Authors Notes:Shun and Hyoga ended up being written out of the reunion scene. They're there in the anime but since all they do is turn up, then get knocked out by Aioria, I decided not to included them.
Summary:The thirteenth part of my 'What if Aiolos survived?' fic.
By mid afternoon Seiya was in the hospital. He was still hurt, but the staff had assured them all that the Pegasus Saint would be fine. It didn’t stop Saori and the others from worrying, but it did help some. They had all gathered in the Pegasus Saints room. He was still unconscious, and Saori had been fussing over him for since they had got here.
Aiolos half wanted to tell her they should go home and rest but that was mostly for his own comfort. Now all the danger and adrenaline was gone, his body was beginning to complain about the abuse that it had suffered. When I first became a Saint I would even have noticed all that abuse. My training was much tougher than that! But I guess this is the price I have to pay for not being diligent enough in my training.
Shun had mention Ikki, and they had been talking about it when suddenly Saori, fussing over Seiya, looked up and gasped.
“Saori?” Shun asked as Aiolos took a step forward. The young goddess shook her head.
“I think….that Ikki might be in danger. Someone with a dark cosmo is hunting him…” She trailed off then blinked as if she had just come out of a daze. Aiolos was already by her side.
“Ni-sans in trouble?” The replies from the other two Saints in the room came at almost the same time.
“Are you sure about this?” He asked her and received a nod in reply. He turned to the Andromeda Saint. “Shun can you think of any place that Ikki might have gone?”
“I looked everywhere I could think of when Ni-san took the Sagittarius Cloth but I didn’t find anything….he might have gone back to that valley but I’m not sure…” Shun was looking worried.
“Death Queen Island…” Saori’s voice cut across their conversation. “I think that’s where he went.” They all looked after for a second, then Aiolos nodded trusting in his goddess.
“Do you know where it is?” He asked everyone. There was a mass shaking of heads.
“Tatsumi knows. He’s the one that sent everyone off…I’ll ask him.” Saori turned and half ran out of the room. Aiolos was tempted to go with her but reminded himself that Tatsumi was right outside the door.
“Why do you think Sanctuary is after Ni-san?” Shun said worriedly.
“I wonder how they found him?” Hyoga asked at the same time. Both Saints turned to look at Aiolos who sighed.
“I have no idea as to the how, but as to the why…” He paused. “By now Saga knows that Athena is back, and that you know the truth. Like me, he wants you dead to make sure that he can get at Athena and that his deception remains. Since Ikki is alone it would be easier to go after him first.”
“Ni-san.” Shun muttered worried.
“Don’t worry.” Aiolos assured him. “This is Ikki. He’s stronger than any Silver Saint. I doubt there’s anyone that Saga will send after him.” Unless he sends one of the Gold Saints….but it’s unlikely he would waste that much effort on a Bronze Saint, not matter how powerful he is. Aiolos was careful to not mention that to Shun though. He didn’t see the point in making the younger Saint worry more than he was already.
Saori returned just then a sheepish looking Tatsumi behind her.
“Apparently we don’t know the exact location of Death Queen Island.” His goddess said. “We know the general area but we can’t seem to pinpoint it with our satellites.”
“I thought you knew where it was. Didn’t you take Ikki there?” Aiolos addressed the butler.
“Did you think I would actually set foot on a place called Death Queen Island!?” Tatsumi in a shocked tone.
“The Master had arrangements at a village not far from the island. They were the ones who brought supplies to that cursed place. They took the children there too, so I just turned Ikki over to them!”
“But we know the region it’s in. I’m sending a plane to scout out the location.” Saori added.
“Good idea, just tell them to be careful. Any Saint, even false ones like the black Saints, will have no trouble taking down a mere plane or helicopter.” Saori nodded then turned and left to make the phone call. Aiolos sighed. “What are you two going to do?” He asked the younger Saints. They looked at each other.
“We’ll stay with Seiya until he wakes up.” Shun said while Hyoga nodded in agreement. Aiolos smiled at them.
“You do that then.” He said, and left. Finding Saori was easy, she hadn’t even left the hotel yet. She didn’t say anything when he dropped into step behind her. The car that Tatsumi had summoned was already waiting to take them over to the command center.
Once there Saori got into a brief argument with the captain of the ship who was nearest the area about sending one of the helicopters out.
“And I told you, that area is dangerous! I’m not putting one of my men in harms way to find an island that can’t be found on any maps!” The man was saying hotly. Aiolos was annoyed with him for not listening to Saori, but the same time he could almost understand where the man was coming from.
“Even if it’s not on any maps, the island can still be found….” Saori had looked down at a map of the area they had been searching for. “here.” She said dropping her finger down on a certain point. “There’s a a strange, powerful, cosmo in that spot.” Someone else was telling the captain the coordinates, and the man snorted.
“Fine, I’ll send someone out here. But if we don’t find anything, I’m calling them back.”
“Very well.” Saori said. “But please hurry.” The communication channel clicked off. Aiolos frowned. Saori looked…pale.
“Are you alright? You’ve been through a lot recently, maybe you should get some rest?” The Sagittarius Saint said worriedly.
“I’ll be alright Ni-chan.” His goddess smiled. “Besides, even if I wanted I don’t think would be able to rest. Not when Seiya’s still injured and Ikki’s in danger.” Aiolos was about to point out that it wasn’t any worse than what they had been through before, but the look in her eyes booked no argument. He kept silent.
It took a few hours for the information to get back. Once it did, Saori sent someone to tell the Bronze Saints about it. About the man called Jango, how he had taken over Death Queen Island and was now using the Black saints to cause chaos around the world. It was a sobering thought, but they really did not have time to deal with it. Even he was acting under Saga’s orders, Jango and his Black saints just weren’t that big of a threat. If Ikki hadn’t been involved, Aiolos would probably have told Saori to ignore them. The Black Saints didn’t appear to be even paying attention to what Saori was doing, and that suited him just fine.
A call from the hospital came in just then informing them that Seiya had regained consciousness.
“Shall we go check on him?” He said to Saori. Much to his relief she nodded. It would be nice for her to get her mind off this, even if it was only for a few moments.
However, although the ride to the hospital was uneventful, once they reached there she paused.
“Ni-chan…when Hyoga and Shun go to assist Ikki, I want to go as well.”
“What!?” For a second Aiolos was so stunned he froze in mid-step then he hurried to catch up to her. “You can’t ! You don’t know how to fight, you’ll be defenseless…”
“I don’t plan on fighting.” Saori said calmly. “But I will be riding with them. I want to at least be closer to the island.”
“But….!” To willing get close to a place where their enemies lurked and put herself in so much danger. Aiolos wanted to keep her away from there, but he had a feeling that she wasn’t going to listen to him about this. She wanted to be near her Saints, something he couldn’t fault her for, but he didn’t have to like how far she was willing to go to do so.
Further conversation was stopped but shouts up ahead. Seiya, awake and full dressed, was trying to push his way out the door even though Shun and Hyoga were trying to hold him back. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what Seiya was trying to do.
Saori rushed over to try and stop him from going to Death Queen Island but the Pegasus Saint claimed that he had to repay Ikki for rescuing him, regardless of his own injuries. He also brushed away Saori’s warnings about the Cosmo on the island. Instead he pushed past her and ran down the hall. Aiolos sighed, knowing that nothing he could say would stop either Seiya or Saori from going.
“Saori..” He sighed. “At least promise me you’ll stay on the boat.”
A helicopter had been waiting to pick them up. Saori had even had the their Cloths brought to them, although Aiolos didn’t don his. He wouldn’t have been able to even if had wanted to wear his anyway. The wings of the Sagittarius cloth looked very impressive, but they were damned inconvenient at times. Especially when he was trying to fit in small spaces….like say the inside of helicopter.
They reached the boat in good time. The Captain was waiting to greet them when the exited the helicopter.
“We’ll have the island in site in a few minuets.” He told them. “I’ve called in a two other ships for backup. There’s strange rumors about these waters and I would rather not find out if they’re true or not.”
“Ojou-san!” Seiya called from behind them. He was half hanging out of the helicopter grinning broadly. “We’re going on ahead!”
“Be careful!” Saori tired to yell as the helicopter took off. Aiolos wasn’t sure they Pegasus Saint heard, but he did wave back rather cheerfully.
It seemed to take forever to get the island in sight. They rode at anchor as they waited for the battle to finish. Aiolos tried to following the battle by the Cosmos of Seiya and the others, but soon stopped. They ones on the island where barely stronger than those of the Black Saints Ikki had commanded. Warriors who had been able to take care of Silver Saints would defeat them easily. Instead he focused on the faint Cosmo Saori much have been sensing. This close even he could feel it. It was a very dark cosmo, but for some reason if felt slightly familiar. It can’t him though …..
Suddenly there was a massive surge of cosmo, and something bright struck the island. All doubts Aiolos had about who the culprit had been were washed away. Saga! Almost as soon as the thought had formed in his head, one of the volcanoes on the island erupted, sending fiery streams of lava into the air. Several smaller volcanoes on the island erupted too, turning the whole island a fiery red. Saori gasped and rushed toward the front of the boat.
Explosion were still going off in the sky. After a minuet or so Aiolos, blinked, then rubbed his eyes. But the vision in front of him did not change. Death Queen Island was sinking into the sea. But Seiya and the others are still…..!
Before he could really start to worry though, he felt the presence of a powerful cosmo at his side. He turned to find Saori glowing softly. She was gazing at the sky, and her followed her eyes and saw four glowing orbs floating away from the ruins of Death Queen Island. He swallowed. It was one thing to know that you served a living Goddess, to be told that she had saved your life. It was another thing entirely to witness her performing a miracle with your own eyes.
The orbs floated near the ship, then almost seemed to pop, dumping four slightly confused Saints into the ocean. Saori swayed slightly, and Aiolos grabbed her elbow. Behind him men were already throwing lifelines to the Saints. Beside him Athena took a deep breath turned, and walked toward her Saints. He watched her, the feeling of awe not leaving him. This was the goddess he served.
The trip home was uneventfully, and they returned to their temporary lodgings late. Everyone went to bed almost immediately.
When he awoke the next morning Aiolos felt as if he had gone back in time to his first day of training. His body was almost as sore now as it had been then. The muscles in his left arm had stiffened so badly he could barely move it. It was painful to go through even the most basic of exercises. I really am out of condition, aren’t I?
“Aki..Aiolos-san?” Shun’s soft voice cut through his thoughts. Aiolos looked up. He had been practicing in the back gardens like usual, and although he knew someone had been there he hadn‘t really been paying attention to them. The maids and other help tended to come watch him and he was used it by now.
“What is it Shun?” He flexed his left hand again, then winced as it sent a tremor of pain up the arm.
“Are you alright? You look like your in pain….” The Andromeda Saint asked. Aiolos winced. That noticeable, huh?
“I’m fine.” He said in answer to the younger Saints question.
“It’s alright.” Aiolos smiled ruefully. “I’m just twice your age and hadn’t seen a serious battle in nearly thirteen years. “ He flexed his hand and winced. “My body just forgot what it feels like to be a Saint.”
“Oh.” Shun looked somewhat relived. “I forgot about that. I thought you had gotten hurt yesterday or something.”
“Oh, I’m fine. My Cloth made sure that I didn’t take an serious damage. It’s just that there are no Gold Saints to spar with here and I‘m a little out of condition.” He said reassuringly, then grinned. “You want to spar with me?”
“Me?” Shun said startled. “But…”
“It’ll just be for a few minuets? I need the practice, Shun.” Aiolos said as he dropped into a fighting stance. Shun hesitated, then sighed.
“Alright.” The Andromeda Saint shifted into a stance of his own .
Their match didn’t last as long as Aiolos would have liked. The clouds that had been hanging over head had turned black and thunder had started to growl. They had been forced to stop and retreat inside before the rains started.
“Shun, Akira-san!” They had barely even entered the house when Seiya’s called out to the Andromeda Saint
“Seiya?” Shun turned toward his friend. “What’s the matter?”
“Have either you guys heard from Shiryu?” The Pegasus Saint’s rather direct question startled Aiolos. Wouldn’t he be the first to know if they got word from the Dragon Saint….?
“No…” Shun said puzzled.
“Oh.” Seiya seemed to deflate. “I though there would be a message from Shiryu when we got back but for some reason there’s nothing!”
“It’s only been two days Seiya!” Aiolos laughed.
“But I though maybe Roshi……” Seiya trailed off.
“Even Roshi can’t perform miracles.” The younger Saint glared at him and Aiolos forced himself to continue. “Besides even if Shiryu does recover, there’s no guarantee he’ll be in time to help us.”
“So your on his side!?” Seiya half shouted and stomped away from them.
“His side?” Aiolos asked confused.
“Ni-san keep saying we should give up on Shiryu.” Shun explained.
“Ah.” It made sense that the Phoenix Saint was playing devils advocate. Aiolos was just relived he wouldn’t have to do it. As much as he wanted the Dragon Saint to come back, they would have to face the possibility that he wouldn’t be ready to join them in time. Their responsibility as Saints was to protect Athena, and he the thought even Shiryu would be the first to admit that someone who could not fulfill that duty was useless.
Shun went off after Seiya and Aiolos decided to go look for Saori. He found her in one of the studies upstairs. She smiled when he walked in then abruptly frowned.
“Are you alright Ni-chan?” She asked, unknowingly echoing Shun’s question. Am I really moving that stiffly?
“I’m fine.” He said out loud. “Just a little sore.” He sat down on one of the chairs. “Has Seiya been up bugging you yet?”
“You mean about that the fact that we have no news from Shiryu?” Saori stood and went to the window. “He’s already been here, but we haven’t heard anything from them.”
“I didn’t think there would be.” Aiolos leaned his head back against the chair and stared up at the ceiling. “It’s just too soon.”
“Seiya wants Shiryu to fight by his side again.” Saori turned to look at him. “What do you think his chances are, Ni-chan?”
“Honestly?” The Sagittarius Saint straightened up. “Not very. I don’t think even a Gold Saint can cure blindness. Besides, even if he does recover, we don’t know if it will be in time to help us.”
“Isn’t that rather pessimistic Ni-chan?”
“My first priority is your safety.” He said firmly. “And that means, no matter my personal feelings on the subject, I must see things realistically.”
“That’s fine Ni-chan but don’t you think that…” Shouting out side interrupted Saori. Aiolos sighed when he recognized Seiya’s voice.
“I had better go see what’s going on.” He stood up.
“I’ll go too.” Saori said firmly. He nodded and they exited the room.
The arrived at the top of the stairs to hear the end of the argument and see Ikki leaving. Seiya, apparently not content to sit around any longer had decided that he would go to Mu to see if he could thinking of cure Shiryu.
Saori called out to the Pegasus Saint but did not stop him from leaving, only cautioned him not to judge Ikki to harshly. Aiolos didn’t say anything either. He knew, more than anyone else, how frustrating it was not to be able to act. He wasn’t sure if even Mu could help, but this would help Seiya feel like he was accomplishing something.
A few hours later Aiolos found himself in the room that Saori had had all their cloths moved into, contemplating the golden box that held his. It was part of a puzzle Aiolos hadn’t been able to figure out yet.
“Aiolos-san?” The Sagittarius Saint turned and saw Hyoga standing right outside the door. “What are you doing? You’ve been in her for over an hour.”
“Thinking.” The older Saint answers absently. “And trying to figure out just what Saga’s up to.”
“Ah” The Cygnus Saint came to stand by him. “Something about our cloths?”
“It’s about my Cloth at least.” He frowned. “Saga has to know I’m alive by now. He should have been able to sense my Cosmo when I called my Cloth back to me. But for some reason he hasn’t told anyone yet. I’m already a traitor in they eyes of Sanctuary, and no one would doubt him if said that I had corrupted you Bronze Saints. But, none of the assassins he sent seemed to know that I was here.”
“Why would be keep if from them?”
“I wish I had an answer to that. Even if the Silver Saints weren’t willing to go after me, there are still eleven other Gold Saints that he could send .” Aiolos narrowed his eyes. “I almost wonder why he hasn’t sent them yet. It’s not like him to underestimate people.”
In the end Seiya returned after two days. Aiolos and Saori where in the hall when the Pegasus Saint came in.
“What did Mu say?” Aiolos asked. Seiya looked annoyed.
“He wasn’t there.” He said moodily, then brightened. “But I managed to find something just as good! Kiki’s bringing it to Shiryu to he should be here in a few days!”
“What did you find…?” Aiolos started to ask, but trailed off when he realized the Pegasus Saint was swaying slightly. “Seiya?” He said worriedly, right as the younger Saint collapsed.
“Seiya!” Saori was at his side before Aiolos was. “He’s got a fever, Ni-chan!”
“I’m fine!” Seiya struggled to his feet and stood there, half swaying.
“You are not.” Aiolos said firmly. “Your exhausted and your still wounded. It doesn’t matter how good a Saint you are, your body is going to give out if you don’t rest.” Believe me, I know that first hand. But I didn’t have time too then, not when I was afraid most of Sanctuary was after me and I was the only person who was able to save Athena. “You should get the hospital and have your wounds looked at. Whatever you were doing left you in pretty bad shape.”
“I’m fine!” The Pegasus Saint insisted.
“You are not. Your going back to the hospital, now.”
Getting Seiya to the hospital hadn’t been as hard as Aiolos thought it would be. Although he had protested, Aiolos had to physically drag him to the car, once inside he had stopped his complaining and only grumbled a bit.
The next morning Aiolos realized one of the reasons Seiya had been so calm about staying with the hospital last night was because he wasn’t going to stay there.
“I’m going to go pay Seiya a visit.” He told Saori before he left the headquarters. Saori was still trying to gather information about Sanctuary through her technology, something Aiolos kept telling her was useless. Still, it was something for her to do. “If he’s anything like me, he won’t like being forced to sit around all day.” Saori smiled slightly.
“That sounds like Seiya. You go ahead, Ni-chan, I’ll join you after I finish up a few things.”
“Alright.” He turned to leave then paused. “Saori, try not to leave this place without Hyoga or Shun along. I don’t want something to happen to you again.”
“I’ll be careful.” She smiled.
By his standards the walk to the hospital didn’t take long. When he arrived there, a surprising amount of people milling around.
“….heard he jumped out the window, but they haven’t found the body yet.” Someone was saying. “The windows shattered but he’s nowhere to be found.” The words sparked some interested in Aiolos, mostly because there wouldn’t be a body if the person in question happened to a Saint perfectly capable of jumping out a window several stories up and walking away unharmed….. Seiya…did you really want out of here that badly?
Then something touched the edges of his senses, his eyes widened as he focused and felt the flare of several Cosmos around the back of the hospital. Once was Seiya’s but the other was an unknown, and clearly hostile. Dammit! He darted out of the hospital and ran around the back. There was a wooded area here, and that was where the cosmos were coming from. He was almost to it, when the appearance of an immensely powerful cosmo stunned him. It was from a Gold Saint, Aiolos knew within seconds. The Cosmo of a Gold Saint always felt different from those of the lesser Saints because of the seventh sense, but this one didn’t stop him because of that, it stunned him because the feel of this Cosmo was familiar. His thoughts flitted through the various Gold Saints he knew and but he didn’t know who it was….until he realized that the last time he had felt he cosmo it’s owner hadn’t even been a Gold Saint.
Can’t be…..Aioria! Emotions warred within Aiolos. He had though he had been prepared to face his brother, but now that here….he couldn’t pinpoint one emotion. Fear, happiness, guilt, pride…..all the emotions that he had suppress in the past came rushing up. Then his scattered mind came together and he realized the only reason Aioria would come to Japan was if he was ordered too. Haven’t you tormented me enough Saga? Why do you have to involve Aioria in your schemes!? He took off toward his brother, hoping that he hadn’t coming for Seiya, and hoping that he would be in time to stop his little brother.
He felt the rise and fall of the cosmos but was too busy track them to try and figure out exactly what was going on. At least Seiya’s was still there, which meant that nothing had happened to Pegasus yet. The other hostile cosmo that had first drawn him here faded, but didn’t totally disappear. He was getting close when suddenly three new cosmos appeared. Or more like flared suddenly. He hadn’t noticed them before because of Aioria’s cosmo, but they were there, and much to close to Aioria. At least he caught sight of them. He didn’t know the Saint that was looming over Seiya, and frankly he didn’t care who he was. Luckily for him the other Saint was so focused on his prey that he didn’t see Aiolos, at least until the Gold Saints kick slammed him into a tree.
“Akira-san!” Came from a Seiya…and from behind him came a strangled gasp. Aiolos chanced quick glance backward. It was Aioria, older, taller, and looking so much like him it was scary. He had gone pale, and was staring at back him with a strange mixture of shock and hope on his face.
“Who are you?” One of the strange Saints demanded, forcing his attention back to the fight. There was a surge of annoyance. He wanted to talk to Aioria, not deal with these men.
“Sagittarius Aiolos.” He said shortly. The other Saints, he thought they were Silvers by their power and their cloth although he wasn’t sure, froze, then quickly glance between Aioria and him. Before had left Sanctuary everyone had been commenting on how much Aioria looked like a younger Aiolos. Now that they were both grown…. One of the Silver Saints suddenly gave him a rather nasty grin.
“We we’re suppose to make sure Aioria didn’t betray the Pope. We never imagined he would lead his straight to his traitor brother!” He crowed.
“Since he didn’t know I was alive, I very much doubt he could have lead you anywhere.” Aiolos said slowly, trying to control is own anger. Although he knew that Saga would look at Aioria as a threat, that he would actually send mere Silver Saints to try and keep his brother in line made him angry. Apparently Saga had been trying to make it clear to the other Saints that Aioria was little more than a traitor that hadn’t yet done anything.
“And you are going to leave. Now.” That was all the warning he was going to give. They might have been sent here for Aioria but they had just showed that they were willing to take out anyone else Saga had singled out as ‘traitor’….and that would most certainly include Saori.
“Who said we have to listen to you?” One of them hissed, and ran at him. Aiolos dodge his attack, then barely managed to avoid the punch that the other Saint through at him. Blood dripped from the cut the merest graze had caused. There was no time for him to call his Cloth and without it he was vastly outmatched. He had to finish this now.
The Silver Saints charged at him again, but this time he didn’t move.
“ATOMIC THUNDER BOLT!” The attack hit one of the approaching Saints head on, and the blast knocked the Saints into each other, then through a tree. There was silence for a moment, then the second Saint, wounded but still alive, stood.
“You, will pay for that!” He growled.
“PEGASUS RYU SEI KEN!” Seiya’s punches slammed into the Silver Saint. Aiolos looked over at the Bronze Saint in surprise. He hadn’t even known that he had healed enough to perform that move.
“Are you alright?” The Sagittarius Saint asked. Seiya smiled.
“I’m fine that was not…Akira-san look out!”
Aiolos whirled around to find the big Saint he had kicked earlier, almost on top of him. This is going to hurt. Part of his mind registered as he saw the Saint’s fist heading towards him.
“LIGHTING BOLT!” An explosion of golden lights hit the Saint. Aiolos watched as his enemy was blown upwards then fell to earth and lay still. Slowly Aiolos turned his head to find Aioria frozen in an attack stance with a surprised look on his face, as if he wasn’t sure what he had just done.
“Thank you.” Aiolos said softly. Aioria jumped slightly then straightened up.
“….Your welcome.” He said hesitantly. “Aiolos Ni-san…..is it really you?”
“Yes.” Aiolos couldn’t help smiling. “It’s good to see you little brother….although suppose you aren’t so little now are you?” Aioria didn’t move, just stood staring at him.
“You can’t be, your dead. Shura said you where dead and he doesn’t lie. Even the Pope said you were dead..” He said dazedly.
“Shura was wasn‘t trying to lie.” Aiolos smiled. “He just happened to be wrong. But believe me, it’s only because of a miracle that it happens to be a lie.”
“That’s what I was trying to tell you!” Seiya interrupted. “I told you Aki…Aiolos-san was still alive! You’re the one who didn’t believe me!”
“How?” Aioria whispered. “You had over half of Sanctuary including all the Saints after you? You have to be a ghost, a specter or something.” Aiolos reached up and whipped a finger along the cut he had received earlier.
“Ghosts don’t bleed Aioria.” He said. His younger brother stared at him, then did something totally unexpected. The Leo Saint rushed forward and hugged his brother as hard as he could. It lasted only about a second or so but it touched Aiolos deeply.
“Your crying Aioria.” He teased.
“So are you Ni-san!” Aiolos hadn’t even noticed the saltwater running down his cheeks until it had been pointed out. He shook his head.
“You started it.” He said cheerfully, then stopped. Aioria had taken a step back and was staring at him dry eyed.
“Why Ni-san?” Aioria asked, looking down. “Why did you betray everyone like that!?” Aioria looked up, hurt in his eyes.
“You just ran off and left me, left everyone! You didn’t even say anything to me, it was the Saints that came looking for you that told me your where a traitor, that you tried to kill Athena! Everyone said that you were the most loyal Saint of us all! Why, Ni-san!?”
“Do you honestly thing I would betray Athena?” Aiolos said quietly. Aioria froze.
“But you disappeared….and then everyone was saying how you had to betrayed Sanctuary! You were supposed to have died trying to kill Athena!”
“Aioria, have I ever said anything that made you believe, even for a moment that I would harm our goddess?” Aiolos said patiently. “And I know your too smart to believe in something that goes against what you know to be true.”
“I don’t want to Ni-san! But you have to admit….”
“No matter what I would never hurt Athena.” Aiolos said firmly. “A Saints duty is to protect her. Why would I want to cause her harm?”
“But…you betrayed Sanctuary!” Aioria protested.
“I said Athena, not Sanctuary. And on that day thirteen years ago they became two different things.”
“How!? Athena is in Sanctuary, and the Pope speaks for her! How can they be different?” Aioria looked so confused, and unsure of himself that Aiolos couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sympathy.
“If Athena is there, then why has no one seen here? What would cause her to hide from even her most loyal Saints?” Aiolos asked.
“Because of what happened thirteen years ago.” Aioria answered. “The Pope says she has to remain out of harms way until the holy war.”
“So, she’s not allowed to see even her Gold Saints?”
“Of course because one…betrayed her.” Aioria looked away.
“Then why isn’t Shura, who proved his loyalty, allowed to see her? Or what about you and the other Gold Saints, the ones who were still in training when everything happened?”
“Me?” Aioria laughed bitterly. “The brother of a traitor? They would never let me near her! As for the others…..” Aioria trailed off. “What does it matter!” He exploded. “I want to believe you Ni-san, I really do! But how can I when I don’t know what you…” Aioria did not finish. The approach of a sudden massive cosmo silenced.
“Then believe in your brother Aioria.” Saori’s voice cut through the air and startled both of them. Aiolos turned to her startled.
“When did…..?” He stammered.
“Just now, Aiolos.” The use of his name startled him. She had been calling him Ni-chan even after everything….did this mean that she was speaking as Athena now? When he saw the expression on her face and realized that was what it had to be.
“Saori-san, you should be here! It’s dangerous!” Seiya cried. Aiolos had forgotten that the Pegasus Saint was even there. He didn’t want to agree with the warning, it was Aioria after all, but since he still hadn’t convinced his brother….
“Saori?” Aioria frowned. “So she’s Kido? The one who…”
“What your mouth Aioria.” Aiolos snapped. “Your speaking to Athena.”
“What!?” His brother looked back and forth between Aiolos and Saori. “You expect me to believe…..”
“She is Athena. That is the truth. Whether you believe it or not is irrelevant….I will protect her. Even if that means protecting her from you.” Aioria went pale at his brothers words.
“I owe your brother my life.” Saori said as she stepped past him. “The Pope you follow now is a demon who would have killed me.”
“The Pope?” Aioria whispered. “But that’s impossible…”
“No it isn’t.” Aiolos sighed, “Not when he’s been lying to you for years.” Then he told Aioria everything. About what had happened thirteen years ago, and about what had been happening recently. There was a long silence after he had finished. His brother just stood their staring at him.
“That…” Aioria said at last. “Is almost unbelievable.”
“It’s true.” The Sagittarius Saint said. Aioria dropped his head. There was tension in the air now. If Aioria didn’t believe him. I’ll have to fight him. Fight my own little brother. Please, please don‘t let it come to that… He did not want, did not even want to think about having to fight him….and not only for his own personal reasons. Aiolos knew that he probably wouldn’t be able to win against his younger brother, and that would leave Athena in danger.
“Aiolos Ni-san…” Aioria said after a while. “I…I…wanted to hate you.” The unexpected reply startled Aiolos and he stared at his younger brother.
“After you were everyone used me as a scapegoat since they couldn’t get at you. I swore I would become a greater Saint then you and make everyone forget that I was your brother. I tried so hard to hate you….but I never could. I actually felt guilty because I couldn’t…because part of me knew that you would never have done what they said you did, regardless of what the Pope and everyone else said. I’m…glad that I listened to that part of me now.” Aiolos smiled.
“I don’t blame you for trying to hate me Aio.” He said softly. Aioria smiled back at him.
“But why didn’t you take me with you Ni-san?” The Leo Saint asked suddenly. “If you had asked me I would have…” Aiolos shook his head.
“I would never had asked you for that. When I left I was sure that I was going to die, and I would not condemn you to death with me. It would have been selfish and I wanted you to have your chance to live and become a Saint so that hopefully one day you would be able to help Athena when I was unable too.”
“But you’re alive.” Aioria said. “You can convince everyone that Saga is the Pope that he’s lying to them…”
“Would the really believe a traitor? Would they even believe you if you told them?” Aiolos asked. That made Aioria pause.
“I’m a traitor and you’re my brother, remember? They’ll just think your following in my footsteps.”
“Don’t say anything to anyone Aioria.” He said firmly. “We will go after Saga. Once everyone sees that we have Athena by our sides, we should be able to convince them. But we will need help to deal with those who need them, and I want you there on that day. Don’t do anything stupid and get yourself thrown in Cape Surion before then.”
“I’ll try Ni-san.” Aioria sighed. “But what am I suppose to tell everyone? I was sent here to kill the Bronze Saints.”
“Tell them that you encountered me, but don’t tell them what I told you. As long as Saga doesn’t know you suspected he shouldn’t do anything. It will mean that you’ll probably be shunned by the other Saints though.”
“It can’t be any worse than it was after your ‘death’ Ni-san. I’ll be fine.” Aioria smiled. “And I’ll be waiting.”
“Good.” There was a slight groan from behind Aioria.
“Shaina-san!” Seiya said suddenly. Aioria turned around cursing under his breath and kneeled next to a figure on the ground. Aiolos vaguely remembered that his brother had been holding someone at the beginning to this but he hadn’t really been paying attention to who it was….now that he was he could see them clearly, it was obvious that it was a she. More importantly he recognized her as one of the Saints from the failed kidnapping attempt.
“Who is she?” He asked out loud.
“Ophiuchus Shaina, a Silver Saint.” Aioria said as he picked up the young woman. “But I have no idea what she was doing here.” The Leo Saint looked over at Seiya. “She was protecting him though.” Seiya rubbed the back of his head.
“She’s been trying to kill me for a while….” The younger Saint said nervously. “I have no idea why though.”
“What could…” Aiolos started to say then realized something. He groaned and dropped his head into his hand. “You broke her mask or something, did you Seiya.”
“Umm…yeah but what does that have to do with anything?” Seiya answered, sounding confused. Aioria sighed and he heard Aioria cursed under his breath.
“Did you know that it’s taboo to see a female Saints face?” His younger brother demanded.
“Well yeah….” Seiya said. “But no one ever said they would kill you over it!”
“Well they do.” Aiolos said firmly, then turned to Aioria. “What happened to her anyway.”
“She jumped in front of Seiya when I tried to attack him…I didn’t stop in time.” Aioria sounded guilty over it, and Aiolos didn’t press him for details.
“She still alive though?”
“Yes, I was going to take her back to Sanctuary when those Silver Saints showed up.” Aioria scowled. “Although apparently Saga suspects something.”
“He knows I’m over here.” Aiolos said thoughtfully. “Even though Saga hasn’t told anyone else for some reason, he was probably afraid I would contact you.” Then the Sagittarius Saint sighed. “You had better take her back to Sanctuary now. If you make enough fuss, perhaps people will forget to question you about what really happened.”
“That won’t last for long.” Aioria pointed out.
“It won’t have to.” Saori had been silent up until now, but there was strength in her voice now. “It is time we stopped reacting. We will head for Sanctuary as soon as Seiya is recovered and I have made preparations.”
“So it’s time?” Aiolos asked, ignoring Seiya‘s protests that he was fine.. Trepidation warred with excitement at his goddess words. This was what he had both been dreading and waiting for.
“It is.” Was all Athena said.
“Get going, Aioria.” Aiolos told his brother. “It looks as if I’ll be joining you shortly.”
“I’ll be waiting for you Ni-san.” The Leo Saint promised, then started to concentrated.
“Aio?” Aiolos couldn’t help but call. Aioria looked over his shoulder. “I’m proud of you. You make a fine Gold Saint.”
“Thank you, Ni-san.” Aioria whispered, looking ahead quickly. Then there was a slight flash of golden light as the teleport initiated, and the Leo Saint was gone.