August 3, 2003

(Author's Note: Dedicated to all SO2 Fans who support the pairing I am writing about. Which pairing? ^_^ *grins impishly* As I plan to write a few more parts, it will be best to take a guess at the moment. Thanks to Aile Anna for looking it over and finding most mistakes I couldn't. One last note: Heraldry is a type of magic used in the game.)

By Yashira

When two hearts collide

Part 1

"What about us, Chris? What's going to happen to us?"

The magnitude of those words, even now, tore through her muddled and confused senses in ways she could not deal with. Celine wished that these tormenting thoughts would leave her alone; she had no need for the pain they inflicted. How could she make a complete and utter fool of herself by acting like some love-sick girl demanding – begging – to know where her relationship stood with a man she believed had once loved her? ~I should have left well enough alone. I know I should…~

She had not.

Wanting and not wanting to know had eaten through to her very will, making her jittery and cranky to people who deserved not her unerring wrath. It was not good to snap or curse at those who only sought help from her, but her words – spoken in anger and meant for another – would often time strike them just the same. Help was asked sparingly and when she did visit towns and cities that needed her, people would speak respectfully and in low whispers as if ready to bolt away with their tails between their legs. They were so afraid of upsetting Celine that most often or not they could not deal directly with her; it would be during those moments that the young heraldry user felt the most ashamed of all.

What was she doing, bringing her problematic relationship onto people who knew none of it? She had to do something, anything! Confronting Chris as he sat in his royal bedchamber, attended by servants, had been trying… even down right scary at first, but it had to be done. If she wanted any true measure of sanity to return, she would have to do this and yet, how could she talk to her fiancée when he was a Prince surrounded by his title, wealth, and power while all she had to her name was the power she grew up with in Mars village. They were so very different and she feared that it might have only been the differences that had attracted him to her. If that was the case…

God! It frightened her to approach him and to watch those serious eyes dismiss his servants when he saw that look in her face. That look! It was the same one he wore in his face when they were alone. Pity, sympathy - the look of someone who was sorry that things had turned out like this.

How had it all changed? He'd once been engaged to the Princess Rosalia – the fact which had driven him into hiding to avoid such a fate. He'd met Celine in the provinces; the two had fallen in love, but had kept most of their private affairs secret. Secret…

Why had they decided to keep it a secret?! What did they have to hide? Royalty and commoner? Nobility and Heraldry. Perhaps she had half suspected it even then, but it had been so much easier to hide the truth from her blind eyes. Opening the way to her heart, saying things best kept locked away, she had offered him the key that led onto the ultimate path of pain. Wrenched open and floundering on the ground, she had watched helplessly as he took her heart and returned… nothing.

"My love, it is not like that. We still…exist."

That had been his answer.

We still exist?! Her thoughts fumed at that answer as if to cover up the despair she also felt for it. Well, a tree grew and IT existed! Air flowed around them, and it existed. So they existed? Why couldn't he answer her with something sweet or romantic, like grabbing her suddenly and kissing her to show his feelings were the same. He didn't even reach out or touch her, no instead he turned back to his mirror as if he too was afraid to say the words.

"Hey, watch where you're going!"

With a start Celine jerked her head up, violet curls of hair bouncing up with the movement as words instantly came to her lips, "Why don't you watch it yourself, you macho jerk! DIAS?!"

The tall blue-haired swordsman, dressed in his usual black leather pants and tunic, and accompanied by his forest green cloak and longsword, stared down at her with the barest hint of amusement. Dias had seen her coming along, but hadn't said a word as he assumed Celine would have noticed him by now. She wasn't the type of person to walk with her head in the clouds and her distraction surprised him enough to call out a warning. "So? What are you doing out of the castle? I didn't know they let you go out and play with other people."

Celine was too surprised at first to reply, instead she simply gawked like some kid about to get their first crest tattoos. What in the world was Dias Flac doing in Cross? Last she heard, he was still in Lacour preparing for the next tournament. "What the hell does that mean?" By the time she found her voice, her violet eyes had already taken in his well-lined face, the proud, haughty cheeks and that serious, self-righteous sky-blue stare of his. There was something about those incurable blue eyes that suggested he took in things a lot more internally than he ever let show externally. No matter, she wasn't going to let him taunt her into some petty and silly argument today, was she? "You say that as if I should be locked in the dungeon. That's not funny, Dias. If anyone should be locked up, it's you for that bad attitude of yours." Well, she tried.

"I don't ever recall saying you could call me by my first name, Celine." His crisp eyes flickered over her, his tone droll and serious at the same time. The man had that annoying habit of being superior and aloof with that better than thou attitude of his as if he'd been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Not like it affected Celine much, she had her own attitude in comparison. She was usually the cheery, happy go lucky type of person, but at the same time she was also quite willing to help herself to things, or budding her nose into people's business as if she felt she had every right to.

"Oh, that's a funny one. You can call me by mine, and I can't call you by yours, hmm?" She wrapped her hands over her slender hips, with legs standing open, before tossing her fine head at him. Dressed in her more than revealing short white- with pink highlights- dress and long stockings that stopped by mid thigh to reveal the mark of red tattoos etched beneath, Celine was quite a sight to behold. It was like a girl's pretty doll standing proudly against a boy's grim and unforgiving action figure. She was all curves and soft flesh, and he was all angles and hard muscle.

Dias shrugged and glanced off towards the fair ground around them as if he didn't notice her. He seemed more interested on the multitude of wooden stages, canvas tents, and stalls littered around the fairground. Supposedly, there was to be festival , one of many that the Castle of Cross was fond of implementing, and the place was littered with structures and people from all over the planet. Muscled men flexed bulging biceps at one end, girls selling sweet-smelling candies at another, while a group of troubadours, in bright, bold colours, danced past. Music gathered on the breeze drifted back towards them carrying with it the sounds of harp, lute and bodram which tasted of folklore and distant tales. "Well, the way your Prince hangs onto your arm, you think he does."

"He doesn't-" But that was right! How would Dias know about her troubles with Chris? Secret, it was a secret, remember? She bristled, her cheeks colouring, as she turned to look around the busy fair as if letting her protest trail into nothingness. People she recognized in passing, perhaps a scoreful she had met on her travels with Rena and the others, in what now seemed like years ago, drifted among the fairway like long lost strangers. She'd walked right by them without so much as a hello on either part; what must they think of her? Were they all to become nameless faces in the crowd; what must they think of her? With a deep breath that revealed most of the emptiness that had recently been growing in her heart, she let the sigh escape without thinking.

"What's wrong with you?" His rich blue eyes had seen the look pass her face and the lack of that dazzling confident smile she usually wore drew his attention like a moth to a flame. That what not normal Celine behaviour. It wasn't like he should care. They had been companions once in the quest to save Expel and be rid of the Ten Wisemen, but there had been nothing between them otherwise. In fact, he was questioning himself in even wasting the time to ask such a thing. It wasn't any of his business.

"What? Oh nothing." She lifted a hand, drew it across her lips and chuckled as if to hide the thoughts that previously consumed her. Dias would be the last person she would blab her problems to. How could he ever understand what it was like to love someone so fiercely and to wake up one day to find that belief questioned? He, Dias, was a man who put his strength in protecting himself. She seriously doubted he could know what it felt to put his strength in protecting another living human being. And where the heck was this thought trailing off to? Why did she suddenly want to compare Chris to Dias? The two were NOTHING alike - at all!

Chris was a sweetheart compared to the cold-aloof hearted Dias. The prince was quiet, careful in what he said, but he was always approachable. Dias was the complete OPPOSITE! He was a blunt, careless man, he didn't know how to speak a kind word without putting in some sort of insult. There simply couldn't be any real comparison. He was the damn last person she needed to see!

"Well, if it's nothing, you'll excuse me then." He could have said a lot of things like, "It's good to see you." Or "I'm glad you're well," but he didn't. Celine was right, Dias wasn't one to afford many words to his spoken vocabulary, so he was blunt and brisk. There was nothing to keep him here with her so why waste time.

It was with an odd lump in her throat that Celine watched Dias' fine broad back turn away as his blue hair swirled like the sweeping end of a closing curtain. Fine, let him go! She didn't need someone like him who was brisk and cold and incapable of feelings, did she? No! She had enough problems with-

Without knowing what she was doing nor when she had thrown her arms around his back to wrap around his waist, Celine found her face suddenly buried against his cloak – tears pouring freely down. "There is! There is, Dias! Oh god, Dias! I don't know what to do."