Never a Secret Kept
Love was eternal. Such an obvious thing was, in Geoffrey's experience, impossible to refute. Not only did ballads speak of it, but playwrights scripted it, words in leather-bound tomes spoke of it, and many had even lived it.
Perhaps not everyone could love so fully, so completely, as to consider it something eternal, as eternity itself was long and deep and endless, like the bottom of the sea or the expanse of the night sky where stars glittered overhead. It was something almost incomprehensible, untouchable.
Eternity. Something never-ending. Something that always would be no matter what happened, be it an argument or a parting of ways, or even something as permanent as death.
He swallowed and leaned back against the grass of the empty courtyard. He had always known he loved her—love was not something he found doubtable. He loved Lucia, his beloved sister, and Bastian, his longtime friend, and Elincia, whom he had always loved because she was herself, needing or searching for no other reason or explanation. He remembered from his childhood many silly scenes, and they passed by his mind, then, bits and pieces of his life that he would never, ever forget: group hugs and hide-and-seek and swordfighting matches that Bastian seemed to always lose, playing house and playing hero, a game of marbles that ended with someone in tears, a kiss on the cheek from Elincia for rescuing the kitten that Bastian had brought to the villa, hidden under his cloak. Precious snatchings of time that meant the world to him.
Different people, different types of love, but it was all love nonetheless, and Geoffrey had never wanted to dissect it to figure out the finer points of the matter. For him, knowing it was love was more than enough.
He fiddled with a loose thread from his shirt and closed his eyes.
Perhaps love became an eternal thing by choice. Could a person decide to love someone forever, versus deciding not to? For a moment, he was unsure, but his lips quirked upward the slightest bit when his mind handed him his realization—no, that was not up to him to decide, nor to anyone else. He would always love his sister and his closest friend, and Elincia, the goddess bless and protect her, would always be…
Would he always love her, he suddenly wondered? No matter what? A small frown settled over his lips.
He remembered the wars. First he had thought her lost, lost because he had failed, and he, too, had been lost for a time, before Bastian's words encouraged him forward. And then, three years later, she had nearly died on the battlefield. Those who hadn't fully respected her respected her then—a queen who wasn't afraid to truly lead her people—but he had been so afraid that she would die that he hadn't been able to fight. If Bastian had not been watching his back…he might have died himself that very day, from sheer despair.
He loved Lucia, he loved Bastian, but without Elincia…was life worth living? What would he do without her, even just the smallest glimpse of her each day?
His heart ached at the thought. He didn't think he could stand to lose her.
How empty his life would be without her in it.
But he wouldn't stop loving her even then. How could he, when he had his memories? When love didn't dissipate solely because of something even as permanent as death?
A quiet rustle of fabric behind his head prompted him to open his eyes, and he did so slowly, leisurely. The first thing he saw was her face, peering down at him, her nose only inches away from his.
"My queen," he said, "you will ruin your dress."
She flicked at his nose with her thumb and forefinger. "I don't care." Her smile looked bright in the evening light. "What are you doing out here?"
"Thinking." He blinked up at her.
"About what?" She combed her fingers through his hair to neaten its appearance. "Or is it a secret?"
"I don't keep secrets from my wife," he said softly, reaching his arms above him to pull her down for a kiss.
Maximum corniness! Oh well. Merry Christmas to Starlight Lady, my FE Exchange person. My first FE9/10 'fic. Expect to see more in the future!