Second Chance

Chapter 10

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/07/27


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During the impromptu party last night it had been decided that they should head over to Sanctuary and bring the fight to Saga. Aiolos was not thrilled about this decision but Saori had thankfully put a stop to that. She had managed to convince the Saints to take a couple of days off to rest, days that Aiolos interned to use to come up with some way to convince the younger Saints that now was not the time to storm Sanctuary. They had no idea of what the face over there. All of the full saints, the trainee and the soldiers....we won't survive if we go now! But the Bronze Saints seemed determined to go, determined to put an end to their enemy. In any other situation Aiolos probably would have agreed with them. But not now. Not when it could ruin everything. I've waited thirteen years, I have to make them understand that we have to wait a little longer! And yet...how much longer would they have to wait? It was beginning to look like Saga had managed fool every Saint in Sanctuary except for Mu. If that was true...did they have any hope left?

Don't be an idiot! Aiolos scolded himself. You just have to trust in Athena! He took a deep breath. The problem was that Saga had not been idle. He had been getting ready for this for years, and Aiolos knew that they would have to take action soon. Aiolos had meant to wait until they had more support from Sanctuary but it looked as if that wasn't happening. They were going to have to stop reacting at some point, and the only way that Aiolos could see to make the other Saints listen to him and believe in what he was saying was to go to Sanctuary. If they just see Saori, just be near Athena then I know they'll come over to our side, they have to! Even as he thought those words , a sudden sadness swept over him. The practical part of him knew that the only way to win was to prove to the other Saints that Saga was a fake and that the real Athena was here. Saori was already showing signs of Athena's power and it was only a matter of time until the goddess became fully awake. Although as a Saint, he felt relived and happy that his goddess would soon be awake, there was a part of him that was only saddened by the fact. During those few moments that Saori had been Athena she had seen different. Not only more powerful, but far more remote and much, much older than she really was. She hadn't seemed like his little sister at all and that was what was saddening him. Once Athena awoke, Aiolos was afraid that he would never be able to see his little sister again.

* * *

They returned to Japan rather late, and after they had reached one of the smaller houses Kido had kept in the city, all the Bronze Saints had went directly to bed. Aiolos had tired to get Saori to sleep as well, but she hadn't listened him, and had even ignored it when Tatsumi had tried to say something. It was only when Saori had asked the man she had sent out to try and retrieve information about 'Arles' to repeat his report for the second time, did she realize that maybe it would be better if she reviewed them after some rest. Aiolos had made sure she reached her room safely, before heading towards his own bed.

The next morning the Bronze Saints all left the mansion in the morning. Seiya was heading toward the orphanage where he had once lived, Shun and Ikki were going to visit their parents graves (something that had surprised Aiolos when he heard about it) while Hyoga and Shiryu had left without a word.

Saori had decided that she wanted to view the damage the Flame Saint had done to the mansion in the daylight. Aiolos had gone with her and Tatsumi, and had arrived at the mansion with them.

A portion of the front of the mansion had been reduced to charcoal and ash. Firefighters had managed to contain the blaze before it reached the other parts of the mansion but there was damage from the smoke and parts of it had been weakened nearly to the point of collapse. It could be repaired but it would take time. And the planetarium at the top had been completely destroyed. Saori just stood, staring at the ruins of what had been her home. Aiolos felt some emotions, he had spent over a decade living in the place after all, but nowhere near the strength of Saori's own. This had been the only home she had ever known and all of her memories, both good and bad were here. Aiolos could sympathies with her somewhat. Although it still existed, he was unable to return to Sanctuary, the only place he had ever called home. Yet, he had never felt the way Saori seemed to about this house, it was almost as if she were grieving for it. I know all of her memories where here, but she hasn't lost those and they said the structure can be repaired. She can even rebuild the planetarium if she wants to, so why is she acting like she's lost something? Aiolos decided not to inform her of the feeling of unease that he had developed lately. He was beginning to feel as if something was wrong with Pegasus, but he had sensed nothing that would confirm that Seiya as in danger. He didn't want to worry Saori, so he kept those feeling to himself.

Saori moved suddenly, starting toward the mansion. Aiolos cry of Saori was mingled with that of Tatsumi's shocked exclamation.

"Ojou-sama, it's not safe!" The manservant protested. The young woman looked back at both of them.

"I want to see the damage for myself, Tatsumi." She said.

"Then let me call the Fire Chief, I'm sure he'd be happy to give you a tour..." Tatsumi said hurriedly, but Saori shook her head.

"I want to do this on my own Tatsumi. I have to, to say goodbye...."

"Ojou-sama..." Tatsumi whispered. Aiolos sighed, then went to her side.

"Ni-chan?" She asked hopefully.

"Let's go." The Sagittarius Saint smiled at her, then turned back to Tatsumi. "I'll make sure nothing happens to her." He called back.

"But...." Tatsumi said as they ignored him and entered the mansion.

Inside it was hard to tell that this had once been lavishly furnished, everything had been reduced to piles of charcoal and ask. The smell of smoke and flames clung to everything. Saori walked through the mansion as if she was in a daze, occasionally reaching out to touch something. Her fingers were soon stained with soot, and she winced ever time things crumbled away from her touch. Things improved slightly as the went deeper into the mansion. Although nothing had escaped unscathed, furniture at least was mostly intact. Suddenly Saori left his side and ran into one of the rooms. Aiolos cursed and hurried after her.

"Saori" He called and entered the room. Inside her found Saori slowly making her way around the grand piano she had learned to play on. As she came around to the keyboard she pressed down on one of the keys gentle. A musical note echoed around the room. Aiolos and Saori looked at each other in surprise, then slowly, as if not quite daring to believe it, the young woman sat down at the piano and played a scale. Each not rang true.

"It still works." Saori whispered. Aiolos could on nod, stunned that piano was still able to play. It was a sharp contrast to the destruction that was evident in the rest of the room. Saori began to play, and Aiolos gingerly lowered himself onto one of the few remaining chairs in the room. It looked like it was stable when you compared it to the rest of the furniture in the room, but Aiolos choose to be careful.

He didn't know how long he sat listening to Saori play. The sound was soothing and Aiolos let himself relax slightly. Some part of him sensed that it was best to let her play. It almost seemed like she was say goodbye to this place, although Aiolos didn't know why since it would be rebuilt anyway.

The sound of hurried footsteps startled both of them out of their both their thoughts. They looked up just as Hyoga entered the room. At first Aiolos was curious was to why the Cygnus Saint was but then Saori stood. There was silence for a few seconds, then Saori spoke up and revealed that she too had felt that Seiya was in danger, and more to the point she knew where he was. Aiolos turned to Saori after Hyoga had left.

"Why didn't you tell me about this?" He asked. Saori kept looking down at the keyboard.

"What could you have done, Ni-chan?" She said at last. That simple sentence hit him like a physical blow. Even though he knew Saori was only saying that because she didn't know who she really was, but the words still hurt and what was more, reveled more truth than Saori knew. He may have had the power to save Seiya, but going to aid Pegasus would have meant leaving Saori unprotected and that would be out of the question. Her life was more important than that of anyone Saint, even one he wanted to help. Even though he knew where the Pegasus Saint was now, he didn't dare leave to help him.....Aiolos swallowed suddenly dry mouthed.

"Saori..." He said slowly. "How did you know where Seiya was?" The young woman looked up wide eye.

"I..I...He lies near the docks." She finished at last. "Of course he would be somewhere near there." But her tone of voice clearly said that she was trying to convince herself as much as Aiolos. Seiya had said he would be going to the orphanage when he had left this morning. They had no way of knowing if he had left already or not.

Just then Tatsumi ran into the room.

"Ojou-sama." The manservant panted. "We've just received a call from someone at Star Orphanage. They claim that Seiya is in trouble!" Aiolos exchanged glances with Saori. There had been no way of knowing anything was wrong until the call had came. Even if Saori was still ignorant of her abilities, Aiolos was well aware of them. Athena must have known that one of her Saints was in danger. Seiya is one of her favored ones so it stands to reason she would have been paying special attention. Aiolos figured. It also means Athena is awaking more and more each day. Soon it will only be Athena that stands before me and all traces of Saori will be erased. It hurt to think about.

Saori turned to the manservant.

"Tatsumi, bring the car around." She ordered. "I want to see the Coliseum next."

"Yes Ojou-sama." Tatsumi bowed then ran out of the room. Saori started out of the room at a much more sedate pace, and Aiolos followed wordlessly. He just didn't know what to say now that it had been made clear to him that his goddess was awakening. It was clear to Aiolos at least that this was sign that there was no more time for 'waiting'. Things would begin soon and he had better get ready for coming events.

* * *

They had been in the midst of the ruins of the coliseum when Ikki and Shun had found them. Aiolos didn't know how they other Bronze Saints had known where they were, but he wasn't nearly as surprised as he had been when Hyoga had shown up. As Saori told the two what she had told Hyoga, Aiolos began to wonder if this was the Fate's way of showing him that it was futile to try and keep Saori in the dark about what she was. Athena would awaken no matter what he did, and it would be better for all of them if she knew why she had this strange powers.

Even as he decided this, Aiolos wondered how he was suppose to tell her. It wasn't exactly something you could just walk up and tell someone. Before he had fully decided how to open that conversation , the Bronze Saints returned....all of them. Apparently the other two had meet Shiryu as they tried to retrieve their cloths, and then they had spotted Hyoga and the beaten Seiya. Although the Cygnus Saint had managed to retrieve his Cloth, he didn't look as if he had seen combat, while Seiya looked beaten.

The Bronze Saints entered, Hyoga half supporting he exhausted Seiya, and each took seats on the rubble that littered the arena floor. Aiolos realized that they had all chosen seats that were at the feet of their goddess...even though they were aware of who she was. Another sign that Athena's power is almost fully awake.

Then Seiya began describing the attack that had been made on him and Aiolos realized that his worries were the least of their troubles. Saga had sent Silver Saints. Not Bronze Saints like Aiolos assumed he would at first but full Silver Saints. It was a sign of how far Seiya had come that Pegasus had been able to defeat a Silver Saint, but it was also a sign of how big a threat Saga considered them if he was already sending Silver Saints to kill them. Has he found out about Saori..? No, if that was the case he would just send a Gold Saint to finish things.

Aiolos hadn't paid much attention to Seiya story when he talked about how his teacher might be his sister. It was an interesting theory but one that had no bearing on their current situation. But when Hyoga picked up the story again Aiolos froze. The Aquila Saint had written 'Seiya Guard Athena' . At the very least that meant she had realized that Saga was not following the goddess orders and that meant that they had another ally.

The Bronze Saints began to talk. As they began to wonder about Athena and if she was really alive, Aiolos felt his mouth go dry. There would never be another chance like this, but before Aiolos could speak up Tatsumi declared that Athena as alive and looked pointedly at Saori. Athena had just enough time to look shocked, then there a massive fireball exploded behind the Bronze Saints!

Aiolos automatically jumped in front of Saori as the Bronze Saints scrambled to their feet and placed themselves between Saori and the flames. Laughter echoed around the ruined stadium, then a swirl of flame announced the arrival of another Saint. This new enemy declared himself to be the Silver Saint Centaurus Babel.

Hyoga moved up to fight, but he was unable to launch an attack before the Centaurus Saint let loose his own attack and knocked the Bronze Saints back. Aiolos cursed and pushed Saori, no Athena, even farther behind him. Seiya and Hyoga were the only ones with their Cloths on and it was painfully obvious that Seiya was in no condition to put up a fight even though he was trying to attack. Hyoga also couldn't seem to find an opening and hadn't unleashed his attack yet. Aiolos suspected that even if Cygnus had attacked, the flames would have been more powerful than his ice.

By this point they had been forced back up the stairs that had once lead to the podium that had once held the Sagittarius Gold Cloth. Pillars of flames were erupting all around the arena now and even the Bronze Saints had been forced to retreat. The Centaurus Saint apparently decided that he had toyed with them enough. He killed the flames, then jumped down to land in front of their position. Aiolos realized that he intended to unleash his flame attack while they were so close together and fry them all at once. Anger at the Saint that was supposed to be serving Athena and instead had chosen to follow Saga's commands. He had been force to sit back and let the younger Saints fight in battles he had wanted to take part in.

He wasn't going to sit back this time.

Aiolos was running before he had even fully decided on his course of action, breezing past Shun and Ikki as Saori's startled cry came from behind him. He was pasted Shiryu and Seiya , then jumped when he reached the last few steps, flipping over Hyoga to land in front of the Cygnus Saint. The Silver Saint took a step back, then stopped and launched.

"So" Centaurus Babel sneered. "Someone else thinks he can stand up to me."

"No." Aiolos said firmly. "I don't think I can stand up to me because I know I can beat you."

"What!?" The Silver Saint roared. "You arrogant....! What makes you think you can beat a Silver Saint when even your Bronze Saint friends can't!"

Aiolos did not answer. Instead he flare his cosmo to it's highest, calling for his Cloth. Centaurus Babel paled and stumbled back, and Aiolos heard the Bronze Saints exclaim in shock. He said nothing as his Cloth arrived in a flash of light, or as Tatsumi yelped when his helmet left the menservants hands and went to join the rest of the cloth in a smaller flash of light. It was only when the Sagittarius Gold Cloth, now stripped of all the cosmetic changes that the Graude Fountain had made to it, had assembled around him did he meet the eyes of the Silver Saint standing in front of him.

"I know I can beat you because I am Gold Saint Sagittarius Aiolos." He said quietly. There was a stunned silence from behind him. The still pale Centaurus Saint was staring at him with a stunned expression that probably mirrored the ones of the Bronze Saints. Then something seemed to dawn on the Silver Saints.

"Sagittarius Aiolos, the traitor of Sanctuary?" Centaurus whispered, then smirked. "I had heard you were dead, killed by the Capricorn Saint but apparently they reports were exaggerated." The Silver Saint glanced behind Aiolos.

"Now I see. You failed to kill Athena , so you decided to turn other Saints in to traitors!" The anger Aiolos had first felt when Mu had informed him of the lies that Saga had spread returned.

"You are wrong!" He hissed. "I never once tried to harm Athena. I gave everything to save her." He glared at the Silver Saint in front of him. "I don't care whether you choose to believe me or not, because I know I am telling the truth." Centaurus just laughed at him again.

"You expect me to believe that!" The Silver Saint spat. "The Pope himself has declared you traitor! Are you saying his lying to us!?"

"That's exactly what I'm saying" Aiolos said evenly. He sighed when he saw the disbelieving look on Centaurus Babel's face. "I already said that I don't care if you believe me or not.."

"It is the duty of the Gold Saint, of all Saints to protect Athena. My whole life I have lived by that rule and to this day I am still on her loyal Saints. Even if you call me a traitor or take my life, I will not care as long as I have managed to keep Athena safe. I don't care what happens to me as long as she is safe. " Aiolos held the eyes of the Silver Saint as he spoke.

"Perhaps I am a traitor to Sanctuary but I have never been ,and never will be, a traitor to Athena."

Centaurus just stared at him for a moment before burst out laughing.

"You except me to believe that!? A traitor to Sanctuary who is still loyal to Athena!? Quit talking nonsense! Athena is Sanctuary you idiot!"

"That's they way it's suppose to be." Aiolos answered calmly. "But that's not the way it is. Do you really think that Athena would agree with the things that the Pope has ordered lately? Do you really think she would agree to so much death and destruction in her own Sanctuary?"

"Enough with you lies!" Centaurus shouted.

"Besides...have you ever even seen Athena?" Aiolos added. The Silver Saint seemed unsure for a moment then shook himself.

"Enough." He growled. "I did come here to listen to a traitors speeches. I don't know who your survived Sagittarius, but this time I'll make sure your dead and deliver your head to the Pope myself!" Centaurus Babel charged at him.

Aiolos had never wanted to kill the Silver Saint. Although Centaurus Babel was his enemy, like Shura and so many other Saints he believed Saga's lies and though what he was doing was right. But even though it wasn't his fault, Aiolos couldn't allow him to endanger Athena an longer. I'm sorry.... The Sagittarius Saint thought as he gathered his cosmo.

"ATOMIC THUNDER BOLT!" The attack slammed into the Silver Saint, shattering his cloth on impact. Centaurus Babel went flying, dead before he hit the ground. Despite all his power the man had still only been a Silver Saint, no match for the forces Aiolos could wield even half crippled.

After the attack there was silence. Aiolos turned and began to walk up the stairs. He barely noticed as the Bronze Saints stepped aside to let him past. At last he reached the steps where Saori stood.

"Ni...ni-chan?" She whispered in confusion as he went down on one knee before her.

"Sagittarius Aiolos has returned to duty, Athena." Aiolos said.

"Ni-chan...?"

"Ummm...could someone please tell me what's going on here?" Seiya called from behind them. "Where did the Gold Cloth from and whose this 'Aiolos' guy?" Tatsumi opened his mouth to say something but Aiolos shook his head. He would take care of this.

"I am Sagittarius Aiolos. Akira was a name that was given to me by Kido Mitsumasa when he rescued me and agreed to help hide Saori and I from our enemies.." He looked up and meet Saori's eyes briefly, before looking away.

"Ni-chan?" Saori's shocked voice cut him like a knife. He had known this would happen when he revealed who he was, but he had been unprepared for exactly how much it hurt. "What's going on?"

"I have decided that it was time I stopped lying and revealed the truth to you." Aiolos took a deep breath, then finally looked up and forced himself to meet the shocked eyes of his goddess. "You are the mortal incarnation of the Goddess Athena."

"Ni-chan? What...? How can that be...?" Saori stammered as Aiolos was forced to look away.

"It's the truth, ojou-sama." Tatsumi said. Saori looked over at him. "Your Grandfather told me everything after he sent Seiya and the others away...but I believe Aiolos should tell you the story." Aiolos sighed then spoke up.

"It all started thirteen years ago in Sanctuary." The Sagittarius Saint began. "That was when Athena was reborn in to a mortal form." He chanced a glance at Saori. "It as also when I when the Pope called for me to come speak with him. He said he had something of great importance to discuss with me, and requested that I return later that night." Aiolos paused for a second, fighting back the wave of emotion that engulfed him as he remembered what had happened next. "I did as I was instructed, but when I entered the main temple, the Pope wasn't there. I waited, thinking that he Pope had simple been attending to some other important business. When he didn't appear I became concerned. It wasn't like the Pope to forget about something, so I went looking for him. I passed by a window and saw a figure heading towards the tower where Athena's room where. I was worried that something had happened to Athena and that was why he hadn't been waiting for me. Since I didn't know what was going on, I followed the Pope out into the tower." It took more will power than it seemed like it should to speak of the events of that night. "The door was open and through it I saw the Pope standing over the Athena's cradle a dagger in his hand. He tried to stab you Athena. I managed to stop him." Aiolos didn't mentioned that even he wasn't sure how he had gotten there in time. All her remembered was thinking that he had to save to Athena...and then his hand was around the dagger and he was thankful for the pain it caused because it meant that the blood being spilled was his and not Athena's.

"I tired to reason with him, but the Pope just threw me off and started toward Athena again. I managed to get the Athena out of his reach, but the Pope still came after her. I attacked him to try and knock him to his senses. It was then that his mask came off."

"When it did I looked up before he went to cover his face. And the man I saw behind that mask was not the Pope."

"How did you know?" Hyoga asked from behind him . "I though no one was allowed to see the Pope's face." Aiolos looked back at the bronze Saint.

"Because I knew the man whose face I saw. It was that of a fellow Gold Saint, Gemini Saga."

"But why would a Saint attack Athena!?" Seiya cried from behind him.

"There's more then one Gold Saint?" Ikki asked as the same time. Aiolos sighed.

"There are twelve Gold Saints, one for each sign of the Zodiac. And I don't have an answer for you Seiya." The Gold Saint answered truthfully. And believe me, no one wants an answer to that question more than I do. I've spent years thinking about why Saga's whole personality could change so suddenly and I have yet to find an answer. How could someone I had known for so long, some I trusted and could have sworn was one of the most loyal Saints betray her so completely? Remembering hurt and it was taking all Aiolos willpower to keep talking, because Athena and the Saints behind him...they had to know the truth of what happened. And because he had to explain to Saori why he had been lying to her for over a decade.

"All I know is that after I saw his face, he attacked me. I was forced to flee, otherwise he would have killed Athena. The only reason I had enough time to make it back to the Sagittarius and retrieve my Cloth was because it was late and it took Saga a little longer to rouse enough men to pursue me. I had managed to get clear of the twelve temples area before the guards caught up with me." He didn't add that he hadn't actually taken the...normal path through the twelve temples. It wasn't even a real path he had taken. It was only a smoother place that had been worn through the rock and brush, made my three trainees determined to sneak away at night. It had been so many years since he had used it....Aiolos also hadn't been able to find it again.

"They called me a traitor. They had been told by the Pope that I had tried to kill Athena."

"Gemini Saga...he killed the real Pope didn't he?" Aiolos wasn't at all surprised that Ikki had been the first one to figure that out, although he doubted Hyoga or Shiryu had been far behind in their deductions.

"Yes, although I hadn't had time to realize it yet. I did manage to defeat the guards, but then another Gold Saint arrived." Aiolos still remembered the sight of Shura standing there, eyes accusing him, asking him why. Aiolos had tried to explain but Shura, but the Capricorn Saint doing what he believed was a the right think, attacked him. Even knowing that his friend was being manipulated didn't help when it came down to the fight. But....Aiolos was doing this for Athena, for their goddess. That was why he was able to fight against Shura.

"I took a hit before I could get my cloth on. I fought against he Gold Saint, but I was trying to protect Athena and he wasn't. He managed to hit me with an attack and tossed me over a cliff." He didn't talk about the details of the fight. He didn't want to have Saori blame herself for what had happened. Shura had been her loyal Saint, even as a baby she had sensed that. She was had been too young to realize that the Capricorn Saint was being manipulated. Yet he held no grudge about what happened.

"I lost consciousness when I hit the bottom. When I came to, I managed to climb up the top. I had been wounded in the fight so it took a while." It had taken all his willpower to reach the top, and even then it was only with the thought of rescuing Athena in his mind. The pain caused by receiving so many of Shura's attacks point blank had been almost crippling. He had been nearly blacking out by the time he reached the top. Then he had seen Athena. It was only later, when he had the time to think, that he would realize that Shura probably hadn't known the infant was Athena. Even Aiolos hadn't known what she had looked like until he had seen her with Saga, and even then only known who she was because she had been in Athena's tower. At that moment he had only been relived that the infant goddess was till there. "Athena was still there when I reached the top. I took her and ran." He had barely been able to move from the pain of his wounds. But he had forced himself to put one foot in front of the other because he knew if he stopped then someone would catch up with him and in his condition he wouldn't be able to put up a fight. He had to continue forward.

"I managed to reach the ruins of the Parthenon before I collapsed. That was when Kido Mitsumasa found me." Aiolos glanced at Tatsumi and the older man nodded. Aiolos didn't really remembered what had happened next that clearly. His senses had been dulled by pain and fatigue and he didn't really remembered what he had said to the old man. And after that he had passed out, almost dieing from his wounds. That was why he let Tatsumi tell how Athena had saved him, how Kido had managed to call for help and somehow managed to get him to a hospital in time. He didn't stop the manservant as he explained how Kido had taken them both to Japan with him, changing their names to hide them from Saga so that Aiolos and Athena became Saori and Akira. At last he finished and there was silence. Aiolos clenched his fist then forced himself to look up at Athena. He had accepted to see disgust or hatred in here eyes, and he wouldn't have blamed her, now he had been lying to her for so long. Instead her eyes showed...an understanding almost. They held a calm and knowing look that seemed very out of place on a girl as young as Saori. Not Saori...Athena.

"Thank you..ni-cha...Aiolos." She said. "And I know what you speak of. Although I wasn't aware of it until you began speaking, there is a part of me that remembers. They may be the memories of a mere baby, but they are enough for me to know what you did for me. " Then she looked away from him as her eyes turned hard. "This also means that I know who our enemy is now. And I will not allow him to manipulate my Saints much longer!" As she finished her, a massive cosmo appeared around her body.

Aiolos had never felt a Cosmo that powerful before. It dwarfed even Saga's cosmo, but it was so pure and gentle for all it's strength. Aiolos felt his own cosmo react, rising to touch that of his goddess. He felt the bronze Saints react as well, and then the younger Saints stepped forward each of them pleading their own loyalty to Athena.

Aiolos realized that he had tears coming out of his eyes, but he wasn't able to tell if the emotion he felt at that moment was overwhelming happiness or sadness.

The End of Chapter 10 -- Continued in Chapter 11


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