Disclaimer: I do not own Star Ocean 3.
Claimer: All songs by Kuri are owned by my band.
AN: Nel and Albel meet repeatedly through time to only die before they fulfill a destiny for each other. All AU.
Mind without Clarity
A word we all love
Keep up a secret pace
A lonely race
And we know it's the same"
-'Same Love' Kuri
She raised an arm to the outside, a scream being heard over the loud sound of thousand of arrows pressing against the castle, hitting humans and others alike as she watched men fall along with women and children.
Even for a princess, this was too much. Running up the blood-stained staircases, she turned towards her adviser who looked grim towards the top, Laselle's long hair dirty and matted from blood he had shed on the way in from Rome. A princess was not worth so many lives!
"Send the men away. We must parley!" She had made her direct decision, her own belt knives seeming sharper against her back, as if they were stabbing her in a way that was hopeless. This battle wouldn't decide anything even if they lost or won. Either way, too many lives were taken already.
"To who? Those Norse dogs will die soon!" The largely arrogant knight was almost too arrogant for anyone to care of. His matted hair swung as he turned around to face the red-headed royal, thinking less of the woman second by second. He would never understand his liege's concern with this ineffectual woman of her kind.
"We must parley!" To him almost all women were weak except for the holy queen, for she was in all rights, strong enough to handle all the knights she had. Romeria really was the only strong female of her race, a rare beauty in the world. Sighing, in aggravation, He hailed a green flag from their battlements, Nel stood there watching, her heart dropping.
She looked at the lull in the battle, the many men amongst the enemy ranks were everything compared to hers. She only held a small fortress for the queen of England. Her eyes narrowed towards the Northmen, to only gasp when she saw a demon staring at her with the same affliction. He was beautiful, a strange and ethereal beauty that seemed demonic and nothing in her Christian mind could retaliate as she stood at the top of the battlement away from the archers as they were getting food.
A sudden gush of wind in the cold winter air, a sudden turn to see Laselle coming up the steps, and a sudden slip was all it took to take her away from the sight of the Norse hoard-giver, ring-bearer, a chief in their tribes, with his crimson eyes to fall away into a most accidental death.
This was his turn as he stepped into the harem of the Sand King, Al-Arzei, a man of his word, showing him to a tent only a short ways away, a room for choosing a wife from the captured brides that Al-Arzei had captured himself.
Al-bel's honor was large as he was the envy of many men. Not many could boast about their wife coming from the King's harem, and not any of them could boast besting a sand tiger for the King and his country wandering in the Cairo of Egypt and the Sahara homeland, a place of unforgiving men and monsters.
"Choose one, Al-bel. Any you like except for my Rozaria, Romeria, and my first wife, El-lena." The stiff king stood, leading the way through to the three head women of the harem, his three wives, all brushing away their hair into ornate hairstyles. He glared. He hated the king's three wives as they constantly contended the king's common sense into whimsical mercy. Looking around, he sighed. There was no one here he'd personally have take as wife, they all seemed too complacent and set in their comfort.
It was then he saw the bruised red head, vivid green eyes flashed as she looked at the newcomer, a snarl stuck on her face, a hatred that he wanted for his own for it seemed to fire her in a way he never knew how.
"Her." Pointing at the obviously beaten redhead, an Irish bitch if he was right. Those were rare to have as wives, but it was known of their tempers. And he always loved having someone who could probably be a bit of a problem, after all problems were exciting to have, more fun than farming a woman for breeding.
"Are you sure? She's a bit of a bitch." Al-Arzei, lord that he was, grimaced at the thought of even giving his most respected lord such a nuisance and yet beautiful, bright woman that he requested. There was something akin to jealousy as Al-Arzei realized that El-Lena was looking at him, that jealousy rolling in her beautiful storm eyes. Arzei had personally taken the redhead for granted when she had managed to escape him for the twenty-ninth time in the last few months. She was smart and that was something rare in a woman.
El-Lena knew he coveted that about her and he coveted it about this young slip of a girl as well.
"Perfect then for a wife. She'll be entertaining." Al-bel only stared, a grin stretching across his handsome features as he turned once more to his new wife. Her hatred in his face reminded him that she was a shrew, intelligence and will flashing across her sneering visage, a countenance that spelled death.
"Good, I think. I'll start the ceremony." The Sand King walked away, talking in the tongues of the sand people of the Sword tribe, ordering his wives to retrieve a few promising things that would make the ceremony come faster. His hesitance spoke volumes to Al-bel, his dark crimson eyes catching the hating green eyes. He approached her without much pretense, grabbing her chin and face so that he could see each side of her. She spat at him, a spiteful smile on her lips. She knew what was happening.
The man was grinning, wiping his hand on his sarong, the purple skirt, hiding his legs. Grabbing the woman by the blood-colored tresses, he began his speech in understandable English.
"What's your name, thrall?" Growling, Nel knew she lost for this round but the war and her escape was not ended as of yet.
"No longer, Nel." Grinning, he picked her up with ease and threw her towards Romeria, who was an English woman, and allowed his new bride to have the shawl of a bride draped upon her bruised shoulders. The Sand King returned with all the items needed for the affair to end.
The ceremony was quick as the Sand King presided over the arrangement with an ease that knew he had only done it enough times for others that he could do it sleeping. His first wife, El-lena, helped Nevella, Nel as he named her for short, understand what was going on.
The tent they shared was an excellent courtesy of the Sand King. After losing himself in his new wife, her eyes shining dark from a lust and hatred he wanted instilled in her, he found himself asleep, to wake up when she took his own scimitar out of his sheath and swung it at his head to only wake up dead.
It was a staggering effect as the Lady of Wales walked through the dank hallways, science marking her with a paleness due to the ill treatment of the French prisoners, their bodies warped by injections, feeding information to machines. Her heart had clenched in horror. Looking to the man who she had caught to explain the reasons this men were being used as such, he shushed her again. She had been making a ruckus but then again it wasn't everyday someone say their own neighbor get impaled repeatedly with sharp swords just to get an idea what the different effects were of poisons.
"Shh…." His fingers snapped in front of his quivering lip, sniveling like the woman he was. Shelby was a liver-bellied lizard crawler that barely made Nel trust him to keep her presence a secret even if she was supposed to know the little bit about the project from the generals.
"Why man?" Growling, her eyes narrowing dangerously, the quivering filth in front of her shook with such fright that she only wanted to throw her own fingers around his throat, her belt knives feeling enticing to her hands to grasp and handle much like she wanted to have.
"You don't want to tempt the lord, Lady Nel!" His hushed whisper uttered disgusting words, words of silence that he wanted her to possess in her sharp and stubborn mind and mouth.
"And why not? He should know how much his experiments kill." Hysterical, Nel shouted at the yellow-livered man in front of her, anger rising off her form in the form of her voice, sound waves heralding the uselessness of it all. Shelby's smell increased as the acrid scent of someone pissing themselves seemed to waft from the sniveling underling. His eyes were wide as he looked behind the woman.
"Then you know too much, Lady Nel." A whispered hush caused excitement to tingle up her spine. Gasping, turning around to face the Lord of the battle, a battle he had won. A sadistic frown stayed on his visage, a hand coming through her stomach with a dagger in tow.
"You!" Bending over, the only word escaping her mouth as she gasped for air before all went dark, dying as the sadistic noble took another weapon, cutting off the underling's hesitant and sniveling features from its body, decapitating the ugly being's head.
Then all went black.
The inn was weary with men from the recent revolution, especially behind one of the shoji doors, the sliding hush of the doors opening and closing alerted the two men and one woman of the coming and going mistress of the inn. Their tea and sake along with a burning incense of an herb relative to their part in Japan lay set upon the table in the same manner as they had been when their order was received. The dark haired inn mistress passed while the younger of the two black-haired men thought before he allowed an answer to come out.
"So, I understand, Arzei-san. Frahm-san, get this. The scent is starting to take its toll." He nodded his assent towards the higher classed lord, holding his temper in check as the annoying scent was very heady to him. Headiness was not something he needed now as he felt the eavesdropper's charka near, though it was almost hidden from him, a frail scent to the prey. Albel Nox was a known manslayer in the time of the revolution, able to pick up even the faintest traces of charka and mostly known for his ruthless hatred of the shinobi.
"Would you ever become a wanderer?" Arzei, smart man that he was, picked up on Albel's hint, turning towards a burning question that had strayed into his mind by Elena, his beautiful mistress that she was, ever wondering when Albel was going to settle down. He wanted to be able to know that his best friend's son would be able to continue the line unlike his father barely had.
Yumiko Nox had died after she lost her third and second child, a year and half after Albel had been born to his wandering father. Glou had become a rouroni, protecting those he knew needed protection and help.
"No….." Picking himself away from the conversation, Albel only flinched at the memory of his father, the few he had. The wandering ronin had died when Albel had gotten into a fight and he got into the middle of it, getting the death wounds that Albel was supposed to get. Sliding the door open and closed, he put on his steel-plated getas that was brought by a young servant, bowing respectably to the lord, her eyes trained to the ground until he left.
Walking around the village until he got near the open road, Albel only smirked as he still felt the trickle of charka following him. Stopping in a nearby field, he made sure that he stood in the middle, not even turning as he began addressing the shinobi that had been the shadows for some time.
"You've been following me, you shinobi scum. What a maggot to revert yourself to the shadows. No honor to speak of whatsoever." He turned to face the being and got a surprise when a lithe figure, smirk hidden by her mask, appeared out of nowhere, no charka hidden now as he could smell her life force moving in her.
"So, I was wrong to underestimate you, Ryuushin Battousai-san." She was polite, with a crisp sharp tongue benefit of a magnificent ninja such as she. This would be her seventy-third mission of this year and she was hoping to reach a hundred soon.
"You must be Zelpher, the most known assassin in the shinobi sects, correct, worm?" He noticed the green eyes that were so rare in Japan. Didn't his last man, another with rare green eyes, tell him of the famous kunoichi that was Nel Zelpher? He must have because Leingod, as his last comrade was named, always talked about the ninjas as if he knew the dishonorable insects personally. Albel wouldn't put it past the kind-hearted bushi to know.
"How much is your life worth?" Those green eyes were speaking business and yet he knew that they were softened as she looked at him. A weariness seemed to pervade them both as if neither wanted to go through with this inevitable fight. Mibu-ro would certainly try to get there soon and kill the dishonorable woman that she was, maybe even kill Albel for the many men he killed so often under his lord. "Would you ever become a wanderer, battousai-san?"
She was mocking him, and yet he also knew that she really wasn't.
"IF it happens, maggot. Let's finish this stupid talk, kunoichi-san. This battousai does not have the time to answer your pathetic questions." Growling at the intrepid woman, he drew his sword and got into the beginning battle stance, rushing towards the woman to suddenly realize what she had been doing the entire time talking to him.
"Good." Her last words to him spoke much as the sharp charka strings wrapped around his head and decapitated him in his rush to get to her. Blood splayed upon her face, matching nothing as tears fell down her cheeks in silent contemplation.
The lecture hall was filled with the new term hopefuls, trying to pass the hardest teacher's, besides Mr. Vox, class of Tactics that was offered at Kirlsa University, a prestigious upper-class university in Airyglyph. The airy motes danced in the air as the slides from the slide projector screen faded with a click into a new picture. The one holding the controls for this was the Professor of Tactic History, Ms. Nel Zelpher.
"And it was with this determination that young Lord Northwind became the King of Greeton and Aquios for only a sma-Yes, Mr. Nox?" Looking out amongst her congregation of students, she noticed the prosthetic arm shooting up with the punkish features of one Albel Nox belonging to it. She inwardly groaned. Albel Nox was the plague of her class and the bane of her universe. She had tried foisting him off every quarter to one of the other teachers since she taught a majority of the military and history classes, Wolter and Vox coming close behind with psychology and sociology.
"Can you quit the boring talk and get on with the battle tactics?" The twenty year old man, sifting his actual hand, covered as it was in a few golden rings and obsidian stones, watching the annoyed woman with a bored expression upon his face. He hated and loved this class for the fact that he enjoyed looking at Ms. Zelpher for two hours almost every other day of the week, but hated the fact that all she talked about was boring stuff, at least more than half the time. Who really cared about Greeton?
Keeping her patience in check, as this had been the tenth time the entire lecture she had been interrupted by Albel because of boredom, Nel clenched her hands while making sure not to explode. Instead she allowed a rather benevolent smile to come across her features.
"Mr. Nox, nobility and politics are a part of all tactics, so you must learn both and since you insist my lecture is really that bad, you can stay after class to discuss your new extra paper due on the politics of noble families and some conspiracies that all led to the downfall of Greeton and Aquios during that era led by Lord Northwind." He growled. She was a hard grader and had no one yet to get an A on any of her essays. She checked every essay at least three times and Albel had more than once chanced getting the information from the net, though he was nearly caught last time.
"Whatever." Grumbling as he plopped his head back on the desk, a nice view of his hot teacher's ass, and his day got a smidgen better though he was hoping that maybe running over Peppita or Roger, or Peppita's pet poodle, Snickers, would make him slightly happier. Slightly.
The afternoon passed quickly and before he knew it, he was cleaning the board for her as she went to her desk gathering papers that needed grading. His teacher reminded him of a tomato, she was really ready to burst at the seams with anger and yet she kept her smooth surface except whenever she got emotionally hurt. He liked tomatoes.
"I hope you know to rein in your attitude in my class, Mr. Nox."
"Sure." Another grumble, as he watched her swashay over to the closet, taking out her three-fourths length coat, holding onto the scarf that always hid her face well in public. He and that scarf were natural enemies. Albel always loved the cream of her nape, and unbeknowest to everyone, he sometimes daydreamed of sucking Nel's nape enough that she got more than one hickey.
"You can leave when you finish cleaning the board. I'll see you tomorrow." Turning towards him, his glare still in place at the maggot of a scarf, she sighed and shook her cherry-cola hair, the bangs getting into her green eyes.
"Whatever. One day, someone's going to hit you with a car." Returning to his work, she left him to grumble a rather unfortunate phrase he would later dislike a lot and need to get therapy for years to come.
Upon finishing his punishment, one he had done for over a millionth time this past quarter alone, he went over to start his car so that he could go home, however, two worms with the most benevolent drink of his college and high school career decided that they wanted to tag along as well. So there they were, all three, Leingod in the back, and Cliff, in the passenger, when Cliff decided to do something stupid. Well, not so much as decide but rather," Hey this sounds interesting! "Type of thing, which usually ended up causing trouble for Albel and Fayt.
"Nox! Hold onto my coffee for a sec!" Albel turned to the blonde worm, glaring as he got the cup of hot coffee thrown towards him. Using his right arm, the one currently pushing the clutch into fourth gear, he caught the cup with his reflexes and began using his elbow for the clutch moving.
"I can't hold it, maggot! I'm driving, you worm!" Annoyed, he turned back to Fayt, throwing the cup at him and hearing a satisfying scream as hot coffee fell on the poor computer genius that he was.
"Albel, eyes on the ro-HOLY SHIT!" Cliff looked up from his backpack and started screaming, joining the already screaming genius in the back, making Albel
s narrowed eyes grow wide in alarm as they sped past a stop sign and into a black compact car, slamming the brakes so that lessened the impact speed.
"SHIT! FUCKING HELL! Are they okay! Fayt, call the hospital! NOW!" Cliff began to try and scramble out of the car but his legs were scrunched underneath the now crushing glove compartment. Fayt was the only one without much hinderance as he tried finding his phone among the mess at the bottom of the floor. Albel, dragged himself upright out of the airbag, his prostethetic arm completely screwed as he opened his door and tried to get out of the car.
When he got out, the car they had hit had turned over and landed into a stop sign, the driver's side, the one they had hit, completely plastered all over the place. He ran and looked towards the driver, knowing who it was.
"Zelpher?" He reached out with tentative fingers from his right hand, hoping against the gods that he was wrong. The redhead in the car struggled to breath as part of her door had inserted itself into her body, piercing both lungs. Blood was everywhere on her and his fingers came away from her cheek with that blood.
"……..ugh……" She rolled her head around and he could see that she literally going to die. She was losing too much blood and it didn't help that the stop sign had slammed into the top of the car, causing it to break or at least damage her skull, enough to cause hemorrhaging. Tears were beginning to escape his eyes as he reached out. This time was different for him. He knew that he had watched many scenes like this one but she was different this time and so was he.
"Nel!" He screamed her name to wake up as the truth dawned on him, his features contorting into something akin to disbelief. He had told her off over twelve minutes ago and now she was dying. Fayt, who had finally found his phone and called nine-eleven squad, now stood beside him, tears rushing out of his eyes as he had known Nel for a period of time when she had went to the same high school in Arias.
"She's gone……." His hushed whisper caused the disbelief in Albel's face to grow, twisting his eyes into pain as he sat beside the car, his hand touching her visage in hope that she would start mouthing off at him and tell him to do a hundred papers or something of the sort.
"No…….." But she wasn't waking up and telling him that and for now, she was gone again.
They stood in the dorm hallway, waiting for the last of their bunch to say yes to a special birthday gift. Nel Zelpher, a techno raver in heart, Mirage, another raver out of the bunch, Maria, a rocking home girl, Cliff, another rocker, and Fayt, a major techno DJ, all surrounded a rather obstinate Albel Nox, who in all forms of entertainment was the party, when he wanted to be that is.
Albel didn't exactly understand raves, but he knew that for Nel he would try. If they only didn't insist on his coming along then he could remain in ignorance, however, it was Nel's birthday and her favorite rave DJs, besides Fayt, were in town. Their dorm curfew was already passed so they would get into trouble when caught, but it was just that he had a really bad feeling about this.
"Try it, Albel! C'mon, I have a hunch that it will be fun! We'll go clubbin' and ever-" Cliff was cut off short as Maria argued against him. The rather robust tattooed blonde was always guessing at things with his 'hunches' which didn't help somehow or they made the situation worse off than before.
"Not you and your hunches again, Cliff." The ever-nosy and bossy Maria stepped up to the plate, shaking her head and turning towards her blonde friend, Mirage who wore all her stringed glow lights around her neck. She had been known to win a dance contest or two with those things, simply because the light show was so intense.
"What about the time with that red light?" Mirage cued in, a cheerful smile on her rather teasing visage, the tattered and fishnet top showing her skin in all its glory except for the black tube top she wore as she leaned foreward to the slumped Cliff, leaning against the wall.
"THAT WAS ONE TIME! Nel, you convince him!" Yelling, only so that the few of them could hear, the teased twenty year old turned towards the birthday girl with hope that she would be able to convince the boy herself.
Sighing, Nel played dirty when she wanted to and gave the biggest puppy dog eyes anyone could try, with the added bonus of looking as pleadingly as she wanted to.
"Please Albel! It's my birthday….."
"Ugh, fine, worms." He caved. Those eyes, and Sophia's, only by a small margin, somehow always made him cave into their demands. Sophia's use of the puppy dog expression just freaked him out, by a lot. It kind of looked like she was shocked for life that way. Maybe someone had slapped her back when she was surprised and her eye muscles never relaxed. Who knew and who cared? Sophia was actually a nice maggot but he didn't care for her as she seemed to had herself claimed to the one and only Laselle, as scary as that was.
Before he knew it, they were at the party, the strobes and music drifting in synch with every note and every flash as if this was indeed the hopeful excuse he always wanted. Picking up a water bottle he had thought was his, he took a long drink, downing half the bottle when he began feeling horrid. The birthday girl came over, noticing that his dancing form was no longer on the platform with her and a bunch of others.
"Isn't this fun, Nox?" She grinned until she became concerned with how he dropped to the ground so quickly, the water bottle spilling across the bar. Leaning over his crouching form as he had caught himself barely, her green eyes widened, wondering what was the matter with him.
"Nel……….I don't feel so good……" A hushed tone, a whisper through the music that she could tell was the truth, she wrapped her arms around his body, hauling him to the nearest bathroom that she knew of.
"You must be sick. Let's go to the bathroom." She talked as they went, her feet carrying them both fast as Albel tried his hardest to hold onto his vision. Her mouth moved but he didn't seem to hear. As they entered the bathroom, he could only moan as his body started heating up and his stomach churned at a violent rate.
"Toilet….NOW." She complied, nearly throwing herself through the only stall and helped him to a position so that he could puke the substance up. However, he didn't stop puking, and soon the toilet was too clogged to go down as she tried the handle. The dirty bathroom floor and a nearly hysterical Nel was his last sight as he vomited all over himself, repeatedly, drifting away to an eternal sleep, choking upon the vomit, even as Nel tried to clear a passage way for him.
"Albel? Albel? Nox! ALBEL!" Her heart stopped. This was the first time she cried over him in any of her lifetimes, and she wanted her heart to stop as she tried her best to clear a breathing passage with her fingers, anything that she could do. When she knew that he had gone, his face blue due to suffocation, and his vomiting had stopped, Nel held him to her chest and cried. It was her eighteenth birthday and she was in didn't want to know that he would no longer argue with her or poke fun at her. She didn't want her heart to feel as if she was guilty and that she should die as well. After all, she just wanted him to live along with her, even if it was only to be friends.
It was the first time in a long time, she cried.
Holding onto the essence of darkness, the dimmed lantern at the entrance of their room their only light, Nel Nox drifted to a content sleep to be awakened by the concerned voice of her husband, all he wanted with her was in the volumes he spoke, concern tinting his tone, honey upon a sugared tongue.
"Yes, Albel?" She answered his darkness in call, feeling his torrid breath tickling her nape where he had left a few of his darkest love bites from nights before. His hated enemy was laying across the desk a few feet away from the bed. He had made it a rule that the other beloved of his wife was to be nowhere near the bed. She really had no idea why he hated having the scarf near. She thought it ridiculos to be jealous of a scarf but then again this was Albel the Wicked and she didn't question him on his idiosyncrasies.
"No matter what, please stay with me." For some reason, Albel had strange nights were he felt as if he was in another person's body and yet that person was always really him just in a different dimension as Fayt explained it. It had happened to a few Earthlings who could get glimpses of these other selves that lived somewhere else. Each of them had a tragic ending. Nel or himself would always die. He didn't want it happening in this life. Fayt had tried to explain that to him, he was the Prime Albel, the first one and thus he was really the one who decided the other's fates. The same with the rest of the people in this dimension and the four-d world.
"Of course. I'm not giving you up." Caressing his long tresses with her fingers, threading through them with a sense of hopefulness, Nel knew that she was going to never give the man up since he had given himself to her with great care.
"Good." Kissing her nape, the creamy thing it was, he realized something, all the love that those Albels had felt in his dreams, were all true and things that he hadn't been able to tell her were that he loved her and yet he still loved her someway in all of them.
It was all the same love.
DONE! Go ME! Okay, anyway, I was really busy trying my best to come up with different things that would work for them and I wanted to kind of tell their story through the many parallel dimensions that there might be. I love science fiction, a lot for the parallel dimension things. Anyway, I wanted to show a progress of their relationship from blatant death and surprise to eventual remorse and love.
Now, I think I'm just being too philosophical. GAH!
PLEASE READ AND REVIEW! LOVES TO ALL!