IN THE END

Fire Emblem belongs to Nintendo,

Intelligent Designs and a pack

of rabid lawyers like Dobermans

in Armani suits. This fic is MINE.

No archive without permission.

---

He remembers thinking she had the prettiest eyes he'd ever seen. They were strong and clear and gentle, but sharp, too, eyes that saw much and showed little.

She knew what she was getting into. So did he.

It doesn't hurt as much as he thought it might. It hurts like a fist in his gut, like a hit landing somewhere on his chest, when he isn't quite fast enough to dodge. It's probably shock, he thinks. Or will this horrible dullness last forever?

He doesn't know.

She looks almost peaceful now. Not like she's asleep, though. She always slept curled up, hand tucked under her head, with her other hand lying beside her sword. He slept curled around her, one arm around her, one arm above her head, with his sword within reach. She used to laugh at him for taking the outside. She was at least as dangerous as him, wasn't she? So why bother?

He could never explain why it was important that he sleep on the outside, so she could have the protected position. It just was.

The wound on her stomach is tidy, if bloody. Red flesh and blood shining against the paleness of her skin. He used to like to admire the difference between their skin; she never tanned at all, and he was always brown from the sun. It's silly to bind it up, of course, but still he rips off some fabric from her shirt to cover it. She always hated being a mess, anyway.

It doesn't take long to dig out a hole in the soft forest loam. It takes even less time to lower her into it, arranging her comfortably, one hand under her head, one hand wrapped loosely around her sword. He brushes her bright hair away from her face.

What do you say at a time like this?

He always thought they'd have more time. They'd get through this. She'd meet his parents, and they would like her. She'd like them. Neither of them would wake up with a sword in their hand, ever again. Her eyes would laugh all the time.

Lord Hector had been very kind, though. Not pitying, he couldn't stand pity, even at the best of times, and now even Lord Eliwood's grave sympathy was too much to bear. Lord Hector had looked at Leila and looked sad. Of course Lord Hector was sad. He'd offered, quietly, to help dig, and Matthew had said, no, he could do it, and Lord Hector had left him alone and shaken his head sharply at Lady Lyndis and Lord Eliwood.

He can't find anything to say. He can't ever find anything to say, when it really means something to him. She'd known that. She'd known him the best of anybody. He leans down and kisses her one last time, softly.

By the time the forest loam covers her, he hears the sounds of battle; the clash of metal, Lord Hector's bellows. He gets up and brushes the dirt off him.

"Well," he says, finally. "I better go make sure Lord Hector doesn't get himself killed. Goodbye, Leila."

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...right. ._.a