Author: Lizzy Rebel PM
[oneshot, semiHectorFlorina] I can take care of myself...Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Words: 5,150 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 30 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-11-04 - Status: Complete - id: 2167894
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken in anyway.
Everyone assumed that she chose to become a Pegasus Knight because that was what her sisters were. She did, after all, hero worship her two older siblings and chase after them like a little, lost puppy dog.
But it was far from the truth.
No, she hadn't chosen to become a Pegasus Knight because she had watched her two sisters become them. It wasn't even because it was the surest way to make money in the forsaken, frozen tundra of Ilia.
It was where she could be free. Up in the air with only the delicate wings of a beast of legend to suspend you. There was freedom there. A sense of detachment. The world was so far below that it didn't matter what was going on. You could fly away from it.
But that sense of freedom only made reality harder to face. When she landed it became all that more apparent that people thought she was useless. She was a Pegasus Knight and yet people felt the urge to protect her, like she was some delicate flower that could be battered by the simplest of winds.
Even Lyndis thought like that. She was always asking for her to stay in the back and let others do the fighting because she thought they were still on the plains and that she was still the guardian.
No one had voiced any complements when the tactician had ordered her to stay in the back and wait like a good, obedient little bird. Everyone thought it was for the best. She, after all, couldn't protect herself. If she didn't stay behind than someone would have to stay with her in battle to make sure she didn't get herself hurt. No, it was best if she just waited in the back, away from danger.
Florina almost hated them for it, but hate was not a steady part of her nature. If it ever touched her it was gone within moments, lingering only for a second and then being brushed off by her kind disposition. The only lasting hate she had was for Nergal and even then it was only because the Lords hated him so.
Beneath her Huey gave a distinct unhappy snort. He was a war-horse, he was meant to charge head first into battle, arches be damned. It was Florina's meek, restrained nature that kept him from his battles and at times it pained her.
A Pegasus Knight was closest to her Pegasus. They shared the same soul, the same heart. Their pain was harmonized with one another. If there was pain between the two of them, the other would feel it. A Pegasus was an extension of its Knight, a second body to achieve things the human one could not.
Reassuringly, Florina petted the horse's mane, allowing the silky strands to catch beneath her fingerless gloves. Huey gave another snort of discomfort, but was calmed by his mistress's fingers. Like everyone else around her Huey protected Florina. With her on his back he was less prone to be enraged, to barrel into battle.
"I can protect myself," Florina whispered, pressing her cold nose into Huey's thick white mane. "I can. Why doesn't anyone see that?"
Huey shook out his long neck, forcing Florina to retreat her face. In the distance she heard the clash of metal, saw the glare of silver reflecting off silver, and a bitter taste welled in her mouth. She should be there, fighting alongside Lyn, defending her like Kent and Sain and even her sisters Farina and Fiora did.
Instead she sat at the edge of the battlefield. Farther ahead Lord Eliwood and Lord Hector and Lady Lyndis werefighting off a horde of Black Fang members sent after them when the lords had acquired the route to the Shrine of Seals.
In the distance, looming like a deadly menace, was the Wyvern Lord Vaida. She was perched on the mountain much like Florina and Huey were perched on their tuff of grass, but the Wyvern Lord held herself with an air of confidence Florina felt she would never have.
"Why can't I be like her?" Florina questioned and at Huey's snort, corrected herself, "I mean, not like her like working for the Black Fang, but confident, willful, strong like her. Then Fiora would never tell me to stay behind."
"You can always ride behind and back me up, you know…" Her older sister's words still stung her, though they had been said weeks earlier. She hated to think her sister, whom she loved and respected more then anyone else, would find her useless.
Wasn't she a Pegasus Knight now? Wasn't it her duty to protect her liege, Lady Lyndis? Why did everyone want to push her into the background, keep her from danger? Didn't they know she could hold her own in a fray?
A lone figure was rushing across the battlefield like a bat out of hell. A cape fluttered out behind him as he approached, but Florina could not tell who he was. Her back instantly shot up and she reached for her Killer Lance. Huey snorted with excitement, anticipating the fight.
But the Pegasus would go disappointed. The blue of the man's hair shone now in the sunlight like a beacon. Florina knew he was no enemy then but part of her wished for him to be.
It was Lord Hector, the blue-haired, sharp tongued Lordling who was now both Lord Eliwood and Lady Lyndis's friend. They had had a few run-ins before, but none of them had been pleasant. And, given Florina's meekness around men or people in general and Hector's unintentional insensitivity, they probably wouldn't ever have a simple meeting.
Despite it, Florina had a bit of a crush on him. She had never been around a man like him before. He was brutish and bold, but there was a loyalty and strength to him that she found attractive. She hadn't told anyone about her secret crush, not even her sisters, and she probably never would. After all, they would only try to dissuade her from it. Another thing to hurt poor little Florina.
She knew that by all means she shouldn't really like Lord Hector. He didn't care for her much and especially disliked her horse. But there was something about him and his utter maleness that captivated her like no other man had.
True, she hadn't been around men much, but the knights at Caelin were all men and there was Wil and Sain and Kent and the few men she and Lyn had run into on the Sacae plains. That was more than enough for her to compare Hector to and enough for her to figure out that out of all of these men she knew none quite compared with the Lord.
"There you are!" Lord Hector explained, shaking dirt from his hair. There was a large mud stain on his armor. Florina guessed he must have fallen on his run to her. "You're hard to find…"
"Lo—Lord Hect—Hector… wha—what are you do—doing here!?" she managed, her grip tightening on Huey's reins until the horse snorted with discomfort.
"Didn't I say I wanted you by my side? I'll have to run back into battle to make sure Eliwood and Lyndis are alright, but I wanted to make sure you were fine." Hector heaved his battle axe onto his shoulder and sent her a measuring look.
"I—I'm fine," Florina mumbled, lowering her head in shame. Her weakness had dragged the blue-haired Lord from the battle. "Yo—you don't need to lo—look after me…"
He was frowning at her and opened his mouth to answer when Huey gave another snort of impatience. When the Pegasus moved forward to snap at him, the Lord shouted, "All right! All right! I'm going!" He glared at the horse then raised a softened look to Florina. "We'll talk later."
She watched him go, loosening her hold on Huey. Small tears collected at the corners of her eyes and threatened to fall. She wiped at them angrily. "Tears won't solve anything, Florina. They just make people worry about you more."
But she couldn't help but feel like crying. When people like Lord Hector looked at her and only saw a thing to be protected it clipped her wings more and more. Soon Florina feared that flying would lose all its freedom and joy.
"No, I'm not staying back here and waiting for someone to save the world… I'm going to help." She shifted in her saddle, becoming more aerodynamic for flight, and leaned against Huey's silky mane. Her powerful thighs, toned by years of Pegasus flying, tightened around his flank.
The horse sensed the movement and took to the air, blending in with the clouds. She soared above the battlefield, passed the mountains, but she made sure to stay out of the range of Vaida. Everyone would be miffed enough with her for leaving her position, she didn't want to worsen it by endangering herself by going up against a stronger foe.
Below her was Lady Lyndis, fighting by Lord Eliwood's side with their movements so harmonized that they looked more like elegant dancers than fighters. Florina remembered hearing talk about Lyndis and Eliwood's love affair from Serra and she remembered blushing and she remembered Ninian's sad eyes.
And there was the Mage General and the Lady of Violets, Lord Pent and Lady Louise. Like Lyndis and Eliwood their attacks were timed with each others' to perfection. Louise would destroy an enemy further away and Pent would finish off whatever she couldn't get to in time.
Rebecca stood by Raven's side, their moves not quite as coordinated as the other couples' but still enough to make an unbeatable team. Priscilla was nearby, staff in one hand and a Fire tome in the other. Heath floated above her with a Javelin, ready to fend off those foolish enough to attack the healer.
Even her eldest sister, Farina, had a partner. The rowdy pirate Dart, who had frightened Florina enough to make her steer clear of him, was at her side hacking at bandits and keeping them away from the Falcoknight.
They all looked so utterly perfect together that it made Florina sick. How could she possibly hope to become a part of that group? They were so harmonized with one another. She would simply become a burden.
Florina was about to turn around and land back on the spot the tactician had told her to wait on when something caught her eye. Below her, miles below, a sniper moved across the grass, hidden by its length. A deadly silver bow glistened on his back and the sniper's hard face was set in a ferial grin.
She opened her mouth to shout a warning to the people below her when her voice caught in her throat. The sniper was loading his bow. He had already reached his destination. He was not going after one of the Lords or even the healer.
Fiora, her beloved and kind sister, had been separated from her partner, Kent, by a wall of bandits. The recently promoted Falcoknight held her own well enough against the axes, but there was no way for her to see the deadly silver arrow aimed at her skull.
No one could get to her in time expect Florina. And even then it would be a nose dive straight to the bottom. There was no choice.
A scream tore from her lips as Huey plummeted stories within seconds, but it was not from fear. It was from rage and love and hate and the protectiveness that took over her body. Fiora had always protected her. Now, little Florina would return the favor.
The ground grew closer and closer with every second that passed and Florina's stomach pivoted in fear, but neither she nor Huey would relent.
…Once, when she had been twelve, she had snuck back downstairs after being sent to her room so her older sisters could argue. She remembered that day so well. Fiora and Farina's voices had been hoarse from their screaming…
Florina's scream was enough to alert Fiora to the impending danger. She and her Pegasus wheeled around in time to see the silver arrow aimed at them. Fiora's face didn't hold fear, but acceptance.
There was nothing she could do.
…"I really don't think I can stay," Farina had told Fiora as Florina had pressed her face against the wooden bars of the stairs in their small house. "We're too different, you and I. I know we promised to stick to together to protect Florina, but I think it would be best for all of us if I left for a while." Fiora had solemnly agreed.
"NOOO!" Florina and Huey landed in a gust of wind and dirt.
At the same time the arrow was released and it zipped across the air with deadly accuracy. If it hit the right spot, its target was finished.
…Florina had raced up to her room, wishing she had never stolen downstairs. She pressed her nose into the pillow and cried. She wanted to be stronger so her sisters didn't worry about her and fight over her. She wanted Farina to stay… she was so weak. She didn't want to be weak… weakness was what hurt her loved ones…
Fiora's face was lit with shock as Florina crashed into her. The older Pegasus Knight's mouth opened to shout a warning, but Florina grabbed her shoulders and pushed her down as they crashed.
Pain burst in her side and she looked down to see the arrow jutting from her side. It was strong. It plowed through the delicate tissue of herribs and pierced Fiora's chest. The woman beneath her screamed out in terror and pain, but the terror was most likely for Florina herself.
...She promised herself she'd get stronger for her sisters. There'd be a day when she would be the one to save them. And on that day they'd know she was just as strong as they were. Just as good…
Florina wheeled around and tossed her javelin as hard as her body would allow her to throw. It landed in the sniper's skull before he had time to blink. Blood and brain splattered to the dirt as the lifeless body followed.
She and her sister crashed to the floor, a tangled mess of blood, Pegasi wings, and limbs. There was a dull ringing in her head and black dots appeared in her vision. Everything went hazy.
…"I won't be weak again…" it was the swear she had made to herself.
All around her there were shouts. Florina thought she heard Lyn's voice raising high above the rest, and Hector shouting wild orders at Priscilla, and Kent's own voice, but she didn't have enough energy to try to place them.
She managed to open her eyes but not raise her head. Beneath her Fiora was unconscious; her head had been smacked against a rock. Florina's blood seeped onto Fiora tiny white dress and onto the Pegasus wing pressed between them. She didn't know if it was Huey's wing or Fiora's Pegasus's.
Fiora couldn't breathe, Florina realized, and tried to raise herself off her sister. Fiora had to breathe. She'd die if she didn't.
But there was a strong hand on her back keeping her pressed down. She flailed widely at it, screaming that her sister couldn't breathe. That there was an arrow in her heart. The big hand would not release her.
Priscilla's voice was shouting to hold her still, that she had to take the arrow out before she could heal anything.
There was another pain in her side and she almost heard the arrow tearing her skin as it was removed. But she didn't ask for anyone to stop. The sooner the arrow was removed, the faster Fiora could breathe.
Then she was being lifted up and for a blind moment she thought Huey was taking her away, into the sky. But then her vision focused and she realized Lord Hector was carrying her. She wasn't embarrassed though. She was suddenly too tired to be.
His mouth was open and his face was contorted with anger so he was probably yelling at her, but she couldn't hear anything. The black dots were returning to her vision and blinding her again. It seemed hersight had returned only to make sure she felt guilty over worrying Lord Hector.
Her memories were scattered. A scene flashing here or there.
She was laid out on a white cot that was much softer than the one she normally slept on. Her vision was black but she heard tiny voices seeping through her subconscious.
Priscilla's voice saying that there was nothing she could do but heal her. There was a fever on her and no staff could heal it. Then Lyn's shout of disbelief filled the air.
It was funny; she didn't feel hot or even cold. She just felt pleasant. She was mucking around in this darkness and she felt completely free. Here no one thought she was useless. She feel asleep in it.
When she woke up she had her vision but not her wits or hearing. Lord Hector was standing over her, face taunt with worry. Lyn was sleeping in a chair behind him, Lord Eliwood kneeled at her side, head resting on the arm.
Across from her was Kent and his shoulders were slumped in defeat. Below him was Fiora and her face was pale. Farina was next to Kent and biting her lips hard enough to make them bleed. She was holding back tears. Dart was besides her with a hand on her shoulder.
Farina never cried. Florina had only seen her cry when they had taken their parents bodies out to the frozen sea to be cast off. They couldn't be buried. The ground was too tough. Instead, they put the bodies on glaciers and let them float away.
Then she was screaming and Hector had his arms on her shoulders to make sure she didn't get out of bed. She demanded to know if Fiora was okay, if Fiora was going to make it.
Hector was shouting at her again, but she didn't know what. She thought she heard him say something about shutting up, but she couldn't. She struggled with all her might against him, screaming for her sister.
Farina hurried over to her side and took her into her arms, calming her at once. She was saying something against her ear, something about Fiora but Florina couldn't hear her. She almost screamed in frustration, but Farina wouldn't like it.
Unable to move anymore, Farina laid her back on the bed. Tears were shining in her eyes and her lips were moving to say that she couldn't lose her sisters. She was saying she loved them both and that Florina had to be strong.
She was moving aside and letting Hector take her spot. He looked tired, worn, and he was saying something to her about being very, very angry if she died.
Florina opened her mouth to say she was sorry, but feel asleep before she could.
When Florina opened her eyes the next time she had every sense. She could hear the twitter of birds and smell food burning and see the bland brown of the tent's canopy and feel the cot beneath her and taste the dryness of her tongue.
She sat up and groaned in pain. Her fingers instantly reached out for her ribs and she felt the thick bondage there. Looking down at it there was no blood stain but there was a sharp pain every time she moved.
Movement across from her caught her eyes. Kent had untangled himself from his seat besides Fiora. "I should go get—"
"Please don't," Florina implored softly. "Not yet." Kent gave her a sigh and sat down, much to her relief.
"How is she?" she questioned the Paladin, swinging her legs over the side of the raised cot.
Kent drew a tender hand over Fiora's forehead, brushing aside turquoise locks. "There were many moments that we thought she was going to fade, but all the Pegasus Sisters are fighters. She will have a scar between her shoulder and heart forever, but she will live."
Florina released the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. "I guess… everyone's upset with me? I didn't think… I just acted."
"They're not upset, they're scared. Everyone cares deeply for you, Florina. Hector had to be dragged off by Lady Lyndis and Lord Eliwood a few hours ago or he would have been joining you in the sickbay." Kent rubbed his temples and Florina became aware of the tired bags under his eyes. "If it hadn't been for you Fiora would have been dead. I sawthe sniperbut I couldn't get to her. The arrow was aimed at her throat. It would've killed her instantly. If you hadn't dropped in when you did…"
The young Pegasus Knight dragged herself from the bed and shook of the arm Kent offered for support. "Fiora's always been looking after me. I suppose I… I just wanted to protect her for once."
"Fiora has always been very strong," Kent agreed, watching anxiously as Florina weakly kneeled beside her sister. Both Lady Lyndis and Lord Hector would kill him if she did something to injure herself further, but he sensed she had to do this on her own. "But I will be there for her now. She will not have to be so strong."
"Fiora has never had someone be there for her, someone to help her be strong." Florina looked into Kent's eyes and asked softly, "But you will won't you?"
Kent nodded solemnly and Florina sensed something pass between them. A tie bound them together for the rest of their lives. Their love for Fiora.
"Florina!" a new voice shouted and the Pegasus Knight raised her head to see a fuming Lyn standing in threshold of the tent. "What are you doing!?"
"I—I'm sorry… I just wanted t—to see, Fiora…" Florina bit her lip and reached out for her sister's hand.
The worry in Lyn's eyes lessened and a soft look took them over. "You were so brave, Florina. I've never seen anything like it."
She shook her head in disbelief. Lyn and Eliwood and Hector did things like that all the time, and for people they didn't know. She was no better than them.
The Blade Lord took Florina's elbow and guided her back to her cot. "You get to sleep. You're healing, but slowly. I'll tell everyone you were awake so Hector and Farina will be hounding you in a few moments."
Florina smiled tiredly, moving over to her sister's cot had taken that much from her. "Thank you, Lyndis."
The Sacaen noble pressed a kiss to her forehead, tenderly and motherly. "Bravest," she whispered softly.
"No," Florina answered.
The next day Florina convinced Lyn and Farina that she was fine to walk around, but the two women had confined her to the tent. That was fine for Florina since she had no intention of leaving Fiora's side.
When Fiora woke up—after, of course, chiding Florina on her foolishness and then thanking her for saving her life—Florina worked on convincing Lyn and her oldest sister into letting her ride Huey.
"No!" Farina had shouted and Fiora had weakly nodded her head in agreement. "No! You need to heal more! You could open the wound and fall off your Pegasus. No, Florina, you wait."
"I'm not weak!" Florina thundered and everyone within the tent—Kent, Lyndis, Eliwood, Farina, and Fiora—had silenced. "You all think I am, but I'm not! I can handle myself! I saved Fiora and I killed a sniper!"
"She's right, Farina," Fiora had said finally, softly. Her eyes were wet. "We've always seen Florina as our little sister, but she's not so little anymore. She really can protect herself."
"Not too long," Lyndis said softly, bringing Florina into an embrace. "I knew all along," she whispered into her ear.
Now she was riding Huey, soaring as high into the air as they could without suffocating. The Pegasus had been exuberant when Florina had mounted, immediately taking off into intricate loops and twists in the air. It caused Florina to shriek with joy, the feeling of freedom hitting her full force.
She knew Lyndis and her sisters didn't want her out too long, but she couldn't help it. She lost track of how long Huey and she spent circling the clouds, catching them in their mouths. Time passed in the blink of an eye.
The sun was preparing to descend when Huey finally lowered them to ground. There was a dull ache in Florina's side but she ignored it as she hopped off Huey's saddle.
Lord Hector was waiting for her at the entrance to the camp. She had been avoiding him, remembering the anger in his face and not having the energy or the will to face it yet. But now there was no choice.
"I was watching you," he said unabashed. "You're very good."
Heat colored her cheeks but she didn't lower her head. "Re—really…?"
"Yes," he answered simply.
Silence stretched between them and Florina was confused. Lord Hector was not the kind of person to be so quiet. She had thought he'd be yelling at her by now.
"I was worried," Hector said finally. "It looked painful, the way you flew down. That stupid horse of yours almost crushed you."
Florina nuzzled Huey's neck. "I'm sure h—he didn't mean i—it. You we—were yelling at m—me." She sent him a slanted look, a little embarrassed but the relish from flying was still on her. Meek little Florina had not yet taken complete control over her.
"You scared me witless. When I dragged you off—kicking and screaming like I was the devil, I might add—you were losing so much blood. It was the stupidest thing I saw anyone do… and I was worried about you." Hector shrugged.
"I'm not weak, you know. I—I know may—maybe I don't do thin—things as well as my sisters… but I… I'm strong and I—I can fight," Florina told him and her fingers fisted on Huey's reins.
"I never said you weren't," the Lord replied.
"But… um… before you said that I… that I should st—stay by your side in—in battle," Florina pointed out.
"Not because I think you need looking after—though I can't say as much for your stupid horse—but because I thought it'd be nice to have you by my side in the battlefield. I never thought you were weak." Hector looked at her bemused. "I don't remember ever saying you were."
"I jus… jus… just thought that you thought like every—everyone else." Florina frowned and pushed away the thick leather of Huey's reins. "I know what they think and what they say. They think I can't handle myself and that I need protection and that I'm a little mouse and—" She couldn't talk anymore.
Hector was kissing her.
He moved faster than his mass would lead one to believe. One of his big hands cupped her cheeks and the other wrapped around her waist. Her body was pressed against the hard of his armor and her hands rose to twine in his hair on their own accord.
She had never been kissed before, of course, but she had seen Farina bring home boys in Ilia and do it. She had never thought it would feel good. It had looked awkward at best, but now she was seeing what Farina had been going on about.
His mouth was warm and tasted of ale and bread. Hector seemed to know what he was doing as he moved his lips across hers, deepening and making her sigh. She would have fallen against him if her passion hadn't kept her clinging.
They broke away and Hector was stroking her face. "Next time, stay close to me on the battlefield. Not because you need protection, but because I want you there. By my side." He smiled at her.
"Yes." She pulled away from him, amazed. "I need to go check on my sister." She really wanted to be alone to ponder her feelings for him.
"Florina…" he called after her as she left. When she turned to face him he went on, "Tomorrow we're heading for the Black Fang hideout. Fiora says she can handle it."
"Und—understood…" Florina answered, knowing not to ask Hector to let them stay here a little longer because Fiora wouldn't like it anymore than she would.
"There will probably be magick users there so…" He smiled thoughtfully and went on, "So I'm asking Lady Yuki to let you battle with us in the front. You'll be my side from then on, won't you?"
Florina smiled at him and even with the darkness around them it shone like a beacon. The question he asked had another underlying term and because he was Hector she knew what he was asking. She raised her hand like a salute.
"Yes, Hector." Then all was said.
Word Count: 4912
Time: three hours
Genre: Romance/drama/slight angst
Status: one-shot (complete)
Author: Lizzy Rebel
Characters/style: Florina/Hector romance piece
Author's Notes: Okay, this idea (along with a Black Fang one-shot) just wouldn't leave until it was written! Now, don't worry. I haven't forgotten about Calamity. In fact, all I have to do is post it. It's all up and ready. Just review this one and be sure to keep a look out for Calamity, it should be up by Monday.