Shadow of the Assasin
The Life and Times of Clyde Arrowny Chapter 3

A Simple Misunderstanding

By Cain

"Emitt, how can you stand this," Relm asked him impatiently. "I mean, what's so great about fishing? Nothing ever happens," she complained, leaning back against the side of the boat, her arms crossed. Her bottom lip stuck out in a sort of pout.

Emitt smiled slightly. "That's exactly what's so great about, it Relm: Nothing... ever... happens." He sighed, seeming very contented.

Relm rolled her eyes in annoyance at one of Emitt's cryptic answers. He was so good at those, and it always took her a moment to understand what he meant, but this time, she was too impatient to care. "Listen, Emitt, I'm nineteen years old now. I should be out on dates, getting to know boys, that sort of stuff. I don't even know why I'm fishing with some guy who's... How old are you again?"

"I'm thirty-eight years old, about twice your age, and you know it. You're just trying to remind me of my mortality. But I didn't ask you to come on this trip."

"Well... You could have done more to dissuade me."

"Yes, I could have, and perhaps I should have. You're scaring away the fish," he stated in minor annoyance.

"Fish? What fish? I haven't seen a single fish all day!"

"Have you looked," Emitt asked nonchalantly.

"I... No, I haven't looked, but the very fact that we haven't gotten any bites allows my super-intelligent mind to figure out that there are no fish!"

Emitt shrugged. "Then go home. If you're so eager to go out and be with your friends, or guys your age, then why are you still sitting in this boat with me?"

Relm sighed, and her shoulders visibly relaxed. "Because I don't have many friends, and you know it. And you're the only guy that's mature enough to stand being around me. If one didn't know better, one might think you had a thing for younger girls," she told him insinuatingly, with a slight smile.

Emitt didn't show any sign the statement had bothered him. "One might also think you had a thing for older guys," he told her.

Relm blushed slightly. That statement had been pretty close to the truth, and she was worried that Emitt might have known.

Emitt glanced at her. "Oh, don't take things so seriously, Relm. You know I was only kidding. We're friends, and I realize that there's nothing more to it, okay?"

Relm nodded, not terribly reassured by that statement, but tried to hide it. "Yeah, I knew you were only kidding. But don't say that around Strago, of he'll have a heart attack."

"By the way, what's the deal there? You calling him by his first name? Whatever happened to you calling him Gramps, or some sort of demeaning name like Fuddy-Duddy, or Geezer?"

"I still call him names, I just think I'm a little too old now to call him Gramps now, especially since he's not really my grandfather." Her eyes turned up to the blue sky, and Emitt could tell she was getting introspective. "I wonder what my real grandfather's like. Do you have a grandfather?"

Emitt shook his head. "No, my grandfather died when I was a boy, and my father died when I was about your age. It's too bad. You should be happy that you have a role model, Relm."

"I am, it's just that sometimes he crosses the line from role model to role enforcer."

"Oh, come on. Strago's not that bad. I mean, if he wasn't a good grandfather, he wouldn't let you hang around your friends, claiming that they're bad influences. That's how some parents are."

Relm nodded. "I know. At first, he was a bit worried about you, in fact. But that faded once he got to know you. It took him a while, though."

Emitt nodded. "Yeah, it did. I think he always associated me with that person that he claimed I looked so much like, for a long time. But he eventually realized that I was a completely different person."

"Yeah," Relm agreed, glancing at him, "There's no one on Earth quite like you."


"Emitt," Relm called, rousing the man from his sleep.

Emitt snorted a bit, and his eyes fluttered open. He was instantly aware of his surroundings, a trait that Relm found fascinating. Most people were groggy and confused when they woke up, but it was always as if Emitt had simply closed his eyes for a few minutes.

"Yes," he asked, "What is it?"

"Have you ever been in any... serious relationships?"

Emitt glanced at her, as if he truly hadn't expected this conversation, but he answered her with a very short, "Yes."

"Really? What was she like?"

Emitt sat up against the tree, and absently picked a dandelion from the grass. Their afternoon picnic, or what was left of it, was still on the blanket, Strago sleeping contently on one side of it, Interceptor on the other. It was a very beautiful day.

Emitt sighed. "She was... pretty. Looked a lot like you, actually. I'd always had a crush on her, I guess. She was about a year older than me, and the most beautiful girl in the area, in my opinion. She was very intelligent and witty... Although she was never rude. She was always nice, and willing to help anyone who wanted it. She was too good for this Earth, and me, especially..."

Relm moved over and sat beside Emitt. "Sounds like something happened between you two. What was it?"

Emitt didn't look at her, simply stared off into the horizon. "Death," he told her. "She died."

"Oh, I'm so sorry."

Emitt nodded absently. "It took me a long time to accept it as reality. For the longest time, I simply denied it. But reality intruded in eventually: My wife was dead."

Relm's eyes widened in slight surprise. "You married her?"

He nodded. Relm almost thought she saw a tear glistening in his eye, but in a blink it was gone.

Relm decided to try to change the conversation slightly, but not enough to change the subject. "So, she was a year older than you? How old were you when you were married?"

"I was nineteen and she was twenty. Three years of Heaven on Earth."

"Was your father still alive then?"

Emitt nodded. "Yes. He didn't like her. She'd led a much simpler life than my family had. My father was pretty stuck up."

"But you married her anyway, even though she'd led a different life than you, and was older than you?"

He nodded again. "Uh huh. If you truly love someone, something like age, or status shouldn't really matter."



"Emitt," she called him softly.

"Yes," he asked, turning his head to look down at her.

It's now or never, she thought. And she kissed him.

It was the first time she'd ever kissed anybody with more than a peck on the cheek, or anything like that. This was a truly passionate kiss. They slowly sank to the ground, unable to stay upright, as Relm wrapped her arms around his neck.

Emitt suddenly opened his eyes. No, no no! I can't!

With a grunt, he pushed her off of him, and got up. He looked down at her, a confused expression on her face. Tears were welling up in her eyes. He could feel them coming up in his own, as well. So, he dealt with the situation in the only way his desperate mind could think of.

He ran.


Emitt, no, Clyde, sat in front of the grave of his dead ally, Leo, once again, as he had long before. He'd heard Leo give Terra advice on falling in love before, and had come here, hoping to get advice on how to get someone out of love.

He couldn't believe that he'd been so stupid that he hadn't seen the signs until now, when they became blatantly obvious. He hadn't tried to woo her. Maybe that was exactly what he'd done wrong. He'd felt so relaxed in her presence, he'd shared his mind with her on many occasions throughout the years he'd been back in Thamasa. Perhaps she'd taken it the wrong way.

He'd truly only ever meant to be her friend, and possibly her mentor. He'd never wanted any other sort of relationship between her than father and daughter, or at least friend and friend. If only I'd been more obvious about that, he thought.

"You idiot," a voice announced behind Clyde. He'd been so absorbed in his troubles that he hadn't noticed someone sneak up through the bushes. Perhaps they hadn't even snuck up. But he didn't need to turn around to know whom it was. He could tell by the voice.

"Go away, Strago. I need to be alone."

Strago walked up, and sat down beside him. "I'm sure you do. But right now, I'm not concerned about you, Emitt. I'm concerned about a certain nineteen year old girl who's back in her room, unable to do anything but tearfully lament over how stupid she was, and how no man would ever want her, and so forth and so on. She won't tell me what happened. And frankly, I don't want to know. But I do know that it's your fault."

Clyed sighed, slipping back into the character of Emitt. "You're right. It is my fault. I'm afraid I unintentionally led her on. I should have been able to tell by the types of questions she'd ask me, about relationships, and things. I always thought she just saw me as a confidant. If I'd known what was behind those questions, I would have-"

"Could've, would've, should've, didn't," Strago interrupted. "Hindsight is 20/20, Emitt. You could spend all day sitting here, analyzing what you said, and what she said, but it won't do anyone any good. Because even as we speak, that girl is crying her eyes out. Now, what do you intend to do about it?"

Emitt stood, wordlessly, and walked off throught the bushes, towards Strago's house.


Darkness. It was all she could see, because she had a pillow over her eyes. Relm didn't want to see anything anymore. Why should she? Why would someone as stupid as her deserve to see anything ever again? I should've realized that he wasn't talking about us at all. He always said that we were friends. Why couldn't I just accept it? I'd be better off if I-

She stopped her internal rambling when she heard a foot step near the foot of her bed. Not even bothering to remove the pillow, she yelled out, "Go away, Strago. I want to be alone!"

"I'm sure you do," a deep voice responded. A voice she hadn't expected. It continued, "But I think we need to have a talk."

Throwing the pillow aside, Relm sat up, to see Emitt standing at the foot of her bed. For a moment, she was happy to see him. For a moment.

"Go away," she told him, lying back down on the bed, and turning to the side, so she wouldn't have to see him.

"Sorry," Emitt replied softly, "but I can't. And I don't think you really want me to go, without solving this whole thing."

"Solving it? What's there to solve? You said we were friends, my hormones kicked into overdrive, I kissed you, you ran away, the end!"

"Are you even interested in why I ran away?"

She sniffed. "Because you hate me."

"Because I... No, of course not! I could never hate you. That's not why I ran away at all, Relm."

She suddenly jumped out of bed, and crossed her arms. "Sure. Of course. It's just because I'm too young, right? Kind of negates your idea about age not mattering when it comes to love, eh?"

"But I wasn't looking for love, Relm. I only wanted to be your friend, or possibly even your mentor. I never had anything about romance in my mind when it came to you."

She looked him in the eyes, her own eyes tearing up. "So, that's it, huh? I guess I'm just an idiot, huh?"

Emitt shook his head. "No, not at all. Not at all, Relm." He looked down at the floor. "The truth is... I'm afraid I wasn't too clear on the friendship part. I didn't really stop to think that you might have had feelings for me. The fault lies in my judgement, not yours."

She looked at him, a sarcastic edge in her features. "Then, why'd you run away, huh?"

"Because... You reminded me of... her..."

"What? Whom?"

"My... wife. I told you that you looked like her. Well, that was an understatement. You're almost the spitting image of her. And when you kissed me, I felt, for a moment, that it was really her... And that's what frightened me so badly that I ran. The idea that my wife was watching me from above, or wherever she is, and that I'd find someone to replace her, right before her eyes..." He couldn't go any further.

Emitt stiffened as Relm suddenly embraced him, but this time, it wasn't romantic. It was conciliatory. He sighed, and hugged her back, savoring the moment.

His eyes closed, he smiled. Thank you he thought, for believing that lie, Relm. Maria would have wanted me to be happy with another, but I would never have that sort of relationship with my own daughter. But let this be good enough for now. Let this lie heal the wound to your heart, and to mine. One day, you shall know the truth. One day...


"The friendship that can cease has never been real"
-Saint Jerome

Chapter 4

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