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River of Dreams

Title: River of Dreams
Fandom: Ar tonelico
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Lyner/Shurelia, Ayatane and Mir
Rating: C10
Summary: Lyner isn't sure what he's looking for.
Notes: "River of Dreams" by Billy Joel was the prompt.

I don't know why I go walking at night,
But now I'm tired, and I don't want to walk anymore.
I hope it doesn't take the rest of my life
Until I find what it is I've been looking for...

"Where are you going?" Shurelia asked as Lyner started pulling his clothing on.

"Walk," Lyner replied. He tried to smile. He had no idea where he was going, other than out. He didn't want to leave Shurelia, whose skin invited him back to the bed, but he knew he wouldn't sleep. "I'll be right back, but you don't have to stay up."

Shurelia smiled sweetly, but sadly, and nodded. Lyner tried not to sigh - he couldn't quite explain the ache inside other than that it was the same thing he felt when Shurelia had been removed from his life.

With Shurelia at his side, and in his bed after fumbling through months of awkwardness, Lyner thought he should be happy. But every night since they'd descended the tower to deliver a few creations that Lyra couldn't handle, he'd gone out without even really knowing why.

He didn't glance back as he closed the door to their room at the inn in Nemo. Shurelia would be safe, even without someone to protect her. Lyner wasn't going to worry.

The first place he found himself was the church, looming high and filled with shadows when he opened the door. A little surprised to find it unlocked, Lyner headed inside.

A pair of Reyvateils were praying near the alter and Lyner smiled at their devotion. Neither looked up as he walked to the front of the church to stare at the statue for a minute before leaving. Obviously the church was not limited to daylight, something Lyner thought he should have known.

Somewhere deeper inside, Radolf was probably fast asleep. Lyner wondered if his friend had ever decided to settle down - enough women in town had been interested. Yet somehow, Radolf seemed much more into his job than any woman.

He kept walking, enjoying the silence of the night until he reached the edge of town where the tower was the only thing that could be seen. The Silvaplate wasn't a safe place to be at night, yet Lyner stepped forward. He had his sword, which he'd grabbed mostly as an afterthought to dressing. As a knight, it was as natural for him to grab it as it was to put on underwear.

There weren't any viruses in the world any more - Lyner knew that. But there were still plenty of things that he didn't want to run into as he passed sparse gardens and cottages strung along the wall of the tower.

The first few poms that attacked him weren't worth a sweat. Smiling, Lyner headed onward without looking behind himself even after getting to an area without as many homes.

"Why am I doing this?" he asked himself just before he heard a twig snap just meters away. He spun around; sword ready to swing at whatever had been following him.

He swore, glancing at the pack of blue wolves that had him almost surrounded. They were more affected by magic or bombs, things Lyner did not have. But his sword wasn't entirely useless - it would just take longer and put him at a higher risk of being injured.

Alone, in the dark, on the Silvaplate... The first wolf lunged at him and Lyner managed more to bat it away than injure it. He took a step back and quickly glanced around. There was nowhere to run. He had walked himself right into an ambush.

The wolf he'd hit snarled and crouched down, ready to lunge again. The others followed suit, making Lyner all too aware that he was likely going to be dinner if he couldn't figure out how to reverse the situation.

He changed his stance quickly, waiting for the wolves to strike. There was no point going after a certain one - he needed to focus only on protecting himself.

Over the growling of the wolves and the sound of his own heavy breathing and heartbeat, he barely heard the strange, soft sound approaching and recognized it seconds later as he was trying to knock wolves away. One of them managed to snare one of his pant legs and he fell, closing his eyes as he hit the forest floor.

The sound... was singing...

A moment later, most of the wolves were eviscerated in a white flash while Lyner flailed at the wolf that had trapped him before it could actually bite him. A second later that wolf fell as well, releasing Lyner. Lyner scrambled backwards, getting up and managing to take out one of the last wolves before it escaped. A Reyvateil had saved him, but she was hiding in the shadows. And there was another person with her, the one who had killed the wolf which had grabbed his pant leg.

"Wait!" he cried and reached out towards the pair.


Lyner's eyes grew wide - it was a voice he'd know anywhere.

"Ayatane!" He rushed forward, grabbing Ayatane in a tight embrace.

"Should have known," Ayatane commented as he hugged Lyner in return. "You're about the only one I know who would come out here without backup."

"I was... out," Lyner said as he let Ayatane go and stepped back. "You're... still alive."

"You wished for him to live," the Reyvateil in the shadows said firmly.

"I know, Mir," Lyner said. It was complicated, he wanted to say. "But... I..."

He looked at her and held his hand out, inviting her out of the shadows. "Thank you."

"How is Lady Shurelia?" Ayatane asked. Lyner realized that Ayatane wasn't wearing his armor. He wondered if the pair lived nearby.

Mir took Lyner's hand just as he tried to figure out how to answer that question. Ayatane would hate him for daring to defile Shurelia, except... that loyalty had been false, hadn't it? Yet... in that web of lies there had been so much truth.

"She's well," Lyner said. He was a little surprised that Mir's hand was so warm. She was wearing a long dress and her hair was tied back almost as artfully as Misha kept hers.

"Good," Mir said with a gentle squeeze. "Why isn't she with you?"

Lyner looked down. He didn't have an explanation for that. It was easily the middle of the night and he was all the way up into the Silvaplate and he couldn't explain why he was doing any of it.

"I've... we've missed you," Ayatane said. His hair had grown longer. Lyner smiled and nodded. Mir didn't let go of him.

"We had been discussing a way to get up to Platina," Mir said after another pause. "To visit, if you would allow it."

"Y...Yeah," Lyner said softly, nodding. "Um... you live out here?"

"Yes," Ayatane replied. "Would you like to bring Lady Shurelia here tomorrow? I can meet you at the base of the Silvaplate."

"Okay," Lyner said, "but... I still need to get back to Nemo tonight."

"We'll see you back to the city. You're done wandering?" Mir asked almost playfully. She looked thin and young, younger than Misha had looked even when trapped in her child's body. It was odd to think of her as Ayatane's mother.

"I am," Lyner admitted, realizing that the ache had vanished. Everything was as it should be - he had Ayatane at his side, just as he had Shurelia. "I found what I was looking for."


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