Author's Note: Like so many of us, I wanted closure on Rydia and Edge's relationship. So here's my attempt at filling in the gaps and tying off the loose ends. Please read and review so I know whether or not I should bother continuing.
Chapter One: Lonely
Rydia sat by herself, looking at her home planet through one of the… windows? portholes? at any rate, one of the glass panels in the belly of the Whale. After they had defeated Zeromus and left behind Golbez and FuSoYa, everyone had been pensive. And with the exception of Cecil and Rosa, it seemed like everyone wanted to be pensive alone.
She was a little relieved that it was all over, but then, she had liked the adventure of it all, and she had learned so much along the way. But now it was over. Now they were headed back to the Blue Planet. There would be celebrations, yes, and then… well, then what?
She missed her home in the Land of the Summoned Monsters, and she missed her foster-family there. And yet, she knew that, once there, she would miss her friends. And as much as she tried to hide it from herself, there was one in particular that she'd miss.
She wasn't really sure what the relationship between her and Edge was. He had flirted with her shamelessly, but she didn't set much stock in that. But there had been moments, here and there, where there seemed to be actual feeling in the way he acted towards her or looked at her. He certainly felt something for her, though he showed no interest in addressing the issue seriously.
And she felt something for him, though she couldn't make up her mind whether it was a silly little girl's crush or something more substantial. It wasn't his looks, and it wasn't even his skill that she was drawn to (not that she didn't appreciate both of those), and that made her think there might be something to it. He had heart. He had passion. Whatever he did, he did it fiercely. She liked that. He'd be a good man, maybe even a great man, provided he ever stopped acting like an obnoxious teenager.
But when all was said and done, Edge would be going to Eblan, and Rydia would be going to the Land of the Summoned Monsters, and that was that.
She thought about lingering in the upworld, but no, she ought to go home. If Edge had a problem with that, then he could grow up and string together some non-sarcastic words to tell her so.
Speak of a monster, and he appears. At least, if you're a Summoner.
She turned in her seat, and sure enough, there he was. Normally, she'd have shot back a sarcastic answer, but this was different. His voice didn't sound like he'd just won a battle to decide the fate of the planet. So instead she said gently, "What is it?"
He dropped into a seat near hers. He wasn't looking at her. "Oh," he said, all of the sudden sounding very nonchalant. "It's just that, y'know, I was kinda bored."
"Oh." The gentleness was gone from her voice now. "Glad to be entertainment for you. Shall I sing or dance?"
She expected a cocky smile, and something like, "You know I like to watch you dance." Instead, he was frowning. "I didn't mean it like that," he muttered. "I just… I wanted to talk to you. Should I leave you alone?"
"No," she said. It wasn't gentle, but it was sincere. "Stay. What did you want to talk about?"
"You're not going back to… to where you came from when we get back… are you?"
Was he reading her mind? "I was planning on it, yeah. Why?"
He looked her in the eye for just a moment, then looked out at the planet below. "Just wondering. I… we… When I get to Eblan, they're going to make me a king." He laughed a little shakily. "I mean, I always knew it would happen some day, but I never figured it would be so soon."
She wasn't sure what to say to that. She didn't know anything about being a king, or a queen, either, for that matter. "It must be pretty rough for you."
A smile tugged at his lips when she spoke. "Yeah, a bit. But I want to be a good king. My people need a good king right now. I don't know if I'm cut out for it, though."
She couldn't help but smile a little. "If sheer force of will counts for anything, you'll do fine."
He really smiled then, and looked at her. "Thanks." After a moment, he looked away again. "Why do you want to go back?"
She was taken slightly off guard by the sudden subject change. "My family is there. It's my home."
"Your—" he cut himself off. He opened and shut his mouth a couple more times before saying angrily, "You should be with people."
"'With people'?" she spat back at him. "I've seen humans do things just as horrible as any monster could, and I've seen monsters do things just as noble as any human could. We're all 'people.'"
It was a moment before he responded. "I just meant… oh, forget about it." He stood and left.
They barely spoke again before they went their separate ways on the Blue Planet.
Rydia had been home for a few months. It was a strange time for her. She was happy to be back in the Land of Summoned Monsters, and happy to be with old friends and her foster family. And yet… whenever she had a free moment, she couldn't help but wonder what Edge was doing.
She was lying awake one evening in her room when a voice at the door called out, "Rydia? Are you awake? May I come in?"
It was Queen Asura, her foster mother. "Yes, come in." There was a catch in her voice.
Rydia didn't get up, and Asura came and sat on the edge of her bed brushing Rydia's green bangs out of her eyes in that soothing way that only a mother can.
They stayed like that for a while, until finally Asura spoke. "When you first got back, we thought maybe you missed the excitement, that life here seemed too dull for you. But it's not that. Anyone can that see you love it here, that you love the life you lead here. And it didn't go away, the melancholy hanging about you. You're happy, but you're not happy. Won't you tell me what's the matter?"
It was another long moment before Rydia answered. "I'm not sure. I think… I'm lonely."
"Do you wish you were among humans?" Asura's voice sounded as though she had dreaded this possibility.
"No!" Rydia insisted. "No, it's not that! I'm not lonely for my species, I'm lonely for… for someone special. I want what you have with Leviathan."
Asura smiled down at her. "You're growing up. It's only natural. Everyone loves you, dear; I'm sure we could set you up with an eligible young mo—" Rydia rolled onto her side and blinked at tears. "You don't want to be set up, do you?"
"No," she moaned, and tears leaked out of the corners of her closed eyes.
"There's already someone, isn't there?"
As her foster mother spoke, Rydia rolled over onto her stomach and buried her face in her pillow. She nodded into it and spoke a muffled, "Uh-huh."
Several motherly hands—all Asura's—stroked the green hair comfortingly. "Is he a monster?" Asura's voice was hopeful but doubtful.
Rydia shook her head and said, "No," into the pillow.
"I seem to recall a young prince in your party of humans."
Rydia's small frame was racked with a sob.
"He doesn't return your feelings?" Asura asked, unbelieving.
Rydia rolled back onto her back and sat up. "I don't know." Her voice sounded small in her ears. "Sometimes it seemed like he did. Sometimes I wasn't so sure. But he didn't say anything about it, and he hasn't tried to contact me. He's a king now. He probably has women lining up to see him. He's forgotten all about me."
She sobbed a few more times, and Asura held her until she had calmed. "I half-expected I'd forget all about him. But I haven't."
"There, there. No young man could forget you once he met you, dear. You'll see. He's probably just trying to figure out the best way to say how he feels."
Edge felt awful. He didn't want to get up, get out of bed, and work. He didn't want to meet a new beautiful young maiden and be utterly bored of her company within five minutes, as he'd done so many times since returning to Eblan. At first, he'd been quite sure that any young, pretty female would easily replace Rydia. When he wasn't at all interested in the first few, he decided that he'd just have to look harder. Certainly there was at least one young woman in his kingdom who could get his mind off of her.
This has gone on long enough, he thought, still sprawled on his bed in the same position he'd awoken in. None of them will do. None of them are Rydia.
"Rydia," he whispered her name, just for the pleasure of it. Then he banged his head into his pillow a few times. Days that started like this were never happy days for him.
It was all his fault, and he knew it. He'd spent his whole life keeping people away with a cocky attitude and a few sarcastic lines—especially when it came to women. No emotional involvement for Edge, no sir. Yeah, well look where that's got me.
The two people he'd ever really loved were his parents, and they died. At my own hands, he reminded himself. But with their death came a cause, something to fight for, something worth fighting for, and he'd given himself to it whole-heartedly. He actually cared about the friends he'd made then. It was a good feeling.
But then there had been Rydia.
Well, of course, he liked her right from the start—she was quite the looker. And then two things happened at once. Sharing in a cause he believed him allowed him to develop actual feelings for her. Being at all interested in her led him to behave towards her almost exactly the same way he'd always treated women.
So it must have looked to her like he was a jerk trying to get some easy action, while in fact he was falling for her. Falling hard. Onto what felt like a bed of spikes.
He pounded his head into his pillow a few more times for good measure.
He looked over at the door of his chamber, reminding himself that he had work to do. He thought back to his attempt at a real conversation with Rydia on the return flight from the moon. He had wanted to be a good king. And she'd had faith in him.
Well, he was doing a bang-up job so far.
Well, lover-boy, mooning around in bed all day is all well and good, but what are you going to do about it?
He had no answer to that. He knew he could probably reach her if he tried. There were times when he thought about fighting his way single-handedly through the caves that led to her "home." But what would he say to her? He was ashamed of himself. He was ashamed of the poor excuse for a king he had been so far. She had seemed perfectly happy to go back. What would he do, show up and tell her that he missed her—that he loved her—that he needed her by his side?
Of all the reactions he could imagine her having, the only ones he believed were possible were the ones where she laughed at him and told him to go home and grow up.
I'm not worthy of her in the state I'm in. But I've no motivation to become worthy. If she were here, then I'd want to get up and be a good king—no, a great king! But what's the point if she'll never know?