This is another one of those early morning 'muse' things that I just had to wake up and write for fear of losing it. I am sooooo sorry Aria dear. ;p (ok, no I'm not! LOL)
He sat there thinking, brooding, lost in his own thoughts, but then he always was anymore. Thancred had always been that way ever since Annabel had found him here in the First. It was a strange feeling seeing him like that, so different from that carefree roguish daredevil she had known in Eorzea. Did she actually PREFER the man he used to be? Annabel had to admit that the 'badboy' attitude had caused a 'flutter' in her heart at times, honestly, how could it not? He was good looking, adventurous, a no nonsense kind of man. Of course, being married and all, Annabel knew it was silly thinking those kind of thoughts; but a woman could dream couldn't she? After all, she wasn't DEAD for crying out loud. She wondered what he was like in bed.....
Annabel suddenly woke up from her thoughts, blushing. She HOPED no one was around to SEE her and luckily there was not, except for the subject of her thoughts himself, still sitting, still brooding. The silly fool of a man, he'll most likely one day 'brood' himself to death if he wasn't careful.
Unconsciously brushing her hand through her hair and behind her ear, Annabel walked over to the man and sat in the vacant chair at the table. He didn't look up, didn't react when she did this, which kind of annoyed her. She was probably one of the prettiest women he had ever seen. He USED to react to her, flirting, winking, trying to hit on her, but not anymore. Now it was like she barely existed except when she was needed to kill something. Annabel was a bit surprised that this DID annoy her. Sure his advances were kind of annoying, but in a way she liked the attention, the affirmation of her beauty. Now the guy was....no fun, just so...mopey.
Sigh, there was STILL no reaction from him, REALLY? Was she invisible or something? Annabel pursed her lips, wanting to do a bitchy tirade but thought better of it. That was NOT why she was here. She was here to be wise Annabel, the Champion people ASSUMED she was, she just needed to play the part. She could do this, really!......
"I will say, it's quite a nice change NOT having someone react to me like I'm the greatest thing ever, you must have gotten quite used to me to control yourself so well."
Surprised, Thancred looked up and blinked in confusion when he saw Annabel sitting there. He managed an apologetic grin, which reminded Annabel of the man he used to be. Seems like he could still do it when he wanted to.
"I am sorry dear Anna, lost in my thoughts I guess, that does seem to happen more and more recently. What is it you need milady?"
"Oh believe me," Annabel said, amused. "I HAVE noticed my dear Thancred, if you don't mind me saying, it's made you kind of, well dull."
"Dull?" Thancred gave an amused look himself, it was rather surprising considering his previous state. "I would think that a married woman would not care if I was.....dull. But then again, you ARE full of surprises sometimes Miss Ashcroft."
"That I am silly boy, it's too bad you did not know me well....BEFORE I got married." Annabel just shrugged, "oh well, lost opportunities and all that, you'll never know what you missed." She ran her hand through her honey-blonde hair again and gave the man a sly, sultry smile."
Thancred laughed, it sounded good to Annabel's ears; it was so rare he DID it anymore. "I bet milady, it is something I will regret every time I look at your beautiful self. But my dear Annabel, I am sure you did not come over here to flirt with missed opportunists, what do you REALLY want?"
Straight to the point already, TWELVE the man really WAS no fun anymore, and it had been getting good too. Annabel just gave a sigh at the mood change and became more serious. "Thancred, I....well want to talk to you about.....you know...."
The man's mood instantly changed, "Minfilia, am I right?"
Annabel hesitated, then continued. "welll, yes, partially, but mainly about Ryne. I want to make sure you are fine with how things turned out between them."
Thancred narrowed his eyes. "Of course I am, why wouldn't I be?"
"Um," Annabel said holding out her slim manicured hand and started checking off points with her fingers. Because you are sitting here, all alone, brooding away, and ignored a REALLY beautiful woman for a good minute." Annabel took her hand and pointed it at him, "that's not NORMAL honey."
The man gave a huff of annoyance and leaned back in his chair. "Has anyone ever told you, YOU are a real pain in the ass Miss Ashcroft?"
"Every day dear, every day. Now SPILL it, WHAT is wrong?" Annabel crossed her arms looking expectantly for Thancred to speak.
"Fine woman, look, I am fine, I am happy that Ryne sorted out her issues and is none the worse for wear. We both had a long talk and are working our problems out. Is that not what you want to hear?"
"What I WANT to hear," Annabel pointed out, "is the word you are NOT saying. I WANT to know if you are ok with what happened to Minfilia."
Thancred sighed, "you won't let up until you know huh? Fine Miss Ashcroft, I will TELL you. No, no I am NOT fine with it, Minfilia is GONE, gone from the world, gone from my life, and she will never be back. Can I NOT be allowed to mourn her loss, mourn that I will never see her again, never TALK with her again." He said the next in a softer voice, "never have her love again." An unexpected tear fell from his face as he said it.
Annabel stayed silent for a moment, just watching the man's anguish. She was a fool bringing this up, how could she have been SO stupid, she was just trying to help. But what was done was done, at least she could try and fix it.
"Oh honey, I....I know she meant a lot to you, but not that much. Look, I was there, I saw what happened with both of them. Minnie...er Minflila went willingly, she knew she had to merge with Ryne to give us an advantage, an edge. She was completely selfless in her action and it was for ALL our benefit, even yours. Minfilia fought for years against the forces which threatened us, she just did it one last time, and did it confidently and with a smile."
Thancred nodded, "I can believe it, Minfilia not afraid of anything when it came to helping others. She could be SUCH a stubborn bitch at times, not listening to anyone when it came to defending the weak or helping the helpless. But I made sure to be at her side when I could, to make sure SHE was safe so SHE could carry on and lead us. Until that day when she made me make sure YOU were safe instead."
Annabel gave a look of worry when he said that, but he continued. "Oh don't worry Annabel, I don't blame you for her death. We all knew our duty was to you and keeping you safe from those who wished to do you harm. Back then you were still a fledgling, still learning your power. It was up to us that you stayed alive to master it. So one by one, we fell in those caves to make sure you could go on, and she was the last of us to fall. Minflila made the final sacrifice that would keep the world she loved....safe."
"And you made a huge sacrifice for me too," Annabel said quietly, "but even more then that. You lost the woman you loved, did you even know it was going to happen, what she would do?"
Thancred shook his head, "maybe an inkling, but none of us at that time thought it was going to end up that way, us having to go, one by one. Like I said, I don't blame you for it, we all went willingly, knew what had to be done, I would not have expected Minfilia to do any less."
"No," Annabel said, "I guess not, and I guess you accepted what happened, until Ryne came."
"Until Ryne came," he repeated. "Ryne brought back all the memories of her, all the pain. It was hard Annabel, almost unbearable, so I treated her harsh, cold, with emotionless unfeeling. It was the only way I could get though it, to deal with for all the time I was around her."
Thancred sighed as he leaned forward, "And now? And now it is over, Minflila is gone and Ryne is her own woman now, free from who created her. Like I said, I have accepted that, made peace with it. I am happy for the girl and I will do my best to SHOW her that happiness. I will train her, be by her side if she needs me, until the day she does not."
"But you need time yet", Annabel asked, "don't you?"
"Yes Annabel", Thancred nodded, "I still need time. It is all still new, still fresh. It will take time to get over it to truly let her go, but I will. I did it before, I can do it again; I am no weakling you know." He gave a roguish smirk at that, showing Annabel a bit of the old Thancred.
She gave him a warm smile in return. "I know. I will give you time then, give you space. I'm just glad the old Thancred will eventually return, I kind of missed him."
"Oh he'll return, but will be a bit... changed, more mature, more grown up. But I don't think you will be disappointed Miss Ashcroft, he'll be back to flirting with your beautiful self any day now." He gave a wink at that.
Annabel laughed as she rose from her chair, "Flattery will get you everywhere Hon. But remember, I AM married. Aria DOES frown with people hitting on me, she's SO possessive."
"Too bad, well if it doesn't work out between you two, I AM free now you know."
"Yes," Annabel said thoughtfully, half to herself, "you are at that".....
Thancred's response surprised me! Normally men would not be so open, I would expect Thancred would feel pressured to be a little bit macho especially in front of a pretty girl, and either act cool or get angry to drive Annabel away.
But it would also make sense for him to be at a vulnerable moment immediately after Minfillia's passing, and Annabel is basically the only one he can talk to now.
It seems like Annabel developed a little more empathy in the process, too! She has been significantly less bitchy in the recent serious episodes, even working nicely with Minnie. ;)
The Scions gang seems to be returning to normal minus Minnie, but the greatest plot twists of all lie ahead... I'm excited!
LOL, well she DID kind of corner him, and as you said, he WAS kind of vulnerable.
I am currently plowing through the quests for the part I am in and will say, I REALLY like where it is going with getting to Mt. Gulg. I LOVE stuff like that.
I have to say, I am a bit surprised at how many people liked this one and how many views it's getting. I guess my 'muse' entries are 'better' than the normal ones.
Sigh, in case you don't know, my wife REALLY hates him. ;p
On another note, this story has been REALLY climbing in the views, it's actually past 100 now and that almost NEVER happens this quickly with my writing.
I have an inkling though that the title MAY have something to do with it and people think it involves some real life thing.
SORRY people, it's a STORY! ;p
I cant help you have poor tastes. :p
Next thing I know you're going to make googly at gran