Pit could only keep staring, rooted to the spot. Everything had gone to hell in only a few short moments, and now he was watching in fear of what would happen. Ike was now immersed completely with the blue flames, which wrapped around him and pulsed like Lucario's aura, and his eyes had somehow turned to a bloody red, gleaming with anticipation.
The worst part about him was the manic grin he wore. Even from where he was standing, Pit knew what the man was intending from his bloodthirsty smile. The slaughter of each and every one of them.
Captain Falcon only took one look at the living pyre that was Ike before he slid in a ready stance. "Pit, tell us what was going on NOW," he hissed out, watching Ike warily. "I don't know what the hell is up with Ike, but I know enough that he's about ready to kill us all."
Pit could only shake his head, the shock of failing to fulfill his promise and the sheer fear he was feeling seeing his lover in this state was making it hard for him to do anything. "I...he's...this wasn't supposed to happen...!" he muttered wildly, eyes unable to leave the burning figure.
"Pit, get a hold of yourself!" the racer urged, looking over at the angel. In that instant, Ike moved.
Link was barely able to bring his shield up in time as Ike lunged at him, sword at the ready. The Hylian was surprised at the ferociousness of the attacks the mercenary was throwing; every hit felt like his arm was going to buckle from the sheer pressure alone. Gritting his teeth, he withdrew his own sword, intent on pushing the mercenary back. "What the hell is wrong with both of you?!" he shouted as Ike continued his assault, bringing his own sword up to parry. His eyes widened as they clashed, and Ike's strength steadily started pushing him back.
Both Marth and Samus saw what was happening and quickly leapt into the fray, with the prince quickly parrying another thrust from the mercenary while Samus knocked him back. The mercenary just grunted as he swung with the hit, spinning around and releasing a slash of energy. Startled, the three quickly jumped away as the blade slammed into the ground, leaving a large gash where they had been standing.
"Ike! Snap out of it!" Samus yelled as she trained her cannon on him, already charging up energy for her plasma beam. Ike was really trying to kill them, and if they couldn't manage to get him out of this rage he seemed to be in, she would have no choice but to kill him. Her scanners were at work trying to scan the blue fire that emanated around him; the fact that it seemed to be empowering him somehow was worrisome.
Captain Falcon saw all of this and grimaced, knowing that Ike had a lot more attacks he could use, and they would be helpless against them. Against his better judgment of watching the fight, he turned back to the angel, whose gaze seemed to be transfixed on Ike. "Pit, tell me! You have to tell me what in blazes is going on!"
Pit didn't seem to hear him, instead focusing on the man who was easily fending off three of the greatest fighters they knew. "Why? He...not like this..." he continued to mumble, eyes wide.
The racer growled as he suddenly grabbed the angel and backhanded him across the face, sending him tumbling. "Get your act together!"
The angel took a sharp intake of breath as he held his now hurting cheek. "Ah...that hurt..."
"Pit, listen! We don't have time for your ramblings!" Captain Falcon snapped as he turned back to see Ike send Marth hurtling to the ground, only to be intercepted by Link and Samus. "I need to know exactly what happened!"
"Okay...I understand," he said softly, getting up and shaking his head. The racer was relieved to see that the angel had come back to his senses, but the situation was dire. "We don't have enough time for me to go over everything, but long story short, Ike has been holding back that power you see for years. Now that it's surfaced...he can't control himself. He'll kill everything that even comes near him."
"That isn't good..." Captain Falcon muttered, glancing back at the battlefield. Despite both Link and Marth's best efforts, they simply weren't doing anything to the berserker. Samus, however, managed to halt his advance with her weaponry, but she only had so many missiles on hand. "We need to go down there and stop him!"
"No! That power...that power is why he asked me to kill him," he spat, ignoring the stunned look he got. "He told me about it. Because he holds some of the power of the Goddess of Chaos inside him, he can't be harmed by any kind of attack...he's literally invincible in this state!"
"That's impossible," the racer remarked, although he looked somewhat pale. "Nothing is invincible, especially him!"
"Listen to me! Nothing can harm him at this point...nothing! That's why he wanted me to kill him before this happened!" Pit exclaimed, breathing heavily. "Now...I don't know what to do..." he finished weakly, looking back at the battlefield.
Captain Falcon followed his gaze and grimaced, watching as Link and Marth had to slowly retreat as Samus did her best to stop Ike's slow advance, but they could both see that he was slowly making his way through her barrage. "Absolutely nothing will harm him?" he asked sharply, and Pit nodded. "Well, he can still be distracted then. We still have time to think of something!"
Before Pit could stop him, the bounty hunter raced off to aid their companions.
"Ike, I failed you..." Pit breathed, looking down at the ground. "But...as you have said, there's always a way. I just have to find it."
He quickly followed after Captain Falcon, a determined look on his face.
Samus snarled as she continued to fire super missiles at the mercenary. While they were sufficient in distracting him with the numerous explosions, she had yet to actually harm him, and not for a lack of trying.
She knew was something was horribly wrong when her scanners said they could not identify the immense energy pouring out of Ike. In fact, it very nearly overloaded them to the point where she couldn't use it any more. Luckily, she managed to analyze that damned sword of his, and now knew how to avoid those waves of energy it shot out.
But even if she knew how to dodge his only long-range attack, it really didn't do any good if she couldn't even hurt him. Gritting her teeth, she saw the mercenary slowly stalk towards her, that insane grin still on his face.
"Nothing's working..." Marth wheezed, still trying to catch his breath from the earlier exchange. The fact that Ike was trying to kill them was shocking enough, but the overwhelming strength was even worse. It seemed that no matter what they did, Ike wasn't fazed in any way. In fact, it only seemed to make him even stronger, as if the chaotic state they were in were only fueling him. "Why aren't our attacks working...?"
"It might be that damned energy around him, " Link growled, readying his bow. Beside him, his shield laid in two pieces, split in half from the immense strength of the mercenary. Fighting him up close was suicide, so now he followed Samus' example by shooting his bomb arrows at him. He knew he couldn't keep it up forever, but every moment counted.
And then suddenly, an escape route made itself known.
"Falcon..." came the ominous echo. "Punch!" Ike looked to the side a little bit too late as a flaming fist connected, sending him skidding back quite a ways.
As everyone watched, Pit ran up, his face full of fear. "Run. Now!" he screamed, both him and Captain Falcon making a break for it. The warriors didn't need to be told twice as they followed, knowing that they had no chance in this situation. Samus continued to fire a few more missiles at the temporarily downed opponent before doing the same, a sarcastic remark already on her mind.
The Hunter has become the hunted. Great.
As they fled from the clearing, Ike slowly stood up, chuckling. It didn't matter if they got away, he'd still find them. The flames became even stronger as they surged around his form, almost becoming blindingly bright. He slowly followed after them, intent on finding them once again.
Fleeing made it all the more fun, after all.
"Pit, what the hell is going on?!" Link shouted at the angel as they ran back towards the mansion. Everyone needed to be warned about what was happening, because there was a good chance that no one would be able to stop him. While it was a dangerous gamble to lead him back to where everyone was, they would probably have more of a chance everyone was attacking him at once.
Pit grimaced. "Something that shouldn't have happened in the first place," he said as calmly as possible, ignoring the looks the prince and the Hylian gave him. "Basically, the power he's been holding for a long time has finally taken him over. I was going to prevent this from happening if I hadn't been stopped." Any angry retort Link had died as his mouth hung open.
"Is that what that energy was?" Samus asked pointedly as she caught up. "I couldn't get any readings on it at all...I assume it's making him invulnerable?" A grim smile formed on Pit's face as he nodded.
"The power of the goddess protects him. The blessing upon him will protect him from any weapons without an opposite blessing." he explained, looking back over his shoulder to make sure they weren't being followed too closely.
Marth frowned. "Opposite blessing? Explain."
Pit shook his head. "Ike has only a fragment of power left behind by the Goddess of Chaos, but it has grown strong enough to act like this," he said, stopping suddenly. "The only way to harm him now is to have a weapon blessed by the opposite, the Goddess of Order."
Captain Falcon growled. "We don't have anything like that! I doubt anyone else has them either!"
The angel looked down at the ground. "But there has to be some way to stop him...there just has to-" Pit suddenly stopped, his eyes wide. Wait...an opposite blessing...any weapon blessed...that means...!
"We've got company!" Samus warned as she turned around, preparing another missile. The blue fire was burning even brighter around his form, the same mad grin on his face as he stared them down. Pit gulped, now truly understanding why Ike feared becoming what he now was; the gaze in those red eyes held nothing but death.
I know what I have to do now...I just need the time! Someone, help us...! he thought in alarm as Ike advanced, the super missiles of Samus not even slowing him down anymore.
Just when things looked their bleakest, a sudden flash of light blinded everyone in range, including the berserker. When Pit opened his eyes, he was shocked to see the person who answered his prayers.
"Palutena..." he whispered, eyes wide. She was dressed in battle armor he had never seen before, pearly white and gleaming with the sun. She still held her staff and shield, but now her hair was tied back into a tight ponytail.
"Pit, get everyone out of here!" she ordered sharply, taking on an offensive stance not unlike a lancer's. "I'll deal with him, just concentrate on getting everyone out of the area as soon as possible!"
Pit knew his goddess was no warrior maiden by any means, but she still had millenia of battle experience...a much needed edge against such an opponent. "What are you waiting for?! Go!" she shouted, leaping towards the smirking mercenary to begin battle.
"You heard the lady. Move!" Captain Falcon repeated as he pushed Marth and Link away, the three of them running off towards the large building in the distance. Samus stood still for a few moments before turning to do the same, only to turn her head and stare at the unmoving angel.
Pit was watching with wide eyes as Palutena engaged the swordsman with furious attacks, the power surrounding her equally as bright as Ike's. She wasn't giving him the chance to get in an attack, knowing the consequences of even giving him an opening. Shaking himself out of his stupor, he caught sight of Samus motioning for him to hurry up.
"I don't like having to leave her to fight, but there's no choice now," the bounty hunter said as they ran as fast as they could. That was when she noticed that Pit wasn't listening to her. "What's wrong?"
"I think..." Pit breathed suddenly, his eyes unfocused. "There's a way to stop this. I can't believe I just only now thought of it..."
"What?!" Samus exclaimed, blinking. "Pit, are you telling me you know how to stop him? You just said-"
"I know what I just said! But now...I think I have just the thing to stop him! I need to get back to my room and get it!" As Pit stepped up his pace, Samus couldn't help but wonder what the hell had happened that made today turn into a fight for their lives.
Palutena broke off another exchange, leaping back to survey her opponent. He was incredibly strong...possibly more so than herself. She knew that right now, there was really a chance that she would die. However, she was willing to risk it all today. It was the only way to correct her mistake.
Her mistake of not helping Pit and Ike.
"Sir Ike, I must apologize," she said, looking at the blazing figure in sympathy. "There was so much more I could have done, but I didn't. The fact that things turned out this way is something that I'll never be able to forget..."
Indeed, she had felt guilty at her own inaction. There were many things she could have done to help both of them in their plight, yet she did nothing. In fact, she knew of one way that might have helped in this situation, but she couldn't bear to tell it to Pit. It would have been nearly the same as killing Ike.
Pit was her son, for all intents and purposes. She knew what it would do to him if she ever brought up the topic of Soul Imprisonment. It was the worst kind of punishment imaginable, on par with being wiped from existence. To be ripped from your body and imprisoned in isolation, to always be watching yet unable to even do anything...it was something she wouldn't put on anyone. Pit would vehemently refuse that option, refusing to seal Ike's soul away for their safety.
It might have been the best solution. However, the best one wasn't always the right one.
She had no more time to think as Ike charged toward her, leaping at her with his sword poised for a downward cleave. She brought her shield up to block the strike, grunting at the sheer pressure of the sword pressing up against her arm. With his sword currently locked with her shield, she quickly jabbed her staff at his gut, hoping to get some breathing room. However, Ike managed to free an arm and caught the end of the staff, redirecting the blow and making her stumble. The goddess quickly spun around and blocked the next strike with her staff, grimacing at the sparks being let off from the constant clashes with Ragnell.
Taking a deep breath, she decided to use some of the techniques she had created for battle. Ones that she had never hoped to use. With a sudden surge of adrenaline, she pushed Ike back and gathered power into the tip of her staff. "Divine Spear..." she intoned, a lance of holy energy materializing over her head. "Longinus!" With a wave of her hand, she sent the spear into the mercenary, who brought up his sword to block. She smiled as she saw the lance driving him back, the holy spear drilling into the sacred blade and forcing him to give her some room.
However, she knew it wouldn't keep him occupied forever; it only had so much force before he could dispel it. Taking in a few breaths, she saw Ike starting to fight back, the flames around him surging like a wild conflagration. Palutena knew that she couldn't kill him at this point. While her power was necessary for fighting the power the berserker had, it simply wasn't the kind that could slay him. Without the proper antithesis, he would remain like this indefinitely.
No, the best she could do was to wear him out. Even with the power and attributes enhanced by the power of Chaos, his body was still mortal. Eventually, he would fall to exhaustion...if he didn't kill everybody first, that is. Hopefully, Pit would get everyone far away from his lover...at least until he was more manageable.
Her attention was brought back to the battle at hand when Ike made a feral growl and thrust the energy lance off course, making it hit the ground and dispel. Before she could blink, he had fired even more energy waves from his sword, forcing her on the defensive. Narrowing her eyes, she recognized that he was incredibly skilled, and one slip up on her end would mean her death. The goddess needed to keep him away from her by any means possible, and she had just the thing to do it as her staff glowed once again.
"Divine Weapon..." she breathed, numerous arrows suddenly appearing around her, a veritable wall of death for any that opposed her. "Nidhogg!" she cried out, pointing her staff at the quickly approaching berserker. On that command, thousands of holy arrows rained down on him, forcing him to snarl and dodge. Palutena watched with worried eyes as several hit their mark, but did nothing to him, other than cause a distraction.
She only hoped she could keep this up, because there was no telling what he might do to get close the gap.
The mansion was already in chaos when they arrived, nearly everyone wandering around the grounds outside as they looked around.
"Captain Falcon, Marth, Link!" Peach cried out as she ran up to them, looking anxious. "What is going on? We all felt that dreadful wave of power...what has happened?"
The three shared a look between themselves, all three of them looking grim. "Something very bad, and we all have to get out of here." Link said quickly, rubbing the spot where Ike had hit him. It very near broke his arm, and it hurt just to move it. And that was only a glancing blow...
"What is it?" the princess pressed, a bad feeling already settling into her heart. Before Captain Falcon could answer, Pit raced past all of them and into the mansion, barreling through anyone in his way. "Why does he look so frightened?" Peach asked no one in particular, watching the angel knock Lucas and Ness to the ground, not even stopping to apologize.
"Apparently, he has something that can stop him," Samus remarked as she walked up, her armor having a few deep scratches on it. "Whatever it is, it better be enough to take him down."
"Take who down?" Peach demanded, her normally composed patience already frayed. "Something is happening and you're all avoiding the question!"
"It's Ike," Captain Falcon said before anyone could interject. "I don't know the specifics, but...something happened, and we accidentally interrupted Pit when he was going to stop it, so now..." he trailed off, deliberately leaving out the part where Pit was about to kill the mercenary; the last thing they needed at the moment was mass panic.
Peach shook her head, eyes wide. "That...that power was from Ike?" she gasped, hands covering her mouth. "But..."
"Listen, Princess," Marth interrupted, looking exhausted. "We don't have time to wonder why this happened. Goddess Palutena just told us to get ready and get away from here, in case he comes after us. If we aren't prepared, he'll likely kill us all."
"Prince Marth, why? Why is he trying to kill us?" she asked, and silence met her. They apparently had no idea either. "Very well...let us go get everyone together. But you will tell us what is going on, am I clear?" she demanded angrily, staring at the four of them. There were collective nods as they split up to round up the fighters.
Peach sighed as she looked at the mansion. "Pit...Samus said that you had something to stop him...why do I have the feeling that something even more horrible is going to happen?"
Pit sprinted up the stairs, winding his way through the corridors as he reached both his and Ike's room. He was berating himself for not bringing this with him earlier, but he had foolishly believed that nothing would have gone wrong today. Of course, every single thing had to go wrong today, the very day that he had dreaded for a long time.
The door swung open as he rushed into his room, diving into his belongings the second he was inside. He was still cursing himself as he brought out the three things Ike had given him over the past year. Two of them he immediately stuffed into his toga, making sure they would stay there. The other, however.
The angel gazed at the silver blade, a sick feeling in his stomach. It was such a nice blade...one that had already killed countless people.
And it was about to claim one more.
"So, you going to take it?" Ike asked as he held out the blade, looking at the angel expectantly. Pit took in a deep breath and nodded.
"Alright..." he murmured as he carefully took it out of Ike's hands, only to buckle slightly as he sat on the bed. "Man, it's heavier than I thought."
Ike closed his eyes, lightly dragging his fingers across the surface of the sword. "That sword...I've never had it used when I took it from him," he explained, standing up and looking out the nearby window. "It still has Ashera's blessing on it."
Pit chose this time to look over Alondite, admiring every angle of it. It was such a beautiful sword...polished silver with hardly any scratches on it, a carved golden hilt...he could even feel the power of it in his hands, warming his fingertips. "Not like I'll need it, right?" he chuckled, placing it back on the bed.
Ike looked away. "...yeah, that's right."
The angel didn't know why he looked so pensive all of a sudden, but shrugged it off. He was probably just thinking on the past.
Pit pounded his dresser, his face scrunched up in a combination of fury and sadness. "Damn you, Ike..." he whispered, looking at Alondite. "You knew this might happen, so you gave this to me...damn you." He pounded the wood for a few more moments before calming down, looking at the ceiling.
"This is all too much..." he moaned as he got up, picking up Alondite. It was still heavy, but all the training he had done with Ike over the last several months had built his strength up. "But you're counting on me, aren't you? Ike...I'll fulfill my promise. Wait for me."
The next instant found the window wide open, Pit flying off towards the battleground. He just prayed he wasn't too late.
Palutena exhaled heavily as she fought off another strike from the mercenary, struggling to get him off of her. Things had gone from manageable to catastrophic within a short time. Even though he was in a berserk state, he apparently retained some sort of awareness, and had eventually figured out the method of her attacks. She bit back a curse as part of the blue flame grazed her arm, leaving a shallow gash that flared in pain.
Biting back a whimper, she managed to concentrate energy into her staff. "O apocalyptic blade that tears gods asunder..." she choked out, rearing her staff back as she prepared to swing it. "Ragnarök!"
Ike snarled as a blade of energy seemed to slam into him, stopping all of his momentum as he brought Ragnell up, struggling against the new force presented against him. Palutena struggled as well, her blade of energy locked with Ragnell, both of them trying to take the other off-balance. Unfortunately, the goddess was not a swordsman, nor did she have the advantage of enhanced strength; she found this detail out first hand as Ike managed to break through her guard and slam the golden blade into her armor, shattering it and leaving a large wound on her stomach.
Palutena screamed as she went flying back, blue fire washing over her and dulling her senses with pain. She was dimly aware she was now lying on the ground with Ike fast approaching to finish her off, but she couldn't muster up the strength needed to get up. "Is this it...?" she mumbled to herself, looking up. The mad grin was back on the mercenary's face, probably in anticipation of finally killing someone who fought back. She struggled to get up, to move anything, but her body just wouldn't respond.
I've failed...I'm sorry, Pit. she thought as she closed her eyes, prepared to face the oblivion of death...when nothing happened. Opening her eyes, she saw that Ike was now looking away, focused on something else. "What...?"
"Ike! Look at me!" a familiar voice yelled, and Palutena managed to look to the side to see her general standing there, holding a large silver blade. "This will end now...I will be your opponent!"
As if he was swayed by Pit's words, Ike turned his back to Palutena, already stalking towards Pit. The angel didn't flinch at the malicious gaze sent his way, meeting the fiery stare with a calm one. "Last time was interrupted, but this time will be different. There will be no one getting in our way now."
Palutena managed to finally sit herself up, her body still in pain. Getting a good look at the sword her general was carrying, she couldn't help but gasp. That power...it's the total opposite of what Sir Ike is immersed in! Is that really...?!
Pit stood tall, even in the face of death. His lover was glowering at him, that grin already disappeared. Instead, something akin to a snarl took its place, as if he couldn't wait to rip his head off.
"Ike," he started, reaching into his toga to pull out something. "Did you remember what we were talking about that day? About how fate wasn't written in stone?"
The mercenary was already taking a few steps, but froze as Pit held something out. Something too familiar, even to him.
Lehran's Medallion...the Fire Emblem.
"This! This is what you gave to me that night, when we were under the tree!" he exclaimed, gesturing towards the very tree where everything had started, ironically not that far away from them. "When you gave this to me, you feared becoming the thing that you are. I made the promise to kill you before this happened. I failed in doing so, but now...I stand strong. I will do what you asked of me."
Ike still stood there, the flames around him going wildly out of control, the pressure around both of them becoming almost too much to bear. Palutena watched with wide eyes as she slowly stood up, watching the two face each other down. Is he getting through to him? No, Pit knows he isn't, so why...?
Pit looked at the ground, his bangs covering his eyes as he raised Alondite, pointing right at the mercenary. "One last strike. One of us falls...this is how it ends, Ike." He looked up to see the other swordsman smirk again, sliding into a ready stance. Pit knew everything was on the line with this strike, and failing here would mean death.
Death...is overrated! he thought resolutely, fixing his sight back onto the blue-haired man in front of him. With a deep intake of breath, he charged.
"Pit, don't ever forget...you're a person too." Ike said with a smile, ruffling his hair.
As Pit charged forward, Alondite raised, he could only see the person in front of him as an enemy. It wasn't Ike. It wasn't his friend, it wasn't his teacher, it definitely wasn't his lover. Indeed, the person immersed in the chaotic flames was nothing but an enemy he had to strike down.
"You smile, you laugh, you're happy..."
Each step felt like an eternity; the world around him faded to black. There was no going back, only the way forward was clear. As he continued his approach, the angel felt his heartbeat quicken with each step, his breath hitching higher with each second passed.
"You cry, you get sad, you get angry..."
The flames grew ever brighter, yet he did not advert his gaze. He could still see him...he could still see the person engulfed by the conflagration, the person with the sharp red eyes...
"You're a person to me, Pit...no, more than that. You're the one I love."
Shaking his head violently, time seemed to slow to a standstill as he prepared to leap, his wings stiffening in anticipation.
"I really don't know what to say in situations like these...but I do know that when it comes to you, I can really lay my heart bare. That's why you're so special to me..."
With a surge of adrenaline, he leapt forward, his sword at the ready as Ike followed suit, twin blades of gold and silver ready to deliver the killing blow...
It was almost as he was frozen in time as both swords seemed to momentarily stop, inches away from the other's chest. Pit could only watch as Ike closed his eyes, growling...and then they opened. His eyes returned to their normal blue color, and the mercenary smiled lovingly at the angel as he redirected the thrust of his sword...
"I love you, Pit. That's why our memories will always be strong."
...before impaling himself on Alondite.
Pit could only gape in shock as he continued to hold the sword that was now sticking through Ike's chest. The mercenary could only chuckle; a sound that was painful to hear and make.
"Truly, an angel..." he coughed out, blood splattering over Pit's toga. "To pierce my heart..."
"Shut...shut up!" Pit snapped angrily, meeting Ike's blue eyes with his own. "You planned this, you bastard! You gave Alondite to me knowing this could have happened!" he choked out, unable to even trust his voice. He wanted to yell, to scream at the man in front of him, but he couldn't.
Ike only gave him a weak smile, one that looked horrifying with the blood around his mouth. "I wanted...to make sure there were things ready in case...I failed." He started to cough again, his lungs steadily filling up with blood. "Pit...could you take me to our tree? I want to lay there one last time..."
The angel quickly nodded as he grabbed Ike's arm and put it around his shoulders, dragging him to the nearby tree. He didn't dare take the sword out; doing so would shorten their already minimal time left together. Palutena watched from a distance, face already streaming with tears. In the end, it could only be this way. She made a motion to go after the two before sighing and shaking her head. These were his final moments alone with his lover, and she didn't dare intrude on that. With some slight pain, she turned around and started to make her way back to the mansion, wanting to see how things turned out.
Pit carefully sat Ike against the tree, making sure he was facing the lake. He panicked as he felt his lover's skin start to grow cold, his eyes already losing the spark of life that was usually gleaming. "Ike...I'm..."
"D-don't say anything..." Ike coughed out, more blood being expunged onto them. "Remember...stand strong."
"Stop talking!" Pit shouted, his voice choked by the tears now pouring from his eyes. "Just stop!"
Ike closed his eyes and smiled, his breaths getting shorter and weaker. "I'm happy I met you..." he whispered. "Thanks...for keeping the promise..."
Pit shook his head, doing his best to smile at his lover. "I said I would come through for you...just...rest easy, okay?"
"I think I'll do that..." Ike chuckled one last time, resting his head on the tree behind him. "Pit...I love you...thank you..."
The angel watched as Ike's chest slowed with each breath, each time getting harder to even breathe, until...nothing.
As Ike laid limp against the tree, Pit only continued to stare at him, the memories finally all coming back to him in one single moment. Their meeting, their time together...their love, and their relationship.
And now, they were only memories.
With a heart-rending cry, Pit tugged out Alondite and threw it to the side before throwing himself over the now lifeless mercenary and sobbing hysterically. He clutched the larger man's arms, which grew colder with each passing minute, willing them to be alive again.
Ike! I love you too! Please...please, come back! I'm begging you...please, I don't want you to leave me!
As Palutena wearily made her way onto the mansion grounds, she was met with an eerie silence. What was most unusual was that everyone was standing around, all anxious. Perhaps they didn't take her warning seriously, but...
"Goddess Palutena!" someone cried as she heard someone starting to run up. The goddess looked to her side to see the group of people that were with Pit earlier, all of them looking relieved to see her. "What has happened? You're really hurt...!" the blue-haired prince gasped, looking at her injuries.
She shook her head. "I'm fine. They will be gone with some rest," she waved off, too tired to deal with people fussing over her. "Let us be thankful the battle is now over."
The group of fighters took in a sharp intake of breath, looking shocked. "It's over? Does that mean...?" Link asked cautiously, paling when he saw the goddess nod. "By Ordon's light..."
Samus looked to the side, closing her eyes. "So Pit managed to do it..." she muttered. The pain of losing someone she knew was great, but her will was tempered from losing so much of her family and people she had known through the years. It really should have hurt less, she knew, but it didn't.
Peach was crying openly, hands covering her eyes. "Why? What did he do to deserve to die?! He had so much of his life ahead of him...!"
Captain Falcon stayed silent for a few moments before taking off his helmet, running a hand through his brown hair. "Pit needed to do what had to be done. In that way, we can't fault him for that," he said lowly before turning around. "No matter what happened, Ike was our friend. We might not know everything that was going on with him, but the connections we made with him are more than enough. I'm going to go pay my respects to him at the Battlefield. A true warrior deserves it."
As he walked off, everyone shared a look between themselves before they slowly nodded and followed. Palutena sadly smiled as she followed as well. It was the very least she could do for the person who had fought so valiantly against her, even if he wasn't in control of himself.
And as she stood there on the stage, the background changing to a vibrant sunset, she hoped that Ike's memory would not be tarnished by those that did not understand his pain.
He had fought and died like a true warrior.
When Palutena returned to the tree where Pit was a few hours later, her heart couldn't help but sadden as she saw Ike's head in Pit's lap, the angel lightly running his fingers through the mercenary's hair. She slowly made her way towards him, trying to think of what to say. "Pit..."
"Just a few months ago...you said you couldn't have done anything, I thought of one thing...one thing that could have happened, but you didn't bring it up," he said suddenly, not looking up at his goddess. "Soul Imprisonment. I kept thinking of why you never told me."
The goddess was shocked that her general had somehow managed to think of the forbidden punishment. "You don't understand-"
"No, I do understand," Pit barked, his voice rising. "I know why you never told me...because you did not wish to seal away a soul that had done nothing wrong. Even if it would be for the greater good, you chose not to do it...even knowing it would lead to this."
Palutena was silent for a long while, trying to find the words to explain her decision. "I knew what it would do to you. To him." she said simply, looking away.
Pit merely closed his eyes. "Thank you, my goddess."
She was stunned. "Why are you thanking me...? There was so much more I could have done to help both of you...!"
"Perhaps...but had you actually done Soul Imprisonment...I don't think I would have ever forgiven you." he whispered. Palutena merely closed her eyes in contemplation and nodded sullenly.
"Maybe it was for the better this way..." she murmured, uttering a quick prayer for the fallen warrior.
"Why don't we take him back to the mansion? Everyone is paying their respects to him, and we need to bury him..." she let out, kneeling down next to her general.
Pit's face scrunched up, as if he was trying to fight off another round of tears. "No...not there. Here. He would have wanted it this way."
"I see..." With a wave of her hand, the earth next to them opened up, creating a deep enough hole for them to place Ike's body in. "It is only proper for one who is aligned with the earth to return to it."
"Wait," Pit gasped as he got up, gently placing Ike's head back onto the ground. "Let me go get his sword." The angel then ran off into the clearing where, only hours before, had stuck down his lover. He returned a few minutes later carrying Ragnell, the sword reflecting the brilliance of the sun with its surface.
Palutena nodded. "You're right. That weapon is part of him...he'll be glad to have it in his next life." With her help, Pit managed to lay Rangell into Ike's lifeless hands, making sure his hands were closed around it.
With a deep breath, Pit reached up and took the laurels off of his head, gently lifting Ike's head enough so he could place them around his. "Ike...our memories are strong, our bond even stronger--even across death itself. Take these and remember me...I'll see you sometime soon," he said as he leaned down to kiss his forehead, which had long grown cold. "Farewell...my love."
With his goodbye said, he nodded at his goddess, who merely levitated the body into the newly created chasm before sealing it closed. Pit watched with focused eyes, all of his tears already spent as his lover's body was buried. Palutena then held out her hand and focused, a large crystal with blue fire burning within it appearing in her hand. She walked over to the tree and inserted it, and the change was instantaneous. The tree seemed to glow with power in such a way that it made it seem like it was on fire; the ground beneath it twisting into words that wound around its trunk.
"O valiant hero of blue flames, find your peace in death as your journey on this world ends," Palutena chanted softly, each of the words glowing with power as they were etched onto the ground. "In this holy place, remember the one who loved you, despite the burden you carried. Rest now, o warrior."
Pit merely closed his eyes as he reached into his toga, pulling out the last item Ike had given him on that night a few months ago.
"Pit, hold on."
Ike reached up and untied his headband before placing it in Pit's hands. "Take these." he said as he placed the medallion in the angel's other hand.
Pit's eyes widened. "Ah! These are...!" he gasped. He knew how precious these items were to his lover. He knew exactly why he kept them so close to him...but for the mercenary to actually give it to him..."Are you serious?" he asked in disbelief, looking into the mercenary's eyes.
Ike nodded as he turned his gaze back to the star filled sky. "Yes. Keep them...treasure them." he said softly.
"You've already given me so much...so why these?" he questioned, his mind still reeling from him actually giving them up.
"Because, Pit..." Ike murmured softly to him. "Even if no one remembers who I am...who I was, I know there will always be someone who will. The person closest to my heart."
The angel found himself speechless in the face of such raw emotion. Ike's voice was cracking from the things he wanted to say, the things he had been feeling for such a long time, but was only able to express it in this way. "...Ike, I'm..." he sputtered, clutching the two items in his hands tightly.
"Pit, please don't forget who I used to be. Cherish those items, because they will be all that remains of my old self," the mercenary said as he drew the angel into an embrace, stroking his wings with his fingers. "Please, remember who I am, even as you move on...!" he choked out in a whisper, his eyes closing to fight off any tears.
It was all so surreal to Pit, who had never heard the mercenary sound so weak, so emotional, that it was making his head spin. "I promise," he said softly, patting the mercenary's back. "I swear upon my life's blood."
Ike then chuckled as he wiped at his eyes, refusing to let go of his lover. "Pit...I love you so much," he whispered into the angel's ear, unaware of the slight blush that developed on Pit's face. "Just...stay with me for a little while, okay?"
Pit closed his eyes and smiled sadly. "That would be perfect." he said.
The stars had never looked so beautiful than on that night.
The angel had closed his eyes, clutching the headband to his chest. "I will be strong." he said firmly, looking at the now blazing tree, which was lit with blue fire.
Palutena was confused as Pit tied the headband around his head, tying it tightly. "What do you mean?"
"I will be strong," he repeated as if he didn't hear her. "I will be someone that he would be proud of. I will be a warrior that will not falter in the face of death. I'll be someone who will cherish the memories that he gave me for eternity!"
He then strode over and picked up Alondite, which was still stained with Ike's blood. "He will live on through me...I swear this upon my life." he vowed, turning to his goddess with a determined smile on his face.
You are your own person...you don't have to do this...
"I can see that you truly are the strong person he fell in love with," she said softly, wiping a stray tear from her eye. "You will continue to be strong, even after this. It was what he wanted."
"I know. That's why I will do my best...I won't let him be disappointed in me!" Pit exclaimed as he nodded, holding up Alondite as if he was saluting both the grave and his goddess at the same time.
I could never be disappointed in you...
The goddess sadly smiled, motioning to her general to follow her. "That strength will have to be put to the test. The people that were left behind...we must explain things to them."
Pit looked disheartened for a moment before nodding. "I know. I will tell them everything...even if it means they'll hate me."
"Come then. We have long days ahead of us now."
As he left the now holy ground, Pit looked back at the tree of blue fire and nodded. "Ike, are you watching? Even if everything we had are now memories...you'll always be the person closest to my heart. I won't let anyone take it."
You shouldn't deny yourself...
"Even if things are rough, even if they seem hopeless...you're still here with me." Pit smiled as he held a hand over his heart, and for a moment, he could swear he felt Ike's hand there too, gripping his softly.
Even if things are bleak...always remember the times we shared. The laughter, the sadness...the love and everything in between. That is how we people are defined, how we interact with what we see everyday. You're a person too, Pit...my precious person.
Pit chuckled, as if he was hearing some unheard voice. "I know...I'll see you soon, Ike. I promise."
As he ran off to catch up with his goddess, the sky darkened until it was pitch black, the only light being the stars in the sky and the tree that was enveloped in fire. It was if both heaven and earth were grieving for the loss of a great hero, and this was the only way to pay respect.
Pit would remember for the days to come that Ike not only was special to him, but to countless other people he interacted with.
Despite the challenges, he would keep going. No matter the pain or hardship.
His love for Ike was why he killed him; now it was the only thing that drove him on.
And he would keep smiling, no matter what. Because Ike, despite everything, would always be with him.