These Secrets You Never Told
Part One: Beautiful Conflict
"These secrets you never told
penetrated my truth, my life
I never asked for this.
You never told me, you. You
Didn't have to. Sometimes
Secrets can be read as clearly
As written words."
:III: Dedicated to Dom's Lover—you never cease to amaze me, both with your continual support and your transcending writing talent. Cheers, Cricket!
:III: When italised, the pronoun 'her' (or, in any case, 'she' as well) refers to Kel, but only to differentiate between the 'her' that is Yuki and the 'her' that is Kel. This fan fiction is written in the point-of-view of Yuki noh Daiomoru ('her' and 'she'), and the man ('he') referred to is Neal.
She is beginning to understand. It has come gradually, slowly, like the first light of sunrise sliding over the horizon like silk, but it is coming.
She thinks often of their love. Once it seemed so strong, so unbreakable, but oh how quickly those fantasies died. Their love faded through the years, and they drifted apart until a sea of foreign feelings separated them. Before their marriage, the thought had never once occurred to her that this would happen. Everything about him was once so familiar to her. And now, she does not know who he is. He keeps himself so carefully guarded, and nothing has been the same since their marriage.
She wants to know him. She never wanted to fall out of love with him. Once, a simple smile or a laugh was enough from him to assure her of his love. But now, his affections are never granted to her. She almost pleads for them with fathomless dark eyes, but he never sees.
He has changed, as well. Once he adored her. He worshipped her mysterious eyes and the graceful fluttering of her fan. He wrote reams of lovestruck poetry and drank her in with his eyes. He would sit for hours with a letter from her, scented lightly with her perfume, and bring the paper close to his face and breathe in the fragrance.
He told her that she was different, that this love was different than his aimless moonings over the new court beauty. He told her that her loveliness was not the reason he married her. He used to be so offended when she suggested that this was so, and he would convince her otherwise and pledge his undying love for her. But not so long ago, when she timidly asked, he rubbed his temples and sighed and told her that he had married her, hadn't he? And she swallowed her thoughts like vile poison and kept silent after that.
That used to please her. A simple assurance from him that true love, not swift passion, sustained their marriage. But now, she does not believe what he said. She can no longer accept that as the reason. And maybe she never did. Maybe her dream of a perfect marriage was always a fool's hope, and she was the fool who dared to trust in his vows of lasting love. Maybe she made herself believe it, to banish her fears that it was not so. But now, she knows. There are no secrets.
She sees his gaze flicker over to her, then as the faint colour twinges his cheeks he looks away. She notices when he lingers to speak with her because, as he defends himself, they're friends. She isn't blind. She realises what happens as his fingers drum idly on his desk, then move to gently brush against the porcelain cat that represents everything he clings to. She knows what the longing stare is as he reads and rereads her letter, searching perhaps for a hidden meaning in the carefully-penned words.
He doesn't have to tell her. She knows.
She has known for years now. Grey streaks her hair, once completely black as midnight, and the lines around her eyes are more defined. She doesn't care. She knows she is still beautiful, after birthing three children for him. But he maybe doesn't know.
It hurts her deeply. As his love for her gradually diminished into a tiny spark of affection, her devotion to him has faded as well. She disguises it well, because it is a sharp knife in her heart—he has no need to disguise it, because it does not pain him as it pains her.
Did he ever love her for being her? She first began to notice the waning of their love a few months after the birth of their first child, a lovely little girl with her mother's exotic features and her father's emerald gaze. They named her Ariane. She was beautiful, with her soft skin and sweet curved dimples and the wonderment in her eyes that mirrored her parents' as she gazed at them.
She gave Ariane to him. She endured the harsh pains and the unfathomable agony of childbirth to produce a little girl who became like a goddess to him. SHE GAVE HIM THAT. Only to see him devote all his attention to this new seraph who claimed the affection once given to her. He gazed tenderly at the tiny perfection in his arms with the same love that was once in his eyes when he looked at her. He sat for hours with Ariane, rocking her and singing to her, with time that used to be spent with his wife. He loved what she gave him more than he loved her for giving it.
It has been so long. Once, his lies were enough to pacify her. Once, her beauty satisfied his justification. Now, nothing is ever enough. She is still beautiful, yet somehow, he loves imperfection better than porcelain skin and well-shaped curves.
He doesn't love his dark-eyed, exquisite Yamani anymore. He loves her instead.
She hasn't yet accused him of it. And maybe she never will. It is a secret unspoken, yet so clear to her as if it were written on paper. He likely doesn't know that she has discovered this. He is perhaps the only one who doesn't realise that she sees what is happening.
She thinks, sometimes, that she should resent him for it. He married her. He asked her to wed him. He swore vows to her. Why should he break them? It is her fault, or at least, that's what she should think. But she doesn't. It is a mystery to her broken mind. She should hate the lady knight. She has thought of that often before. After all, why shouldn't she hate the other woman? It isn't her fault that he doesn't love her anymore. It isn't her fault that nothing is the same anymore. It isn't her fault that he loves her. But it isn't her fault either.
She doesn't know if his love is in vain yet. After all, he has known her for so long. She should have suspected this all along. Or perhaps she did.
Perhaps, if she had the chance, she would've done everything differently. Perhaps, if she had known from the beginning, she would have been happier now, without him. But there hadn't been a way, had there? At the time, everything had felt so perfect, she hadn't give a thought that it might not stay that way.
Should she really be blamed? Perhaps, perhaps not. In the rare storms of her anger, she places the blame on him. But never her. Just as much as she could not help falling in love with him, there is nothing he—or she—could have done to prevent this. Marriage, the thought of wedding him, once brought such joy and excitement. Now it is a cage. She wishes things could be as they once were, when she was young and happy and naïve, depending on his so-called 'love' to sustain their relationship. She wishes that this never could have happened, that she could have seen this years ago and changed their fates. She wishes that he would give up on trying to hide this from her, denying it when even she knows it has been so for years.
He never did really love her. She never loved him. Oh, the fantasies of youth, the dreams, the hopes, the illusions. Gone now. She doesn't care. Once, when she still thought she loved him, she saw the way he looked at her. As if she was the only person that mattered. As if she was everything he wanted. As if his own wife wasn't there at all. She did not sleep in his bed that night, and she wept bitter tears until soft sobs melted into fitful sleep. Dream-haunted sleep. Nothing was the same after that. Nothing changed, especially not the way he looked at her. Those looks that once broke her heart. But nevermore.
She can learn to reconcile to this. She admits it is partly her fault, not because she isn't her, but because she was naïve enough to believe that their marriage would work. She was wise enough not to expect a fairy-tale marriage, with perpetual happiness and true love and fifteen children and such. But she did hope that it would be happy. That she wouldn't grow to regret it. And now, she does.
The thought that she didn't deserve him never crossed her mind before. Perhaps once or twice in the night, lying in the perfect warmth of his arms, she doubted that she was good enough for him. But not in such a magnitude as it does now.
Perhaps she truly doesn't deserve him. But without a doubt, he deserves her. Perhaps it is time to let go of what was never there. Perhaps it is time to let him go, to her. Since she cannot give him love, she can give him freedom.