By: Manna (Kitten Kisses)
EDITED: October 9, 2007. Fixed some grammatical errors, thanks to a wonderful reviewers suggestions!
My old friend, I recall
The times we had hanging on my wall
I wouldn't trade them for gold
Cause they laugh and they cry me
Somehow sanctify me
They're woven in the stories I have told
And tell again
My old friend, I apologize
For the years that have passed
Since the last time you and I
Dusted off those memories
But the running and the races
The people and the places
There's always somewhere else I had to be
Time gets slim, my old friend
He was not an old man- not yet, but he walked with the posture of someone who had lived a long, hard life. And perhaps he had, when he recounted all the battles; both for love and for his country. Maybe even the world.
But this… this was something different. Love and battles could be fought for- though not always won.
Death… was inevitable.
It was something that swooped down from the heavens, unseen, and left almost as soon as it had come. And death had taken someone from him. Someone who meant a lot to him- and he had certainly never been able to see it coming.
How could he expect that someone so full of energy and life could grow so sick, so fast? How could he have imagined that, after ten years of not seeing his friend, he would ride for a week, only to find his wife and children, their pitiful state of well being telling him everything he needed to know?
His calloused hand roved over the worn writing with surprising gentleness. Time seemed to slow as he read the words slowly, the gentle autumn breeze brushing his auburn hair into his eyes. So, it was true.
How long ago had it been since he had heard him insist that they weren't but simple friends- no, oh, no…- they were godsends to one another, and therefore, they were more than that. They were boon companions. Destined to be together, by some force bigger than they were. Perfect friends.
"Well met, Sain…" he said, his solemn voice quavering the slightest bit from all of his pent-up emotions.
A few clumps of dandelions lay near the stone, some withered, and others fresh, likely put there by his wife, or his children. Real flowers were hard to find in these parts, he knew; the small yellow weeds were probably the best that they could do to make things look cheerful.
The grave had been there for a couple of years, he knew, because the grass had all grown back, and moss had started to creep across the cold stone of the marker.
"I…must apologize…" he continued, when he got his bearings back. "I would have come to see you sooner, but… I didn't know."
His earthen eyes were sorrowful, the lines around them creased in something akin to worry and regret.
"Remember when, oh, it seems so long ago… Can you remember when I caught you staring at the Lady Lyndis instead of concentrating on the battle at hand?"
He could almost see his friend again, a cup of tea sitting in front of him at the small wooden table in his kitchen, the steam rising up to meet the wooden rafters. Sain had been smiling, then.
"I think that was the first time that I realized that you weren't exactly perfect."
And indeed, that conversation had taken place many years ago.
So long ago.
He could hardly bear to think about it; time had passed so quickly, it seemed, and it certainly stopped for no man. Not even one who lived life to the fullest, loving everyone, and finding beauty in the smallest, most insignificant things.
He regretted a lot of things about his life; he could admit that freely, now. But, standing in front of a silent gravestone, in a lonely cemetery with only the whickering of his horse to keep him company, Kent regretted not coming to see his friend more often.
It wasn't as if he hadn't had any opportunities, because he had. But the ride was long, and tiresome, and he'd only wanted to rest on his time away from his duties.
He wished he had taken those opportunities to visit Sain, to at least say hello, to meet his wife and children… to show that he was a true friend, not just someone who was only a friend for conveniences' sake.
"I know this isn't going to be easy... But I'll not let that shake me. After all, I'm not alone. I've got you, and you've got me, right? Right?"
He could still recall that conversation, even after so many years had passed. Good old reckless Sain, always there to cause trouble, and to cheer people up.
"Yeah, you're right," had been his answer.
His friend had raised a fist in the air, lance held high. "So, let's get riding, shall we?" He had taken hold of his horse's reins, then, and started to charge the nearest enemy, most likely trying to look truly heroic for the women of their group. "And watch my back, partner!"
He'd been a little startled, to say the least. That his unruly friend counted on him- didn't just expect him to be there- left him feeling better about everything. "Of course, my friend!" he could remember shouting at the retreating figure before him. "With honor…"
After their quest had ended, they had somehow managed to separate themselves from one another for a time- so much for watching each other's backs.
"Forgive me, my friend… For not being there when you needed me most."
He stood there for a time, not uttering a single word, paying no heed to the relatively few tears that were shed. The wind stirred the grass and ruffled his hair, drying his eyes. There really was no reason to cry, he reasoned. He was most certainly in a better place, now.
The corner of his mouth lifted in a rueful smile, as he remembered something that he had heard Sain say, once.
"Oh, you are an angel of most striking beauty, my fair lady! Your radiance shines as if you have descended from the heavens themselves!"
At least, when he used flattery like that, now, he would be telling no lie...
"Ahh, Sain, my friend. Till we meet again."
My old friend, this song's for you
Cause a few simple verses
Was the least that I could do
To tell the world that you were here
Cause the love and the laughter
Will live on long after
All of the sadness and the tears
We'll meet again, my old friend
Thank You to Wolfraven80 for helping me out by correcting some serious grammar mistakes!
Eh. I'm not sure I liked the way it ended.
Sain and Kent's A support is one of my favorites. The song lyrics are "My Old Friend", by Tim McGraw. The song always made me think of a man who hasn't talked to his friend for a long time, until it's too late; until he's talking to nothing but a lonely grey stone in a cemetery.
As for how Sain died- it doesn't really matter. Why? Because that long ago, you were lucky to live to 45 if you were a man. Common colds and flus killed countless people. Wounds, and infections, cancers- et cetera. Make that decision yourself.
Let me know what you thought. Was it written fine? If you found any mistakes (with grammar, spelling, or characterization), please let me know. How did this make you feel?
Thanks for reading!