"Any Regrets?" is an Extended Universe oneshot series written on March 26, 2016.
Full Text Edit
Part 1 Edit
(June 25, 1052-the day before Grey and Brandt’s wedding day)
Grey and Brandt sat down letting out huge sighs of relief mixed in with exhaustion as they plopped down at the table in their soon-to-be new home. After a whole day of last minute preparations, they were finally done. The Great Hall was finally set up for the ceremony. The guests arrived to Haligan Island…the former Grounded Dungeon Rebellion…Grey’s relatives…and the Haligan Island villagers. Everyone was ready for the big day, and everything was prepared, thanks to the Chief’s mother’s diligence. So, now, the happy couple managed to find some alone time together before Grey needed to go home due to the tradition of the bride and groom not interacting until the wedding ceremony the next day.
“Your mother really knows how to run a show,” Brandt said smiling at his fiancée.
Grey chuckled as she rested her head on his shoulder. “She sure does,” she said, “but she just wants to make everything goes as smoothly as possible.”
Brandt chuckled as he kissed his future wife on the top of her head and rested his head in that very spot closing his eyes. He had never been so happy in his life. Here he was, one day away from marrying the woman he had come to love more than life itself. After tomorrow, this woman with him was to be his wife. He was going to be the husband of Chief Grey of Haligan Island. How many guys could say that?
However, not many guys could say that they were marrying the woman they loved…despite the horrible act he committed against the woman’s own father. His own happiness was rudely interrupted when memories from the night before flooded his mind for the millionth time that day...when he told Grey the truth about her father’s death…the fact that he was the one who took her father away from her so quickly.
“Grey, that man…was your father…”
“No…no…y-you’re lying… You’re just pulling my leg… Please tell me you’re just pulling my leg! This isn’t funny, Brandt!”
“I’m not, Grey. I’m…telling you the truth. I…I was the one who killed your father that day.”
“No…no…that’s…that’s not true…That’s not true! It couldn’t have been you!”
“Grey, it was…it was me. I’m…so sorry… I know this is a shock, but–”
“DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH ME!”
“NO! Do you have ANY idea what you put me through that day?! What you put my mother through?!”
“No, but I can only imagine the pain you felt. I felt…and still feel horrible for what I did.”
“Well, congratulations, I suppose that’s going to bring my father back?”
“I didn’t say that it would, but, Grey, please–”
“And let me guess! Now you’re going to tell me that our whole relationship is a lie! That you pretended to love me to get closer to my tribe…to me, the Chief!”
“No! No, that’s true! I love you! That’s the truth! I love you, Grey, with all my heart! That’s why I told you this!”
“After what you just told me, Brandt, I’m not sure if I can believe that.”
“Just leave me alone!”
Brandt closed his eyes unknowingly tensing up against Grey thus causing her to immediately look up at him.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” she asked.
The Chief’s fiancé suddenly stood up not even paying mind to the fact that the Chief herself almost fell over from her seat when he did. All day, the memories of his horrible act…and when he finally confessed to the Chief the night before haunted him, and a part of him didn’t fully understand why. Grey told him herself that she actually forgave him…that she wasn’t going to let what happened in the past…before they even met tear them apart, but…there was another part of him that wondered if there was truth to that statement. This part of him haunted him trying to understand how Grey could possibly forgive such a horrible act and so quickly…what made her forgive him so quickly. He observed her all day as they prepared for the wedding, and it was almost as if the argument last night never happened. Everything felt like as it was before their argument, and while it was somewhat of a relief, it made Brandt wonder what exactly was going through his future wife’s head all day. She wanted to keep what he told her a secret from the village. A part of him understood and was somewhat relieved when she said that, but another part of him wondered why. Did she plan on using it as a possible bribe…a way to keep him in line should something happen…if he somehow made a step backward? No, she wouldn’t do that…Grey didn’t have a manipulative bone in her body. Surely, she would’ve just punished him. She said so herself that she knew she could do that.
Was she just trying to forget the whole thing…trying to hide from the horrible truth that the man she fell in love with wronged her in the worst way possible? Or was she trying to protect herself from the shame that would surely fall upon her if her people found out? No…she wasn’t selfish like that…but then again…what did he know? Did she truly forgive him? Or was she secretly having regrets about their relationship and trying to forget what happened to hide from the harsh reality, as they were about to enter this marriage? Was she trying to protect herself from any kind of shame? Did it have something to do with wherever she ran off to last night? His fists clenched in utter frustration.
Grey could only look at Brandt with a very worried look on her face as he moved to the staircase resting his forehead against it. Her heart began to pound as she remembered very vividly what happened the last time he acted like this.
“B-Brandt…?” she said as she slowly stood up eying her future husband. “A-Are you okay?”
Brandt didn’t answer her, which made her more worried.
“Brandt, please,” she said pleadingly, “you’re scaring me. What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong is that I don’t get you!” he finally said louder than he meant to sound. He felt a twinge of pain in his heart when he saw Grey tense briefly out of the corner of his eye. She’s afraid of me…
“W-What…what are you…?”
“I don’t get you, Grey,” he said still keeping his head on the staircase.
She raised an eyebrow completely confused by his statement. “Okay, you mind elaborating on that?”
Brandt sighed still not looking at the Chief. “I…I just want you to be really honest with me, Grey. Can you do that?”
Brandt took a deep breath. “Are you…absolutely sure you want to go through with this?”
Grey furrowed her eyebrows together in shock and concern, but it soon fell away when she realized why Brandt was asking such a question and…what he was implying.
Part 2 Edit
“Of course, I’m sure,” the Chief finally said after a brief moment of silence. “I told you so last night. I love you too much to let something from the past tear us apart.”
Brandt couldn’t help but scoff at her answer. Clearly, it wasn’t exactly what he wanted to hear. “Yeah, after you got angry at me and accused me of lying to you and using you,” he said rather more coolly than he intended.
Grey stared at him for another few moments before a glare slowly emerged on her face. How dare he make a comment like that! “Well, how did you think I was going to react?” she asked angrily. “Did you honestly think I was going to be okay with the fact that the man I fell in love with and decided to marry killed my father?!”
“No, I didn’t!” he said suddenly turning around to face her with a glare in return. “That’s why I don’t get you! One minute you’re yelling at me telling me that you don’t believe I actually love you and running out of here to Thor’s knows where, the next minute you come back here telling me that you don’t want to lose what we had and that you want marry me after all!” He paused for another few moments as he stared at Grey breathing heavily as he calmed down from his outburst until he finally spoke up again. “How is that possible, Grey?”
She wanted to ask what he meant by that, but she remained silent, urging him to continue. Once again, she had a feeling as to what he was asking, but she wanted to give him a chance to speak just as he did with her.
The Chief’s husband-to-be exhaled before continuing. “How is it possible that you found it in your heart to forgive me so quickly? You told me that you didn’t believe that I love you, and today, after you say you forgive me, you act like nothing’s changed…like nothing happened last night,” he said looking down on the wooden floor. It became harder to look his wife-to-be in the eye as he continued. “I know it’s wrong of me to question, but…” he looked up at her again, “I have to know. Please, Grey. Tell me how someone like you could even have the courage to forgive someone like me for doing something so horrible to your own father. I mean did it have something to do with wherever you ran off to last night? Did you truly forgive me, or is there something that you’re trying to hide from?”
Grey couldn’t help but hug herself as she thought about the previous night’s situation when Brandt told her the truth about her father’s death…how she grew angry at him and ran out on him to go to her mother…only to then suddenly come back and say that he was forgiven, which he was. However, thinking back, she could easily see why Brandt was lashing out. He was confused, and he had a right to be. She took a deep breath before answering.
“Okay, I’ll admit despite what it looks like, Brandt,” she began, “forgiving you wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I…I wanted to forgive you. I really did, but it was hard to do.”
He stood there for a few moments trying to absorb what Grey was telling him not entirely sure how her answer made him feel. She was actually telling him that she found it difficult to forgive him. He sighed. “I can’t say that I blame you for feeling that way,” he began, “but I got to ask: why did you tell me that you did? Why are we going through with this if you really can’t–”
He was suddenly interrupted when Grey suddenly placed a finger on his lips silencing him. “I said it was hard to do, Brandt, not impossible.”
To say that Brandt was shocked was an understatement. He was stunned at what Grey just said. “Hard to do, not impossible.” What did she mean by that? “I-I don’t understand,” he finally managed to say when Grey removed her finger.
The Chief could only shake her head and sigh. Of course, she didn’t expect Brandt to understand right away, but she hated seeing him so confused…so doubtful that she truly forgave him. “Come here,” she finally said. She took him by the hand and led him to the table, and they both sat back down with her not letting go of his hand. She then looked at him, brown eyes looking deep into hazel eyes as she smiled gently. “Brandt,” she began, “if I felt that it was impossible to forgive you, I wouldn’t have done it.”
Brandt widened his eyes in disbelief. “Well, then, how did you do it?” he asked. “You finally found out who took your dad from you after all this time, and you’re not jumping at the chance to bring him justice, like you wanted.”
The Chief paused for a moment thinking about what her future husband just said, and he wasn’t wrong. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before she spoke again. She had to explain what changed her mind…how she came to her decision to forgive him…to tell him that she truly forgave him and wanted to be with him for the rest of her life. “Yeah, you’re right,” she began. “That’s what I did want. When my dad was killed, I wanted more than anything to find the person responsible. I was angry and hurt, so I wanted that man, whoever he was, to be punished. But…” she looked down at their hands still entwined together, “when you told me that it was you, I didn’t know what to do. I thought that forgiving you would be an insult to my father’s memory, but,” she looked back up at Brandt as he waited for her to finish, “I couldn’t bring myself to want to punish you. When I went to my mom after our fight, she reminded me what I could do. And I knew it. I knew I have the power to change your life in a matter of seconds, but I didn’t want to.”
“So…” Brandt began as the pieces continued to come together while also trying to hide his relief when she revealed that she was with her mother, “you were torn between forgiving a man you fell in love with…or not forgiving him to protect your father’s memory and the tribe.”
“Exactly,” she said nodding.
“So, how did you make such a decision?” Brandt asked. “What…what changed things?”
“Well, as I told you last night,” Grey said thinking back to their conversation the night before when she returned to the house, “Mom also helped me to see that my father wouldn’t have wanted me to live in hatred and sadness on his account. He would want me to decide what makes me happy, and I believed it. I still believe it.” She looked up at him giving him a genuine smile only to have it disappear as she continued. “However, there was still the safety of the tribe and our own…issues to resolve. So, that’s when I came back to talk to you…and saw you sitting here at the table.”
Brandt didn’t dare to say anything as he could sense that Grey was far from finished. Plus, he was genuinely curious as to what Grey was about to say next. From what she told him, it sounded like she truly had a difficult time forgiving him for his crime but wanted to find a way to do so. She might’ve believed that her father wouldn’t have wanted her to throw away something that made her happy for her sake, but…she was the Chief and was about to marry someone who used to be with an enemy tribe. She had to see if she could really trust him.
He was finally jolted out of his thoughts when Grey continued to speak.