Title: Good Enough
Genre: Legend of Dragoon
Warnings: SPOILERS and slash
Description: Albert's POV.
Lavitz lay bleeding on the floor, life dimming from his eyes and the most I could manage was a paltry 'thank you.' There was so much more I had wanted to say, words that danced inelegant but true on the tip of my tongue. Admissions I could not make before and now, never would.
Yet, I knelt there, accepting the Dragoon spirit, with only one murmured phrase passing my lips.
Throwing himself at Lloyd, face filled with passion, right into the maws of the beast. Lavitz had flown with nothing but determination, firm to save his king. I was certain the pain must have been unbearable, on par with the horrific rending of my own heart.
And yet, his first words had been concern, stuttered and weak. "Is the King all right?" he had asked. Dutiful even to the end, Lavits thought nothing of giving his life for me, for his country.
The one to shed tears had been Dart and not I. Not the king who loved his most loyal guard. No, I could only sit in stunned and horrified silence, feeling my world crashing around me. My stomach twisted into knots and my breath felt locked within, crushing my lungs and my spirit.
A million memories flashed through my mind at one glance into his eyes. A thousand instance of best-kept secrets and shadows in the dark. In the back of my heart trembled the most fond, those that whispered of the sweet slide of flesh and sheets. The forbidden warmth of his lips on mine. Knuckles bit bloody in attempts to stave off the inevitable sounds pleasure.
I did not want it to end like this.
Forever it was a choice between duty and heart. We embraced with the knowledge that some day it must end. One day I must take a wife and produce heirs for the sake of my kingdom. Lavitz had always vowed that to whatever end, he would protect my country and me.
A selfish, undutiful part of me wanted him to break that promise. I wished for him to live with me, not die for me. I never wanted to see his blood stained that color of scarlet against cracked and dingy stone.
I wanted him always at my side – the logical gentle presence I could lean on when the rigors of my duty became too much. For that, I was a very selfish man.
I fell into unconsciousness not long after he drew his last breath, the pain of losing the moon gem too much for me to take. When I awoke, Lavitz was gone and we were far from Hellena Prison. I couldn't form the words to ask of my lover's fate. I feared they would say that there was no choice but to leave him behind.
I followed Dart and the others as if in a dream, offering my aid in removing debris because I needed something to hide the shaking of my hands. I was still numb for the most part, my mind not quite registering the full extent of what had happened. When we were finally settled in the underground cellar, dank and full of broken objects, no one seemed to pay attention to my non-communicative state.
Then Dart spoke and I shattered.
"Lavitz is no more."
I had never heard more heart-wrenching words except perhaps for the day Lavitz came to me, speaking bitterly of his father's death. It hadn't been real to me until that moment, more like a vague, flickering nightmare that I prayed to awaken from. I realized in that moment, with Dart's words sounding so very final, that I wasn't asleep. I hadn't been dreaming.
My Lavitz was truly gone.
The minute tremors wracking my body grew so strong; it took my will to remain standing. Hotness, sharp and burning, pricked the back of my lips and I swallowed thickly past a lump in my throat. I was King. I could not be like Dart.
I wanted to weep but could not. I felt the pain of his loss but could not show it. I wanted to scream and shout, to be angry and foolish. My lips twitched to cry my anguish until I was hoarse. But I was king and so with great will, I locked it within, the pain hammering at my already fractured heart.
A piece of me had been torn away by forces beyond my control.
"Lavitz was my most loyal and strongest knight… and at the same time, my most precious friend."
Those were the words I forced from my mouth, the bitter ash of their deceit on my tongue. For while they were true, Lavitz was much, much more to me. And I felt as if I was betraying my heart to speak those incomplete truths. My dearest friend, my trusted instructor, my most valiant protector and my cherished heart.
But, I could not say those things. Within my body, I recited the truths over and over. My mind cried louder and louder the truth, until it was pulsing in my ears like the beat of a throbbing war drum. My hands trembled so violently that I crossed my arms to hide them.
The questions came then, as I knew they would. I was more than willing to answer them but I needed a moment to catch my breath. I felt as if I were choking on time.
I managed to lift my head and regard Dart with a relatively steady look. "I need a little time," I told him in the strongest voice I could muster. He accepted it, leaving me alone to my rising sorrow.
I blinked but could not erase the images burned into my retinas. There was Lavitz all over again, the sword through his chest and myself kneeling helplessly.
I wasn't prepared for it.
I had always known it, somewhere within the logical part of my brain, that death was a possibility. Lavitz was a Knight, sworn to defend and protect. He had been trained to fight, to battle. There was always a chance that he might fall though I stridently believed in his skill.
I knew all this but I did not think about it. With our shared warmth and his body next to mine, it seemed so implausible, so distant. I hadn't wanted to dwell on unpleasant thoughts.
I was not prepared for living a life without him. Lavitz was always there, a presence I could rely on. For everything.
I could still remember being a young twelve and first learning the proper manner of wielding a spear. I recalled how he looked then, sun glinting off of his blond hair and his wide smile. Always forgiving, even when I made a complete buffoon of myself. I remembered thinking that he was just like the men in the stories, strong and courageous, kind and gentle. I remembered feeling grateful that he was my knight, my protector. I remembered thinking that the kingdom was in safe hands.
Five years flew by in a flash and I returned to being a young lad of seventeen, going to Lavitz with a confession heavy on my heart. I remembered professing my feelings to him, to pressing our bodies together and surprising him with a kiss, young and inexperienced but full of determination.
He must have been so shocked. He had tried to resist but I was resolute. My head had already been filled with those thoughts, that a king received whatever he demanded. I was young enough to think that selfishly.
My boldness reaped me the largest reward I can ever recall. He did not resist the second time I kissed him. He made muffled noises as I pressed closer, hands scrabbling to touch him. I knew what he looked like beneath the armor and the clothing. I knew that his skin was sun-kissed and golden. I knew that he smelled of leather and sweat, war and fighting. I wanted to taste him.
I fell desperately into love then, and never escaped. A strangled noise burbled up in my chest but I swallowed it down before it became audible. I would never have that again. That warmth, that protective aura. I was finally forced to stand on my own two feet, without father or lover or mentor. I did not know how.
It was a selfish part of me that sought revenge for Lavitz. I was scared, partially wanting to run from facing my kingly duties. And I owed it to him.
I owe Lavitz more than he will ever know. He always considered himself lucky for being given the attentions of his king. He never realized that it was I who was grateful for his presence, that it was I that needed him and not the other way around. It was I who was not good enough for those loving kisses and strong embraces.
It was only for him that I gathered my strength and my wits. I locked up the sorrow deep inside and swallowed down the tears before they even glimmered in my eyes. I took one calming breath, dispelled the internal quaking, and put on a brave front. I told Dart the story of the Moon Gem and insinuated myself into their journey.
For him, my dearest heart, it was the least that I could do.
For those interested, this is a sequel to a prior fic I have written (though it can stand alone) entitled "More Than I Deserve" that was too mature for It can be found at any of the other places that I post.