Someone Who Cares
slowly, so hurry hold me,
Your hand is all I have to keep me hanging on…
Please can you tell me, so I can finally see,
Where you go when you're gone?
If you want to, I can save you,
I can take you away from here.
So lonely inside, so busy out there,
And all you wanted was somebody who cares.
He is doing it again. I've often wondered to myself why he sits alone and busies himself with a menial task as his eyes lose their focus, just as he is doing now. It is strange, I think, that a man like Kent- steadfast and stable as he is- can become seemingly distracted on a regular basis.
I've thought to myself that perhaps he has made a decision he regrets, as I have. He and I have an understanding that I don't think many others are fortunate enough to share. We've never had a misunderstanding or an argument in the time I've known him; I think that's proof enough that we are alike.
But when he sits like that, I feel a swelling of emotion in my breast that I can't force away as I've done in the past. It stays with me until I see that he is, indeed, fine. My mind still wanders, despite my knowledge of his well-being. He almost looks like he is struggling with himself over something, and many times, I have found myself torn between going to him or just watching over him as I did for my sisters in years long gone.
Farina asked me once why I am always near him. The answer is relatively simple; he has something I want. I chose not to speak of it to her, and only answered that I found him to be good company. It wasn't a lie, but it certainly wasn't the whole truth.
He completes me, and I do not think that she would understand.
When I flew to the Dread Isle with the wing of knights under my command, I had been a completed puzzle; every piece had a spot reserved for it, and there was not a single one missing. Afterward, as I nursed my hurt pride and tried to stomp away my feelings of shame and regret, I realized that I was no longer complete. My confidence and pride were gone, and though I tried my very best to restore them through countless victories, it refused to return to me. When I dove from the air, wielding a javelin, I would sometimes find my hands shaking as I remembered the wailing screams of my butchered wing command.
When I see him as he is now, I can't help but think that the man he is as he sits polishing his chest-plate is not the man that I have come to know in my time here. He looks lost, perhaps confused, and that is so unlike him that it makes me wonder why his friend- the loud, flirty one- doesn't worry about him. But maybe he does, and he is doing as I am- sitting back and watching from a distance.
Today is different, I decide as I walk towards him, my boots sinking gently into the cool grass. He doesn't notice my approach, and when he looks up suddenly, his eyes focusing on someone in the distance, I can't help but follow his gaze.
My heart breaks as I realize his dilemma…and it shatters because I realize it is breaking for him, and not for me, despite everything. Perhaps Florina was right about the old myths concerning love; when you love someone, you only want to see them happy.
I am only standing a few feet away from him, and when my breath catches in my throat at my realization- how could I not have seen it sooner?- he looks to the side and sees me. Though he masks it in an instant, I can see the hurt in his eyes, flickering slowly before flaming to life…only to be blown out again.
He blinks, and for a moment, I can see him. "Fiora," he says, nodding at me. "How fare you?" He busies himself with his polishing rag, and I push my sigh to the back of my mind and sit beside him.
"I am well," I answer. "And you?"
His smile is forced, and it hurts me to see it. "I am doing well, also." After a few moments of silence that seem to stretch into an eternity, he turns to me, the lines in his forehead more pronounced than usual. "Forgive me for my rudeness," he apologizes. "I have had a lot on my mind, lately, and I seem to have lost my manners. Did you wish to speak with me about something?"
I raise an eyebrow and clasp my hands together, resting them on my lap before I speak. "No apology is necessary; we all lose ourselves to our thoughts from time to time." I smile gently at him and ask, almost without thinking twice, "A copper for your thoughts?"
He smiles, and I can tell it is genuine by the way the corners of his eyes crinkle. It makes my heart flutter nervously. This, I think, is him. When he smiles like this, I can see his quiet determination and unfailing strength. It's comforting, in a sense.
"I…" he looks up again, and watches her for a minute before looking back to me, flushing lightly in embarrassment or shame. "You have been good to me… I do not wish to burden you with my problems, Fiora."
My expression wavers, but I manage to keep it in place. "I can listen," I offer, my eyes drifting to where the Lady Lyndis stands, Hector beside her as they speak softly, occasionally yelling something at one another, only to fall back into their whisperings. "Is it about Lady Lyndis?"
He flushes, and I notice it out of the corner of my eye. "I…yes," he admits, and sighs deeply before taking a long breath. "Perhaps I should ask your advice…"
I nod encouragingly, turning my eyes from Lyndis and Hector as he starts to speak.
"I am ashamed to say that I have not been acting as I should be… As a Knight of Caelin, I should follow the advice I have given to Sain, but… I find it harder than I had thought it to be."
I know that it had to have taken real courage to say it, because I know Kent. I know that duty is one of only a handful of things that is a constant in his life; duty and honor really mean something to him. Failing in his duty would never be acceptable to him.
He lowers his eyes to the ground, and I find myself wanting to reach out and lift his head so that I can see his eyes… They always shine with the confidence and trust and sincerity that I love seeing in him. His unspoken question of what to do hangs in the air like a thick raincloud promising a downpour, and I hesitate because I don't know what I would do if I were in his predicament. What will I do?
When I don't answer, he speaks, "It is clear she loves another." It could be just me, but I seem to sense a hint of dejection in his voice. "I am happy to see that she has found someone…but at the same time, I am…"
"Disappointed?" I ask, finishing his sentence for him and blushing lightly in embarrassment as I do so.
His eyes widen in surprise as he looks at me. "Yes," he says, turning his knees towards me and leaning closer. "How did you know?"
"I just do." I shrug, and smile hesitantly at him. "There is no shame in being happy for someone for loving another, even if that someone is not yourself… It is no different than anything else in life; it's always disappointing when things do not go as you might hope them to."
"I am glad that you understand me." He sighs in what must be relief and goes back to running his polishing cloth over his chest-plate that sits in his lap. "I do feel better now that I've spoken freely of it…"
My heart swells with pride, and not for the first time, I feel that puzzle piece slip into place. "I am happy to hear that."
"It is not very knight-like, however…and I must make an attempt to get back to where I was…before…"
I shake my head in disbelief as I look to Lady Lyndis again as she smiles and swats playfully at Hector. How can she not care about this man who feels so much for her? I wonder… And I find myself close to being angry with her for it, for having someone so completely and not even fully realizing it. My almost-anger evaporates when I see her flash Hector a smile.
She doesn't know, I think.
I turn to look at him, and I watch him for a moment as he scrubs distractedly at his armor, trying to make it shine, but ultimately failing- he is scrubbing too hard, too fast. It is strange that I am falling for someone like him- someone so like myself. He is usually even more reliable than I am, and it feels strange to me to be the one sitting beside him, offering him the strength and reassurance that he usually offers to others.
"You'll get there," I say, and make an attempt to smile encouragingly. "Though I don't believe it to be un-knightly in any way."
He turns his brown eyes upwards to meet mine, and he raises an eyebrow questioningly.
"If you care about her," I try to explain, "then she must be someone worth serving. And serving is a knight's duty, is it not?"
"Yes." He nods. "Duty…should always come first." I try to smile at him as he stops polishing, looking in the direction of his lady before he continues. "But I cannot help how I feel. Sir Wallace suggested that I follow my heart, but my heart is conflicted. It tells me I should tell her how I feel, but I already know her answer, and it isn't what my heart wants to hear."
"It's…a rather delicate situation," I say, the pang of empathy in my chest aching in a way befitting a fall from my pegasus.
He rubs the back of his neck and fidgets in frustration before shaking his head and glancing at me distractedly. "Oh… Dame Fiora, forgive me for keeping you, for handing all my problems to you." He smiles thinly, but I can tell that it is real. "I have not been myself lately… I will strive for excellence, of course, but… how do you get over someone when you don't truly wish to?"
My own smile disappears, but he shakes his head and tries again. "I mean to say, Fiora, that I know she does not love me, and yet…my heart still longs for her. I suppose it is a case of mind over matter, and yet… I see her so often that my mind loses to my heart every time…"
I don't know, I want to say to him. I don't know how to get over someone.
He laughs nervously and sighs, looking almost ashamed at himself. "I am starting to sound like Sain," he tells me, and I look at him and laugh lightly.
"Yes, I suppose you are," I answer. "But there is no harm done… I don't know how to answer your question, though…"
Because I think I love you, even though you love her…and she loves him.
"That makes two of us."
The smile on his face makes my heart ache. It seems lonely to me, and I know that it is, because I am smiling the same one back at him, only he doesn't see it, because he's looking at Lyndis again. I can see that the way she smiles at Hector hurts Kent, and in turn, that hurts me.
I look around the camp as we sit together in silence, and I see Florina glancing back and forth between Kent, Hector, Lyndis, and myself as she wrings her hands nervously. Chances are that she wishes to speak with me on some matter, but I feel as if I can't leave Kent with things completely unresolved.
I can't leave you here with that look on your face.
I care too much to do that.
But the silence drags on as I make an attempt to think of something to say that will make him happy. Unfortunately, I cannot think of anything. "Things will get better," I say, a lopsided smile on my face as I look over at Florina before locking gazes with him. His brown eyes are dark with emotion, but he masks it well. "And… if you need to talk…"
My voice trails off slowly as I find my own hands twisting in my lap.
"I will find you," he finishes, and I flash him a grin. He seems to have an uncanny ability to finish my sentences before I do. It is nice to be with someone who knows exactly what you are trying to say even before you say it; I know that I am not wrong when I say that he completes me. When I nod, he continues, "Thank you for your patience, and for lending a listening ear. I am…in your debt."
"I care about you," I say before I can stop myself, but he doesn't seem to hear it in quite the same way that I speak it, and a part of me is relieved… Knowing my feelings would only add to his burdens, and if anything, I do not want that. "Friends are supposed to care, to be there when you need them, to listen when you have something to say. There is no debt."
I stand before I say something that I might regret, and I smile at him before walking towards Florina. The look on her face is lonely, and it reminds me of Kent and myself. Oh, I can only hope that she does not feel something for Hector. Surely, that would only complicate everything further, leaving yet another person heartbroken.
Suddenly, I stop and look back at Kent, half-expecting to see him looking at her again, lost in his thoughts, but when I turn my head, he is looking at me, and he gives me a small- genuine- smile and a wave, his eyes not moving from mine until I turn back around again, a small blush on my cheeks.
I find myself smiling at Florina.
"You look especially happy today, Sister," she says, a silly smile on her face that tells me she can almost understand, and my own smile widens without my consent.
"I am," I answer her, truly meaning it for the first time in awhile. Things are not perfect, not yet, but despite that, I can't help but feel—or perhaps hope—that they will be soon.
Even though I do not care for this pairing, this 'fic has been begging to be written for almost two months now. I popped one of my (many) burned cd's into my car one day, and on the drive to work, "All You Wanted" by Michelle Branch came on. An older song, yes, but my first, immediate thought was that that song was their song. I don't think that it fits another couple quite as well as it does Kent and Fiora. And coming from me (and I'm sure you know how I feel about this couple), that's saying a lot.
It took me forever to write this. I would write a little, stop writing, write a little more, and stop writing. I haven't been very inspired to write lately, and I think it's almost strange that this is my first completed piece in awhile. And I'll admit- I had fun writing it.
As for critique, it's very welcome, as always, but just keep in mind one thing: I view Fiora a little differently than most people, and I think it comes out in my writing of her. I would love to know if you agree or disagree with my characterization of her, of course, but please do so in a mature manner.
Thank you so much for reading!