Disclaimer: I am not the owner in any way of SH. If I was, nobody would be able to pronounce or spell my name. (That's right, Asaph Fipke, I'm talking about you.)
I don't know who wrote the quote, but I thought it fit the story.
This fic is a present for the one and only Smartkitty314, who is an FF pen pal and (apparently) a fan of mine. She's got tons of talent, isn't a blithering fangirl (or at least manages to balance it with logic, something I would like to know how to do) and knows how to type! What more could a guy ask for?
Absence of War
"May the love hidden deep inside your heart find the love waiting in your dreams. May the laughter that you find in your tomorrow wipe away the pain you find in your yesterdays."
The Dark Ace would never have been comfortable with servitude to anyone else.
There was a reason he'd left the Storm Hawks, what wasn't really so long ago. He had ambition. He had drive. He was no rolling stone, content to keep along at a steady pace: eyeless, limbless, lifeless. That saying had never made sense to him. What he was, though he would not have said so himself because flights of fancy always made him feel daft, was a diving bird of prey.
Single-minded, powerful, skilled. The object of fear and wonder. Worshipped, loathed, soaring above the unwashed masses.
But ultimately, also falling.
He remembered the first time he'd seen her. Pale and big-eyed, an oil portrait from days gone by. She looked like a delicate fairy. Too vulnerable and childish to rule an empire. It's hard to take seriously a tyrant who looks like she needs to roll up her cape a few times.
He hadn't questioned for long. Behind that doll-like exterior lay the honed mind of a ruler born: cold steel and gears, never pausing, always clicking onward. She shocked everyone. Sometimes he suspected she shocked herself.
They were alike, he realized. Motivated. Independent. Intelligent enough to be restless and uneasy in the world. And neither of them liked to back down.
So it didn't grate on him, taking orders, despite her youth and femininity. Or maybe because of them. It wasn't long since he'd been a kid himself, there were plenty who'd consider him still one, though he hadn't considered himself one since—well, back then.
Cyclonis was no child, he learned quickly. She commanded his respect and received it. He began to prize her approval… work for the reward of her praise in a way he hadn't done since—well, back then. He began to relish playing the role of right hand to such a charismatic talent. Kneeling before her sent a thrill up through his knees. Her determination gave him strength.
And one morning he woke up while it was only just starting to get light and realized that he loved her.
At first he didn't believe it himself. He, the ruthless maverick; the proud warrior, in love? With a princess? No. no, he respected her. Admired her. Possibly felt somewhat protective of her as an older brother of a younger sister, if he were to go even that far.
No. He wasn't going to love anyone.
Not after he'd learned that giving people your heart repays in cold, cold currency. Anyway, only an idiot would fall in love with his master.
But he found himself dropping hints everywhere he and she met. Betraying himself by looking at her too long. Letting himself get a little too agitated when she was in danger; a little too relieved when, as the idolizer in him was always sure of, she got herself out of it. Feeling the weight of his own breath freeze him when the sunlight struck her face.
So he did the only thing he could. He gathered up his love (which he still refused to name) and he locked it away. No one could touch it. No one could hurt it. And no one would ever know.
But he knows it's there. As much as it angers him, scalds him, scares him, it's always there. And it doesn't show signs of going away.
So even though they leave him shaken and uneasily wondering why he feels so bleak he tolerates the dreams this love sometimes dreams as it hibernates, for the temporary pleasure they bring.
In these dreams he is not on Cyclonia. It's a different Terra. Someplace warm and sunny. They're on a beach or grassy meadow. Yes, they: She is there too. Somehow he has persuaded her to leave everything behind, at least for a while, and come with him to this place where no one knows them.
He doesn't know how he did it.
But as she turns to him, her hair free in the breeze, and smiles, he knows: no matter what it was, he is so, so glad he did it.
Kitty, I'd like to say thanks again. You listened (read?) and supported when others I've known for years didn't. You're a really nice, smart person, and I hope you have an awesome year.