Author's note: So here is a story I've been playing with for some time. The idea came quite a while ago - a few weeks at least, and perhaps more than that - but it wasn't until very recently that I brought myself to finally write it.
Good news is, I've got first 4 chapters written and edited already, so depending on your enthusiasm, I may update it in a matter of days. In fact, I hope to update it so quickly.
Bad news - the chapters are rather short, at least compared to what I usually write. I also haven't finished the fic, with the last two chapters still waiting to be written, but I do believe I'll find enough time and inspiration to work on those soon enough.
Now, the dedication.
I would very much like to dedicate this story to one and great Catiegirl, who's by far the most incredible, talented writer I have come across in this fandom. Cate, you're probably not reading this - but if you are, please treat it as a humble 'thank you' for all the wonderful writing you have already shared with us and which I had a chance to discover recently.
For those who somehow haven't read her stories yet, I highly suggest you do, as soon as you can.
And no more notes for now - or for the next chapters. I'll see you at the end of the story.
God bless you, Kindred Spirits,
I couldn't say it then
"Gilbert Blythe is dying."
The words rang in her ears long after Davy had so carelessly pronounced them. She still couldn't quite comprehend how he could have been so… unfeeling, speaking of such a news with so little thought to it – one moment he'd been talking about outgrowing Milty Boulter at last, only to announce the news about her dearest friend's impending death in the other.
"He is just a child," Anne whispered to herself, as if trying to convince her own hurting self that Davy had indeed meant no harm. She knew that he hadn't; and he hadn't announce Gilbert's illness, he'd asked whether she knew about it, probably expecting that she had.
After all, what kind of friend wouldn't have known about it?
"I didn't," she said again, her voice cracking and shivering with a thousand of emotions that swirled to her right now.
Oh, how stupid she'd been! How blind and determined in her stubbornness, refusing to admit what the whole world knew, what they had known and expected ever since she and Gilbert had first become friends. She had only just accused Davy of being careless, and still, what was he compared to herself? He was barely a boy, not yet in his teens, and speaking of someone he hadn't seen much of late – and what was her excuse? That she had been confused? Or that she'd been afraid to lose whatever she and Gilbert had used to have – while her own thoughtless actions had made them break their precious bond in the end?
That she had been too proud to admit she'd been wrong all along, when she still had the time to pronounce it?
"But I wasn't wrong," she protested firmly, contradicting the guilt that was beginning to overcome her so painfully. "I wasn't wrong to refuse him when I didn't know my own heart, when I could only pretend to… accept him… I was wrong about my feelings and I was wrong about my heart but I was honest with him as I only could be. I couldn't say -"
I couldn't say that I loved him back then.
"Oh, but I did," she exclaimed in a heart-wrenching cry, feeling another shiver go through her, with more tears streaming down her heated, unhealthily flushed cheeks. "I have loved him all along and was too much of a fool to notice – no, to as much as consider it! Had I listened to Phil, to Diana, to Mrs Lynde and just entertained the idea, I would have had to realise it sooner. All the longing, all the jealousy – and I still couldn't see what he really meant to me. What he always had meant."
The wind outside was howling, the rain beating furiously against the roof, and yet, as Anne kneeled by her window that night, she could hardly pay mind to any of it. Her book of revelation had been opened now and she had already read it so many times during the hours that had passed since she had first heard the dreadful news. Midnight was nearing; the tempest raged outside.
And in the east gable, a broken girl shook with sobs.
"Please, don't take him away like this," she stammered after another while, raising her eyes to the black sky before her, trying to look through the drops on the glass and the mist of her own reddened eyes. "You have saved me so many times in my life. When I was too young to know your name – when I was too lonely and chagrin to admit that I did. You've made me survive cold and hunger and disdain and led me to a household that made sure I would never have to endure those again – and I've hardly ever asked you for anything after you'd blessed me with happiness like this. But just tonight, just this once, I ask – I plead – I beg you not to end his life just yet. I don't dare to ask for a second chance with him – only that we can both get out of this nightmare safely. That he can live the life he'll choose for himself… Even if I am no longer a part of it."
She winced at the realisation the last sentence brought, but did not retrieve her words. It was, indeed, a sentence – unless Gilbert had still cared for her, something she had so strongly believed at the beginning of this horrid night but found less and less convincing as the night progressed, she had just willingly given up on her life and happiness with him.
And yet, none of it really matter.
Her peace and happiness didn't matter.
Only he did.
Anne took a deep breath and wiped her eyes before standing up abruptly as yet another thunder echoed through their land. She could not keep doing this. She couldn't just kneel and shake, cry and fear – and there wasn't a prayer that could tell any more that the one she had uttered. She couldn't sleep – she couldn't abandon her watch. She couldn't betray his trust for something as petty idle as rest.
She sighed again. If she could have it her way, she would have left her little room hours ago and fled to his own without a second thought. Oh, her reputation would have suffered, but she wouldn't have cared in the least – If it hadn't been for her concern for his own good fortune and name. Her arrival at the Blythe farm would have been a scandal on its own, if only for the resentment Gilbert's mother had shown… but what mattered was that he would find out, and soon, regardless of whether she would be let anywhere near to where he was right now.
He would have despised her for her thoughtlessness like so many other people did, and yet, he would have felt obliged to act recklessly on his own, trying to save what little would have been left of her repute – and then he would hate her even more.
No, she could not go. Even if she was right and her imagination was just playing another trick on her – even if she had been welcomed by both parents and son, it was still a risk she was not allowed to take, for both of their sakes.
She would not impose herself on him like this.
Still, she could not spend the night doing nothing, or she would soon lose her grieving mind – and as weak and despaired she now felt, she was not going to give up that easily. She would fight for him tonight – and she would fight for them as well, if he only allowed her to.
"While there's life, there is hope," she echoed after Mrs Lynde, holding onto the words that had seemed so shallow only mere hours ago. Her tired eyes shifted to her old school desk and the sheets scattered on it; the equipment she'd used while writing to Phil before her trip to Echo Lodge seemed to be waiting to be used again.
With sudden determination, Anne straightened up and walked over to the desk, a new resolution prompting her to action.
Yes, she would write.
She would write as if she would speak to him, openly and clearly, honestly and bravely.
She would tell him everything he needed to know – everything she needed to tell.
Even if he was never going to read it.