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The Last

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Lantis was the last thing on Eagle’s mind.

 

He told himself this. Then he told himself again, firmly, and the thought reminded him a lot of his father: you will not do this, you will not do that, stand up straight and behave…

 

But he was no longer a child. As adults do, he would simply control himself. Self-control was a trait he could cultivate, and through the nurturing of his restraint, Lantis would only be on his mind when he deemed it appropriate.

 

Wait… did all this musing count? He shrugged and looked down to his bed. Someone - Geo, of course - had laid out clothes for the day. All Eagle had done was cough the day before (once or twice or) and now his friend was going act mother hen? He ran his fingers over Geo’s selection, a pair of black slacks and a starched white overshirt. These clothes were so firmly ironed that they resembled plastic more than fabric, seamless and smooth. A thought of Geo, hunched over an ironing board… but no, of course, he wouldn’t go that far. Hopefully.

 

Friends like Geo… he sure lucked out. Maybe the rumors were true, and there was something more to their act of familiarity. He’d never trusted rumors more than his own observations, but right now he could almost believe, despite his knowledge otherwise, that they were sleeping together.

 

It would explain Geo being in his room while Eagle showered.

 

Eagle laughed. He coughed. He’d have to get that checked out, and soon.

 

As he dressed he thought of it more. Rumors of his bedmates had become a hot topic in the more juvenile circles of gossip. Who would the President’s son take as bride? Did he have interest in brides , then, or a more masculine counterpart? Did he like either, or was he too busy fiddling with gears and wires? Maybe he should give up and marry one of his giant robots, then!

 

Once his clothes were on and suitably wrinkled, he looked himself over in the mirror. Even he could admit, he was a “dashing prince”. Wouldn’t be too hard to find a match for him. If he had to be forced or tied down with duty, so be it.

 

Yawning, he stretched himself out across the unmade bed. Dressing took a lot of effort. Maybe Geo could come in the mornings and dress him, too. Was there something to be ashamed of in that? Nah. Just a friend helping a friend button his shirt. Eagle didn’t have time to think about romance. What with being in the public eye, and building, and naps…

 

As he drifted off, the last thing on his mind was Lantis, dressed all in white. Wedding white, wedding bells. He would marry Lantis a thousand times if he could. More than friends, more than lovers - he wanted everything he could take, and in the last moments of conscious thought, he wanted so strongly that he felt upon waking, he could have anything his heart desired.

---

 

Lantis was on Eagle’s mind.

 

It should have been someone else. Geo, left onboard the NSX, probably cursing him still. After all he’d given. After all that love. Left with empty arms and a half-assed apology. Eagle should be thinking of him, praying for a good future for his sometimes friend, sometimes lover. A future free of someone as selfish, conceited, as reckless as Eagle… a future without obligations.

 

He should be thinking of Hikaru. So charming and fire-filled, free… he’d have loved to have known her better, would have loved to have held her hand, felt some of that freedom for himself. He’d know it now. Freedom from having to be tied down, from these regrets, this self-inflicted punishment…

 

But all he could think of was Lantis.

 

Oh, gods, it hurt. His right leg was crushed beneath him, his chest was pierced in multiple spots, and he was pretty sure all these wayward thoughts were from the gash in his head. It hurt! He was bleeding. He was crying. Oh, gods, this was a warrior’s death, this wasn’t - this was awful, it was undignified, and it hurt, it hurt, it hurt…

 

Still, he called out to Lantis. “Go to her! Make sure she smiles!”

 

His hands slipped on FTO’s control stick. Probably slick from blood. He coughed, he coughed, the coughing would not stop . Pain like this was unbearable, and it hurt even more, that he couldn’t think any longer, couldn’t keep his eyes from spotting or his mind from spinning on and out of control.

 

In the next moment he’d be gone. He knew it before it happened, almost a full breath sooner than the impact. It was enough time to pray for Geo, or imagine Hikaru’s smiling face, or hope for a future in Autozam, in Cephiro - in all worlds - where people could get married to the people they love, and be healthy, and not have to sacrifice their lives.

 

In the end, Lantis was the last thing on Eagle’s mind, and in the final seconds he just smiled and let it be him.