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PostPosted: Fri May 13, '11, 2:44 am
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Real Love

After their less-than-romantic meeting, Alys and Rune didn't really have the time to chat. They didn't want to discuss their past relationship in front of Chaz, especially Alys, after the disastrous Rune and Chaz meeting. So they made their way to Krup avoiding the touchy subject. It was only in Krup, at the local inn, that Alys and Rune were able to have a private chat.

"Alys..." Rune stopped Alys as she was directing herself to her room.

"Yes?" Alys turned back to her former lover.

"Can we... have a talk?" Rune held the back of his head, embarrassed.

"Sure, Rune," Alys answered coldly.

Rune frowned at the emotionless answer of his former lover. He was expecting a warmer welcome from the woman who had been his lover ten years ago, but Alys didn't seem to be particularly moved by his reappearance. Alys remained standing by her room's door, waiting for Rune to say something. The Esper hesitated, considering the alternatives.

"How are the things going?" Rune risked a non-committal question to break the ice.

"I think we have already put you on par with the situation. Obviously, you know more than us about the enemy we are facing. I don't think there is anything else I could add," Alys said so, running her fingers through her hair, in a nonchalant way, trying to avoid Rune's stare.

"Oh, Alys, that was not what I asked you," Rune tried to stare into the brunette's blue eyes and grinned. "I want to know how things are going with you."

Touched by the personal question, Alys stared at Rune's eyes, but tried to keep her cool air about herself. "I've been through the hell to become the hunter I am today and now you know where I am."

"Right," Rune was feeling uncomfortable. He didn't know whether her last remark was a stab at him for his departing ten years ago or if her careless tone really meant he didn't mean anything for her. Both alternatives were not encouraging. He tried to change the tone of the conversation. "And this boy, Shorty? Did you develop a taste for young boys?"

"Cut it out, Rune! I've saved this boy from a miserable life and I'm trying to give him a future. The only thing I want from him is that he starts walking on his own legs and become a responsible hunter."

Alys crossed her arms and her countenance showed Rune how displeased she was with his silly joke. Rune felt bad for getting Alys angry and felt even worse for not recognizing how much Alys had matured as a woman in the past ten years. She had not only become one of the most respected hunters of Motavia, but she was also helping a poor boy out of compassion. During his training as an Esper and a future Lutz, Rune not only learned powers of magic and techniques, but also learned many things about how becoming a wise leader. Even so, he wasn't as compassionate as his former lover was; he would most probably ditch the poor hot-headed boy with his own arrogance. Rune felt shadowed by Alys' greatness and wished he had not met her. Lost in his shame, Rune was surprised about Alys question.

"And how are the things going on your side, Rune?"

"Well..." The blue-haired Esper hesitated. He was unsure about what he should say. But, as the beginning of his conversation with Alys had already been a disaster, he decided to speak his mind out. "In all those ten years of absence, I've never forgotten you, Alys."

Alys was a bit surprised by Rune's frankness, but she kept her cool tone. "I've never forgotten you as well, Rune, though I believed I'd never see you again."

Rune suddenly had a grin on his face. He didn't know whether it came only from his pride or from a true feeling for the hunter, but Rune felt a sense of relief when hearing the last Alys' words. He would feel truly bad if Alys had already forgotten about him. He stretched his right arm to touch Alys' face. "Oh, Alys, I missed you so much. Now we can resume our story..."

Alys pushed his hand out of her face and shook her head. "No, Rune, we can't."

Rune was shocked by the negative reaction. "Why not?"

"It is not the same thing anymore."

Upset by Alys' reaction, Rune started being aggressive towards the hunter. "So you have never loved me, huh?"

"Don't be silly, Rune. Of course I loved you. Don't you remember what I have done for you, just to let you leave with a beautiful memory in your mind?" Alys was angry at Rune's game.

"So, what is it? Is there someone else? Have you thrown yourself in the arms of other men, forgetting about our love?"

"There is no one else, Rune, but what I have done is none of your business. Have you forgotten your words on that day? Have you forgotten that I was not supposed to keep waiting for you? Though I admit the only man I truly had deep feelings for was you, I was not waiting for you anymore. You disappeared for ten years. I had to live my life, so I moved on." Rune was stunned by Alys' determination.

"So what happened? If you still love me and I still love you, why can't we be together?" Rune became enraged and started screaming.

"Rune, please, be reasonable! Cool off! What did you expect? That ten years would not have made any difference? That you would come back and find the same silly teenager you had left sleeping in the grass after you had possessed her? Rune, ten years is a long time! A lot of water has run under the bridge during your absence. You are not the same man who had left me that day and I'm not the same woman as well. You can't just come as if nothing had happened and pretend we are at the same point we were before you had left. You don't know me anymore; that Alys of the past doesn't exist anymore. The same thing applies to you. I must rediscover you. I must learn who the new Rune is. I must fall in love with this new Rune. And you must do the same to me."

Alys closed her eyes. It was not easy to be rational while being stared by the hungry-for-love eyes of the only man she had really loved in her whole life, but she had to. All the other men, before and after Rune had been just passion, physical attraction. Even so, as hard as it was, the hunter vixen had to stand for her resolution. It was not a good time for making mistakes.

Rune let out a deep sigh. He was ashamed of himself. Alys was right, completely right. He was playing the foolish teenager. Obviously, Alys must have changed a lot in ten years and, although he believed the changes were for better, he still had to know this new Alys to be sure if he still loved her. The problem was that the sight of his former lover had an impact much larger than he expected, so it was hard to think rationally. Everything he wished for was to have her in his arms once more. Life had been very lonely in Dezoris and he longed for a heartwarming love to make him feel happy like he used to be while in Motavia, with Alys. After some seconds considering the options, Rune tried a compromise solution.

"Alys, you are right, completely right. We must take our time to know ourselves better. But we are both adults, Alys. Why can't we revive the same good experiences we had in the past while trying to know ourselves better? Though you are not exactly the same Alys I've left behind ten years ago, I guess a lot is the same. I expect you to be more mature, more responsible, wiser; an improved Alys. If I already loved the old Alys, why wouldn't I love the new and improved Alys? Let's let our feelings speak for us, with no future fears, like we did ten years ago."

Rune had some hints of despair in his eyes that made Alys shiver. It was hard to ignore the plea of the man she had once loved. It was even harder to reject his plea, when her feelings were telling her to accept his plea. Even his reasoning was right; there was nothing hindering their relationship to resume. They were mature enough to resume a pleasant and non-committal relationship until they were reassured of their love. If it never happened, they could break up in a friendly manner, no hard feelings. However, they were living in exceptional times, so the hunter had an extra reason for rejecting the Esper's plea.

"I agree with you, Rune. But not now, please. We are facing a great crisis and I'm sure you know better than me the extent of Zio's threat. As much as my heart melts to the idea of being kissed and loved by you again like you promised me you would do ten years ago, it could be a dangerous distraction to our main goal now, which is to avert this crisis that is reaching global proportions. It is not really time to think of ourselves, but to think about saving this world. When we are done with this Zio and whoever may be behind him, we may continue where we left off. But for now, let's pretend nothing had ever happened between us." Alys turned her back on Rune and entered her room. "Have a good night, Rune."

Alys slammed the door before Rune could say anything. She was right once more, but there was something he needed to tell her. As much as he could try, he would never be able to pretend nothing had happened between them. He would always be moved by Alys' presence.

As the days passed by, Alys tried to avoid Rune, making Rune feel depressed. So depressed that, coupled with the fact that he was always arguing with Chaz, he questioned his presence in the group. Part of his silly discussions with Chaz originated from his frustration of not being able to be with Alys, so he decided to leave the group just a few days after. He felt his presence was the cause of disagreements inside the group and that the group would do better with him. Besides, he could not stand Alys avoiding him and he felt his suppressed feelings for her were growing to an uncontrollable point. When the first opportunity to leave the group presented itself, Rune left without giving any further reason.

His disappearance made Alys feel a bit uneasy, but as she had her mission as a higher priority, she tried not to think too much about Rune. She focused on the increasing dangers of her journey, and, only after being wounded by the Black Energy Wave when trying to protect Chaz, Alys started missing Rune again. She knew Rune would be able to come up with a solution to break Zio's magical barrier. While sick, she gave thought to her relationship with Rune and she realized she still loved him; she loved him even more than before. Only, it was too late. She could feel she was dying and beyond help. She was certain she would never have Rune holding her in a loving embrace again, she would never taste his lips anymore, she would never make love with the man she loved so dearly. All the good memories would only lie in the past. Yet, she still wanted something from him.

Though she would never be able to accomplish the mission she was meant for, to bring peace to Algol again, she knew Chaz could take her spot and lead the mission from now on. The boy had matured enough as a hunter and as a man to be able to handle any dangerous situation in the future. However, the boy still needed someone to guide him, as he was still an impulsive teenager. There is no one more fit to that task than Rune. People often made fun of Alys for acting like a mother for Chaz, now she would ask Rune to act like a father to him. That thought made her smile, despite her being hopeless. If she was not able to live a real love with Rune, at least that idea gave their relationship a sense of closure. She would have been the mother of Rune's son. She didn't even sacrificed her freedom for that.

When Chaz returned with Rune, Alys was almost dead. She didn't have the time to say everything she had to say, but she was able to assure Chaz he would be fine. She was also able to make Rune understand what she wanted from him. She passed away feeling sure that he had understood her last desire. However, she didn't have the time to say her last words for Rune. It was not needed anyway. By the look in his eyes during her parting words, Alys died in peace because she knew he really loved her.

Despite being the one who had more reasons to cry over Alys' death, Rune managed to hold back his tears. He was aware that Alys would not be there anymore to give her love, her kisses, herself completely to him. The only thing that remained was the memories of her love. It was not the perfect situation, but, given the tragic reality he was powerless to change, at least, by the look in her eyes, Rune knew she died loving him. It was enough to give him the strength to carry on for it was the answer for the question that tormented his mind. And the answer was real love.

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The story ends here, but I'm offering a happy ending for those who love this couple very much and want to see them living their love for the rest of their lives. If you want this happy ending, just read the next chapter. If there is no next chapter, be patient; in a week, there will be.
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