Actions Speak Louder
By: Manna


Dedication: Ljusets Korsriddare—Happy Birthday!


...xOx...

Slash to the left.

"Hey, Kent."

Upward, upward! A satisfying clang follows his thoughts.

"Kent."

He wipes the sweat from his forehead and falls almost unceremoniously to the ground, ignoring his thirst and need for shade against the harsh rays of the sun.

"Kent."

Blinking his brown eyes, he looks up to meet those of a friend. Hazel in color, he remembers; the other man blinks them once and tries again.

"Kent."

A deep breath, and then his calm voice, "What is it, Sain?"

The other knight grins and sits beside him, joining in the ritual of patting the sweat away from his face. "You can't keep doing this to yourself," he says, pushing his sandy hair out of his eyes with one hand.

"What, exactly, am I doing?"

"Nothing, but Kent… that's the problem."

Kent ignores his sweat-soaked bangs as they fall into his eyes, opting instead to stare right through them at his friend. A sigh escapes his lips, and he shakes his head in a manner that says he has done it many times before. "I fail to understand what you are talking about."

"Don't play dumb with me; I won't fall for it like she will."

Kent's eyes snap around, his auburn hair following a second afterward as his head turns. Eyes wide, he stammers, "W-what?" He finds himself getting angry, but makes a visible attempt to pull himself back together as he tries to amend his confused dialogue, "I-I do not know what you are talking about."

"If you say so…" His companion falls onto his back and watches a cloud as it drifts by lazily. A minute of silence passes, but as expected, Sain breaks it. "She'll be leaving us soon, you know."

"I know." Kent is not fazed by the news. "Lord Hausen passed away last month." His eyes turn towards the light, parched-brown earth. "I wonder what is keeping her here…"

Turning to look at his friend, Sain sighs. "Loyalties, I suspect. To you, to me…to her recently departed grandfather. Perhaps even love is keeping her here."

"Love?" Kent nearly snorts. "Do you assume to know something of it?"

Suddenly, his friend sobers, his good mood vanishing as he sits up and puts a hand on Kent's shoulder. "She won't wait forever."

Sputtering, he pulls back, "I-she-I…"

"A-ha!" Smile back in place, Sain continues, his voice cheerful, "Why do you try to hide such things from me? As your boon companion, I am your confidant!"

After thinking for a moment, the auburn-haired man sighs and hangs his head, seemingly ashamed of himself. "I did not want to believe it myself," he says, looking up only long enough to meet Sain's eyes. "I meant no offense by it."

"But now you do believe it to be so."

"I know it to be so, yes."

"Why not do something about it, then?" Sain's smile falters a bit, but he nods encouragingly. "When she leaves, I am resigning- you know that already- but I would feel terrible for leaving you here alone."

"I will be fine." Kent's eyes show his appreciation. "Please do not worry about me."

"It's been more than a year, Kent. Why haven't you said anything to her?"

He pauses mid-breath, shocked by Sain's question. "I…don't know," he finally manages to say, his eyes darkening with confusion. "I just can't."

"What do you mean, you can't? You've a tongue, haven't you?"

"I cannot say that to her," he answers, ignoring his friend's obvious sarcasm. "It would be wrong."

"You know she doesn't care about things like that, Kent. Stop making up excuses for yourself." Hazel eyes meet brown. "You've finally stopped lying to yourself, so let go and tell her what is on your mind and in your heart."

"That almost sounded poetic."

Sain rolls his eyes. "Kent, if I didn't know better, I would think that we have switched personalities! Just…do what is really right; do what's right for you."

"I…"

"What's the worst that can happen? She can turn you down, but that's it. And she'll be gone at the end of the month, besides."

"But—"

Sain's smile fails him when he realizes what Lyn's refusal would do to his friend. "I've been told no by so many women, I've lost count," he says, trying to cheer Kent up a bit. "You know…it wouldn't be the end of the world."

"That's because you say the same thing to every woman." Kent throws him a withering stare as he threads his fingers through his bangs.

"And you don't say those things to every woman- heck, any woman."

Kent opts for silence, twisting his left hand in the rag he used to wipe his forehead.

"Everyone fears rejection, Kent. And 'rejection' is just a word."

He sighs, "The fear of rejection is a feeling. It is no mere word."

A smile breaks over Sain's face, and, leaning closer to his friend, he says just loud enough for him to hear, "Overcoming that fear is an action. Actions, as they say, speak louder than mere words." Pulling back again, his smile widens further. "If you don't tell her, how will you ever know? What if she feels the same, and is afraid you will reject her?"

"I would never—"

"Of course you wouldn't. But she doesn't know that. How can she if you never tell her?"

"I-I…" After stammering for a moment, Kent closes his mouth.

"Kent, as your older, wiser companion… I suggest that you say something to her before she leaves. After all, you can't let her go out there on the plains all alone, can you? Imagine all the things that could happen to a young lady traveling by herself…"

"Enough, enough!" Kent's face is red, but even Sain isn't sure if it is from anger or embarrassment as he finds himself shoved onto his back. "Don't be so vulgar. I'll tell her."

"And not beg for forgiveness afterward."

"But…"

"I'm serious, Kent. Falling to your knees and stammering apologies and explanations after admitting your feelings means that you have not overcome a thing. You have to get over this rejection stuff. Remember, actions speak louder."

"I can't just walk up there and tell her I love her!"

Sain's expression changes to resemble a guilty child, "Why not?"

Kent, flabbergasted, flails his arms for a moment before putting his hands over his face as he mumbles to himself in agitation.

"Kent."

Ignoring Sain, Kent continues to try and talk some sense into himself.

"Kent."

After a moment, the auburn-haired man looks up. "What do you want now, Sain?"

"If you don't want to be so…sudden, ask her to take a walk with you or something. Just be a gentleman, say what you mean, and don't beg her leave or ask for forgiveness afterward." Grinning, he stands and pats his friend on the back. "You'll do fine."

"Easy for you to say," Kent almost growls.

"Ah, but it is. You see, you do remember the countless letters I sent to Ilia, don't you?" At the other man's nod of acknowledgment, he continues, "Well, when I resign, instead of sending letters there, I'll be going there in person. To stay."

Speechless, Kent chooses to simply stare.

"Forever."

After his sandy-haired companion's words sink in, Kent stands and blinks. "…Congratulations," he says, truly meaning it, but obviously confused about how such a thing came about.

"If I can do it, you can."

Kent realizes that he is agreeing with Sain's words.

"Just don't…say the same thing to more than one lady. For some reason, they don't really like that…"

Kent's forehead finds the palm of his hand in a rather painful manner. "I… I'll try to remember that," he manages to say.

"Good." The sound of a loud clanging reaches their ears, and Sain's smile increases in size until it seems to take up his entire face. "Lunch," he mutters under his breath before turning to look at his friend. "Now is a perfect opportunity. While us lowly knights eat dinner, Lady Lyn usually rides to her favorite spot. Why don't you ask to accompany her there tonight?"

Kent seems surprised at Sain's good suggestion. "I think I will."

"Great!" Sain stops grinning, and puts on his I'm-the-older-and-wiser-of-the-two-of-us look. "Now remember… don't be afraid. Be bold! Be forward! Actions speak louder than words! No begging for forgiveness afterward. No requesting her leave. And whatever you do, don't eat any onions before you go…"

Raising an eyebrow questioningly, Kent says nothing.

"If, by chance, you end up kissing her… women seem to hate the taste of onion in your mouth. It does seem to be a forgivable crime, but it is better to be safe than sorry."

Kent sighs and wishes he had not shown even an ounce of curiosity. "No onions," he agrees, refraining from telling Sain that he hates onions anyway, and that, in fact, he hasn't eaten one for more than ten years.

"Okay. I'm out of here! I can hear that food calling me…"

The clang of the dinner bell stops, but Sain is already gone, leaving Kent alone with his thoughts.

But not for long.

"Kent? What are you doing out here? Shouldn't you be eating?"

Jumping to his feet, he whirls around at the familiar voice, coming face to face with a very familiar smile; one that has, in fact, been on his mind for quite some time. "L-Lady Lyndis!" he says a little too loudly in his confusion. "I…"

Sain's voice echoes in his mind. No apologies.

"I…uh…actually, milady, I was wondering if you would mind some company on your ride to your favorite place."

"Oh?" her smile puts him at ease immediately. "Actually, I was headed to the stables when I saw you sitting here… You're welcome to accompany me if you'd like. We'd best hurry, though, or it will be dark before we get back. Time sometimes runs away with me…" She turns and walks in the direction of the stables, and Kent hurries to catch up, remembering Sain's insistence that he be bolder and more forward in his actions.

"I will bring a lantern," he says, his face flushing in a mix of embarrassment and the heat from the lingering sunlight. "Just in case," he adds hurriedly, afraid that she might think he is insinuating that hewants them to stay out late.

Well, maybe he does.


...xOx...

Author Notes:

Something different…ish. Well, I lie. I can't help but write about Kent as much as possible. And I was struck with inspiration from the quote you saw about rejection. Thus, a 'fic was born. (They grow up so fast!)

Constructive criticism is appreciated, as always, especially on inconsistencies in tenses. I had a hard time making them all match up.

I ended it where I did, because I felt that it was a good place to stop. (And really, I wanted this to include more of Kent and Sain than Lyndis anyway.) Once again, Happy Birthday to my buddy Ljusets Korsriddare! This one is for you.

Thanks for reading everyone! Please review if you have time.