Author's Note: Hey everyone! You don't see much of the Nino and Jaffar pairing, so I figured this would be a welcome change from the pairings you normally see. As much as I love Seth and Eirika, you see it a lot. I wanted to do something with a different pairing this time. Actually you don't see much of Jaffar at all, which is a shame since he's such an interesting character. But anyway, ever since I first heard the song, Hand of Sorrow, by Within Temptation, I automatically thought of Jaffar. That is what the title was inspired by, because I believe it fits him pretty damn well. Search it on YouTube to listen, and then you'll see what I mean. Also, at this time, Jaffar is 17, and Nino is 14 so the age difference really isn't that much.

Title: I just want to be sure that all of you know exactly what is meant by the word "Hand" in the title. The word in this way refers to an assassin or right hand man of someone.

Setting: Please take note of the setting, it's pretty important. This takes place in that house that Nino met Jaffar in to give him his next mission. This is after Jaffar is hurt on his mission and Nino takes care of him, but it's before they join Eliwood and the gang. Anyway, on with the story!

Hand of Sorrow

By: Angel Wings-008

Jaffar drifted among a sea of endless pain, unaware and uncaring of where he was or with whom. It didn't matter. Nothing ever had, especially when he was rocked by these endless waves of agony…Someone called his name, he barely heard it, didn't want to, but it was too late. The deprived soul of the Angel of Death drifted towards the sound, as if unconsciously urged on by that magnificent ray of light. He was aware that he was cold, and somehow the feeling stirred unsettling memories deep inside his heart.

Though why it should slightly puzzled him…Indifference had been his best friend for all of his lonely days, and the sheer hopelessness of his life was never allowed to sink in. Until this moment…Until Nino, whispered the most secret part of his mind, almost of its own free will. Jaffar attempted to shake his head to rid himself of these foolish notions, but all that did was send another shock of pain coursing through his body.

What had he to offer a soul as blessedly pure as Nino's? Jaffar didn't have the slightest idea when he had suddenly wanted to offer the girl anything, but it made no difference. He was nothing. Nobody. A worthless sack of filth snatched up by Lord Nergal from a pile of bloodied corpses.

This was not just a miserable account of what he thought himself to be, it was merely a fact. One he had known all his life, he thought to himself with resigned indifference. At any rate, the girl will eventually die…At this, a shiver of dread trickled up his spine, though he attempted to dismiss it as merely his sad physical state. She will die…Whether it would result from an order from Lord Nergal, or merely by Sonia's negligence, it was inevitable. And he was the personal assassin of the Black Fang…The one who carried out these dark deeds…There was always the option of resistance, but how could he betray Lord Nergal? The man was responsible for his existence. A terrible agony seized him again, one not physical but of the state of his tormented heart. What was this he felt? A feeling of cold dread had twisted his heart in panic and fear, attempting to fracture his mind with the intensity of it all. Why? Of all times, why did he develop a heart and soul now? He had thought them both long lost to him…

Jaffar was confused in his delirium; enraged at the injustice of it all. He could never have what he desired. Why couldn't the bright young mage with the sunshine in her eyes be his and his alone? Why couldn't he, just once, be good enough for someone? It wasn't fair…

The sound of far off moaning shook Jaffar slightly out of his delirious stupor, and he was lucid enough to be shocked that it was his own. Just then, the voice came back into focus, and a blurred vision of Nino's face swam before his eyes. Her bright green hair was disheveled, and blue eyes swam with tears as she applied globs of vulnerary to his many wounds with shaking hands, next wrapping them up tightly.

Suddenly reminded fully of what he was suppose to be doing, Jaffar attempted to push himself up, but found that he could not even get his arms to move properly. How pathetic… Nino noticed the slight movement and looked up, shock registering on her face.

"Oh Jaffar, don't move yet! You can't, the wounds have only just stopped bleeding!" She bit her lip against the tears, but lost the battle quickly. "I-I thought you would never wake up again…"

Jaffar's eyes widened. No one had ever cared for him, or asked after his well-being …No one had bothered to cry for him as she now did, and he loved her all the more for it. Her mage robes were dirty and stained with blood, and her faced was smudged with it as well, but she was the most beautiful thing in the world to him.

"I've tried so hard to make you comfortable, but you're still in so much pain…I'm sorry…"she sobbed, at the same time struggling to stop. "Oh, I'm doing it again! This is about you not me, I'm so sorry, I should never have…"

"Nino…" murmured Jaffar in what was barely above a whisper. "Stop." She looked back at him, swiping at the tears that streamed down her cheeks. "Why have you saved me? You know the law of the Black Fang. You will be severely punished if word ever gets out." What was he saying? She was doomed to die anyhow, and chances were, the task would be his to carry out soon enough. He shivered at the thought. Nino saw him shivering, oblivious to the fact that it was not merely the cold that caused it.

"Are you cold? Of course, I should have thought of that! Here." She grabbed a blanket from a pile that lay heaped beside her and tenderly draped it over him, smoothing out the covers to make him more comfortable. Her innocent concern touched his heart in places he hadn't even known existed.

"Nino? You did not answer me," he uttered, reaching a heavy arm up to brush strands of red hair out of his eyes. Normally it was kept out of the way by the cape that he wore, but that had been stripped away when Nino had tended his wounds.

The young mage looked down, hands twisting nervously in her lap. "You're my friend Jaffar…I couldn't just let you die…I know I mess up a lot. Mother says so…But I can do better, I know I can! I want to be good enough…for you…" she finished in a quiet tone, still keeping her head down, as if slightly embarrassed.

Jaffar's heart did a funny little flip, one he didn't recognized and wasn't sure he wished to. All he knew was that he couldn't stop these words from tumbling out of his mouth, even had he wanted to. "You are plenty good enough for me. I am feeling better already." That last part was a lie of course. He felt as if he'd been put through a meat grinder…But the fact remained that she had saved his life. He would be dead right now if she hadn't pulled him back from death's black embrace.

Nino's head shot up and her eyes widened, as if she couldn't believe what she'd just heard. "D-Do you…you really mean that? Oh, Jaffar…" she choked, small shoulders shaking as she struggled not to start crying again.

He cocked his head, puzzled and slightly appalled that he could cause her such sorrow without even knowing what he'd done. What had he said to upset her so? Perhaps it was just that everyone's natural reaction to him was to fear him and cry. After all, he was a creature to cringe away from. Obviously she had realized how revolting it was to be anywhere near him, the famed Angel of Death.

"Perhaps I should go. I have no wish to disgust you further by my presence," said Jaffar, voice once again returning to the flat tone he had always used.

"What?" she questioned, looking confused for a moment, however that quickly changed to slight amusement. "Oh no, you don't understand! That isn't what I meant at all. Jaffar I…thank you!"

Before he knew it, she had launched herself into his arms, and he suppressed a groan as she flew heavily into him. However, any pain he might have felt was soon forgotten, replaced by a sort of awkward confusion, and…pleasure was it? He'd never been held by anyone before, and he wasn't sure how to react. But suddenly, as he reveled in the warmth of her embrace, and tentatively placed his arms around her, he found that he only wished for it to go on just like that, nestled in each other's arms for eternity and beyond.

"No one has ever said anything like that to me before…," murmured Nino in his ear, sounding as small and young as she was. "No one has ever bothered with me much. I've never been good enough…Thank you…Jaffar…"

"You are worthy Nino…you always were," said Jaffar, interjecting as much emotion into his voice as he was capable. It was still very foreign to him…he wasn't sure how to react, but for some inexplicable reason, it seemed right to him. Nino held him closer, as if cherishing the contact for as long as she could…Seeing who her mother was, she probably didn't get this type of comfort often, but was there something more beyond those ocean blue eyes as she gazed at him? As she held him so close to her heart, did she feel more then just mere gratitude? He wondered fleetingly what it would be like for someone to love him, to look at him with something other then disgust or fear, but Jaffar dropped the thought almost immediately. That was impossible, and it was best not to dwell on that which could never be.

Gently, he took her by the shoulders and placed her away from him, almost grimacing at the shooting pains it sent through his body. "We mustn't dwell here for long. I must get on with my next mission," said Jaffar, attempting to rise from where he lay, but he didn't make it very far. Despite his best efforts to ignore it, waves of nausea and terrible dizziness sent him plummeting back down to the ground, the young mage just barely catching him before he fell flat on his face. Well that was unusual…normally he could rise and continue no matter how painful the injury. He must have been in worse shape then he had originally thought.

Vaguely, he felt Nino put her arm around his waist, and he was slowly lowered back down to the covers he had lain upon. Something soft was tucked around him, a blanket, or what his muddled brain assumed was a blanket…whatever. Jaffar was just so tired; he didn't care about such trivial matters. In fact, it was hard to care about anything in his present state, until the glimmering light that was Nino took his hand, stroking his brow with tenderness.

"Please don't try to get up anymore…you'll kill yourself at this rate. Stay here with me just a little longer. I'll take care of you, I promise!"

"Don't….Nino…I am not worthy…of kindness," Jaffar mumbled weakly, at the same time hating how truly pitiful he sounded.

"Nonsense! You're plenty worthy enough to me," she replied, unknowingly mimicking his earlier words. "Just rest now, okay? Even you need to recover from such terrible wounds. I don't care what they do to me! I'll stay by you always…Just sleep Jaffar…please."

Her words were a soothing cadence, one he could not hope to deny, for he lacked the strength to do so. He knew not what the future held for her… It couldn't be anything good, especially now that she'd aligned herself with one such as he, but somehow, he would help her…Somehow he would shield her, whenever, however he could. His love for her could never be known….Love…Yes, that was a good word for it. Jaffar prayed he would understand it more in time, but for now, he would settle for what he did know.

The beautiful young mage with sunshine in her eyes and laughter in her heart had saved him from a cold, meaningless death. Somehow he got the feeling that it went far beyond even that, but he would dwell upon it later. All he knew, as he drifted into blissful sleep, was that he would find a way to keep her safe…On his honor, on his heart.

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So what did you think? I hope I got their characters right. I tried to really embody them as I wrote this. Reviews are always welcome, and thanks for reading!