Author's ALL IMPORTANT notes : This Ragnarok fic was written by a person who has only read four volumes of the manwah by Lee Myung-Jin and has only played the game three times (was killed all three times). So, information may be wonky and incorrect and horribly disfigured-- BUT!! As a precaution (and salvation, I guess), this fic is a certified AU. Definitely.
List of Changes (very important! please read)
1) I take credit for Baldr's appearance here, as a son of Odin the most powerful ruler on Gaia. No, he's not a God. He's blonde and has golden eyes and looks hot, but he's not a God.
2) Chaos and Baldr are brothers. No, Chaos is not a God either. Yes, he still looks the same.
3) THERE ARE NO GODS OR GODDESSES IN THIS FIC. The Heaven's Floor War referred to here was a war that took many casualties, the number of deaths thought fit to be stacked up together and reach 'Heaven's Floor'. This war is made up by my bleeding brain.
4) Sara and Iris are still sisters, only they're properly related this time. Like, Lord Irine actually has only one wife.
5) Sara does not want to kill her sister. She likes her well enough, but they're sisters so sibling wars take place on a relatively small scale.
6) Skurai is an assassin. No, he's not a bloodthirsty persecutor. He's just bi-sexual and enjoys being a lot of a flirt. Don't blame me if this is the vibe I got from Lee Myung-Jin's drawings. The lipstick really did me in, though. XD
7) Color scheme is with respect to the manwah printed here in my country. Don't hit me if I accidentally made a mistake. Oh, and Skurai's features (in my opinion) are as follows: Ebony black hair (same length) and blood red eyes. And yes, black lipstick. And I forgot whether or not Sara had green eyes.
8) Lidia-what'shername will not be appearing here. Obviously, since this is LoFen of my creation.
DISCLAIMERS: I do not own the characters presented in this work of fiction. They belong to Lee Myung-Jin and the Dive to Dream Sea Studio. PS, I do not claim to own Loki, even though I would like to. Heck, this fic doesn't even fully belong to me! This is for my Bel, my First Master, my MaShu Muse, my Mountain Climbing partner. Yeah, long due. THIS IS FOR THE DEBT-MEME, YA HEAR?!
...as for you readers, enjoy. :D
(by Kuroi Chou)
I hoped that I would be the one
Deep in my heart I hoped
But I said nothing
Did too little
I only watched
As you made
Sometimes I wondered
Did I truly love you?
I hoped you would love me
I knew you cared
I cherished these feelings
That you and I shared
I held onto them
These dandelion crowns
They were not love
But they were close enough
But the years flew by
Saw you laugh and cry
Did my best for you
Mine were never as good as yours
I realized one day
They weren't the same
Close enough couldn't cut it
Too late did I notice
It belonged to someone else
And all I would have
I would always be your always
But never your love
And all I would have
To remember you by
And the past I continue
To hold onto
A dandelion crown
A little girl's laugh
A little boy's words
And a broken heart in my pocket
Still it beats
With specks of green and gold
We live a life of going to do
We die with nothing done.
She was, and always had been, beautiful.
White flowing silk fitted her body perfectly, showing the curves he knew she developed naturally. Her hair, usually done up in a simple ponytail or in two pleats on her back, was hanging loose around her face, a halo of lilac and violet with flowers braided in through the waist long locks. Her ballerina's feet, he knows this because of the many times he'd had to tie up her laces when she couldn't do it by herself, in white slippers that made naught a sound on the marble floor of the temple.
He fights the lump threatening to rise in his throat; he would be mortified if she saw him. He had to keep calm, keep his usual mask on his face, in place, a shield even from her.
He was happy for her, he was. She found the love of her life, got engaged to him after some years of courting and now they were going to be married. And she was pregnant.
He knew even before Baldr did, because he was there when she refused to eat her breakfast in favor of retching all over the rose bushes. To think he wanted to be those bushes, when he was a child, if only to have her undying attention. He'd called for the doctor, the healer, and then when Iris came out of her room with a grin big enough to cause him a headache, he instinctively knew what was to come.
"Fenris is pregnant!"
The girl had sounded so happy, so very happy, that it was all he could do to act numb and shocked and uncomprehending like a normal male would. Inside though, he was already thinking about many things.
How would Baldr react to this? The conception of his first child, the heir to the throne of Odin, their son. He'd be one lucky bastard, for sure.
And what would Chaos say? Never mind that the Lord Brat had foregone the title to his brother, now he had coherent reason to drag him off to get drunk, seeing as how depressed and withdrawn he would be.
And what of Iris? Iris, who was already showing signs of being a coddler, and was probably already thinking of the things she would buy her new niece or nephew or nieces and nephews. Trust the cleric to be the optimist.
Sara would take it better, he thought. She would smile yes, but a smile that wouldn't make his brain ache. She'd be happy for Fenris and Baldr, engage the father-to-be in a drinking contest, get happily pissed when he refuses and then join forces with Chaos in the act of making him get inebriated.
And then he heard her asking if he was alright, whilst nudging him discreetly towards the door. After getting no reaction, Iris had finally pushed him inside, telling him to guard the 'pregnant lady' (as if she hadn't been like this with Chaos' daughter-- Mauura looked after her parents well) while she sent for the father.
"Yes, yes I am..."
The glow on her face should have ticked him off. It didn't. It made him sickly fuzzy inside.
He was back to his normal self when Baldr arrived, all half-armored and panting, apparently uncaring about the state of the relay horses he used as he knelt beside his to-be wife's bed and placed his hand in wonder on the smooth skin of her belly.
She'd laughed at his child like curiosity, and he wishes that was him-- all awe and astonishment and anticipation.
He's the one who's standing beside the pillar closest to the altar, hiding from anyone who knows him and everyone who doesn't. No one needed to see the Queen's (though he'd always be the Princess') Royal Guard sulking in the shadows, most importantly not the queen herself.
Three breaths ago, he was sure he'd lost his sanity when he saw the love in those wonderful rose-colored eyes, even if they were simply staring at nothing of any importance whatsoever. Now though, he was sure he'd regained a little bit of it.
"What are you doing? You're scaring off the bridesmaids, come."
He's not too cold not to feel the genuine concern and friendliness in that hand, in that warm hand that probably comforted her better than he could, but neither was he so hypocritical that he would pretend to be sorry.
"As long as they don't come near me, they have nothing to fear."
Baldr was dragging him to the long table, laden with food and drinks and flowers, his golden eyes determined and bright enough to possibly melt his shield, but there was only one person who could do that. "Still as cold as ever. I hope you don't act like that towards your godchildren, I'll smack you up the head if you try to school them in the ways being broody before they're five."
And there went the remaining dregs of his sanity. His what??
Of course he heard him, godchildren he said. He'd be tasked to look after them, his own will be damned. He was going to be saddled with the task of taking care of mini-Fenris&Baldr progeny while their parents went off to Odin-knows-where. He'd be the one to say, at either of the little tykes' weddings, something so profoundly glorifying towards the marriage, and their parents'-- numbly, he entertained the thought that Baldr was trying to get him to go crazy.
And that he was doing it with no conscious thought whatsoever.
"Loki? Is something wrong?"
"No, nothing's wrong. Excuse me, Lord Baldr, I think I just saw Skurai walking in."
But you wouldn't know. You're with the love and the light of your life, you are complete and at rest with the world.
And the scary thing is... I can't even hate you.
"Ah, if it isn't the Master Assassin. Greeting, Loki."
Skurai sipped the wine in his glass delicately, obviously trying to draw the ire of the blue haired guard, as was his habit, but if he'd but peeked into Loki's head, he would have been grandly disappointed. All the other man's ire was currently directed to himself, Skurai and the world be damned.
"Greeting. Please make sure you don't get more than half of the ladies here pregnant, and no, there are no bachelors here who would satisfy your appetite. Chaos is still married to Iris, and I'm sure Sara will be arriving shortly, so, if you please, try to keep the alcohol at a minimum."
A well rehearsed speech, the ebony haired man thought, his blood red eyes sliding over Loki's face-- and he noted with disdain that it looked more drawn and tired than he ever saw it, even through the Heaven's Floor War. Not good.
"Speak for yourself Assassin. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were only holding out till I got here so you could blame the great amounts of alcohol that you would discretely consume on me. You look terrible, Loki. You did a great job of hiding it, though."
Green eyes went lidded, and Skurai refrained from finishing off his wine, opting instead to hold it in front of the other man. Now that the shadows of the pillar and Baldr's glowing presence were gone, one could easily spot the way Loki's shoulders slumped and the way his pale face seemed a shade lighter, almost ashen-looking, and -most notably- the way the corners of his mouth tilted downward, in an expression unbeknownst to the former assassin.
Loki grabbed the glass and downed its contents, handing it back to the black-clad man afterwards. "Thank you..." he mumbled in a low voice, not one of shyness, but one of weariness, Skurai noted.
"You pine for her still."
"--get happily and blissfully drunk. Sara and Chaos have tried, both failed."
"Obviously they forgot to inform me of their plans."
"I still say you'd fail."
"I made you drink a glass."
"It was half, that didn't count."
"Don't do anything stupid then."
"Falling for her was not stupid."
"It was. You know it was."
Looking up with his emerald green eyes, dulled by the heaviness in his heart, the former assassin regarded the man before him with what he hope was a level glare.
"We were raised under the same creed. You should know what it's like to question it."
Blood red eyes met his glare head on, and then--
"Greeting, Queen Fenris. And congratulations on the pregnancy."
He stiffens and the changes that would have plain for all to see disappear under his mask, well-worn and well-used as it was, and he faces the Queen, his Princess, the only woman he would admit to loving, Fenris Fenrir.
"Greeting, Skurai. Loki, you weren't scolding him again, were you? Why, I've barely heard any commotion."
Her eyes twinkle and he is like an obedient puppy, Skurai smirks in an ironic sort of way that is lost on the woman and nods his head chidingly, pouting as he did so.
"True! Loki here is being too uptight, Highness. Surely you wouldn't disagree to letting him off for an afternoon, so Sara and Chaos and I--"
"Can get me horribly inebriated? No, thank you. The Queen needs extra protection today, what with ceremony and her child. Thank you for the offer, Skurai, but I couldn't." his eyes generate a piercing stare towards his brother-assassin, who does not flinch, though the corner of his mouth twitched for a brief half-second before settling into the half-smirk, half-smile he was famous for.
"But of course. Well, Highness, I'm off to officially cause trouble and mayhem now. Fare 'ee well."
Skurai bows and sweeps off, leaving the lilac-haired bride with her silent guard.
"I was looking for you." she says, and Loki thinks of her pouting as she did so. He does not want to look at her, not at all.
"I apologize. I saw Skurai come in, and I was standing guard before that. I didn't mean to elude you." he wants to be sincere, and honest and worthy of her smiles-- but in the end, he was only second best.
Fenris Fenrir smiles and holds out her hand, "It's alright, Loki. Come, I want to take a walk in the garden."
And he takes her hand in the crook of his elbow, like a gentleman would, like her husband would, and he leads her out of the temple and into the sunlight pouring over the garden. Exactly as he always did.
Two children of thirteen and twelve summers respectively, run through the melrose bushes and the dandelion patches and laugh the laughter of those as innocent as they were.
The one with moon blue hair and sharp, emerald green eyes stops with his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. His cheeks are flushed and he smiles so easily, as if the dagger hanging by his waist weighed nothing to him. He straightens up and shakes his head.
"Princess, you shouldn't have done that..."
He chides, but there is an indulgence in his tone. A care.
She with lilac hair braided into two pleats that bounced on her back and the bright rose colored eyes that shone with mischief and barely concealed laughter, she spoke from the patches of gold and green,
"Why, I was only trying to help the poor tutor! He had so many books to carry..."
"Dropping them into the well is not a good solution."
"Then why did you help me then?"
Their questions are childish and innocent, but his answer is anything but.
"Because you're my Princess."
A beat, as she plucks a few dandelions from the earth and holds them to her nose, breathing in their scent.
A beat, as he watches her.
"Then, come and lead me properly into the garden. If you insist on being the Princess' Knight."
She stands up and dusts her skirt, looking to him and smiling. The dandelions are held loosely in her small right hand.
"As you wish."
He walks towards her, and stops when he is only a foot away. He bows, low and deep and meaning it, and offers his elbow. She curtsy's and takes the offer, and they walk further into the garden, further into the light.
He though then, this was how they always would.
She crouches carefully in the midst of gold and green and he watches her attentively, fighting back the urge to smile and murmur something profoundly nostalgic.
Unfortunately, she does these things herself.
With a smile, Fenris says, "You lead me properly this time."
"I always do."
Their childhood is a stranger to him now. He doesn't want to remember too much, for fear that he would do something unthinkable. Something for his sake. He watches as she plucks dandelions (could they perhaps be the same ones at that time?) and gathers them in her lap of shimmering white gauze and silk.
"You didn't, once. When we threw the tutor's books into the well." she looks up at him, the smile on her face turning fonder. "You remember, don't you?"
I'll remember anything you tell me to.
"I do. You said something along the lines of being of help to the poor man. Which you weren't, by the way." the barest hint of a smile touches his lips, but the rest of him is poised as a soldier's would be. As a Guard's would be.
Smugly, the Queen (Princess) replied, "Oh, fuss bucket. It was fun. I remember you used to laugh more, back then." her eyes turn to the dandelions on her lap, and she picks up a couple and begins to weave them together. Her fingers are slow and meticulous, but beautiful nonetheless.
He remembers when they were in his hands as they walked down a country path, on his forehead feeling for a fever, on his cheek as a display of affection.
He remembers they wouldn't be there anymore.
He says nothing and continues to watch her. Even with her obvious pregnancy, she was still a sight to behold. She was six months in now, he knows. It took that long because Baldr wanted nothing to distract him from his child and wife, so he attempted to end the battles in the North as quickly as he could. He succeeded.
She's making a crown, he realizes. A dandelion crown. It would look beautiful on her.
"Do you remember, when you went away to train with Father in the Northern Mountains, the day before you left?" her voice is quiet and careful, as her fingers were. He can't look away.
"Yes. You were begging him to let you come." he remembers. He was of age, a fifteen year old boy, and he'd already decided what he wanted be. She was fourteen, a Princess who had no Knight.
"If my memory serves me right, I wasn't begging, I was demanding." she puts a petal to her lips and sighs. "I didn't want you to be gone."
Loki knows that she only thinks of him as her friend, her childhood, her always, her Knight, her Guard. He knows. But that doesn't stop him from feeling the butterflies in his stomach when he hears those words. His heart does a funny flip-flop in his chest and all he can think of us how much he wants to stab it so that it would stop.
She continues, as if not noticing his obvious reaction.
"You were going to go and train to become my Knight, even though you were an assassin. Father told me so in one of his letters. He said you were willing to be punished for your actions, if it meant that you could protect me."
His emerald eyes are far away, remembering a time when he could say those words without a shadow of doubt that they were right. He finds that doing so brought most of the pain he'd been ignoring to the forefront of his mind.
He finds further that he didn't care much, not now, not when she was talking to him.
"I'd never wondered why. I'd always just accepted that you were there, and that you were never going to leave me. That you would always be by my side, that you would always protect me, no matter what. You came so early in my life, that I can't really recall a time when you weren't there, just behind me, my green-eyed shadow."
She smiles at this, and runs a long finger over a leaf on her lap, a leaf that was close to the shade of his eyes. She could find him everywhere, if she wanted to.
He was in the sky above her head when she woke up, wide and untamed and greeting her with sunshine (his brand of which was never rare in those days). He was in the flowers he'd give her before he went off with Sara and Skurai to train, in the small and delicate petals of the purple flower whose name she couldn't quite place but loved all the same. He was there in the sunset and the moon-rise, silent and fierce and cold and beautiful.
"Isn't it strange that... even now... I can't imagine life without you?"
Loki wants to go back now. Maybe getting drunk with Sara and Skurai and Chaos (scratch Chaos) wasn't such a bad idea after all. Maybe getting drunk would help him forget the sickening feeling of hope bubbling in the pits of his stomach, something he couldn't quite ignore because maybe just maybe he would hear her say something he'd wanted to hear for most of his life from her.
He didn't want to hope. But she was making it so easy to...
"Loki, come here."
She looks at him as she gathers her skirt and pats the grass beside her. The dandelion crown is finished, he notes. He nods and takes a step, and another and another until he can sit where she wanted him to. But he doesn't speak.
"I'm happy... that you stayed with me, until now. I used to think that one day you would just up and leave, saying that you were tired of being a Princess' boy. But you didn't, you never did. I'm glad. I've always wanted to know why you never did." here her rosy gaze pins him, he is caught unaware. She doesn't waver, especially since he can see this is something she needs. Wants. Wishes for.
He wants to say something else.
"Because you are my Princess."
He wants to.
She frowns and shakes her head, and her hand is suddenly on top of his, and suddenly he knows he just can't lie anymore. Not to her, not to anyone who would try to question him then and there, and possibly the rest of the day.
"Not that. I know that. You've told me the same answer for years now, I want the truth. I'm not your Princess anymore, I know you know that. So I want to know... Why did you never leave me?" her will is set, she is determined and he is losing to the butterflies in his stomach, the buzzing in his brain, the loud beating of his heart. He is losing to a pair of roses.
His mouth is dry and has the same texture as sandpaper. His throat is in danger of closing up for good. His heart is going to explode from its continuous pumping, a fast and furious rate. His ears can pick up nothing but the sound of his heart, Fenris' voice and an odd, inexplicable buzz.
(conscious thought melting out of your brain)
He wants to tell her, but like a puling boy he is afraid to open his mouth, afraid of what will come out if he does. When he does.
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
"...I never want to..."
I love you
"...see you unhappy..."
I love you
I love you
I love you, Fenris, can't you see?
I love you
"Because you're the only real friend I have."
Because I love you enough to want your happiness. For eternity. Even if it's not with me, even if I'm not the main picture. For always, your happiness has been my top priority.
Because I love you enough to break.
She smiles and squeezes his hand, and looks so happy that he wants to be inebriated all over again. Being that way, he wouldn't mind yelling bloody murder to the heavens about how unfair life could be.
Loki wishes for the ground to swallow him whole. He wishes for Skurai to come and drag him off to Odin-knows-where. He wishes for Iris and Chaos to come and chatter to them about things he couldn't quite keep up with. Most of all, he wishes for Baldr to come and fetch his wife, his Queen, his bride, and smile at him with all the love in the world, just because he can't help it.
"And I'm glad, too. Promise you'll stay by my side? By our side?" she takes his hand and puts it on top of her stomach, looking at him expectantly and he can feel the life inside it. Not its heart beat, not its kicks, but that intangible hum of life under her skin under the palm of his pale, made-for-killing hand.
Could he say no to her?
It would hurt him, hurt him in a way that a million poisons never could. It would hurt him, but could he do anything else? Without his heart, he'd be the perfect killing machine, like he was for a short period of time in his childhood. It would hurt him, but he would bear with it, for her sake. For the sake of the little Knight inside him, the one who swore upon pain of death,
"I hereby pledge my unending loyalty and honor to Princess Fenris Fenrir, to act as her Knight, her Protector, her Guardian. Should she ever find herself in need of assistance, she need only call my name and I will be there. I will live for her sake, die for her sake and for as long as I stand here, for as long as she stands here, I will hold my sword and my heart high in her honor, for her alone."
It was bound to break his heart, but wasn't it already broken? Kept in a little pocket along with his smiles and his laughter.
She smiles, such a beautiful, loving smile, and she holds the dandelion crown to her chest.
"Will you let me?"
Could he afford not to?
Instead of answering, he bows his head in a gesture of complete and utter surrender. He feels the petals and the leaves and the smooth stems settle on his head, could smell their fragrance as some petals fell off, as the wind carried their scent away.
A dandelion crown.
He takes a deep breath and stands up, dusting off the earth and the leaves, and looks at the woman sitting below him. Her eyes are soft with too much happiness, he supposes. This was why he could never say no.
He almost holds out his hand, but he stops. Instead, he bows, low and deep and meaning it, and offers his elbow. A smile escapes the pocket, and he doesn't know why it did in the first place. He hears her chuckle, a tinkling sound which makes him think of brooks and clear waters.
She takes the offer and rises on her ballerina feet, and she links her arm with his. She holds her skirt with one hand and curtsy's and they walk.
He doesn't mind the looks he would receive, the chuckles and the odd stares.
As the Princess' Knight, he only cared about one thing.
(maybe he cared about the crown, too, but that was beside the point)
After the wedding and as he stared at the starry night sky, Sara and Skurai on either side of him and all three of them holding drinks and teetering and half-collapsing with giggles and laughter, he noticed that the dandelion crown was in his pocket. Crushed and bended, petals and leaves gone, the scent too faint to pick up while he was drunk.
He can't wish for anything.
Everything he could have was in his pocket.
Amidst gold and green specks.
I love you, still love you, is that okay?
Author's notes: finished Saturday August 9 2008, 10.25pm. Spell-checked and author-checked 10.34pm. Whew! Finally! That's one thing off the Debt MeMe. I'm quite unsatisfied. I'll make another one. There's another poem from Kuroi Chou, regarding roses. Anyone want another LoFen from yours truly?
Oh, I almost forgot. Bel, you're also my Ragna-muse. Crap. Ah, c'est la vie. Hope you liked this.
If you do, please review.