Scenario 29 ''She Wants to Be Your Knightmaster''

Raoul had shattered her world with that news. Her dreams were decimated with it, though he tried to do his best to prevent it. And now... How could she face Neal with such news? How could she face him after he was now going to get what she had dreamed of her entire life? And yet, she was his best friend. She owed it to him to at least tell him something.

But... wouldn't he find it out soon enough? Why would she reopen a raw wound, cracking open her pain again like a nut, ripping out the seams that she had hastily stitched?

Yes, he would, she decided. Yet she nonetheless to tell him, because he would expect to hear it from her.

She knocked on his door, her heart thumping in her chest like a hammer. As she stood there waiting for him, she hesitated.

Should she just turn back now and forget about it? No. She had to tell him. He deserved to hear it from her, not from anyone else.

As he opened the door, Kel felt her heart fall from her throat to the floor. How could she tell him the news that she herself could barely come to terms with? Still she wiped her face clean of emotion as if the emotions running rampant through her were chalk on a chalkboard.

Neal was smiling as he greeted her, but the smile vanished as he saw her face. ''Kel?'' he asked. ''What's wrong?''

The Yamanis had long ago taught her how to veil her disappointment with a cloak over her face. She was trying to put that veil over him; that was how he knew instantly that something was wrong.

As Kel gazed into his emerald eyes, she felt her knees buckle. She had two friendship-shattering truths that were a few words away, though she would only reveal one to him then.

She went in, her legs feeling like quicksand.

''I have to tell you something,'' she said, feeling as if she had been punched in the stomach.

''What?''

She said nothing. Like a lake, she told herself. Like a lake.

''C'mon, Kel,'' he said. ''It can't be that bad, can it?''

Like a lake, she told herself. Like a lake. If she spoke, he might hear the pain in her voice, cracking like egg. She took a deep breath again, trying to calm the nerves that were on fire.

The Lioness may said nothing to her before, may have nothing for her before but she had at least thought... No, she told herself as she caught herself wondering why. No. It is not logical for you to be her squire.

She tried to tell herself that again, tried to make herself understand. Yet she realized that it wasn't that she didn't understand because she did. It was just that no amount of understanding could take away the acrid taste of disappointment that coated her mouth. No amount of understanding could take away the feeling of being rejected again by the woman she had looked up to all of her life, no matter the reason for why she was rejected in the first place.

''Tell me,'' he said, his face clouding with worry.

''You're right,'' she said, speaking in the blank voice she had been raised to use. ''It really is not that big of a deal.''

''Yeah, and the sun doesn't shine,'' Neal said.

Kel looked away, feeling the onslaught of emotions attack her like wild dogs.

''If it's not a big deal then tell me what it is,'' he said.

I shouldn't have came here, Kel thought. I should have let him find out on his own.

I'm here, she told herself. I have to tell him.

She took a deep breath. There was no reason to try to get around it; the facts were what they were.

''She wants to be your knightmaster,'' Kel said finally.

Neal's eyes grew as wide as dining hall plates. ''No,'' he said finally, stunned as if something had struck him in the forehead. ''Why? How do you know?''

''Raoul told me,'' Kel said simply. ''He said it would be better for both of us this way.''

''But Kel,'' Neal said, ''I can't take this. It's been your dream since...''

Kel shrugged. ''It doesn't matter much, does it? We have to do this. It's better for us this way.''

''Kel,'' Neal said, reaching toward her. ''Kel, I'm sorry.''

Oh gods, why was it that even now she still wanted to... No. Not another distraction, not another thing to be heartbroken over.

She wanted to weep in his arms. Instead, she pulled away from him making a special effort to keep her face clear.

''There has to be another way,'' he said, shaking his head. ''There has to be.''

''Raoul's right,'' she said. ''They'll get suspicious.''

''It doesn't matter.''

She sighed a gale of wind. ''It does matter, and we both know it.''

''It's been your dream all your life.''

''My dream is to be a knight,'' she said, her face momentarily slipping off its mask to reveal Kel's famous determination. ''I'll do whatever it takes to get there.''

Neal said nothing then, studying Kel for a moment. He bristled as Kel's determined face morphed once more into a Yamani mask.

''I'm fine,'' Kel said.

Neal said nothing, deciding to say no more. She would only deny it, he knew. She would never admit to any pain that it may have caused her.

Neal couldn't refuse it; she wouldn't let him. She would silently accept it like the stoic soldier she was, and there was nothing that he could do that would make her do otherwise.

There was nothing else to say to her. No words would change their predicament; they would both have to accept it as it was. It was for their own good after all so maybe they would both be happy about it in the end...

''I have to go,'' she said.

He nodded. There were no other words he could say to her, no words that would do anything but fill empty air. He wished that he could tell her that he didn't want this, that he would do anything to change it, but she would only tell him how ridiculous she was. She would tell him that she was fine, whether or not she really was.

She left then, the sound of the door's closing sounding emptily like a cry across a canyon. He

He sighed, feeling as if the world had been thrust at his shoulders. Why did Kel have to work so hard for what she wanted, when she was worthier than so many others? Why couldn't Kel get her wish just this once?

She would still get her dream though. She would just have to do it in a way other than what she had planned.

I have to thank Rutu for giving me this idea. Otherwise I never would have posted this. I know it took me a while to write this but I wrote this between the two other original works I had been writing. If anyone else has an idea, please PM me and I would be glad to write it! Thank you for reading and please review.