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Hitomi and Van's New Year's Kiss
It had been about six months since Hitomi had left Gaea and Van. Amano was returning from his study abroad just in time for New Year's. Yukari insisted that Hitomi accompany her to the airport. She could barely contain her excitement, and disturbed a few people on the train with her bounciness. Hitomi was excited too, but inside she was sad. As Amano stepped into the waiting area, Yukari ran to greet him with a huge hug. Hitomi lightly smiled and waved. She was happy to see two of her best friends reunited, but it made her miss Van terribly. Amano greeted Hitomi with a handshake. "Hitomi, are you okay?" Amano asked. She flashed a smile, "I'm fine." Yukari gave her the I-know-you-really-aren't-fine look. Hitomi sighed and grasped at the pendant she used to wear. *Oh Van, I miss you so much*
Snow covered all of Fanelia, but there was more than just the cold of the snow in the air. Van had been moping around the castle for weeks. Ever since Hitomi left in the pillar of light, Van had an air of melancholy about him and it had only gotten worse. Once Van's sole friend and companion, Merele's roll in his life changed with Hitomi's presence. Merele still deeply cared for Van and couldn't bear to see him so upset. She had been trying to lighten his spirits, but nothing was working. One day, in spite of already knowing the answer she asked, "Van-sama, what's wrong?" He clutched the pendant Hitomi gave him and sighed. In reply to his silence, "Its Hitomi isn't it." Van closed his eyes and slowly nodded. "I know she left months ago, but I can still hear her voice as if she was here," Van said after a long while. "Fanelia is growing again, but it's not the same without her. She is a part of all of this. She should be able to see all of this. She should be with me, yet I sit on this throne alone." Merele looked concerned. She felt helpless. Her affections only served to annoy Van these days, though he still accepted hugs from time to time. Van patted Merele on the head and went for a walk. He grabbed his cloak and headed to the palace forest. Everything glistened with a fresh dusting of snow. Van looked up at the immense figure that was Escaflowne. *Oh Escaflowne. What I would give to see Hitomi again.* He clutched the pendant and wished with all his heart.
Hitomi had left Yukari and Amano to be alone. As happy as she was for them, it was too much for her bear. She waited on the platform for the train to take her home. *Oh Van, I would give anything to see you again.* At that moment, the world seemed to stop, and a blinding bright light appeared around her. *Could it be?* When she was able to open her eyes, she blinked in disbelief. They embraced.
The sound of the incoming train startled Van, and he grabbed Hitomi much tighter. She took his hand and shuffled Van onto the train. "Van, try to stay calm and I'll get away from this craziness." Many strange looks were shot at Van on the train. Hitomi whispered in his ear telling him about trains to help try to calm him despite the major shock of being in a new world. After a seeming eternity, they finally arrived at Hitomi's local station. They briskly walked thru the snow-covered streets to her home.
Hitomi's mother had gone to visit Yuri so the house was empty. Once inside, Van relaxed. It was warm and quiet in the little home. The two of them finally had a moment's peace. Van wrapped his cloak and arms around Hitomi and they soon were asleep on the sofa. For the first time in months, both of them were content.
Hitomi rubbed her sleepy eyes and looked up at Van. He was happy. "Van, do you celebrate new years back on Gaea?" *he nodded* "Well tonight is New Year's Eve. At the stroke of midnight people all around will be celebrating. I am so glad you are here with me tonight." She leaned towards him. Their lips touched ever so gently. As they kissed the clock began to strike midnight. A warm glow appeared around them. Hitomi felt light, then she realized Van was leaving. She was tempted to go with him, but knew her place was here. They tightly embraced and exchanged one last kiss as the last stroke of midnight was heard. The light faded and he was gone.
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