a/n: This is for Bijouie, who just cleaned out her account. I was kind of sad, so I wrote something. Hurrah.
literary honor society
we put the greatest classics to shame.
He's in love; at least, that's what Argenta keeps proclaiming to the high heavens. The older, violet-haired woman chastised him on his lack of tact, and his lack of courage. She would drop by the Battle Castle; Argenta would drop a few comments about the foyer before beginning her interrogation process.
"Have you told her yet?"
"Really, Darach, you're such a wimp."
"I'm pretty sure Thorton will get to her before you do if you don't say something."
"Dear heavens, Darach, you're in love. Tell her already!"
It was common knowledge that Argenta's questions doubled as insults. Most of the time, they weren't even questions, but straight out insults.
Darach learned how to parry her stealth insults with a flick of a wrist and a roll of eyes.
"No, I haven't told her yet. I won't be telling her."
"I am not a wimp, I am her Valet."
"Thorton ignores her and treats her dismally."
"…I simply cannot tell her, Argenta. Her parents would throw a fit."
The mere thought of Caitlin's parents finding out about his –it's not love, he swears on the Sinnohian sun- condition would cause uproar. They would faint and lose sleep over the chances of their royal, pureblood daughter being courted by a lowly servant.
The final question Argenta asked was always the one Darach lost sleep over.
"If you don't tell her, Darach, she'll feel like she doesn't have anything to live for. Not in Sinnoh, at least. Do you realize that Shikimi already contacted Lady Caitlin about moving to Isshu?" Argenta would place a hand on Darach's shoulder, smile sympathetically, and turn on her heel, and before click clacking out of the Battle Castle, she would throw a comment into the air:
"The clock is ticking."
Darach woke up in a fright, his pulse racing and his usually combed back hair a complete mess. The young butler looked around, and breathed out a sigh of relief. He was alone in his bed, in his room, in the servants' quarters. It was nothing to be scared about; nothing to worry about. The young man ran a clammy hand through his hair and shook his head in shame. Here he was, a man, tormented by dreams of his charge leaving him.
It would be romantic if it wasn't so pathetic.
Darach crawled out of bed and into the shower, to prepare for the day.
Later, Darach found himself pacing aimlessly –something he never did, because Darach never found the need to pace, because pacing was for nervous twits (at least that was what he had retorted a couple months ago to a nervous Palmer; the blonde was waiting for news on the apparent engagement of his son and his son's best friend; this was a false rumor…) – and Darach suddenly came to a halt.
"No, no…" Darach muttered, his gold eyes flashing in distress, as the Castle Valet broke into a sprint, knocking over stands and chairs, whatever stood in his way, as the purple-haired and dress-wearing figure of Shikimi carefully walked towards the entrance of the Battle Castle. She whistled a cheery tune, her eyes darting to her little black notebook, then to the road ahead.
Darach couldn't let Shikimi in. That would mean, that would mean that…
Lady Caitlin said yes. Lady Caitlin, no, scratch that, his Caitlin, was leaving him.
Instead of answering the door like a good butler would have done, Darach turned a corner and flew up the stairs, constantly changing his path, in order to arrive at the door of his charge, his Lady, his…Caitlin.
He knocked on the door, his gloved fist making a rapping noise. There was a sound from the other side of the door, a jumble of keys and a turn of a doorknob.
The door opened, and Caitlin's glassy blue eyes stared up at Darach in surprise. Her blonde eyebrows formed an arch and she smiled ever so slightly.
It felt like a slap to the face, Darach cringed at the sight of that smile. Why would she smile at a time like this? She was leaving him, she was leaving Sinnoh, and she was leaving…her home, her life.
"Darach!" She greeted, cheerfully, wrapping her arms around the startled Castle Valet, who shook under the girl's grasp.
Darach didn't know what to do, so he awkwardly patted her back and politely unlatched himself from the petite brunette. (The color was turning lighter, and Darach couldn't bear to think that it was turning blonde. It was a change he did not like, because it felt like Caitlin was intentionally separating herself from the girl he grew up with, the girl he took care of, the girl he unintentionally fell in love with.)
"Lady, La-lady Caitlin." The black and gold haired man managed to choke out, and Caitlin tilted her head to the side, that smile never leaving her lips.
"Would you like to take a walk, with me?"
She said those words like a she knew those maybe the last ones she spoke. It was as if she was preparing for a funeral, the funeral of her life as the Lady of the Battle Castle.
The Valet slowly nodded, swallowing down the guilt, his mind already forming a plan. He linked his arm with hers' and they set off to the Castle's gardens, passing by various important landmarks, the bust that Caitlin's father bought for an unspecified amount of money, the vase Darach broke and replaced during his first week as the butler of Caitlin's family, the painting that Caitlin begged her parents to let her buy when she was fourteen years old, and…finally, while walking through the Battle Castle's spacious drawing room, Darach's gold eyes wavered towards the family portrait that hung above the crackling fireplace. The photo was in a gold frame, but none of that matter. The content of the picture, on the other hand, did. Sitting on a black stool was Lady Caitlin, at age thirteen, Darach at her side, a gloved hand on her shoulder, with her parents on the opposite side of their daughter.
The fact that Caitlin's parents considered Darach part of the family made acid rise in his throat, guilt manifested through bile.
Darach led Caitlin to the gardens, where they strolled in silence. They ignored the professionally done sculptures and the bubbling fountains, and continued walking until they stood in the middle of a rose garden, an ivory arch standing above them, rusty bells still ringing in the slight breeze.
"Darach, I would like to tell you something."
The man closed his eyes and wished it was something trivial, nothing that would affect their lives. Anything but that.
The girl took a couple of steps, closing the distance, and looked up at Darach.
"I think I…"
'Don't say it. I'm begging you, my Lady.'
"-I think I love you."
Time stood still, and Darach's fountain of responses seemed to dry out. He was dumbfounded. Completely dumbfounded, he had no idea what to say.
(In actuality, he knew exactly what he needed to say, but he desperately wanted to tell the truth to the girl in front of him that he was also in love with her and that he always was.)
"Oh, my Lady…" 'Caitlin.'
"I am sorry, Lady Caitlin." 'I really am.'
"I do not return these feelings." 'I love you, Caitlin.'
He could see the heartbreak in her eyes. She blinked back tears and furrowed her brow, and looked down. Tears still managed to escape, dropping onto the grass. Rose petals continued to fall.
"Oh." She let out a whisper and gave Darach a broken smile, the last thing he ever saw of Caitlin. She ran off, her pink heels kicking up dirt, as she made her way to the entrance of the Battle Castle, disappearing into the winter air.
Darach fell to his knees, his sobs wracking his entire body. He needed to do this; he needed to let Caitlin go. She was never going to move on in life if she stayed. He was a liability.
If he did the right thing, why did he feel like the scum of the earth?
"Caitlin, I love you." He said quietly, to himself, shaking his head, pulling at his hair, and as soon as the vehicle that belonged to Shikimi took Caitlin away, he let out a guttural scream.
Darach knows what heartbreak is. He just wished he didn't have to put Caitlin through the same thing.
(After the end, we all know where Caitlin went, because our wayward princess met another boy. Darach blamed himself for every misfortune that occurred in the once Lady of the Battle Castle's life. If only he knew.)