Rydia finds herself curious about another member of the party.
by dilly r
After Kain came back, he didn't sleep with the rest of them. He sat at the edge of the protective circle with his back against one of the pillars -- his spear balanced on top of his knees and his head bowed so low that his helmet completely obscured his face.
Rydia pulled her knees up to her chest. That particular night, they were in a cave on the moon. The only sounds were the crackling of the campfire and the howl of something Rydia had no desire to fight. They would fight, though. They always did. Cecil always convinced them they could do anything, even when Rydia was only a child. Cecil was already asleep that night, with Rosa's head on his shoulder. Edge was still awake, unfortunately, balancing two knives on one finger in an attempt to impress Rydia. She'd usually just roll her eyes, make sure he stayed a fair distance from her, and go to sleep.
That night, she was neither irritable enough to roll her eyes nor tired enough to sleep. Maybe it was that the howling frightened her, or the fact that they were coming to the end of their journey that emboldened her, but she stood and went to Kain. She could feel Edge's eyes on her, but she didn't care. That night, something seemed very wrong about the way things were. She sat down in front of Kain and fixed here eyes on him.
Kain raised his head slowly. The only part of his face she could see was the right cheek and jaw in the wavering light.
"Aren't you cold over here?" she whispered.
Kain shook his head.
"Liar." She pulled her cape around to cover her bare arms. "I'm from the mountains and I'm cold over here."
He smirked. She could only see half of it in the firelight.
"I've wanted to ask you something," she said.
"What's that?" Kain asked casually.
"Why'd you do it?"
Kain tilted his head slightly. "Do what?"
"You killed my mother and everyone else I knew." Rydia forced her voice to stay even, calm. "I want to know why. I have that right, I think."
"You do." Kain leaned his head back against the pillar so that she couldn't see his face at all. "It was an order. I didn't know we were going to kill anyone, but if I had, I still would've done it."
"I don't believe you," she said. And she meant it. It surprised her that she meant it.
The distant howling seemed louder in the silence. Slowly, Kain raised his head again, pushing his helmet back so that she could see his eyes.
"How long did it take you to forgive Cecil?" He paused. "I mean, you stayed with him. You even came back. How long did it take you to forget that he helped me murder your mother?"
Rydia blinked. "I... Soldiers came for me, and he protected me."
"Mm." Kain nodded. "Right."
"But I didn't /forget/."
"Here's some advice, Summoner." He leaned closer to her, his eyes twinkling in the dim light. "Hold on to your hatred of me. It's better that way, and I'm good for it."
Rydia felt mute. She almost expected him to say more. To recant and ask for some sort of forgiveness or offer some sort of apology.
Kain just smirked again, but without the mask of shadow, it seemed more sad than intimidating. "Go back to the others. I need to get some sleep."
He leaned back again, his helmet shifting back into place.
Rydia sat still for a long moment, but Kain didn't speak again. He didn't even move again. Slowly, she rose to her feet and walked back to the camp.
"You okay?" Edge asked. "Your face is white. Did he say something to you?"
She shook her head. "Just the truth, I think." She sat down a foot away from the fire. Always at least a foot. She looked at Edge. She could see Kain in her peripheral vision. "Does feeling angry keep you from feeling sad about your parents?"
Edge's eyes widened, his expression faltering into real emotion. He turned to face the fire. "I don't think I could get that angry."
"Neither could I. I wonder what would happen if someone could." She laid back on the hard floor. "I'm tired."
"Yeah..." Edge ran a hand through his hair. "You sure you're okay?"
Rydia didn't answer. She didn't have any answers to give.