Disclaimer: Treize and Une are still not mine. The soundtrack is 'Swallow', by Maren Ord (www.marenord.com). In case you missed it in the summary, this is a companion piece to 'Waltz's second part. Please read 'Waltz' first. :o) Arigato!

Beyond the Edge of the Cliff

He stands somewhere impossible, watching her. She's staring out to sea, staring right through him. She's older now, less innocent and clean, but she's still the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. He shouldn't be here, really, but nothing could keep him from her right now. She needs something from him. He doesn't know what, but there's a melancholy shadow in her eyes which speaks of a split heart, so he stays to watch her, waiting until she can tell him what she lacks.

She looks the way he always sees her. In his mind's eye, she never wears the constricting uniform and tight braids, never hides behind the glasses that separate her from the world, never stands rigidly at attention. Instead, her hair hangs loose around her shoulders and down her back, stirring slightly in the breeze and framing those delicate cheekbones of hers in a way that would have made his heart ache, if he'd still had one. Her dress is long and flowing and innocent, draping over her hips, the very essence of femininity. The wind that makes her hemline float around her ankles and tickles her bare feet seems to ignore the half-cape that hangs from one of his shoulders. It hangs, as straight and elegant as it ever was.

He watches as another woman arrives, one he recognizes, one whose presence does not really surprise him. She smiles and says something, and his Lady looks up with a startled look on her face, jarred out of her contemplation of the sea. Words are exchanged, and she ruefully slips her sandals on and follows her friend.

/Just smile and swallow

Nod your head and look away

Raise your chin and walk away.

That's the best way/

She walks slowly, nervously, and he follows her, staying out of sight. His blue eyes watch her longingly. He can't have her, and he knows it. His lips quirk in the beginnings of a smile as he hears the strains of a violin and recognises the music. He comes to a halt behind her as she stops, eyes glued to her face. Her lips are curved slightly, as if she thinks a smile is appropriate but can't quite figure out why.

/Well you know, I know

Well, we both know

That this is going to be hard/

He rips his gaze from her, though it breaks something inside of him to do so, and focuses on the man who stands opposite her on the edge of the cliff. He's tall and blond, with the beginnings of laugh-lines around his sparkling brown eyes. His spark goes well with her soft fire. He's looking at her as though she's the only other person in the world, oblivious to his observer.

Treize concentrates for a moment, and comes up with his name. Rémi. A Frenchman, and a good, kind, honourable man. He'd do.

/So when you go

Don't you swallow

All the words that I've spoken

Because it's all ok

We're both protected/

Jealousy pinches where his heart used to be, making him frown slightly. He's never felt it before. He dismisses it immediately – the selfishness implied by jealousy, especially like this, goes against his entire code of being. It remains, though, a tiny twinge in his chest, as he considers. She is his Lady. He would die for her, if he could. Chivalry demands this sacrifice from him.

/Well I hate it that

There's going to be

Some kind of deadline

between you and me.

Well, you know

That's the best way/

This is right. He knows that. She deserves all the honour he can give her, and at this point this means giving her away, no matter how briefly. He'll see her again, he knows. She's hesitating, her thoughts a million miles away from where they should be. He knows her mind, knows that she mustn't follow the path she faces. He loves her too much to let her do that. He reaches a transparent finger towards her, stroking her cheek, touching her as he'd never been allowed to in life.

"Be happy, Lady."

She blinks, almost as if she'd heard him. Impossible. But she smiles shyly and returns her gaze to Rémi's sparkling brown eyes as she murmurs the words that confirm her path.

/So when you go

Don't you swallow

All the words that I've spoken

Because it's all ok

We're both protected/

He turns away. He'll see her again, something tells him. He would wait for an infinity of eternities, but he won't have to – the span of a life is a mere moment to someone who has all of time. He hears cheers behind him, and the violin strikes up a stately waltz which he seems to remember. Without looking back, Treize takes a step away, then another. He reaches the edge of the cliff, strides over it, and keeps walking.

~Owari~