Title: Intentions

Summary: A look into the relationship between a Toran elder and a once queen. femslash

Disclamer: These two ladies belong to the wonderful Emily Rodda

Authors notes: This was written for Guardian of Atlantis who requested femslash in this fandom. I have to apologise, I'm sorry it's so late, and Sharn is a little ooc.

It was the eve of the king's 17th birthday. The city of Del was decked in colour and light, feasts were held surrounded by music and dancing. Sharn stood on a balcony of the palace, overlooking the gardens of the place she once again called home. When it became apparent that Sharn was no longer taking part in the conversation her companion lapsed into silence.

"I was so afraid we would imprison him. Not intentionally, I knew that, just that everyone's best intention would work against his freedom." She took a sip from her wine glass, spinning its stem in her finger. "It has been a year since we sent him away, a year since we sent him away to become someone we never tolled him he was. Were we cruel parents to expect so much? If we had imprisoned him within the role of king I would know the answer. But he is free, freer than I ever was."

This declaration was met with a quiet noise of affirmation. The strange mood Sharn was in confused Zeean, causing the older woman to look upon the once queen not as the pillar of strength she now was, but as the puppet she had once been. She queried as to when Sharn had learnt of her engagement to Endon. Sometimes the simplest questions can provoke the most unexpected responses.

"At the coronation. Prandine spoke to my father and informed him of his intention. I never imagined I would be queen, but if I wasn't I would be dead. Killed on the night of the invasion, like the rest of my family."

Concerned, Zeean suggested that perhaps Sharn had had enough to drink. The bleak mood the wine had brought forward in her did not suit the vibrant woman at all.

"Sharn? I suppose I am. I've spent most of my life as Sharn, haven't I? But I spent over sixteen years as Anne. I tried so hard to be Anne, worked so hard. Then suddenly I was Sharn again. Sharn, a queen and before that a noble. Better, far better that I remain Anne. Anne was hard working. Anne was useful. I supposed Sharn could be as well, but Anne already was. Sometimes I can't tell who I should be from who I am."

Silence for a moment than a question. Did she dislike being reminded of who she was, did she resent it?

"How could I resent it, Lief is my son, and what's more important is that he needs someone who knows how to run a palace. Who would be better than a queen? Not that I ever had a hand in running the palace before the invasion. No. If ever I dislike it, it is because I'm disappointed I have forgotten. But sometimes it is just so hard to remember."

Zeean watched as Sharn raised the glass to her lips and drank. The gown Sharn wore was of a simple cut and practical, but the material was fine and the hem and cuffs were embroidered. Her hair was pinned back with out a strand out of place, the very semblance of order, but her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were fever bright. The flickering lamplight freed her face from the lines hardship and worry had cast upon it. Truly she was beautiful and that made it all the more sad that the next question must be so harsh, so revealing. Did she love him? In no situation could this hurtful question ever be considered appropriate, but Zeean had to know.

"No. I did not need to. It was never required that the king love the queen or the queen love the king. We were nothing more than puppets. But Anne loved Jarred, loved him dearly, loved him deeply. I worked so hared to do so, and I almost succeeded. We were each others sole companions for over sixteen years, I held great affection towards him, and I miss him, but I could not say I ever loved him."

Zeean did not express surprise, displeasure or pity such as Sharn had expected. Instead she was silent a moment before relating how marriages were arranged in Tora, where peace not passion ruled. To find love within Tora was rare, where what was thought was shared with everyone else, and nothing could be kept secret. Love, being an emotion that takes time to grow in our hearts, was often noticed by others before those who hold it themselves. But at least outside of Tora it was given a chance, within the city it was not thought of highly, as it could cause people to act blindly and without reason. Thus it was discouraged wherever it was found. All the great Toran love stories had there roots outside of the crystal walls, and often concluded outside of them as well. Where marriages could not be foundered on love, most were planed with politics and family lines as deciding factors. If one of the participants found they could not be happy with the arrangement the marriage could be called off, unfortunately that participant's reputation would be marked from the action and they would rarely receive another offer. At this Zeean was interrupted by Sharn who had placed a hand on her arm.

"That happened to you, didn't it? You never married."

Zeean agreed that, yes that was the case.

"I'm glad you didn't. For then we could never be together. Oh, I suppose that's why you knew you could not be happy. Sometimes Zeean, your foresight still astonishes me."

Her flippant tone made Zeean wonder at how much of this Sharn would remember in the morning. She gathered the once queen into her arms and led her back inside the castle and to the chamber they shared. Toran robes were fine within the crystal city, where even the wether was regulated, but as the sun had set over Del the night had grown cold. Silently she thanked Lief. When he rescued the diamond form the Guardian in the Valley of the Lost his intention has not been to call the people of Tora into being, but to complete the belt and rid the land from the Shadow Lord, which he did. He also freed the Torans. After sixteen years of barely existing, of drifting and waiting, of yearning for warmth and touch, and in shame of how they had acted and of what they had not done. Lief had freed them all, and what's more, he had forgiven them, allowing them to return home. It could not have been his intention to find his mother a companion whom she could love, but he had. For all that Zeean would be ever grateful.

I'm not happy with the ending. I've got no excuses, I guess I should have tried harder.