Disclaimer: Legend of Dragoon is not mine. Thankfully so. I would never be able to live with the translation if it were mine.

Meru wouldn't let Miranda touch it.

A rogue bear in the evergreen woods had snapped the delicate bones in her arm with one slap of its giant paw. She'd screamed and fallen back, and just before it could finish its work, Albert had stepped in and rammed his javelin into the back of its neck. It died with a cough and a sputter, inches from Meru's frightened face.

Now they were grouped by the spring, sipping healing potions and grimacing at the taste, as Albert and Miranda stood by Meru. Miranda was getting angry.

"The potions won't fucking work if I can't set it." She snapped, standing up quickly and stalking away. "If I don't set it, you'll be more useless than you already are."

Albert's mouth tightened, but he said nothing. He merely took off his cloak and set it carefully down on the ground with his javelin, already carefully wiped clean of blood. He also began to roll up his sleeves.

Dart and the others watched quietly from underneath the trees. Haschel looked up from polishing his claws, and his mouth was tight.

Meru shook her head, her eyes slightly glassy. "No-no-no." she said quickly. "You already tried once, and you didn't do it right." She held her arm protectively close to her. It was swollen and bloody, where the jagged ends of the bones poked gruesomely out of the skin. Her breath was coming fast, her teeth were clenched. "I want Shana- can't we go back and get Shana?" Her voice was higher than normal.

"Shana's back in Deningrad, Meru." Said Albert quietly, crouched in front of her. "That's a whole two days away, and she's sick."

Meru hiccupped, and shook her head. "She's better at this. I want Shana, please can we go get Shana?" A horrible whining pitch made her seem more pathetic and small than she already was.

"Oh for Soa's sake!" snapped Miranda, and she made a rough grab for Meru's arm. The smaller girl shrieked, and pulled away. Haschel stood up suddenly with a dangerous look to his weathered face, and made a start for them. Dart snatched at his arm quickly, and pulled him back down.

Albert had Miranda by the shoulder, and was squeezing hard. She looked even angrier if possible, her nostrils flared and her cheeks red, and tried to jerk free. It didn't work "Miranda." Albert said calmly. "I don't think you're helping."

"N-no shit." Stammered Meru, grinning through tightly gritted teeth as she curled her arm more protectively against her chest.

Albert released Miranda, who stepped away, rubbing her shoulder with an unreadable expression. He crouched down before the small, platinum-haired girl, and spoke quietly with her for a minute or two. Her voice, high and birdlike and flavored with pain, squeaked slightly as she pleaded with him. Albert shook his head, and smiled.

He stood up.

"Rose, can you come over here?" he asked, facing the rest of the group. The dark eyed woman was offset from the rest, leaning against a tree and examining her rapier for nicks. She nodded, her face unreadable, and set her sword and belt down. She rose fluidly to her feet and walked over, removing her gauntlets.

"Now I want you to be very brave, Meru, and let us set your arm." Said Albert, and his voice was normal, businesslike almost. He too was removing his gloves, and dropped them onto the ground. A sudden breeze sent his bangs drifting across his face. "Miranda, you hold her other arm. Rose," and here he looked up at her, "You hold her shoulder. I'll do the hard part."

Rose shrugged, and shook her dark mane back over her shoulder. Miranda, upset that her help was either feared, or completely unlooked for, muttered darkly under her breath, and sat down by Meru, who eyed her nervously.

They all got into position. Meru was crying harder by this point, great fat tears rolling down from her reddened eyes. Rose and Miranda had her firmly by each shoulder, Rose looking rather bored, and Miranda with her jaw set. Albert rolled his sleeves up, and very, very delicately, took Meru's arm.

A jerk. A crunch.

To her credit, she didn't scream. Instead, she merely made a terrible animal noise at the back of her throat, and curled forward immediately. Miranda tipped the cool glass of a smoky blue potion against her mouth, and Meru sucked it down so fast she choked.

Haschel, Dart, and Kongol observed from beneath the trees. "Good thing for His Majesty." Said Haschel. "I don't think the Sacred Sister could have gotten near her without him."

"Yeah." Said Dart, watching with a frown.

His mind went back without his willing it.

There was another time when Lavitz had gotten injured... somehow. His face was white with pain, and his lips were tight. Not a sound escaped him, but he sagged with the effort of standing up.

Blood stained his side, and seeped down his leg to puddle on the ground at an alarming rate.

Rose realized the problem immediately, and called their attention to it. She gripped Lavitz by the arm despite his weak protestations and barked, "Dart. Shana. Stop."

Dart turned around and swore quickly. Lavitz muttered something along the lines for them not to bother, that if he could just get it wrapped up, he'd be fine.

That's when he'd fell so utterly slowly to the forest floor that it looked like he'd planned it from the start.

Shana didn't cry, or panic, or freeze up. She'd calmly swung her shoulder bag around and crouched near him, asking him gently to drink this potion, won't you Lavitz? She quite professionally laid him out on his back and unhooked his armor, asking Rose politely to make him keep drinking.Then Shanaripped his shirt open at the site of the wound, disregarding the ruin of one of his few sets of clothes, and carefully swabbed the large, ugly wound in his side with a damp cloth soaked in more potion.

Lavitz had blushed scarlet despite his pallor when his chest had been exposed, and she'd laughed at him. She was so quick and neat about the whole process that it was only later that they realized that he'd very nearly bled to death right in front of them.

Shana was very good at things like that.

Dart watched Miranda, standing tall and proud across the clearing. Meru was strapping her hammer onto her back, shaky, but recovered, and everyone else seemed ready to go.

He had a flash of empathy for Miranda then. They all missed Shana- she was the heart of their group. She healed their wounds and held their hands and laughed at their jokes. She smiled and ran ahead, and was so darling and dear and beautiful to all of them that having her gone was like a raw wound that they were always reminded of.

That they were reminded of whenever they saw Miranda.

Tough. Short-tempered. Mean, some would say. As grating and unpleasant as a punch to the face.

She was not Shana.

A glint of sunlight caught the pearly whiteness of the spirit stone aroundMiranda's neck as she scowled and turned away to strap her quiver to her back as ruthlessly as she could manage. He saw her pause and watch Meru pass, her hammer held cockily once more across her shoulders as she trotted up to Kongol to tease him.

Regret, thought Dart, as he looked at her face. Regret and pain.

She caught him looking at her. "What?" she snapped, and whatever had been her expression was replaced with annoyance and suspicion.

Dart shrugged. "Nothing." He said, and headed up the trail towards the Dragon Mountain.







Author's Notes:

Well. That was fun. I think I do truly enjoy writing about Miranda, even though I detested her throughout the game. And I like writing about Shana, even though she's well... Shana. I think Miranda's more entertaining to write about because she's genuinely an unpleasant person with actual problems, unlike the rest of the gang who are, for the most part, congenial ( except for Haschel. He has unresolved issues dealing with daughter dearest that are just begging to be explored). On that note, you'd think that I'd actually get to work on that Claire/Zieg centric fic that I'm currently enamored with instead of writing vague oneshots on how much everyone hates Miranda, but no. No you wouldn't.

Other than that, if you thought several things needed fixing, or there were (dun dun DUN!) problems with flow, please tell me. Concrit is like a four-month-old named Thaddeus to my baby-eating habit.