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Briale watched the paladin's face drop, a mix of hurt and sadness. She didn't mean to hurt him like this. He came upon her as soon as she had returned from the battle on the walls, and asked to speak with her privately. She had no idea he'd express his undying love and devotion to her. Especially at a time like now. She had to fight Garius and the King of Shadows tomorrow, and then he suddenly decides to tell her his feelings? What the Hells!

"I-I'm sorry Casavir, in another life..." She trailed off, looking anywhere but him. It should've been him to fall in love with. It should've been him to haunt her dreams and taunt her mind. It should have been him to worry about so fucking much. It should've been him, not Bishop. Not the ranger who can't be tied down. Who can't declare his love for someone. Who can't think about anyone else but himself.

Of all people to have fallen in love with, it should not have been Bishop.

"I understand, my lady. I... do not judge or hate you for your feelings. I will still be by your side in the final battle." He smiled sadly. Tears pricked her eyes unwillingly. He's so sweet. She may not agree with how righteous he was, but there was no deny that she has major respect for him to still fight along the woman who doesn't return feelings for him. He was such a gentleman that it broke her heart to have to break his. 

"Thank you." She took a deep breath, and gave him a sad smile. There was a mutual understanding between the two that it was him she wished to be with, but the ranger got in the way of that. That bastard of a ranger stole her heart and had no plans on giving his to her, or returning hers. He was selfish like that. Casavir was not.

"I will take my leave now. Good night, my lady. I hope you find peace in the end of all of this." Casavir kissed her forehead, and walked away, leaving the Captain alone. She turned and leaned against the wall, too lost in her thoughts to realize that she was not alone on these ramparts. She wiped the stray tears from her face and stared at the stars. In another life...

In another life she wouldn't have this damn shard in her chest. She would be with a kind man, who cared endlessly for her. She would be happy with where she was in life, and could die happily. But this is no fairy tale with a happy ending. Heroes don't get happy endings.

A dark figure emerged from the shadows, standing next to her to look up at the moon. "I saw your conversation with the paladin."

"I'm not in mood for insults or taunts. Please just...stay here and be silent." For once, the ranger listened to a humble order from the Knight Captain. And he seemed totally content with it.

They stood there, next to each other, staring up at the stars and constellations above them. It was a peaceful silence, besides her occasional sighs from being deep in thought. She looked over at Bishop, who was already looking at her. He had that unreadable look on his face again. It burned her curiosity like a wildfire.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" She finally asked, catching him clear his face of all emotions. All he does is deflect and put his walls back up. He raised an eyebrow at her.

"What do you mean, Captain?" His voice was void of sarcasm or mockery. It was pure inquisitiveness. She pushed herself off the wall and crossed her arms, staring at him harshly.

"You always have this...this unreadable expression on your face when I catch you staring at me. What does it mean, Bishop? Please..." Her voice cracked, "Please tell me what it means." She begged. Bishop froze, blinking dumbly. He never noticed how she always saw his looks of pure longing and pining, or how she always caught him staring. He would usually cover it up with a crude innuendo or harsh insult. But now he was completely caught off guard by her unusual question. He swallowed dryly, looking around for a quick excuse.

'Just tell her, you fool.' 

He couldn't. He couldn't tell her how he had fallen hopelessly in love with her. He had been longing for her ever since she stepped into her uncle's inn. His longing increased after they had first slept together, a drunken tumble that neither had spoken about the morning after. He even had been able to resist Brooden's temptation because he only had eyes for Briale. She plagued his mind, his thoughts, his dreams. She was the first thing he thought about in the morning, and the last thing at night. He always watched her when no one was looking to bask in her beauty, her wit, her everything. Bishop had broken his number one rule: never get tied down. But he wanted to get tied down. He wanted to stay with her, until the end. He wanted to make sure she was okay, and if she would even survive the battle. But that's not his style. It's not like him to feel this way about someone. Especially someone who's a lapdog for that stupid Nasher. Especially someone who deserves better than him. That's why he has to betray her. That's why he can't tell her how he truly feels, because he's terrified of how deep he feels about her.

"I...Don't think anything of it." Bishop muttered, looking away. Briale grabbed her head in frustration, letting out a yell that surprised him. 

"Dammit, Bishop! Why do you have to be so cryptic about everything?! Why do you have to push me away, just when I start to understand the real you?! Why can't I get close to you? Why can't you admit your feelings towards me? Why do you have to push me away? Why do you have to make me love you so endlessly?!" She sounded so broken saying that. Fresh tears threatened to spill over, but she defiantly refused to let them spill over. She would not cry over Bishop.

Bishop gawked at her outburst. She loves him. She fucking loves him. His feelings aren't unrequited. She doesn't love the paladin, she loves him. So why was it so damned hard to tell her he loved her back?

"LOOK AT ME!" She barked, causing him to look up at her. Her face was contorted in an angry way, and yet she was still the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. 

"Bishop...I know you care for me, just a little bit. That little bit is all I need. But please...please just tell me already!" Bishop closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

"I c-can't. I can't get tied down. Not to you, not to anyone." He said harshly. He glared down at her. 

"That isn't my style. You should know this already before declaring your love to me. You should've given that love to the--paladin." His voice faltered but quickly recovered. She gave him a hurt look, and the tears came crashing. It hurt Bishop's heart to see her cry. He didn't want to hurt her, but he had to. 

Bishop turned around, walking towards the exit. Before he reached the stairs, he looked back at her. "Stay on the ramparts tomorrow. Please." His voice cracked, damn him. She gave him a confused look before he turned his back to her and continued on his way. It's better this way.

It has to be.

--

He had finished explaining the debt to her, and she still didn't give him a look of disgust or hatred. She gave him a look of sympathy, a look of pity. She still understood him, despite his horrible actions. She didn't judge him, or draw her weapons on him. She looked at him sadly, a look full of longing and love and hurt. It crushed him to have her look at him this way.

"I understand, Bishop. And for what its worth, I'm sorry." Of course she apologized. She was always sweet on him, always apologizing for his actions, always understanding him. He hated it, yet loved it at the same time. He finally found someone who understood him. 

"Somehow I knew you would say that."

"Now now, I think we've heard enough from the Shard-Bearer. And you." Black Garius mumbled, sending him a dark glare. Bishop narrowed his eyes at him. 

"Was that an order I heard?" Briale said teasingly, smirking at the ranger. His blood boiled at the thought. 

"I'm not anyone's lackey. Not any-"

"Quiet, ranger, or I'll have to silence you myself." Garius threatened. Bishop snorted, backing away slowly. 

"I don't follow anyone anymore. You can fight the Shard-Bearer on your own." Bishop snarled, drawing his bow. Garius looked at him with contempt.

"I will hunt you down after this and kill you if you leave, Bishop." Bishop laughed. It made Briale's heart flutter. 

"Garius, you're going to die if you fight her." Bishop chuckled, walking away towards the secret exit he came in. But before he walked through it, he stopped and turned back to the Knight Captain.

"Don't you dare die here. I..."

'Now's your chance.'

"I love you, Briale. I've loved you all along. It's taken so long for me to admit it, but I had to tell you. Before...before anything happened. I'm sorry." 

And with that, the ranger ran.