Disclaimer: It's a fluff piece. I loves me the fluff and it keeps my beta happy. She is quite the amazing help to my stories, she is. This is also for me, too. I love AxE and I feel the need to counter the massive, massive displays of IxE and sometimes even TresxEsther. So yeah, however improbable the following may be, it's still happening. Trinity Blood is not owned by me.
By: James Austin Valiant
"Your Majesty? Are you ready yet?"
Virgil Walsh's soothing voice brought the Queen a solace of sorts. She had been very busy the past few days; despite the multitude of people at her disposal, ready to serve her every wish, a royal Albion wedding was still a grand undertaking. Even now, as she poked and shuffled the layer upon layer of the massive wedding dress she was wearing. She felt a strange combination of regality and suffocation in these garments, but Esther also knew that in just about an hour, she would be marrying the man she loved.
"Yes, Virgil, I'll be a perfect bride in few more minutes…" She trained off, reaching to scratch under the itchy collar of the gown.
"You are already looking as radiant as the morning sun; your fiancé is a very lucky man." the Methuselah bowed deeply, and he turned and left.
"Indeed, he is," Esther caught the reflection of her grin in the floor length mirror in front of her. No matter how many yards of silk had been used to create her gown, or how many pearls her tiara was studded with, or how many silver threads were sewn into both pieces, it was the sheer happiness she felt that truly accentuated her beauty to an unparalleled degree. The people of Albion were rejoicing - finally, their Queen of Hope would be married. Deep down, Esther rejoiced, too. She had waited so long for this day…
Hmmm...something's not quite right...Her mind trailed back to an old superstition she had heard, growing up with Bishop Laura at St. Matthias. She remembered overhearing it as the Bishop spoke to a soon to be bride. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Esther had managed to look up the ancient saying and found it intriguing.
"Something old to connect me to my family and the past," Esther thought of the kindness of the Royal Family, and picked up a brooch that had belonged to Brigid, the Queen who reigned before her. Even though they had never met, Esther felt her grandmother would have been proud of her reign.
"Something new for the optimism I approach the married life ahead of me with," The Queen picked up a small hairbrush, something she had bought on a whim the day before. It had plastic tines and a cheap, rubber like handle. Esther giggled; it was the type of comb she had always used as a girl, and having one brought back warm memories. She tucked it into one of the massive folds around her waist.
"Something borrowed…." She paused, biting her lip
"Something blue to represent my sanctity as a wife," Esther didn't have to think twice about the object that would be. Her old novice wimple, one that had served her well through her time in Istavan and the Vatican, would do just nicely. She placed it on her head, tucking it neatly into her red tresses. Her reflection was enough to bring tears to her eyes; those days in Istavan seemed like so long ago, and truthfully, they were. But they were mostly happy memories, and they carried onto her early days at the Vatican, before she had taken her final vows. She had learned the ins and outs of the Church wearing this wimple, and its emotional weight was considerable.
"Something borrowed…" Esther considered the last item she needed to silence the old superstition. The borrowed piece was supposed to come from a loved one, as it was to stand for the good fortune to carry over to the new bride. The Queen strode to her dresser, and opened the top drawer.
She retrieved the crucifix, cradling it like she would a newborn infant. It was sharp on some ends, rounded off on others. Esther still remembered the day she had been entrusted with this crucifix, the day that had also marked her coronation.
It was chilly that night. Esther had snuck away from the lavishness of her post coronation celebration, feeling incredibly uncomfortable around the drunken members of elite society. How she longed to be back at the Vatican, listening to Father Nightroad whine as received his weekly pay, or taking orders from Cardinal Sforza...being the Queen of Albion was a responsibility she would fulfill, but with a heavy heart.
The simple declaration caused Esther to turn abruptly and come face to chest with Abel Nightroad. She had seen him almost die, only to be risen back to life. How she had wanted so much to see him, to hug him and to know he was all right. The new Queen looked up to his eyes and wished she could do that right this very moment. But a newfound sense of formality stopped her from being so rash.
"Father Nightroad. What are you doing here?"
"I came to pay my respects to the new Queen of Albion." He smiled and took her hand, kissing it softly.
"Thank you, Father. Won't you come and join the party?" She nodded towards the door back to the grand ballroom, where she could already see the Earl of Beaconsfield causing trouble with Lord William Regal.
"I'm afraid I can't, Miss Esther." He paused. "Excuse me, I mean, Your Majest-"
The Queen pressed a finger to his lips. "I am always Esther to you. Please join me for tea tomorrow. I would be delighted to have you as my guest."
"I'm afraid I can't, Esther," Abel repeated, his gaze focused on the ground, "I have to take a leave of absence for a bit."
"Where are you going?" Esther clenched her teeth. She never liked when he did this, and usually when he did, she could follow close behind. Now, that would be impossible.
"I have to find my brother." The priest's voice was soft but forceful. "I have to end Contra Mundi and destroy Rosenkreuz Orden. I have to kill Cain."
Each goal had been named succinctly; she understood exactly what he had to do, and why he most likely wished to do it alone. But Esther couldn't help but worry; how could he do this? She couldn't be by his side now, like she wanted, and she knew he wanted. She was dear to him, so much so, and she longed to able to bribe him to stay, to let Seth or someone else deal with killing Cain. He'd never concede; the continued existence of Contra Mundi was his burden to bear, and his suffocating inferno to extinguish.
"Father Nightroad, I need to tell you something. I need to tell you that I l-"
"No, don't say that," Abel cut her off purposely. "Don't say that because it's too big. It's not wrong, but not now. Not like this. I promise, someday, I'll come back to you. I will make it right again. You can tell me everything you want to tell me, Esther, just...not right now."
"How do I know I'll ever see you again?" The Queen pleaded.
Father Nightroad undid a chain that hung loosely on his neck, gathering in neatly in a small coil. He lifted the crucifix that usually hung at his neck, and relinquished it to the former nun standing in front of him. She gaped at him, a feeling of shock conquering her entire form.
"This cross belonged to someone very dear to me, and now, I am in turn," He took her cheek in his palm softly, "giving it to someone very dear to me. I will be back for this, Esther. I will return to you."
The Queen once again felt warmth from the old memory. She unclasped the chain and placed the cross around her neck. She had never worn it before, and it felt odd to be sporting one of Father Nightroad's trademark accessories. It was no matter to her now, however; soon, Esther Blanchett would be happily married, to the man she had waited her entire life for. If he wanted his cross back, then he could ask for it.
Perhaps, the newly married Esther Blanchett Nightroad, Queen of Albion would grant him that much. Or perhaps not. He had made her wait an awful long time. Placing her veil on her head, over the blue wimple, Esther made some slight adjustments and sighed longingly. It was finally time.