Summary: After Yang Wenli leaves the Brunhilde, Reinhard looks out upon the stars and reflects upon what he was really offering the Alliance Admiral and where he goes from here. BYO Subtext.

I'm not sure I got Reinhard right. His inner thoughts were frustratingly difficult to write, especially when considering something so personal so feed back is appreciated.

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Disappointment
Jade Tatsu

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Prince Lohengramm, soon to be Kaiser Reinhard moved his hand to the centre of chest, squeezing the medallion that hung there. The stars slid by as they always had, cold, distant and beautiful but he couldn't lose himself in them as he once had. His guest had left leaving him disappointed with an abstract pain he knew the source of only too well.

I thought he'd understand. Of all the universe I thought he'd understand. I wasn't offering just a Fleet Admiral position. Such a thing... such a thing is only a rank.

Maybe he did know... But maybe he wouldn't accept until... No, that isn't like him.

I didn't want this. I wanted to win. I didn't want to have it given to me. I wanted to know that I could do it with my own strength. Strength he confounded and evaded; strength he honed and embraced.

It would have been different if you were here. It all would have been different and the battle wouldn't have been that way. It would have been shorter. You would have seen to that. And it wouldn't have ended with us looking across the line and with me offering him that. I told him that, I don't know if he believed me.

But then, like me, he's not one to think on the might have been. It's only with you that I do. It's only you I regret.

Three years I've wanted to meet him, three years I've waited to see him. I've never bothered looking at the pictures from our intelligence files. They don't give the true image. He was a very relaxed man, not broken by defeat. Defeat..?

No... that's not defeat. Not any more than it is my victory. He was untroubled but there was a hint of steel within him. It's to be expected but it was deeper than I thought.

He's got something planned though, hasn't he? He always has something planned. I saw it in his eyes. It was in his voice when he said no. But did he really understand what I was offering, or did he know and not accept to avoid betrayal later? That would be like him.

I wonder though... Can he live the path he's set? If he can is it because he has one like you?

One to watch over and one who watches over him.

Is that why he didn't understand, is that why he couldn't accept?

He doesn't have this emptiness.

He's lucky then. Though why he should have that luck..? Why does he keep appearing before me, taking away what I am about to win?

I haven't won yet. I don't feel that I have. You understand don't you? He won but I think he feels the same as me. That he didn't win. That nothing was how it should have been.

His reasons are different though. He won but at the same time I won.

But it is not this victory I wanted. Not this way. Despite that, I am going to have to thank them, aren't I? You would have made it easier for me. You would have smiled and nodded and given me that gentle reminder and for you I would have done it. It wouldn't be a chore and you would have made it seem reasonable, you would have made it seem natural.

I don't know what to give them. There's not much more I can give the Fraulein, Mittermeyer or Reuental... not much more that has meaning. I could give the title of noble but that is worthless and they know it, a mere token of rank just like another medal. I guess I will have to give them my regard. I wonder what that's worth?

Not yet though. I... I can't give them that, not yet because I didn't want it this way. I have to forgive them first.

He shifted slightly with a moment that would have been mistaken as restless fidgeting on anyone else but for Reinhard was simply him looking down at the locket in his hands. A well practiced movement released the catch and he looked away from the stars to the image of a better time, and the still brilliant lock of hair that accompanied it. Within the locket it would never lose its brilliance, never fade or wither and never leave him.

His fingers stroked over the face of it, brushing lightly over the engraved scroll work and curling around the edges to trace over the image, almost as if touching the ones there although distant blue eyes saw something else.

All the stars I see are mine. Just like I promised you. I'd give them to you in an instant if you asked. I'd give them up even faster if it would bring you back. I don't want them. Not really. Not anymore.

I never really wanted them anyway.

They were a means to an end. Remember, I promised that. Thirteen years ago, I promised that. I've kept it now, see.

We've been fighting for so long, the old ones had forgotten why. All you need do is remind them. You know that didn't you, that's why you helped me because you wanted to remind them as well.

That and the other part of my promise. I'll have to embrace that if I don't want to forget why, if I don't want to become like them.

Worthless. They were completely worthless to have dragged out a war that could have been finished a century ago. Does not my promise prove that?

I have what I wanted, what I promised, so what do I want now? You can't help me answer that question but you would have, I know you would have. You would have had me answer that one before the battle was joined, just so I knew, just so I knew where to walk now.

I thought he'd understand.

I don't care about the position. Oberstein will take it now, not that it matters but I had hoped he would understand the position wasn't just that.

Why does he still have the one he needs? Why does he have that fate? Does he know I'd trade that now? Right here, right now, I would trade that, I would accept the defeat, the loss, the broken promise if it meant I had you.

I miss you.

Oberstein will take the position but he never understood. I don't want to replace you. I never want to replace you but in some way I must. I have to try.

Nee-sama won't see me. And I don't want to be alone so I must but he doesn't want to be that one and no one else will question me. No one else knows me well enough to know when to speak and when to guide. No one else can guide me. No one else can challenge me.

Maybe he did know. Maybe he always knew. He is a dangerous man. I know that. Maybe this was my attempt to control...

We're not that different after all. I could see that. He is the product of his ideal system while I am the product of ours, though neither system truly exists. I know that but I could see the hope in his eyes that his system could one day be.

With a hope like that...

He probably wouldn't have been suitable. I don't know what you'd say to that.

Ice blue eyes looked back towards the stars, as Reinhard's hand gently closed the locket. He smiled, pleased at the realisation before he turned away, walking on a new path. He had his desire now and that laid its own path. All he had to do was follow it, however long it may be.

It's probably for the best though Kircheis, despite what I might desire, despite what might come now... this is probably for the best...

...This way I remain yours.

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