Disclaimer: I don't own Fire Emblem.

Summary: FE6/7, four chapters. Kent and Lyn struggle to survive in the aftermath of the invasion of Sacae.
Rating: T for usual aspects of a war

Notes (or, things I am exploring in this fic): Plenty of people have commented on Lyn's absence from FE6 and her possible fate; if she married either Eliwood or Hector, for instance, she is necessarily dead by the events of that game. Which doesn't sit well with me, as I feel it an integral part of her character growth that she ultimately chooses to return to Sacae, as in her unpaired ending and her endings with Kent and Rath -- and I like to think of Lyn as a survivor. (And anyway Eliwood/Ninian, Hector/Florina makes most sense to me.)

Rath is also curiously absent in FE6. Presumably dead, since Sue seems to have been essentially raised by her grandfather, and according to the ending it's Shin who eventually takes over as leader of the clan. This second point is explainable, of course, since Rath spent the greater part of his youth away from the clan, and on his return probably wasn't all that interested in taking on the mantle of leadership anyway. (That said, we don't know that Rath didn't have any siblings, so it's possible, though I don't think likely, that Sue is actually his niece, and not his daughter.)

Finally, I have to admit to a fondness for the parallel between Kent/Lyn and Lyn's parents, and the role reversal involved. Kent adapting to life in Sacae would make for a fascinating story, I should think; I'm surprised that none of the Kent/Lyn stories I've seen have played around with it. (edited 10/7/07) (3/29/2008: FIXED FOR SCENE BREAKS, EFF YOU FANFIC NET)


1. Parsley

At dawn Lyn stood at the edge of the rocky outcrop outside the cave, and looked out upon the plains as the sun rose and washed the land in light. Far in the distance she thought she could see the vague black outlines of horses and men, a dark cloud of shadows blotting the horizon.

"We have little more than two weeks' worth of supplies left," said Kent, coming up behind her and placing a hand on her shoulder.

She brushed her stomach absently as she turned to look at him, at his face, weary and resigned. Her heart clenched for a moment, and when she looked back at the horizon, the shadows had disappeared. A trick of the light, she decided. They could not have come yet. Not yet.

But his eyes, ever discerning, had not missed the subtle movement of her hand.

"It's close. Too close," he said, and she knew he did not refer to the inevitable approach of the small army that weighed heavily on all their minds.

His words were a sharp reminder of things she would rather have left forgotten. The silence between them stretched painfully, until at last she said, "We will have to make it last," and headed back into the cave behind them.

If we kill the horses we can stretch it out another week, she thought, and felt the bile rising in her throat. She paused for a moment to gather herself, leaning against the cool rock wall.

Perhaps a month.

o-o-o

Milling about the dank space were mostly men -- some just barely out of boyhood -- and a few women. The straggling remnants of her people, her clan, the clan she had toiled and struggled to rebuild over the years. Those of them who could fight. The rest -- the elderly, the sickly, the mothers and their children -- had hidden away deeper within the mountains, heading slowly but steadily towards Lycia. But even those who remained here with her hardly seemed like the warriors they might have once been; their faces were too thin and gaunt, their clothes dirty and ragged, their eyes dull and lifeless.

Looking upon them, she could not tell whether what she felt was pride or regret. It had been her efforts alone that the Lorca had been restored to a fraction of their former glory; years of searching for scattered survivors, taking in strangers and wanderers, exiles from other clans, binding them all into a family of their own despite differences and distrust. And when Kent had joined her once more, at last, she had thought her happiness unbounded, indestructible. Even afterwards, through years of famine and hardship and loss...

It had not been easy, but she had been happy.

And then Bern had come, sowing discord among the clans, leaving trails of destruction in their wake. Lyn and her people had stood and fought at first, but to what avail? They were but a small clan among the many of Sacae. And there was no more honor among men. Only greed and ambition and hatred. It had hurt, to see her beloved plains soaked thus in blood and chaos, no longer the Sacae she had known. She did not know when everything had changed.

In the end they had fled, retreated at last to the mountains, holing up like rats in what nooks and crannies they could find, and Lyn had not known whether to laugh to weep at the sheer irony. Sometimes she wondered if it had truly all begun with the invasion, or if everything had begun to unravel even before that, but she did not like to think of such things. It had been months since the great massacre at Bulgar. The Lorca, fighting at the outskirts, had only barely managed to escape with minimal loss. It had been the larger clans, like the Kutolah, who had been hit the hardest, and Lyn knew she had much to be thankful for.

And yet every single death, every single injury, cut her deeply. She could not bear it, she knew, if she lost any more of her people. Her family.

They were her responsibility.

Later that night, as she sat in a corner, lost in thought, hands resting gently atop her belly, Kent walked over and sat down silently beside her.

"I wish Mark were here," she said, not looking at him.

"You are a fine leader," said Kent, softly. "You have done as well as anyone could have." He paused. "Don't blame yourself for things that are not your fault, that you cannot change... Lyndis. Lyn."

His voice was as gruff and awkward as it had always been when he spoke her name, and she whispered, "I know. I'm not," but for a while she did not move her hands away.

Then she shifted, tilted her body towards his, reaching out to touch his cheek.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm sorry. I..."

He reached up and clasped her hand in his own. "It's all right. I know. It's all right."

And it wasn't, and they both knew it, but with him at her side she felt, as she had always felt, that perhaps she could pretend, that she would make things all right even if they weren't, that perhaps all was not yet lost.

"Kent," she murmured. "Tell me a story. Please."

He seemed startled by her request, but not altogether surprised. And so he began to speak, hesitantly at first, of a young girl, alone in the world, the discovery of a stranger, the beginning of a quest for strength, a fateful meeting with two knights who carried the secret of her birth. And as he spoke, the others in the cave began to draw near, gathering around them one by one, listening intently to his story, eagerly soaking up his words. Their faces looked even more hollow and taut than ever in the light of the fire, but their eyes gleamed brightly with something she could not quite put a name to, something filled with life, and perhaps hope, perhaps determination.

Somehow, suddenly, she felt a bitterness in her heart she had not realized was there begin to ease. And sitting there in his arms, immersed in the flickering firelight and his low, warm voice, she drifted off to sleep, dreamless for the first time in months.