Inspiration hit, so I wrote. The result: I managed to write the full four chapters of this story while, y'know, not updating anything else. Heh, heh... It's yet another Walter x Fenimore story (because it inspires me, and because no one else here has written stories containing this pairing), but much more intense than my last little one-shot. As I've mentioned, this fic will contain four chapters; I will probably be updating once a week since everything is already written. So... enjoy the first chapter!
Disclaimer: Tales of Legendia has never been, and never shall be, owned by me.
When I saw him fly into the Waterways, I was so excited. I knew that it was him despite the ways that he had changed and the Orerines garb that he wore. I was more thrilled to see him than I was to have my life saved. I hadn't seen him in years... not since the day that our village was attacked and I was taken prisoner. My heart fluttered as lightly as my teriques when our eyes met on that day. I could see his left eye—which wasn't covered by his hair—widen at the sight of me. Surely, I thought, he recognizes me.
But despite my certainty, he ignored me. He soared past me and approached Shirley. "Merines, are you all right?" he asked her frantically, not even bothering to ask about my well-being. My fluttering heart collapsed... it crashed and burned. Orerines didn't seem so bad right then, even though they were the ones pursuing us. At least they acknowledged my existence.
Walter helped Shirley and I get away. He led us into a concealed room and after fussing over Shirley for a bit, he insisted on going out and fighting off the Orerines some more. We couldn't do a thing to hold him back, so we were forced to sit in that lonely room and listen to the ensuing battles outside. Eventually the noises died down and Walter returned injured, practically unconscious. We knew right then to expect some unwanted visitors very soon. Walter collapsed by our feet, so Shirley and I were left to develop a plan of action. I didn't end up having much input into the plan, however, because Shirley was so ridiculously stubborn. She shoved a seashell into my hand, ordered me to think of Senel, and then ran off to be a decoy. I would have chased after her if not for Walter.
I looked down at the boy and sighed despondently. "Oh, Walter," I murmured, carefully lifting him to a sitting position and allowing his limp body to lean against me, my arm around him securely.
"Wh... where is the Merines?" he asked me, only half consciously.
"She's gone to distract Vaclav's forces," I replied truthfully, feeling no need to lie to him.
Apparently, though, I probably should have softened the truth. Walter jolted into a more conscious state and stared at me in disbelief. "What!" he exclaimed. I held onto him tighter; he was in no shape to stand. "How could you have let her go! Why didn't you follow her!"
My eyes narrowed into a glare and I hastily blurted out a response, "Senel will save her!" I closed my fingers tightly around the shell that Shirley had handed me as she left. Senel, save us... Please, Senel...
"Senel!" Walter spat, utterly irate. I wasn't fazed by him, though. "How can you, a Ferines, possibly place all of your faith in a filthy Orerines boy!"
"He saved me, Walter! And he saved Shirley, too! And at this point..." I tightened my grip on the shell even more, "I can trust him more than I can trust you." I had to squeeze my eyes closed to try and refrain from crying.
Thankfully, before Walter had the chance to give me a painful lecture, Senel erupted into the room with his companions following him. I explained to them why I had Shirley's shell, and I returned it to Senel. The group of friends decided on retreating for the time being to help Walter, just as Shirley would have wanted them to do. With that choice made Walter was thrown atop an apparently tame galf, and we all found our way out of the Waterways. Once we had safely escaped, Walter forced himself to stand firmly on his own feet. "Why did you help me?" he hissed at the Orerines. I tried to calm him down, but he brushed me aside. One would have thought that he was seriously demanding an answer out of Senel, but he didn't even give him a chance to talk. "Let's take our leave, Fenimore."
"Wha...?" was all that I managed to utter before Water brought out his dark purple teriques, whose light enveloped me as well. Walter lifted himself into the air and took off, leaving me no option but to follow encased in his teriques.
So he did know that it was me... But why...? Why did you choose Shirley's well-being over mine, Walter? Don't I mean more to you than that?
We landed on the ground by Maurits' Hermitage some time later. I was very anxious to finally be able to confront Walter and talk to him for a moment; however, in typical new-Walter style, he had no intentions of sitting still and conversing. Even to an old friend like me...
"I'm going to report to Maurits," he announced to me before marching into the area's sole building.
As I watched him disappear into the structure, I heaved a hopeless sigh. "I can't believe how dense that boy is!" I snapped to myself, keeping my voice hushed so that the people nearby wouldn't hear me. They almost certainly noticed my frustration, though, because I was agitatedly kicking any rocks that I spotted on the ground. After about a half hour of waiting, Walter stepped out of the building looking rather resolved for some reason. I knew that if I myself had any resolve to talk to him, I would have to cut him off right then and there. "Walter!" I ran up to him and stepped directly in his pathway.
"I have to go and find the Merines," he stated, almost robotically.
I subconsciously balled up my fists as I blatantly glared at him. "Merines, Merines, Merines!" I shouted without any restraint. The few other Ferines around brought their attention towards us immediately, and Walter looked absolutely stunned by my outburst. I carried on despite the extra gazes that lay upon me. "We grew up together, Walter! You and I—not Shirley! How is it that when we see each other for the first time in years, you just decide only to concern yourself with Shirley? You didn't even know that I was alive, for God's sake! You never even gave me a casual 'hello Fenimore'! Is that acceptable to you!"
Walter continued to stare at me, only at that point his gaze was completely void. "Hello, Fenimore," he spoke casually, mocking me, "Now goodbye. I have other things to attend to."
He sidestepped to get around me, and then walked forward and out of the region. I was left standing absolutely vacant of words, or even emotions for that matter. It was probably an appropriate instant to cry, but I just couldn't do it. I was upset beyond tears.
"Why would you upset Walter like that?"
I turned myself around to face the Ferines who had addressed me. My face must have radiated disbelief. "Me upset him?" I had to clench my teeth together to keep from having an outburst on this anonymous woman, too.
The woman looked, undaunted, at me. "Yes," she spoke evenly, "Walter has the immense burden of being the Merines' personal guard. Why would you stray his thoughts from his duty like that?"
She was scolding me, and when I realized that fact there was no way that I was simply going to stand there and receive a ridiculous lecture. Without wasting any words, I rushed off in the direction opposite her, into the building where Maurits was. I didn't talk to him either, though; I simply hurried to the lower storey and remained there alone with my thoughts.
I didn't for a second feel pity for Walter as a result of my emotionally impulsive words. In my mind, I would continue to be the victim, and Walter was nothing more than an absurd, irrational jerk. I stayed locked up in the room downstairs with my constant and repetitive thoughts until a commotion came from above. I couldn't make any words out through the closed door; everything was muffled. I could only decipher that whatever was going on was a frenzied situation. As much as I wanted to only pity myself at that time, I had to be concerned for my people if they were suffering. With that on my mind, I opened the door and went up the stairs to find a small group of Ferines men having their rather severe wounds tended to. "What happened here!" I asked in fright without thinking.
"Oh, Fenimore," Maurits addressed me, "The quest for the Whisper Crystal failed horribly. Please, help us. There aren't enough people stationed at this base to take care of all of these injuries both swiftly and efficiently. We'll need your assistance."
I lowered my head doubtfully for a moment, but soon looked up with determination returning to me. "Of course!" I accepted his request without any more hesitation. I didn't need to know what exactly this 'Whisper Crystal' was or why they sought it; all I needed to know was that people were hurt and needed curing. That was something that I could help them in doing. Maurits gave me an appreciative nod and then carried on with taking care of the wounded person sitting by him.
I stepped up the final stair and glanced about the room. Most people seemed to have already had someone helping them... "Fenimore," a voice disrupted that thought and brought about another one: jerk, jerk, jerk! "Please pass me that roll of bandages."
I stared at Walter for a minute, with his arm outstretched and hand open, waiting for me to hand him the bandages that were easily within my reach. Once that minute passed, I simply rolled my eyes and sighed. "You think you're so strong, don't you?" I accused, gathering up not only the bandages, but also a few gels and herbs. Walter stared at me, perplexed, as I ranted on. "Sometimes you have to accept that you need someone else to help you when you can't help yourself," I forcefully gripped onto Walter's right arm, which had a rather deep gash running from his shoulder to just below his elbow; he flinched and groaned as I grasped him, "Such as when you need someone to take care of the wounds on your strong arm, instead of trying to do it yourself using your weak arm. I know that you're right-handed, Walter!" I carefully parted the torn fabric on his robe's sleeve and got a glimpse of just how critical his injury was. "May I tear the robe more?" I asked him for permission, which he granted by nodding. With his consent, I ripped the sleeve so that the cut was exposed and easy for me to access. I noticed that Walter was actually remaining silent and allowing me to do as I pleased for once. I think that my attitude may have become even rougher than he had been accustomed to. Good, I thought, Now I can talk. I pulled a chair from the room's main table over to where Walter was sitting, and I placed all of the medical equipment that I would need on the floor between us. "I want to know..." my voice suddenly grew tentative. Maybe it wasn't right to question Walter's involvement in his duties; but I had already done that, hadn't I? "I want to know why you ignored me, Walter."
Walter chose to stare at the floor during our conversation. Part of me was extremely annoyed by that attitude, but another part of me was rather relieved that I wouldn't have to look him in the eye. "What could I have possibly said at that point?" he answered my inquiry with one of his own. How typical.
"Oh, jee, I dunno," I remarked sarcastically, "Maybe, 'Fenimore! I... I'm so happy to see you alive!' or something. Something other than..." my voice trailed off. My heart was feeling that dreadful sinking feeling again. "... 'Merines, are you all right?' Maybe something addressing me, for just a second. I couldn't even be sure that you knew that it was me until you spoke my name later on." I picked up a lemon gel and began to spread the ooze over Walter's deep gash.
He still didn't look up, but when he spoke I could visualize his face as holding a desperate expression. "...Of course I knew that it was you, Fenimore."
I stopped what I was doing for a moment. "Wh—what?"
"It's impossible to forget the face of your oldest friend, no matter how much they change... no matter how much you yourself change."
His attitude absolutely shocked me. I had been accusing him of so many things in my mind, and here he was telling me that he could never forget me. I felt so guilty. "Wh..." I stammered out, "What am I supposed to say to that?" Walter simply continued to look downward. I was sincerely speechless. Although it was far too late to recover from the awkward silence, I tried to keep the situation remotely lively by slipping a healing herb into Walter's cut as it gradually mended thanks to the gel. I could feel him tense up, but not a sound came out of him. I hadn't realized how emotional I must have been right then. I couldn't even think of a valid reason for crying at that moment, but nonetheless that was what I did. I allowed sobs to escape my throat, but still tried to keep them hushed. Walter was not looking at me; perhaps he would not notice if he couldn't hear me. Perhaps no one would notice. Maybe even I could ignore the tears rolling down from my eyes.
Walter lifted his head to look at me. For a fleeting instant his eyes, full of concern and worry, caught mine, red and tearful. "D—don't move like that!" I scrambled for an excuse and reached down for the bandages on the floor, "I'm not done fixing up your wound yet." Walter turned his head away with an exasperated sigh. I did my best to disregard his frustration with me and to focus on my main task. I unraveled a good length of bandage and proceeded to wind them around Walter's arm. I stared intently at the gash that I was nursing. I focused on the bandages as they covered it up; I focused on the blood that seeped through the first layer or two, but then vanished as more layers stacked on. I focused on my fingers as they delicately secured the bandage into place as the roll reached its end. I let my hand linger there for a moment, to feel the fabric that now covered Walter's skin. I wondered if he could feel my touch through the thick layer of bandage. More so than that, I wondered what his skin actually felt like... I've been confined to a cell for far too long, I concluded as an explanation for my strange urges. "There," I spoke aloud to let Walter know that he was free to leave if he desired to. Apparently my crying had ceased, because my voice did not crack at all.
"Thank you." He didn't budge from his seat, nor did he say anything more. I continued to sit there feeling rather uncomfortable in that silence, however I couldn't bring myself to leave just then. "Is there anything that you want to talk about?" Walter asked me spontaneously, "It's not as though I can go anywhere for a while..."
There it was again; that tightening in my throat that told me that wails wanted to pour out through my lips, that tears wanted to fall. I couldn't understand what on earth possessed me to cry at these irrelevant times. "N...No," I answered regrettably. As soon as I spoke, my voice wavered. "I need to leave," I stated hastily, practically jumping to my feet and sprinting out of the room.
I knew that he wouldn't follow me, and I was thankful for that. He hadn't seen me cry since we were children and a turtle bit my finger, and I did not want him to see me then. At least as a child I had a valid reason for crying, but I could not even explain my sadness as I ran away from him. I knew that I wanted to confront Walter again, and I knew that I had probably just had the perfect opportunity to do so, but I couldn't to it. The entire situation was so frustrating to me. I knew that I wanted to say something, but I wasn't sure what. I felt as though I needed to cry, but I couldn't pinpoint why. I was sure that I wanted to speak right then, but it wasn't the right time. I was forced to wait, and to watch for the ideal time to come up again.
And there is chapter one. I hope that you enjoyed it and will continue to read the upcoming chapters as well! And maybe even review.
As an aside, I will most likely be changing my penname before the next update of this story. So... be ready for that!