AN: Just a drabble for now, but I may extend it with an actual story...

"I'm so sorry."

There is no response from the man before her; he stares unblinking at the glinting piece of metal she extends toward him. He accepts it in his large hands, so much larger by the standards of her species, without a word.

"She was very brave," she tries again; her eyes, too large for her tiny face, are wet with tears. He is not the only one with a reason to grieve on this day, but she will mourn her losses in her own time. "Those she saved wish to thank you."

He reacts to that. There is an almost violent jerk away from her, as if her very presence has burned him. "Where is she?" His voice is deceptively smooth, and she resists the desire to shy away. She believes that she owes him this, for what he has done for her people.

"Lost," she says sadly. "She was in the throne room."

She knows that she doesn't have to say any more. He has seen the wreckage that has become of the palace, places where now the once great walls have turned to nothing more than scorched ruins. He holds the chain in his hand and does not meet her stare. "I need to look."

"We searched," she says softly. "That is all that was left. There is no way to tell what was..." she doesn't say the words, doesn't think she needs to. They can't tell which remains were her, and which were the dozen or so others left trapped with her. His eyes meet hers and she nods, heavy hearted. "As you would," she murmurs.

He follows her through the lengthy passageways, past the guards and across the gardens. The scars begin at the edge of the courtyard, and the next archway is crumbling. Beyond it the walls are scarce; the blast had not been forgiving as it made its way through the palace. She stops just outside what had been the throne room, her small stature making the journey over fallen stones nearly impossible. "They found the chain here," she informs him quietly.

When he climbs over the debris she turns away, closing her ears to the crunch of his heavy boots and the sound of his pain. His grief thrums through the air when he returns, and she says nothing of the hours that have passed between. In his hand is something melted and misshapen, but she recognizes it. The girl had used it once; a communication device. She supposes he has his proof now.

"I have to tell her mother," he says, as they move again through the garden. He's stopped, staring up at the clear, violet sky. "I've never told a mother before...but I have to tell this one."

"I could," she hesitates. "I would be proud to send our thanks to her. The mother of our great warrior."

His eyes are thunderous as he turns to her. "Warrior? She was a child! Killed because your king played with technology he should never have seen in the first place!"

She bows her head, tears splashing across her pale blue cheeks. "She saved so many lives," she whispers. "I cannot think of a better title."

When she looks up he is gone, and she cannot help the wave of relief that washes over her. She squares her shoulders and moves into the crowd outside the walls; there are many to help, many who can still be helped...and she cannot waste time reflecting on the storm of pain in a pair of brilliant blue eyes.