|Hurricanes and Leather Wings
Author: Chase Ravencroft Tilton PM
Two men on the run from Bern - two completely different lives. Both Heath & Legault have walked a path of isolation, only able to trust in themselves. One night & one gift can change it all - but will they be able to admit it before it's too late?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Heath & Legault - Words: 9,454 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 4 - Published: 05-30-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5100504
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello everyone. Decided to take a small break from Demon's Daughter long enough to type up one of my Fire Emblem fics. This is a companion piece to my FE7 fannovel, Tales of the Blades, but is a good stand-alone too. Maybe one day when I finish DD, I'll get to TotB. Heh... ^^"
Anywho, here's a happy little LegaultxHeath fic that (shockingly enough for my work) does not have smut in it. I know, who'd have thunk I could write a Fire Emblem shonen-ai without making it a yaoi? And one with Leggy in it, of all people!
So for the legal mumbo-jumbo - I don't own the Fire Emblem series, I wish I did, everyone would be gay if I had my way, blah blah blah go read. Kthnx. Bai. (heart)
Hurricanes and Leather Wings
Incomparable pain ripped through his side as the cat-o-nine-tails lashed across his bare flesh. Violet eyes brimmed with tears, but he would not let them fall.
"Such a pretty face on this one." A fat, balding nobleman snickered as he ran a hand down the side of the captured man's face. "Unblemished skin, just like a woman's…"
The captive shook with a prideful rage, violet mane spilling over his neck and shoulders. "Keep your filthy hands off of me!" he spat, struggling against the chains and bonds that held him in place.
The nobleman glared at his prisoner. He snapped his fingers at the two guards in the room, drawing them forward. "Our guest needs to be taught a lesson in manners. Perhaps a mark to round out that perfect skin."
The violet eyes widened as a jagged hunting knife inched closer to his face. The other guard held his head still while the noble discarded his breeches and slid behind the helpless young man. He ran his fat hands over the form before him, breath hot and rancid on his prisoner's flesh.
"You made the mistake of trying to rob me – no one steals from Count Daltia and goes unpunished. So now you shall amuse my body, peasant."
"That money belongs to our people! You deserve nothing!" the young man was defiant still. And he glared at the guards holding him till the moment the blade bit into his skin.
Had he not closed his eye in pain, he would have been blinded. The knife cut a swathe down his face from his eyebrow, over his eyelid and through his cheek, stopping when it hit his jawbone with a thunk. The blood ran a river over his neck and chest as the Count of Daltia proceeded to strip away his innocence and his dignity.
Finally broken in heart, he screamed out in a mix of pain and hatred.
"Wake up! Dammit all, Legault; wake up!"
Those same violet eyes, now eight years older, snapped open in the darkness.
"What's wrong, Heath? Need someone to keep you warm?" the former assassin and current thief gave his tent-mate a typical roguish grin and a seductive waggle of his eyebrows.
As usual, the wyvern rider rolled his eyes and scoffed at Legault's antics. "No, you screamed out in your sleep. I was worried we were being attacked."
Legault's grin no longer reached his eyes. He thought this dream was behind him, buried with his old life before joining the Black Fang. But for whatever reason, it had returned in earnest – and it made him scream out, something he had not allowed himself in six long years.
"Well, as you can see, we're perfectly fine. Bern isn't seeking its wyvern deserter while he stands in his underwear in the middle of the night – and by the way, those leggings are a lovely shade on you." Legault made a good show of being fine, flustering the younger man as usual.
But Heath was not deterred; his Bernian stubbornness would not let go of one fact: Legault, who was never phased by anything, had cried out in his sleep.
"Then why did you cry out in your sleep?" Heath asked, folding his arms over his well-toned bare chest. "And stop joking like that! You'll give the entire camp the wrong idea!"
The former Black Fang member studied the dark-haired man before him. Heath looked genuinely concerned about him. Legault's heart gave a slight twitter as he wondered what to say.
He had been fond of Heath when the twenty-one year old first joined Eliwood's Army. The man was so on edge and jittery, on the run from his nation for defying orders and refusing to kill innocents. Legault had only intended to help the man lighten up a bit, and befriend him. But in the process, his heart had betrayed him, and now he faced the very real and dangerous idea that he was in love with Heath.
"Legault, I may not always appreciate your games, and you are infuriating, but I still consider you a friend. Don't you trust m enough to confide in me?" Heath pressed further, hurt now flickering in his blue-green eyes.
The sorrowful lilt to his tone made Legault wince. He sighed, sitting up in his cot. "Relax. Yes, I trust you. And you are one of the very few I can say that to honestly. I had a nightmare."
'A nightmare? You? Of what?"
"Lord Hector in a dress."
Heath's eyes flashed with anger. "If you're only going to jest, I'm going back to sleep." He huffed, turning.
A pair of arms encircled his waist, holding him in place.
"I'm sorry. This is – believe it or not – rather difficult for me. It was a memory from eight years ago, not long before I joined the Fang." Legault's words came out in an uncharacteristic rush.
To Heath's ears, the lilac-maned thief sounded almost ashamed. Legault had no shame, as far as he knew from his dealings with the man over the past year. For him to sound so unlike himself, Heath knew it was serious.
"I'm sorry…I won't press you further, but if you should need to talk, I will listen."
Legault gave a bitter chuckle, and patted an open spot on his cot, motioning for Heath to sit. "I'll tell you, but I warn you now, it is a rather unpleasant tale…"
The wyvern rider sat, a bit unsure. For the year they had known each other, Legault had made it his business to know all about Heath's business. But Heath only knew small pieces about the Legault. He was nervous about learning what could make the unruffled and suave thief cry out in his sleep.
"So as I mentioned, this dates back eight years, before I joined the Fang. I was eighteen years old, still living with my mum and my little brother, Leland. We lived in Daltia, and coming from Bern as well, I'm sure you've heard of it."
Heath nodded. "We've all heard the tales of Lord Eizen, Count of Daltia. His is well-known for his cruelty."
"Aye. He is certainly a vicious little pile of – ah, you get my point. But as I was saying, the three of us lived there under high taxes. My father died of illness when I was younger, so I acted as the head of our family. It was how my nightmare began. Under the heavy taxes, it was hard for me to provide enough for us. Stealing became a necessity – but I only took from those who had enough to spare." Legault seemed to drift back as he spoke, slipping back in his mind.
Heath listened intently. His tentmate had never said anything about his life before joining the Black Fang. He was finally opening up, and the wyvern rider was curious – he had always wanted to unravel the mystery of what made the Hurricane tick.
"My mother never knew what I did to provide for us, but Leland was a sharp one; he guessed it soon after. You would have sworn he was my twin rather than four years my junior." He smiled fondly, pausing as he remembered.
"It carried on this way for a few years. I took care of my mother the best I could. When I was about seventeen, she took ill. Our taxes rose higher. Our ruler was literally taxing us to death – I couldn't feed us, pay taxes, and afford ma's medicines at the same time. One day I came home to find our cottage had been ransacked, and my small savings were gone." Legault paused once more, sighing heavily.
"You were robbed?" Heath asked, brow furrowed at the thought.
"The tax collector decided I hadn't paid enough." Came the bitter reply. "I now had nothing, and my mother was dying. So, being the amateur thief I was, I decided to steal it back."
The younger man shot him an incredulous look. "You were going to rob a tax collector?"
"No. I was going to rob Count Daltia."
Silence overtook them. The pieces started to fall in place as Heath moved his eyes upward, trailing up Legault's near-flawless face and noting the twin scars that ran from his eyebrow to his jaw.
"As you can see, I was not completely successful. I did manage to rob the Count. More than once. It was on the third go that I was caught." He gave his younger tentmate an appraising glance, gauging his level of comfort.
Heath looked deeply saddened, eyes full of sorrow for his friend.
Seeing this, Legault felt okay to continue. The honesty and empathy that his fellow Bernian showed made him comfortable, able to share his darker memories for the first time in years. He had tucked away so much of his life inside his heart; to open up now was something remarkable.
"The guards over-powered me and took me up to him. He proceeded to strip me, lash me up in his chambers, and beat me bloody. And when he finished with that, well…"
"Did he – " Heath began, then stopped. Legault motioned for him to continue. "Did he compromise you?"
Legault nodded slowly. "I fought as best as I could, but two guards held me, and I was still tied to the rafters. So while he de-flowered me, one of the guards took up his blade on the Count's orders, and…you see the results of that everyday…"
Another silence gripped the two. Heath's eyes welled up with tears at the thought of Legault being punished. It was such a strange and bitter idea; Legault was always so strong and so carefree. He was never broken or worn. The thought hurt him for reasons he did not want to admit. Before Heath knew it, his hand was extended for the other man's face.
"May I…touch your scars?" he whispered timidly, fingers curled away cautiously.
Legault's eyes widened. No one since his late best friend Aesha had ever asked that question – none besides Aesha had ever heard his full story, and even she had to coax it from him. Trust was not something Legault gave freely. But he trusted Heath fully.
He cleared his throat. "Yes."
Hesitantly, Heath reached forward. Legault's eyes fluttered shut as Heath's calloused fingertips lightly brushed his cheek.
The softness of the touch made the former assassin shiver in spite of himself. He felt Heath slowly trace the larger of the two scars down his cheek, stopping at the end of the mark. The deserter kept his hand there a moment, prompting Legault to open his eyes.
Upon doing so, he saw the last thing he expected: tears.
Heath was crying silently, tears idly dripping down his face as he held his finger to Legault's jaw.
At a loss for words, Legault slid forward and enfolded the younger man in his arms. For once, Heath did not resist. He allowed Legault to hold him close, comforting him.
"It was a long time ago. It can't hurt me anymore." Legault whispered.
"But it can – that's why you screamed in your sleep. You can survive and live day to day – but memories can catch you when you sleep. I know that better than most." Heath muttered back, face tucked against the older man's neck.
The thief said nothing to this. Instead, he hugged the rider closer. He was stunned that Heath had not yet leapt away in a panic as usual. It was pleasant to have another in his arms.
Heath was having a heated internal debate at present. The rational side of him was screaming to go back to his own bed, and to get out of Legault's arms. The rational side of him was screaming that he wasn't gay, that he should be terribly, deeply disturbed at the thought of being so emotional and weak. But the other side of him was too busy nuzzling into Legault's neck and breathing in the scent of sandalwood and lilac that clung to his hair. In a moment of pure and abject irrationality, Heath allowed himself to admit in the far corner of his mind that he cared deeply for the thief.
The pair sat together in silence like this for several minutes, till Legault finally began to speak once more.
"When he had satisfied himself, he had his men send me home. I made up some story about bandits to get my mother off my tail, and simply told Leland that my last job had not gone so well. He didn't ask further."
Heath sniffed, trying to stem the flow of his tears. Legault idly stroked his bare back, tugging him closer.
"Easy there, little one. I learned from it. It was the only time I was ever captured. And it gave me the edge to become a better thief."
"What happened afterwards? What about your mother and Leland? How did you join the Fang?"
Legault stiffened slightly. "My mother died shortly after my capture, about a month later. I placed Leland in the care of our neighbors, and after we buried our mother, I left. Met up with Aesha, the woman I told you about, while at an inn in Sandskron. She told me about the Fang, recruited me to their cause of freeing the people from the tyranny of Bern's nobility. I met Brendan and the others, trained daily with Lloyd and Linus; became stronger. I may not look like much, but I was named the Hurricane for a reason. I truly was second to only the Four Fangs. In any case, you know what I told Matthew about my years in the Fang. It was wonderful, till Nergal sent in Sonia and ruined it. Two years after Aesha's…death…" he hesitated here; though he knew full well that she had been murdered at his hands on Sonia's orders, he could not bring himself to say it aloud.
Heath already knew the story – he had been near when Matthew had questioned Legault.
"After she died, I deserted. We met you in Ostia shortly after I joined up." He finished simply. Story now told, Legault grew silent, still holding his tentmate close to him. After a few minutes, he began to shift back into a laying position on his side. He loosened his grip slightly so that Heath could leave, only to find that the wyvern rider had shifted with him.
Heath was fully sure he had lost his mind – he was actually snuggling up to Legault of his own free will, and he liked it.
"What happened to Leland? Do you still keep in contact with him?"
"No. But I have kept informed of him. He works as a patrolman for the town, and apparently moonlights as a thief like I used to. Now that I think on it, he'll be turning twenty-two soon…" his violet eyes turned downwards to look over the man in his arms.
"When exactly?" Heath pressed.
"About two weeks, if the date is correct. Why?"
"No reason." A plan was forming in his mind. He made a note to speak with Amyra first thing in the morning. "For now, let's get back to sleep, please?"
The thief leaned back to give him an incredulous look. "You realize you're in my bed, don't you?"
"Yes, I am aware. I just…people like us, we just need support sometimes. Deserters, we have to stick together – and I suppose I just need…" no further words would come from Heath's mind.
It was alright though – no more needed to be said. Legault understood fully. He tugged the sheets back up over Heath and himself, then fully cradled the younger man in his arms.
"Good night, Heath. And thank you for listening." Legault whispered.
"Good night, Legault. You're welcome."
It felt so strangely right to be in Legault's arms, Heath thought to himself. When he heard the steady breathing of his bedfellow, he felt at peace. Heath didn't want to admit it – he really didn't – but he had fallen for the carefree assassin. The injustice of the man's old life had cut Heath in his heart – and he never wanted Legault to hurt ever again.
Something in him made Heath crane his neck to see Legault's face. His violet hair was down and completely unbound, his headband off and hanging near the tent flap. He looked peaceful as he slumbered, a smile playing about his lips. Those lips…
Heath gulped, and his face flushed at the thoughts pouring into his mind.
"I've been around Sain, Matthew, and Legault far too long…" he thought to himself. Shaking his head to clear it, Heath settled back into Legault's embrace, and drifted back to sleep.
"You know, it's dangerous." Amyra, the tactician and Bladerunner heir looked her friend over as she polished her sword. She set down the blade and reached out for Heath.
"I know, Amy. But it's…just one of those things I have to do…" he replied, stepping forward and taking the younger woman into his arms.
Amyra and Heath were close friends – the swordmaster had a way of kinship with most of their army, and had gone out of her way to look after them all.
"I love Legault just as much as you, I understand. Just be careful out there. And make sure Hyperion is well-fed before you go. Last thing we need is to have some poor farmer lose his cows." She pecked Heath on the cheek, and pressed a small pouch of gold coins into his hands for the trip.
"Thank you. We should be back in a few days." Heath gave her a loving squeeze, and slipped out of her tent.
Legault was changing his clothes for the day when Heath returned. He tugged his shirt on over his head as the wyvern rider entered the tent.
"Pack a travel bag – we're going on a trip." Heath stated, beginning to pack his own bags and gear.
"Usually people wait till after the wedding for the honeymoon, dear." Legault teased, the seriousness of the night before gone.
Heath rolled his eyes and gathered his lances and potions. "Meet me by the stables in half an hour. We'll be gone a few days, so pack accordingly."
Legault was left to wonder what was going on as Heath slipped out once more.
Curiosity having gotten the better of him, Legault packed his bags with his few precious possessions and went out to join Heath.
"Good timing, I'm almost ready." Heath called over his shoulder as he finished strapping the last saddlebag to Hyperion's flank.
"So where are we going, exactly? You could seduce me here and save the trip, you know." The thief teased him mercilessly, as usual delighting in the scandalized reaction Heath gave.
"Just trust me. Amyra agreed to send us out alone and gave me ample funds to do so. So let's go."
Heath patted his wyvern's scaly hide before sliding into the saddle, extending a hand to his friend.
"You know I hate being in the air…" Legault held tightly to Heath's waist as they took to the dawn sky, feeling slightly dizzy.
"I'm sorry. But you'll thank me later." The rider smiled – this was his home. The open sky before him eased his nerves and made him genuinely happy.
And Legault noted this happiness, and tucked the image of Heath's smile away.
After two days of flying with only a few stops to drink and sleep, Heath guided Hyperion to a large open clearing in the woods below. He removed one of the shining silver lances from his mount, and took his pack down, then instructed the animal to remain there for a few days. Hyperion understood this, and gave a soft growl in return.
"You'll want to wear your travelling cloak hide to cover your identity. We can't be seen here." Heath advised, doing the same thing with his own cloak.
"Going to tell me where we are now?" Legault pulled his long hair up into a bun and pinned it down.
Heath blinked – Legault looked almost…elegant with his hair up, exposing a delicate neck and jaw line. He almost looked like a courtier.
"We're back home, Legault. In Daltia, to be exact. Just beyond the river. Hence why we can't be seen – I'm still wanted for a million gold and I'm sure you don't want to be recognized either." Heath managed to stop staring long enough to answer.
Time seemed to stop as Legault took in what had been said. They were home – he was home for the first time in eight years. Heath had brought him home.
"Heath…if we're caught, you'll be killed…"
A gentle smile graced his young lips. "Well, let's not get caught, then."
He waved his hand, motioning for the thief to follow, and left the clearing.
Looking around the town as they walked the cobbled streets, Legault was happy to see almost nothing had changed. He still recognized many of the old merchants and shopkeepers, still knew which families stayed where. His feet drove him of their own accord, with Heath following behind.
The rider studied Legault's actions carefully, wanting nothing more than to see happiness in his face. He took a huge risk in coming back to Bern without the protection of Eliwood's Army, but it was one he felt he had to. He knew Legault missed his brother, and he wanted to ease that pain.
The pair walked for half an hour, reaching the outskirts of the town. When they came upon a large cottage near a small pasture, Legault stopped in his tracks.
Heath stopped at his side, wondering what was wrong. "Legault? Are you…?"
"My home…we're here." Came the hoarse reply. They were here, at his old home. Eight long years had passed since he had been here. In those years, he had changed. Now, as he stood face to face with his past, Legault was for once unsure of himself.
"Are we going to say hello?" Heath prompted, nudging his friend slightly.
Before Legault could reply, an arrow whizzed between their faces, so close to the thief's skin that it cut him and drew a thin line of blood.
"Show yourselves! I've little patience for bandits in these parts – gold is hard enough to earn these days." The archer appeared from the trees behind them, next arrow already set. His violet eyes matched his silvery-indigo hair, which was held back from his eyes by a green headband.
Both men turned to face him. The hood fell back from Legault's face as he calmly smiled. "Is that any way to welcome a guest, Leland?"
The young archer lowered his bow, searching Legault's face. Recognition flooded over his features as he dropped the bow and arrow in shock.
"Sweet Elimine…" Leland whispered. He stalked forward, and gripped the former Fang's chin, tilting it down to study the scars on his face.
"Yes, I'm home little brother." Legault replied to his brother's silence.
Leland threw his arms around his elder brother's neck and hugged him tight, tears running down his face.
"It's dangerous here, let's get inside, little one." Legault steered his brother towards the house, fighting tears of his own as he nodded for Heath to follow.
"From Fang to Lycian hero in a matter of days…amazing…" Leland chuckled, poking at the fire in the hearth.
The brothers had spent most of the day talking, eight years' worth of life to catch up on. Heath listened silently after Legault introduced him, enjoying the carefree nature with which the thief carried himself. It made the dangers well worth it to his eyes.
Leland was overjoyed to have his brother home. He told them all about his life as a patrolman, and his nights as a thief, stealing from the very rich and giving to his fellow poor.
"Just don't get caught, or I'll have to kill someone." Legault warned. His smile masked the seriousness with which he made his statement.
Sadness edged Leland's eyes. "I won't." He turned to Heath after a moment. "Thank you for bringing my brother home, Heath. It means more to me than you will ever know." He smiled fondly at the younger man.
"Not a problem. I was happy to do it. It gave me a chance to see my home again as well."
Leland studied his face a moment. "Ah – I have seen you before! Heath Walker, of the Royal Wyvern Knights."
Heath's eyes flew open in fear.
Legault laughed at his expression. "Easy there, love. This boy is related to me, after all. You're safe with Leland and I."
"Love? Oh now I get it!" Leland grew excited. "This was a courtship gift! You've come home to introduce me to your consort. That's wonderful!"
The former knight coughed and sputtered on his drink, face turning bright red.
"Legault and I? No no no, you've got the wrong idea! I mean, he's a good friend, but I'm not – well I may be…but…"
The brothers laughed heartily as Heath struggled to find words.
"Easy, my friend. I don't judge." Leland smiled, clapping him on the back.
Heath glared at Legault, who did nothing to correct his younger brother.
The trio carried on late into the night, till Heath drifted off to sleep in his chair.
Legault gazed at his sleeping comrade, aching to reach out and brush his green-black hair from his eyes.
"You're in love, eh? Took you long enough." Leland grinned, winking at his brother.
A warm smile took over his face. "Aye. Certainly wasn't expecting it."
"He likes you too. I can see it. The way he looks at you while you speak. He smiles so tenderly at you."
"I don't know…I mess with him all the time – he flusters easily. I don't think he realizes yet that half the time, I'm serious about wanting to ravish him." Legault sighed, eyes lustily scanning Heath.
His brother shook his head. "Be honest with him. Sooner rather than later. Life takes away things we take for granted…"
"You're asking a man who made a career of lying to be honest? Far easier said than done, Leland."
"You weren't always a spy, Legault. I know the old you. Tell him when you return to camp – the battlefield can be a cruel place."
Legault knew far too well the way fate could treat a soldier. As he looked over Heath, he thought of the coming battles. They would be in constant danger. If Heath were to be shot down by a stray archer, or caught off guard by a mage, what would he do?
"Just do your best to keep him safe. From what you tell me, your lady tactician does a fine job of protecting her men." Leland took his brother's mug and set it down on the table by the door.
"Amyra is one of the few others I trusted enough to tell about you. She's a good girl. Her brother is a bit like me – perverted and a cheeky thief. You'd like the Shirai siblings.
Leland chuckled softly. "You should bring them to visit when the war is over. I need to meet these infamous friends of yours. How many can say their brothers are friends with the future Lord and Lady Pherae, Lord Ostia, Lady Caelin, Count Reglay, and the survivors of the Bladerunners? You have many esteemed comrades."
Legault thought on this a moment. He had come to care for his fellow soldiers. They reminded him of the old Fang, back in the days where he, Aesha, Lloyd, Linus, Uhai, Jan, Brendan, and the others had been a family. It was Sonia's arrival and marriage to Brendan that ruined it over time – but even Sonia's takeover had a bright spot. It had given them Nino. And while she was irritating at times, the child had made everyone hopeful, and cheered the air.
He could still recall meeting her as a child of eight, six years before. She was always a bright and inquisitive girl, and he had spent hours along with the Reed brothers playing games and telling her stories.
"I can feel at home with them. I never realized just how much I like being in this army…" the thief mused, nodding appreciatively.
He thought fondly of nights by the fire with Amyra and Matthew, of days playing cards with Kaliska and Heidyn, of swapping tales of flirting with Sain. They had given him back so much. And Heath, who had risked his life indirectly to re-connect him with his past…Heath had taken the edge off of his tempered heart.
"Leland, when the war ends, let's move to Lycia. We'll be a family again."
"Lycia? Why?" the younger man asked.
"Heath and I are both still wanted in Bern. Our dearest friends are all going to move near Ostia and Pherae after the war. Amyra has already sworn to shield us from Bern as soon as she and Eliwood are wed and she is made Lady Pherae. We will be safe and cared for there. No more high taxes, no more stealing to survive…" he trailed off, nudging his younger brother.
Leland met his brother's gaze. Legault had given everything to provide for him. His brother was his hero. In eight long years, he had never once stopped believing in him. He followed up on every rumor of thieves through Bern, learning finally that Legault had joined an organization and was alive and well. He did not tell his brother that he already knew of the Hurricane, and had instead listened intently as Legault re-counted the past years.
Leland was a strong young man. He was a good, honest, hard worker who only stole to help. But that life was not always fulfilling. He longed to make a bigger difference and to have a life of his own. Perhaps as a Lycian with connections at court, he could help heal Bern.
"I'd like that. Put the past behind us by starting over…sounds wonderful."
Legault's bright smile was followed by a warm embrace.
"Welcome home, Legault." Leland whispered, tearful once more.
The brothers spent the rest of the night talking of the future, till both drifted to sleep at dawn's light.
Amyra and Matthew sat sleepily in her tent, pouring over battle plans. The enemy had mounted an impressive comeback platoon consisting of paladins, generals, sages, snipers, and swordmasters who were fast approaching. It looked grim for Eliwood's Army.
"I don't like our chances, sis." Matthew shook his head. "The mountain pass we're going to head them off at is deadly enough. But the snipers and sages have plenty of places to hide. If we aren't careful, they'll cut us down like wheat."
The tactician sighed. "I don't like it either, Matt. But we've got wounded troops still trying to heal up from our last fight. I won't wait for Nergal's bastards to pounce on us – we have to head them off. I haven't lost a man yet, and I don't plan on losing one now."
"So who do we take?" he pulled up a blank sheaf of parchment and a quill, and glanced up at her.
She ran through her able-bodied men. "You, me, Heidyn, Evaio, Kaliska, Eliwood, Hector, Lyn, Kent, Florina, Wil, Raven, Lucius, Priscilla, Pent, Louise Erk, Rath, Nino, Nils, Jaffar, Guy, Canas, Karel, and Heath and Legault."
Matthew quickly penned these names, looking over the list. "Twenty-six in all. Manageable, so long as we're all close together. Are Heath and Legault due back soon?"
A loud, leathery flapping sound broke into Amyra's reply. "I think so." She finished simply, amused at the timing.
Minutes later, Heath ducked his head into the tent. "Evening, Amy. Hello, Matthew. May I come in?"
"By all means, do. How was the trip?" she pulled out a chair at the table.
Heath sat, glad to be on the ground again. "It was wonderful. Leland was very kind, and if they didn't look alike you'd never know he was related to Legault."
Amyra snickered. "Can't wait to meet him myself. So the week away did you both well, then?"
"Aye. Leaving was hard. But at least they've been put back into contact. I've never seen Legault so happy." The wyvern rider seemed proud of himself.
With a guilty turning of her stomach, Amyra patted Heath's arm. "I hate to tell you this, my dear…but both of you are going into battle in a few days. And it's going to be ugly…"
She proceeded to explain the situation.
"I'll let him know right away. Don't you worry about us – he and I are ready to fight. Focus on the others, and let me know if you need anything." He hugged her, and pecked her cheek before patting Matthew's shoulder and leaving.
The siblings shared a knowing look, and smiled. Since when did Heath refer to himself and Legault as a pair like that? It was a good sign – love could blossom even in war.
Sunlight barely leaked into the canopy of trees that sheltered the camp. Already, the troops that had been selected were awake and alert.
It would be a long day. They knew they were in great danger in this battle. But they trusted in Amyra.
Legault wove his way through camp, past friends and loves, saying their farewells. He waved to Kent and Sain, the latter of whom was sporting a sling on his healing left arm, and who almost seemed tearful. Sain was very protective of Kent, and the thought of the redhead going into battle without him likely drove him mad with worry.
Serra was jabbering away at Lucius, who took it with a smile as he waited for Raven to appear. Nearby, Rebecca and Dart playfully teased Wil as he and his lover Evaio stood hand in hand, both going into battle.
How would he feel if Heath were off to fight while he remained behind? Legault was certain it would drive him crazy as well. Since Heath had joined, the two had fought or sat out of each battle together.
Today was no different. As he made his way back to the tent they shared, Legault thought on his younger brother's advice. He loved Heath. He wanted to tell him. But something – perhaps his old reservations about romance, or a fear of rejection – held his tongue. He entered the tent and plucked his bag from his cot.
"There you are! I was worried you were going to take off without me." Heath picked up his own pack, and began to fold his bedroll.
"Now if I did that, who would I have to play with? I went for a short walk. Just to stretch my legs out."
Heath nodded, and looked around one last time. "That's everything. Ready?"
"I suppose so." Legault smiled pleasantly, noting that his companion had not so much as blinked at his cheeky quip.
Both men looked at one another, an unspoken tension filling the small space. Words formed in both of their minds, but neither could fathom where to begin.
"Heath, Leggy – let's go already!" Amyra's voice cut through the awkward moment like a killing edge as she called them from outside.
The thief raised an eyebrow. "Did she just call me "Leggy"? She's been around Nino far too long now."
Heath chuckled as both men exited the tent. "Hate to see what she comes up with for me…" he muttered.
The tactician was in full battle gear, and was readily visible a few feet ahead. Trailing behind her were Heidyn, Evaio, and Kaliska, her fellow Bladerunner survivors.
"Bout damn time! Get to the skies and keep behind us at a low level, no higher than twenty feet. I want you close enough to engage in ground combat in case something happens." She addressed Heath.
"Yes, Amy." He saluted her half jokingly before turning to Legault.
Again the silence crept up on them. Feelings he still could not fully sort out were driving him mad. Inspiration struck suddenly, and it was then that Heath was able to act. He reached up and tugged off one of the necklaces he wore, then handed it to Legault.
"This was a gift from my father when I first joined the Royal Knights seven years ago. It's the Walker family coat of arms against the Rosea Mountains. It's given me luck all these years. I expect you to survive to return it to me." He locked eyes with his fellow Bernian, willing him to understand his implicit meaning.
Legault was stunned as he examined the small bronze coin in his hand. It was emblazoned with the outline of the nation's famed mountains and a wyvern as seen from overhead, wings spread and engraved with an ornate letter "w". Fingering the coin, he met Heath's gaze, hoping it meant that there was more to their friendship.
"You make sure you and that winged lizard of yours come back in one piece." He replied, slipping the leather cord over his head and tucking the coin inside of his shirt.
Unable to resist, Legault enfolded the younger man in his arms, and held him close. Heath reacted instinctively, melding into the embrace, forgetting entirely that others were nearby.
Hesitantly, both men broke their hug. After a brief goodbye to the others, Heath turned and made his way to Hyperion.
Amyra and Legault watched him go.
"You had better not die out there. I won't forgive you if you leave me. Not to mention you and he deserve to be happy. You had better confess soon." Amyra warned her friend, trying to hide her genuine fear with bravado.
Legault's response was to hold her close. She was eighteen, the age he had been when his life changed for good. He knew she was afraid of losing a soldier and friend to this fight, and something about that genuine fear and care just broke his heart and made him more acutely aware of the dangers of battle.
"Hush now, little one. I'm far too charming and handsome to die. I promised you when I joined that I would stay by your side. I will uphold that. And I do need to clarify things with our wyvern rider, don't I?"
She smiled at his words. "I'll hold you to that. Now let's move out."
The rest of the non-mounted soldiers finished their goodbyes, and soon were making the long trek into battle.
"Raven, get behind those trees and switch to your axe, I hear a lancer!" Amyra was on full alert, senses attuned to their surroundings as they pressed on.
The battle had been much better than she had hoped. While they had sustained injuries, Priscilla's skill with a mend staff had enabled them all to keep on fighting. She herself had taken a deep wound through the left shoulder, which was slowing her down, but carried on with her men. Heidyn and Matthew had more than repaid the enemy knight that harmed her in a flurry of blades.
Victory was in sight. They needed to capture the enemy base, clearing a path through the remaining troops.
Legault was catching his breath beside Eliwood near an outcropping. The pair had been working together on a group of archers, trying to ensure Florina and Heath's safety.
"If I may ask, Eliwood – " the thief began, having long since abandoned formalities with his friend's lover. "How do you handle Amy fighting on her own while you team with others? Do you fear for her safety?"
The young lord though on this for a moment. "I do fear for her, yes. But she has done wonders as our tactician and I have faith in her blade."
"I see. So faith helps you keep your mind clear, then?" Legault tried to keep his tone light and casual.
Eliwood however was blessed with his mother's ability to read people. He smiled knowingly. "I've seen Heath in battle enough now to put my trust in his lances."
A look halfway between perplexed and annoyed was directed at the redhead. "Does everyone in camp know? You'd swear I went around stalking him."
"You do." Eliwood snickered.
Legault merely rolled his eyes. "Just like your future wife…"
Eliwood clapped a hand on his shoulder. "We're almost done here – lets go help make the drive on the gate so that Amyra and Matthew will stop plotting to get you and Heath together."
Soon after, they re-joined the others.
Heath made another pass at the paladin before him, sending the man sprawling to the ground. He turned to wave Florina forward, signaling that he would scout for her to give her safe passage to the others.
She waved back and swooped back to the rest of the camp.
After looking around and finding the coast clear, he too moved to re-join the others, desperate to speak with Legault about his feelings.
In the trees, one lone archer waited.
It seemed to move in slow motion. Heath was so close to them, looking for the purple cloak of his companion.
Legault was rushing forward to greet him, determined to not waste any more time in denial.
And the archer emerged while the others were dispatching his last comrades, victory almost assured.
Amyra saw the archer as Legault did. She turned and ran for him.
Heath too spotted the archer, and with a jolt realized he was too close to dodge, and the bolt was made of silver, unlike his breastplate.
And it was then Legault made up his mind: protect Heath at all costs.
"Better watch your back!" he called, drawing the sniper's attention.
The sniper turned to face Legault, now a few feet away from him.
Heath's eyes grew wide as he urged Hyperion forward, fear in his blood.
As the sniper let fly, Heath and Amyra's screams joined in agony.
And as Legault fell to the Earth, struck in the chest at close range, his only thought was that Heath was safe, and his brother would be proud.
Heath leapt form Hyperion's back at the same time that Amyra drew near the sniper. Enraged, both fighters brought their weapons to bear and ran the sniper through like a pig on a spit.
They didn't even bother removing their weapons as the sniper's body fell. Instead, they rushed to Legault's side.
"Erk, Pent, Priscilla, Lucius, Canas – grab staves now! Jaffar, hold Nino back! Florina, get Huey over here, we'll need him for transport!" Amyra barked out orders, trying to not cry.
Heath had dropped to his knees and grabbed the thief by the shoulders.
"Legault, you idiot! You're too smart for that! Why?" he sobbed, not wiling to let go even as Hector and Heidyn tried to pull him back.
Barely awake, Legault turned to face the one he cared for most. He smiled, thinking back to the last time Heath had asked him why.
"Must be…this thing called…love."
At this, Heath sobbed harder, not caring that he seemed weak. Amyra held him as the healers set to removing the arrow and sealing the wound, and eventually led him away, unable to watch.
As soon as they could, the healers used Priscilla's warp staff to take themselves, Legault, and a few others back to camp.
In no condition to fly, Heath let Amyra drag him onto Hyperion, and lead them back to the rest of the army.
His mind was miles away, focusing only on one thing: Legault had said he loved him. Now he could only hope and pray he would get a chance to tell the lilac-maned thief that he felt the same.
The meadow was silent as he gently placed her body in the grave. He worked steadily to cover it once more, and set a small bouquet of lilies down as a marker.
"I'm so sorry, Aesha…" he whispered, wiping tears from his eyes. "But I promise you, I'll never be a coward again when it comes to love. I'll get out like you told me to…"
Legault was acutely aware of the scent of blood as he sat up in his cot. Upon sitting up, he became aware of the ungodly ache in his chest, and the mass of bandages that he was wrapped in. his shirt and breeches were folded neatly on a small table a few feet away, and his leggings were rolled up to his knees. Searching his memories, he finally recalled the previous battle.
He had been shot at close range, yet had somehow survived.
"Lucky as ever…" he muttered to himself, chuckling softly.
Before he could try to get up and find someone, the tentflap opened.
"Thank Elimine, Mother Earth, and Father Sky; you're alive!" Amyra rushed to his side, near-smothering him in a crushing hug.
"Amyra, go easy on him! He's still got a ways to go before he's fully healed!" Kaliska chided her commander.
Sheepishly, Amyra released him, heeding the younger woman's words.
"Sorry, Leggy…" the tactician mumbled.
"It's alright, sweetie. Sorry I scared you. How long have I been asleep for?"
"Four days. I had Pent and Priscilla put you out with a suspension spell, then went through nearly every light magic prayer Lucius has ever learned. You very nearly died a few times – only constant watching saved you. And you were very lucky the arrow didn't pierce and deeper. Heath's crest caught the worst of the blow before the arrowhead could hit your heart. You still bled something awful, as it was." Kaliska, in full medic mode, de-briefed him.
Legault's heart fluttered beneath his breast. He had gone in to greet Heath, and then to save him – in turn, Heath's gift had saved the assassin. Fate was funny, it seemed.
"Where's Heath? Is he ok?" he asked.
"I ordered him to sleep. He had been awake since the day of the battle. I had to drug him to get him down." Amy looked to the floor, ashamed.
Before anything more could be said, a commotion was heard outside.
"Your body needs rest, you're going to collapse!" Lucius' voice sounded out clearly in the still afternoon.
"I don't care, I need to see him! Stand down, Lucius!"
The tentflap opened yet again, and in walked Heath, looking wild.
"I knew it; you're awake!" he cried, striding across the tent and lightly grabbing the thief by the shoulders.
"Good to see you, too. You don't look so well, Heath." Legault looked him over, concern in his eyes.
Tears sprang to life from Heath's own aquamarine gaze. He leaned down and pressed his lips to the other man's, feverishly kissing him.
Kaliska instantly grabbed Amyra by the wrist and dragged her out of the tent.
"I was watching that!" Amyra hissed, only to be silenced by a withering glare from her friend.
Comforting herself with the thought of her friends finally being together, Amyra let Kaliska lead her away.
Legault was taken aback. If he had known a near-death experience would get Heath to kiss him, he would have tempted fate sooner.
Gingerly, he snaked his arms around the younger man's waist, and held him closer, deepening the kiss.
Finally, the need for oxygen pushed them apart. Heath sniffed, trying his hardest not to cry anymore.
"I almost lost you!" he exclaimed, hugging Legault tightly.
"Well, I'm too hot for hell to contain, so the devil tossed me back." He grinned, lilac eyes glittering once more.
"You saved me without hesitation. But when I saw you there on the ground…my heart stopped…"
Their eyes held all the unspoken words between them. Legault tugged Heath down onto his lap. "I meant it – I do love you." He whispered, kissing Heath's ear.
Heath buried his face in the thief's silvery mane. "I…I know." He hesitated.
Since deserting his nation, Heath had been unable to trust anyone. He had forsaken friendship and love in favor of standing by his morals.
And he had survived so far. But in surviving, he had forgotten how to live.
But Legault had broken down his walls, gotten to know him underneath the layers of hurt and pride. And not only had Legault befriended him – he had saved his life, and even dared to love him for who he really was.
Fear held his tongue. Love released it.
"I love you, too." He managed to mutter.
"Stay with me. Forever. When the war's over, we'll move to Lycia and bring Leland with us, have a family. We already have your flying lizard as a pet."
"Hyperion is not a lizard." Heath chuckled, settling into Legault's embrace.
Legault leaned back, wincing as his wound stretched beneath his bandages. "Well, whatever he is, he'll be our pet. And you can be my happy little wife."
"You look more like a woman that I do – thinner, and with longer hair." The wyvern rider gave him a nasty look.
"I'm taller. And older. And experienced. After all, it's "virgin bride", not "virgin groom", so I already don't fit in that role." A grin spread over his face as he returned to his typical behavior.
Heath said nothing, merely blushed and snuggled into his embrace. "I love you. You're a devil in disguise, but I love you."
Content to have one another safe and whole, the newly joined couple spoke of the future till both drifted into their first peaceful sleep in days.
"Master Reid, a letter for you!" a young boy from the village called.
Leland set down his short sword and faced the boy. He collected the letter, and pressed a few coins into the lad's hands, waving as the child dashed off.
He nodded to his fellow patrolmen, and ducked out of the marketplace to read his letter. Upon opening it and seeing the handwriting, he grinned.
Dear little brother,
You'll be happy to know that I heeded your advice and opened my mouth. After almost dying – another story for another day – we confessed to one another. So, get ready to have a brother-in-law. We already have plans for a ceremony of sorts after we're all living together in Lycia. I won't wait to consummate the match, though – you know me.
So dear Leland, thank you for giving me a nudge in the arse – I owe you for it. I hope you're doing well, and I can't wait to see you again. Amyra believes we'll be able to visit you in a month's time, once we scout ahead and secure our current position.
The war will be over within the year. We'll be a family again soon, Leland. Till then, keep being as honest and fair as I could never be – I admire you greatly for it.
I'm proud of you, and I love you.
Happily, Leland folded the paper, and tucked it into his cloak.
He had always dreamed of having a family again – perhaps not quite in this way, but this was still a pleasant and joyous thing.
With his mind set on the future, he returned to his patrol.
"Alright everyone – let's move out." With a cheery smile, Eliwood waved his troops forward. The whole company lurched ahead, and began the familiar march.
From his position behind Heath on Hyperion, Legault could pick out the various couples of the army. Matthew and Guy followed on the heels of Amyra and Eliwood, with Hector and Lyn close by. Heidyn and the reformed Karel chatted with Raven and Lucius while trying to avoid Evaio and Wil. Serra was pestering Rebecca and Lowen, who were all but pleading with Oswin to shut her up. Rath and Kaliska rode together on his mount near Kent and Sain. Louise and Pent strolled along, laughing as Nino and Nils skipped under Jaffar's ever-watchful gaze.
This was his family now. He lay his head on Heath's shoulder, breathing in the scent on his neck.
Life had been unfair for the Hurricane. But now he sat in the wake of his own storm, and was happy. It had taken a gift on leather wings, but Legault had been given a second chance.
"We're surrounded by good people. Let's make sure we stay in touch with them when we settle down after the war." He whispered into Heath's ear.
The wyvern rider glanced at his lover. "Good idea. So we'll settle in Pherae, then? I want to be near Amyra and the other Blades."
"As do I. Sounds wonderful." The thief replied. His arms wrapped around the younger man's waist.
"Oh, and one more thing – " Legault continued. When Heath turned to face him once more, he planted a long, smoldering kiss on his lips.
Mirthfully, Heath returned the kiss. Now that he was free of his inhibitions, he was a much changed man. He smiled more often than before, he was more social with others of the army, and the paranoia that used to dictate his every movement was slowly but surely starting to fade.
Love was certainly not an easy thing. Love in war was even harder. But together, Legault and Heath had no doubt they could pull through. They had already saved one another's lives. Now they were saving each other's hearts. Love was a strong magic.
Hyperion huffed impatiently at his masters, eager to press on and stop hovering in place.
"Sorry boy. Yip!" Heath leaned forward and snuggled into the wyvern's neck to soothe him and apologize.
"Lucky lizard…" Legault muttered.
With a grin reminiscent of Matthew, Heath winked at the thief. "You'll get yours in due time."
Legault found himself blushing slightly at the lusty gaze Heath fixed on him. Deciding they truly had begun to rub off on one another, the Hurricane lay his head on his love's shoulder, and settled in for the long ride.
A Legault/Heath mini-fic by Wolf.
Completed on 04/29/09
Set within the "Tales of the Blades" Universe, and later in the "Fuuin no Tsurugi" alternate universe. Primary story set in the "Rekka no Ken" semi-alternate universe.
Lord Eizen, Count of Daltia
Ties into the main story, but can also be a stand-alone fic.
Thanks for reading!
-Wolfie-Chan / Chase