Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

AN: Well this one I published last week on Tumblr. So yay for not too large a space between when I put it here too. Anyways, happy Elejah Appreciation Week.

* Family *

'Family above all.'

Those are his words. But they shackle you just as they do him. You will die for family. You will kill for family. One day you might both actually tear the world apart and burn the ashes for family.

And you always, always betray one another… for family.

You wish you could stop. That you could keep the word you always mean to live up to. You wish you could have handed him that dagger instead of driving it into his heart. You wish he could have let his brother die. You wish you could have thrown his champagne glass across the room and then slit the throat of the witch presuming to call herself a mother with the shards. You wish he didn't have to retaliate by leaving you in those caves with his angry sister.

But you can't change those moments. And you know you wouldn't even if someone blessed you with the power to accomplish it. You will always make that same choice. So will he. Family above all.

Family above honor…above friendship… above trust.

And yet it hurts. It hurts how their families are at such war that no possibility for peace is in sight. It hurts how much you still trust him, how much you will always trust him. It leaves you helpless and lonely when everyone you love with your entire heart holds such fury for every person that he holds dear. Just as you know it leaves him powerless while his despise yours. You are both trapped in a cycle where to keep 'the family' alive you have to shatter 'the trust'. Abandon that bond you've never been able to explain to the people who inquire and never seem to understand.

So it should be a good thing that he's gone. That he's left you a letter with a few parting words and an apology and vanished from your town.

You won't have to make those choices now. There will be no promises that you'll have to break. It should be a relief. It should soothe the eternal fear that next time he'll no longer trust you. And you do fear that. It's the only part about him you still fear. You should be glad.

You clench the parchment, almost tearing it and you curse at him in your mind instead: call him a coward; seethe with the urge to hunt him down and hit him till he changes his mind; kiss him till…

Kiss him.

And there is the heart of the problem. How much you'd like to kiss him in place of breaking another promise. But you can't. And you're almost certain that this will never change. Family is above all else… always… even above love.

So you let him go.