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PostPosted: Fri May 13, '11, 2:32 am
The Best Days of Their Lives

As the days passed, Rune and Alys' relationship proved to be more than just physical attraction. While the couple Rune was making fun of on the day he first kissed Alys had fallen apart in just a few days, Rune's love affair with Alys became stronger each day. There was a strong bond connecting them, a bond that would keep Alys and Rune connected through all their lives. Much more than just romantic love, Alys and Rune developed deep respect and admiration for each other.

Their relationship was not very romantic. People would see them chatting, playing tricks on the other people from their group or performing activities together much more often than kissing or staying together like lovers do. Their relationship didn't have much physical intimacy; it was more a matter of spiritual intimacy. Though they knew each other for just a few months, they felt like they have known each other forever.

Rune acted as a guiding light for Alys, making her mature very fast. Alys had had many superficial relationships in the past with boys, but those relationships had only been cheap thrills, with no deeper meaning. She would feel attracted to some random guy and they would stay together until she got tired of the guy or the guy got tired of her, whatever happened first. With Rune, things were completely different. She could never get tired of him, but not because she was in love with him. She could never get tired of him because he made her feel like a woman, not just a silly teenager; he pushed her limits and encouraged her personal growth. That he was handsome, hot, had a warm embrace and a thrilling kiss was just a bonus on their relationship.

Rune was enjoying his relationship with Alys. Though he was almost ten years older than the girl, she was mature enough to provide him much more than sweet lips to kiss and a soft body to hold. She was intelligent, strong, independent, courageous, good-humored and responsible. Rune valued all those traits in Alys' personality. Pretty girls, he had already had lots of them in his life, so these traits were what made Alys special in his eyes. He, who had always been so responsible, so much in charge of his own life, let himself enjoy the relationship a bit as a common man, with no worries, with no future plans, just for the sake of having a good time with a nice girl.

But he was no common man and, after four months of the relationship, Rune had to make a hard decision. He started receiving visits from mysterious men in white robes, pressing him to make a decision. He tried to keep those visits secret to members of the hunting group, especially to Alys, but the pressure had increased in the last weeks and the mysterious visitors threatened to force Alys out of his way if he stayed hanging around with the hunter's group. That meant he had to resume his studies as a Lutz in Esper Mansion, back in Dezoris. That also meant leaving Alys for a while, maybe a long while. Besides that, as much as he loved Alys, he felt their relationship was also harming her future. He knew that she would do better leaving that independent hunter group and joining the hunter's guild, where she would study and become a professional hunter. The independent hunter group was meant for rogues, unsuccessful ex-hunters and people too young to enroll the academy, like Shun or Lynn, but not for Alys. Alys was not only old enough to enroll the academy but she also had what it took to be a professional hunter: she was responsible, serious, studious, a hard-worker and determined to succeed in her life. He could feel she was ready for great achievements in her life. As Rune could not join the hunter's guild, his presence would only encourage Alys to remain in the group instead of seeking greener pastures.

It was a painful dilemma. Rune had to choose between his immediate happiness with Alys and their future. His mind demanded him to choose the latter, while his heart asked him to choose the first. There was no compromise solution. There was always a possibility that he could meet her later, after his training was complete, but he knew it would be, most probably, too late. Although their feelings were very intense, they had known each other for just a few months and their feelings would not survive several years of absence. After a lot of inner struggle, Rune made his decision.

An hour before the sunset, Rune went to Alys' tent. His presence surprised the girl, as she was not expecting him before the sunset. Alys smiled at him and blushed a bit. Rune was feeling guilty of having to tell the girl his decision, but he couldn't postpone it further.

"Rune! Oh, my dear..." Alys was overjoyed at the sight of her boyfriend.

"Oh, Alys, I have some news to tell you." Rune's tone was very serious and it raised some suspicions for Alys.

"What happened, my love?"

"Well, I have a very important thing to tell you, my dear. Could you please come with me, Alys? I'd like to have this conversation outside. The afternoon is so pleasant today."

Alys was very anxious, but she complied with his request. She had realized something was wrong. Rune couldn't hide he had something very serious to tell her. His hesitation only made Alys feel worse. She was a bit pessimistic about life and her mind insisted on considering only alternatives that would be bad for her, increasing her anxiety.

The couple walked in silence, hand in hand, through the arid Motavian plains. Rune lead the way to a small mount, surprisingly covered with grass and some sparse vegetation. There was also some wildlife, especially birds. After climbing up the mount, Rune sat on the grass and motioned for Alys to sit in front of him. The sun was starting to set and there were some dark clouds in the sky a few miles away. As she sat, he took her hands into his hands. Alys was so anxious that she decided to break the silence.

"Tell me, Rune, what happened"

"I'll have to leave you for a while..." Rune was clearly embarrassed by the situation.

"A while? How much?"

"A long while, I fear. Years." Rune looked down, as he couldn't stand the stare of his loved one.

"Years?" Her voice was shaking.

"Remember, Alys, I've told you one day I'd have to resume my studies..." Rune sighed deeply. "The time has come."

"So you are leaving me?"

"Yes, I am."

It was Alys' turn to look down. She was trying to digest the news. She was less than happy with the prospects of being left alone. She loved Rune dearly and though she was not a passionate girl, her love was true. Alys bit her lower lip.

"Are you going to visit me once in a while?"

"Sorry, dear, I just can't. I'll be taken to Dezoris." Rune shook his head. He wanted to avoid Alys stare because he knew she would cry.

"Dezoris? Is it possible?" Alys was partly surprised by the possibility of going to Dezoris, partly shocked by learning Rune would not be able to visit her.

"Yes, Alys. I can't explain much, but, please, Alys, trust me." Rune touched Alys' chin and raised her head in order to stare deeply at her eyes. "I would never want to leave you like that, but I have to go and fulfill my destiny. It is not something I can choose. It is just beyond me. I have to do it for the safety of Algol!"

Rune stared down again. He doubted his words would have a positive impact on Alys. He expected her to start crying sooner or later. He wanted to cry as well. Though his love for Alys was mature, it was hard to think he might never see her again. However, to his surprise, Alys didn`t break down in tears. She stayed in silence for some seconds and then turned to him.

"When will you be leaving? Today?"

"Tomorrow morning." Rune said so with a voice so faint that he wondered whether Alys had heard him or not.

"So I guess it is a goodbye." Alys' voice had some traces of sadness, but she was mostly resigned, to Rune's surprise.

"Well, I think it is. But before going, I'd like to make our last night together special." Rune grinned.

"What do you have in mind?" Alys nonchalant response made Rune frown, but there was no going back, so he had to risk it.

"Alys, my dear Alys. I wish I could stay, but that is not the case. As I really have to go, I'd like to go with a very special memory of our last night together. A memory so dear that will give me strength to face whatever fate has reserved to me. A memory to make me always remember you with happiness and love."

Alys was confused by Rune's words. "So what do you have in mind?"

"Oh, Alys, we've never been intimate."

Rune was anxious, waiting for an answer from his gorgeous girlfriend, but she frowned. "Oh, Rune, I didn't expect that coming from you. Is it really what you have in mind?"

"I thought it would provide us a beautiful memory of love, so we can keep it in our hearts while we are apart. Am I wrong?" Rune was visibly annoyed. He expected a positive answer.

"I think it would be a nice memory, but not when we have never done that before and you are going to leave me tomorrow. Morality apart, it still sounds fishy. If you had asked me for more intimacy before, I'd gladly accept, but as you didn't, it was really terrible timing to ask me now." Alys was very serious and sure of her arguments.

"But Alys, we have done that before with other people we will never see again and it was still all right. Why should we refrain from doing that when we love each other so much?" Rune's tone while reasoning didn't help him much.

"Because I've never done it before." Alys voice faded away and her cheeks became red.

"What?" Rune yelled pathetically, surprised.

"I have never done it before! What is the problem?" Alys answered, irritated.

"No, no problems. But it changes things a bit, doesn't it?" The esper was embarrassed.

"Look at me, Rune. I'm no fool and I'm not a romantic either to believe I should save myself for the right guy. I don't believe there is even a right guy. You know me well to know that I don't have the intention of settling down in the future. I'm not ruling out a marriage or even having children, but even if it happens, it will have to be my way. My husband will have to cope with my rhythm or hit the road. You know there is nothing I value more than my freedom." Alys' tone was a bit aggressive because she didn't want to look fragile to Rune.

Rune reasoned for a few seconds and then answered. "I'm aware of what you just told me now. I thought your independence would let you share a magic moment with the man you love, no regrets, no hard feelings, just for the sake of being true to your own feelings."

"I am being true to my feelings. To tell you the truth, Rune, I would survive having sex with you and being abandoned the next day. Many women sillier than me face that kind of situation every day and most come out of the experience unscathed. But my feelings tell me that, though meaningless as my first time will be, I wanted it to be with someone who would, at least, kiss me in the next day and want to do it again."

Alys had her arms crossed. She was trying to not break down in tears. She had not seen it coming. She could live with the idea of growing apart with Rune, but not now, when everything was perfect. Not now, in the best days of her life. Her feelings told her to throw herself in Rune's arms and do whatever he demanded from her, but her pride would not allow her to do so.

Rune stretched his arm and started gently caressing Alys' cheek. Alys was deeply moved by Rune's caress, so she pushed his hand from her face.

"That is not fair of you, Rune."

"Alys, please, listen to me." Rune leaned his body towards Alys and stared into her eyes. "It is not that I don't want to kiss you tomorrow. I just can't stay. Rest assured, my love, I'll be thinking of you while I'm there. It is not a farewell; it is just 'see you later'." Rune grinned.

"But will you ever come back?" Alys said with a shaken voice.

"I'll try. I swear I'll try." Rune kissed Alys' hand.

"And what if you don't? Am I supposed to wait for you? If you never return, I'll have spent all my life uselessly." Alys looked down and shook her head. "No, Rune, it must not be this way. If we cannot be together, it is better that we break up now."

"No, Alys… Alys!" Rune gently pushed Alys' chin, forcing her to stare into his eyes. "Alys, you have got it all wrong. Whatever we do today must not determine our future actions. If I return next week and you have already moved on, it is all right. I just wanted you and me to be true to our own feelings today, no future fears. We can't change the past; we can't control the future, my love. All we can do is build the present according to our true feelings. This day will last a thousand years, Alys, if you want it to. "

Rune's words had shaken Alys. She knew he was right, at least her feelings told her so. By not considering the future, everything she wanted was to throw herself in her lover's arms and make love until the dawn. Who cared about the future? If she was condemned to be sad in the next day, why not to enjoy the best she could that night. Why not do it with someone she really loved? If not him, she would do it with someone else, anyway. At least Rune was parting because he needed to go, not because he had stopped loving her. Rune was right, the best thing she could do was to enjoy the night with him and have a beautiful memory in her mind, to give her strength to overcome the feelings of loneliness in the future, to paint a beautiful picture in the album of memories of her life. She couldn't resist anymore, so she threw herself in her lover's arms.

"You are right, my love. Let's do it. It is the best we can do now." She had tears in her eyes, as she could not hold them back anymore.

Rune stood up. He had a beautiful smile on his face. "Don't cry, Alys, I want to make you the happiest girl in the word tonight. Let's go."

Alys had a suggestive grin in her face. "Do you promise to be gentle?"

Rune laughed. "Am I not a gentleman?"

The couple laughed. Rune helped Alys up and they walked hand in hand, chasing rainbows under the kaleidoscopic lights of the sunset in the horizon and the sweet song of the nightingales. Great Light blessed to the most beautiful moment of their lives with touches of Mother Nature's poetry. If there were witnesses to the scene, they would swear they could see Great Light itself smiling in the sky.
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