ALWAYS

By: Jasmine Adiviso

The Little Dauphin's screams alternated with bitter laughter and howling sobs of pain, when Riel returned. Louis was lying on the dank floor of his imprisonment; his blonde fringe covered his eyes. One of his hands clutched at his stomach, the other was clenched at his side.

'Louis,' Riel whispered, sitting down beside the boy.

Louis let out a small laugh, escaping through his lips. It wasn't humor or bitterness but hysteria.

'Louis,' Riel tried again, pushing the blonde's fringe away from his eyes to reveal blood-shot, red eyes and his face was streaming with tears.

'Louis.'

'Riel. What are you doing here?'

'I'm here to keep you from going insane,'

'Insane? Ha! I'm already that! What more could you do?'

Louis rolled over onto his stomach and let out another laugh. He abruptly stopped and looked at Riel with sad eyes.

'Is that all I am to you? A charity case? Is this a pity party for me?'

'Louis, you know perfectly well that isn't the case.'

'You lie. I can tell you do,' Louis sat upright, facing Riel, 'I am worth nothing.'

'Louis, will you listen to yourself? You're babbling nonsense!'

'Nonsense? Nonsense is it when it's the truth?' Louis leaned forward.

'You're insane!' Riel didn't mean it and really regretted it once the words left his mouth.

Louis immediately went back to his sitting position. Looking at Riel with evident hurt in his eyes.

'Then what are you really doing here?'

'I've already answered that question haven't I?'

'What do you want from me Riel? What is it? Am I something to while away the time when Madeleine isn't around? Or what about something to amuse you while there's a revolution going on?' Louis tried so hard not to let his voice break or hope so much that it isn't any of what he said.

Riel hesitated and Louis saw that. His face fell, realizing that his fears were actually true. The latter crawled away into a farther corner from Riel.

Riel walked over to where Louis was sitting. Louis was hugging his knees to his chest, fighting so hard not to cry.

'Louis…'

'Go away!'

'Louis, please.'

'Get away from me!'

'No! Louis, look at me!'

'I don't need you here!'

Riel made no move to go and stood his ground. Louis could feel him there, but he ignored the brunette's presence.

'No one loves an insane prince. Much less that of the son of their hated king. Once I believed that someone would come and save me, lo and behold someone comes yes, but not to save but to torture. Is it much to ask for someone to love me?'

'You only have to pray to God,' Riel whispered loud enough for Louis to hear.

'God,' Louis spat, 'there is no such being. If there were he would have saved Maman. He would have saved Papa or Joseph. He would have answered the prayers of France.'

'Louis…'

'No one can love me. No one wants me. I am not worth anything.'

'Louis,' Riel placed a hand on Louis's shoulder and turned the boy to face him, sitting once again with him.

Fresh tears stained the beautiful boy's face.

'Why won't you leave?' Louis asked.

'I don't want to.'

'W-what…why?'

Riel pulled the boy onto his lap, causing the latter to blush; Riel cupped his rosy cheeks, his thumb caressing the smooth skin.

'Because you have to know that even if no one seems to care about your welfare, there is someone asking you not to give up hope. There will always be someone who would try and free you. In the hands of the dreadful Robespierre and Simone, you suffer and I want to help alleviate you of that suffering by being here. Never think that you are something to while away the time or amuse me for that isn't why I'm here. I'm here so you won't lose hope Louis. So you won't give up and give in to any insanity or darkness you find yourself tempted to plunge in

I'm here because I love you, Louis. And one day, I'll get you free. I'll show you the sun, the moon and the stars. L'amore che move il sole e l'altre stele. I'll give you the sky above and the warmth of the sun. I won't give up until you are free to roam the world.'

'Riel…' the boy sighed.

'I,' a kiss below one of his eyes to rid the tears, 'won't ever,' another below the other eye, 'leave you,' and a soft brush of lips against the other.

The kiss was soft, tentative, unsure but sweet all the same. Louis's lips were soft and pliant as Riel parted his mouth and licked and nibbled on the former's lower lip, causing the owner of those lips to part them. A confident tongue was met with a tentative lick from Louis. Riel smiled into the kiss and continued to kiss the boy. When they pulled away, Louis rested his head on Riel's shoulder, breathing in the wonderful scent of Riel.

A while later, Riel tried to pull away, conscious of the time. It would not do the Dauphin any good if he were to be caught.

'Stay…please,' Louis begged in a hushed tone.

'Forever by your side. I won't leave you, mon prince. But we will not accomplish anything if I were to be caught and guillotined. Farewell for now, mon amour…I'll be back soon, I promise.'

Riel placed on last kiss on Louis's lips and fled away into the approaching dawn.

Louis smiled and for once, he did not scream, sob or howl.