Author: Lioness's Heart PM
A war is brewing between Rosto's Court and the Tusaine Court of the Rogue. After being sent a challenge by the Tusaine Rogue, Rosto is forced to go to battle. But before he faces dying without her, he reminds Beka that he will always come when she calls..Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Romance - Rebakah C./Beka & Rosto the Piper - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,416 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 30 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 08-02-08 - Published: 07-11-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4388247
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Here's the third and final post of 'The Call.' This part is the longest of the three, which is sort of fitting, since it is the conclusion. I hope it's a fitting ending. Don't forget to review!
Laughter rang through the street of Nipcopper Close not half an hour past the end of Evening Watch. It was then that Beka and Ersken halted where they stood and looked around. Nipcopper Close was deserted. No one walked the streets as they usually did. Not even a Night Watch Dog was on the prowl. All that was on the street was a wagon and a pair of horses tied to the back of it.
Beka and Ersken exchanged glances. Those were the horses that Rosto and Aniki had left on. Beka felt her mouth go dry as they walked closer. Why were the horses tied to the back of the wagon? Unless – was one of them, Aniki or Rosto, injured to the point that they could not ride?
A clatter from inside followed by a strangled cry of pain and a litany of cursing brought the two from their daze. What was going on? Beka and Ersken were off in a heartbeat, rushing into the lodging house. Aniki was seated at one of the tables, her head in her hands. Her lithe frame shook from suppressed sobs. She looked up when Beka and Ersken entered. Tears filled her blue eyes, which held a look of utter hopelessness.
Beka froze. Tears formed in her own eyes before she even realized that they had. It seemed to hit her all at once. Had Rosto – had he possibly been…defeated?
"He didn't," she breathed. It wasn't possible. Rosto couldn't have lost. "Is he…?" The look on her face was one of absolute horror. Ersken's mirrored it, but to a slightly lesser degree. She searched Aniki's face for any sign of hope. Finally, the Queen of the Rouge shook her head.
"No. But he's hurt. Very badly," the other mot whispered. "I don't think he'll make it," she said quietly, fighting not to cry. She was Queen of the Rogue. She had to be strong.
Beka, however, couldn't handle it. A sob escaped her, while tears began to roll down her cheeks. Her mind was numb with the information. It seemed like suddenly, she cared more about the Piper than she should. A part of her mind told her that it had all just been a matter of time. She would have fallen for him eventually, and one day, he wouldn't have come home.
Ersken put his arm around her as Kora came down the stairs. She glanced at him with a look similar to Aniki's, one of pain, and the knowledge of impending loss. She nodded her head to the stairs, telling him to take Beka up there. He nodded in response and started to lead his friend up the stairs.
There was a strange look of fear in Beka's eyes, one that had nothing to do with Rosto's critical condition. She was afraid that she had really fallen in love with him. What was worse was that when she was finally coming to realize that she did have feelings for him, whatever they were, he was being ripped from her. That look scared Ersken a little. It made him wonder what would happen if either he or Kora was put in a similar situation.
Beka put her hand over her mouth and tried to fight off her tears as they slowly neared the first landing. Why did this have to be happening? It just wasn't fair that Rosto was dying now. It wasn't fair that he was dying at all. He had been so full of life when she had last seen him. There had been hope in his eyes, and a sweetness to his deep voice that she hadn't noticed before. Now it seemed like all fairness had disappeared.
That was just it. Life wasn't fair, and Beka knew it as well as anyone who lived in the Lower City. She had lost her mother several years ago, and her father had been gone for many a year. She had fought her way through the Shadow Snake case, and everything that life could throw her way since. Beka's thoughts drifted as Ersken led her upstairs. What if he did make it through? What if he didn't? Her thoughts were a blur of questions, hopes, and shattered pieces – images of memories and times she had never dared to hope for. Now, a litany of prayers filled her mind. Please let Rosto be alright, she thought. Don't let him die.
Her silent pleadings slipped away as Phelan appeared from the doorway to Rosto's room, making sure the door clicked shut behind him. Pained whimpers could be heard from the room, but they never really reached Beka's ears. Her mind was too numb, and her heart too pain stricken to truly hear them. Even if she wasn't losing someone she could really say she loved in a romantic way, she would still be losing one of her closest friends.
"Beka," Phelan addressed her softly. She looked up at him hopefully, but his expression gave her nothing to cling to. "Rosto said that you were to read this," he told her, holding out a sealed envelope. Beka numbly accepted it, breaking open the seal to read the neat script on the ivory paper.
This letter in itself is hard for me to write. The words don't seem to want to come. I'm going to be completely honest with you. The battle is laid out before me, but I can't keep something from my mind. You. You are all I've been able to think of since I left. It is both painful and what has kept me from giving up. I have been attacked verbally and physically by the Tusaine Rogue and his rushers, but there is still an eerie calm upon me. I keep thinking about what will happen if I don't make it back, or even if I do.
I know that things will change either way. If I am to die today in the coming battle, at least know this: I love you. I don't know when I first noticed it, and I know that you don't want it, but I do love you. How or why, I cannot answer. I know that it should not have happened, but I think it would have happened anyway, no matter how resistant either of us was. I cannot help but wonder what will happen between us if I do make it through the battle. Even if I don't, you know you have my love, even if you don't want it.
Take care, Beka.
With all my heart,
Rosto the Piper, King of the Rogue
Beka bit her lip, a single warm tear slipping down her cheek as she read the words he had written. Phelan had moved back to lean against the door, and had turned his gaze away. Ersken had joined him. Beka looked up at them, her ghost-eyes glittering with yet unshed tears.
"Move," she said. Her voice was low, but left little room for argument. Ersken moved over, but Phelan, at odds with orders from his king, didn't.
"He doesn't want you to see him like this, Beka. He's in great pain…" he trailed off, trying to offer those as decent reasons, which they were. Beka would hear none of it. Her eyes turned hard, to pools of ice. Phelan flinched.
"Phelan, if you don't let me through, I'll knock you out," she told him. Her hand slipped down to her baton holster, and undid the fastening that kept the baton in place. Phelan paled slightly, but didn't move.
"Please, Beka. Rosto doesn't want you to see what the Tusaine Rogue did to him. He doesn't want you to try to save him when he's too far gone. He doesn't want to cause you more pain," he tried to reason with her. She just shook her head. She slipped the baton from the holster and moved forward.
"I will say this one more time. Let me through, Phelan." When he didn't move, she raised the baton and moved to give the rusher a nap-tap. He neatly avoided it, and brought his hand up, grabbing her wrist. She snarled at him and tried to pull free, tears streaming down her face. "I don't care what he wants! I need to see him. Just once," she pleaded, struggling against the rusher. Phelan wouldn't let her go, no matter how hard she tried to push past him. Finally, she gave up, letting her knees collapse under her. Phelan let her slide to the floor, where she sat miserably, brushing some of her tears away. A low moan from the other side of the door made her burst into tears again as the sounds of the pain Rosto was in finally made their way through her brain.
"Beka, do you really need to see Rosto that badly?" Phelan asked, kneeling down next to her. She nodded, unable to find the words she wanted to use. "Alright," he relented, pulling her up from the floor. Beka gave him a grateful smile before he opened the door for her.
She silently slipped into the room. There were many candles lit around the room, both magical and non-magical, making it nearly as bright as daylight. It was easy for her to spot Rosto. She gasped when she saw the wound he bore from his battle with the Tusaine Rogue. His shirt had been stripped off, leaving the pale skin of his chest and the angry red of the wound starkly visible. A great gash slashed diagonally across his chest from his right shoulder almost to his left hip. His dark eyes were clouded with pain, and his nearly white hair was covered in sweat. His face, usually handsome despite the scars, was truly white, and held a grimace of pain. A healer knelt next to him, silvery magic sparkling weakly at his fingertips.
The glow of the healer's Gift disappeared from the wound on Rosto's chest as the healer sagged with exhaustion. Beka moved over to the bed and knelt by Rosto's head, searching his face for a glimmer, anything. The breaths he drew were unsteady though not shallow, until a new wave of pain washed over him with the disappearance of the healing magic. He gasped, the hand close to Beka convulsing against the sheets under him. Another gasp followed that, until he wasn't breathing normally at all, just gasping with the pain that each movement of his chest caused. He wasn't even aware that she was kneeling by him. The sable eyes that she stared into saw nothing; he was almost completely taken by the pain. Then she heard her name whispered as the gasps suddenly calmed. She looked up to see Rosto's head turned slightly. Their eyes met and the faintest of smiles appeared on his lips, only to be replaced by an expression of complete pain a second later.
Beka glanced back at Kora as she entered the room. The other mot about dropped what she held when she saw the other healer slumped against the bed-frame in fatigue. Her magic was instantly at her fingertips as she moved toward Rosto. Kora's Gift washed over him, glittering softly. Though she was not a healer, it did help. Rosto's breathing quieted, but it quickly became apparent to them that it wasn't in a good way. His eyes became glassy as he struggled to breathe. Beka put her hand on his, watching helplessly as he began to slip away. She glanced desperately at Kora, who already had tears flowing down her cheeks. Slowly, the shimmer of her magic withdrew and disappeared. Kora knelt down and just sat there, seemingly dumbstruck.
Beka buried her face her hands, trying her hardest not to cry. A small item hit the insides of her wrists in quick succession. She moved one hand down to see what it was and her hand came away with a delicate chain with a simple clear crystal hanging from it. She looked up at Rosto briefly, noting how shallow his breathing was, and the fact that, though they had removed his shirt, the pendant he wore was still on. In a last, desperate attempt, Beka unhooked the clasp on her necklace and held it up, closing the pendant in her hand. After a moment, she raised her hand and closed her eyes.
"Rosto, I need you. Please, don't let go. Don't die on me. I need you to come back," she whispered. Tears flowed freely down her cheeks as she looked up at him. He stirred just barely, seeming to strengthen for a moment. The glassy look in his eyes seemed to fade. Sable and ghost-colored gazes met once more, then one dimmed, fading again. With an immense effort, Rosto lifted his hand and held it out to her. She placed her hand in his, and his hand tightened against hers. He groaned again, grimacing from the pain in his chest. Neither of them noticed Kora shifting to her feet and moving closer, her magic sparkling around the wound again. Beka about burst into tears again before he squeezed her hand once more.
"It's okay, Beka. It's okay," Rosto said hoarsely. His voice was shot with pain, and it was clear that every word cost him. Beka nodded, pressing the back of his hand to her cheek. He offered a weak, clearly pained smile.
They waited together for a few more minutes before another healer arrived. Seeing her colleague passed out where Kora had managed to move him to, she quickly crossed to the King of the Rogue. Yellow-orange magic flared and moved down the gash on Rosto's chest, touching blue-green and swirling as it went. When it pulled back, the cut was still there, but it was mostly healed. Only the deepest part of the wound was still red, and that was only just.
Without thinking, Beka flung her arms around his neck in a hug. Rosto let out a surprised and almost agonized grunt, but hugged her back.
"Gently, Beka. I'm not better yet," he told her softly. She pulled back, looking apologetic. Before she could get up, he pulled her back down, capturing her lips with his own. The kiss was soft and sweet, until it was interrupted by Aniki, Phelan, and Ersken bursting into the room. Rosto made a noise of disgust at them.
"I told you I'd come, Beka. All you had to do was call…" he whispered softly in her ear