Was there anything not to love about it? It cooled, it soothed....... and it reminded her of her mother. And there were so many wonderful, warm things to remember about her mother. Hugs, and playful songs...... long dresses, and hair that smelled of roses and fresh grass. The sea spray had never clung to her, like the others; there was always that scent, mixed with soap, that had lulled her to sleep every night while they waited for her father.
The salty, earthy scent...... she remembered knowing when he was home before he even said hello to her, because she would sense it from her room, when he wisked her mother from the floor and spun her around like she was still a child. Their laughter would always echo in her head afterward, stopping her tears when she woke up mornings to find that he had disappeared again without saying good-bye. They made each other happy, and if Mother was happy enough, then so was she.
Are you happy, Prim-chan?
It all left her, one day. The soft, warm existence she had enjoyed, wrapped in sunshine and love...... all shattered with one scream, and rivulets of blood staining the kitchen floor.
Her scream. Her own scream.
If she hadn't screamed, they wouldn't have noticed Mother, as she tried to climb into the loft, to the safety of the rafters to hide. If she hadn't looked, and hidden, like she had been told to do, behind Billy, Mother would have hidden. Mother would have been safe. The Wels would have run away without any blood.
But her scream revealed her hiding place...... and her mother wouldn't let them hurt her, or Billy.
"Leave them be........" Footsteps on the hard wood floor, a scrape as something bumped into the table. "I am the only one here......" A pause, a clink of glass, metal striking glass. Not a spoon. The knife on the table. "Would you like some tea?"
Growls, shuffling. Ripping.
"Are you okay, Prim-chan?"
A soft, clean scent...... like rain just abating, mixing with the smells of wet dirt, and grass, and the lake that was already wrapped around her. The water rippled without any sound, distorting the reflection of trees and stars and moon as it wavered in its own, invisible breeze. Her face wavered there like the moon's, almost as if she wasn't really there at all, but just watching from a long, long distance.
Primera nodded once, fingers reaching up to twine her silvery bangs around her hand the way her mother used to, when she was too little to brush her own hair. But it was hard to twirl and she eventually gave up, letting it fall back over her eyes. The air was too heavy; like the feeling before a storm over the ocean, but it was also cool...... almost, but not quite, like the touch of water.
Robes rustled; Billy settled down next to her, holding his knees to his chest just as she was doing, and letting his blue cloak trail out backward in folds that made her think of the waves of the ocean, or the dark waters of the lake under the bridge. And he turned his head to look at her through his pale bangs...... even though she couldn't see him, she felt his eyes touch her face, and it was like the sun touching her face, all sparkling blue. His hair whispered as he shook his head, turning the warmth away from her to the water she was staring at so viligently.
"Father is leaving again."
The music of his voice mixed with the singing of the lake's water, and she smiled, just a little. Then she blinked, and turned her face toward her brother to show him that smile; to say that she didn't mind. She knew he understood...... he was the only one, aside from Midori, who always knew what she said.
She loved her brother. Did he know that?
He must. The answering smile he turned her way shined as brightly as his eyes, kind and caring and protective, just like their mother. "You don't mind. You never mind, Prim-chan. You're so forgiving...... you put me to shame." There was no sting in the words. It was pure and strong, like his faith.
She tugged on his sleeve, spreading her hands when he glanced at her again.
"What? I don't know where
he's going. But Sig is going with him, so it can't be that bad."
He frowned, dimming his pale features like a cloud over the sun.
She shivered, feeling the same kind of chill. "He looks angry......
but he won't say anything. And Sigurd...... I don't know what's
wrong with him. I wish I did; then I could help him......"
He let his head fall. "I should help Father too. I know I
should. You say it all the time, even though I can't hear it."
She nodded once, reaching again to pat the soft cloak over his shoulder. But she never had to try to tell him anything, because he always told himself. He always knew what he had to do, and how he had to handle it. She wished she were more like him.
Maybe when she was older......
"I should be more like you, Prim-chan." He smiled again, dimmer than before. "You're always so sweet...... and you're more grown up than I am, I sometimes think. You should be the one scolding Father, not me."
The hostility was gone...... it didn't blight his light anymore, like it used to. She could feel things like that, when it was Billy. She knew him better than anyone else. Five years had made as much difference in him she sometimes imagined he was partly another person. Or a different season of the same person.
Did anyone else see things like this, and hear things like this?
Anyone besides her mother?
A wind started, brushing the water and ruffling their hair, whispering over his cloak and through the grass like a choir of voices just beyond the edge of hearing. But it was there...... maybe the sisters were singing again, and she was too distracted to hear anything but their echoes.
"...... Hear that?" Billy asked softly, head tilted as if he were listening to something. He ran a hand through his bangs, keeping them clear of his eyes, and his hair added its whispers to the song she heard. "Someone must be singing. Margie's ascension is only a few days away. Maybe they're practicing."
The song she heard....... the song they heard.
Billy rose, standing tall in the moonlight, and looking down at her with the warmth of his eyes. "It's late, Prim-chan. I hope you'll come inside soon."
He brushed her forehead with his fingers, bathing her a moment in the soft light of his faith, and smiled again before leaving their spot by the lake, and striding toward the garden path.
He heard the songs too.
She watched him, on her knees in the cool grass, and the whispering wind blowing her silver hair into her eyes and across her face. He wasn't looking back; she wanted him to look back so she could call him over again. She wanted to share her surprise with him. She had thought it was something else, something no one else had, all this time.
But she felt like a ghost. She wasn't really there, because she had screamed, just that one time, and saw something...... something she couldn't remember. Except for the blood. And Billy, crying.
It would be nice to be normal. Father was always telling her to be normal, so Billy wouldn't worry so much about her.But Billy loved her the way she was, and she had never thought about it this way until now...... She would be like Midori, where only certain people would hear her, just like only she could hear the wind sing before......
Primera jumped up, wiping dust and grassblades from her legs and sprinting after her brother without looking back toward the lake and its ghostly voices. He still wouldn't turn around. Maybe he expected her to follow him.
He stopped with one foot upon the garden path and another still on the waving grass, so still she could not even hear the rustling sound his robes made when he walked.
She rushed up to him and tugged on his robe, making him turn around. "Billy!"
His eyes were calm when he finally turned around, gently disengaging her hands from his arm. But his eyes were very bright to her, like the moon was bright. "You called, Prim-chan?" He smiled, just slightly, like he always did, but the light was there too. Did she make him happy, by talking?
She hugged him, burying her face into the bow tied at his neck. He wrapped his arms around her tightly, with such force she almost couldn't breathe, and she could hear him laughing. She had made him happy......
Just like Father.
I'm not sure what was going through my head when I wrote this, but I spent a good two or three hours on it, so I hope it isn't too terrible. The idea of Primera finally talking just popped into my mind a few days ago, and I decided to write something for it, to practice if nothing else. I certainly don't consider it my greatest work.
It takes place around five years after Xenogears; at that time, I know for a fact that Sigurd was supposed to be either dying, or just recovering from his ailment, though I have no information on just when Margie was really supposed to marry Bart, or any such thing like that. And Primera's strange perception of things was influenced by a character named Jenseny from the Coldfire Trilogy. They aren't the same, but the similarities are there.
Well, that's it. Questions or comments can be directed to me, of course. Sayonara.
-- Amber Michelle