Note: I'm going to make this short, at the risk of getting out of the mood and not finishing it at all.
by ArchFaith (formerly known as the ArchPrincess of Saturn)
"You're coming down with something." His ungloved hand was pressed to her sweaty, pale forehead, just above the drained violet eyes that flashed in annoyance.
She brushed his hand away. "I'm fine," she answered tartly. She took one tiny step in the direction of their destination. Her feet dug into the soil of the plain, trying to find a footing for her swaying figure. "Ah," she sighed, nearly sinking to her feet.
"Let's rest. You're ill." The annoying voice continued to make all sorts of delaying suggestions as she trudged up the worn path of North Amur Plain, her hand pressed to her forehead.
"It's quite alright. I just have a headache." The normally cheerful Plain was decked out in shades of grey in preparation for the upcoming thunderstorm. Her hand reached out to grasp a gnarled tree that stood awaiting the downpour. Her knees were buckling. But she wouldn't stop, couldn't.
"So let's stop for a moment. I'm tired too," the voice lied. It just wanted to get her into some nice earthy cave somewhere, to seduce her softly with his good looks and lies while she lay half-conscious, wavering. Fool, to think that the Silver Maiden would allow that to occur.
"Be quiet," she murmured, leaning against the tree for support. "I'll be fine. We can make it to Duck Village."
The words barely escaped her mouth when she felt herself lose control. Her knees gave out, and she felt his arms grasp her tightly from behind, around her shoulders. Her head swam with half-remembered dreams, and she resigned herself to the half-consciousness, let herself faint.
Her companion sighed as he hoisted her legs over his arms, her limp head dangling onto his chest. "I told you," he said, as though speaking to a small child. With that, he hurried off to find shelter against the upcoming storm.
She felt like she had sunk into herself.
In this place, there were only three things; herself, wet clothes clinging to her sick body, shivering, coughing, wrapped in thin blankets; her companion, equally wet though nowhere near as sick, who sat next to her, his hand on her forehead once more; and a crackling, snapping fire, being fed dry branches that had come to rest inside the cave where they had apparently taken shelter.
She sleepily sat up, batting his hand away once more. What was his name again? This strange man, who knew so much and yet so little about her?
The man had turned to face her as soon as she had sat up. "Up, my dear Chris? You're a naughty girl."
She grimaced and shut her eyes. "I misjudged myself."
Nash flashed her a soft smile. His blonde locks were almost dry as he faced the fire, stretching his legs out like a child. His clothes were almost dry as well-the grey pants which stretched around hismuscular legs, the stylish green coat that protected him from the elements, even the ratty old striped scarf he loved to wear. He tucked the scarf tighter around his shoulders. "Don't we all?"
"Hmph." His attitude was horrible.
"Hey, take some of this." He reached into the small pack he wore on his back and produced what appeared to be thick piece of dried meat. He offered it to her, while she suspiciously looked back at him.
"What is it?"
"Rabbit's leg. It's known for being lucky.and it's also a surefire way to cure fevers, Harmonian style."
Chris took the meat and bit into it. The skin was tough; she found herself chewing for several minutes before she was able to find a juicy pocket of flesh. Nash had taken a small kettle from his pack and was filling it with rainwater that poured steadily off the mouth of the cave. He returned to the dry depths and delicately set the kettle near the fire. "I could sure use an oven mitt right about now. How's that leg coming along?"
"Well, I feel a little less hungry then before," Chris answered, although the light-headedness had not left her system. She was still sinking deeper.
"Well, we'll wait a bit. I'll have some hot water for us soon." She lay back down, unable to do anything else. The weakness overcame her, and she was about to pass out again when she felt a warm cloth cover her forehead.
"Thank you," she said gratefully as Nash's hand rested on her cheek for a while, warming her.
"No problem," Nash replied. "I would've liked to take you out of those wet clothes, but I know what'll happen if I did that."
Yes,she was rather wet. Everything, from the plain white shift, to the dark silk leggings, to the expensive green embroidered Gregminster jacket, was completely drenched. "Yes, you know what will happen," she said, reinforcing her superiority.
Nash chuckled as her mopped her face with the cloth. "You're just like my missus," he mused. "She doesn't go for my type of nonsense either."
"Well I should hope not, with a husband like you." Whatever woman would marry Nash was clearly not quite right in the head. He was a ladies' man; it was hard to believe he was settled down with a wife.
"You're hurting my feelings," he whispered in a mock hurt voice. "We complement each other pretty well. Man, do I miss her. Ya see, we met when-"
He stopped himself. "Heh, Chris, once you get me started I won't stop."
Chris faintly smiled. It would be interesting to hear about the woman who had captured this rogue's heart. So many tales of chivalrous romance, so many heroes and heroines.but how many of them actually ended in marriage?
"Aw shucks, if you really want me too." He lay aside the cold rag and gently grasped the tiny silver locket that dangled from his neck. It was miniscule; Chris had never noticed it before. It had blended in perfectly with the white lining of his coat. He clicked it open to look admiringly at the picture within. Then he undid the clasp of the chain and held it in his open palm, lowering it to Chris's gaze. "This is my Sierra."
The portrait was of a young girl with wispy silver hair that skated a little past her shoulders. Hauntingly red eyes peered out of a curious face that shown with a mischievous grin. She wore a thin light beige shift and a pleated white skirt, with a purple cloak and long blue sleeves. Her legs were dressed in white stockings, decorated with a blue and purple symbol at the knees, and her blue shoes contained exceptionally small feet. She was sitting against a dark window, her legs crossed, hands folded to the side.
"She's lovely," Chris commented as she handed the locket back to Nash.
Nash nodded. "Oh yes. We had that taken on the way from Harmonia to Muse. She insisted. Mind you, though, it's an old picture...that was taken probably fifteen years ago."
"Has she changed?"
Nash chuckled. "Not at all. She has a gift, you see. Still my same old Sierra." His eyes shone with a certain light as he talked of her; Chris noted this and pressed him on.
"Tell me more about her?"
"Well...she's analright cook, usually I do more cooking than she does. She loves little kids, she wants to have a ton of our own one day, much to my dread. And..I miss the way she combs her hair, you know."
Nash seemed to have drifted off into his own reverie, his hand clutching the locket, his knees drawn up to his chin. Several minutes elapsed in silence as Chris debated whether to drift off as well.
Then, "And what about you, Lady Knight?"
The question surprised her. "What about me?"
Nash shifted slightly. "You must have plenty of admirers, a pretty little knight like you."
"Goddess," Chris muttered. What a pig. "It may or may not be so, but I assure you I have never seriously considered becoming more than friends with any man."
"Women then?" The look that Chris returned wiped the smile off Nash's face. "Just kidding."
Chris turned so that her head faced his. Her head was still light, and she found herself saying more than she meant to. "No one I have ever met carries the possibility of love."
"But aren't you lonely? Don't you want to have someone to share that kind of feeling with?"
Chris tried to stop herself. Remain dignified, she told herself. You've only just met him. For all you know...
"As long as I am surrounded by my supporters and am dedicated to the cause of serving my people, I am not lonely."
She found herself regretting these words. How often had she awoke to consider her situation, living for the good of others and not for the good of herself? And where was the comforter when hewas so direly needed?
"Oh...really." Nash whispered softly. "I see."
Chris shut her eyes. Perhaps if she pretended to be tired she wouldn't have to elaborate. She heard Nash dip the wet rag into the steaming kettle once again. And then a soft brushing at her cheek. "What are you doing?"
"Wiping away your tears."
Chris's eyes flew open. She had allowed herself to cry! What an undignified thing to do!
"Don't move, hey. I'll be done shortly."
"I hate you," she whispered, miserable, feverish.
"Why is that?"
"You cause me to question myself. To contradict myself."
Nash shrugged. "What can I say, my ladyship? It's my job."
Chris allowed him to wipe the tears off her cheeks. It was very comfortable in the cave now; the fire blazed brightly, and her clothes were nearly dry. "We should be able to continue tomorrow."
"Uh huh," Nash answered, smoothing his dry hair. "So, early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and...damn."
Chris closed her eyes once more, expecting to slip into her dreamland once again. However, she felt Nash's hands slowly lifting her head. "What are you doing now?"
"You don't have a pillow. I'm sure my lap will do, though."
Chris scowled. "Honestly! A married man acting like this!"
"What am I doing wrong? I'm not cheating on Sierra."
"But such immoral behavior."
"Where? Where? I don't see any immoral behavior."
However, she did not lift her head from its spot on Nash's right thigh. "Hah, I knew you'd agree. Well, good night Lady Chris," Nash whispered, leaning down, planting a seconds-long kiss on her warm forehead. "Sleep tight."
He lay down as well, so that their bodies formed a human T-shape on the cave floor. He was out cold in a few seconds.
Chris strained to think. The knights loved her, of course. Borus, Percival, Salome, Leo, Roland.even Louis. She had many admirers near and far. Love letters were received by the sackful each week at her residence, and the day was not complete without some present of flowers or candy.
But none of those people or things...had ever offered any insight into anything for her.
But yet, in the simple act of tending to her illness, Nash had made her lonelier than ever before. She mentally cursed him, he who was happy, he who could return to his Sierra any time he wished.
Of course, she could return to anybody she wished if she wanted; but no, for her it wouldn't be that simple.
Nash's hand suddenly reached out to caress her long, silvery hair. "Go to bed, Chris. It'll be morning soon." His hand touched her cheek and felt the wetness there. "For heavens' sake! You'll get my pants wet!" he exclaimed playfully.
"Ah," Chris dabbed at her eyes. "My apologies. Good night Nash."
Stop it! she told herself. Keep under control. You're a knight. A strong woman who will find the Flame Champion and your father. What difference does it make? You live for the sake of others.
Repeating the mantra to herself several times, she willed herself into a long, restful slumber, the rain pounding the plains outside, the fire crackling and keeping in the heat, Nash's hand unconsciously comforting her as he smoothed back her hair.
The downpour ends.
Note: Well, what did you think? It's fluff, but I'm fascinated by Chris and Nash's relationship throughout the game. Of course they couldn't get together because he was married, but I felt that he if he didn't love her romantically, he did love her platonically. My two cents! Review please! Even if you're not a "Chris and Nash platonic pairing" supporter!