Chapter Twenty-eight, The Cruelty of Being Just Friends
After their discussion it was hard for Sylphiel to convince Pokota to go back to trying to sleep. Though she had suggested speaking his mind in order to free it can let go and slumber it turned out that talking about the problem just made it worse. Pokota became twice as gloomy longing for affection he was doomed to never have. Sylphiel tried to make him see the bright side of things. Pokota was a bright, kind and pleasant guy who any girl would be happy to date. Sylphiel reminded him that if he was cured then he could go out there and find a girl to be his queen. That really should have been enough except for one thing. Pokota didn't want just any girl, he wanted Amelia. His heart and mind had become fixated on the Sailune princess and no other girl would ever be better to him.
Sylphiel could have fed him positive thoughts and build up his confidence. She could have told him he had a chance and that maybe Amelia would see him as something more in the future. But Sylphiel just couldn't do that to Pokota no matter how many times he asked her. Pokota so desperately wanted to convince himself he had a chance that he was bargaining with Sylphiel for a more favorable answer. The conversation ended up having Sylphiel begging Pokota to stop talking and go to sleep.
Eventually Pokota relented and went back to trying to sleep. Though she had been the one to suggest Pokota speak his mind Sylphiel wished afterwards that she hadn't. Hearing the heartache in Pokota's voice and the parallels of his love life to her own just was too much for Sylphiel. She tried to stay positive and strong but hearing Pokota's desperate feelings made Sylphiel realize that she was far weaker than she thought. It hurt thinking about the one you loved loving someone else and not you.
Being just friends was so cruel. It made promises of a strong bond that never meant more than nice words, polite encouragements and platonic companionship. There would be no tender caresses, whispers of sweet nothings or kisses so passionate that it lit one's soul ablaze with the fires of love.
How could Sylphiel keep her resolve and remain strong? She didn't want to think about Gourry like that anymore. She wanted to push that blond haired swordsman out of her romantic mind and think of other things. Like what it would be like to just think of Gourry as purely a friend. Gourry seemed to be happy with Lina so why couldn't she just be happy with that? Sylphiel almost convinced herself that that would be enough. It was almost working. But then Pokota had ruined that inner peace she was trying achieve.
It made Sylphiel so very tired. All she wanted to do at that moment was sleep. She was almost envious of Pokota; he didn't have to take a watch at all. Of course that was the only bright side to his condition. A hallow comfort for the dying.
Sylphiel didn't need to put out her pocket watch to know that she still had a long ways to go till it was her time to sleep. It was going to be a long night.
Amelia tossed and turned in her bedroll as a horrifying scene played out in her sleep. In her dream Pokota was disappearing right before her eyes and she couldn't do anything about it. He begged her to help him screaming in pain and fear the whole while. Amelia tried oh how she tried to save Pokota but it didn't matter what she did Pokota was rapidly disappearing.
"No! No! Stop! Pokota please come back!" Amelia mumbled in her sleep.
"Amelia! Amelia wake up!" Sylphiel gently shook Amelia's shoulder.
"NOOO! Huh wa?!" Amelia woke with a shot. "What happened?! What's going on?!"
"I'm sorry to wake you Amelia but you were talking in your sleep." Sylphiel apologized. "It sounded like you were having a nightmare."
Amelia let out a sigh and fell back onto her bedroll. She rubbed her forehead while let out a tired groan. "Yes it was a nightmare, a horrible horrible nightmare!"
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"I'd much rather forget it." Amelia moaned. "This isn't first time I've had this dream."
"I'm guessing it's about Pokota."
Amelia nodded. "Yes. I've been having dreams about Pokota disappearing. He's begging me to save him and he's in a lot pain. But anything I do does nothing to help him."
"That sounds like a terrible dream."
"It doesn't get any better when I wake up either. Because it's just a grim reminder that Pokota is fading away and there isn't much I can to help him."
"But you are helping him Amelia. I know he's very thankful to having you here with him." Sylphiel tried to reassure the Sailune princess.
"Tell that to my subconscious brain." Amelia muttered.
"I know it's difficult but try and go back to sleep."
Amelia shook her head. "No there's no way I could go back to sleep now. Why don't I take over on your watch? It's got to be close to my time anyway."
Sylphiel pulled out her pocket watch and frowned. "Amelia you still have more than an hour."
"It's okay Miss Sylphiel I don't mind really. Plus you look really tired." Amelia insisted.
Sylphiel's frown increased as she mulled over Amelia's suggestion. The typical Sylphiel thing to do would be to insist that she was not tired and make Amelia go back to sleep. But that would entail lying to Amelia and Sylphiel wasn't a good liar. "You're sure it's okay?"
"Yes yes! Go get some sleep Miss Sylphiel!"
"Okay, goodnight Amelia."
"Goodnight Miss Sylphiel!" Amelia flashed her friend a big smile as she watched Sylphiel go to sleep. Once Amelia was sure Sylphiel was sleeping Amelia's smile turned to a deep frown. Her dream bothered her more that she let on to Sylphiel. Amelia looked over at her cursed friend wishing she could find some way to heal him herself. It didn't seem right that such a nice and kind person such as Pokota would have to go through such a thing.
While looking at Pokota she starting thinking of all the time she had spent with him. They had already had some crazy adventures fighting evil and powerful beings. There had been laughs and tears with happy moments and bad ones. So many of the recent ones being of the sad variety. They had both been riding an emotional rollercoaster for days (Pokota's being far worse than Amelia's.).
Just thinking about that night day before yesterday made Amelia's mind swim. He had asked her to kiss him and she had. Amelia had never kissed a boy before. She herself had been kissed but never initiated a kiss. It had been such a sad moment but at the same time...
No. Amelia couldn't let herself think about that. She was in love with Zelgadis. Zelgadis was the one that she was supposed to be dreamily thinking about kissing. Not thinking about how tragically romantic a dying boy to asking a girl like her to be his first and last kiss. It was just like those romantic novels...
Again Amelia had to shake that notion from her head. She and Pokota were friends, nothing more. She as in love with Zelgadis not keeping a secret torch lit for the Tarforashian prince in the deep recesses of her heart. And it wasn't like Pokota himself had a secret crush on her either. He was just going through something terrible and wanted some comfort. It's not like he requested the kiss especially because it was her there with him. Amelia assumed that in his right mind Pokota would have never made such a request. Pokota and her were friends and Amelia was sure it wouldn't have mattered what girl it was with him at that moment. He was lamenting on moments that would never be in his life. Pokota had a good reason to be depressed.
So there was no way that Amelia could read anything more into that kiss. It was just a favour between friends. Still that didn't stop Amelia from approaching the sleeping prince to watch him in his slumber. If you asked Amelia why she was doing that she would insist that she was just making sure he was breathing. The man was dying after all so she had every right to be concerned. So she really was justified in getting close enough to Pokota to listen and see if he was breathing. However she wasn't justified in staying there after she confirmed her friend was still alive.
While sleeping Pokota seemed so peaceful. Amelia had gotten used to see the Tarforashian prince with his face contorted in pain or frustration. It was nice to see a relaxed smile tugging at his lips. Seeing him so peaceful really tugged on Amelia's heart. He was still dying yet in his dreams it was like everything was okay. 'If only I could make that so...' Amelia thought sadly her face forming a sad frown.
"A...ma..." Pokota mumbled in his sleep.
Amelia sat upright startled by the sudden noise. With her curiosity peaked Amelia had to lean in real close to hear what he was saying. This was nosy of Amelia but she justified that she needed to figure out if he was having a nightmare. She would have to wake him up in that was the case right? But then again what people smile during nightmares? Busted... Still Amelia had to know.
"Ame... la... Ame... lia... Amelia..." Pokota mumbled some more.
Amelia's face went bright red as she scampered away quickly. 'Pokota is dreaming about me?!'
The smile on Pokota's sleeping face broadened making it even clearer he wasn't having a nightmare.
The first thought that went through Amelia's head at that moment was the kiss. Maybe he hadn't asked her just because she was there at that time. Maybe that kiss meant more than just a favour between friends. Maybe Pokota had been harboring feelings for Amelia this whole time... Maybe the kiss meant something to her as well...
No no, Amelia couldn't have those thoughts. Pokota was her friend and friend only. And she loved Zelgadis. Strong, sturdy and silent Zelgadis... who she hadn't seen in months... Inconsiderate Zelgadis who didn't even say goodbye when he left and hadn't have the decency to even write her a damned letter when she had already sent him five!
Alright maybe there were some hidden issues. Zelgadis wasn't perfect but then again who was? That wasn't any reason to think romantic thoughts about a dying friend. Pokota just needed her help and Amelia liked helping people. That didn't mean she had a crush on him or that he had a crush on her. They were just friends.
And only friends.
Amelia did the only thing she could at that moment to banish these rogue thoughts and that was to get up and pace. It was times like these that she really hated standing watch alone. She desperately wanted to talk to someone to help her mind think about something else but she couldn't. It was just her and silence. The only interruptions came from the occasional crackle from the campfire and steady even breathing of her traveling companions.
Spying a look at her watch proved to Amelia that she had many more hours to go till it was time for everyone to get up. More so since she offered to take some of Sylphiel watch from her.
Gods how she hated nightmares.