Second Chance

Chapter 7

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/05/08

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Aiolos hadn't gotten a wink of sleep. Although Saori had managed to fall asleep in her chair, the Sagittarius Saint had been too worried about her and the Bronze Saints for him to rest. That was why, when the younger Saints arrived back in the morning, Aiolos was the first one to notice. Of course, being able to sense Cosmo helped him with that. He meet the boys at the door.

"Did you find him?" Aiolos asked. There was no need to say who he was suppose to be. Shiryu shook his head, a more eloquent reply than Seiya's outburst.

"The bastard managed to get away!" A pained look flashed across Shun's face, and Hyoga must have seen it as well because he spoke before the Pegasus Saint could say anything else.

"We managed to get back part of the Gold Cloth though." The Ice Saint said.

"Only part of it?" Aiolos tied to keep the disappointment out of his voice.

"Ikki had his goons grab the parts and they all split up. We tried to catch them all, but there was only five of us so..." Seiya shrugged.

"It's okay." The Sagittarius Saint said aloud, although inside part of him was screaming with frustration because Ikki still had possession of some part of his cloth, while he was forced to sit her and do nothing. "At least you managed to get some of it." This was greeted by a few nods as Aiolos stepped back.

"At least now Ikki can't use the power of the Gold Cloth." Shiryu said as he entered. His statement caught the Sagittarius Saint off guard and Aiolos stood their for several seconds, staring at the Dragon Saints retreating back before he realized that he was standing there doing nothing. As Aiolos closed the door then hurried after the younger Saints, he wondered what Roshi had told Shiryu about the Gold Cloth. He had thought that the Dragon, trained by the Libra Gold Saint, would have had a better understanding of what the Gold Cloths really were. Yet, Shiryu seemed to believed what all the other Bronze Saints seemed too, that you had only to wear the Gold cloth to become a Gold Saint. He apparently had no idea of what the Seventh sense was or how to use it. Aiolos had assumed that Shiryu would have been taught what the seventh sense was or at the very least heard about it from his master. But for some reason Roshi hadn't even mentioned it to his student.

Maybe it's because Bronze Saints aren't capable of using the Seventh Sense?. A small part of his mind spoke up. Seiya was trained in Sanctuary, and he hasn't heard of Seventh Sense either. None of the Bronze Saints have even heard rumors of it.. My master told be about it, but then again I was being trained for a Gold Cloth from the beginning. Maybe Roshi didn't feel the need to tell Shiryu about the Seventh Sense because he was being trained for a Bronze cloth? I know that we Gold Saints are the only ones who are capable of using Seventh Sense, but I thought the other Saints would have at least known about it!

The thought that other Saints wouldn't even known what it was that made the Gold Saint so power hadn't even crossed Aiolos's mind. Hadn't the wondered what set the Gold Saints apart, what made them so powerful? Was the seventh sense really such a secret? Now that he thought about it, he didn't remember ever discussing it with either Saga or Shura. It had been such a part of them after they earned their cloths that it hadn't even seemed worth mentioning. For the Sagittarius Saint, it seemed odd that the others didn't know of it's existence. Then again, I suppose it would useless to tell them about something they'll never be able to achieve...

They had finally reached the room where Saori had been sleeping, and entered to find her awake and Tatsumi already by her side. Seiya explained about the what had happened as the Bronze Saints lined up the few parts they had been able to reclaim on the table. Just the arm and leg pieces were left, pitifully few parts when you compared it to what made up the full Sagittarius Cloth. He half-listened to the conversation the others were having about what to do next as he walked up and reached out to gently. brush his fingers over the remains of his cloth. Immediately he felt something almost akin to annoyance spark across his mind. He pulled back as if burned, but thankfully the others didn't notice his reaction. He stared down the golden pieces wide eyed. It had always been rumored that the cloths, Gold Cloth in particular, were alive or at least aware of the Gold Saints who wore them. Aiolos had always considered them simple rumors but now...

Saori said something about repairing the cloths and Aiolos looked up distracted from his discovery for the moment. As Shiryu explained that Roshi had told him of someone who could repair the cloth Aiolos nodded, although it was more to himself that anything else. Roshi had to have been talking about Aries Mu, Shion's pupil and as far as Aiolos knew, the only person capable of repairing Cloths.

Aiolos hadn't known Mu very well. The Aries Saint had still been a boy when Saga had betrayed the Pope, so the Sagittarius Saint hadn't had much contact with. But as Shiryu described where to find the Aries Saint, Aiolos began to wonder. He knew where the tower in Jamir was, because he had been told by Shino himself where it was. From Shiryu's description, that was where Mu was living. More puzzling was the fact that Roshi had told his student that Mu 'was always there'. Was that suppose mean that Mu never went back to Sanctuary? Or did the old master mean something else?

Although it wasn't exactly unusual for a few Saints to spend time away from Sanctuary, Aquarius Saints trained their pupils in Siberia and most of the other Saints took occasional trips to their home countries, but all of them would eventual come back to the birthplace of the Saints. He wondered if Mu was simple at the tower so much that the likelihood of finding him absent when you arrived was so remote Roshi hadn't thought it worth mentioning.

As the Bronze Saints began to discuss when Shiryu should go, Aiolos shoved the questions to the back of his mind to mull over later. He had been listening with half and ear to the conversation but now he began to pay more attention to it.

"You should leave as soon as possible." It was the first time he had contributed to the talk, and all of them looked over at the sound of his voice. "A Saint is useless without his cloth, and we don't know when Ikki will return." Shiryu nodded.

"Right." The Dragons Saint moved from where he had been leaning against the wall. "I'll leave immediately."

"If that's what you want." Was Saori's only reply.

"I'll go with you!" Seiya said. "My cloths a mess too, and I don't like waiting around being able to do nothing."

"No. I already know where I have to go. You stay here and watch for Ikki, I'll take both the Pegasus and Dragon cloths."


"You saved my life Seiya. This is the least I can do to repay you." Shiryu gave a small smile, and Seiya sighed.

"Fine." The Pegasus Saint said at last. "But you had better hurry back!" The dragon Saint gave a nod, then disappeared through the door to begin his preparations.

It wasn't that much later that Aiolos watched as the three others bid the Dragon farewell from a mansion window. As he watched Shiryu walk away, the questions that the younger mans words had brought up returned.

Mu was supposed to be living in the mountains, half a world away from Sanctuary. Apart from Roshi, who was a special case as far as the Sagittarius Saint was concerned, he hadn't heard of a Saint stays so far away from Sanctuary before. What reason would the Aries Saint possible have to live so far away from everyone else? Even if you liked the privacy, wasn't that going a little to far? He supposed Mu could have made himself so inaccessible to discourage Saint from breaking their Cloths in the first place. If you thought about much time and energy it would take to go see the Aries Saint, coupled with that fact that most Saints knew it would take a blood sacrifice to repair their cloths...that would make most of them be more careful. Suddenly a thought struck Aiolos and he felt his eyes widen.

Mu had been Shion's student. Could the Aries Saint know his master was dead? If that was true, he would have to know that the person behind the Pope's mask wasn't Shion. Could that be why he was staying so far away from Sanctuary, because he knew something was wrong in the birthplace of the Saints? Mu would have still be a child when Aiolos was forced to flee, and the Sagittarius Saint couldn't blame him for keeping quite then. After all, he doubted anyone would listen to a boy even one who happened to be a Gold Saint. And being seen a supporting a traitor would have been bad for the Aries Saint.

If Mu really was aware that Shion was dead and an imposter was in his place, would he be willing to listen to Aiolos? There was a huge risk to contacting the Aries Saint. If he was wrong about Mu then the least that would happen was that he would be killed or captured and Saori would be put in more danger. But if he was right then he could quite possibly have another ally. There was a great risk, but considering he might actually be able to count on someone besides the Bronze Saints...

This was a something he could not decide on right away. Aiolos decided that he would think it over for today and make a firm decision about it later.

* * *

The theft of the Gold cloth in full view of the audience had ignited a media frenzy. The event was the headline of all most every paper in Japan. Saori was holding a press conference to hopefully gain control before the rumors were blown out of proportion. Aiolos wasn't a part of it, although he was listening in from the other side of the door. Tatsumi was doing most of the talking and answering questions that made Aiolos extremely glad he was known for avoiding the public eye, because if he had been out there he doubted he would have been able to keep his temper.

The reports seem to have jumped the conclusion that this was all a stunt organized by the Graude Foundation. A stunt? A STUNT? Did they think the fact that Saori looked as if she hadn't had any sleep the night before a lie?

What made them think that this was a stunt? What proof did they have that Saori was lying? Most likely, none. Aiolos had learned that most of these men would do anything for a story and causing a scandal like this was sure to sell papers if nothing else. Saori began speaking but Aiolos was distracted from whatever she was about to say by the arrival of one of the maids. She stopped when she saw him leaning against the wall, then bowed before opening the door and heading in. As announced the arrival of the police and Aiolos looked up curiously, just a police officer with a dog walked up the hall, Seiya following now far behind. There was a very pleased expression on Pegasus's face and the older Saint began to wonder what he was up. The officer gave Aiolos a curious look as he walked into announcing himself, but he didn't do anything else. Most likely the man hadn't recognized him. His tendency to avoid the spotlight meant that outside of mansion and the science department, there were few that knew what Kido Akira really looked like. When he had been alive, old man Kido had helped and by the time he had died, people had stopped paying much attention to his grandson. Aiolos preferred it this way. He had never gotten comfortable with being thrust into the spot light.

Seiya smiled at his former mentor as he slipped inside. Aiolos listened with some interest as Seiya described his plan. It was a good one, although the Sagittarius Saint doubted it had any chance of working. Ikki was probably much to far away for the dog to track by now. Still, it never hurt to try, and it gave something productive for Seiya to do while they waited for Shiryu to return.

In the room there was a lot of noise as Seiya convinced the police officer to let him take charge of the dog, then ran out of the mansion. There was a brief pause, then several of the reports began to shout questions, as Tatsumi yelled that they press conference was over. Saori exited the room, a look of strain on her face. Aiolos quickly stepped up and offered his arm to her. She flashed him a grateful smile, before taking it. He doubted Tatsumi or the police officer who followed her out noticed how hard she her grip on his arm was, or that she was allowing him to take most her weight. Saori turned to the other two as soon as Tatsumi had closed the door.

"Tatsumi, could you show the Officer to a room where he can wait until Seiya returns? If the dog is as good as you say I doubt it will be long." The officer gave the appropriate thanks. Tatsumi hesitated and looked over to her...

"Ojou-sama..." He began but was silenced by a look from the young woman. He turned and escorted the officer away as Aiolos began to walk her toward her room. Once they were out of immediate line of sight, he felt Saori sag.

"Saori?" He asked in concern.

"I'm fine." The young woman straightened then smiled at him. "I just need some peace and quite." There was a pause. "I want to visit Grandfather's planetarium." She said at last. Aiolos sighed but privately agreed.

"Fine, just be careful. You'll be all alone up there." She nodded and let go of his arm, then turned down a hall way that lead away from her room. He watched her go, then went looking for the remaining Bronze saints.

Kido had built he planetarium when Saori was very little and since that time it had become her refuge. By unspoken agreement, no one, not even Tatsumi dared to disturb her there except in times of the most dire emergency. When she had been a child, that was where she would go if she wanted to hide, or if she was very angry and wanted to spite someone. Since everyone soon learned where she would go, they would wait until she got hungry or bored enough to come out on her own. Kido had been the only one that would go in after her. Even Aiolos didn't go in unless Saori asked him too. After Kido's death the planetarium had become even more important to Saori. It as the place that held the most memories of her Grandfather, and was often the only space she could go to be able to be alone for an hour or two. Aiolos had rarely gone into the planetarium after that. Not only was he trying to respect Saori's privacy, there was something odd about the building now. It felt as if there was something there with them. Nothing dangerous, just a sense of the presence of another person. Sometimes the Sagittarius Saint was sure that Kido was standing in that room with Saori. It unnerved him and, although had never heard of any Saint seeing one, he knew enough to believed that ghosts might exist. He had never mentioned it to Saori, mostly because he didn't want to taint the one refuge in the world she had.

The searched for the few Bronze Saints was soon over. Wolf, Hydra, Bear, and Lionet were all either recovering from wounds received in their battle or had been moved some where closer to the Labs in hope that the scientists who had been studying the Sagittarius Cloth for the last fourteen years would be able to repair the cloths damaged in the Galaxian tournament. Aiolos doubted they would be able too and couldn't help but wonder why no one had thought to tell them about Mu or asked them to accompany Shiryu.

A quick questioning of the mansion staff had revealed that Shun had left even before the press conference, saying he wanted to be alone for a while, and Hyoga had left not too long ago. He could understand why Andromeda wanted to leave, anyone would be left reeling after what Shun had been through and he wouldn't begrudge him the chance to think it over, but why Hyoga? As far as he could tell Cygnus had not friends or acquaintances outside of the mansion, so where did he go? With him gone Aiolos was the only one who could protect Saori if Ikki or his minions decided to show up again. Hadn't Hyoga thought about that before he had left?

With a sigh Aiolos decided it was no use crying about spilt milk, and exited the mansion. He would do a quick patrol around the garden, then go see if Saori was feeling better yet. It probably wasn't necessary, but he knew it would be useless to try and relax now, he was far to keyed up. This at least would give him something to do.

* * *

After he had finished his rounds, Aiolos returned to the mansion to find Saori looking out a window. He frowned when he noticed that her eyes were red from crying.

"Are you alright?" He asked as he walked up to her.

"I'm fine." Aiolos could tell she was lying. Perhaps it had something to do with being a Goddess, because even when she was a child Saori could never lie convincingly. And she could never meet the eyes of the person who was asking the question.

"You are not. Now, did something happen?" Saori looked down for a second after he asked the question, then said very quietly.

"Do you think we'll be able to get the Gold Cloth back Ni-chan?" She sounded so...unsure and vulnerable. He was reminded that despite how she acted sometimes, his goddess was still a thirteen year old girl who had no idea of what was going on. It hurt him to see her like this, but he didn't dare tell her everything. He would once everything had settled down and he had time for a proper explanation. Although he had promised Kido he would wait two more years, if Sanctuary really was coming after her then it would be an emergency that would put her life in even more danger than if she was left in the dark.

"We'll get it back, one way or another." He answered her. If push comes to shove I'll have to call it back on my own. I don't dare go into a serious battle without it. At the same time, that will both tell Saga I'm still alive and put Saori in danger.. I would rather use that as a last resort. That's one of the reasons I want the Bronze Saints here. If they can protect her without my help, it will buy us a little more time. Time they needed to be able to think of a way to convince more Saints that they Pope wasn't who claimed to be.

Saori had turned back to the window and it was her startled gasp that made him glance up. The three Bronze Saints were making their way up to the mansion but it was clear even from this distance that they weren't alright. Hyoga was cradling his arm to his chest, and Shun was half leaning on the Pegasus Saint. Aiolos turned and ran out of the room. He had thought he felt a surge of strange cosmo earlier but it had been faint. He hadn't wanted to chance leaving the mansion, not while Saori was here. Now he almost wished he had investigate it more thoroughly because it looked as if Ikki had started to strike back.

They were inside by the time he reached the door. Shun was sitting on the floor, several bruises apparent and Hyoga was wincing whenever he moved his arm.

"What happened!?" The Sagittarius Saint demanded. Seiya, the only one who didn't appear to be injured in someway spoke up.

"Ikki's Dark Saints showed up." Was all he said. A sudden bark at the Pegasus's Saint's feet caught Aiolos's attention. He heard Tatsumi call for one of the servants to take the dog back to the police officer, and turned around to find Saori and the older man standing a few yards behind away from them. Aiolos turned back to the Bronze Saints.

"I didn't think the Black Saints were this strong." The Sagittarius Saint said frowning. "You didn't have any trouble with them last night."

"These weren't the same as the Black Saints we fought then." Hyoga said as he gingerly flexed his arm. "They were much stronger." The Cygnus Saint began to describe what had happened a growing sense of alarm grew in Aiolos's heart. Before, the Saints that had been with Ikki had been mere puppets that had donned copies of the Phoenix Cloth out of loyalty. But these new Saints, it almost seemed as if they had been trained to be opponents for these specific Bronze Saints. That though chilled him to the bone because if it was true it meant Saga would have already figured out that Aiolos was still alive and what he had been planning on doing. Aiolos swiftly decided that was unlikely. If Saga knew he was still alive, there would be Gold Saints on his tail, not those pitiful excuses for warriors. He looked down at the real Bronze Saints.

"Are you going to be alright?" Hyoga nodded in answer to his questions.

"I'm getting the feeling back in my arm. I wasn't seriously injured."

"Same here." Shun was standing up now, wincing a little. "These are just superficial wounds. I'm a little sore but that's about it." He nodded, relived that they were least for now.

"Get some sleep then. We don't know when Ikki will come back, so it's better to be well rested. That way will be ready for anything he can throw at us." There was accompanying nods from everyone in the room. Then Seiya turned and walked toward the door.

"Seiya, where are you going?" Saori stepped toward the Pegasus Saint.

"Home, you said to get some sleep didn't you?" Was the simple answer. Seiya turned and looked at their bewildered expressions with some surprise.

"I told you I already had a place didn't I?" Aiolos didn't think that Seiya had, but he decided it was not he time to point that out. Instead he asked,

"Will you be alright? Even though it's unlikely you'll be attacked now we still don't know what Ikki is up or when he'll appear again!" Privately Aiolos though it was unlikely that the Phoenix Saint would go after Seiya. Ikki seemed to bear a grudge against the Kido family, not any of the Bronze Saints. Besides, the Phoenix Saint was smart. He would know that without his Cloth Seiya was no threat and would likely not got after him. But it never hurt to be careful, particularly were someone like the Phoenix Saint was concerned. However Seiya didn't look at all worried.

"If Ikki shows up, I'll just kick his ass this time. I'll be fine. " The young Saint turned and walked away. "See ya." He waved at them.

"Seiya wait..." Saori tried to say something, but the door shut before she could finished her sentence. Tatsumi began to yell something about how rude Seiya was, even though the young man was gone. Hyoga and Shun excused themselves and left, presumably going to their rooms. Aiolos sighed and chose to follow the younger Saints. But when he glanced back as he went around the corner, there was a look on Saori's face that made him want to go back. Then Tatsumi said something to her and the vulnerable expression on Saori's face was gone, replaced by a determined mask. Aiolos hesitated for half a second, then turned and walked away. He knew from experience that if Saori didn't want to talk to him about something, pushing her would only make her draw farther away from him.

* * *

Later that night Aiolos was laying on his bed reading when there was a hesitant knock on his door.

"Come in!" He called curiously, wondering who would becoming to visit him this late. Most of the servants would dare disturb him and Tatsumi would have just barged in, so who? He blinked when Saori was the opened the door.

"Ni-chan?" She asked softly. "Can we talk?"

"Sure." He sat up and swung his legs over the edge of his bed. Saori came and sat down next to him. How long has it been since she's come to see me on her own like this? Years I think, since a little after Kido died. Probably around the time she grew up enough realize that I never really liked the old man.

"What did you want to talk about?" For several seconds they didn't say anything.

"Seiya and the other Saints..." Saori began at last. "they don't really like me, do they?" So she's noticed.   Was the first the Sagittarius' Saint's first though. He wasn't sure if she had been paying much attention to the boys behavior.

"Ni-chan?" Aiolos realized he had been silent for several seconds. He sighed and pondered how to tell her why she was being avoided.

"They boys were away for years Saori." He said gently. "the last time they saw you, you were still a little kid, and weren't exactly the nicest person then." Saori flinched but there was resigned look on her face, as if she had suspected it but wanted to have it confirmed.

"I was wasn't I?" She said, more to herself than him.

"Of course, that was mostly Grandfather's fault." Aiolos continued.

"Ni-chan!" Saori looked up at him shocked. "How can you say something like that!?"

"Because it's true Saori." He said firmly. "You know it as well as I do."

"He took us in after our parents died..."

"And spoiled you rotten." He cut her off before she continue. "I don't care now nice he was to you. Giving you everything you wanted and not allowing me or anyone else to discipline you in anyway isn't exactly healthy."

"I suppose so..." She had been picking at the fabric of the skirt as she spoke but now she stopped and looked up at him.

"Ni-chan, why didn't you and Grandfather ever get along?" Aiolos sighed. He had been trying to decide how to answer that question for a while now, sure that Saori would ask it at one point.

"I was because we had very different personalities and ideas." It was probably wasn't the most satisfying answer, but it was the safest. Saori frowned at him. He leaned back and looked up at the ceiling.

"I didn't even want to have this tournament in the first place."

"But why!? It was Grandfathers dying wish!" That had been the main source of tension between the two of them since Kido had died. He hadn't been able to explain it to her without breaking his promise. Now that Sanctuary had found them he supposed he could tell her, but he still hadn't figured how to yet. Now wasn't the time to tell her, so he tired to stall.

"What did Grandfather tell you the tournament was for?" He thought that Saori was holding this solely because Kido had told her too, but he wanted to know if he had given her a reason behind it as well.

"Before he died, Grandfather told me the tournament was to lure out the evil forces that would come after the Gold Cloth." Saori must haven noticed the absolutely stunned look on his face.

"Ni-chan?" She asked worriedly. Aiolos struggled to return a normal expression to his face, while inside raged and anger swirled. You bastard! After all those warnings I gave you that we can't do something to attracted attention to Saori, you go and do something like this!? You could have gotten her killed! If Saga figures out who she is then a few Bronze Saints won't be able to stop him, he won't even count them as a threat! Aiolos had thought the old man just wanted to test the Bronze Saints strength. I would have found a way to stop this if I had know what you were really up too! That's why you didn't tell me, isn't it? He took a deep breath to calm down before he said anything else.

"I don't think that was the smartest thing to do." Was all Aiolos said. "We didn't know how strong the Bronze Saints were or how strong whoever came after the Gold Cloth was going to be." Saori seemed to be thinking about that and Aiolos hurried to add one more thing.

"Did Grandfather ever intend to tell the Bronze Saints the danger they were going to be put in?" Although it may be a Saints duty to die for Athena, these Saints don't even know who Saori is. If they had just been given the choice, I'm sure they would have chosen to fight regardless of the danger. Saori stopped and looked at him.

"I...I..don't know..." Now she seemed torn. While he had been alive Kido had been everything to Saori and she still hadn't grown past the childish belief that that he could do wrong. Now, because she was older and more mature she was starting to realize that he wasn't perfect...and she didn't want to believe it.

"Saori, Grandfather was a lot of things, but he was a never a Saint in any sense of the word." He wasn't a warrior and didn't' think like one. "Maybe that was one of the reasons that we didn't get along, he thought in a much different way than I did." Some of Kido's plan were rather twisted and he seemed to like keeping people in the dark, a way of thinking that Aiolos had despised even before Saga's betrayal. After, it had reminded too much of what his former friends had done.

" But he still did a lot of good, Ni-chan!" Saori protested. He hadn't expected her to change her mind in just conversation, but he hoped that she would start thinking about what he had said.

"I never said he hadn't." Although I don't know how much of it was out of the kindness of his heart, and how much of it was because he wanted to improve his image. "but regardless of what Grandfather was, or what I thought of him, he's gone now Saori. All we can do is concentrate on the present and what's to come." She nodded at that, then spoke up again.

"Do you think that they'll ever be able to forgive me?" There was no need for her to say who 'they' were.

"Give them time Saori. Once they realize that you've grown up, they'll probably forget all about spoiled-brat Saori." He smiled at her encouraging. "Try talking to them though, it might help." She smiled, then tried, unsuccessfully, to stifle a yawn. Aiolos chuckled.

"We're both exhausted. Let's get some sleep, and think about these high moral questions tomorrow when we our minds are awake." This time Saori smiled at him.

"Thank you." Was all she said, before she stood up. Saori paused at the doorway and looked back at him.

"Goodnight Ni-chan."

"'night little sister. Sweet dreams." It had been a long time since he had called her that, and her face lit up before she turned and shut the door. After she was gone, Aiolos threw himself backwards on the bed and lay there staring at the ceiling, cursing at himself.

When Kido had brought them over here, he had become Saori's 'brother' out of necessity. But part of him had come to accept and love her as if she really was his sister. He suspected that it his forceful separation form Aioria was one of the reasons he had accepted her so quickly. But Saori was still his goddess. How was he suppose to be her Saint when he kept thinking of her as a little sister? He had tried to separate himself from her and he thought he had been succeeding, but tonight... Could he really respected Athena when he couldn't stop thinking of as family?

* * *

His dilemma still wasn't resolved when he went down to breakfast. All Saints were trained since childhood to wake with the dawn. Aiolos still stuck to that schedule, even after over a decades absence from Sanctuary. Although his body wasn't up to what if had been, the Sagittarius still found an early morning workout of be enjoyable, and usually trained until for a few hours before he came in to shower and get breakfast. Even though he wasn't as strong as he once was, he liked to believe that he was still in the same shape he had been when he had arrive here.

As they were all leaving the dining room, a sudden commotion from Saori's office sent the three Saints running to it. They found Saori standing at her desk, one hand over her mouth and a piece of paper held in the other. Tatsumi was the one making all the noise, raging about the rudeness and disrespect of some people. Completely ignoring the older man, Aiolos made his way over to the young woman.

"Saori?" He asked. She turned and handed him the piece of paper. He read it and paled. It must have been noticeable because the Bronze Saints came over to him.

"Akria-san, what is it?" Hyoga asked. Aiolos sighed and handed the ice Saint the paper.

"It's Ikki." Aiolos told them. Shun was peering at the paper as well. He gasped when he realized what it said.

"We have a week." Was all the Cygnus Saint said. He looked over at Aiolos. "You think he means it?"

"Probably." Aiolos said, thinking out loud. "I think he has something up his sleeve that he needs a week to prepare for. This might be a trap."

"But we don't have a choice, do we?" It was a rhetorical question. Everyone knew that this was the only way to get the Gold Cloth back. Well, not the only way. But I'd rather not tip my hand unless I have to. Saori around and meet each one of their eyes. She looked down at the paper again.

"Seiya has to know about this." She said, then looked up. "I will go and inform him myself." Aiolos raised one eyebrow, but didn't try to stop her. He had the feeling that she wasn't going to listen if he did something like that instead he said.

"I'm going with you then." Everyone looked at him. He sighed. "Saori, Ikki may have said we have a week but I don't trust him. There could be more of his goons waiting for us to drop our guards. You should go out alone." The young woman opened her mouth to argue, then shut it again. She looked thoughtful, then nodded.

"Very well." Was all she said, then turned to Tatsumi. "Do you have an address for Seiya, or do we have to find it..."

* * *

A little over half an hour later, Aiolos was standing in the middle of Seiya's apartment, watching the two teenagers, both of whom seemed to have forgotten all about him.

When they had arrived, Seiya had yanked open the door while he was still only have dressed. Upon seeing Saori, he had yelped and slammed the door shut. Aiolos had been highly amused, and had been hard pressed not to laugh when he heard the thumps and muffled yelps and Seiya struggled to get his rooms at least somewhat clean. He had noticed Saori was blushing, but had assumed that was because she had never really seen any male, even him, half naked before. But watching them now, Aiolos wondered if it hadn't been because it had been a half-naked Seiya.

It had occurred to him until that moment that goddess or not, Saori was still a teenage girl. Her body was human not matter what her soul was and he supposed it was only natural that she become attracted to some one her won age.

Come to think about it she does tend to list Seiya first whenever she talks about the Bronze Saints, even though Shun and Hyoga are around her a lot more. Aiolos hadn't had much experience with romance or crushes, and was at a lost with what to about this. He hadn't even considered that something like would happen. It worried him, particularly because Seiya seemed to be some what attracted to Saori as well.

And I wonder if that's a good thing or not...

The End of Chapter 7 -- Continued in Chapter 8

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