“Why are you being like this?!”
“Like what? I can’t even understand you anymore!”
“You know what, you’re right. You don’t understand! I don’t think you ever will!”
“Well then, maybe we should just -- ”
He came to an abrupt stop. He closed his eyes and sighed, shaking his head.
“Maybe we should just what?” I whispered. My voice was trembling, and so were my knees. My entire body felt ready to collapse any second. But my eyes remained glued to the floor. I did not have the strength to look up to him even though I know his eyes will never meet mine.
“Nothing.” He ran a hand through his thick jet-black hair, giving it a frustrated little tug. “I have to go.”
I felt him glance in my direction before finally walking out of the room. The door closed with a soft click behind me. Without warning, my knees simply gave up. I fell on the wooden floor, crying.
Aleria. The City of Magic.
I’ve worshipped this city for the longest time. Here, everything’s perfect. Calm. Peaceful. Exquisite. But the streets, the air—they throb with a quiet yet deadly power. It’s as if the city itself is a strong and formidable wizard in slumber with a promise to awake if need be, to crush all those who threaten to wreak havoc inside his walls.
There was barely a shadow of a moon, but the Aleria tower emanated an eerie silvery glow that seemed to bathe the entire city with its soft, ethereal light. Each inanimate surface it touched seemed to come alive, their ghost eyes watching me, taunting me, pitying me. They were there every night, but they never became my friend.
The sweet scent of summer flowers reached my nose. Funny, the colorful petals are folded in sleep at night but the fragrance seemed to fill the air all the more in the dark. Or, at least the ones here in Aleria Circle do. It is only here that I take notice of such things.
So my listless feet brought me here. I stopped for the first time since I went out of the inn that evening. We used to stay around here till morning just talking; Vince and I. We’d watch the sun rise slowly until it vanquished the mysterious nocturnal beams of the Aleria tower. Sometimes, he’d even sing me a song. He’s got such a great voice. He could become a bard without breaking a sweat if he chooses to be.
My eyes wandered around the park, resting on the back of a familiar head. Some couple of weeks ago, I would have done anything—anything at all—just to see that unruly mop of black hair. I’ve spent five months cooped up inside the Nork Academy in the isolated city of Frore. And just as I was finally done with the Academy, he, along with a thousand young knights, was sent to Green Dragon Hatcheries to regain control of the city’s Clock Tower. I remember myself sitting on that same bench, night after night, waiting for him.
And now that we’re finally together, we can’t seem to spend two minutes without getting on each other’s nerves.
Slowly, I walked towards the solitary knight. I was a couple of feet away when he finally looked up.
It was only a flicker, a shadow. Perhaps it was the tower’s enchanted light. Maybe it was just my imagination. But for a split second, I thought I saw something in those faraway eyes. Something that just might also be mirrored in mine.
Oh god, no.
He stood up when he saw me. I shifted my eyes away from his and tried to force a small smile. I sat on the edge of the bench. After a moment’s hesitation, he sat back down on the other side. A small space was now between us. A gap, as one may call it.
“Tell me it’s real.”
I finally broke the silence. My fingers nervously traced the hem of my Sage outfit. Both of our eyes were downcast.
“What?” His voice was so low that I could barely hear him.
I heard him draw in a long breath. “What are you talking about? Of course it’s real.” Then in an even lower voice, “It’s more real than anything I’ve ever felt.”
A genuine smile finally graced my lips.
“I’ve seen it, you know.” Me again. He rarely talks when he’s in this kind of mood. At least that’s one part of him that has not changed. The weeks of our nonstop bickering only proved that five months apart could morph one’s lover into a completely different person. “That look in your eye. Just now.”
He shook his head, a light frown creasing his forehead. “What do you mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean.” I told him quietly. He did not reply. “I want to know,” I continued, “if you saw it in me too.”
He sighed deeply. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Fine. Never mind.” I turned my head away from his direction, gazing instead at the flowers.
“We can’t,” I started to say after a moment’s silence, but my voice cracked. I closed my eyes, trying desperately to hold back the tears. I cleared my throat and tried again. “We can’t do this anymore. We just can’t.”
Silence again. Our conversation was mostly composed of my seemingly senseless ramblings and his perplexing silence.
“What happened, Al?” He hung his head low and his eyes were closed. Finally, we’re on the same track. I thought our minds would never meet again. “We used to be so happy…so in love.” There was pain in his voice. I couldn’t take it anymore. The tears just fell.
Used to be.
With those words, his own words, the question that was silently, unmercifully hovering between us was at once answered with such resonance. I started sobbing uncontrollably.
Is this really happening? Maybe this is just a bad dream. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up in my room with my Vince’s arms around me, and with my perfect little world back as it ought be.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. He was fighting back his own tears.
“Don’t be.” I faced him. He looked so old. Faint yet discernible lines now appeared at the corners of his eyes where soft crinkles formed whenever he smiled. How I loved those crinkles. I watched him as he lifted his lids and turned to me. “I’m not. I have done a lot of things that I now regret. But loving you is definitely not one of them.”
“I didn’t know you were so…poetic,” he joked. He was trying to make light of things. It was his way of comforting me, maybe even of comforting himself. I laughed despite my tears.
He gazed at me with so much love. Something that I never saw for quite some time. And perhaps, something that I’ll never see again.
“Alea,” he murmured, reaching out to pull me into his arms.
But I drew back. “No, Vince.”
Odin knows how I long to bury my face in his chest and stay there for the rest of my life. But I know it’s not going to work. Not this time. And I know that he knows it too. I have to learn to stand on my own again. To cry on my own shoulders. We both do.
I used to believe that one could never fall out of love. I guess I still do. We didn’t fall out of love, Vince and I. We just…changed, I suppose. And sometimes, you just have to let go.
He looked at me with such sadness. I realized I was not the only one hurting.
“You could hold my hand,” I smiled, offering him my left hand. He took it in both his hands and squeezed it tight. He rested his head on our intertwined fingers and cried.
The sun was warm and bright. The Circle was slowly being filled by the usual merchants. We were still sitting in that same bench, with Vincent still holding my hand. We wanted to savor every bit of our last Alerian sunrise together. But now that the sun’s up, we both knew what we had to do.
Fan Fiction about Drakkar
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