The journey comes to an end and Albel and Sophia must depart...though a bittersweet departure would be too much to ask for.
A/N: Hello there everyone! I hope you all enjoy this chapter. : )
Muffled sounds were what Albel heard from the room below, the place where frustration had blossomed. His ears heard laughter, though, not hers...He knew that they always left a chair empty for him, when they ate, yet, he found no use in eating with them. He didn't like to do much with them at all, he was always alone...or, at least, he use to be. Now, he wasn't so sure.
The girl was persistent and seemed to haunt his thoughts. Always with the right words and actions, even still, he reacted to such right things, in more than many, wrong ways. The fact of the matter was that he just didn't know how to interact with people and never wanted to. To be left to his devices was what he wished for and to die alone in his own frozen soul was something his mind had been long ago set upon. Yet, the very foundation of such thoughts and choices were now being questioned due to a person so very like himself, but with an outlook on life that could only be described as opposite.
He felt his claw lash out, the pillow, which had once lain upon the bed, was now just strips of ripped fabric. The pieces of fabric lazily swept pass his blood red irises. So simplistic, each strand that had fallen...A burst of anger had caused such destruction, just like it constantly did, but why? No answers could correctly be mused over or concluded to, for the murmurs from below died away, only to be replaced by the sound of footsteps-the sound moved closer.
A knock on the door snapped Albel away from the dazed look that had graced his face and the far away thoughts. He gave no answer. That did not stop the person outside, instead, they had opened his door, and he found the face of that girl, her overly large eyes stared into his own slit ones. A clash of deep red to light green-complete opposites-both in depth and the colors themselves, yet, they also happened to be complimentary colors. Two colors meant to look right next to each other.
Her eyes were transfixed upon him, the anger inside himself seeped out of his soul, and his eyes reflected that bitter hatred that dwelled like a dormant bear, ready to strike at any given moment. NaÃ¯vely, she just stood there, like effortless prey for the beast known as Albel 'The Wicked'. How and why she stood there so fearlessly was an utter mystery to him, yet, he didn't want to know the answers to mysteries. He was considered a mystery and an enigma by the others, but he thought that she was the enigma. With the way she hid her true thoughts and emotions behind smiles. The wonder of what truly went on in her head was one of the things that kept him addicted to her presence over the journey.
Her presence was the trouble and his so-called-addiction was one as well. Such emotions and views were not of Albel and he wanted to rid his body and mind of them. Now he just needed to start the conflict, which would lead to the climax, and end in his desired resolution-to be alone; to forever be alone and cold in the world. That way, he could not get hurt, nor would anyone else get hurt...Because of him and his weakness...Never again...
"What do you want, girl?" The words were like icicles that pierced the air, which surrounded both of them. His eyes shined with such intensity, one, which he found, was reflected in the girl's eyes as well. But, with his question, the intensity found in her eyes was smashed.
"O-oh, um, Fayt told me to come up here and tell you that we are going to leave in a few minutes and that you should get ready to go...That is, if you aren't already." She fumbled only slightly over her soft spoken words and her eyes had broken their gaze on his. Unable to stand the tension that swam deep within each pigment of deep crimson. Her words were spoken and she moved in a way that suggested that she wished to take leave of his presence.
Yet, Albel wasn't finished with her presence, thus, he shot out his arm, his thin fingers on his good hand reached out to grasp the pink and purple fabric of the back of her coat-for she had been on her way out. The rough fingers snatched a small amount of the bunched up fabric and held her in place. Albel felt no need for her to see his face or for him to see hers, thus, he asked her a question, with her back in front of his eyes, rather than her front. "Do you hate me?"
He had asked the question only twice before, once to the blue haired maggot, Fayt...and the other time to himself. Two very different answers were received, Fayt had told him-not really-yet, he had told himself that he hated everything that lurked in his own soul. So, what answer would he get from the girl, would he get a lie or would he get the truth? Nevertheless, the true question, was of what did he want to hear-fact or fiction?
Albel felt her stiffen under his fingers as the words left his mouth and found a place in her mind. "Wha...?" She had no idea what to say, and Albel knew this, he could see it in the way she held herself and he could feel it. The whole situation made him smirk in such a heartless way, though she was unable to see it. The awkward silence that had found its way between the two was broken by the voice of Maria, who told them that they had to get downstairs because they were ready to leave.
Albel watched as she took off down the stairs, he knew that confusion was what fueled her speed. He just lazily followed behind, each time his metal bottomed boots hit the ground, the air seemed to vibrate in fear. He had done it; he had caused the desired affect, now he just had to wait for her answer. An evil smirk played its way across his thin and sharp features.
Heat from the sun, which glared down upon them, only added to Sophia's distortion. Her mind was a mess, not sure what to think of Albel Nox. His question acted like the plague, it consumed any and all other thoughts that swam through her mind. Her feet moved, yet had no destination, her eyes saw, but they were incapable of focus. It had made her crazed and she had no idea how to handle such an emotion.
The foreign emotion had proved itself a burden, for, she had almost walked straight into a tree, that was, if it hadn't been for Albel and his words of, "Watch out, wench!" Such words, while they had awakened her from the glazed over state she had been in-only accomplished more aggravation on her part.
Thus, Sophia took the pent up aggravation, and used it to express the obsessive emotion that had overcome her. "What did you call me?" Her face flushed with anger, for the word degraded her, at least, in her eyes.
"I called you a wench, wench." The nonchalant way, in which, he had replied to her-only succeeded-in fumed anger on her part.
"I don't like how you said that word, either." The childish voice of Peppita was then acknowledged by the two and had drawn the attention of the rest of the travelers.
"What do you mean by that, brat?" Albel taunted the child.
"I meant just what I said, I don't like what you called Sophia, you said it in that same tone that you used when you called me Peppita-chan. You're just a big and rude meanie who needs to take a happy pill."
"You need to learn when to shut up, you little brat." Albel jeered back, his eyes narrowed as his white teeth shown clearly through his wide and slightly evil smirk.
"Well, you need to learn how to deal with other people's emotions." Here Peppita stuck out her tongue at him and, with her pointer finger, lowered some of the skin beneath her eye.
"That's it..." Albel's words died on his lips as he made a violent motion toward the girl. Sophia just watched, with dilated pupils at the scene displayed before her eyes, and just as Cliff rushed in between the two, felt herself scream, "Stop it! Albel, stop it, don't touch her!" Her eyes squeezed shut due to the strength of her voice.
"Alright, that's it, you three! Calm down." Cliff's deep voice echoed through their heads and everyone fell silent. In the silence, the moments inched by like torture, until Nel decided to head off. The other's soon followed her, that is, except Albel and Sophia.
They lagged behind, one out of habit of separation from groups, and the other one because of deep thought. After that whole fiasco Sophia could only wonder why he looked after her in such a way. He was a loner and his words were always so straightforward, yet his actions always seemed to contradict him, and the fact that he watched over her was a prime example. She felt her eyes glide swiftly to the side...she only caught a glimpse of him in her range of sight, but that had been all that was needed.
Night draped around their surroundings as they made camp in the Mosel Desert. A fire burned fiercely and warmed the skin of those whom surrounded it: Nel, Cliff, Fayt, Maria, and Mirage. For, Adray-in his old age-found sleep at such a late hour, Sophia-with her mind a mess-hoped for sleep (though none came to her), Peppita-the youngest-found sleep at the particular hour of night very much like Adray did, and Albel-the anti-social one of the bunch-was on guard and away from any source of light or warmth.
It was Nel who noticed the look of concentration that was plastered on Fayt's face. "What's on your mind? You seem concerned over something important." The light of the fire only highlighted the red of Nel's short hair and deep green eyes.
"While I do have something on my mind, I wouldn't call it important, and I wouldn't say that I'm concerned...I think I'm more curious than anything else." He looked at Nel through the flames of the fire.
But, Nel did not reply, instead, Maria did. "I see. So, what has gained your interest so much?"
A small, yet deep, cough from Cliff's direction was heard, "I have a pretty good idea of what might be on the kid's mind."
"Oh really," came the intrigued voice of Mirage, "and what might that be?"
"Just call it hunch, but...The interaction between Albel, Sophia, and Peppita-right." He didn't voice the sentence as a question, but as a statement, for, Cliff's hunches were always right...At least they were 99.9% of the time.
No verbal answer was given, just a nod of the head from Fayt, eyes spaced out as they watched the fire dwindle ever downward.
"Well, I understand where you are coming from. Those three seemed to have formed some kind of a "relationship", however odd of a "relationship" it may be it is still there. No avoiding that." Cliff nodded his head in agreement with Maria.
"Yeah, I mean, did ya see the way Peppita and Mr. Anti-Social where acting toward each other? It gave off the impression of an older brother/younger sister type of a fight...and it seemed like they were finishing off from a fight that happened between them early today." Cliff poked at the, now, almost dead ambers of the, once, lively fire, with a stick; the darkened ambers shifted with each swish of his wrist.
"Yeah, but why would Albel even associate himself with Peppita and Sophia, I mean, I thought for certain that Albel would stay the farthest away from those two." Fayt voice was filled with curiosity and puzzlement.
It was then that Nel decided to add a comment into the conversation at hand, "Well, like it's said, opposites attract. Sophia and Peppita consequently happen to be Albel's complete and utter opposites. Sophia is in tune with her emotions, Albel locks them away, Peppita is loud most of the time, Albel is quiet most of the time-opposite."
The night had only seemed to have darkened around them further. "There's no point in discussing this so late at night when are minds are tired from the days events. I think it's about time that we all head off to bed. Come on." With that Mirage got up and headed towards the girls' tent, the rest followed to their respective tents, to get some sleep.
Albel had been not that far away from the fire, though hidden to the bunch as they talked about him. So, they had finally noticed the union that had somehow formed between him, the brat, and the girl-it had taken them long enough. Though, it wasn't as if they had paid enough attention to the three before to have taken note of the interactions.
As they got up and headed to the tents to sleep, he caught sight of pink across the way, so the girl had heard the whole thing as well. It hadn't surprised him that she hadn't gotten any sleep, for some reason, she put the weight of everyone's emotions onto her own heart. She worried unnecessarily over even the littlest things and he could never understand why, so she must have sensed Fayt's unease, which had stopped her from well needed sleep.
Slowly he got up from where he had listened in on the conversation and made his way over to the girl. She still hadn't answered his question, "Do you hate me?" He had asked it to her, once again, when he was close enough for her to have heard it.
"Oh! Did you hear that conversation between Fayt and the others? Why did Fayt seem so concerned? It's not like you'll do anything to me or Peppita, after all, we are all comrades here." A look of slight confusion and irritation was on her face.
A low and dark chuckle came from Albel. The girl was completely clueless, did she not know that he was put down in legend as Albel 'The Wicked'. "What makes you think that no harm will come to you through me? By the way, you still haven't answered my question on whether you hate me or not, it will do you no good to try and stall."
Her eyes widened and her legs bent backwards, as if, she was ready to flee from the site. She then pretended to be tired and a pitiful fake yawn slipped from her lips. "Well, it's really late and I'm really tired, I think I'll head to bed now."
"Not so fast there, girl," Albel's clawed arm stretched out and gripped her arm, "I want to hear some answers before you leave." His clawed fingers dug into her flesh, which caused tears in her eyes and a gasp of pain. Small trickles of blood ran down her skin.
"Ow, Albel...you're..." Here Albel finished off her sentence, "I'm hurting you." A dangerous glint shone in his eyes. The tears on her face threatened to fall, but never did, instead, she reached out (with her other arm) and touched Albel's clawed one. "How did this happen to you?" She didn't look him in the eye when she asked it.
His sharpened fingers released her fragile arm, "That's none of your business. GO! Get your precious sleep, wench."
Neither one got any sleep that night.
The days passed them by slowly, and quite suddenly, they had gone and defeated Luther. The weight of, not the world, but the whole universe, was finally off their shoulders. The sigh of relief was felt by all of them, even the coldest of the bunch. So, in order to celebrate the success, they all went to watch Peppita's first ever performance.
An atmosphere of happiness and calmness surrounded them as laughter filled the air. But such contentment was soon to be smashed.
It was when the goodbyes were being given for, you see, the Moonbase was still under a lot of work, things had to be checked and double checked, that Peppita decided to have her first performance in Peterny. Thus, that was where the departures were held.
Sophia had only to say good bye to Albel and then she would be gone. Off to Roak. As she approached him, she felt a lump form in her throat and a sense of dread build up in the pit of her stomach.
"So...I've come to say good bye. I wish you luck in whatever you plan to do Albel, and I'm sure we will see each other again. Yep, in a year we will see each other at the reunion, I'm positive of it." Her normal smile was in place.
Yet, Albel showed no sign of her words. "Bah. Such fake happiness sickens me. And you have yet to give me an answer, do you hate me? This time I won't let you escape my grasp without a valid response."
Sophia sighed, "No, I don't hate you at all, Albel. I see you as a really good friend, a friend that I don't know all that well yet, but I want to get to know you better, with time." She looked him in the eye as she said what she felt.
Albel let out a short and hard laugh, "You lie. I see it in your eyes. They are laced with fear of me. How could they not, I left a scar upon your body with my claw. That friendship that you let your mind believe that we have is nothing more than a figment of your imagination! Stop fooling yourself and face the truth, you hate me and I hate you. There was nothing there and there never will be. Goodbye and good riddance."
All control left Sophia as her lively green eyes turned blank and dark. It was all over, whatever she had thought they had, that friendship...It was all over. The tears swayed over the bottom of her eyes and, with a blink, large tears trailed down her semi-paled cheeks. Her fingers ran themselves along the claw marks on her arm and she felt her legs move without her consent.
She ran. Got as far away from Albel as she could, she hadn't even looked at him to see what his eyes told, of the truth. She hadn't noticed that her little stuffed cat, which always hung from her staff, had fallen off it...Hadn't noticed how Albel had bent down and picked it up. Hadn't noticed the sadness that lurked in the bloody depths of his eyes, for, she was unable to see how his heart bled. Bled with the pain of loneliness that he felt he had to bear in order to atone for his own father's death. She hadn't realized that he was frightened by her kindness and that was what made him push her away...Or that his heart now bled blood that was much thicker and darker; for she had meant something to him...What she had meant to him was unknown.
But, all of these things were clouded due to the overflow of tears that blinded everything around her. The tears that slipped from her wounded soul and glistened in the ironic sunlight. No, it wasn't until she had transported away and saw Elicoor II start to fade away, until the tears had stopped, that she had understood...
Understood that Albel hadn't truly meant a word he had said. And, it was in that moment, that she knew why Albel asked her if she hated him, to see if he had to push her away with such force to protect his own fragile heart and soul, yet, by then, it was too late to turn back.
A/N: Well, that is the end of chapter two; I hope you all enjoyed it. :D I think this is my favorite chapter out of the three so far, though, the prologue is close. Oh, and I know that Peppita isn't the only kid in the group, but, I never really interacted that much with Roger in the game, and feel that my story will go better if I just eliminate him...Also, his presence in stories always lead to humor (more or less) and I'd rather keep my story serious and angst-filled, with only a few light and humorous moments. See ya next chapter. xD