Title: The Stars Are Silent
"Let's run away," Beryl told him out of the blue, her voice hushed and quiet, too serious for him to laugh off. Her lips were red and gleaming that day, and though she had always been beautiful, she was different from the girl he had known since boyhood. "I want to get away from here. Will you come with me?" Her white mare had nudged Beryl then, the motion made her turn her head as the sun made her hair gold and crimson, fire and blood and the color of passion.
There had been a time, even if he would later forget, when she had loved animals and flowers and sunlit meadows.
Nephrite paused, hands cupping the cool waters as the birds chirped overhead. "No," he finally said and watched her held breath escape her in a gasp of disappointed surprise. "I cannot run from my duties."
Beryl, green eyes troubled and sad looked away from him then, her pale profile all the more beautiful due to her sadness. "I can't stay here," she whispered. "It's not safe to stay here."
"Idiot," Nephrite scolded her as he sat beside her. "I promised to protect you didn't I? Have you forgotten?" And her eyes, troubled and shy had risen to meet his own. "Do you not trust me?" He asked, nailing the coffin to her grave.
"Yes!" She answered, loud and quick and instinctive. He had laughed at her that bright day, beside blue waters and beneath the shadow of great trees. Perhaps, in some ways, that had been the last day they had been together as they had always been since childhood, innocent.
Now, there was only rain. Rain that would not stop falling as Beryl's tears continued to fall. Her dress was ripped and the bruises on her body dark against her pale skin. Those long fingers that loved to comb through his hair and run along the strings of the harp, they clutched at her shoulders in a bruising manner. The digits were desperately working to hold the left-over pieces of her old-self together, clinging onto something... anything.
"Did you know this would happen?" her voice was soft and empty, despite the accusation in the words themselves. Nephrite's heart felt like it too was falling apart, helpless against the anguish radiating off of her skin. "Why did you not protect me?" Those green eyes turned black then. Despite Beryl having always been a cry-baby since she was a girl, her eyes had been dry in the rain, as if there were no more tears to cry. Sometimes, when he thought back, he wondered if he had simply not been able to distinguish between her tears and that of the heaven's own. "I called for you, Nephrite. Why didn't you come to protect me like you promised? Why didn't you come?" Her voice was subdued but filled with echoes of desperation, as if she was recalling a scream in a nightmare.
At that moment, Nephrite thought back to the bright day by the lake. He wondered what would have happened if he had said yes, or who they would be now if he had been able to keep his promise. "Will you protect me now, Nephrite?" Beryl's gentle voice was now cruel and mocking, as black as her once bright eyes. "What can you possibly do for me now? Did the stars tell you nothing, or was everything you have ever said to me, a lie?"
Years and years later, he still hadn't an answer to the questions she asked him that day. And when the Empire crumbled beneath her unending rage, black and vengeful and filled with a need for the power had she lost long ago, he wondered what he could have said to have changed these things that marked them for who they were and who they would become. He wondered, beneath the dark, starless night, why the stars never told him anything that could change anything...
There were, apparently, no answers for the things that mattered and those that could never be altered.