O, there is nothing holier, in this life of ours, than the first consciousness of love,--the first fluttering of its silken wings.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion (bk. III, ch. VI)


Every time I look at my son, I begin to think of the man who is not his father.

The son I mean is my youngest, Kenji. At the moment I am not looking at Kenji himself, but at a photo of him as a child of seven. The picture is now eleven years old. Kenji, who was named after Shinji's paternal grandfather, was a very quiet child – some of that silence translates itself into the picture. Unlike with pictures of my two older children, Asuka and Shingo, there is no hint of fidgeting or restlessness in his posture – he had that rare ability, even as a small child, to really keep still.

You wouldn't be able to tell Kenji had any Japanese blood in him at all, either then or now; people stare when he gives his name, for a less Asian-looking fellow would be hard to find. Of all my children, he is the one who resembles me the most. His features and coloring he inherited from me; he has my blond hair and my large blue eyes, my pale skin and my father's height.

But when I look at him I don't only see myself; rather I see shades of another blue-eyed young man from my past.

I'm not the only one who's noticed, of course. Colt twits me occasionally about Kenji's paternity – very teasingly, with no malice, and Fireball and Saber laugh at the joke as if it's the funniest thing they've ever heard. Kenji's told me that people have asked if he is the son of "THE Saber Rider" – and usually he replies in good humor that, no, he is "THE Fireball's" son instead, but if they like he could introduce them to Saxen.

Saxen Rider, by the way, is Saber's only child, and he looks enough like his father for the resemblance to be quite startling. Kenji was born the same year as Saxen – barely four months after – and he looks more like Saxen than he does Shingo or Asuka. Kenji's probably closer to Saxen too. I hear that they're called 'the twins' at the Academy.

Ah yes, the Academy. Both Saxen and Kenji have applied – and been accepted to – the Cavalry Command Academy, Kenji being the only one of our three to have chosen to join the armed forces. They are doing well, glowing reports arriving from their instructors regularly. Both boys study hard, train hard - are always at the top of the rankings, both scholastic and physical.

Just like me. Just like Saber.

Do you see now the cosmic joke this all is? Kenji is treading in Saber's footsteps more closely than many sons tread in their fathers'. Saber and Fireball, as I have mentioned, never take it seriously, but there's a part of me that agrees a little with Colt's joking – that Kenji really is the son I might have had with Saber.

Saber is my first love. And I really mean love, by the way – not the quick, thoughtless infatuation everyone now assumes I had back then. I choose not to dissuade them because it keeps things so much simpler and easier between us.

Yes, the fact that Saber was tall, handsome and accomplished (with the most adorable accent) did pique my interest at first – just like it did with most every other female in the Academy. That was just a crush, hardly based on anything enduring.

But why does everyone forget that afterwards, I spent several years in close quarters with him – that I've known him longer than I've known anyone else in our little group – that there had been months, in fact, where my only significant human interaction was with Saber and my father (and the same for him) – more than enough time to fall in love with someone?

I know him – I know the little details, like the way he has of smirking only with his eyes so that he can face even his most detested superiors with a straight face; the way his accent gets more highlands-Scottish when he's angry and more upper-class-English when he's trying to impress someone; the fact that he gets fidgety if his sword's not nearby – and I know the big things, like his half-secret love of poetry; his finely-honed, almost too acute sense of duty, sense of honor; the expectations he's had to live with all his life – I know these things.

Don't get me wrong, please. I do not waste my time daydreaming about Saber. I do not long for him. If, by some incredible mistake of the universe, he divorced his wife – if, in fact, he had never been married – and confessed his undying love for me, I would not leave Shinji.

I love my hotheaded Fireball. There's something between us that there will never be between me and Saber – the experience, the time we've shared. Saber and I have never had a shouting match, so angry with each other we could barely see straight – and we've never learnt how to patch things up after one. We've never shared the joys and annoyances of rearing children together. Saber's never had to face my father with the news that soon Daddy would have to walk his little darling down the aisle; I've never had to deal with Saber's large and sometimes chaotic extended clan.

I love Fireball for himself; and then, I love him all over again because he loves me.I think that the average human being treasures love so highly that no matter how disagreeable or pathetic the one giving it is, the act of being loved elicits some sort of response. And Fireball is neither disagreeable or pathetic.

I love my husband, my Shinji, more than life itself.

But there will always be a part of me that loves Saber.


AN

Waii, my first SRatSS fic that's first-person view.

It's been sitting around in my laptop's HD for, huh, almost eight months now. Finally got off my butt and completed it. The kick needed was when I read Claudia's "Elevator" fic and Edward and Jesse argue about whether or not April still loves Saber. Personally I vote for yes. How could she not? :D

I had way too much fun thinking up the names for the new kids. Shingo, cos it sounds like Shinji - that was easy. Asuka, to tribute the fact that Shinji Hikari sounds like Shinji Ikari in Evangelion; also cos her name begins with an "A" like April. But I'm strange that way. :P

Kenji, now there was fun. -Ji, the suffix traditionally appended to Japanese names to signify second-born or second-son. Which Kenji is. Also to make it sound like Shinji, cos that's what Japanese families seem to do - Genma, Ranma; Takehiro, Takato; etc. etc.

But more importantly, Ken stands for 'sword'!

Saxen means 'swordsman'. It was from this word that the Saxons who invaded/settled in Britain got their racial name, because they were known for their swordsmanship.

Soundtrack for this fic

-She Will Be Loved, Maroon 5
-Breathe, Lifehouse
-Last Kiss, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen ED
-Wishful Thinking, Duncan Sheik
-This Guy's In Love With You, Parokya ni Edgar (heh)