Chapter 1: Always Come Back To You
PROLOGUE: Nearly three years before the first chapter..
The full moon shined brightly down on the loch, mirroring the celestial body perfectly. The only sounds that could be heard were the gentle chirps from crickets, and the occasional hoot from an owl. A young redheaded lass sat on a large, raised rock at the edge of the still water.
A light breeze teased at her long, curly hair as the water remained still. The direction that the wind blew in from, and the natural depression that the loch had created didn't allow it to touch the water. As the young woman stared out while lost in her thoughts, a twig snapped from behind her.
Emerging from the shadows of the tree line, a tall, thinner young man stepped out into the moonlight. He smiled brightly at the beautiful lass before scooping her up in his arms, and spinning her around for a moment. She beamed at him, making his heart swell with bittersweet emotions. After setting her down, she had immediately motioned to a picnic basket next to where she'd been standing.
A sorrowful expression covered his face as the young man said; "I miss you, but I can't stay long.."
The lass looked up at him with a worried expression; "What? Why? What's wrong?"
The man flashed a small smile; "Tis nothing for you to worry over. I start my training soon, that's all. I won't be able to come see you much for a while.."
"What kind of trainin'? It's never kept ye from me before... What aren't ye tellin' me, Tidas?"
Shifting on his feet nervously, Tidas stated; "I can't tell you, I'm sorry.. My father and I agree that what I'm doing should be kept hidden for as long as possible. Many lives are at stake, so even though I Really want to tell you, I can't.. I'm sorry, Skye."
Skye broke his hold on her and went back to the loch's edge. She wrapped her arms around herself as her heart and head tore at her.. 'Somethin' is wrong. He would tell me if he wasn't in any danger.. So that means his life will be at risk..'
Tidas walked up to Skye, and wrapped his arms around her from behind. They stared out at the loch for uncountable moments together until Tidas heard Skye's sniffling. He turned her around in his arms to face her, only to feel his heart constrict painfully at the sight of her tears.
Through blurry eyes, Skye looked up at Tidas and spoke with a shaky voice; "Why do I feel like Ima never gonna see you again?"
Ocean blue eyes stared up at him.. Pleading to him to stay, but he couldn't. His father had given him a choice, and he chose the option that would help create a better world for the one he loved. They would only be apart for a year, but it would be the longest year of his life.
"When I return, we will be married, and we'll have all the time in the world together. I don't see myself having many responsibilities after my father passes the crown to my brother.. I want to be with you, Skye: always. I want us to be happy. In order for that to happen, I have to leave. It's only for a year, after that-"
"A WHOLE YEAR?! What could ye possibly be doin' that would keep ye away for an entire year?! No. I don't like this.."
Skye gripped Tidas' hands shakily as she continued; "I have a Really bad feelin' about this.. Please don't go.. Don't leave me.."
Skye couldn't explain what it was, but the whole situation was off. She had felt a shift in Tidas the past few years. He was still thin, tall, and pale, but he was starting to gain muscle. He'd kept his hair shorter lately too, which was odd because most men sported long braids.
The changes had been gradual, but Skye had still noticed. The idea that he'd gained magic crossed her mind several times, but she'd always pushed it aside. 'Tidas would tell me if he'd gained a trait.. But then again, I haven't told him of mine yet, so..'
Shaking off her thoughts, Skye sniffled a final time before looking up at her betrothed with determination. Tidas was the Third Prince of Alcon, and had responsibilities, but she was included within those. Their fathers had contracted them to each other at the age of five, so they had always known where the fates would lead them..
Or so they had always assumed..
"I'm sorry Skye, but I don't have a choice. And even if I did: I would still choose this path.. I can't tell you why right now, but I Know you would understand if you knew.. Can you trust me, please? I don't want to leave with you angry with me.."
Skye wasn't actually mad at him, she was just scared. A terrible sinking feeling was strangling her heart and mind. Screaming at her to force him to stay.. but she had no way to. If the king was ordering him to go somewhere or do something, he had to go.
"Out your head, love.. Your place is here, with me.."
Skye was brought out of her thoughts by the word 'love'. She knew that Tidas did love her, but neither had ever said it seriously to the other before. The fact that he was saying it now made her heart twist further with both happiness, and an ominous sense of loss..
"If ye love me, then stay.. Please.."
Tidas gently cupped her cheek; "I love you with everything I am, but you know I can't do that.. My father-"
"Oh screw Magnus! Ima serious, Tidas! Something horrible is gonna happen, I know it! I can't explain it, but I just know it! PLEASE don't leave me.."
Tidas wanted to stay more than anything, but he couldn't be selfish. Thousands of lives were depending on him; he couldn't turn a blind eye to them. He so badly wanted to tell Skye about his private war, but now wasn't the time. If she knew too much, it would put her in danger.
Tilting her head up to meet his eyes, Tidas spoke in an emotionally strained voice; "One year.. One year, and I will be by your side for the rest of our lives.. Please don't be angry Skye.. I love you more than I could ever show you in one lifetime, but I look forward to trying once I return."
Skye's eyes filled with tears again. Tidas was leaving no matter what she said, and it felt like a dagger was being twisted around in her heart. Her level of fear was intensified by the unshakable feeling that she was never going to see him again. Her breathing became unsteady and rough as fear started to switch to panic.
Tidas saw her panicking, but didn't know what to do. So he did the only thing he could think of: kiss her. It was their first official one; cheek pecks aside. As he pressed his lips gently against hers, Tidas lost himself in her.
Skye was shocked by his sudden advance, but kissed him back the second she'd come out of it. While he had intended their first kiss to be sweet and gentle, Skye provoked his desire as she leaned in fervently. She pushed up on her tip toes and pressed against him with a passion he hadn't been aware of her having.
Moving her arms to around his neck, Skye molded her whole body against Tidas like she was smothering a fire instead of sparking one. He moved his hand to entwine his fingers within her thick red curls, and pulled slightly. Eliciting a soft, throaty moan from his beloved.
Skye couldn't feel the ground beneath her feet.. She couldn't feel her body at all! Sparks flashed across her eyelids as she let her whole meld and mix with Tidas. For a moment, time seemed to stop as they expressed all the love and longing they'd felt for each other..
Neither were sure how long they had stood embracing. All they knew was that moment, and the love that they felt for each other. Feeling his control slipping, Tidas broke the kiss before his hands could do anything regrettable. Desire burned fiercely in Skye's eyes as Tidas cursed at himself internally.
In a raspy, strained voice Tidas said; "I have to go.. They're waiting for me."
As tears threatened to spill from both of their eyes, Tidas added; "One year.. One year, and we'll be together. Nothing is going to stop me from coming. I will Always come back to you..."