"NOOOO!” I screamed inside my mind, but it was too late. The flying swords my brother had conjured had pierced my very heart, yet I could not move. I was already dead or was I? Ringing loudly in my ears was the voice of my very heart, "Even a stray has pride..." after each word was spoken, they grew fainter and fainter until it was all an abyssal darkness. Suddenly I was awoken from my slumber by my heart, wait my heart was dead wasn't it?
"Larsa are you ok?” Basch was standing over me still wearing my hearts armor. "I heard screaming coming from your bed chamber, you were having a nightmare again weren't you?”
I could only shake my head in agreement, his hands started to wipe away the tears that had soon followed the screaming and crying that awoke my new guardian. "I will be fine Basch, thank you for your concern." I shifted closer to the other side of my bed away from this man, he who carried the same face as my heart, but not the same love, never will I know of this love again.
"Larsa I only want everything to be right again for you, I know I am no Noa..."
"ENOUGH, I have a far too busy a schedule for tomorrows affairs for you to continue disrupting my sleep any longer, I am fine now, no harm as befallen me, please exit my bed chamber immediately!".
"Yes Lars... my Lord, I shall return in the morning to escort you to your duties." After Basch had left, I laid there motionlessly unable to return to my once restless state of sleep. I lie awake for many hours before exhaustion finally caught up with my weak body. I soon found some solace in the early morning sky and suddenly I was gone.
I awoke very restless and even more so exhausted than usual, and as I pondered my agenda for the day, remembering why today felt even more heavy then most days feel to me now. This was the day one year ago, that my heart died.... the anniversary of Judge Gabranth's death, my Noah. I rummaged through my royal attire finding the garments that most suited my duties, but not my feelings, as a ruler, one must not allow such feelings to overcome them, and distract them from their royal duties. So I learned to keep my feelings locked away, where no one would ever see them again, even me. As usual my new Guardian, Basch, waited for me outside my bedchambers ready to escort me throughout my day. I despised him so; it made my heart heavy and my skin crawl as he followed me, and stayed in each room I entered throughout the day. Everyday seemed the same to me, awaiting the time for when I may lie on my bed, and dream of my heart, even if it would pain me so, I always locked away the pain later on.
"My Lord, did you rest any easier after the outburst from last night?” Basch said so concerned, though I know he only worries over me to not break the promise he made to his brother.
"I slept peacefully enough to perform my duties today as always Basch."
"Understood my Lord, I have but one request if I may, my Lord.” how dare he ask anything of me, but as I must, locking away my true feelings is part of an Emperor's duty.
"Yes, what be your request?"
"If my Lord grows tired and weary of today's activities maybe a quiet solace trip to the royal garden would be in order?"
"I have no time for such frivolous activities, I am an Emperor now, and such free time is no luxury for royalty, your mind should be on your duties as well Judge Basch, many might think you as my Gabranth, but you shall never be him, so stop trying to take me to a time that can NEVER...", I could not finish my sentence, as the lump that I held down for so long started to rise in my throat, and the tears I fought off for a years’ time finally surfaced to my face. NO how could this be? The pain and suffering I kept locked away for so long, finally breaks free, and in front of the one person who I despised the most right now.
"My Lord... Larsa…" Basch said, then slowly and calmly picking me up by my waist and putting me in his arms as if I was a newborn. "You've kept this in for long enough, I am canceling any affairs you have today.", how dare he say this to me, but I was too weak to even protest my feelings, now all I wanted to do was sob, until I could no longer produce any tears.
"Basch, I am sorry for treating you the way I have for so long, you have sacrificed so much for me, even your own love for another, all for a promise you made to...to...", I could not utter his name anymore, it only made me sob even harder, as I buried my face into Basch's chest plate.
"Oh sweet dear Larsa…" Basch cooed in my ear. "Yes for some time now I have had such feelings for dear Lady Ashe, our journey to stop the Empire from unleashing the wrath of the Bahamut unto all of Ivalice brought me closer and closer to her." "But, for some time now, I have developed such a strong passion of only seeing you happy, and to carry out my brother's promise yes, but your happiness is just as important to me as if I were with Lady Ashe now."
Could this really be? My whole world started to spiral in a mix emotion of joy and sorrow all in one day. Basch, my hearts brother, he actually had such feelings for me? After all the pain and suffering I endured on him, after the countless nights waking in a cold sweat and tear stained bed garments finding only him at my side comforting me the way my heart did so long ago. After all this, he had feelings for me, and all I ever did was pain him more. Well no longer will I be such a cold hearted Emperor. I knew for some time now I loved Basch in a way, but only because he looked identical to my Noah, from the outside view. But inside, was he truly the same? Or maybe he had his own love that he wanted me to see, Yes! it all seems so clear to me now, even after the promise he made to Noah, he himself, loves me. "OH Basch!, how could I have treated you in such a way, I am a horrible ruler, and a person, I don't deserve any of this...", as I tried to push him away and jump out of his arms. But he only pulled me in closer and held me tightly.
"I only want what's best for you Larsa, and I do want to love you, give you my everything, and see you smile once more." as he said this to me, he set me down gently and started to remove his armor, and lay it aside.
"Why are you taking off your armor?" I asked him quite curiously, yet still suffering dearly.
"So while I hold the one I love throughout this horrific day, he may be as happy as possible, and feel actual warmth flow inside him once more, as he used to feel so long ago."
I looked up at him and for the first time in so long, a true genuine smile crossed my lips, as I hugged Basch tightly, no, my new heart.