Only Everything Author's Notes:
This is manga continuity, after all the Nightmare mess has been dealt with. Basically, a Nightmare-demon possesses Rosalia, and Lumiale, Oscar, and Olivie end up going into the Nightmare to save her--Lumiale is pulled in against his will and thrown into a coma, Oscar plunges in physically, and Olivie goes in via dreams. Clavis spends every moment he can searching for Lumiale's spirit/consciousness and ends up in a foul mood because of lack of sleep, yet more evidence for fans of their pairing, which I am--they and AriosxAngelique Collet are my favorite couples in Angelique. For more details on the Nightmare plot, go read Marsifa's translations.
This is a Clavis POV. It is stand-alone, but as he and Lumi having been bugging me lately, there may be (probably will be) more to come. Enjoy! And feedback is very much appreciated.
He's come back. The Nightmare has been defeated, and he and the other two are back. A bit thinner, in his case, but none the worse for wear. Most wouldn't even have noticed the change; his robes are hardly revealing, but I can see it in the faintly more prominent set of his cheekbones, and in his forearms when he plays his harp--a borrowed instrument, as the Guardian of Steel is repairing the one that was broken.
I wonder if I would ever have noticed how fragile he can be if my seeing orb hadn't been constantly clouded with the vision of those broken harp strings when I'd been looking for where his spirit had been taken.
I don't intend to tell him how long and hard I searched, the extremes to which I pushed myself trying to find him. The only ones that know are the Guardian of Wind and the golden-haired Queen Candidate, and even they know better than to try my temper by broaching the subject to my harpist.
...My harpist. Did I just think of him like that? No. I push the thought away, bury it in the wasted soil of my heart.
In any case, I'm not going to tell him. He doesn't need to continue to play for me, particularly now, when he would probably benefit from rest--but I'm not going to tell him that, either. It's not because I'm selfish; he is a grown man, and fully capable of deciding whether or not he wishes to get out of bed. Nor will I order him not to come until he's recovered. I told him once, years ago, when he first began playing for me, that it was not necessary; I'm not going to repeat myself. We both know he can stop coming any time he'd like.
At that time, when I'd first spurned his music and his company, he'd only given me a sweet smile and said it was his wish. I think he must have been lonely; he relates to few of the others, certainly back then, when he was new come to the Flying City. Why he chose me of all people to approach, I didn't know then and certainly don't know now, but he has never questioned my silence, so I do not question his. And, like his silence, like his visits to play for me, his smile has remained unchanged by the years, by the faces of new Guardians coming to the halls around us. Unchanged by my silence.
He is unchanged by me, as I...
I realize with displeasure that I cannot, in all honesty, say the same of myself. The sleepless nights I so recently endured are testament to that. The attention I've paid to every nuance of his expression, every strand of his hair, every shade of blue in his eyes; it far exceeds what I show the rest of the Guardians or the Candidates, whose names I've barely bothered to learn.
I could say that it is simply because he visits me so often that I know his face so well, but that does not explain my strain, nor the fact that, the last time I knew a man so well, I certainly did not memorize his face when he was occupied and could not see my eyes tracing his features. No, the way I stare, and the way he smiles, they remind me of someone else, someone far more painful to remember.
I banish that thought as well. While I could imagine the outrage and indignation on our vaunted Light Guardian's face if he knew of the thoughts I entertained, could practically hear the accusations of, "First a Queen Candidate, now a fellow Guardian?!" and while there was a certain dark amusement in it... No, I will not think of this, not out of concern for what Julious might think, but because I will not allow another to touch my heart in that way, ever again.
I will not think of the sound of his soothing music, or the way he has never once questioned me or my silence.
I will not think of his brow, still and cold beneath my hand, or the first bone-wrenching snap as his consciousness was torn away from all of us, from me.
I will not think of my anger at the fact that he'd allowed himself to be taken, or the cold iciness that had enveloped me at the thought of him never awakening, lying in that unmoving, unnatural sleep until death withered him away to nothing.
I will not think of his elegant fingers caressing his instrument, or the graceful arch of his neck, lined by his hair as he bends his head to his task.
And I most certainly will not think of his gentle laughter, or his soft, tender smile.
I will not.
He is only a fellow Guardian, only a young man who once took it into his head to play for me and has never rid himself of the habit. Only a friend. Only my one solace.
Only my--no, a, only a harpist.
...Only all of that...
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