and location.. as such, she had a dagger pointed at that location within the second.
"I mean no harm, ninja," came the voice again, this time she could see the white robed figure.
She was about to ask for elaboration, when Bastion sat up and did it for her.
"Then what are you here for? and why apologize?"
"Apologies for the effect of my presence, I was not aware you had lost possession of Gratia.. having bonded with it, you are susceptible to the unchecked emanations of my kind."
Bastion didn't fully understand, but was getting used to that kind of thing, "Why are you here?"
"I must locate Zulwarn, you are the two to have defeated it last, do you know where it is?"
Feeling a sudden surge of something like anger, Bastion took a moment to respond
"Why the hell should I tell you?"
Letting the anger subside somewhat, the figure replied "I speak with the most holy honesty when I say that I mean no harm to the world, and am here to be certain that Zulwarn will never rise again."
It seemed ludicrous to trust someone so mysterious with information so secret, but Bastion felt only truth and kindness coming from the figure.. "Zulwarn was disassembled, then the pieces were smashed, some thrown into a volcano on an island south of the continent, others deeply buried in various places.. we made sure."
"And the stone?"
"Indestructible, so it is sealed with Gratia in Dionne-Lehue, they cancel each other's power.. it is nearly inconceivable that either could be used, or even retrieved."
"Thank you, I am at ease now, all has been done.. and I must apologize again.. for in the past I did grievous things to you two.. I can never truly atone for those sins."
Both of them felt very confused for a moment, then strangely enlightened.. Cecilia spoke first, "What's done is done.. whomever you are.. but I would like for you to leave now.."
Not offended, the robed figure nodded, and turned, leaving without another word.
"My love, do strange things ever stop happening around us?"
"No, Bastion, they don't.. but it sure does make things interesting sometimes," she said with a giggle, then laid down beside him, "How often extremes do beget one another.."
It took a moment for the truth of that to really sink in for him, then another several moments for all the multitudes of it's recent examples.. then he smiled and kissed her, purely because he wanted to.. "In either case, I am suddenly very tired.."
Smiling warmly, she whispered softly "Sleep well, my love.."
Again there was that paradise.. and the detail.. and then, irrevocably, the black.
This time though, it did not end there.. for I plunged deep into the black.. and saw before me the purest of chaos.. of madness..
Description is defied.. but it seemed so calm.. save for that which formed the center..
Even it, though, seemed to belong more than I.. but I could make no headway to the surface through which I had passed..
I felt no fear, however, as I had that which was above all.. and it did come for me..
That one.. true.. kiss..