Holy Desire

© 2001 by Sofía 'Toffee' Francisco

This page was last modified: 2001/03/12


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Author's Note:

Yay! Unbroken again! (It never happens, does it?)


"The tea-camellia blooms in winter bowers;
But has it white or has it yellow flowers?"
- Half-and-half, by Buson -

"Lady... it is late, you should go to bed."

She sat on the cold stone balcony, her eyes lost in that faraway place between fantasy and reality. A soft wind picked up the heavy waterfall of her hair, swaying it gently as the skies darkened and the clouds thickened, threatening to snow. She turned to me slowly, a vague smile on her face as she slid down from her perch and walked up to me quietly.

"I'm not sleepy. But you look tired, why don't you go and rest?" her tone of voice was friendly and concerned, yet this sisterly attitude sliced through the warmth I had been feeling like shards of ice.

"I must watch over you, my Lady."

She sighed then, her smile turning sad as she leaned her back against the damp walls and gave me a long hard look. "Siegfried... I am safe here, at least for tonight... go to sleep."

"I am fine, Lady." She winced as I addressed her formally for the third time in a row, then closed her eyes and sighed.

"Spare me the formality, please..." there was such sadness in her voice. "We have known each other for years, and there is no one here to chastise us for being close."

No, there wasn't. But Hilda was, for all her amazing faculties, childishly naive when it came to a man's feelings; being close to her would mean I would be treated like an older brother or a servant, and that I would not be able to bear. To have her hug me and know it was no with the love I felt for her... I couldn't. And even if she did feel for me, our status kept anything from happening. It just wasn't possible.

Formality was all I could use against her shimmering beauty.

I often thought of her like I would of a gem, not because of her value but because of her nature. She was beautiful outside, and yet there was a sharpness in her gaze that could drive anyone off with shivers down their spine; her gentleness was often outshone by her determination, and her compassionate soul was just as resolutely set on justice as it was on forgiveness, which made her fair but stonily impartial. Like a crystal, freshly taken from the land, she shone with a thousand colours and cut deeply as soon as you touched it, some edges smooth and others razor sharp, light reflected upon it in gentle rainbow colours and blinding rays of white. And there, at the very centre, a darkness that she hid behind a smile, the slicing quality in her almost lilac pupils that was a part of all humans, but all the more noticeable in her, who glowed so powerfully on the exterior.

She was nothing like Freya.

The younger Princess was sweet and tame, all too gentle and innocent; like a pearl maybe. Very little light reflected on the surface, and she was rounded out until no imperfections were left, only a pale milky pink could be seen within and her soul was just as tranquil. There was no passion or coldness in her, she was perfect in every sense... and thus she was completely flawed. Her utter lack of all things wrong made her almost inhuman, like something old and lovely but unchangeable, that could be gazed upon but never altered or pampered. She had nothing to receive from others, just as she had so very little to give. But Hagen loved her, intensely and devoutly; he loved her in a way I could not believe she could be loved and gave her all he had, even if she never took any of it in.

"Perhaps, but you are still my Lady."

"Siegfried...."

"Lady... I am but a soldier at your command, your bodyguard - not your brother- who will stand beside you at al times. And you... you are the Priestess of our Lord Odin, you are a Valkyrie and..." she silenced me by waving her hand and I wondered if she even realised how used she was to ordering me around. Not that I really minded.

"Oh be serious Siegfried! If I was really a Valkyrie I wouldn't be here talking to you, but filling horns with mead and catering for Odin's beloved Einheriar. And if this was really Valhalla then there would be Aesir everywhere while you and me stared at the falling snow out of some frozen window," she spoke angrily, eyes flashing dangerously.

"Lady...."

"And even if I am a Priestess, I am no less human. Don't treat me like something unreachable... please," so close to begging now, once again. All anger had faded and she stared at me sadly, hands clasped in front of her in the most submissive of attitudes. How lonely she was, the perfect angel atop her throne! Freya worshipped her too much for her to be a comfort, Hilda had no one to lean on, save for me. But if I allowed her to come any closer, it might be too close.

"But Asgard -our Asgard- does exist out of the mortal plane, and Odin exists too," I pointed out softly, pushing a few strands of hair out of my eyes.

"But it is not an immortal plane, we just exist on a different reality, but it is just as real and mortal as the one outside. Like a hidden room inside a house that belongs to that house nonetheless. There is nothing really divine about us, just like Odin is not the Creator," her voice was low and careful, but devoid of any doubt.

"Lady!" I cried out softly, afraid of her words. Startled by the implied heresy to the very God she was the earthly representation of.

"Oh Siegfried! There is scientific proof that Odin did not make the universe; I don't know what made it. I also ignore what made Odin himself... if he was born for the people of our land, or if the prayers of our people made him. He is Holy, but not all powerful and omniscient." She smiled then, her gaze softening ever so slightly as she did. "But I believe in him, not as a Maker, but as a saviour for our people. He is the power that protects us, whatever his origin."

She was so strong, and so weak all the same; I wanted to hug her all of a sudden, to take her into my arms and stroke that wonderful hair of hers, to erase pain and duty from her frown and make it smooth and sweet once again. I wanted to warm her, taking away all pain from her laden soul. "You are quite an unusual Priestess...."

"Religions are crumbling all over because of science and society. The only way to remain true to a faith is to realise that a lot of what was said is pure myth, and that to believe you must find the deeper truths, and hold them in your heart. If Odin exists for us, or because of us... that is unimportant. The point is that he lives and I am his Priestess."

Yes, she was like a gem. Smooth and silky, yet deadly to touch. It was death to want to hold her like I did, even worse if she wanted it too. I had to stay away from her, for both of us. If she were to truly fall in love with me - oh Odin! how sweet that thought tasted however forbidden!- we wouldn't be able to be together, she would suffer for me. For me! I simply could not allow it! I would be strong for the two of us, but I would not let her suffer what I did.

"So Odin might or might not be a god, and Asgard might or might not be a holy land." I shook my head and smiled, marvelled by the simple logic in her words, and the stunning truth found there. If only the world could see things like she did!

"Does it matter? We are holy to the inhabitants of Asgard and those who know of us, and Odin is holy to us; we believe, they believe. As long as we have this what have we to fear? Hope is what makes humanity so strong!" she breathed, leaning back into the wall heavily as if this very thought filled her all at once.

"That... and love," I murmured smiling.

"...what?" she blinked, full lips parting in surprise as she stared at me in frozen wonder.

"That love makes just as strong as ho..pe...." my tongue twisted and I felt myself pale as I realised what it was that I had just said, and to whom. Hilda was looking at me so oddly, her eyes becoming almost vulnerable for the first time.

"Do you... believe in that?" Odin help me! I couldn't move, she had me pinned like a butterfly with her grey eyes, struck numb and mute under the intensity of those stormy depths, and the waver in her voice. So vulnerable! So beautiful! So... unreachable.

"I don't know," what was the point of loving someone if you couldn't say it? I did not know, yet this did not alter my feelings at all. I was damned to be her pawn and only friend, to live for her, dream of her, and never touch the moon-white shell that hid her soul. I could love her, want her... ache to touch her soft curves and pale skin, to feel her sigh and smile and say she loved me...

Things I could never have.

But she'd have me, thoroughly and completely, even if she did not know it.

"I really don't know... I guess, our hearts are what makes us strong. If it is hope, love or just pure hate... if our hearts are set on one emotion above all else, we are unbeatable," I tried to throw her off with technicalities, but she was not that easily mislead.

"And do you have such an emotion, that drives you forth?"

I opened my mouth to say no, then realised what it meant to deny this. And yet, how could I tell her what I fought for? What my faith was based upon? She looked so innocent and wise, ready to listen and afraid of my answers... but yearning for them too. Dare I break this peace, and throw us both into an eternal turmoil?

"I..." I love you, but I will never say it because it might mean loosing you. I am your guardian, and you... you are my Princess. And you deserve so much better! So...much... better. "I have my faith."

Hilda's eyes glazed over slightly and then cleared, as if nothing had touched them at all. Her smile was beatific, yet I could not help noticing the contained edge of pain behind it.

So.

"And faith in what, if I may ask?" her voice was deceptively sweet, but not enough.

"In you, my Lady."

We looked at each other, both of us wondering if the other might feel what we did. Neither of us knowing what it was, and why it was there. Perhaps I had7 not been careful enough, and she loved me. Perhaps she thought I saw her as a sister. As a Goddess. But Hilda was just Hilda to me. A beautiful gem that shone in a land of ice and snow, a piece of starstruck moonstone amidst a world of simple rocks. There was nothing really holy about her in the beginning, it was my love for her that made her high in my eyes. Yes... I was here because I believed in Hilda, because she was what made my life worth living.

And curiously, for once in her life, she did not know what to say. A faint blush stained her cheeks and she looked away with an exasperated sigh. I leaned down and took her hand in mine, pressing my lips against the back of it gently.

"I believe in you, Hilda."

The End


Toffshere:

And this is dedicated to Aurea, who draws such fantastic drawings and who happens to be even more fantastic as a person! *hugs* You said Hilda and Siggy, so I wrote this! No refunds! *evil grin* Be well!


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