This was the second fic I ever wrote. The first being Angel Star.
Hope you all enjoy it. Now... go on... read it... you know you want to.
The words were carefully written. Each one was chosen after careful deliberation and written with gentle care. It wasn't like the other letters he had received. This one was sincere and true to the words, not filled with random sentiments and happenings. This was truly written for him. And therein lay the problem.
It evoked certain feelings and memories he had long thought successfully subdued and now they flooded back with the simple ending question and hope. He almost closed his hand into a fist to ignore the words and toss away the letter as he had with every other. He couldn't though. It was from her. She had never written to him, words she offered just cropped up in another's hand. Now she was getting married and wanted him to give her away.
He wanted to say no and just stay where he was. He hadn't seen anyone in twenty-three years. He hadn't been there for his sister's wedding, or the birth of his nephew, or his other friends' weddings. He could hardly disregard all that now. But she had asked.
He combed his calloused hands through his flowing ebony hair. He left the gilded letter on the table and went on a search for a mirror. He hadn't seen himself in a while, perhaps a slight reflection in the nearby river. He never needed to see himself. He could do without, shaving and washing was a learned habit now he never needed to see himself. He dug up a piece of reflective glass from the bottom of an old trunk.
The case was a memory of bygone days, containing those items from twenty-three years ago when the world sprang to life again. His old tunics and worn traveling supplies were still neatly folded within. He looked down at himself, it had been a while. His deep brown eyes still held their decisive edge. He wasn't the youthful man he once was. There were deep lines of weariness and battle scarred into him from age and the past. He didn't look much older though, perhaps about ten years. He didn't look bad, perhaps as if he hadn't slept well in a while at worst.
He turned back to the letter on the table, dropping the mirror back into the case, and reread the words.
how are you? I know it has been a while. I'm sorry I haven't written at all. I don't know what the others have told you. I'm not sure if you even knew, but Garet and I are in a relationship. We have been for a few years now. I don't know if the others told you about us.
Anyway, I wanted to be the one to tell you. We're engaged. I was wondering if you would be able to make it to the wedding. I know you don't come to anything anymore. We all really miss you. I would really like to see you again anyway. So if you could, would you come?
I want you to be the one to give me away at the wedding. You always used to lead us and hold us together, so I'd like you to lead me down the aisle. I do hope I'll get to see you again.
He folded the letter up and slid it into a drawer. He didn't really have a choice, his emotions and memories had decided long before his mind had a chance to intervene. He quickly retrieved some parchment, ink and a quill. He quickly wrote in response, indicating them of his intention to attend. Then he wrote another addressed to Piers, detailing that he needed his help across the seas. He tied the letters to the carrier pigeon that could always find him and pushed open the door of his cabin.
Felix tossed his hand upward and the pigeon took off. He turned back inside to sleep soundly for the night, considering the next few would be an uncomfortable lodge in the wild.
He had been travelling east for three days, four hours, and twenty-six minutes according to his internal clock. Strapped around him were the various supplies he had thought he might need for the journey to the only beach that accessed his small slice of loneliness. His Sol Blade was of course strapped to his belt. His partner blade since Mars Lighthouse, he had always felt a kinship from the moment he lifted it from its chest. Strangely, no one but he and Isaac were capable of lifting the blade, even though to them it was lighter than air. No matter.
Beneath the loose fabrics of his green tunic were light, tight-fitting armours, comfortable despite their tightness to the body. The Psynergy runes sewed into it offered him better protection, not that he needed it. He carried a small canteen of water on his belt, a series of ropes around his chest for traps. In the rucksack on his back he carried a tent, a small pot for cooking, kindling stones, a compass, utensils, for skinning and eating, a slab of wood for a plate, and a bowl. He refused to bring anything of leisure such as books. Only the bare minimum and he was still sure he had forgotten some things. He hadn't travelled in years after all and he had never travelled alone.
He moved swiftly, never tiring. He was still very fit for a man of his age. The first and second days were pleasant, it felt rejuvenating to be out in the open like this again. He hadn't felt it in so long. He had forgotten that it was different than simply living in the wild. The movement, the direction, and sense of purpose made it strangely enjoyable. This third day was perfectly satisfying. It was the middle of spring and all the flowers, trees, and grasses were blooming. There was no better feeling to a Venus Adept than the life of nature. Of course, the pure essence of Venus was nice to him, but so too were the compliments from the others. Such as Mercury's dew on leaves in the early morning, or the warmth of Mars that the sun offered for growth, or Jupiter's winds that carried the seeds into the world.
He continued moving through the days, never falling into monotony. He was rained on only once and it soured his mood somewhat being that he only brought with him one change of clothes and that too had been rained on. That night he had dried them as best he could over his campfire. He reminded himself over the next few days that he was no longer in the presence of Adepts who could predict the weather and advise accordingly, he would have to read signs and judge by himself.
On the tenth day of travelling, he had to hike over a small mountain. It wasn't anything particular taxing. He had dealt with far worse, and been dealing with all the others who were not always keen to continue. Nonetheless, when night fell that night he felt oddly relieved and tired so he went to bed without setting traps or lighting a campfire. He paid for that the next morning of course, waking up stiff, cold, and hungry, while having to sulk over dry meat and bread.
The next night he remembered this mistake and ensured traps and fire were successfully placed. He watched the flames dance upon his collected firewood, cooking his meal for the night: a small rabbit. The skinned rabbit was mostly cooked. He didn't feel bad about killing it really. Years ago, the girls would have objected to such a meal. They preferred to hunt down some monsters or pull from their supply of meat from whatever town they had been in last.
He smirked to himself at the memory as he tore a bite out of the cooked meat. He turned his eyes up to the stars as he contently chewed his meal. Certain memories were called to the mind's eye at their luminous multitude. He had once spent a night beneath the stars alone with Mia. Her features were somewhat blurred by time now. He remembered her gleaming sapphire eyes and cerulean hair, but otherwise the rest of her face was somewhat lost. It had been so long, perhaps too long. He took another bite of his meal as he pondered why she wanted him to give him away.
Isaac, he reasoned, was most likely best man, but Ivan or Piers, even Kraden, could have given her away. What was her desire for it to be him? Surely it would be far easier for all concerned if she had asked someone else. He didn't really want to go. He had told himself he wouldn't, but it didn't matter what he said to himself. That slight thought of liking Mia always lived within him. Now she was getting married, he at least had to be there for that. She used to like him as well. They had shared hidden moments from the others all those years ago.
But he had pushed her away. He couldn't risk any sort of relationship back then. The world was at stake, he wasn't willing to risk judgement because of it. And now she was in one of his old best friend's arms. Getting married no less. He had many chances to go to her over all of these years. Maybe, when he pushed her away all those years ago he had also pushed away that hope. Now though it was back, pointlessly he knew, considering the situation. A foolish idea grew when he read the letter: that Mia still felt those feelings he did.
He sighed as he tossed away the bones of the rabbit. He thought of what the others might look like now. Some of the letters he had received probably detailed such things, but he hadn't read any of them, he had simply sorted them away neatly. He used to read them, long ago. At some point though he grew tired of the repeated happenings of life and simply stopped caring. Now though, after Mia had finally written, wonder and care returned. Everyone but her had written to him. Maybe it was because she was still afraid of her feeling for him. He shut up those thoughts immediately. He sighed again, he was frustrating himself.
He decided to get his rest for the night, it wasn't particularly late, the sun had only set somewhere around three hours ago. Even though he wasn't tired or dulled in sense he wanted to sleep, if only to stop those intruding thoughts.
It took him over a fortnight, nearly sixteen days in total before he caught his first whiff of the cool ocean. It took him by surprise really, he was only just thinking of breaking for lunch when he caught it. At first he thought it was only the smell of fish in the river he was following north, but then he caught it again, and it was definitely ocean.
His body was slightly exhausted having not caught anything that night and being left sour over stiff dry meat, but he took off at a sprint toward the ocean. He rose over a hill, his heart elating with the sight of a proud dragon-headed ship, equipped with powerful Psynergetic wings. There was a small tent perched on the beach at its side. A gangplank led to the familiar ship, still scarred with some of the battles of the past.
Felix's heart leapt again as a familiar figure appeared from the tent. It stood, arms crossed, waiting for the Venus Adept to reach him. Felix's pace slowed as he approached until he was striding confidently toward him.
Piers smirked wide as Felix approached, "You look like hell."
Felix laughed slightly. The Lemurian Mercury Adept's voice was so familiar in his ears and his first words to him in years were a cleverly assessed quip, "You look the exact same." Felix returned through his smirk. His own voice sounded more foreign to him than anything. He hadn't heard it in some years and it was hoarse and raspy after his journey.
It was true. The Lemurian didn't look like he had aged at all. If he did it was only about a year or two in appearance. His yellow eyes were still bright and youthful, despite his long surpassed age. His turquoise hair still spilt from his hair in the exact same way it had all those years ago. It was still slightly shorter at the parting leading down into a ponytail just past his shoulders. He was still wearing that bandana that always adorned him.
The two of them grasped hands in a long learned brotherly grasp, and pulled the other into an embrace. They smacked each other on the back twice before pulling away, grasping hands once again.
"It's good to see you, Felix."Piers smiled warmly.
"I doubt it." Felix returned, gesturing to his appearance, "It's good to see you though."
Piers nodded, "You should get washed. I'm not taking you anywhere like that."
Felix laughed and nodded to the Lemurian. He was looking past him into the wilderness.
"So this is where you've been hiding?" Piers smirked.
"Mostly." Felix nodded, "How is everyone?"
"I assume you haven't been reading all of our letters then?" Piers said wisely.
Felix opened his mouth to respond, it was wide in a smile, but no words escaped. All he could do was nod afterwards.
"Well, your sister's still raising little Matthew. Ivan and Sheba are still raising Karis."
"Karis?" Felix interjected.
"Ivan and Sheba's little girl. You didn't know?"Piers raised an eyebrow.
"I must have missed the letter…" Felix answered abashedly.
"They had a girl." Piers explained with a smile, "About a year after Isaac and Jenna. Everyone's excited for the marriage and even more so now that they heard you're coming." He began laughing slightly, "I had to beat them back so they didn't all tag along."
"How are Mia and Garet doing?"Felix inquired.
"They're abuzz with plans and organisation. They made me promise to bring you this."
He tossed him a bag from beside him. Felix pulled the rope around it and carefully looked in on the contents. It seemed to be a black, formal tunic. He sighed as he refastened the bag and slung it over his shoulder. He didn't much care for getting dressed up. He should have known, however, that it would most certainly have been a requirement of being at the wedding. Piers smirked at him as they turned to climb into the ship, knowing of Felix's distaste for fashion.
"I've kept your room as it was." Piers laughed as they pushed open the door leading into the ship.
"Didn't we share a room?"Felix answered.
"Well, your side of the room." Piers corrected.
The two lost themselves in familiar laughter. It had been far too long and felt good. Felix reflected of all his years alone, with only his Djinn as an extra few mental voices in the life. Maybe living alone wasn't the best idea he had ever had. He could have, at the very least, visited the others more often. It wasn't difficult after all. It was incredibly easy. Nonetheless, his current light-heartedness felt good. He hadn't laughed in a good long while. Every now and then perhaps a memory would surface a chuckle, then it was done and he returned to his life.
"What have you been doing all these years?" Piers inquired as Felix dropped his supplies on his bed.
"Living." Felix shrugged.
"Why do I doubt that?" Piers continued to laugh, "Didn't you just rise from the grave? You certainly look like it."
"I'll wash." Felix returned, placing emphasis on a fake sense of frustration, laughing himself.
"So, what have you been doing?" Piers persisted.
Felix rolled his eyes, "Studying, swinging a sword, hunting, using my Psynergy. You know the works."
"Of course." Piers replied, moving toward the door, "I'll pack up out there then we'll head out." He paused before he closed the door behind him, "Get washed."
His deep chuckle rang through the wood as the door clicked shut. Felix, chuckling under his breath, stripped down and tossed his clothes into the corner. He gathered his only remaining clean clothes and moved to the adjacent bathroom. He looked at himself in the mirror, surprised by his own appearance. He had washed and scrubbed himself every morning but his skin was still caked with dirt. Now that he thought of it his earthen hair felt like grime against him. His deep brown eyes seemed out of place on a face that wasn't quite his. He looked to his right and his mouth spread wide in memory. The Lemurian Ship's shower, the most effective means of cleaning oneself that Felix had ever found, was still there. Not as though it could have really gone anywhere. He didn't like having baths after he had first had a shower. The thought of sitting in his own filth now disgusted him. He had built his house near a waterfall for this very reason.
He stared shocked at the filth filled water that drained away as he washed himself, thinking that was on him not moments before. It took a full hour before the water that drained away had no trace of dirt or grime in it.
He stepped out, gladly inhaling the steam of the shower, dried himself fully and pulled on his only clean pair of clothes. The familiar sensation of being this clean felt amazing. He literally had a spring in his step as he ascended to the dock as they pulled away from the beach.
The seas felt familiar as they spent the days on deck, trading turns piloting the ship and stories. The gentle rolls of the sea, occasionally turning to heavier jolts in certain weather conditions, felt as familiar as when they had navigated them all those years ago. It rained on them occasionally as they sailed toward Kalay, where the wedding was to be held. Felix complained initially that there was no shelter from it at the wheel, he had done this when he had first met Piers and spent the first few days in rainy weather. He had expected Piers to build some shelter in all these years. Piers continued to regale him with twenty plus years of stories from all the lives Felix had left and some he had even forgotten. Not only that, but they gladly retold glories they once shared back when they were saving the world.
They laughed daily it scared Felix in a way. He had never laughed so much in all his life. He rarely laughed on that quest to save the world. Why was he laughing so much now? Had he really changed that much in all the time he spent alone? Maybe he just missed other human interaction. Regardless everything felt natural and relaxing as his laughter and voice flowed out of him. He was greatly looking forward to seeing the others now. There would be even more stories and even more laughter to be had. According to Piers, considering his own sense of geography had been dulled over the years, they were about a week away from Kalay. They had already spent two weeks at sea, almost running out of stories to occupy their time. Almost, meaning they still had plenty of stories but needed to space them out to make them last the remaining time.
Fitting over twenty years of stories in the space of three weeks was indeed quite a feat, of course it was not a retelling of everything that had happened over those years, mainly just the most memorable moments that Piers had been present for or remembered hearing. There would of course be other stories omitted or forgotten, but others would remember them. Either way, Felix could build a comprehensive idea of what had happened in his absence from the stories he was told.
Felix yawned wide as he released the wheel to Piers' control as night's darkness fell on them. He had been piloting the ship from early in the morning and all day. He wasn't physically tired, piloting the ship wasn't at all exhausting. He was just tired. It was an entirely natural thing. He was older than he was all those years ago, when he could have stayed awake for two days straight without any fear of becoming too tired.
He collapsed onto the messy covers of his bed and simultaneously fell into memory as he closed his eyes. His thoughts drifted lazily from memories of battle to more light-hearted ones to ones of frustration and more. He laughed in his memories. He didn't reflect on them very much when he lived alone. Now that he thought of it, he rarely thought of the others and when he did it was a fleeting moment that barely lasted. The image appeared in the mind he acknowledged it and then it faded away into something else. Now though he found himself genuinely curious about the others. He wondered what they might look like now, the image he had of all of them was gone after he heard different stories. It wasn't drastically changed, but it was still very different. After he fell asleep he dreamed of those very people he saw in that new image.
The next few days passed exactly as those preceding them had. That is not to say that the days were repetitive or boring. They were in no way boring for Felix, he greatly enjoyed the time he was spending o the Lemurian Ship with one of his oldest friends. In truth he had only spent a year with the Lemurian roughly. Despite this, the two had grown into greater friends than most would ever become in their lifetimes. That's what battle and struggle for survival did to people. It bonded them and brought them closer than any normal life would ever do for friendship. Brothers of battle and survivors of hardships would always forge the stronger friendships in the world.
Felix smiled upward as they sailed along the coast. Venus Lighthouse was just up the coast slightly. The ancient adamantine monolith tapped into his own veins, being the very heart of his own power. He could feel its power in his own even from the great distance they were from it. The feeling of home grew with it as they moved closer to the yellow and green construct that stretched far beyond the clouds. He could almost make out the Venus Beacon in the sky at the top of the Lighthouse far above the clouds.
The sun shone pleasantly through the clouds as they passed the tower highlighting its gleaming surface and the wood of the ship. It warmed even the air as they drew even closer to the Kalay port. If this was the weather they had upon his arrival he would be happy. He couldn't be happier if these were the conditions, that moment would be a happy reuniting moment. He pondered if anyone would be waiting for the two of them at the port and, if there was, who it would be. The most likely candidates were Mia and Garet, and, considering they lived there, Ivan and Sheba. Apparently Isaac and Jenna were currently visiting the town born after Vale was destroyed during the world's rebirth.
Those thoughts of anticipation peaked as he watched the pier move ever closer as Piers carefully guided the ship in to dock. There were forms waiting for them at the port. Felix smiled down warmly from the side of the ship, slinging his supplies over his shoulder and helping Piers dropping the anchor before descending the gangplank.
Instantaneously, he felt all the wind leave him as two figures flung at him and crushed him in a loving hug. After the initial inertia passed he looked down on the forms. They were blonde and crimson-haired, so he figured it had to be Sheba and Jenna respectively. He gently returned the hug and said back long overdue apologies for being gone for so long. He looked up seeing another blonde man smiling at him, assuming that was Ivan he nodded and smiled. When he broke out of the hug he grasped his hand with the same skill he had when meeting Piers and the brotherly process repeated in full for Ivan. He stayed joyously silent, revelling in their frustration as he made them wait, as they walked back to Ivan and Sheba's house where he would be staying.
"You ass!" Jenna shrieked playfully as they sat around the table in the house, "You couldn't have at least written back?"
Felix shrugged, chewing gladly on a meal Sheba had prepared before they had arrived. It wasn't particularly warm, but it was still tasty enough to be savoured. Jenna didn't seem much older. She was the same as him, granted she wasn't as lined or weary as he was. She too looked only about ten years older. Her long crimson hair fell unhindered along her back. She had taken to wearing dresses nowadays.
"C'mon, where've you been?" Ivan urged, smiling as he chewed on his own food.
"Can't expect me to give up all my secrets, can you?" Felix laughed.
Ivan certainly looked older, considering he had looked about ten when he fifteen to say he was older was something. He certainly didn't look like he was thirty-eight, mid-twenties at the oldest. His hair had grown into a tousled length that he kept tidy behind him in a ponytail.
"We could ask Piers." Sheba intoned with glee.
As grown up as Sheba now looked she didn't seem to have matured too much. She was still the same playful girl that Felix remembered. She didn't seem to have aged too much, about the same as Ivan. The two fit well together.
Felix laughed at her comment, "You could, but you won't." He paused to swallow his food, "There's no fun in that."
"You still think you know me after this long?" Sheba shot back.
"I know I do." Felix laughed, "Oh, where's your daughter?"
"Karis?" Ivan mumbled as he scratched his stubble, "School." He looked down at his watch, "Actually, she'll be finished soon." He stood up and moved to the door with a smile, "I'll be back in a few, guys."
"And where's my nephew?" Felix asked with a wide, expectant smile as he waved Ivan away.
"Oh, so you remembered my son?" Jenna taunted, "It's only…" She took a glance at a watch-less wrist, "ten years late."
Felix waited patiently for further development after the taunts were finished with.
"He's with Isaac and Kraden." Jenna answered eventually, "They're visiting Garet and Mia in Imil, and they'll bring them back here."
"The wedding's here." Sheba explained, answering Felix's unspoken question, "Because it's easier for everyone. Plus Mia thought Imil might be a bit cold for everyone and a wedding."
Felix nodded again, "So, when are they scheduled here?"
"We got a letter from them about a week ago saying they were well on their way. They can't be any more than a few days away." Sheba answered, fixing her still youthful green eyes on his deep brown ones.
Felix acknowledged the, now grown, woman and finished his own meal. Afterwards he was shown upstairs and into a small room that would accommodate him over the course of the next few days. It was a small room, barely enough headroom for him. There was a small bed, just long enough for him, a small window and one small mirror. He dropped the supplies he had brought with him from the ship next to his bed, a small bag and case. He opened the case, inside was the black formal wear that he was expected to wear. He didn't much care for it. It didn't look bad he knew he wouldn't look any different in it than he usually did. He just didn't care for formal attire.
He sorted away his dirty clothes from the ones he had washed himself. There wasn't much improvement. The Lemurian ships cleaning facilities were different from the natural springs and pools that he used to wash. He decided it would be best to offer all the clothes apart from those on his back to Sheba to wash. He folded them all into a pile and sorted them away. He considered unhitching his sword from his side, but couldn't quite bring himself to do it. It was force of habit to keep it by his side until he was retiring for the night.
He lazily sauntered back down into the main room of the house, Sheba and Jenna were chatting, reminding him very much of the past. He let out an amused breath as he deposited his clothes in the hamper Sheba had indicated to him earlier.
"What's so funny?" Jenna demanded as he took a seat next to them, still laughing, "Hey, why are you laughing so much? You never laugh!"
"Some things never change." He responded, leaving a mystery for her question.
"What?" Jenna asked in confusion.
"You two." He answered, indicating them both with a wagging finger, "It's just like the old days."
The two women giggled as girls again. It was true after all. Every day, at some point, was spent like this for all these years.
"Hey, why didn't you come to my wedding?!" Jenna demanded as the realisation that he had been gone for so long finally hit her.
"It had only been a year." He answered with a sigh.
"What about Sheba's!?" She demanded again.
"Uh…" He breathed, scratching his head trying to remember when that was exactly, "When was that?"
"Ten years ago." Sheba answered completely un-amused.
"Same time Matthew was born." Jenna stated proudly, with that lingering annoyance that Felix had been absent.
"Uh…" He repeated with no acceptable reason, other than not wanting to, "Where's Piers gone?" He asked to divert the pressure off of himself.
The two were about to answer when the noise of the door and then a proud voice came through.
"Fe-lix!" Ivan called out as he entered, "Say hi!"
Felix walked to the door to see Ivan hand-in hand with a small, green-haired girl. He thought that was odd. How in the hell had their daughter achieved green hair? He discarded the question to be polite, if she was a Jupiter Adept to she could probably read minds.
"Hi." He said crouching down to Karis' level, "I'm Felix."
"Hello, Sir Felix." The girl said politely extending her hand, "I'm Karis."
His smile grew wider as he shook the girl's hand. He cast a suspicious glance up at Ivan. Neither Ivan nor Sheba were much for being polite, where had she inherited it from?
"You have excellent manners." He smiled as she released his hand, "Your parents influence?" He asked, clearly understanding that was not the case.
"No sir." She answered through a tooth filled smile, "Sir Isaac and Sir Kraden schooled me as such."
"Ah of course." He said, bringing his mouth closer to her ear, "Your parents were never very polite." He whispered.
"I heard that." Ivan smirked as he kissed Sheba.
Felix tousled Karis' hair and stood back up as the girl ran upstairs. He congratulated the two parents on the girl, having never done so before. Not that he could have.
He lazed away the next few days. There was nothing to do. He strolled through the streets of Kalay, admiring some of the culture. He assisted Ivan as a mechanic of sorts. The Adept seemed to be working on constructing a device for a man to fly. Essentially it was a pair of wings that was to be worn. Apparently it was to be powered by Psynergy when he finished it. It was nearing completion, failed tests and trials were scattered about his workshop all of which were broken from failed flight. Otherwise there was nothing to be done. He regretted now not bringing any books to study with. The library of Kalay had no books on Alchemy. He had taken to doing chores for Sheba and Ivan to occupy his time.
It was a full week of monotony before all the others arrived.
Both Isaac and Garet had become as lined and weary as him. Isaac now wore a beard while Garet was adorned with a moustache. Felix had made a valiant effort not to laugh when he first saw them and failed. Their eyes though were still bright and youthful. They smirked reminiscently as they crossed the threshold into Ivan's house and had seen Felix waiting for them with open arms. Brotherly exchanges were exchanged and mocking words and taunts were spoken between the three best friends.
Mia screamed ecstatically upon seeing Felix and crushed him in a loving embrace, offering her full thanks for agreeing to do this. She looked amazing. Her hair was still like a flowing river of cerulean locks. Her eyes were still shining sapphires in her, comparatively, pale skin. There were no lines of tiredness or weariness. She still looked like an angel.
Kraden was still old. That was Felix's first thought upon seeing the scholar. He didn't know what he expected of Kraden, he was hardly going to be younger. Either way he seemed to be exactly as he was twenty-three years ago, maybe his beard was longer.
His nephew, young Matthew, seemed like a clone of Isaac at that age. The boy had the exact same tousle of blonde hair, and bright blue eyes. He was even as quiet as Isaac had been in his youth. The only difference between him and Isaac was that he seemed to have Jenna's fiery determination and passion for certain things.
Dinner was an overly showy affair. It was dinner. There was no need for it to be a ceremonious thing. Whatever about everyone together for the first time in years, couldn't it just have been dinner? Conversations of the wedding and the past began in earnest, the focus of all of this being Felix. It wasn't strange, he admitted. He should have known, he supposed, that everyone would be centring their words on the man they hadn't seen in so long. Everyone stopped whatever stories they were saying if Mia and Garet began to talk, even if it was just another story.
Felix, as he contently laughed and ate his meal, noticed Mia looking at him when there was no one directly talking to her. He smiled and turned his eyes to whoever was talking, but every now and then their eyes would meet again. Blue met brown and each was reflected in whatever light shone there. Felix noticed the subtle hints of turquoise that streaked in through the sapphire of Mia's eyes. They gently shone and became a softer blue as they worked toward her pupils. He blinked and looked as Garet grabbed his fiancée by the waist and tugged her closer to him. That's what she was. To be wed to his best friend. She wasn't the girl that he had kissed once or twice all those years ago. They hadn't had an accidental moment alone in so many years.
Suddenly, with a sharp shock, he realised he was in the company of Adepts who could delve into a mind and see what was there. He wondered just then if Mia had ever told anyone about those moments. He turned to Isaac and smirked at his blonde beard. Isaac caught his eye and grinned back to him. The man scratched his mess of dirt-blonde hair and smiled more fully through bites as time drew on. They began exchanging pointless stories of their past. Like when they used to fight when Isaac got to close to Jenna, or when they fought over who should lead them on their quest.
Then dinner was finished and everyone retired into a living room and onto comfortable couches that were arranged in a circle. The conversations that revolved around Felix continued. Indeed, they did continue long into the night. Then the living room became the place of rest as people fell asleep through stories. Felix yawned and lifted himself from the couch and up the stairs to the room. The others were all asleep or very close to it, in that they couldn't achieve very much movement. He fell onto his bed and closed his eyes. A certain amount of time passed, maybe he fell asleep and woke up or maybe he just thought he did, and there was a knock at the door. He grumbled and pulled himself up as the knock rang out again. He grumbled louder, indicating it was okay to enter.
He became fully awake as locks of cerulean hair entered his room and Mia gingerly sat at the side of the bed. Felix swallowed, but said nothing, it was one of those moments and he was afraid of what it might yield. He remembered with joy how those moments had ended before, he couldn't do that. Mia smiled innocently to him and cleared her throat. Her eyes were heavy but she seemed awake enough.
"I wanted to thank you again." Her gentle voice started, "I actually didn't expect anything."
"Well, it's been a bit too long." Felix admitted, "I figured I should come." He wanted to say he wanted to see her again. To see if there was maybe a chance that she would run away with him. He shut himself up again.
"You're probably wondering why I wanted you to give me away." She said bashfully.
He shrugged in response. The two of them lapsed into silence, Felix not really wanting an answer, Mia not really wanting to provide one.
"I waited for you, you know." She said suddenly.
Felix drew himself up and pulled away from her form slightly.
"Maybe you don't remember…" She began, tracing shapes in the sheets of the bed, "but we used to have those little quiet moments together…"
"I remember." He answered.
"I missed you while you were gone."
"I'm sorry." He said sympathetically.
"Why did you leave?" She asked, moving steadily closer to him.
"I dunno." He noticed she was moving closer to him, "I'd say I wanted to get away from everything, but I can't see why."
Mia frowned in thought and he felt himself do the same. He decided to shake away whatever thoughts were there.
"I never congratulated you." He said suddenly with a smile, "Congratulations."
"Thanks." She beamed, "I can't wait. I'm so happy."
Silence fell onto them again. Felix watched her eyes watch his. They didn't break gaze, they didn't blink, they didn't move. They seemed trapped exactly as they were. Felix thought back over all of the night, Garet had said he loved Mia plenty of times, but Mia? He didn't remember her saying it.
"Well, good night, Felix." Mia said as she glided gracefully back toward the door.
Everything might have been perfectly fine if the moment had ended like that. But it didn't.
"Do you love him?" Felix asked as Mia's hand rested on the doorknob.
"I… I've got to get back to Garet." She stammered quickly and disappeared through the door.
"No. I didn't think so." He thought darkly before he surrendered to the night again.
Days passed without incident. There was no awkwardness or tension, because there was no time to feel it. All of them were immersed in preparation. More guests were arriving, staying in the inns of the city, friends, family and well-wishers. Many were familiar faces from that quest so many years ago.
Then the day arrived. The wedding was being held in the hall of the Palace of Kalay. Thankfully Ivan was the adoptive son of the Lord and Lady and gained the benefits for his friends. Despite its grand size the entire hall was filled and several people remained standing at the back of the hall.
Felix lounged lazily in the groomsmen's quarters in his formal tunic. It was comfortable but it still felt restrictive. Piers, Ivan and Isaac were all exchanging laughs about when Mia and Garet first got together. Felix's thoughts still dwelled, as they had for the past few days, on that night when Mia spoke with him. As if on cue, Garet entered the room.
"Hey guys." He said quickly, clearly nervous.
"You'll be fine." Isaac said, instantly calming his worries.
"Hopefully…" He sighed, wiping away a torrent of sweat, "Ugh… I'm gonna ruin this thing." He said flapping the collar of his tunic.
"You'll be fine, Garet." Felix said from his seat.
"Heh, thanks…" Garet suddenly became aware of Felix, "I haven't thanked you for this yet, have I?"
"Don't worry about it." Felix smiled.
"Nah, seriously man, thanks." Garet smiled widely, "It actually means a lot to Mia as well."
"You're welcome." He said graciously, though his words built on an already heavy weight of worry.
"Can you go check on Mia?" Garet asked.
Felix smiled, though he was sighing internally, "It's my job right?"
He congratulated Garet again as he left. The short walk down the hall to the bride's room seemed to take forever. Maybe it did considering he didn't really want to be there. Maybe he was walking slower. Maybe the gods sensed his apprehension and decided to offer him some time. Sadly, the time only gave him time to build on his fears and eventually he reached the door. He rapped twice on the door. Mia's voice offered welcome.
There was a screen separating the two of them as he entered. He could make out her shadow behind it, "Garet asked me to check on you." Felix said simply.
"Oh, Felix!" She answered, clearly surprised, "I'm fine, thanks."
"You're not worried, or nervous? Not afraid?" He asked, "Of doing something you'll regret?"He finished in his mind.
"A little. It's natural, right?" She responded, appearing to be pulling on her dress.
"I guess." Felix shrugged, "I wouldn't really know."
She giggled slightly and finished getting dressed. Then she appeared from behind the screen in a flowery, flowing white dress. It was lined with hems of gentle blues, like rivers flowing through the fabric. Her veil was pulled back out of her face.
"You look so out of place in that." She giggled, indicating the formal tunic.
"I feel out of place in this." He laughed admittedly, "You look beautiful."
She seemed to shine with happiness with his words. A visible blush crept onto her cheeks. Felix grew confused at this. They weren't teenagers anymore, he was forty-one, and she was around thirty-eight or so, if he remembered correctly. Simple grown up compliments shouldn't bring those childish reactions. It wasn't the past anymore. They were different.
"Are you okay?" He asked again, trying to pretend it wasn't his words that had brought the change, "You're all flushed."
"Oh… I-I…" She stammered turning away, a futile effort considering Felix could see her in the mirror, "I'm just excited, I suppose."
The two lapsed into silence and smiled at each other. He thought he might have more to say to her after twenty plus years. Yet here he was completely lost for words. He wasn't uncomfortable in the silence. He felt quite right. Felix realised they had been silent for quite some time. He also realised she was watching him.
"So, what exactly do I do?" Felix asked.
"Huh?" She responded, confused, "Don't you know?"
Felix made a noise as he shrugged.
"You'll lead me up the aisle to…Garet. Then the ceremony and I'll be married."
She hesitated as she spoke. Felix had heard it. She had covered very well, but Felix was more aware than most, he had heard it, "Well… congratulations." He scratched his head. He made to leave.
"Where are you going?" She asked before he had taken as much as one step.
"Uh…" He wasn't really going anywhere. He was just leaving. That's all there was. Did he really need a reason?
"Won't you have to stay so we can walk down the aisle together?"
Walk down the aisle together…? The way she said it, it hurt him somehow. Maybe somewhere he wanted to marry Mia, maybe she him, but that was childish.
"Can't I just come here when it's time?" He asked, with his back to her.
He felt Mia frown. The air seemed to change, "Are you uncomfortable around me?"
Felix turned around dubiously, his brow furrowed in confusion and shock as he turned around. Mia's frown was quite pronounced as he looked at her, "No." He mumbled, "It's not like that."
Her frown grew more pronounced slightly, "What's wrong?"
"I'm sorry." He said apologetically, "I didn't mean for it to seem like that. I'll stay if you want me to."
Mia's expression softened suddenly, "You can leave if you want to."
The two fell into silence and time passed. This time the silence was most certainly uncomfortable. Eventually music began to play from the nearby hall. That indicated the start of the wedding Felix reasoned. It also brought him to the realisation that both of them had been standing perfectly silent for some time.
"Should we go?" He asked.
Mia shook her head, "Not yet. It's the next song."
Felix nodded and leaned against the wall. He listened carefully to the music. The noise of people had been hushed for the music. He waited patiently, eyes closed, for the music to end and for the next to begin.
Mia spoke then.
"Are you okay, Felix?"
He looked up suddenly. Mia's eyes were filled with care. He wasn't, honestly. He wondered if Mia was doing right by marrying Garet. He still cared for her, a lot. And if her actions that night were any indication she was simply settling on Garet. He might have done something if Garet wasn't one of his best friends.
But then, he hadn't seen Garet in over twenty years… was he a friend to him anymore? True they were friends and brothers of battle in the past… but this was the present. Parallel to that was Mia. They were 'experimental' in the past, so what were they now? How different could things have been if he had opted to stay?
He nodded, smiling as reassuringly as he could. Mia seemed unconvinced, although it didn't matter. He refused to elaborate. He wasn't going to be the one who reappeared and ruined lives again. That wasn't him.
That's when it dawned that it was completely silent. The music had stopped. The two of them beamed to each other and moved to the grand doors leading to the hall. Everyone was standing up, watching them. The others were all standing up at the altar. Felix guided Mia up, wished his best to Garet and took his place at Piers' side.
The ceremony then followed. They all stood expectant, unaware of what had just transpired. Then the ceremony, long and boring as it had been, came to its end.
"Mia, I take thee as my loving wife." Garet said, placing a ring around her finger.
There was a pause. Everyone breathed in, feeling the pain of Garet's worry at the pause.
"I take thee as my loving husband." She finished with a smile, pushing a ring around his finger.
The entire hall erupted with calamitous cheer as the two embraced and kissed. Felix clapped gently as they did. Then he watched as they ran from the altar and away from the crowd. His eyes were fixed on Mia. She looked over her shoulder with a smile. It dropped as her eyes met Felix. It weakly returned for a moment then she turned away. She disappeared through the door with her new husband and out of sight.
Felix sat down on the steps of the altar as the hall began to clear of the throngs of people. There was a party to follow in the main hall of the palace. That's where everyone was going. He sighed and stared at the formal boots he wore. He unbuttoned and unfastened the tight restraints of his attire. Within moments the entire hall was cleared and he was left alone.
He stood up, stretched wide and left. He left the palace and strolled casually back to Ivan and Sheba's house. There he changed back into his more comfortable usual clothes. He gently folded the formality that he had been given and left it on the bed. He packed away all of his clothes and rested on his bed. He could leave as soon as Piers returned, if the Lemurian permitted. Felix wasn't really a party person. So he fell asleep on the bed.
The others returned a number of hours later, quite drunk. It was difficult to sleep through their noise, but Felix managed it. The next morning Piers reluctantly agreed to take Felix home. Felix offered his congratulations to everybody and left, whispering private congratulations to Mia. Piers took him home and the weeks were quiet. For the first few days Piers attempted to discover what was wrong, but eventually gave up. Felix, after arriving back on the beach where he had seen Piers for the first time in years, forced the Lemurian to swear he wouldn't reveal where he lived. Then with a final farewell the two parted ways and Felix began his two week trek back through the wilderness.
He arrived home and fell into a seat. He stared blankly at the dirt that encrusted him and the wood of his house. Reluctantly, he stepped out to the waterfall to wash himself. He returned inside and a gilded edge caught his attention. He pulled open a drawer to find Mia's letter waiting for him. He crushed it, balling it up in his hand, before tossing it out the window and into the river by his house.
Several days passed without anything. It took some time for him to return to his daily routine. He couldn't bring himself to hunt or study for a while. Eventually it returned.
But there was always that thought of what might have been in the back of his head.
He would have to struggle to bury that as he had done before.
It was done.
Thanks for reading guys. I know it was short and I could have developed it into a multi chapter thing, or even had a happy ending. Well, please leave a review, give me your opinions, don't be afraid to correct any mistakes I may have missed, or argue with me over certain points, I don't mind.
Your friend (I hope),