Title: Cry of the Wind

Author: The Watcher

Rating: PG

Pairing: Dart/Lavitz

Summary: In the wake of Lavitz's death, Dart must deal with his grief. Can anyone help him deal with the pain?

Disclaimer: Legend of Dragoon is owned by Sony Computer Entertainment. I do not own these characters. No copyright infringement is intended. Please do not sue.

Lavitz was dead. Dart sat with his head in his hands, still unable to really come to terms with reality. Lavitz was gone. His friend, his lover, the one he was to spend a lifetime with...How could he have known a lifetime could be so brief?

The party had been traveling for about a day. Albert had been freed and was now one of the Dragoon. They had a purpose now, a mission. But in the process, Dart had lost all will to carry on. His mind kept replaying the final scene. Lloyd, standing behind King Albert. Drawing the Moon Gem from his body. Lavitz, transforming and rushing to his king's aid. Lloyd casually twiching aside his cloak, to reveal a wicked-looking sword. Stabbing Lavitz with it. Lavitz collapsing.

Dart's scream had echoed throughout the prison, so loud was it. Indeed, even now his throat ached, as though a thousand screams were being hurled at the heavens. Or was that because of the tears that were constantly trying to fall?

His companions sensed that there was something more to his reaction then they knew. So far none of them had dared to ask. In fact, they were all keeping their distance, even now. Dart glanced up, to see where everyone was.

Rose was sitting near the fire, warming something for a meal. Calm and collected, as she always was, she said little, yet managed to express sympathy for Lavitz's death. When she revealed that she knew the weapon used to kill Lavitz, Dart had wanted to lash out. But he restrained himself, recognizing that there was little she could have done.

Albert was practicing a kata with his lance. He now walked with them, the Keeper of the Jade Dragon. The sight of him still sent a spear of agony through Dart. He knew it was not Albert's fault, and he hoped to become friends one day. But the sight of him, wielding the familiar lance, was still a raw reminder of what he had lost. Just that day, he had started to address Albert as Lavitz. His subsequent reaction had only confirmed to his teammates that something more serious was playing out beneath the surface.

Shana was sitting by the fire, reading a small phamplet. In all the confusion, he had never had the talk with her that he had been planning. A small part of him wanted to forget the whole idea, but he knew it still needed to be done. Despite the fact that Lavitz was gone, Dart knew in his heart that he would love no other. He would have to be honest with Shana about the matter; she deserved that from him. Although she had seemed distant herself lately, he would still have to find a way to open that conversation soon.

Dart sighed. There were many things he would soon have to accomplish, but still his mind refused to focus on anything other than the loss of his love. Suddenly, the presence of the others became too much to bear. Knowing that they were now great enough in number to be relaxed in their guard, Dart slipped away to try and calm his mind and soul.

Albert wound his way through one of his most advanced katas. His friend was dead. And it was his fault. It was in his service that Lavitz had risked his life, and it was in his service that he had died. It was his fault. Now he had a new purpose, walking a new road with these people. His friends. Lavitz's friends.

Certainly they had not made any objection to his presence. But Albert knew that he must be a reminder of their fallen comrade. The two women were fairly quiet on the subject, and Dart... Dart. The young man who had befriended Lavitz. Possibly his first and only real friend. There was something deeper there, something that Albert knew had not been made general knowledge. You had only to look in his eyes. They held a screaming emptiness that spoke of deep, aching pain.

So far he had not made any attempt to take out his feelings on Albert, or acted harshly toward him in any way. But the one time he had slipped in addressing Albert had left a big impression. Dart had driven his sword into the ground with such force that it took several minutes to free it, while the sound that came from his throat reminded Albert of a wounded animal. Albert had never before witnessed such pain, and the part he had played in causing it shamed him. He resolved that he must guard these new friends...the friends that Lavitz's sacrifice had gifted him with. Matching thought with action, he began another kata. He would not let Lavitz's death be in vain.

Shana glanced around. Dart had slipped away from the firelight. Softly she put down the scroll she had been pretending to read. She had felt his eye on her before she left, and she had a good idea what he wanted to talk with her about. But she just wasn't ready to face him.

Her thoughts slipped back to several nights ago, when she had dreamed that her name was being called. Upon waking she had discovered that her name was being spoken, but it was not directed at her. Dart and Lavitz were discussing her. She remained quiet, hoping to gain some clue about Dart's current feelings for her. Perhaps he had realized that he wanted to be with her, and was asking advice on how to approach her!

Her anticipation had turned to shock as she listened to Dart reveal his inability to feel more than a brother towards her. That had been bad enough, but then to hear him confess his love for Lavitz was almost more than she could bear. 'It's not fair!' she wanted to shout. 'I've waited so patiently for him! Why did he have to choose you?!' Now she was forced to examine her own feelings toward Dart and Lavitz.

That she loved Dart was without question. But did she love him unselfishly enough to want him happy with another person? In truth, she wasn't sure. But she was working on it. As for Lavitz, she was honest enought to admit that none of this was his fault, and she genuinely mourned his death. She held no blame towards him for the events that had transpired. Just the opposite, he had tried to encourage Dart to see her as more, until Dart had revealed his heart.

With that thought she finally made peace with her future. She would never have Dart by her side, but she would always have his affection. And how must he feel now, with his future being snatched away before his eyes? Faced with a love stillborn. Everyone had gotten a glimpse of his pain, when he had accidentally called for Lavitz. The heartbreaking sound he had made still made Shana clench her fists in pain.

She couldn't continue to lat him suffer alone. No one could bring Lavitz back, but the knowledge that he was not alone might help him to deal with the loss. Quietly she slipped away from the fire to follow Dart. As she left, Rose and Albert took notice. Albert paused in his practice. "Perhaps she can help with Dart's pain." Rose nodded. "I hope so. If Dart cannot cope, this journey will only get harder for him."

Shana found Dart a short distance from the camp, sitting against a boulder. His head was buried in his hands, and his shoulders were shaking. Calmly Shana layed her hand on his head. When Dart looked up, she could see the tears trying to fall.

"I'm sorry, Dart. I know it's hard. For everyone, but especially for you."Dart gave her a quizzical look. "Knowing that you loved him. I'm sorry that this happened so soon."

Dart appeared shocked. He had not expected anyone to know the truth of his feelings for Lavitz, though he had intended to speak with Shana soon. "How do you...?" he stammered out. Shana smiled gently.

"I awoke that night in time to hear most of your confession. I spent most of the night thinking about what you had said."

Dart looked down at his feat. "Shana..."

"It's okay, Dart. I understand. And I'm grateful that you wanted to tell me honestly, rather than hide the truth from me."

Dart looked up again. "You know I never wanted you to be hurt."

Shana nodded. "I know. And its alright. You cannot help who you love. I just wish he hadn't been taken from you."

With those simple words, Dart finally broke down. He had been trying to keep everything in for so long. Now, knowing that someone else knew the truth, he couldn't keep it buried anymore.

Shana caught him by the shoulders as Dart seemed to collapse in with the force of his grief. Great, wraking sobs tore from his throat, and he shuddered with the force of them. Gently Shana held him as his grief was spent. And an errant thought passed through her mind.

'Rest well, Lavitz. When the time comes, wait for Dart. He will be looking for you.'