A/N: Just a little note before we begin. This is a random drabble that I wrote while I was feeling philosophical/bored out of my mind, listening to depressing music written by dead people, and it ties in with something that I've been working on for a while. What I've really tried to do here is get that feeling of nostalgia, and I would thank God on bended knees if I got it right. So please, if you're going to read this, please give me some pointers and criticism and tell me if I got it right. If I didn't - which is most likely the case - then please help. Thanks guys.

AFTERMATH

The year after she died placed an enormous load on his mind.

He had never branded himself as being sentimental, but during those dark months which differed so radically from the Mediterranean weather, he began to linger wherever he felt her presence.

In the mornings he sat in the chair next to the window seat that overlooked the rose bushes, where she used to read, flicking through the pages of beautiful leather and satin bound editions of Virgil's Aeneid, Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, and Bronte's Wuthering Heights, her touch still tangible in their well-loved pages.

When he rode his horse through his mother's vast estate, he would slow his horse through the ravine where she used to spend hours each day gazing into space, listening to the cheerful gurgling of the stream water, flowing over the rocks, passing serenely beneath the sun's rays, shining through the leaves, casting dapppled emerald shadows that played, flickering on the surroundings. She had loved it there, loved the sight of nature's beauty, unmarred like the smooth face of a beautiful woman, the silence broken only by the stream's laughter, the symphony the birds raised their voices in, and the serene, calm, tranquil musings they inspired.

It was when he lingered in those spots, that he would see her. She was the same as always—the white sundress against her pale skin, a stark contrast against her wine red hair, her emerald eyes twinkling as she looked up at him. Her pink lips would stretch into a smile, as ethereal as the sunlight that played on her features, dancing, throwing light on the scattering of freckles over her nose, kissing her sweet face.

Sometimes he would speak with her—not out loud, oh, no. the spell he was entranced in was too fragile for verbal conversation. He would speak to her with his thoughts.

How are you?

She smiled and played with a tendril of her cascading curls.

I miss you.

She nodded, a mournful light coming to her eyes.

Her presence was so tangible, so real that sometimes he wondered if he had joined her in Elysian, or perhaps maybe she was really there and the whole terrible episode of her death was just a freakish nightmare.

But then he would catch the look that his mother would give him whenever he returned—and that look would shatter that fragile shell of imagined bliss he had wrapped around himself.

But his hallucinations was not the only way he had changed.

Before her death, he had spent his time musing, when he was not training, or reading, or riding his horse. Now he trained harder than ever, abandoned his books of adventures, heroes, and epic journeys and instead immerged himself in military strategy—Sun Tzu's Art of War, studying the tactics of famous generals—Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, as if studying their feats would take his thoughts away, those horrid thoughts of guilt over her death, of his incompetency.

He had always been even-tempered, hardly raising his voice when annoyed, instead he chose to talk things out. But now, random bursts of irrational anger often gripped him and held him with such ferocity that he saw red, the feeling was so strong that he wanted to scream, his hands wanted to kill, and he wanted to cut with words. His mind was sharper now—coldly accurate, calculating, heartlessly cunning, allowing him to make the most prudent of choices where circumstances required.

Even that was not the most alarming change.

His sharp mind affected his physical appearance, as well. Small changes, but alarming changes that he could see. Changes that others could see just as clearly as he could.

Where his mother's maids used to flirt, now there were deferent nods and quiet obeisance. Lilting voices changed into soft "yes, young master"s, because even they could see it—the tightened corners of his eyes, the bright, cold glitter in them where there used to be a distant light. The girls used to wish that he would perhaps notice them, and now they wished he would look through them, because even though he was as handsome as ever, it was a different kind of handsome. He used to have a dreamlike trance in his eyes, wrapped in his own thoughts and stories of heroes, but now he was malicious. Cold. Frightening. Sharper, darker. He spoke softer now, though in his voice there was always a constant, calculated threat.

Now he was quiet—not soft and quiet, not even preoccupied and quiet—but instead like he demanded that no matter how softly he spoke, he should always be obeyed. Sometimes he would smile—only it was not quite a smile—it was a cold lift of his mouth, arrogant yet self-deprecating, insolent yet mournful, careless yet world-weary.

The girls had put their heads together disapprovingly, and rumors quickly surfaced—"perhaps he is to join the army—" "Oh, no, no, darling, didn't you hear? His heart was broken by that girl from Crete!"

They disapproved heartily, calling him crude and cold and inhuman.

But they didn't know his dreams.

At night, countless corpses assailed his dreams—dreams where the mens' bodies were piled against teach other, and they would rise, en masse. You killed us, they would say. You killed our past, our present, and our future. You killed our dreams, our loves, our hopes and you killed our memories. You killed us.

And then, out of the masses, she would appear—her in her innocent garb, her hair like a furious flame against her back. She would then lean over his frozen form and whisper to him.

"You killed me…"

He would awake, drenched in sweat and be unable to sleep for days afterward. Often, to coax himself to sleep, he would think of her, memories, hopes, dreams that he held more dear than a mountain of priceless jewels.

She was laughing…spinning round and round in a field of flowers…tucking a forget-me-not into her hair…

As always, the symbolism of the last image would cause him to stop and gasp.

Forget-me-not…remember…remember…remember…

Remember me.

He remembered—oh, how he remembered.

He remembered the trickle of blood that had found its way out from the corner of her mouth, the bright hair pasting itself to her forehead, the light slowly fade out of her emerald eyes, as she lost sight of him crouched over her and started to see Charon, the river-man in his black robes ferrying souls across the Styx to their destinations. He remembered that small smile on her lips as she died, that small smile that told him that it wasn't his fault, that she loved him, and that everything was going to be fine. He remembered holding her hand as her body cooled, pressing her hand against his face, willing it to be not true. He remembered crying long into the night over her death, dreaming that she was still alive, still about to greet him with a happy smile when he woke up. He remembered realizing the chilling knowledge that he was going to live in her memories for the rest of his life.

She was laughing…spinning round and round in a field of flowers…tucking a forget-me-not into her hair…

He sat up with a gasp.

"Remember me…"