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Praying to the Lonely Star
Aphrodite and Ares

Bearit's Notes: I assure you once again, there is no incest in this story. It's just a running joke Umi and her friends share with Takuya and Takao. Honest. Also, a bit of an unimportant note, Kemui Koyama is based on my high school--which, by the way, has the same name as Kemui Koyama translated: Smoky Hill. And you know what else? Our school colors are red and green. XD (Unimportant bits of info...)

And this will not be a Eagle/Hikaru fic. This is going to be a Eagle/Umi fic in the end.

Have fun!

 

***

 

Umi had thought about it over and over again in her head. There was no way that Ethan Villa was Eagle Vision. There is no way that Ethan Villa is Eagle Vision. Sure, they looked the same and their voices were identical, but Ethan was not Eagle. No possible way.

Or so Umi had thought before her mind drifted to Takuya and Takao.

And as soon as the lunch bell rang, Umi had rocketed out of her seat and told Goro and Ethan that she would meet them at the table. Like Fencing Mountain, the table she, Takuya, Takao, Masahiro, and Goro normally sat at was given a special name. "Rapiers of the Round Table". It was worse than Fencing Mountain, and Umi could hardly bear it. Neither could Takuya nor Masahiro. Takao shrugged it off as a little play of words the sophomores had. Goro couldn't care less. So, among the five, their lunch table was called the table.

The table was at the most convenient place for the fencers. Actually, it would be the most convenient place for any person who wanted to stay away from the masses. It was on the upper cafeteria--there were three levels--and in the corner by the window and away from the entryway.

The upper cafeteria normally had the higher caste of the school--fencers and musicians for the most part--the pride of the school. The middle level had everybody from the preps to the nerds, and the lower level normally had exchange students or foreign transfer students--the Chinese and Koreans who didn't have Japanese friends yet. Normally after a week or two of transferring to Kemui Koyama the foreign transfer students moved up to the middle level. The exchange students stayed on the lower level unless invited up by somebody or until they went back home.

Nobody really had any control over the segregation. It was just what high school students did automatically. No signs, no pressure, no rules.

Umi ran through the halls, down the steps, and towards the cafeteria. Takao and Takuya's classroom was right next to the cafeteria. They were already at the table. Umi wanted to talk to them before anybody else arrived and especially before Ethan came.

"I need to talk to you!" said Umi. She slammed her palms on the table and panted.

Takao and Takuya stared at Umi in shock.

"Sounds like it must be important," said Takao, her attention going back to her lunch.

Umi swallowed her gasps and sighed.

"Not really," she said. "But do you guys believe that normal people could be reincarnated back to humans?"

Takao looked back up at Umi with confusion in her eyes. "What?"

"We're examples, Umi, remember?" said Takuya, waving his hand between him and Takao. "Aphrodite. Ares. Takao is the reincarnation of the goddess of love and I'm--"

"--the reincarnation of Ares, the Greek god of war. I know," said Umi. "I know now the gods and goddesses can reincarnate themselves if need be. I know that. But that's not what I'm asking. Can mortals--like you and me and everybody else in the cafeteria--be reincarnated?"

Takuya shook his head. "I don't see how this could be any different."

"It is different, Takuya," said Takao. "Gods and goddesses have very little choice about the outcome of their reincarnated selves. They can only choose the gender and species. Remember what Zeus told us?"

"That was in a dream, Takao."

"Your point?"

Umi sighed. "Get right down to it, Takao."

"Those who believe in reincarnation get reincarnated when they die," said Takao. "If they were good, they have a choice about where they're born, what gender, what species, and what kind of family and who they're related to. Not all mortals know this and it's kind of a prerequisite decision before somebody dies. However, if they're bad, they don't get any choices. For those who don't believe in reincarnation, there's Heaven, for the good; Hell, for the bad; and the void."

"The void?"

"For atheists," Takuya replied. "Good or bad. Doesn't matter."

"Oh."

"Why do you want to know?" asked Takao. "You seem very interested in it now."

Umi pulled a chair out and sat.

"You know Goro's foster brother? Ethan? Well--"

"Good afternoon, fine fencers!" Masahiro whooped, flying into another chair. "How goes the strategy, Mister Captain?"

Umi's train of thought went haywire. She would have to talk to Takao and Takuya later; she couldn't talk about Ethan around Masahiro, especially after the grudge he refused to release.

"Strategy?" Umi asked. Her eyes narrowed cynically. "I didn't know we needed a strategy for fencing."

Masahiro glared at Umi. "See, this is why I would make a better second in command!" he said. "I'm not talking about competitions, I'm talking about practices."

Umi glanced at Takuya with mock puzzlement. "We need strategies for practices?"

"Oh, forget it!"

Takuya groaned and slammed his head on the table. "He's not talking about fencing, Umi! He's talking about our, er..."

"Prank on Shingo," Takao finished. "These two immature brats still want to humiliate Shingo so badly that he won't do a good job leading Taka Monshou's fencing team."

Umi rolled her eyes. "Takuya, get over it! Is this anyway to treat your best friend?"

"Once best friend," Takuya said sharply. "Ex best friend. Masahiro's my best friend now."

Masahiro grinned proudly. "Hell yeah."

Takao shook her head and just ate. Umi groaned.

"Takuya," she wailed, "give it up already. That argument was nearly three years ago. Can't you just forgive Shingo already?"

Takuya glowered at Umi. "Are you siding with Kemui Koyama's rival school's fencing captain?"

"I'm siding with logical thinking," she snapped, jamming a finger in front of Takuya's face. "Give. It. Up."

"Shingo isn't," Masahiro piped up.

"Then why don't you two act more mature than Shingo?" asked Takao. "Do what Umi says. Give it up already! Besides, we're not facing Taka Monshou again until nationals, which isn't even until January. That is, if they beat Sakura Kawa."

"Speaking of which," Takuya said, "this is probably cheating out the rest of the team a bit, but next week we have a meet against Sakura Kawa. Ready to go against your junior high school buddies, Umi?"

"I've done it before, I'll do it again," said Umi. "At least I don't let my guard down or go easy on girls like--" She snapped her head towards Masahiro. "--some people!"

"Hey!" Masahiro exclaimed, holding his hands up defensively. "How was I supposed to know that Midzuma was actually one of the best fencers on the team?"

Umi narrowed her eyes. "Because I told you so."

The arguments continued on, like it normally did, until the end of lunchtime.

And Goro and Ethan had not come to the table.

***

"I'm going to kill him."

"Give Goro a break, Takuya. It's not like he's late to fencing practice or anything."

"Hey! Hey! You've been dating Masahiro for too long."

"Your point?"

"My point... oh, hell with it. I'm still going to kill Goro."

"For not bringing Ethan?"

"For not bringing Ethan. And for ditching us."

"It's Ethan's first day. Give the poor guy a break. It is Goro's responsibility to look out for him as his foster brother."

"So? I'm your brother and you don't let me look out for you."

"Because I'm the older sister."

"By, what? Fifteen minutes?"

"I'm still older and more mature than you."

"Oh, I give up."

"You know, Takuya?"

"Hm?"

"You think that Ethan is a reincarnation of somebody? Somebody that Umi must have known?"

"Why do you ask that?"

"Did you not pay attention to our conversation at the beginning of lunch?"

"Beginning of lunch, beginning of lunch... oh yeah! Umi was asking about reincarnation and... Ethan."

"Umi must have known Ethan's previous life from somewhere. But that makes no sense. If Ethan is a reincarnation of whoever Umi may have known, then why is he the same age as her? That's one thing no reincarnates can choose--when their life starts. If Ethan is a reincarnate, he has to be at least--well, he has to be younger than Umi. I give about five years."

"What? You're going to ask the almighty Zeus tonight?"

"Our connections have been cut off from him, you idiot."

"Oh. That's right. But Takao, maybe Ethan is a special type of reincarnate that Zeus didn't tell us. I mean, you only asked questions that pertained to us while I just kind of sat back and did what Zeus told me to do."

"What did Zeus tell you to do?"

"Forget my past life like you always tell me to do, Sis. Live my own life. And if Ethan is a reincarnation of somebody, why does it matter?"

"You're right. It doesn't. But that doesn't change the fact that I felt a strange kind of aura around Ethan. There is something special about him. I only wish I knew what it was."

"Takao, don't worry about it so much."

"I have to. Umi says that she wants to talk to me about this after fencing practice. Oh, by the way, I don't think Goro will be able to make it today."

"WHAT?!"

"It's still Ethan's first day, Takuya."

"I. Don't. Care! We have a competition against Sakura Kawa next week!"

"You have nothing to worry about--besides Masahiro. You should get Masahiro to spar with more girls during practices."

"Masahiro against his own sister?"

"Not necessarily, but it isn't a bad idea. Once Mitsuko defeats Masahiro, maybe he'll not go easy on any girls."

"In that case, I should have him spar against Umi."

"No."

"No?"

"Too easy. He already wants revenge on her. Get somebody that Masahiro has no grudge against."

"Takao, who's the fencing captain here? You or me?"

"I might as well be."

"You don't know crap about fencing, though."

"I know what the weaknesses of this team are, though."

"Hey, hey."

"I still think Umi will make a better captain than you, though..."

"Aren't you my sister?"

"And her best friend."

"But you're my twin sister."

"Older twin sister. And Umi's best friend."

"Oh, I can't believe this. My own sister, choosing her friends over her only brother. Such tragedy, such--"

"Hey."

"Hey what?"

"The bell rung and the teacher isn't here yet."

"... so?"

"I just wanted you to shut up. You do a worse job at exaggerating than Mitsuko."

"That's an insult."

"Yes it is."

"I hate you, Takao. I really do."

***

When the final bell of the day rung, Ethan shifted in his seat to face Umi. Maybe now he could talk to her. He couldn't do it at lunch since he needed to go outside and Goro wanted to show him around, but now would be the perfect time. He decided that before he went telling her about his dreams, he should at least get to know her better.

Umi had again jumped out of her seat like she had at lunch: as if she had to use the bathroom or something. She lingered for a short while to pack up her books, and Ethan found the opportunity to know her even a little bit better. Minus what she likes and her family, of course, since they talked about that in between classes.

"Hey, Umi."

"Yeah?" she asked, not looking up from her frantic packing.

Ethan drew in a short breath. "Have you ever, er..."

Maybe I should have thought about what to say before class was over.

Umi looked at him questioningly. She seemed to have put away all her books now. "Have I ever...?"

"Been... to... another country?"

Ethan mentally slapped himself. Now that was the stupidest thing he could have ever asked her. Has she ever been to another country? What was he going to say when she asked why? "I was just wondering"? That would be even worse than the question!

Instead of laughing or giving Ethan a bizarre look, Umi only smiled.

"Yeah," she said softly. "Probably not a country you've ever heard of before, but..."

Umi hesitated as Ethan did before he stated, slowly, "What's the name of the country?"

"I'll give you a hint," said Umi, her kind expressions reappearing on her face. "It begins with "seh". How is that for a hard trivia? I have to go to fencing. Goro, you coming?"

"I may be a little late if I come at all," Goro called from the other side of the room. He sat by the windows--lucky for him, Ethan thought--while Ethan and Umi were close to the door. "I have an errand to run tonight. Please convince Takuya to not burn down my house tonight?"

Ethan smiled. Umi laughed.

"I'll do my best," said Umi. "Well, I'll see you guys maybe tomorrow, then. I'd better get going before I'm late. Bye!"

Umi left the classroom, leaving behind Ethan and his foster brother. Ethan turned to Goro quizzically.

"What errand did Inagaki-san give you?" asked Ethan. "I don't remember--"

Goro pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his uniform pockets and held it up to the air deadpan-like. "Shopping list. Mom actually wanted me to do this yesterday, but--" Goro cringed. "--I would much rather face Takuya's wrath than my pissed off mother."

Ethan had nothing to say to that. He had yet to see much of Takuya's anger besides just that morning--it actually didn't seem too bad--but he was used to his foster mother's bursts of rage. He often ignored it, but then again, his foster mother only scolded Ethan calmly while she screamed in Goro or his father's face. He really couldn't understand, so he really couldn't agree.

"So, let's go," said Goro, grabbing his schoolbag and walking towards Ethan. "Maybe I'll be able to get to fencing practice even at the last fifteen minutes if we get this over with now."

The two were not the last to leave the classroom. As they went through the door, Ethan caught some girls whispering his name.

Ethan had to grin. He was used to it, and Goro had always teased him about being the center of girls' affections ever since he first went to a public school in America. It also felt oddly familiar--could it be in connection with his dreams somehow?

"No different, no different," said Goro, snickering. He caught the words of the girls, too. "The girls called you pretty back in California and they're calling you beautiful here in Tokyo. What do you have to say about that?"

Ethan giggled but said nothing. That was his honest answer.

"Oh, but if you want the truth, I doubt you'll beat Takuya out for the title of Most Popular Boy on Campus," Goro continued. "After all, he is the captain of the fencing team, and he looks like he might as well be on one of those boy idol groups--like Kinki Kids or Tokio something. Or maybe like one of those boy bands from America. Girls go for those types, at least in Kemui Koyama, anyway. Except for Takao and Umi."

"Takao is Takuya's sister, right?"

"Older twin sister," replied Goro. "Actually, they have a weird history that I'm surprised they like talking about."

"May I ask what it is?" asked Ethan. "Or maybe they would like to keep it a secret..."

"You're one of us, Ethan!" Goro said with a laugh. "Everybody in the group knows, and I'm even surprised you haven't heard the rumors. They're incestuous."

Ethan's eyes widened as the two "brothers" began climbing down the stairs. "What?"

"Or they might as well be," said Goro. "Takao is actually going out with Masahiro--you know, the guy with the brown hair. Takuya has a crush on Umi, though he refuses to admit it. Never ask him about it though. He'll come after you wielding his rapier. The incest thing is just a joke we have. Takuya and Takao are reincarnated lovers."

Ethan wasn't entirely relieved with those words. "Reincarnated... lovers?"

"It's ironic, isn't it?" Goro laughed. "Aphrodite and Ares reincarnated themselves to see how well their relationship will go on the mundane plane, and they ended up being twins. You do know who Aphrodite and Ares are, right?"

Ethan shook his head. "Should I know?"

"Well, back at Cabrillo they didn't teach Greek mythology, so I'm not completely surprised," said Goro. "I didn't know who Aphrodite or Ares were until Takuya and Takao told me. Aphrodite is the goddess of love and beauty. Takao really shows off the beauty side, doesn't she?" Ethan nodded. Takao was pretty, but it wasn't an extraordinary splendor. "Takuya is the reincarnation of Ares, the god of war and destruction. Yeah. We all see that. He's obsessed with winning every single fencing match, which is why he often gets on my case. I'm not the best fencer on Earth, you see."

"You can't be that bad," said Ethan. "You're on the team, aren't you?"

"Okay, so I am better than half the team, otherwise Takuya really wouldn't tolerate my presence anywhere," said Goro. "Still, I'm normally late. Even when I try, I still end up being at least five minutes late."

Ethan laughed. "That's why you were paranoid this morning and at lunch."

"Gods of war are not to be messed with--reincarnated or not," said Goro, his eyes narrowed. "I learned my lesson the hard way."

"Do you really believe that, though?" asked Ethan. "Do you really believe in reincarnation?"

"Takuya and Takao are proof that it exists."

Ethan frowned. "How did they find out?"

"One word, Ethan," Goro said. They had reached the bottom of the stairs and were headed towards the doors of the main building. "Dreams. They found out by dreams."

Ethan stopped walking at that instant. Dreams? Takuya and Takao found that they were reincarnations of a god and a goddess from dreams?

Could that possibly mean that he was a reincarnation of Eagle Vision from his dreams?

Then why was Umi in his dreams? She was the same age as him--or maybe that blue-haired woman from his dreams was Umi's mother? Or older sister... or something.

What is this all about? If these are memories of my past life... how did I die? No, how did Eagle die? And Geo, Lantis, Zazu... how are they? Are they still alive?

What's going on?!

***

"Everybody go home. Do homework or something that will help you keep up your grades," announced Takuya. "I don't want any of you to miss out on this very important meet against Sakura Kawa just because you're grades are slipping. Understand? Now go!"

Each of the twelve fencing members present scattered towards the locker rooms. Umi sighed and placed her rapier on the rack. She overheard a couple of the sophomores complaining that Takuya pushed them too hard today, but what could Umi really say? If they hadn't learned their lesson by now that Takuya is a very competitive young man, then they will probably never learn.

Last year, the victor of nationals was Sakura Kawa. Kemui Koyama fell in second place. Taka Monshou a close third. Takuya was determined to defeat Sakura Kawa in his final year of school, and this was the final time that he could do so.

Umi had expected Takuya to get horribly upset after telling him that Goro may or may not make it to practice, but Takuya seemed like he had anticipated it. All he did was breathe in and out slowly before starting to practice.

"Umi."

Umi turned around and saw Takao behind her.

"Yeah?"

"You wanted to talk?"

Umi sighed. "Yeah."

"About Ethan?"

She nodded. Takao continued. "You think he's a reincarnation of somebody, don't you?" Umi nodded again. "You realize how impossible that is, don't you?"

Umi narrowed her eyes at Takao. "What do you mean, "impossible"? You're a reincarnation of a deity. What makes this any different?"

"How can Ethan be a reincarnation of somebody you know when he's the same age as you?" Takao pressed. "I don't know where you could have known anybody like Ethan from, but I'm sure maybe it's a coincidence."

Umi shook her head. "How can it be? He looks exactly like Ea--er, the man I once knew. Shorter, but his hair, his face, even his build--it's all the same. Even their voices are the same. And when we met, he looked like he knew me. I don't think that's a coincidence."

Takao smiled wryly. "I'm glad you think that."

"What?"

"Because maybe you could help me solve this mystery out," Takao continued, ignoring Umi's question. "I felt a strange aura around Ethan. I was hoping maybe you knew something about it."

Umi bit her lip. How to begin the tale about Cephiro? How could she? Where to start? How to end? Would it be believable? Would Takao laugh?

"I don't know of anything that would make Ethan special," Umi finally answered, "other than--" Him being one of the possible Pillars of Cephiro at one point? "--that he's the reincarnation of... a friend of mine."

That was stretching the truth. She and Eagle had merely been comrades at one point for the purpose of defeating Debonair. They kept saving each other. But they were not as close to each other as Hikaru had been.

"I see," said Takao. Her eyes gave away mistrust of Umi's words. "I still don't understand. If he was a friend of yours who was reincarnated, why did he get reincarnated... wait. How long ago did he die?"

"About three years ago," answered Umi. "Maybe almost four. I lost track."

Takao's eyes widened. "He should be no older than two or three then! Something's wrong, Umi. If he really is the reincarnation of your friend--"

"It should have given it away when I said that Ethan is shorter than Ea--than my friend," said Umi. "I don't know how old Ea--he was when he died, but he couldn't have been any older than his early twenties."

Takao shook her head. "You could have been a toddler at the time, Umi. But that doesn't matter now. Something went wrong. Either it is the strangest coincidence ever existed, or... something. This isn't supposed to happen. When people get reincarnated, they are reborn. They don't just reappear with a new identity at any desired age they want. Umi, I'd be careful around Ethan if I were you."

"And if I were you two, I would just let it go."

Umi turned her head and saw Takuya glaring at them. "Takuya..."

"It doesn't matter. Let it go," he said. "Your friend died three years ago and was reincarnated to be the same age as you when he died when he was older than you. So what? Let higher beings deal with the matter. Let Ethan live his own life."

"Even so," said Takao, "while his past life shouldn't be reflected onto his present life, Umi, we need to find out if Ethan really is the reincarnation of your friend."

"And whether or not he is," said Takuya, "don't put any past obligations onto him. I don't care if he was in love with you, Umi, in his past life, let it go. It's different now."

Umi opened her mouth to reassure Takuya that she and Eagle hadn't known each other long enough for them to fall in love but immediately shut it back up. This wouldn't be the best time to contradict the tale that she and Eagle were friends.

"Takuya, this is serious."

"How?"

Umi smiled. "Anyway, both of you are right. I shouldn't really interfere with Ea--Ethan's new life. It's not important if I know if he's the reincarnate of my friend or not. But if Takao thinks there's something strange about Ethan--"

"We don't need to look into it," said Takuya, his eyes narrowed into tiny slits. "Ethan Villa is Ethan Villa. And if there is something special about it, we'll handle it when the time comes."

"I don't think Ethan is like us, Takuya," said Takao.

"It doesn't matter. Let him live his own life! Like you told me Takao, every single day since we found out that you were Aphrodite and I was Ares: our past lives do not affect our current lives. We have no obligations. Let Ethan have the same freedom."

Umi stared at Takuya. He was completely right, for once. Takao was just making a big deal out of this. Who honestly really cared that Ethan was the reincarnation of Eagle Vision? Hikaru might care, but why put Ethan through that obligation?

Takao gave in. "Have it your way, then."

Takuya nodded and walked towards the boy's locker room.

"I'm sorry," said Umi, turning back to Takao. "Maybe we were better off not talking about this."

Takao shook her head. "No. It's good that we had a chance to discuss this. But don't try to force anything on Ethan. Takuya's right. Even if he is different, why make him feel like he has an obligation to do what his past life has done? But I still want you to be very careful. There is something strange about him. There's no denying that. I'll keep my eye on him."

"Takao..."

Takao smiled. "Now go. Get dressed. It doesn't matter how much Takuya may like you, but if you get knocked off the team because you didn't do your homework, you can imagine how monstrous he'll get."

Umi grinned back at her friend. "Thank you."

***

Chapter Three: Of the Fencers of Kemui Koyama
Chapter Listings

Disclaimer: Magic Knight Rayearth and its characters does not belong to me. It is the creation of CLAMP. Not me. Kodansha, Mixx Manga, Media Blasters, etc., hold the rights to the series. Not me. I have no claims at all to Magic Knight Rayearth. None. Also, I did not come up with the names of four of the original characters--the male original characters' names (Takuya Kimura, Masahiro Nakai, Goro Inagaki, and Shingo Katori) are four of the boys from the J-pop group SMAP. I do not own the boys from SMAP. If I did, I'd have a harem, but I don't. They belong to... themselves. ^^;;

Written on December 15, 2001 by Bearit at grinandbearit@iamnotboring.com.