This is Not a Love Story
((OoC notes: I drafted this as a Love is in the Air themed fanfic/post a few years back, but I never got around to finishing it. I don’t feel like waiting until next year to post this, so here we go. This is purely speculative/wishful-thinking/what-if word vomit, so please try not to throw a hissy fit if it has no place in WoW canon or your personal fanon about Sylvanas.))
When he approached me that morning, the locks framing his face were slightly disheveled, and his boots stained with mud. It was obvious he rushed to see me right after patrol duty. He was never one to let his vanity distract him while he was on the job, but he often took great pains to keep his hair pristine when he wasn’t.
He flashed me one of his mischievous, lopsided smiles when his hands, rough and calloused from constantly wielding a bow or a blade, caught my wrist and slid something onto it. It was a delicate bracelet made of carefully-knotted twine, with tiny blue and white blossoms. I stared at him with a mixture of confusion and shock before realizing what day it was. He winked and put a finger to his lips in a shushing gesture before stepping back and hurrying away, as though he had committed some secret little crime.
The bracelet wasn’t made of sparkling baubles or shiny silver, but I thought it was one of the prettiest gifts I ever received. And it fit my wrist perfectly. I kept it on the rest of the day, ignoring my siblings’ questioning looks and not bothering to wear any of the other bracelets I received. I even set aside some of the little flowers, to press them in one of my journals before they wilted.
We met on our first day of Farstrider training, and we practically grew up together. He was nowhere near my match with the bow, but he was good enough. The other boys in the corps always seemed intimidated by me, either because of my skill or my heritage. He wasn’t like that. Or he was, but he never showed it. I admired that about him.
Scratch that. I admired everything about him, but I never breathed a word of it. Not to him, not to my sisters, not to anyone.
I was never even sure about how he felt. The bracelet incident might have been a hint, but it happened too many years ago to matter. The only other time I may have caught a glimpse of his feelings was when we were rushing to Quel’thalas’ defense after Lordaeron fell to the Scourge.
The order was out of my mouth before I could even think about it, before I could reason that he was just another arrow in my quiver. Instead of having him join me with the main force, I ordered him to assist a separate group of Farstriders. He nodded grimly and never uttered a word of protest, but there was something about the tightening of his jaw and the way he looked at me that told me he wanted to stay by my side, no matter what the battle’s outcome.
I knew I was taking huge risks, facing Lordaeron’s fallen prince and the bulk of his undead army head-on. I couldn’t let him take that risk. I couldn’t let him die. Not him. My last order was my last effort at saving him. Call it bias, call it stupidity – I don’t care. The decision was made, the order carried out.
Would it have made a difference if he stayed with me during Arthas’ assault? No. I don’t believe so. And his death would have been a waste. He was no one important, at least not to that bastard of a death knight. He would have only become one of the many casualties raised in undeath as arrow fodder.
After breaking away from the Scourge, I didn’t know if he was alive, dead, or simply forgotten. I never sought him out after my undeath. A small part of me hoped he would seek me out, but I quickly dismissed the thought. I was probably dead to him, and I knew that was best for both of us.
Perhaps that line of thinking was what made learning the truth sting more than I expected it would. I should have been glad to see him alive, but when I saw him again, part of me wished we had not crossed paths. He lived, yes, but it was clear he did not trust the creature I became. I couldn’t blame him for it, despite the feeling of betrayal surging in my chest. Things could never be the same.
I’ve come to accept that the day I fell to the Scourge was the day I lost all ties to my old life. He is now as lost to me as that old journal, the one with tiny flowers pressed into its pages and a bookmark made of carefully-knotted twine.