First fic I've had the guts to post...please read & review!
Disclaimer: Sciffy rules all...and I do not.
Ambrose awoke to the sound of a knock at his door. He opened his eyes. For a moment he was confused as to his whereabouts. Then he remembered: his room in the palace. The surgery. He had been warned that recovery would be long, and he could expect moments of confusion and forgetfulness until he was fully healed. He grabbed his robe and wrapped it around himself as he went to the door. Without thinking, he ran his hand over his scalp. Thank goodness that godforsaken zipper was gone, though his hair seemed intent on parting there anyways.
He opened the door to an empty hallway. He looked both ways, confused, before looking down. A small brown box sat at his feet, with a folded paper on top. Picking up the package, he stepped back inside, closing the door behind him. He sat down on the edge of his bed and set the package beside him. He opened the paper to see a tear stained page and small, careful script that he had not read in years.
My dearest Ambrose,
No words can express the pain and suffering you have experienced, and I would be foolish to think any words of mine could possibly make amends. I only wish for you to know one thing – words cannot express my anguish and regret over what was done to you. Often in my dreams, I recall the horrible things I've witnessed and done over the past sixteen years, but what haunts me most is seeing myself standing over your operation. I was screaming inside, Ambrose, believe me, I was. But I couldn't break through, I couldn't save you, and I'm so sorry.
I don't in my wildest dreams dare to hope that you could possibly care for me anymore. But please know that I loved you from the moment we met. I remember when your father first brought you to court. We were nine. As we were introduced, I saw a spark in your eye. You were smart and quick-witted and I liked you immediately.
While I loved spending time with my sister as a child, I think I most enjoyed my time with you. With DG, I was always watching, teaching, explaining. You and I, we were equals. I cherished the hours we spent in the library, pouring over books of history, science, magic, and literature. You, of course, were the brilliant scientist, I the budding historian.
Besides DG, you were the first to notice the change in me after that awful day at Finaqua. You knew there was something wrong. We began to grow apart. It pained me to see it happening, but the witch told me it was your fault, that you just didn't understand me. By the time you came into the service of my mother, we were seventeen and barely spoke.
In the dark recesses of my mind, the small spaces that only I could see, I still admired you. You were so brilliant and so brave, right until the end. You always did what was right. You were and are a good person who deserved none of the torture you suffered at my hand.
I don't ask your forgiveness, Ambrose, for I surely don't deserve it. Just know that the regret of what happened to you will follow me every day of my life. I am truly and deeply sorry.
He just stared at the letter. It felt like he was experiencing a thousand emotions at once. Thinking that this couldn't be healthy for his newly-repaired brain, he turned his attention to the box. Inside was another short note.
I found this on top of a bookshelf in the library yesterday. Do you remember the day you finally made it work?
Underneath laid his very first holographic recorder. His eyes widened and he gingerly removed it from the box. It was so crude, he thought as he looked it over, but it might still work. He set it on the edge of the bed and pressed the power button. The machine began to hum.
In the center of the room, a scene flickered to life. He recognized the table as being in the palace library. A thirteen-year-old Azkadellia sat on it, reading a book, her legs dangling over the side.
His own voice, slightly higher in pitch, broke the silence.
"I think I've got it working, Az!"
Azkadellia didn't look up from her book. "You've said that five times today. I'm reading Ancient Languages of the Outer Zone. You should see these old pictographs."
"No, really, this time!" His hand came into view and waved in front of the lens. Just then, the image disappeared, but the voices continued.
"Wait, it's gone now."
A pause, then Azkadellia's voice. "Should that wire be hanging off the side like that?"
Another pause, and the picture came back, with his young face in full view, and Azkadellia looking over his shoulder at something on the camera. "There. Let me check now."
Young Ambrose went out of sight again, checking the viewfinder. "It works!" He ran back into view, grabbing Az around the waist and spinning her in circles. "It works! It works!" Az giggled and blushed, but young Ambrose didn't notice. He set her back down.
"What will you use it for?" she asked.
"I don't know. Recording special things, I guess."
"Like what?" she asked, looking at him.
He suddenly got nervous, not looking Azkadellia in the eye.
And all of a sudden, he kissed her. At first, her eyes were wide with surprise. He pulled away, frightened to death of her reaction. She just stared at him for a moment, cheeks bright red. Then she leaned in and kissed him. When they pulled apart, they just looked at each other for a moment.
"Maybe you should turn it off now." Az whispered.
"What? Oh, the holo-recorder." He jumped and scurried out of sight. Azkadellia turned to watch him, grinning and blushing.
The picture vanished.
A tear made its way down Ambrose's cheek. So many things had gone terribly wrong since that pure, innocent moment. He sat frozen for several minutes. Then he stood up, leaving the letter and recorder on the bed, and walked straight over to his desk. Pulling out a fresh piece of writing paper and a pen, he started.