The Knight and His Princess
If we must part forever,
Give me but one kind word to think upon,
And please myself with, while my heart's breaking.
- Thomas Otway
She stood there standing under the moonlight glory. Her long blonde hair flowed freely in the night breeze as silence wrapped around her like a warm feathered blanket. The scenery looked almost too perfect to touch, to be disturbed. The way her skin glowed, the way her eyes danced, and the way she held herself was nothing short of how she was raised to be.
"I know you're there," her soft voice floated around him. He took a step forward from behind the shadows of the trees after a moment. "Why bother hiding yourself?"
"Just prolonging the inevitable," he murmured as he crept up behind her. He stood right behind her. He was close enough to smell, close enough to touch, but not quite.
They basked in each other's presence before they both felt the heaviness of the situation rest on their shoulders. They didn't want it to be. They didn't want it to end like this. She was willing to give up everything. She was determined to fight against what anyone thought about her decision.
But he was equally determined to stop her.
"Why have you called for me?" Her voice came out as a whisper.
He had to smile a little, albeit wryly. "Our previous parting is not what I wished to be our last." Even as he said those words, he still felt the raw pain deep in his soul of what significance they held.
"Please don't say that." She'd turn around by this time. He was a head taller but she looked up at him with ease. Her height was perfect. She fit perfectly against him. He could still remember the way her body had been pressed against his. Her head on the crook out his neck and the way their arms found the other's back.
He remembered the way they held onto each other, never wanting to let go.
"I never meant anything I said," she whispered, her eyes locking with his. He nodded. She smiled a little. "I know you didn't either."
"Of course not," he said gracefully. The bow he added made her smile, but what he didn't see was the way her eyes began to water.
"I'm not good with goodbyes," she finally said after a long period of silence. Her words didn't surprise him. He glanced down at her and tried to ignore the flood of pain that sudden entered his system. She was standing next to him, her posture tall and proud, but she seemed to be shrinking away from the world.
"In fact," she said, her voice wobbling slightly as she turned to face him, "I never want to say goodbye."
His features softened when her face broke. She lost all confidence as tears trailed down her cheeks and she wrapped her arms around herself. He knew she was unsure whether if she could reach out and hold him, or let him be. He wasn't sure either.
"Well," he said, tearing his eyes away from her to glance up at the sky, "we don't have to," he said confidently.
He heard her sniffle. He didn't want to look at her. He felt his heart ache and his own pressure at the back of his eyes. He didn't want it to be this way. "How?" The softness of her voice made him close his eyes.
"We don't have to say goodbye," he found himself whispering.
"I don't want you to go." Her voice was hallow, but raw with honesty. "I don't want it to be this way," she whispered, but her voice grew with every word. "I don't want to continue living without you there by my side!"
He looked down, trying his damn hardest to keep breathing. She was openly sobbing now and he knew what pain she held. He swallowed thickly and pulled her into his arms, ignoring the voice in his head that told him it would be easier if he just walked away.
No. He couldn't leave her like that.
But I'd be leaving her either way . . .
"Shh . . . It's okay, I'm here." He tightened his grip and she hugged him even tighter. He buried his face in her hair as he felt their heart beat in unison. His aura tangled with hers and their souls merged, even for that one moment.
They wished time would freeze. He wished they lived in a universe where their love would work out. She just wished to spend her life standing by the person she loved. They imagined life where that was possible. They thought of a world where love—their love—conquered all.
But their world broke all too soon.
He lifted his head. "Someone's calling for you," he whispered. Their foreheads touched. He felt her tears against his cheeks. Or was it his? He didn't know anymore.
He swallowed again, knowing that this night was really the last night he'd ever see her again. He heard her shallow and quick breaths, and he knew that she knew as well.
Her sobs were stifled, but he felt them against his body. He was threatened by the dangerous ache in his chest. He held onto her tightly as if he were to never let go.
"Promise me something," he whispered roughly in her ear as she buried her face in the crook of his neck.
"Anything," she said breathlessly.
That moment, he pulled back and placed both hands on each side of her face. They searched each other's gaze for one full moment before they closed their eyes and kissed harder, passionate, and full of their love for each other than ever before. Only the moon and shadows of that night could tell their story of love, feel their pain and watch silently as their tears fell.
He pulled back first and they leaned his forehead against hers one last time. "Don't forget me. Don't forget about us," he muttered, gently caressing her face.
She shook her head furiously trying to choke back a sob. "I won't," she strangled out. "I won't." It was her promise to the world.
The voices grew louder.
He smiled a little and pulled away. She held tighter. He looked down and shook his head gently. "I must go," he murmured and kissing her forehead tenderly.
He stepped away from her and drank in the look of her. Her eyes, her hair, her mouth, her neck . . . He drank in the way she smelt and stored the soft sound of her voice at the back of his head. But something was missing . . . "Smile for me," he whispered reaching out to touch her mouth.
Her lips quivered. "I can't." It came out as a breath.
He smiled for her whilst cupping her face. "Please, Princess?"
"Don't call me that," she whispered. A second passed and she looked at him. She wasn't doing it for her, he knew, but instead, she lifted the corner of her lips into a smile . . . just for him.
"Thank you, Princess." He bowed. He looked up and saw her ready to retort but he silenced her with his trademark smirk. He saw the way her eyes began to water again. "No, you're my princess. You'll always be mine. And you'll always have my heart."
It was their regular game, she knew. She smiled a little, albeit wobbly.
"And you're my precious knight in shining amour." She struggled with her last words. "I love you," she said softly. "There will never be anyone else . . ."
He smiled tenderly at her, just one last time, and he shook his head. "Be happy with your future king. Love again. Fall freely and let him catch you." She opened her mouth to protest and he silenced her with a stolen kiss. Her eyes fell closed. He pulled away a little, but only to whisper into her ear: "Love crazily as I love you."
When she opened her eyes he was gone.
"Princess! There you are. We were looking for you," came a breathless voice from behind her.
She closed her eyes and discreetly wiped away the tears from her eyes. "Yes, I'm coming," she said in a firm but soft voice. She took one last look at the sky and the trees gently blowing in the night breeze.
And she turned around, holding their memories close to her heart.
He watched her walk away, desperately storing everything about her so he would never forget. When she was gone, he leaned against the bark of the tree and closed his eyes.
It was for the best. She would run the country as a successful queen. Her very life is important to their kingdom. And what was he?
He shook his head as he turned and walked out of her life.
Her knight in shining armor. He'd always been ever since the first time he saved her in the river . . .
And that's all he'll ever be.
Author's note: Sudden idea struck me down while reading a book. Different from my usual writing, I know, but yeah, let me know what you think. ;)