|Rydia: Heart and Heartache
Author: Aegis Runestone PM
Rydia of Mist starts a school for summoners to restore the lost bloodline of summoners. Two years since Cecil and Rosa's marriage have passed, and suddenly Rydia finds Kain on the mountainside of Mist. Coercing him into returning to Baron, an adventure of love and shattered dreams follows the summoner-adding a new tale to the earth's history.Rated: Fiction T - English - Rydia & Kain - Chapters: 18 - Words: 50,311 - Reviews: 46 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 04-10-13 - Published: 07-25-12 - id: 8357503
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A little less than a week had passed since Rydia had flown with Edge. It was two days before the ball, and she was getting anxious. I still haven't asked either Edge or Kain... she thought. She could imagine Edge's impatience at this point—though, he always reserved a little more patience for her—wondering what was taking her so long to ask.
But what was Kain feeling about the situation? Did he even want to go with her or did he still have a place in his heart for Rosa? Rosa's married... Rydia reminded herself. Kain wouldn't dare... Yet, she could think of nothing that showed any interest from the dragoon. He hadn't showed up again to see her teach for one thing. He's just busy at Baron... it takes almost a day to get from here to there anyway.
School was canceled for the day because she wanted to go to Baron and visit (and prepare for the ball). She needed advice from Rosa. Had she been torn between two men before? Perhaps once, the white mage had to choose between Cecil and Kain.
There was a rapping at her door. Rydia stood up, walked over, and opened the door to see Mark's face. She stepped outside, feeling stunned; the children had come, but with saddened countenances.
"Why is there no school, today, Miss Rydia?" Mark asked.
"You're... all here?" she asked, blinking. "Why?" she allowed herself a chuckle, but she still felt confused. "I sent letters to all your parents—"
"We know," Milina said. "But we wanted to come see you." Her face was downcast. "I dunno about the others, but I wanna learn more about summoning!"
Choruses of "yeah!" and cheering sounded from the students.
Rydia smiled; a sad smile. "I'm sorry, but I have somewhere to go this weekend and I need to prepare. That's why there's no school today. I promise to come back on Monday, and we'll learn more about summoning. All right?" Their faces all dropped. "I'm really sorry. I had no idea that all of you wanted to learn so much."
"Where are you going?" one of the children asked.
"Oh." Rydia smiled again; not a sad one however. "I'm going to a ball—a dance," she added quickly, "with my friends and some royalty at Damcyan Castle. The castle's been rebuilt and the Prince wanted to celebrate."
"Wow!" the children chorused.
"Is the dragoon going?"
"Are you going to dance with him?"
"What about Cecil—err—the King! Is he going, too?"
Rydia laughed upon being bombarded by so many questions. "Yes, Cecil is going,"she said. She was about to answer the question about Kain, but she stopped and saw her pupils' eager eyes, awaiting an answer.
"Yes," she said after a long pause. "The dragoon is going. As for... well..." she sat down. "At this dance, everyone has a partner. And... Prince Edward said that he would let the ladies choose." She heard "oohs" from her pupils. She swallowed. "So, I have to pick someone to go with."
"Are you going with the dragoon then?" Milina asked. "He was very nice last time."
He was. Rydia let out a sigh. "There are two men who I'm... trying to choose from. There's Edge, Prince of Eblan, and Kain—the dragoon you all met. They both helped Cecil defeat the bad lunarian."
"Go with Kain!" Mark encouraged. Rydia felt taken aback. "Because... wouldn't Edge take you away from Mist? From us?"
"It's... not that simple," she said, biting her lip. "He's been trying very hard to think of a way so that I could still teach you; he does care." The children looked surprised. She smiled weakly. "Besides, the dance isn't going to decide who I marry or anything like that. It's just a friendly event."
"Oh..." The children seemed disappointed.
"Anyway, I promise that I will come back on Monday," Rydia said. She paused, wiping a tear from her eye. "I'm... so happy you all came." Her pupils beamed. "Now, you should head to your homes! I'm sure your parents will want to see you."
They nodded. Waving goodbye, Rydia watched as the children walked away. Again, she wiped her eyes. I can't believe they came... even when there was no school today.
After she had watched the children leave, Rydia returned to her house, and packed her things. Kain... or Edge? Her students seem to want her to go with Kain, but... she wanted to choose for herself. Yet, their enthusiasm concerning the dragoon stunned her. Did they really love him that much?
When she finished packing her clothes and everything she would need for the ball, Rydia left the house. She made sure to lock the doors to her private quarters and the house itself before taking her leave.
As she entered the outskirts, she saw the same stump that she sat upon on the first day of class. Rydia stopped and she smiled. I promise, my children... and then continued on her way to the Mist Cavern.
Kain was pacing the battlements of Baron Castle; he had been far too busy to visit Rydia at Mist, and it was beginning to irritate him. Though, it was not Cecil's fault, the recent rebellion had required Kain's attention. Fortunately, it seemed that they had curbed the rebels' activity; ironically in time for the ball.
The ball... Kain thought with a sigh. He still had not found anyone—or in reality he had not been asking. Perhaps he was too scared to ask. No, it was not as if he lacked confidence, but he wished for something more; something that seemed impossible.
"Why greetings, Lady Rydia!" Kain heard one of the front gate guards call from below. "We are assuming you wish to enter?"
He stopped pacing and turned toward the field. Sure enough, the summoner was standing in front of the gate, a wide smile on her face, and stroking a chocobo's neck.
"Yes, I do," she said. "Thank you." One of the guards took her chocobo and led it to the stables while the other guard (as Kain could guess from the rumbling of the gate) open the portal for her.
What... is she doing here? Kain blinked. This was his chance. He waited for a moment until he heard the gates beginning to close, and then jumped down from the battlements to the courtyard below. He landed with a soft thud on the ground; hearing a startled gasp nearby.
"Oh, Kain!" Rydia said from behind him. He looked over to her to see her hand on her chest. She laughed softly. "You'd think I would I have expected that."
He smiled, and his mood began to improve. "Greetings, Rydia. I'm pleased to see you." She blinked, looking slightly stunned yet she smiled.
"I'm happy to see you, too, Kain," she said, placing one hand on her hip. "Have you found someone for the ball yet?"
She's asking me about that so soon? he wondered, curious. "No, I have not," he said. Licking his lips, he added, "would you like to accompany me to the gardens? I wanted to walk and converse with you."
Again, she looked surprised. A curious expression fell onto her face. "Really?" she asked. "Huh... all right." Rydia moved to his side. "Sure, I'll come with you. I was looking for Rosa, though."
"I see," Kain said. "Do you want to see her first?"
The summoner paused, her eyes moved up in their sockets as she posed her lips. What is she thinking about? Kain watched as Rydia rubbed her chin and then nodded.
"Yes," she said. "But I promise I'll come back to see you. Is that all right, Kain?" She placed her hands together in front of her waist while cocking her head to the side.
Kain smiled again. "Of course. Come, and follow me. I think I know where Rosa is." He turned toward the castle, and heard Rydia's footsteps behind him as he led the way across the courtyard. He turned a corner. She should be... ah.
Rosa was walking down the east corridor casually. She hadn't noticed Kain or Rydia yet because she was staring the side of the wall. Her unfocused eyes told Kain that she was probably musing about something.
"Rosa!" Rydia called. She had dashed around Kain to meet her. The white mage looked up just in time to be hugged by the summoner. "I see I caught you off-guard." Kain made a quiet chuckle.
Rosa smiled and let go of Rydia. "Yes, you did. It's nice to see you again; you were gone last weekend," she noted. "Preparing for the ball?"
"Well... uh..." Rydia's bright face dimmed. Kain saw her glance back at him. Was that a nervous glance or an apprehensive one? "Sort of," she finally said to Rosa. "Is it all right if I talk to you alone? I... uh... need some advice."
Rosa blinked, her face curious. "Of course." She looked at Kain with the same expression. She then looked back at the summoner, and nodded. "Follow me." She turned around and began walking the opposite way down the corridor.
Rydia nodded, and Kain was confused. What was that glance? What does it mean? He began to worry until she glanced back at him again, this time with a smile, and waved. He returned the expression and waved back. I wonder where I should wait? We didn't decide on a meeting place.
He decided to lean against the wall. Perhaps Rydia would come this direction again. Although she had smiled, Kain still wondered. That glance earlier... she looked anxious about something... and she said she needed 'advice' from Rosa. I wonder what?
He felt inclined to ask later, but it wasn't his business.
Or was it?
"I see," Rosa said, walking down the corridor with Rydia at her side. "I didn't know you had feelings for Kain as well."
Rydia tapped her fingers together in a nervous fashion. "I'm not sure what to do. Had you... ever felt torn between Cecil and Kain before you chose Cecil?"
She nodded. "Yes, I did at one point." Rydia saw a smirk on her face. "I'm surprised Kain is trapped in a woman's heart again."
Rydia rolled her eyes. "Oh come on, Rosa. He only... well, I told you... he helped my children, and I just wanted to know... I was curious."
Rosa chuckled. "I was teasing you, Rydia."
She bit her lip. "What did you do when you were torn?" she asked the white mage.
"It was hard on me," she said, her face softening. "I, like you, could not choose between Cecil or Kain. When I was younger, I favored Kain, but as I got older, I began to favor Cecil."
"What did you end up doing? I mean, how did you choose?"
"I decided to court each one to see which one of them was who I wanted," Rosa said. She touched Rydia's shoulder. "If you're curious about Kain... maybe you should ask him to the ball. You already know Edge well enough. You should give our dragoon a chance."
Rydia took in a deep breath. "Yes, I think you're right." She looked at the white mage and smiled at her. "Thank you, Rosa."
Rydia walked back down the corridor after discussing more matters with her. The more she thought of Kain and how he helped her school, the more she wanted to ask him. Yet, I can't let my desires hinge on my schooling. That's silly, she reminded herself.
There was a light sound of metal moving across the stone floor ahead of her. Rydia looked up to see Kain waiting for her right where she had left him. What's he going to say? That I was gone too long? she worried. She realized her anxiety was increasing. Should she really ask him?
The dragoon nodded at her in acknowledgment. "Were you able to receive the advice you needed from Rosa?" he asked, his deep voice more gentle than usual.
A smile spread over her face. "Yes, I did," she said. Rydia found herself rocking her entangled hands back and forth behind her body nervously. "Um... what did you want to see me about again?"
"Come, let's go through the gardens," Kain said, beckoning with his left hand toward the inner courtyard. "I wanted to talk to you to see... how you are faring these days."
She blinked. "Oh! Well, sure," she said, untangling her hands and feeling herself relax a little. I wonder what he's feeling? "I'll come with you."
"Of course." He smiled. Rydia followed him into the inner courtyard. He paused for a second and she stopped wondering why. "Aren't you going to walk beside me?" he asked gently.
"Oh! I'm sorry," she said. She ran up to his side and licked her lips. "I suppose it's awkward to talk to someone when you're not walking next to them." She forced a laugh.
"Indeed," Kain said. "Rydia... how have you been? I haven't seen you in awhile."
He's not going to ask me about school? That's new. She smiled. "I'm happy... for the most part. I... uh... haven't picked a partner yet for the ball." Ooohh! Why did I say that now? "I mean...!" She swallowed. "I... uh..." She looked at Kain to see a shocked expression on his face. "Why... are you surprised?" Because you haven't asked anyone, silly!
"Because I thought you would have already asked Edge," Kain said slowly. "Is there something bothering you?"
"... yes," Rydia said.
"Tell me about it," Kain said with a kind voice. "I'll do my best to help."
Again, she smiled. "Thank you, Kain," she said. "I... wasn't around last weekend because I was on an airship ride with Edge."
Huh... he doesn't sound jealous. She relaxed a little before continuing. "Well... I was deciding who to ask to the ball. I felt... a little torn. That's why I went to Rosa for advice." I don't need to tell him this, do I?
"Ah, I see," the dragoon said, nodding. "Who is the other contender?"
Rydia sighed. "Yes, but... I..." She swallowed; she felt like it was not the right time to tell him. Not yet anyway. "Kain, please, I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable."
"Forgive me," he said. "Come, let's go into the gardens and enjoy the beauty there. Perhaps it will relax your nerves."
Rydia nodded. That's so thoughtful of him. "Thank you. Yes, let's go there. I've always loved Rosa's gardens."
Kain chuckled—the type that calmed her senses. "So I've heard."
Soon after, they entered the gardens. Kain changed the subject to Rydia's school, and her life even. She was surprised that he wanted to know more about her. He asked her about she restored Mist to its current glory.
"It was Cecil and Rosa who really helped me," Rydia explained, sitting down on a bench. She gazed at all the beautiful flowers, and plants. She felt herself relax a little. "They gave me the money I needed to help rebuild the town. Of course, I had to rally the people to do it; they were all downcast and believed the bloodline was lost forever."
"And that's why you started the school?" Kain asked, sitting down next to her.
"Yes!" she said. "I wanted to cheer them up and encourage them; give them hope that there was a chance. I gave the money to the carpenters and stonemasons, and told them to rebuild the village. They were all shocked, and some wanted to refuse the gil, but I insisted."
"I see, they didn't want the money," Kain said. "What did you do?"
"We made a compromise," Rydia said, glancing at Kain. She noticed he was paying total attention to her. "I received some of the gil to start the school, while they took the rest to start the renovations."
He chuckled. "I was wondering where you got the money to build your school if you were going to give it all away." Rydia half-smiled at him. "I mean no offense," he added. "I just wanted to understand your train of thought."
"Oh... well, I guess I wasn't thinking about myself at the time," she said. Her half-smile grew into a full one. "I only cared that the village was restored. I must have believed I would have received the money needed for the school elsewhere. Or maybe I just didn't think I would need money." She put her face in her hands, still smiling. "I must sound like an idiot to you, Kain."
"I don't think so," he said after a long pause. Rydia looked up at him in surprise. "It's just like you: you always care about others before yourself. I believe that's an admirable trait."
"Oh... thank you," Rydia said again. "Kain... can I... ask you something?" She swallowed. Will he say 'yes?'
"What is it?" he asked, looking at her curiously. At least, Rydia thought he was, but behind his blue eyes, she could see a glimmer of eagerness.
"Will you... be my partner for the ball?" Her face felt warm and she started to sweat.
He didn't say anything for several moments. Then, he smiled and said, "it would be an honor, Rydia."
"... thank you so much, Kain," she responded, feeling herself once again relax.