Summary: Daniel thinks about the sacrifices he has made to remain with his lover. A Past Lives fic
Info: Inspired by Saladscream's 12th Century manip of Daniel at Pepe's Place
Somewhere in Europe, 12th century A.D.
I hate war.
I hate it because innocent people die, people whose only crime was to be there at the wrong time.
I hate it because it destroys families, homes and livelihoods.
I hate it because it will take my lover away from me.
He is a born warrior. When we met, I was but a lowly scholar who had never even picked up a sword. He changed that, brining me into his world so that we could be together. He said he loved me for who I was but he didn't want to see me dead because I couldn't protect myself.
And so he took me to war.
Rather ironic, wasn't it? I have more chance of dying as a warrior than as a villager and yet he thought I would be safer with him. He underestimated what the battlefields would do to my soul, as did I. All I knew, young and inexperienced as I was, was that I wanted to be with him, that I couldn't live without him.
I shouldn't have gone with him, I should have persuaded him to leave the army and become a villager like me. That way, I wouldn't know all the different sounds that men make when they're dying, sounds that his touch cannot even remove. I can hear them while I sleep; the worst are the ones who died by my hand. He says I'll get used to it in time, that I'll learn not to listen or to see. But somehow, I doubt I ever will.
At night, his arms always hold me tight, protecting me and providing me with comfort. Our lovemaking is quick and quiet whenever we have the opportunity – with an army this large, that's not very often. None of the others think our relationship is strange; to them, he is merely using me to release his needs. They tolerate me, as they do the other young men whom the warriors take gratification with, but they don't accept me. They don't accept that we love each other.
And that is why, despite the fact that I love him more than anything in the world, I cannot go with him. That, and I don't want to see our relationship die because we don't have the freedom to nourish it. If I stay, my soul will perish under the weight of war.
I straighten up; it is time. Going back into the keep, I rid myself of the hated armour and sword, and clothe myself in a simple linen tunic and leggings. I am going to be a simple villager again. Whether he joins me or not is up to him.
I am nearly fifty steps from the keep when I hear him call my name. My feet automatically stop and my heart pounds louder at the sound of his voice. The merest sound, the smallest look, can often send desire coursing through me but now is not one of those times. Now, I am simply afraid of saying goodbye.
"You're leaving." The tone is bewildered, this I can tell without turning around.
"I told you I couldn't stay." I need to leave while I still have a soul, and I told him this last night.
"But I need you," he continues as he catches up to me. A hand turns my face towards him and I can't help looking into those deep brown eyes. "I love you."
"I know. And I love you too." It's breaking my heart to do this but I have to because the alternative is worse.
"Then why leave?" His hurt eyes search mine for an answer.
"Because I'm dying inside. I need to leave and find somewhere where there's no wars, just peace, for awhile." It may take a lot of travelling to get there but I'm sure I'll be able to find someplace. "I would like for you to come with me."
"You know I can't."
I nod; I'm not going to beg. I swallow past the lump in my throat and manage a feeble smile. "Then this is goodbye." I lean in and brush my lips over his before walking away.
I don't get more than five paces before he's pulling me back. "I can't... I won't let you leave!" he states forcefully.
"You don't have a choice. I can't stay. I don't want to kill any more, not even to be with you."
One hand cups my cheek as he stares into my eyes for a long moment. Then he looks away, his expression betraying an internal battle. "I've been selfish, haven't I? You were never meant to be a warrior and yet I forced you to become one so that I could keep you with me." His eyes come back to mine. "I'm truly sorry."
"I know." I put my hand over his and then turn my head slightly to kiss his palm. "But I have to leave. I don't want to but..." I trail off, unable to think of a new way of expressing my feelings.
His expression becomes one of resolution. "Then I'm going with you," he decides.
"But the battle..."
"There are plenty of other men who can fight." His eyes fill with love as he continues to stare at me. "You are my life. If you left me, I don't think I would be able to fight anymore."
I think I'm in shock. "I don't want you to give up your life for me."
"Why not? You gave up yours for me," he points out. "Turn about is fair play."
My heart swells with joy at what he is promising. We will remain together and there will be no more wars for us. "Then hurry. The sooner we go, the better."
"Wait right here." He kisses my forehead and then hurries away, leaving me standing alone on the dirt road. Less than ten minutes later, he is back, clothed in a simple brown outfit, his cloak flowing out behind him. "Ready?" he askes as he draws close.
"Definitely." A genuine smile graces my lips as we set out on our new life together. I still hate war but at least it hasn't claimed the man I love. And we will show each other how grateful we are for that for the rest of our lives.
To view the manip this fic is based on, visit:
Next: The Choices We Make