As Long As It Takes
By: Manna


Wherever you go,
Whatever you do,
I will be right here waiting for you.


Have you ever known beyond the shadow of a doubt that someone was made for you and you for them? That's how I feel about Oscar. It might be wrong for me to feel as I do—with her posing as a man and all—but I don't care anymore. I know that she's the right one, the only one, and I'll never settle for anything less.

It's no secret anymore, either. "Oh, André," the other servants say, "Get your head out of your ass!" They tell me that she'll never feel the same way for me that I do for her. But they don't know what I know, they can't see what I see, hear what I hear, sense what I sense.

They know nothing about us.

I've known that she was made for me from the moment that sword landed awkwardly in my arms and I looked up and saw a blonde little kid standing at the top of the stairs. She had looked so confident; she had immediately stolen a piece of my heart.

Oscar's just one of those people that you can't stop loving. I don't even want to stop. She's so much a part of me now that I'm not even sure I exist without her. I think she and I are one, in a way. We complement each other perfectly. We can talk for hours, for days, months, years…and we never run out of things to say, but we can also sit in complete silence and be wholly comfortable. We confide in one another, support, care about, trust in, and love each other.

I don't think Oscar's realized it yet, but I hope that some day she'll see the truth for what it is. I'm hers, and she's mine.

Maybe it sounds childish or egotistic of me, but I know that I'm right.

I can't even look at another woman.

First of all, Oscar gets jealous—though she'll never admit it—and secondly, all I do is compare them to Oscar. Not aloud, mind you. No, somewhere at the back of my mind, I'm thinking that her hair's not blonde, and if it is, it's too dark or light or curly or straight or short or long because it's not exactly like Oscar's.

Other women can't lift swords. They won't talk back to me. They're quiet and far too demure. They only ride sidesaddle so we can't race horses. Their dresses are bulky and aggravatingly annoying. They're either too thin or too big. Their breasts are too big, too obvious.

Several years ago, I came to a conclusion: no other girl was Oscar.

Therefore, none were good enough. None were perfect, no other was meant for me.

No woman in the world has her hair, her nose, her laugh, and her smile, hell, even her temper!

That was when I decided that I would not settle for any other woman on earth.

I hear the sound of her mare snorting as Oscar opens up the stable doors. It's raining outside, and her horse is no doubt eager for some warm, dry shelter and a rubdown.

She smiles slightly when she sees me, and before she can say anything, I gently pry her wet fingers from her horse's reins. I'll take care of Lena, I always do, and Oscar always walks back to the house. But this time she doesn't. She only stands there in the doorway to the stables as I put her horse's tack away. I'm just about to rub the animal down, but after one critical glance at my beloved Oscar, I decide against it.

The horse can wait.

Oscar's face is flushed and she's shivering.

"Oscar, are you sick?" I ask, and she shakes her head.

"I'm fine."

But her voice is slightly raspy and when I get closer, I can tell that she has a fever.

I know why she lies to me: she doesn't want to appear weak in front of me or anyone else. She'll go as long as she can before letting someone else know there's something wrong.

I grab my mantle and her hand. "Let's make a run for it," I say lightly, draping most of the heavy material over the top of her head. With a slight nod, we take off, letting the doors swing closed behind us.

All too soon, we're in the house, and under the better lighting, I can see just how wet and sick she really is.

"How long have you been sick?" I shake out the mantle and give her my best no-nonsense look. It usually doesn't do much good, but I think she knows that I know; there isn't any use in continuing to try to hide it.

She shrugs nonchalantly. "Three or four days."

I'm not surprised; it's just like Oscar to hide anything that someone else might consider a weakness. "You should have said something sooner," I tell her. "What if you had caught pneumonia?"

She's still shivering, but she keeps her gaze level. "I didn't," she says. "And I can still work just fine."

I know better than to argue with her—one rarely gets the chance to win—but sometimes I can't help myself. I'm afraid that if I don't, things will never get better for her, for me, for us.

She doesn't have the same determination, the same stubborn drive that she used to, that she had all those years ago when we were younger and didn't realize all of the problems that had been right in front of us all along. They're taking a toll on her. The light in her eyes isn't bubbling under the surface anymore. She isn't herself.

It takes more and more for me to see that spark, the flame that has been extinguished over and over right before my very eyes. I miss seeing the little blonde spitfire sometimes.

I don't want to see her retire to her room only to drink herself to sleep in complete solitude. I know what's bothering her, and I want to help.

So I get her riled up.

"You're delirious," I insist, swinging around behind her before pushing her toward the stairs. "You can hardly walk straight, I'll bet you've thrown up four times today already, and you're so tired you could fall asleep standing up."

I don't even know if what I'm saying is true, but I know she'll deny everything, true or not.

She half wrestles away from me, and reluctantly, I take my hands off of her. "Stop acting like an idiot, André! I'm not an invalid, I can walk by myself!"

Of course she can. But she really doesn't look so well, and she's completely soaked through. It makes me wonder how long she stood in the rain, but I try not to dwell on it for too long. "You're practically a cripple. Do you want me to carry you to your room?"

I would do that even if she wasn't sick, but I'd never say it to her in a way that would make her think I was serious. I smile widely at her, and she thinks I'm making fun of her, that I'm calling her weak. I'm not.

"André…" she threatens, glaring at me with what I assume to be most of her energy, but her voice wobbles a little at the end, and I watch with mild amusement as she bends forward slightly and covers her mouth as she lets out the most powerful sneeze I've ever seen in my life.

"Are you okay?" I ask it automatically.

"I'm perfectly fine!" she snaps, and, with another sneeze, storms up the stairs in the direction of her rooms.

I trail behind laughing quietly to myself. She's cute when she's furious and there isn't even a real reason behind it. I follow her to her foyer and she turns around and lets out a long sigh when she notices my presence.

"Why do you keep following me around?" she asks irritably. "Are you here to rub in how weak I am or what?"

I don't know why she's so annoyed. A bad day at work, most likely. People think that being in the Royal Guard is easy, but for Oscar—a woman parading around as a man—it's anything but. She deals with a lot of things that would make a normal, sane man quit.

"I never said you were weak, Oscar."

"You're thinking it, then." That little spark in her eyes bursts into flame, and I feel a deep sense of satisfaction roll through my heart.

"Oscar, from the moment you dropped that sword in my arms from the top of the stairs on my first day here, I have never, for even the smallest fraction of an instant, thought that you were weak."

Silence. She stares at me and merely blinks.

"…Except that time I caught you sneaking into the kitchens late at night to find chocolate. You have to admit, you are weak when it comes to that."

Wait for it, wait for it… It's hard to convince myself to be so patient, but it's my nature, and sure enough, it pays off.

She cracks the smallest of smiles.

It disappears far too quickly.

"André, don't you have somewhere else to be?" she asks tiredly.

"No." I take in her appearance from her soaked military jacket to her flushed cheeks to the worn spots on her black boots. "I was thinking that maybe you'd drink with me for a bit."

She presses her lips together tightly, "Why would I do something like that?"

"Because you like to drink before you sleep?" I shrug. "Go get changed for bed and then we can drink a glass together. Just one, mind you."

"Go away, André," she says, but I know she doesn't mean it. She walks into her bedroom and shuts the door behind her.

"Don't forget, Oscar!" I call out. "A glass before you fall asleep!"

A loud sigh is my answer. She's absolutely exhausted, and I know it. But if I leave her alone, she will drink herself to sleep. If I hadn't come to her room, she would already have a glass of wine in her stomach, working on a second. Wine on an empty stomach isn't very healthy… At least, I don't think it is.

I let the time pass by, and after twenty minutes, I know that she's not coming out. I didn't expect her to. Quietly, I open her bedroom door and see her fast asleep on her bed. Only the tips of her toes stick out from under the massive pile of blankets, and I playfully tickle one of her toes—which gets me a kick aimed at my face—before covering them up.

She sighs a little in her sleep and pulls the blankets around herself tighter.

Much better, I think. It's so much better to see her sleeping, to know that she didn't sit up for hours with a full bottle of wine, having glass after glass until she fell into an uneasy slumber.

She's the one God put me on this earth to find. Oscar is the only woman that needs me as much as I need her. I've loved her forever. I would cease to exist in a world without her in it.

Her face is still flushed, and as I suspected, she has a fever. I pull my hand away from her forehead just in case she wakes up. I don't want to get caught, but she doesn't so much as stir, so I quickly allow myself the very guilty pleasure of laying a chaste kiss on her cheek.

I step back and just look at her. At her. At Oscar.

And I think…

I'll wait.

I'll wait as long as it takes, whether it's a day or a year or a lifetime. I'll wait forever because I know that she's the one God made for me.


Whatever it takes,
Or how my heart breaks,
I will be right here waiting for you.


Author Notes:

Song Lyrics are "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx.

The sentence, "They know nothing about us," is from the song "Say It's Possible" by Terra Naomi.

I heard this song for the one-millionth time and this 'fic idea hit me. I knew I had to write it, and so I did over several days at work. (I only just finished it on my computer.)

The way I see it is… André had to have decided somewhere along the line, and rather early at that, that he was going to wait for Oscar to realize that he was there for her, that they were meant to be together. Whether by conscious thought or without even realizing it. Feedback is much appreciated! Thanks for reading!