Hey, I haven't written fic in a while. Wow. Yeah, okay, moving on.
Title: oceans take you in
Fandom: Fire Emblem 7: Rekka no Ken / Blazing Sword
Length: approx. 3,252 words, one shot
Character/Pairing: Heath/Priscilla, Raven
Prompts: Written for 31_days, February 13, 2008: That time may cease and midnight never come.
Warnings: Loaded with liberal sprinklings of their support conversations. I never said I was original. References to the Raven-Priscilla and Oswin-Priscilla ones as well. This goes up to the endgame, but there aren't any spoilers for the direct storyline.
Summary: Dear little girl, protect what you will. You can’t stop the tide.
oceans take you in
“You! You our medic?”
“Yes, I am…and you are?”
“Name’s Heath. I’m a wyvern knight, as you can see. My wyvern is Hyperion. He may look scary, but he’s all right. I trust you’ll be there if any of us get hurt.”
“Gladly. My name is Priscilla.”
“Right. I’m off!”
(time to say hello, tick tick tick)
She’s riding by him the next day, when… “Fly, Hyperion! …Huh?”
“Your wyvern seems unwell…”
“You’re right. Hm.” He gives Hyperion a blank look. “Maybe his wing’s hurt?”
She shakes her head. “I don’t see an injury…?”
They stand in consternation for a few seconds, and then she sees. “Maybe…he ate too much?”
“Yes. See here,” she gestures to the underbelly of his wyvern, “his stomach is quite swollen.”
“Odd, I fed him the same amount as always.” Heath gives him a stern look. “You eat something weird, Hyperion?”
For some reason it makes the corner of her mouth twitch upwards. “That reminds me…this morning, I heard the merchant Merlinus yelling. He was saying something about most of our supplies being missing…”
She can almost hear a little click.
Sheepish is one way to describe Heath right now, and he apprehensively runs his fingers through his hair. “Er. I don’t suppose we could let this be our little secret?”
She smiles at him. “My lips are sealed.”
(To secrets, she’s not a complete stranger. She was once a child, all those years ago. Somewhere where the house was named Caerleon and the family was still there, still whole.
“Brother, what’s going on? Why is everyone running around?”
“Someone left the kennel unsecured, and now all of father’s hunting dogs are running around in the yard.”
“Oh… Was…was it you?”
“Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t.”
“Can you keep a secret, Priscilla?”
That afternoon, the dogs did lead the servants on a merry little chase. And the secret’s still safe with her, brother’s keeper that she is. All of his secrets.)
(little girl, what you don’t say can chill)
She doesn’t see Heath for the rest of the day, which isn’t particularly surprising. After all, she usually rides in the back line, where Merlinus tends to be. And considering that the merchant was still searching in vain for his missing supplies, well.
He comes out of hiding after dinner, though, and she sees him while securing her horse for the night. “Sir Heath?”
“Ah, Priscilla. Uh.” Nervously, he rubs the back of his head. “Thanks again, for not saying anything about what Hyperion, uh, ate.”
“It was no trouble,” she says with a smile. “Perhaps you should keep a closer eye on him next time?”
“Yeah, I guess. I mean, I fed him all right and everything, so I don’t get why he did that…and ah, is that Merlinus? I should…go. I’ll see you later, Priscilla, all right?”
“Good night,” she manages, and it isn’t until after he runs off that she allows herself a small laugh.
(because sometimes, she needs to smile as well. Just sometimes.)
Priscilla learns that wyvern knights are so reckless.
“Sir Heath! What happened?!”
He ducks into her tent like the gashes bleeding through his pants are nothing. “Well, I was flying over that one flank of the enemy, but I flew a little too low and one of their spears…”
She suddenly feels slightly lightheaded.
“I… Sorry.” It isn’t that she’s squeamish or faint of heart, but the very idea of it...
(breathe in breathe out)
She goes straight to her Mend staff, knowing the Heal one won’t be quite effective enough. “Just stand still for a moment, please.”
The staff starts to glow blue.
“I must say,” she remarks as she focuses her magic, “I haven’t seen wounds quite as severe as these in a while.”
“Oh, really?” Sheepish laughter. “I can’t say that this is the worst I’ve ever had.”
“…Is…that so.” The staff glows brighter, and then the light dies out. “I – “
“Oh, wow, you’re fast.” He lifts his leg, taps his fingers on newly knitted skin. “And you don’t give me an earful the way that Serra does. Thanks, Priscilla!”
“It’s my pleasure – “
But he’s gone before she can finish.
She needs to keep an eye on him.
(All those years ago, there was someone else that she couldn’t keep her eye on. That didn’t keep his eye on her. Everyone else. Everyone that was close.
little girl, such is your world, people always seem to leave
She still doesn’t understand why he did, doesn’t know if she should ask. Years apart and worlds away and he’s still her brother, and why, but why
- is something that she’ll never know, something that she’ll never ask.)
“I’m fine,” he replies the next time he sees her. They’re on the battlefield, and the rest of the enemy stragglers have been wiped out by their cavalry. The lords are cutting through the field to the enemy gate, intent on blood, and there’s no need to hurry at all. “A few cuts and scratches won’t hurt me. As long as the battle is won, I can rest afterwards.”
He’s always so nonchalant that she starts to worry on impulse alone. “But…”
“I remember when I was with the wyvern knights of Bern, my captain would say, ‘If you can feel the pain, you’re not badly wounded.’”
His eyes light up, as though he’s remember long lost glories and battles hard fought. “Our captain was a true soldier, he was. He charged the enemy shooters to draw fire away from us… Even with an arrow through his shoulder, he kept charging.” He looks almost wistful.
She feels wispy, herself. There was that one time, when her brother went to draw away the archers’ arrows so that their pegasus knights wouldn’t get hit, and…
“P-Priscilla! Are you all right?”
(little girl, words can’t hurt and blood can’t spray)
“Sorry.” She always seems to be apologizing. “Suddenly, I felt so faint…”
His concern is evident, even as he’s rubbing the back of his head in nervousness again. “Sorry, I guess it was a bit of a bloody tale to be telling a young maiden… Please accept my apologies.”
(you shouldn’t be apologizing for this, just that - )
“Heath...” She looks up at him. “This may be presuming too much, but… Please do visit me even if your wounds are slight. Don’t just assume they’ll be fine. Do come, won’t you?”
“You’re a gentle soul,” he says with a rueful smile. “Sure, we’re in the same army, but to worry about a vagabond like me…”
(that’s what she does, worrying about vagabonds. What else can she do for her brother but worry?)
(what else will he let her do?)
“Right, well. I’ll be sure to drop in for a check-up.”
She can’t explain why, but she suddenly feels at ease. “Is that a promise?”
“Yes, a promise!”
He looks like an honest man. He’ll keep his word. Heath will keep his word. This, she is sure of.
(“Raymond, we’re going to go to the woods tomorrow and play, aren’t we?”
“Yes, of course, Priscilla. I promise. I’ll spend all day there with you, if you’d like?”
This was the last time she saw him for years and years.)
(promises have always been emptier than words; people never seem to know how it works.)
From time to time, she sees him and his wyvern. Not as though they are easy to miss, but…war is war, and she has her work to do while he has his.
That day, she’s coincidentally in the same group as him. They’re moving swiftly through the field when someone with sharper eyes – Matthew? – yells out a warning, watch out for the ballista, don’t fly too close.
He goes down.
She doesn’t scream.
(no – dear Elimine - )
But she gallops towards him at full speed, or maybe faster than that.
Predictably, the first thing that he says when he sees her is, “I’m okay. This is nothing.” Even with his wyvern crumpled around him and what looks like a sickly break in his leg, he still has to insist.
She’s not crying as she jumps off her horse and drops to her knees at his side.
(her hands are only shaking, she’s only shedding several tears)
“This isn’t okay, Heath!” Where was Serra? Canas could use staves now as well, right?
“I’ll go find one of them," Matthew whispers before running away, fast as smoke.
She fumbles with her Mend staff, grips it with fingertips turned while until it emanates blue. Some of the other men are gingerly pulling apart Heath and his wyvern, but she doesn’t pause. Can’t pause. Won’t.
One of the cavaliers rides up with Serra in tow, and the girl quickly gets to healing alongside Priscilla, taking care of the wyvern. Priscilla focuses on Heath instead, and color’s already coming back to his face.
She can hear the death cries of archers somewhere in the distance.
The morning doesn’t end.
(hello goodbye, there’s always time)
She breathes again before dinner, because he’s all right. He’ll have to walk carefully for the next few days, and his wyvern could do with more rest than the usual, but otherwise, he’s all right.
He’d first passed out from the pain, but was now soundly sleeping in the tent; she was sitting at his side.
Her brother comes with a bowl of stew in hand.
“Priscilla. You missed dinner.”
She gives him a mute nod, hardly notices as he sets the food down next to her.
“He was the one shot down today?”
“Yes.” She’s not crying.
He looks at her with something indecipherable. “I see.”
She’s not crying.
(and birds aren’t sleeping because it’s not time for dreaming, it’s everything and nothing at all)
“I…yes?” She rubs her eyes, but everything’s still so dark anyway.
Heath looks at her in surprise. “Oh. I’m sorry, I didn’t…mean to wake you up. I was just surprised that you were still here.”
“Well, this is my tent,” she says with a little smile.
“Oh…right. The ballista.” He sounds slightly dazed, though it’s to be expected. Even he can’t recover in the space of half a day after a fall like that.
But he suddenly jolts upright, or at least tries to, and she remembers that he never seems to take things at a slow pace. “Heath, you really shouldn’t try to move around just yet,” she says softly, standing up to push him back against the pillows.
“Yes, but – Hyperion – is he all right?”
“Of course. Serra took good care of him, and his injuries have been healed as well. You don’t have anything to worry about, so just lie back, please.” Her hands push a little more firmly against his shoulders this time, even as agitation tenses him up further. “Heath.”
“Okay, okay. Relaxing. I’m relaxing.” A bit of moonlight gets through the not-so-opaque tent fabric, and she can see a rueful smile on his face as he leans back. “See? I’m relaxing.”
She smiles again. She does that a lot around him, doesn’t she.
It’s a nice change.
They talk until dawn about everything and nothing, stories of his time as a soldier and tales of how she joined their little group, and the smile doesn’t leave her face.
(She was a happy little girl, ten years ago. “You were the closest of siblings,” Sir Oswin had told her, and oh, she remembers.
little girl, nothing to fear, mother and father and brother so near
Ten years is a long time.
If the reasons for smiling grow dim, at least.)
(so many things change.)
He finds out that she’s a noble, and doesn’t meet her eyes for days. Doesn’t see her for his wounds or talk to her at night like he usually does, either.
It distresses her more than she’d have thought.
(not that she thinks about it, not that she does)
“You promised, Heath, you promised,” she cries at him when they stumble into each other on the battlefield. “My rank is no excuse! You promised.”
And this he has to concede. That he’s a man of his word.
After the next battle, he stops by her tent, and she asks him what’s wrong.
“Little battle scratch right here,” he says sheepishly, pointing to a thick line of red on his cheek. “You said any injury, right?”
Her hand goes to her Heal staff, and she feels a weight lifting from her heart.
(even as it all looms over her head)
(little girl don’t you see, warning signs are not meant for you to read)
They have time to genuinely talk.
“So, you left Bern?” she asks softly.
“Yeah. It…I mean, a country’s a country, you know? Etruria’s yours, and Bern’s mine. Just, I couldn’t be proud of what Bern was doing any longer. During that battle where I defected, my superior ordered me to kill all of you, down to every woman and child.” He shook his head. “I couldn’t see how he could say that. Dishonorable to the last, some of these commanders.”
You seem to place much on honor, she wants to say, but instead replies, “I see.”
“I know, I know. I’m a little old-fashioned, aren’t I? It’s just…” He stares off into the distance, like there’s something he’s trying to find. “I don’t have any sad childhood tales, but my parents were good folk. They brought me up well. I wouldn’t want to do anything to dishonor their memories.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
He looks at her, surprised. “For what? You did nothing wrong.”
“I’m sorry that you had to make that choice nonetheless.”
“Nah, I’m glad it came to this, really. I hadn’t been happy with Bern’s actions for a while, and Lord Eliwood and Lord Hector seemed like good men. That old captain of mine, he was a real soldier. You don’t find many of them nowadays. Men who really go the distance – “
(who’ll do anything to reach their goal?)
“ – things of that nature,” he finished lamely. “Bern used to be a different place.”
(life used to be a different thing)
Heath looks up and startles. “Don’t – don’t cry, Priscilla, all right? It’s nothing, just a silly little – “
“I’m not,” she says softly. Does she always look so sad, to make him fear her tears? Does she always cry?
(“What…what about my feelings?”
“…Don’t cry. I-I didn’t mean it like that. I just thought, that if you knew who I was, you wouldn’t want me around…”)
“You see, Heath?” More strength gathers in her voice than what she really feels. “You being who you are…changes nothing.”
Pause, tentative. “Will…you return to Bern once this is all over?”
He looks away. “Does the end of a war change a country enough?”
(I’ll stay by your side, I said.)
“Etruria, Ostia, Lycia…they would all take you in.”
(but it was only for the battle, it can’t be anything more)
“A deserter from Bern.” He laughs. “They wouldn’t want me.”
“You said it yourself. These lords are good men.”
He gives her a strange sort of look. “Where I am doesn’t really matter, though, does it.”
She tries, to not seem so sad.
(but rank still drags you down)
(“You…are not of House Cornwell any more.”
“Brother…how can you say that?”
little girl, Houses are hell, but what do you know when their walls protect you so
Why hadn’t she thought about what it all meant? Ranks and insignias, namesakes and crests. She knew, hadn’t she?
(“If it’s so much that you’re moved to tears, I’ll stay by your side. Even…for just this battle…I will be here.”
a promise is a promise is a promise.
is a lie)
(after all, time to say goodbye)
It’s the last night, before they leave for Dread Isle again.
It’s the last night.
He sits next to her on the pier, and she says nothing, merely staring out at the tide.
(like some kind of denial, like some kind of crime)
“Priscilla – I – “
She says nothing, merely shakes her head and draws herself further inward. Like she’s afraid that breaking the silence means breaking something else, irreparably.
(like time could stop if they would only pretend that even the waves weren’t washing, the calm wasn’t storming)
I’ll have to leave you and you’ll have to return home and we’ll never see each other again brush past her like a lost ocean breeze, and it’s all she can do. To not cry. And she doesn’t cry, because there are no saline drops from her eyes.
Heath brings his hand to her face, then pulls it back quickly, as if electrocuted.
She slowly starts to sob, as quiet as the night.
(dear little girl, not a care in the world; don’t you see that’s what it should be)
“No…Priscilla…please, don’t.” He reaches over then, quickly thumbs away the tears. “My promise still stands, doesn’t it? I’ll stand by you.”
(for the remainder of…this.)
“Heath…” and her words are intermingled with this rain, “if only…if only…”
(she didn’t have to lose them all)
“If only…time…could stop.”
The waves still crash.
(“I’ll stay with you this time, Priscilla.”
“Really? You won’t go with mother and father this time?”
“No, I’ll stay here and accompany you.”
you're always so lonely, dear little girl
“Thank you, brother, thank you!”)
(“If it’s so much that you’re moved to tears, I’ll stay by your side. Even…for just this battle…I will be here.”
they always seem to leave you, little girl dear
She’s lost them all, hasn’t she.
“I promise I’ll come back to you,” he tells her long after the last arrow has been fired, long after the dragons are gone. “I promise. You know I keep my promises.”
(a promise is a promise is no such thing but a lie)
She cries for the last time as he pulls her into a fleeting embrace.
(for midnight is here, little girl dear.)
When I realized that all the themes this month were from, well, Marlowe, yeah. But then I picked a line or two, and out came this. Amazing what a deadline does for a muse.
I…sort of rushed this, because I have massive papers due that I should be revising and. Stuff. I’m surprised that I wrote a Heath/Priscilla, really, because Kent/Lyn’s more my calling and I haven’t tried that yet. But hey, always another freer month. So I'm not exactly happy with this because I wish I had another day, but oh well. I can edit later.
Comments are adored, and major thanks to Rae for editing the first jumble of 1800 words, and if you catch any mistakes, that’d be my fault because I completely rushed this to meet the deadline, haha.