Just then the bell above the front door chimed, indicating someone had just walked through. You instantly put on a sincere smile (mostly due to the fact that someone had actually interrupted your humdrum day) to greet the group now walking through the door.
"Welcome to the Grand Chokmah Inn," you greeted with a small bow as they made their way to the front desk. "How may I help you?"
"We'd like to stay the night if you have room," the red-headed boy (who seemed to be the 'leader') requested.
"Of course!" you replied. You quickly browsed the group, noticing they seemed a bit rag-tag, before doing a quick calculation and continuing. "It will be 60 Gald per person per night, so that comes to a grand total of 360 Gald." The 'leader' nodded before digging in his pocket and handing you the money. You graciously took it and added it mentally to the 4000 you had already calculated in the drawer. You pushed it closed again before looking back up with a smile. "Thank you very much! Your rooms are up the stairs then at the end of the hallway on the right."
"Thanks!" he said before heading off. You nodded before smiling at the rest of the group as they passed: a brunette, a blond, a young girl, an older gentleman, then...
You could've sworn your heart stopped as your eyes fell upon the last member of the group.
His eyes were a gorgeous shade of blue and his hair was a spectacularly shining blond, his handsome smile only surpassed by the rest of his beautiful face.
His smile stayed on as he passed, his eyes giving a small wink before he continued forward and up the stairs. You could only stare after him, your heart pounding heavily in your chest.
That...I think that was Guy!
Guy chuckled to himself, earning a strange look from Luke as the latter opened the door to their room. "What're you so happy about?" Luke asked his servant friend.
"Oh nothing," he replied, holding his chin with one of his hands. "Just that I thought the clerk was rather cute."
Luke blinked before opening the door the rest of the way and stepping in. "I thought you didn't like women?"
"On the contrary! I love women! They just scare me, that's all."
"Hmm...I do believe Guy has found himself a crush!" Jade teased, pushing his glasses further up his nose.
Guy blushed before defending himself. "It's nothing like that! I just said she was cute!"
"If you say so!" Jade shrugged before exiting the room, leaving Luke and Guy to share a confused glance. They turned towards the door as someone else walked in, tossing a small bag at Luke.
He blinked down at it before looking back up to Tear. "What's this?"
"It's money, along with a list of provisions we need," she responded, turning back towards the hallway but looking over her shoulder in case he had something more to say.
"Do you think you can handle it?"
"Of course I can!" he rebuttaled, attaching the pouch to his waistband.
"Don't worry about it, I'll come with you," Guy offered, standing up from his brief seat on his bed.
"I'll come with you too, Master!"
Luke sighed at the small green Cheagle before nodding his head. "Alright, alright..."
"Hurry! In here!" Your little heart pounded as you were herded into a nearby room, her frantic voice only serving to make you less at ease. "Okay you two, hide in here." She ushered the two of you into the empty fireplace before you looked up at her.
She shook her head. "It's for the best, Lina. You must keep quiet."
She turned to her younger brother and shook her head again. "You are the heir to the House of Gardios... You must stay alive, Gailardia!" Suddenly there was a harsh pounding on the door, and deep voices demanding that someone open it up.
"Mary, don't do this!" her brother pleaded, wrapping his young arms around you and holding you close as tears began to form in your eyes.
"You must live...Please live!" she told him, her eyes widening in shock as the door was broken down. She quickly whipped around, only to see 3 armor-clad soldiers appear; despite the situation, she stood her ground. "Don't come any closer! Leave this place at once, serf!"
"If you defy Duke Fabre, you shall be killed!" one of the soldiers bellowed. Mary glared before spitting in his face, causing him to growl as he wiped his recently abused eye. "You'll pay for that, wench!" He drew his sword and charged at the elder Gardios, only to have it sink into the soft flesh of a maid that had jumped in the way.
"Tabitha!" Mary cried as she knelt down, gently resting her hand on the now-dead maid. "No..."
"Kill anyone that opposes us!" the soldier called to the other two. "Men, women, children, leave no one alive!"
"Mary, no!" The warmth that encompassed you was quickly gone, and you only watched in a daze as your friend jumped from your hiding spot and ran towards his sister.
Mary gasped as she heard his voice, quickly turning around to dive after him. "Guy, watch out!"
Tears fell freely from your eyes and the rest seemed to happen in slow motion. Mary dove towards Guy, tackling him to safety...only to get stabbed in the back once she landed. Other maids threw themselves at the attackers, only to get killed one by one as well. You let out a small squeak, too stunned to scream or move. Soon enough, the soldiers deemed the room empty and moved on, leaving you by yourself.
All you could do was stare at the pile of bodies in the middle of the room, the fountains of blood soaking up into the carpet. Your eyes landed on your still friend, his eyes closed as the rest of his body lay still beneath the other dead members of the household.
Duke Fabre was the one responsible for this massacre. You lost your family, your friends...you lost Guy. You had no reason to live. And yet, through your cowardice...
You were the only one left alive...
You stared down at the counter, a small tear falling from your eye as you recounted the memory. Everyone died...Guy died. And it's all my fault; I was supposed to be there with him, keep him there with me and keep him safe. But I was too scared, too scared to protect him. And now...he's...
Your eyes suddenly flashed to the stairs as you saw two people and a floating animal coming down. The red-head lifted an arm as a good-bye gesture before he spoke. "We're heading out for a bit; we'll be back in a little while!"
You should've made some sort of affirmation, but you were still too emotional from your recent flashback so all you could do was stare dumbly. Your eyes drifted to the man following him, seeing it was the blond before. Surely it couldn't be Guy, could it? You saw him die!
"Take care, we'll see you soon!" he told you with a smile, his beautiful eyes locking with yours. You felt your heart begin to pound, wondering what the strange connection you felt was. His smile slowly faded as he came to a stop, his eyes never once leaving yours; it was as though he was feeling the strange connection too. You shifted uncomfortably, looking to the side to avoid his questioning gaze.
"Guy! What's wrong, you coming?"
Your heart froze and a look of surprise crossed your face.
You could feel him still looking at you a brief moment before he responded. "Yeah, I'm coming!" It was another moment before you heard his footsteps walk out the door, leaving you by yourself in the foyer. It was then that you looked towards the door, his smile and confused expression still stuck in your mind. He...called him Guy... That's got to be coincidence, it can't--- Your thoughts trailed off as you gasped, your mind suddenly flashing to the pendant he wore around his neck.
"You're...giving it to me?" You nodded with a smile, taking his hands and forcing the trinket into them before you closed them again. "But...Your mother gave it to you..."
"And now I'm giving it to you! Besides...Tabitha says I'm not s'posed to wear jewelry while we're working. So I want you to have it!"
A bright smile came to the young blonde's face as he eagerly attached the necklace around his neck. "Thank you, Lina! I'll never take it off!" Your young face blushed lightly as you looked shyly to the side, suddenly feeling very anxious. Those feelings went away though as you felt him lightly push you on the shoulder. "You're it!" You looked up at him, only to hear him giggle as he quickly dashed away.
All thoughts of nervousness vanished from your naive mind, instead replaced by happiness and laughter as you chased your young count friend down the long empty hall.
That necklace he was wearing...it was incredibly similar to the one you had given Guy all those years ago. Could it really be that coincidental? This guy looks the same, has the necklace, has the same name... But it couldn't be him; he was slaughtered by Duke Fabre along with the rest of them!
You closed your eyes and swallowed over the lump forming in your throat. It had been so long since you last thought about the massacre; given you thought about Guy everyday, but those were more along the happier thoughts. Deciding you didn't want to give you hopes up that he may actually be alive, you dropped the subject, figuring there must be many medallions like that and surely a blond-haired, blue-eyed male would have one. Well gee, when I put it like that... No! Can't think that. Guy... Guy is gone. And he has been for 15 years. You sighed to yourself and rubbed your face before pushing yourself to a stand. You looked around the foyer, realizing it was actually rather unkempt considering all the free time you always had. "Well...might as well do something to take my mind off this..."
And so you did what you could: sweeping the floors, dusting the furniture...typical house-cleaning that you hadn't done in awhile. You looked around at the common room, noticing books that had been sitting there for who knows how long. You picked up the numerous titles and dusted off the table they were sitting on before you brought them over to the bookshelf, looking up at the stored books and realizing how horribly out of order they were. You sighed to yourself and set the books in your hand down, reaching up and pulling out random books so you could begin to alphabetize them.
Yes. You were bored.
You got caught up in your work, however, so you weren't able to hear the bell when the door opened. Instead you continued with your monotonous duty, picking up a book from the left and realizing it had to go on the top shelf. You stood on your tip-toes and reached...but were unable to slide the book in its place. You sighed to yourself as you looked down, realizing there wasn't much to do but stand on the shelf itself. Figuring that was the best course of action for the moment, you did so, one hand holding onto a shelf above you and one foot stepping on the 2nd shelf from the ground, your occupied hand reaching up to try and put the book back.
Unfortunately it still didn't work, and your clever scheme only served to make you lose your balance. You gave a small cry as you lost your grip, feeling yourself tilt backwards as you fell from the shelf. However, rather than land on the hard ground like you were expecting, you felt as strong arms caught you mid-fall. You blinked, stopped in a state of confusion before you looked above you, seeing a pair of dazzling green eyes staring back. "Whoa, that was close. Are you alright?"
You breathed a sigh of relief as you got your composure back, moving to stand up as he helped push you back up. "Yeah, I'm alright. Thanks for that," you replied, flashing a closed-eye smile.
"Not a problem. So what were you doing?" he asked, taking the book that had fallen and putting it on the top shelf where it belonged; luckily it seemed he caught on to your organization method.
"Oh! I was just...cleaning. I've been cleaning my whole life so it's just something I do I guess..."
"Huh...I see. Well try to be more careful, alright?"
"I will," you replied with a bow. "Thanks again...uh...?"
"Luke," he introduced, extending a hand towards you for you to shake. "Luke fon Fabre."
You froze after your hand came into contact with his. "F-Fabre? As in...the son of Duke Fabre from Kimlasca?"
He laughed shyly. "That's me!" Your hand dropped from his, your smile long gone as you stared. Duke Fabre...This is his son! You turned to the blond, who was now looking at you curiously. Then that surely can't be the Guy I know...He wouldn't knowingly be around the killer of his family, would he? "Are you okay?"
You quickly gained your composure again, slapping on a fake smile. "Oh! Yes, sorry about that. Got lost in my thoughts..."
"No problem. Anyway, this is Mieu," he gestured to the green floating thing (that made a cute noise after it was introduced), "and this is Guy Cecil."
It's...not him... You took a step forward and extended your hand, only to stop once Guy took a step back. You looked at him in confusion before he nervously explained. "Sorry, I have a fear of women...It's a long story, but please don't be offended."
"Oh..." you muttered, retracting your hand. I guess that settles it then. This is definitely not the Guy I knew... Guy wasn't afraid of women, and he certainly wouldn't be with a Fabre. Not to mention the name is different too.
"Oh! I'm sorry!" You looked back to Luke, who had spoken, before you gave a quick bow. "My name is Lina Dusken; it's very nice to meet you both." You looked up and flashed a smile at the small Cheagle. "And you too, Mieu."
"So do you need help with--"
"No!" you shot back, stopping yourself once you saw Luke's surprised face. "Uh, I-I mean... No, thank you. I couldn't possibly ask a Fabre for assistance." You quickly bowed to cover your tracks again. "It would be unethical to ask that of Your Highness."
Luke blinked and rubbed the back of his head. "I'm not that high..."
You stood straight again and plastered on another smile. "I'm fine, thank you. You may return to your room now. I'll be okay."
"If...you say so. C'mon, Mieu." With that, Luke turned and headed for the stairs, followed behind faithfully by Mieu.
You sighed softly before locking eyes with Guy, seeing a somewhat surprised expression on his features. "Can I help you?" you asked, probably a bit ruder than you had intended; though if he was a cohort of the Fabres, he probably couldn't be trusted either.
His expression softened, his eyes looking strangely deeply into yours. "No...Lina."
You almost shuddered at the way he said your name; why had that felt so familiar? "Guy! Come on!" you heard Luke call from upstairs. Guy looked up at the stairs for a moment before turning back to you. He closed his eyes and bowed his head before he turned, heading up the stairs and leaving you once again by your lonesome in the foyer.
You sighed and rubbed your face, suddenly feeling nervous that Duke Fabre's son was staying at your Inn. "Now what am I going to do...?" Surely you can't kill him...sure you know how to use a sword, but the rest of his friends would probably be on you in an instant. But they're in Malkuth territory! What could they be doing here, anyway? "Maybe it's got something to do with the Emperor..." you mused aloud. You sighed and rubbed your face again, deciding there wasn't much you could do about it anyway. Or you could at least think about it tonight and have a definite plan of action for tomorrow. Yes, that sounded good.
With that thought, you headed back to the bookshelf and continued organizing the books. About halfway through, however, you subconsciously stopped, your mind drifting back to the fact that the one responsible for the death of your childhood friend was at your Inn. Well...not his death PERSONALLY, but it was as close as you were going to come. Who knows when you would get a chance like this again?
You jumped, your mind racing back and realizing you had stopped before you turned around towards the voice. "Oh, Guy." You breathed a soft sigh of relief before smiling softly and bowing. "Is there something you need?" you asked, your head remaining bowed.
He laughed lightly before he spoke. "Lina...you haven't changed a bit, have you?"
Your eyes sprang open as you looked up, seeing his handsome smile shining down on you. You slowly stood straight again, your blank face expressing your confusion. "I'm sorry, I don't..."
"It's me...Guy!" His smile faded as he looked up thoughtfully. "Or, well Gailardia technically, but you never were too fond of that name." Your arms fell down to your sides, the books held in your hands crashing to the floor as you stared ahead of you. He looked back to you, a smile forming on his face again as he watched your reaction with amusement.
"Guy...Is it really you?" His smile remained steady as he nodded his head once in affirmation. "Oh Guy..." You took a few steps forward, your arms open and ready to embrace him...except that he had taken the same few steps back. You gave him a confused look before he explained.
"I...do have a fear of women. That wasn't a lie."
"Oh. I see." You looked down and let your arms fall to your sides again, sad you weren't able to embrace and hold your friend after so long. "I..." you started, continuing to look at the floor as you slowly brought your arms around you, as though to hold yourself since you couldn't hold him. "I thought about you everyday, Guy. I thought you died!"
He looked to the side solemnly. "Same goes for me...I thought I was the only survivor."
At the same time you both turned to look at each other, gentle eyes locking together. "What happened?"
"It's a long story. Come on, let's go talk," he told you, nodding his head towards the door to indicate outside. You nodded your head, watching him as he headed out the door as you quickly walked back to the register, making sure it was locked before you headed out yourself.
You were greeted with the chill night air, the smell of the rushing water around you instantly infiltrating your nose. Your eyes adjusted to the darkness and you eventually were able to focus in front of you, seeing Guy across the way and leaning on the banister, looking out across the horizon. You took another deep breath before you headed over to him, making sure not to stand TOO close as to set him off with his phobia; you made it to the banister and leaned on it like he was. "So...what happened?"
He closed his eyes and immediately you could feel the sadness take over, realizing you were asking him to recount probably one of his worst memories. "I just remember...that you and I were hiding in the fireplace when the soldiers broke in. Mary and the maids tried to fight them off but it didn't help; I tried to reach Mary but...it was too late. All I remember is her tackling me to the ground to save me. I think I lost consciousness after I hit the ground because when I woke up...all the soldiers were gone, and everyone was dead around me. I was covered up with their dead bodies and dried blood...It was so emotionally scarring, that's actually the reason why I'm scared to even be near women now.
"And you...I thought you were gone too," he continued, opening his eyes again as they looked out over the distant horizon. "I didn't see you anywhere around so I had just assumed the worst." He furrowed his eyebrows in an angry fashion, though still not glaring at anything in particular. "I knew Duke Fabre was to blame. He was to blame for murdering my family and taking everyone away." He closed his eyes again. "And you...I could never forgive him for killing you." He turned to you and opened his eyes, the solemness reflected along with the moon's glow. "And I wasn't lying: I thought about you every single day in hopes that I would be able to avenge you."
"Guy..." You felt tears form in your eyes, a clenching in your gut as guilt overcame your form. You broke eye contact with him, looking to the side as a tear streamed down your cheek. "I...I was just so horrified. I saw Tabitha die and I was frozen, I couldn't move or scream or anything! Then..." You clenched your eyes shut, inadvertently sending more tears flowing out. "Then you rushed in after Mary and the next thing I knew you weren't moving...I thought they had killed you! And all I could do was sit there, I didn't try to fight back or anything!" You wrapped your arms tightly around you as you began to sob. "I was a coward. And I feel so shameful that I wasn't able to do anything!"
"Hey...shhh..." You heard Guy's whispers and shushes, and you immediately began to feel calm though tears still flowed. "You don't have any reason to feel guilty. There was nothing you could've possibly done that wouldn't have endangered your own life."
You kept your eyes clenched. "But you did! You were the one that needed protection and you were willing to risk yourself to save your sister! I...I couldn't do anything."
"Lina, look at me." You did so, albeit a bit reluctantly. "I may have jumped out...but it didn't do anything. I wasn't able to save Mary or Tabitha or anyone. I wasn't able to do anything either, so stop beating yourself up about it."
"But I..." You trailed off before looking to the side.
"Stop feeling guilty. It's in the past and nothing can change it." He smiled softly. "Besides...We found each other again, we can rest easy now, right?"
"I...guess so." You reached up and wiped your eyes, finally realizing a strange feeling on your shoulder. You blinked before you looked down at it, seeing a gloved hand resting there. "Guy..." you began, earning a curious look in return before you continued. "You're...touching me!"
He blinked before he looked down at his arm, following it up to his hand that was indeed resting on your shoulder. He quickly retracted it, looking down as though it might spontaneously burst into fire. "I...I touched you. And I didn't lose control!"
You blinked as well. "What usually happens when you touch a girl?"
"I can't! My body just kind of moves on its own, that's why I don't know how I was able to do that just now."
"Maybe you did it subconsciously...?"
"I usually freak out subconsciously. That's what I don't understand." He looked back up to you, both of your eyes locking as an uncommunicated idea transpired between them. As though you were able to understand each other, you both gave a determined nod. You took a small step forward and you immediately saw the anxiousness building up in Guy. He gave a quick exhale before he reached his hand forward, moving towards your shoulder again. However, before it made contact he quickly pulled it back and took an extra step from you. "I can't do it. My body is driving me crazy!"
You sighed dejectedly. "Well it was worth a shot..."
You shook your head. "There's nothing to apologize for, Guy. I don't blame you for having that fear." You smiled brightly at him. "But there's a way to overcome your fears and we'll just work with it, that's all!"
He smiled shyly and rubbed the back of his head. "Thanks, Lina..."
"Don't mention it!" Your smile faded as you thought back to the main topic. "Oh yeah. So...if Duke Fabre really was the one that killed everyone... why are you with Luke now?"
He looked up to you, his smile also gone before he turned to the side. "After Pere rescued me from the house I was slowly able to come to the realization that Duke Fabre was to blame. I eventually made my way into his manor and worked as a servant in hopes to take revenge. I had wanted to kill his family so he would know the pain I felt." His eyes softened. "But the more I worked there and the closer I got to Luke, the harder it became. I realized Luke wasn't to blame for my family's death so I couldn't kill him like I had planned." His eyes closed again. "It drove me crazy. Everyday I thought about you and how horrible it was that I would never see you again. I wanted revenge more than anything but I couldn't take it. I couldn't...avenge your death..."
Your expression softened. "Oh Guy..."
A smile quickly came to his face as he turned to you. "But that's in the past now. It doesn't matter to me as much anymore."
You looked at him for awhile before you smiled gently. "If you say so..." He nodded in return before another question popped into your mind. "So...when did you know it was me?"
"Working here?" You nodded before he continued. "Well it didn't cross my mind at the start. But as Luke and I were leaving I noticed that guilty look of yours and realized it looked familiar."
"Guilty look? What?!"
He nodded with a smile. "You know! That sheepish look you get when you get shy or have something on your mind that's distracting you. You had it all the time when we were younger!"
"I...wasn't aware I had such an expression," you replied, feeling a bit embarrassed.
"Don't worry about it. It's actually kind of cute!" A light blush formed on the bridge of your nose as you looked to the side, hoping to avoid any other embarrassment; luckily he continued. "So I started thinking about how familiar you were...then when we got back and Luke introduced himself as a Fabre I noticed your change in demeanor. I figured that was kind of weird, despite the fact that we're in Malkuth territory. But what sealed the deal was when you said your name. As if that wasn't a dead giveaway," he finished with a wink.
"Oh...Yeah, that's right. My name." You nodded. "I see. So I looked a bit familiar to you then?"
"Of course! I have yet to come across a woman that has as beautiful eyes as yours." Your blush only darkened at his flattering words; was he really unaware of the hidden compliments he was giving you? "So what about you? When did you know it was me?"
You pushed your embarrassing thoughts aside in order to focus on his question. "I...well as soon as I saw you I thought you looked familiar. And I recognized the necklace too." You looked down at the ground. "But after Luke introduced you as Cecil I figured it wasn't you..."
He nodded plausibly. "I see. That does seem rather counterintuitive." He smiled his bright smile, causing your heart to involuntarily flutter as you stared into his handsome features. Yes. Handsome.
You weren't afraid to admit that Guy was handsome...well, admit to yourself anyway. You surely wouldn't admit it openly to him. Even as a child he was cute, though at that age you thought about nothing more than playing and other child-like things. However, now Guy had grown into a very fine young man. He was handsome, kind, intelligent... You were pretty sure it was impossible for anyone to NOT like him.
"Well...I guess that's enough catching up for now."
You blinked as you looked back over to him. "You mean there's more?"
"Sure! Like what you've been up to all this time..."
"Oh...it's really not as exciting as your life, I'm sure," you replied with a sweat-drop.
"I'll be the judge of that," he told you with a wink. "Now let's get back inside before you freeze out here." You giggled as you followed his lead, allowing him to open the door for you before he stepped through behind you.
"Come with us? What? Why?" Luke asked urgently, as though worried he had been left out of the loop again.
"Because!" Guy explained. "I finally found her after all this time, I'm never letting her out of my sights again."
"My, isn't that a sweet sentiment?" Jade asked sarcastically, his smug expression radiating from his face.
Guy blushed but you continued before it was commented on. "If you guys don't want me to come, I'll--"
"No, it isn't that," Luke argued. "I just didn't realize you could use a sword, that's all."
Guy nodded, his blush magically gone from his face. "Lina and I would practice sword-fighting with each other when we were younger."
"We had to use sticks though," you added. "They wouldn't let 6-year-olds play with real swords."
"But a sword is different than a stick," Anise pointed out. "Are you sure you can wield one?"
"Would you like to try me?"
"Alright, enough; we don't need to harass her about it," Luke said, breaking it up before it became serious. "We'd love to have you along, Lina," he continued as he turned to you with a smile. "You'll make a great addition to the team!"
You smiled and gave a single nod. "Thank you, Luke. I won't let you down."
Last night after you and Guy had come inside, he additionally explained what he was doing currently with Luke. It was a long story [Me: And you've played the game so I'm not going to go into it x3] but you got the general gist of it. Guy had asked you if you wanted to come, and even though you declined he had practically forced you, saying he wasn't going to leave your side ever again. You had parted ways with you giving him a sweet kiss on the cheek as thanks. It wasn't until after you left his company that his body remembered his fear and had a quick spaz attack.
"Let's get going. We have a lot to do before nightfall," Tear suggested, earning nods from the group before you all headed off.
The first stop was to meet with Emperor Peony and discuss a peace treaty with Kimlasca. He had agreed (which you would've expected; sometimes you wonder if he's really serious for this job...) and soon the others began discussing things you still didn't quite understand, being new to the group and all. The only thing you understood was the fact that your group was now heading towards Daath.
Or...that was the plan anyway. After that decision was made, the others figured they had at least a little time to spare. So as such, they decided that they would spend another day in Grand Chokmah while Guy took you out to practice your sword-fighting again. You sparred against him for awhile but during one of your sessions a group of monsters attacked. After you used some rather impressive techniques, Guy deemed you worthy enough to not need anymore practice for now.
"Phew! I haven't been that active in awhile," you commented as you fell to your knees tiredly. "I'm beat!"
Guy smiled before taking a seat near you. "We'll rest awhile before we head back into town." You turned to him and smiled thankfully before nodding in agreement. "I'm impressed with your sword skills," he went on. "Have you been practicing this whole time?"
You laughed lightly and shook your head. "No, though I probably should've...what with the war and everything about to go on. I would practice every now and then, but surely not enough to be beneficial."
"Well I'd say it was beneficial! You're almost at my level!"
You rose your eyebrow. "My, aren't we modest?"
"Watch it," he warned, giving you a joking glare. You both shared a laugh before turning and looking towards the horizon, admiring the sun as it began its journey behind the distant hills.
"Grand Chokmah's beautiful at this time of night," you said dreamily. "The sunset casting its colors off the surface of the water is breath-taking. I don't know if I've seen anything prettier in my life."
"I have." You blinked and turned to Guy, seeing him look at you with soft eyes and a calm smile, causing your heart to pound endlessly in your chest from his dreamy expression.
"That...was really cheesy, Master."
He laughed as he looked back out at the sunset, not seeming to deny that what he said was false. Did he really think you were pretty...? "I thought I told you to stop that."
You blinked and subconsciously blushed; did he know you were thinking about him just then? "W-what?"
He turned back to you, his smile still present on his face. "The whole 'Master' thing. I told you to just call me 'Guy' when we were kids...and you don't even work for me anymore, there's no need for that."
Your embarrassed expression softened into a smile. "You're still the Count of House Gardios in my eyes. That won't ever change."
His hand slowly reached up and cupped your face, your heart beginning to race once again as you felt him look deep into your eyes. "I will always see you as my equal, I've always seen you that way."
"As....your equal? But I was only a maid in your mansion, why would you say that?"
"Just as you see me as a count, I'll see you as my equal. And that won't ever change."
Your heart skipped a beat and you were sure your face was red. "G-Guy..." You stared into his eyes, feeling yourself get lost in his teal-blue orbs as your heart continued to flutter. There was no denying it now: you had definitely fallen for Guy, all over again. Sure you had a little crush on him when you were kids, but that was more of a puppy love/childhood sweetheart kind of thing. Now...You were sure you were falling head over heels in love.
It seemed Guy was lost in your eyes as well, seeing that he suddenly seemed to come back to reality and staring at the side of your face. He quickly jumped back and scrambled away, leaving you to stare in confusion after him before touching your suddenly cold cheek.
"You...you were touching me again, Guy..." you said slowly, as though waiting for the realization to hit you.
And it seemed to hit you both at the same time, both of you reflecting the surprised expression before he crawled back over to you, sitting a foot away. "I can touch you. And I can do it subconsciously without freaking out!"
"Touch me now," you suggested, moving to face him as you knelt and sat on your feet. He nodded before he slowly lifted his hand, seeming to focus intently as his hand sluggishly made its way towards you. You felt your face heat up and your heart beat quicken, the rest of your body suddenly aching for his touch. However, right as his hand was about to make contact with your cheek again, he quickly retracted it and shuddered. You let out a sigh of disappointment as you looked down, wishing there was something you could do.
"I'm so sorry, Lina. I don't...I just don't understand."
You shook your head. "Don't apologize, Guy. We'll figure it out." You looked back up to him and smiled. "We just need to readjust your body so you think of happy thoughts when you think of women, that's all."
"Do you have something in mind...?"
"Hmm... Well..." You crossed your arms and closed your eyes as you thought. "I think a good first step would be to try and not think about what happened at the mansion. Just know that they were trying to protect you...and it wasn't in vain because you're here and you're alive." He looked down solemnly before nodding slowly in agreement. You opened your eyes and looked up at him. "Alright. Now. Focus on touching a woman," you directed, Guy closing his eyes to focus as he was told. "Nothing extreme, just a handshake maybe. Or...better yet, think of a woman touching you." He visibly winced, causing you to stop for a moment. "Are you okay?"
"It's... It's just hard to imagine. I still get that weird feeling."
"That's okay," you said as you shook your head, mostly to yourself since his eyes were still closed. It was so hard for you to not just lean over and kiss him; his eyes are closed and he wouldn't see it coming...it would be wonderful! But you would probably kill him with a panic attack overload so you decided against it. "Just picture her barely touching you. She doesn't mean any harm; she just wants to...hold your hand, say. There's nothing bad about her, she's not bloody or trying to kill or hurt you. She just...wants to be close to you." You saw his face visibly relax, causing a smile to come to your face in hopes that maybe something was slowly working.
"...Lina..." you heard him mutter softly.  You were about to ask if he was talking to you but he soon slowly opened his eyes, looking at you in a daze.
"I..." He looked down and held up his hands, flexing them as he examined them. "I think I feel a little better."
"Do you wanna try it?"
It was silent for a moment, Guy looking into your eyes and you looking into his. He suddenly stood up, never breaking eye contact with you as you gave him a confused look. His eyes suddenly held a sort of determination as he held out his hand to you to help you up, your eyes finally breaking contact as you looked down at his hand. You looked back up to him, seeing that he really did want to try this. You slowly rose your hand up, gently placing it in his as you kept your eyes steadily concentrated on his own. You felt as his hand strongly closed around yours and suddenly you were pulled to your feet, your body yanked to a stand and almost thrown off balance.
Guy's other hand held onto your shoulder to keep you straight, the other still holding your hand from before. Due to your momentum you almost crashed into him, but he steadied you, keeping you at a surprisingly close distance. Once you found your balance again, you slowly looked up, his beautiful eyes immediately locking with yours. You stayed unmoving for quite awhile, his hand still on your shoulder while the other held yours tightly, neither one of you looking away from the entrancing eyes across from you.
"Lina...I..." You watched as the gleam in his eye suddenly died and it was as though he had come out of his daze. He took a step away from you, his hand falling from your shoulder before the other one reluctantly let go of your hand. "I...I didn't freak out." He looked back up to you, a smile adorning his handsome face as he beamed at you.
You smiled softly and nodded once. "It'll take time, but I think you'll get over it eventually."
He nodded in return. "Thanks, Lina...for everything."
"Of course," you responded, smiling sweetly. "Now what say we get back before it gets dark, huh?" He nodded in agreement and with that you both began to head back towards the city. Out of the corner of your eye you noticed an odd twitching of Guy's hand, almost as though...
...he was trying to move it? 
"This...thing, will take us to Daath?" you asked, eyeing the strange ship in the harbor suspiciously.
"The Albiore is capable of travel on land, air, and water," Jade explained. "However, some of the drives are damaged so now it's only able to travel on water."
"I...see..." You watched as Jade and some of the others filed onto the big ship, leaving you to still stare at it in awe.
"Don't worry, it's perfectly safe," Guy reassured you as he came up on your side, resting a hand on your shoulder.
"I'm not...worried," you replied, looking to him briefly before looking back up at the behemoth. "It's huge! I just can't believe it's capable of water travel...much less air travel."
"Well you know those engineers over at Sheridan!" he laughed. "It is pretty amazing, I agree." He turned to you and smiled. "Let's get going, huh?" You nodded in agreement and were about to start walking except that someone had come up to you two.
"AHHH!" You blinked as he jumped, flying at least 10 yards away and cowering.
Princess Natalia looked at him in confusion before sighing softly. "I thought you had gotten over your fear of women, but it seems not quite."
"We're working on it," you told her with a smile.
She returned the soft smile to you. "It seems you have made good progress! If anyone can help him get over his fear, I have confidence that it's you."
"Oh... Thank you, Princess Natalia!" you replied with a smile as you bowed. She smiled and nodded in return before heading on the ship herself. You turned to Guy, seeing him relax slightly. "Did she startle you?"
He shook his head as he made his way over again. "No, it was like my body sensed she was coming." He held up his hand and looked at it sadly. "I really thought I was getting over this..."
You shook your head. "Don't worry. You are, slowly!" You smiled a closed-eye smile. "Besides! You were touching my shoulder again before she came up!"
He blinked and looked up at you in surprise. "You're...you're right!" A smile formed on his face as he lowered his hand to his side. "Maybe I am getting over it."
You nodded and turned towards the ship. "I know you are. Now let's get going before someone else ends up scaring you." He sweat-dropped and nodded in agreement before the two of you headed up the ramp and onto the vast vessel.
Everyone went to their rooms, but the Captain of the ship offered to give you a quick tour. You graciously accepted and soon you were off on your way. 'Quick' was definitely an understatement. Perhaps it was quick for him, but 3 hours walking around a boat was a little much for you, and not quite your definition of 'quick'.
Eventually the tour ended and the Captain took his leave of you, leaving you to breathe a sigh of relief as you headed off on your own. Soon enough it was already getting to be late afternoon, so you headed towards the deck so you could watch the sun set over the water. Despite living in Grand Chokmah, you still loved water and how it made anything, including sunsets, that much prettier.
"Oh, there you are."
You blinked and turned, seeing Guy smile at you as he made your way to your side. "Were you looking for me?"
"I hadn't seen you in awhile, I was getting kind of worried," he replied with a smile, though you could tell he wasn't completely serious. You returned the smile before you both leaned against the railing to watch the sunset. It was silent for awhile, until Guy eventually broke it. "Lina, I...I have something to tell you."
You turned to him with a curious expression. "Hmm? What is it?"
He sighed and looked down. "There's no...easy way to say this." He stood straight and turned to you head on, you blinking in confusion before you eventually did the same. "Lina...I'm in love with you, and I have been since we were kids. I was so distraught when I thought you died, but then when I learned you were alive...I just felt so relieved. I..." He trailed off and looked down for a moment before looking back deeply into your eyes. "I never want to lose you again. The pain was just too much. I want you to stay with me forever."
You were speechless, your heart was pounding in your ears and all you could do was stare into those gorgeous blue eyes. "Guy, I..." You finally found your voice again, causing you to laugh as a pleased smile came to your face. "I love you too, Guy!" A relieved and happy smile came to his face and you stepped forward to embrace him...only to have him take a step back. Your smile immediately fell and it seemed he saw your dejected face.
"Dammit...I'm sorry, Lina. I shouldn't have--"
You shook your head. "It's okay, I understand." Your smile found its way to your face again. "I'm willing to wait until you're better, Guy. And I'll be there to help you every step of the way."
He looked up at you guiltily before he smiled softly. "Thank you, Lina." He laughed and got a wide smile on his face. "I hope you know I would kiss you right now if I could!"
Your stomach twisted in excited happiness and you laughed weakly. "I would too." Him telling you that certainly didn't help. It only taunted you more with something you couldn't have! You pushed the thoughts aside and smiled again. "It's getting kind of late. We better head back to our rooms." He nodded, showing the way with his arm and allowing you to go first before he fell into step beside you.
On your way back to your room you couldn't help but think it probably wasn't the best idea for him to admit his feelings. You could at least lie to yourself that he didn't like you so you wouldn't be tempted to touch him. But now that you knew he loved you, it was even worse! You can't express your feelings in the way you had wanted to all these years. But then...you weren't lying: you would wait an eternity for him to recover from his phobia if you had to; he was most definitely worth it.
And you'd be damned if you didn't help him get over that phobia. 
"Hurry! In here!"
"Don't worry about me, Guy. You must be sure you stay safe!"
Boom, boom, crash!
"Leave this place at once, serf!"
You watched in horror as Mary doubled over, a sword protruding from her back towards you and Guy hiding in the dead fireplace. Guy's cries were the only thing that filled your ears and all you saw was blood and bodies falling. Guy cried again and soon he left your side, diving out from your hiding place and running towards the attackers.
"Get off me, Kid!" The soldier whipped the arm Guy was grabbing onto and sent Guy to the ground. He then hit the young blond in the back of the head with the hilt of his sword, serving to knock him out.
"Hey! Isn't that the Gardios heir?" one of the soldiers asked.
The one that had knocked Guy down looked at his still body on the floor. "Y'know, I think you're right!" They shared a laugh before he turned towards him, lifting his sword above his head.
You couldn't move. You couldn't speak. You wanted to dive out and try to save him, you wanted to cry out and tell them to stop...
But you couldn't. Because if you did, it meant you would be dead next.
Instead you watched in horror as the sword came crashing down, a fountain of blood erupting from where it penetrated the skin.
"Lina, wake up!"
You bolted awake, feeling strong arms shake you as tears instinctively ran down your face. You turned, seeing Guy holding you shoulders and looking intent and worried at you. "Guy..." you whined, your voice cracking before you broke into a sob and hiding your face in your hands as you cried freely.
Guy remained silent while you cried, his hands not moving from your shoulders. He had wanted so much to hold you, pull you close and tell you it was alright. But he was pretty sure his body wouldn't allow that...Or would it? "Lina...what happened? I heard you crying and moaning and when I came in you were writhing. What's wrong?" he asked, his voice urgent and caring.
You sniffled and attempted to calm down, slowly lowering your hands and wiping your eyes despite that new tears were just forming in the same place. "I...I dreamed about the massacre. You jumped out to try and save Mary but..." Your voice began to crack again. "But they killed you! I didn't even try to save you, I'm horrible!" You began to sob again, hiding your face in your hands once more. "So much blood...There was so much blood coming from you...!"
Guy looked at you sadly with sympathy before he brought you close and wrapped his strong arms around you. "Lina...It was just a dream. I'm right here, I'm alright. I won't ever leave you."
"Oh Guy..." You sobbed, moving your hands from your face to grab at his shirt as you cried into it. "I can't..." You weren't sure what you were going to say, but it was interrupted by another sob anyway.
He moved one of his hands to the back of your head, holding you against his chest as his other pressed your back tightly to him. "It's okay, Lina. Just get it all out..."
You did as you were advised, crying freely and holding tightly onto your love. Soon enough your crying had calmed down to mere sniffles as you continued to snuggle your head into his chest. "I'm sorry, Guy..."
He laughed lightly as he kissed the top of your head. "What are you apologizing for?"
"This... And not being able to save you."
He laughed again and pulled away to look at you head on. "It was a dream! You don't need to apologize for that!"
You looked down guiltily. "But I...I couldn't save you. I knew I would die if I did. I wasn't willing to risk my life for you..."
He smiled softly at you, moving one of his hands from your shoulder to cup your cheek. "It was a dream," he repeated. "You can't help what you do in dreams. I know you'd be willing to give your life for me in real life because I would do the same for you."
"That's not true," you said as you shook your head. "When you dove out after Mary I still stayed in the fireplace..."
"We were young. And it's probably good you didn't because you probably would've died. I was just lucky that they didn't see me." He laughed weakly and sweat-dropped. "I guess it was thanks to the bodies covering me that I was saved!"
"But..." You looked away again. "I love you, Guy...But if you were in danger, I don't know if...if I'd be willing to save you. I'm just a coward..."
"Don't say that," he said softly as he forced you to look at him again. He smiled as he leaned in, leaning his forehead against yours. "It's not true. You know, why?" You gave a 'hmm' for him to go on. "When we were sparring yesterday and those monsters attacked us... One had me cornered but you came and dove between us before you killed it! You may not think it, but you ARE brave...and that's another reason why I love you."
"Guy..." A stray tear fell from your face and onto his hand still cupping your cheek. His smile widened slightly as he slid his eyes closed, slowly tipping his head as his lips closed in on yours. Your eyes slid closed instinctively as you leaned forward as well, your lips soon coming into contact with his. A strange explosion of fireworks erupted in your body, sending waves of happiness and pleasure throughout your being. You smiled into the kiss as you slowly brought your hand up to press against his cheek, gently pressing him more towards you.
The kiss soon broke, both of you reluctantly pulling away as your eyes slid open. Guy chuckled lightly before he brought his hand up to take yours, holding both within his as he held them before his chest. "That was as amazing as I was hoping," he whispered, his smile evident in his voice.
You giggled quietly before nodding in agreement. "It was everything I hoped it could be," you agreed. Your smile soon faded and you looked at him curiously. "How...are you able to touch me...?"
His smile faded into a curious look as well. "I'm not sure. I just...I wanted to hold and comfort you and somehow I was able to." His smile formed on his face again. "I think I'm getting over my phobia. Mary and the others saved my life, I shouldn't be scared of that." He winked at you before he continued. "Plus I have better memories to think about when I think of a woman's touch."
You blinked before smiling shyly. "I'm glad."
He leaned forward and pressed his forehead against yours. "Let's say we make some more?" he asked slyly, causing you to giggle cutely. He smiled widely before he leaned in and kissed you again, pressing further to usher you down to your lying position. You lay back down on your pillow before he broke the kiss and stood up, lifting up the blankets before sliding into bed next to you. You smiled at each other and kissed again, Guy wrapping his arms around you before you broke the kiss and snuggled into his chest.
He smiled and held you tighter, as though reassuring himself that he really was cured. "No, thank you, Lina." He kissed the top of your head before resting his chin atop it. "Thank you."