I have finished writing this installment a long time ago, even before 'The Time of Our Life'. I don't know why I put it on hold.
Warning, because it's a bit different from usual, not that it lacks the usual angst-ness: hints of HyogaxShun (slash)
In this chapter: Hyoga thinks of his last private conversation with Shun, and regrets that he was not strong enough and keeps running away. [Set after 'Taking What is Ours'.]
He turned to the boy behind him. "What is it, Shun?"
"I was wondering if the five of us can go out together for dinner tonight. Or maybe tomorrow night."
The request was not something weird for Hyoga to hear, but it was the manner that Shun had that got his interest.
Shun was not looking at him, but rather looking down at their feet, for once in a long while not looking confident with himself.
The Cygnus Saint wondered why Shun did not mention this earlier, when they were training with Shaka and Camus.
As if reading his mind, Shun continued, "It has been quite some time since we spent time only five of us. I guess… I kind of miss it," Shun ended quietly, still not looking at him, his face red.
Hyoga let out a small smile. It has indeed been a long time since five of them; both of them, Seiya, Shiryu and Ikki spent time together. They were busy going around to many places, either for missions given by Athena, or just for leisure. Even when they were in Sanctuary, they were usually with some of the Gold Saints.
All in all, they did not get to see each other, like old times.
Sure, why not, was what Hyoga wanted to say, but then he remembered something that both Shiryu and Seiya told him earlier that day, before he went for training.
"I would love to, Shun," he could almost feel his heart breaking when he saw Shun's hopeful face, "but Shiryu told me he will be visiting Shunrei for a few days, and Seiya said he is going away with Seika too."
With that, the bright expression crumbled, just like what he feared. "I met Shiryu this morning, but he did not tell me anything," Shun said, his voice quieter than it was earlier.
'What happened to us, to get this seperated and far apart?' Hyoga could almost hear the question coming from the younger Saint. And thank Athena he did not voice it out loud, for even Hyoga could not answer him.
Hyoga walked closer to Shun, putting his hand on a small shoulder. "How about just three of us, then? You, me and Ikki."
Shun shook his head. "Brother said he won't come if there is no all of us. He said he would rather not waste his time."
'Typical Ikki,' Hyoga thought, still trying to think of a way to make Shun smile again. "Then, I guess we just have to find another time?"
Seeing the usually cheerful Shun did not perk up like he supposed to, Hyoga hugged him around his shoulders. "Hey, it's not like any of us are going anywhere, right?"
But instead of replying, Shun only hugged him back briefly, shocking the older boy. As he pulled back, the Andromeda was smiling again, though not usual happy smile.
'Something is bothering him…' Hyoga was about to ask when he heard a voice calling him. Looking up, he saw Milo was waiting for him on top of the stairs, looking impatient.
He was about to ask the Gold Saint to wait, but Shun pushed him forward and said with a smile, "Go ahead. You don't wait Milo to go berserk on you again, right?"
"We'll talk about this later, okay? Just two of us."
"There might not be enough time left…"
Hyoga thought it was only his imagination to hear that, yet as he turned back briefly, Shun was fisting his hands by his side, his face full with expression of sadness and resignation.
He did not have his chance to ask when Shun quickly walked to the Virgo Temple without looking back at him.
That was the last time they spoke with each other, only the two of them, before Shun made an announcement that shocked him out of his life.
Hyoga snapped out of his thoughts when he heard laughter coming from the Aquarius Temple. Milo is visiting again, he thought absent-mindedly.
Camus has invited him to join them, though he knew his student would most probably decline.
Hyoga knew his Master was worried about him, but even until now he did not have the heart to lie that he was fine.
Why lie, when it was obvious he was not fine?
Ikki had just returned to Sanctuary a week ago, and judging by his face he had some talk with his brother that did not seem to go quite well.
Yes, he could guess where the Phoenix Saint had gone to.
Aiolia took his charge from his brother swiftly and the two had been together since then. It seemed that Aiolia had talked some sense into the younger Saint, and Ikki had been fairly calmed since coming back.
Everything was slowly turning to normal around Sanctuary. Except him.
He noticed the way Camus, Seiya, Shiryu, Miss Saori, even Milo looked at him nowadays. They knew there was something wrong with him, but they were also aware that he needed to solve this on his own.
He clenched his fists. How could everyone move on so easily in their life? Even since Shun left, his life had never been the same, yet to others nothing seemed to change.
How could they easily dismiss Shun's existence in their life?
He closed his eyes in irritation, as he remembered what happened just yesterday.
He looked up to see Seiya in front of him, looking sheepishly out of character. "What is it, Seiya?"
"I was thinking, since Ikki is back, want to hang out together? Four of us?"
'From where had I heard this before?'
"I mean, it's been a long time since we just hang around, not doing anything specific. Want to do it? Like old times."
Shun, he thought, Shun had asked for the same thing the time they were alone together after training.
"How come there can be 'old times' when there are only four of us, Seiya?"
He stood up from where he was sitting, towering over the confused Saint. "Shun is no longer here, Seiya. How can we do it 'like old times' when one of us is not even here?"
Seiya's confused eyes turned clear. "There's nothing we can do about that, Hyoga. The least we can do is to move on and—"
"I can't do that!"
He ignored the younger boy. "I can't! I can't just forget that Shun does not exist in our life anymore. Nothing is ever the same. How can you easily forget about one of your closest friends, Seiya?"
Seiya only looked at him for a long while. He then shook his head, and turned his back at him. "Shun is not just a friend, Hyoga. He is a family, and will always be. There's no way I can ever forget about him. But I've decided to move on with my life, even without him here, because I don't want him to feel as if he had hurt us by leaving."
"And maybe he did, but we had hurt him too by not being us when he needed us to be.
Besides, Shun himself has moved on with his life."
Seiya left, leaving the anguished Saint alone.
He held his head in his hands, still trying to get the conversation out of his mind.
He knew; he damn knew it was not easy for the rest to move on. But they had to, else Shun would get hurt, and Shun was hurt enough as it was.
He wondered why he did not offer to stay with Shun that day, when it was obvious that Shun was in need of a friend; to listen to him, to talk to him, to tell him everything is alright, to be by his side. To be, once again, a family.
And even if there was only him, surely that was more than enough for Shun to know that they indeed, no matter where they were or what they were doing, still cared.
If only… If only he showed that he indeed cares, then Shun might not be feeling guilty and hurt when making the most important decision in his life.
He was not there; Hyoga was not there when Shun had made up his mind, nor he was the one that was consulted.
If he was there, would these feeling of hurt, guilt and resignation still exist? Would he finally be able to move on with life and face the fact that Shun is no longer here with them; with him?
"Why did you do this, Shun? Don't you care about all of us?"
"I do, Hyoga. That's why I'm doing this."
"Why…" 'Why didn't you tell us earlier?'
"But I understand if you don't want to know."
"I…" 'I want to, but how can I tell you that, Shun?'
"I'm sorry for not telling you earlier. I'm really sorry for hiding this from you, Hyoga."
'No… I'm sorry for not being there for you.'
'I'm sorry Shun, for not telling you I care for you more than anything else in this world that still matters.'
A/N: … Oops. So someone is feeling lost after Shun had left and we're not talking about Ikki here. Not just lost, but also being angry at the world around him.
Thank you for reading.