A Wild ARMs III Fanfiction By
Black Waltz 0
(A/N: Recently I've been pinching a lot of ideas off Skylark Starflower (With permission, of course!), but this idea similarly grew into a plot bunny in the night and mauled me when I got up to go to work. Then it kept bugging me until I conceded to write the darn thing. So here we are.)
Upon the grassy fields of Claiborne it was getting ready to storm.
The sky rumbled with the promise of distant thunder and lit up the bulging greyish clouds moving in from the horizon, blotting out the night sky. It had only just gotten dark, but it seemed like it was going to be a rough night ahead. Two figures, wearing cloaks that had been well oiled to repel the impending rain huddled under its protection to avoid the cold that the night brought, something that was so very different to the burning Filgaia sun. The air was humid and dewy, practically charged with currents of electricity. If they were lucky they might get there before the storm broke. At the very least they didn't want to get their cargo wet.
Castings of light and shadow by the spotty clouds overhead partially illuminated faint silver-white hair under the hood of the dark cloak, the figure trying to keep in step with the person in front of them, who was walking faster but erratically, as if they carried some kind of limp. A wind blew across the fields and caught against the limping stranger's clothing, whipping back to reveal a night-darkened pink dress. In the darkness it had become a deep purple, the colour of ugly bruises. The stranger in the dress gasped at the blade-like coldness of the rushing wind and stood still for a moment to allow it to pass, gritting her teeth from the frosty pain.
The other figure had also stopped. "You alright?" It said.
"Yes…" A feminine voice answered. "I wasn't expecting a storm." The winds died down and she pulled back her hood momentarily to address her companion, blue eyes staring from a face paled and chilled. They almost looked pleading. "Should we go back? Wait for another night to do this?"
He almost seemed to consider this, but shook his head only after a second of contemplation. He would have removed his hood as well, but his hands were busy securing their cargo against his chest. As another wind swamped them with the consistency of rhythmic waves he tightened his hold a little, but only gently. A slight whimper rose quietly but was ignored. "No." Said the silver-haired stranger. "If we don't do this tonight we'll never do this again, an' this is something that has to be done. It's fine, it's not that cold. Keep moving."
Begrudgingly the woman obeyed his order, not bothering to raise her hood again even though the cold storm winds buffeted her cheek and turned it to ice. She could hear her companion easily keeping pace behind her. It hurt a lot to walk, but she had come anyway. She had to come. It was her duty. But still, even the numbness of the night and the temperature had been unable to keep the pain away. "We're nearly there." She said encouragingly, and a little conversationally.
The man only a few feet away from her heels grunted noncommittally, not in the mood for conversation. There was a large estate on the boundary of the village of Claiborne, but they had walked all the way from Westwood station without a rest and a second thought. It would have made more sense for them to get to the town and visit the estate in the next morning, but time, as well as his own feelings in the matter were not on their side. He knew that he was right. If they didn't do this tonight they would never do it again. Light violet eyes were hard and set firmly on the invisible road ahead of them. They had no choice.
By tomorrow morning they would be dead meat anyway.
That was nearly a certainty.
Why hadn't they flown in Lombardia? There was only room for four dragoons on that flight, and Lombardia would take no other. The sandcraft? It was too much of a dangerous place. The horses? He needed at least one hand to guide the reins. He didn't trust that either. The train and then travelling on foot were the only options left, the ones that they had managed to get him to agree too. He knew that it was terribly cruel to ask her to walk after all she had been through, but she had wanted to come anyway, and so she had. She would have to deal with the pain she had decided to endure all by herself.
He admired her for it, but also felt it was a very stupid decision. The very first few raindrops fell from the sky and struck his shoulder, sliding down his coat. He felt the small impact, just barely. The storm was beginning.
Damn it, we're too far away from shelter… He thought wretchedly, looking around and seeing nothing of description they could use to hide from the rain. Not even a single tree graced the presence of Westwood fields. That was probably just as well, though. They could be struck by lightning.
Since when have I been so suspicious of everything? The man wondered of himself as he stopped walking and sunk to one knee, feeling more of the raindrops striking him with their cold moisture.
Since all of this started, I guess…
"Virginia, stop." He said urgently, causing the woman leading their small party to halt in her tracks. She looked down at him with a worried, expectant expression.
"What is it?" She asked as she doubled back a bit and knelt in front of him. The woman watched him set their very precious cargo down on the grassy ground and rip off his own cloak, revealing very worn drifting clothes underneath, along with an ammunition belt and a red and white scarf. He spread the cloak out on the ground and proceeded to wrap their cargo up nice and securely so it wouldn't get wet. "Jet, no." She protested softly, all too aware that the rumbles of the storm were growing closer. "Your bandages will get wet."
"That's fine. I'll change them once we get back." He replied smoothly, finishing up his task. "I'll be fine." Jet ran a hand through his hair absently, feeling as drops of water were beginning to land on his head. He stood up and pressed the bundle of oiled cloak into Virginia's arms, who had no choice but to accept it wordlessly. "You hold onto it. You'll be warmer with that cloak on." He smiled ironically. "That's what women are meant to do, right?"
Virginia looked at him sadly. Her loose brown hair was beginning to wave in the breeze. "You'll catch cold." She stated at last, numbly.
"Whatever." Jet answered airily, taking Virginia's elbow and beginning to tug her along to walk again. He was impatient to get out of this rainstorm. "C'mon, let's go!" He barked, becoming forceful.
"Ow, that hurts! Jet!" The woman cried suddenly, resisting Jet's eager attempts to drag her along. "Please…" She murmured weakly to him. "I can't run, not like this…"
He paused and remembered. Of course. "Sorry…" He said timorously. "I forgot about that." Stepping towards her with a bit of restraint in his step Jet held both his arms out and embraced Virginia, gently, so as not to hurt her or the bundle that she was holding. They both felt warm, too warm to be trapped in these cold winds and rain. When they got back, he'd be sure to make it up to her somehow. "…Where did this all go wrong?" He asked softly, saddened by the choice that he had made.
"In the beginning." Virginia replied, not mad at him for forgetting her pains. He had pains of his own to worry about.
"All of it, in the beginning…"