Past simple

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Warnings/notes: past Frey/Ida, takes place well before the manga, drabble-ish snippet.

Disclaimer: I don't own Alice 19th. The style of the name of this drabble was inspired by Dave Duncan's trilogy 'The Great Game' ('Past Imperative', 'Present Tense' and 'Future Indefinite'). This fic uses a central theme that was also used by Ocean's Rhia in her fic 'You're Not Alone' though both fics were written independently from each other. Ocean's Rhia has kindly allowed me to post my take on this situation as well, for which I thank her very much.

(!) Major spoilers for volume 6.

written at 27th march 2005, by Misura. Part of a drabble-set of three.

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There are flowers on the grave.

And a name that he desperately wishes he'd called out before, when it would have served a purpose to do so, when its owner could have heard him.

'Ida.'

It's too late now, though.

Perhaps it was too late from the first day he met her, even if that would mean that they never had a chance, that there never could have been a 'them' save in his and her dreams, and that would be too bitter a truth to accept.

Frey knows the world can be cold, as cold as death, but he also remembers the warmth of the afternoons they spent together, of the hot chocolate they sipped in front of the hearth, not speaking and barely touching, content to be together.

At the time, it seemed like so little to ask, so little to take. So she was engaged to the son of some old friend of the family, so what? Why would that mean she couldn't find happiness elsewhere, with him?

Why would that mean she couldn't change her mind, decide that no, she didn't want to marry a man whose name Frey can't recall, and whose face he's never seen? He knows she did, in fact, change her mind. She told him so, after all.

They could have rung the bells for her and him, four years from now, instead of having rung them yesterday, for her alone, if only he hadn't been such an idiot. If only he'd called her name and gone after her, instead of simply standing there, doing nothing.

He loved her.

She loved him.

It should have been enough to ascertain happiness, he thinks, yet it wasn't, and now she's gone forever, and he'll never be able to tell her he's sorry, to tell her that they'll manage somehow, that surely her father can't stay angry at the two of them too long, not when anyone with eyes in their head can see that they love one another.

They loved one another, and this is where it ended, and the blame for that is all his.

Everyone -Frey himself, his uncle, Ida's engaged, his other relatives, the rest of the world- agrees about that. Everyone except one person.

A person who is standing a few steps behind him now, not speaking, because at this moment, Frey doesn't need words. Besides, most of what could be said has already been said, repeatedly and at length, until Frey couldn't help but accept it, just a little bit.

He probably wouldn't be standing here if he hadn't. Instead, there would have been two graves, one with flowers on it, and one without. Part of him still thinks that would have been proper.

The snow creaks softly as Eric reaches out, placing a hand on Frey's shoulder, and guiding him away, to the exit of the cemetery. Frey doesn't look back. He doesn't need to, since he thinks he'll remember that single image for the rest of his life.

A simple stone, engraved with words.

'Ida Weilhausen, beloved daughter, dear fiancee.'

And flowers, like drops of blood in the snow, proclaiming him guilty of murder.

OWARI