A/N: A belated Merry Christmas to everyone! This is my Christmas gift to all MatthewLeila supporters. For some strange reason it's slightly FLUFFY. Don't ask me why; even i find it strange that i actually wrote FLUFF. (Must be Christmas magic...) Anyway, enjoy!
I do not own Fire Emblem or any of the characters except for Aurelia the Tactician. (Does it really matter? Aurelia doesn't even appear in this fic.)
"Merry Christmas, everyone!" squealed Serra in delight. She was clad in a milk-white cleric's robes and a bright red cape trimmed with white fur.
This was a merry Christmas indeed, as everyone from Eliwood's Elite gathered in the castle of Ostia, celebrating not only the festive season, but also the fact that Nergal—the evil mastermind in Elibe—has finally fallen, and peace has been restored to the world. Every member of Eliwood's Elite had been witness to Nergal's downfall, defeated by his own lust for power. For now there was only happiness—other things can wait for later.
Or could they, for everyone?
"Matthew, stop skulking in the shadows. Come join us!" boomed Hector's voice. Being the Marquess of Ostia, it was thanks to him that the party was set up. "Today's a day for rejoicing!"
The person in question stood up and swept over to join Hector's clique. He was dressed in a faded red cloak, a green sleeveless top and long white trousers, but there was something about the clothing that did not seem festive despite the colours. He smiled politely at everyone before sitting down.
"Really, Matthew," Hector said in a low voice after he had sat down, "for heaven's sake can't you just…oh well, I know I am being insensitive but just…enjoy yourself for once okay?" After that he returned to chatting and laughing with the other guests.
Matthew watched them quietly. Was it really that simple for all of them to forget everything and be happy? He observed Hector, Eliwood and Ninian, all without a single trace of sadness in their voice and actions. Lord Uther had died; so had Lord Elbert. Nils was separated from them, sealing the Dragon's Gate. How could they hide their sorrow so well, while a spy like me is so hopeless? If Leila…
Even thinking of Leila hurt him. If only they had arrived at the Dread Isle earlier…no. it wasn't Aurelia's fault. She had been pressing on hard, it wasn't her to blame for Leila's death.
Jaffar? Matthew's eyes scanned the room, and found him standing about five metres away from him. Half of him wanted to cut Jaffar down right where he was standing, but the other half screamed at him no. the last time he had wanted revenge on Jaffar, Leila had…stopped him. It was just a vision of her, but that was more than enough to stop Matthew from plunging his dagger deep into Jaffar. No. His conscience told him it wasn't Jaffar's fault.
If anyone were to be blamed, it was Nergal. Nergal. Even the name had an essence of evil to it. It was he who had indirectly ordered Leila's death, he who had caused him so much pain…who had caused Lord Elbert to die, who had separated Nils and Ninian…
Nergal. He was the true source of evil, the one who lived on other's misery. Matthew had felt no regrets then, when he cleanly severed Nergal's windpipe in two, felt no pity as he watched the old man sink slowly to the ground in horror, in disbelief, drowning in his own pool of blood. But that had not brought him relief or joy. Vengeance did not bring satisfaction; it was only a duty he had to carry out. Vengeance never healed the wounds of the heart.
Pent had now appeared, dressed as Santa Claus (Louise had to use countless pillows), much to the delight of Nino and a few other kids in the Ostian Castle. Matthew looked on, amused. Athos would have done a much better job.
Another pang went through him. Athos…he had died just when the world had been restored to its peaceful state, after the final battle. Doesn't Pent miss his teacher? Or Hawkeye miss his master? If they did they were concealing their feelings well. Maybe he should too…
So, when Sain came over to ask him to join the mischief makers (which currently consisted of Sain, Erk, Wil, Guy and Legault), Matthew wreathed his signature smirk and followed him. It was more than easy for a spy like him to conceal his emotions when he needed to, but he had hidden then fro so long he wished he could just be left alone to expel them.
He leaned over and pretended to study the floor plan of where all the traps would be set, but his mind had wandered elsewhere. He gazed through the window at the indigo night sky speckled with dots of starlight, and for some reason he was reminded of Leila again: her name means "night"…
Matthew could stand it no longer. His desire to be alone was overwhelming. Silently he slipped out, unnoticed, into one of the many secret passages in the Ostian Castle. Few knew of their existence, so he was sure no one would find him.
The passageway he took led to a back door of the castle. Snow fell thickly like a warm flurry blanket, and the chilling north wind howled miserably around him. Shivering slightly, he drew his cloak tighter around him as he trudged his way through the knee-deep snow.
When the noises from the party finally became soft and distant, he stopped and flopped into the snow. He was atop a hill behind the Ostian Castle, where the beautiful night sky was unobstructed and the constellations spread before him like a huge map. A silver of the moon hung in the air. He was suddenly overcome by a wave of nostalgia as he remembered something…
"Isn't it beautiful?" breathed Leila.
The two of them were lying side by side on the hill, staring at the hundreds of stars spattered across the sky. A cooling spring breeze caressed their hair.
"Look, that's the Lupus, and beside it the Centaurus," Leila pointed at a group of stars, tracing imaginary lines between them. "And on the other side there's the Orion."
"There, to the right of the Gemini." Leila's fingers were flying in the air again, tracing the imaginary lines over and over again. "Try to picture a man holding a bow in one hand and raising his other arm up high."
"Yeah, I see it now. Is it why they call an Archer's promotional item an Orion's Bolt?"
"I guess so." Leila sighed. "Speaking of promotional items, I'm going to become a Black Fang assassin soon."
Matthew almost jumped up in surprise. "WHAT?! You can't—you're a spy for—"
"I know," said Leila exasperatedly. "It's not like I want to be one. Lord Uther wants me to try and mingle with them and get information on the Fang."
"That's so dangerous! What if you get caught? And all I'm doing is spy on Lady Madelyn's daughter? Seriously Lord Uther's—"
"Don't give me all your stuff about how you men should take on more dangerous tasks and how you're better than me. I'm going to prove to you I'm the best spy in Ostia!" Leila's eyes were burning now, glaring fiercely at Matthew.
"Fine. But be careful. Oh, and…" Matthew trailed off.
It had all happened right here. Matthew had liked Leila's stubbornness, but it was so ironic that her persistence had taken her life. If only he had gone instead of her…if only he had told her that night…
There were too many regrets now, too many "if only"'s, but the truth lay before him: it was too late for any regrets. How he would love to see her again, alive, even if it was temporal…
Bramimmond had resurrected Ninian, when all thought her dead; why couldn't he, she, it, resurrect Leila? Even for a short time?
A streak of light illuminated the sky: a shooting star. A childish thought occurred to him: was his wish then granted? Nah, that'd be too good to be true, he told himself firmly. Unexpectedly, a voice called out to him.
It was distant, yet distinct; soft, yet clear; the familiarity of the voice almost made Matthew jump for joy. Could it be?
"Leila?" his voice was tentative but trembling with excitement. He stood up and looked around.
And there she was, beautiful as night, exactly the way he remembered her, her stubborn fringe covering half her face, a slight smirk in her smile…
"Leila! By the name of Saint Elimine are you real or a— a—" the word "ghost" seemed too harsh, but no other words seemed to fit. Leila smiled and answered the unfinished question.
"I am real, Matthew. Saint Elimine did grant your wish, and Bramimmond brought me here." A slight sadness was in her voice. "But I can't stay for long, I have to go back to the Other World…"
At those words Matthew's heart sank, but he knew Leila couldn't just come alive again. Ninian was a half-dragon, and dragons need not go to the Other World…
But, as Hector had said, for now there was happiness and rejoicing, so use it. The two of them lay side by side in the snow, just like the day almost two years ago.
"Leila? Um…" Say it! Now you have a chance to do so, the chance you had wished for for so long, say it! "Leila, I love you. I know this sounds stupid, but I really just want to say it out loud. I love you."
Leila smiled her mysterious smile again, one that warmed his long-frozen heart. "I think we all know that," she stated simply, and both of them burst out laughing.
Oh, if only good times like this could last forever, Matthew thought. I'd give anything for her to stay…
The two of them stared at the sky again, mesmerised by the twinkle of stars. How comforting it was to know that they could see each other again, even just for one night…
Another shooting star glided across the sky. Reluctantly Leila stood up and brushed snow off her cloak. Matthew jumped up immediately, surprised.
"What? So fast? You can't stay anymore?"
"No, " said Leila sadly. "That shooting star is a sign for me to go…Goodbye." The two of them locked in a tight embrace, a final farewell.
"Till we meet again," Matthew whispered.
There was a flash of light, and Matthew was once again alone, with nothing but the howling blizzard's steady increase in volume. A voice shouted at him, barely audible above the blizzard, and he turned around.
"Matthew! Are you crazy? It's dead cold up there! We still need you to plan the escape route in case we are discovered!" The figure staggered up the hill, wrapped in a thick fur coat. Legault.
"Hey! Are you deaf or what? Hurry up and come down before you freeze to death!"
For the first time that night, a smile formed on Matthew's lips—a true smile that came from his heart.
How was it? Comments appreciated, but not a necessity. Matthew was a bit OOC, I know that.