Title: The Language of Cities.
Fandom: Seiken Densetsu 3
Day/Theme: January fourth / the language of cities
Summary: Hawk ambles through life and in and out of hers. Post game, Hawk/Lise.
A/N: inspired by some lovely fanart which sadly lies entombed within my other needs-to-be-fixed computer. Anyways this is a late Birthmas present for Meerf, likely the first of many because it's on the short side and hey – it's not like I need an excuse to write my favorite pairing!
I should also mention that this is the start of a loosely connected post-game oneshots. It hints at the others which I should get to writing...sometime.
And finally, for any of those who strictly adhere to canon, apparently the team was Hawk, Angela and Duran.
With Navarre long behind him the mountains burst up from the skyline and blotted out the bright light. It was cooler here closer to the sky and the air was thinner than he was used to. If plans had gone as they had been metered out then he would have reached Rolante before the brightness of morning came over the craggy, purpled peaks. But plans often were prone to going awry and a few mishaps along the way kept things interesting. Still, he had lost more time than he would have liked, considering the boat would set out again before nightfall. The ship wouldn't be back in port for weeks and there was no hiking back in this craggy terrain.
Hawk took a moment to catch his breath as the walls of Rolante came into sight. At the view of those high swept walls, everything came rushing back. Hawk didn't linger on problems, but then he didn't linger on anything these days. If he ever stopped running the shadows might come and grab hold of him. Of course the world had been saved and all was fine in the world but Eagle was still cold in the grave. Saving the world hadn't brought him back Nothing would. He'd accepted that from the moment Eagle had fallen, fallen with a wound from his own knives.
He'd stayed in Navarre for a while but with the possibility of marriage to Jessica came the responsibility of staying to rule over the thief guild. Jessica had chatted and tried to fill in the spaces but Hawk just looked out the window. He stayed out late alone and ran through cities when the night was starry and sheer and cool on his skin. The wind through Navarre had sounded like Rolante, like a the same words spoken in different dialects, different languages.
He had puled at the tethers of his bonds. Returning hadn't changed anything. Navarre wasn't the same place he'd known. The precise nature, the perfection had been shattered the day Isabella had walked through that door.
And he wasn't the same person either.
Eventually she'd cast her attentions to another man. She was beautiful and deserved a man who thought as such. The men were already lined up to bend before her and kiss her hand. With a new leader to ascend and marriage rites not far off Hawk slipped out in the night with nothing but his knives and the clothes on his back. He'd done this once before, he knew the paths to take to go undetected.
He'd seen every corner of the world while saving it but there were things he'd surely missed. There were beautiful sights, beautiful women. He'd see it all and then see it again.
That had been two years ago and he hadn't stopped since. Hawk had worn the leather from five pairs of boots, made friends with vagabonds and pariahs on ship decks and deep in poorly lit places of ill repute. He'd slept in humid jungles and near the uppermost snowy regions. There was no rhyme or reason to his traveling, he was like a seed in the wind to be thrown about wherever chance would lead him.
Returning to Rolante was a whim, a fancy and an itch he intended to scratch. He remembered a kiss, that sun-gold hair and those eyes which were the saddest and most determined he'd ever come upon. He'd kissed her once, another whim. She hadn't impaled him with her spear for that,
which had been her own variety of mercy. They'd fought side by side and there was a kind of blood bond in being war partners. A man could easily forget the pretty bar maid he spent the night with but a fellow warrior he never forgot.
The winds had returned to Rolante. Peace had settled over like flower pollen, it had made them drowsy. Hawk scaled the last of the dusty paths up. He knew these ways, remembered the dank, moist caverns Lise had lead him through. He remembered it like it had happened minutes ago.
But there were intervals, there were ways that only the Amazons themselves had known, ways to infiltrate and rise among them. It wouldn't be easy, and there was a risk he might end up at the end of a spear, but that was half the charm.
With that, Hawk began to scale the rocks. His fingers found crevices and he felt the wind beat against him in drumbeats. It was the pulse-pounding edge of life and death that affirmed every second of his living still-breathing life.
On more than one occasion, the wind had almost knocked him free to a fall that would surely leave his tattered body for the carrion pickers. He'd felt fragments of the rocks he'd been holding scatter away below him. This was living.
Up this side, through that cavern and there would be close enough distance to jump. A second tarried too long and he'd be blown clear and skittering across jagged rocks along the way.
He took a breath and jumped. Everything seemed slower during that mid-air moment. He felt the wind at his back, guiding him over to the castle instead of pushing him to his death.
Lady luck was on his side today.
He rolled in a graceful landing that had all the feline agility he was known for. Hawk glanced both ways and found it clear, only then did he stop to take a few deep breaths.
He heard a sound and saw no shade or stone to slip behind. He took a breath, there was only one solution to this problem. Hawk lowered himself down the side of the wall until he hung on by only one very desperate grip.
When the footsteps had receded long enough, Hawk pulled himself up again. It crossed his mind that there were easier ways of going through this. He could have for one, simply knocked. Considering that he had no idea of Lise's schedule or what part of the castle she would be in. He was an intruder now, one who could just as easily be thrown over those cliffs at spearpoint if the wrong guard caught him milling about.
Hawk stared at the progress of the sun in the sky and squinted. He hadn't quite foreseen what to do with himself iafter/I he jumped, and he was beginning to realize it was a thing that was rather necessary in the end.
But luck was with him that day. He realized it when he heard a voice, her voice down the stony steps not far.
"Eliza, is that you? Eliza!" she called.
Having no choice, Hawk stepped forward into her vision.
"Surprise," he said.
She shrieked at first, a thin war cry as he saw the point of her three-pronged spear at his throat– the then recognition came over her and she cried his name. He was surprised when she embraced him, for he would expect such a thing from Angela or Carlie or even Kevin but Lise had always been reticent, even standoffish.
She stepped back, almost abashed by her behavior and looked over him. Lise looked deeper than most women. She saw past the fake smiles to the lines that time and grief had worn upon him. She touched a faint scar across his neck unflinching, but did not question its origin.
He knew, he'd always known. She was one of a kind.
"This is quite a surprise," she said drily. "Did anyone else come?" did they actually use the door?.
Hawk chuckled. "No, it was a single-man mission. I just wanted to see how you were faring."
"We would have welcomed you as a friend at the gates," Lise said. "You didn't have to go to such troubles."
"I could have," Hawk admitted. "But what fun would that be?"
Even at that she cracked a slight smile at his antics.
"I should go tell the others so we can prepare a room for you," she said. "You must be fatigued with such a journey."
"I can't, I'm only here for a little bit, I'll probably be leaving before the dusk comes," Hawk said. "I'll miss the ship if I don't."
"Oh," she said. Her disappointment was visible, almost tactile but she quickly composed herself again.
"But I'm here for the moment!" Hawk said, and she nodded. The smile still hadn't returned to her face.
"So, any secret places to show me up here? Hideaways? Secret blanket forts?"
"You've seen all the secret places of Rolante already," she said.
"Oh...you're probably right."
They lapsed into silence. She leaned upon the balustrade and the wind caught her hair. There was something wild about her, a contained sort of wildness like capturing a firefly in a bottle or caging the wind to a castle's command. Her smile was brief, strained even. A thought crossed his mind of what it would be like to tease her into dropping all that armor and smiling – really smiling. He drank in the sight of her, the litheness of her body. He thought about pressing that body against him and licked his lips at the thought.
Everything between them had been the heat of the moment, the rush of retaking their lives. Still, a current of electricity ran between them. They were an unspoken promise, one he intended to keep – but not just yet.
"Have you seen them?" She said. Her voice was soft, even a bit sad.
"The others? No, I've heard of them, though. Forcena has a new queen from Altena," Hawk raised an eyebrow suggestively.
"It's not surprising, I suppose," Lise replied. "They did seem close. At least, they did when I encountered them."
"Oh they were close alright. You didn't have to share inns with them. But it's not like that– apparently she had a little more connection to Forcena's royalty than was thought. I heard about it from a drifter so I don't have many details, but it makes one think," Hawk said.
"I heard a whisper that there's a new Beast King, a far gentler one than his predecessors. There's little chance he'll ever start wars upon his neighbors. Oh, and there's rumors that a priest named Heath will eventually gain the title of Priest of Light at Wendel. It's only a matter of time, really."
"They all sound like they've found happiness," Lise said.
"And what about you? Are you happy?" Hawk said
She opened her mouth as if to speak then closed it. It took a moment before she replied.
"Strange," she said. "I was going to ask the same of you."
Hawk smiled, but it came out strained. He closed his eyes to hide the fakeness of it all.
"Me? Haha, you've got to be kidding, I'm always happy. They don't call me 'The Laughing Thief' for nothing."
"'The Laughing Thief'?" she said in amusement.
"One of the names, anyways," Hawk said. "But really, there's nothing to worry about."
"And shouldn't you be home...with– Jessica, I think her name is?"
"Oh Jessica? She's great but, she found someone else. He's going to be the next leader now and probably doesn't want me around."
Her new lover was a little on the jealous. Actually, a ilot/I on the jealous side and past ties never came out well. Especially when past ties had included nights of passion that Hawk highly doubted she'd ever get with the new guy. Hawk could see why he'd be so jealous, really.
"I see," Lise said. He couldn't read her expression, it was too tightly locked for him to discern. He thought for a moment he saw a flicker of something – relief? Happiness?
"She's happy, or was last time I saw her. She just loved the thought of being a bride," Hawk said.
"And you...you're alright with this? With letting her go?" Lise said.
"Things change. I'm just glad she found someone to make her happy."
With that, Hawk dodged the question. He had buried that question when he first started. Sunk it in a shallow grave and left to go adventuring and bury every happy time spent with Jessica in other women.
The thought crossed his mind that every path would lead down this serious road. Lise would see right through him, she wouldn't accept his act. She would make him face himself,
He thought of running through these high cliffs with her. He thought of spending the whole day and then some and he wanted it so much that it frightened him a little.
Instead, Hawk did what he had become best at: he ran.
"Well, If I don't leave soon I'll never get back to the ship in time. I have to get some supplies too–"
Lise swallowed down whatever she had about to say and nodded. "You don't have to take the cliffs, there's a path that way," she pointed to the leftmost route "It's unguarded right now as it's my shift."
"Goodbye then," she said and turned. She had taken the first steps away when he stopped her.
She turned back and he caught her. The first kiss had been quick, almost a surprise to both of them but she was ready for the second. She bent and molded against him, threw her arms over his shoulders and clasped them at his neck and kissed. She might have not had as much skill as Hawk did – though he knew she was no blushing virgin – but she made up for any lack with raw passion. The heat was white-hot against his lips and tasted sweet and more intoxicating that he wanted to admit. He let his hands twist and stroke that long sunshine-toned hair and heard her moan into him. He skimmed down and across her bare back, once again loving the uniform of the Amazons and mentally sending a prayer of thanks to whatever genius created them.
When they disengaged her lips were red and slightly swollen, a perfect match to her flushed cheeks. Her Hair was tousled, and her dress nearly off.
"You might want to fix that," Hawk said.
"It's alright," she said. "I'll just say it was the wind."
"The wind, huh? I hear that guy's a dangerous sort, don't let your amazons around him – he just might seduce them."
She laughed, and he loved the sound. He thought of staying in that second, thought of weaving his hands in her hair and finding himself in her.
But that moment passed and instead his feet moved away from these mountains and her sad face. He'd kissed her and left her again, left her promises and broken them.
"See you later," Hawk said.
"I hope I do," she replied.
Thus Hawk returned to his travelings. Mercenary work wasn't so good with peace abounding and Hawk wasn't about to settle down as a tailor anytime soon. He liked the buzz of night life surrounding him, the red light districts with beautiful dancing women and gambling tables to lose his hard-earned gold and then steal it back again.
The seawater tickled his skin and under the sun his skin became even more tanned. His body lost the last traces of boyhood, though he had long since grown into a man. Wars did tend to do that to one.
He made friends and lost them, started love affairs that ended by the night.
The image that came when he closed his eyes wasn't of Jessica, but a girl with sun in her hair and sadness in her green eyes.
It took another three and a half years before Hawk thought of returning to those mountains. He purposely avoided that port for Rolante had a magnetism, one he thought he just might not escape.
And he wasn't ready to be caught just yet.
But when the ladies names and faces began to blur together, when he called two of them Lise, and got summarily smacked for his mistake, that was when he went back. This time it was no chance or whim or accident but a chosen destination.
The captain with his grizzled face and great white beard ordered the planks down and Hawk took up his bags and
"We'll be leaving before the sundown, you'd best be back before then if you don't want to be stranded," the captain said.
"Don't wait up for me," Hawk said.
He made it at dawn this time, when gold like a girl's hair strung through the skies. There were pink linings to these clouds, purple damask. Funny, he could see the daybreak a thousand times over and it was still new each time and beautiful. Repetition could be a beautiful thing sometimes.
This time, he used the door. In five years a new generation had aged into warriors leaving their childhood behind. An generation who had only heard tales of the Navarre invaders who had almost stolen their castle away.
Had it not been for Eliza's presence, he might have had a spear in his gullet. Not the kind of jewelry he would've preferred.
But Eliza saved him, just as she'd unwittingly brought Lise to him that last time. She noticed before the green young Amazon guards could turn him into carrion food.
With that saving grace he'd been welcomed as a friend and hero. Eliza ordered them prepare a room for their guest and this time Hawk didn't stop them. Eliza hadn't changed much, with the same light hair and slim physique but she exuded a kind of glow . Her happiness seemed so great that even the more mundane aspects of her day couldn't put a damper on it.
"Actually, if you don't mind, I wanted to talk to Lise a bit," Hawk said.
"Princess Lise? She's just finished with Elliot's lesson, she should be on the top floors, I can lead you there if you need," she said.
"Nah, I know the way," Hawk replied.
And so Hawk took that path, the one he knew so well. Rolante hadn't changed much in that time, but it was a nice solidity. A welcome one. He went up stairs he'd seen and known, but vaguely and touched the stone as he passed through. When he reached the top turrets the brightness shone down and he saw a hint of gold in the wind from the corner of his eye.
He saw Lise stand face to face with a tall, dark haired man with a distinguished, but not quite handsome face. She leaned up to look at him, embrace him and Hawk stopped walking.
Three and a half years was a long time, after all. Had he snuck in like before, he could have left as if he'd never been there at all. With a direct entrance, running wasn't so easily done.
He heard Eliza come behind then, and smiled at the scene. Hawk felt oddly numb, a bit detached and a little angry. It was the kind of mood that took at least three drinks till he could chase that elusive, fleeting happiness again.
The guy finally let go of her and turned to face them. The look he gave Eliza was an intimate gesture, one that bespoke of many years lost together. A different look than he'd given Lise.
And then there was just the sun and Hawk and Lise staring back at him.
"Hawk..." she said. She breathed his name like she didn't dare to hope.
"It's been a while," was all he could manage.
Then Eliza ambled up, her eyes only for the man before her. The embrace the man had with Lise was downright sisterly compared to their lover's hold.
"That's Eliza's fiancee," Lise said, half amused and half apologetic.
"I'd never have guessed," Hawk said.
It was windy up here in the turrets, yet the winds were warming, not cold. It was almost a pleasant breeze compared the fury he'd once known.
"Do you think it's the power of Mana that made the winds that warm? I remember it being a lot cooler before," Hawk said.
"I believe so, it means the world is starting to heal again," she replied.
It was all very bright and warm and Eliza and her fiancee seemed very far away, as did everything else. Without any prompt, Hawk answered the unspoken question and finally kept the promise he'd never said but made twice over.
"I thought I'd stay a while," Hawk said.
"I'd hoped you would," she said.
"Come on, let's go see these caves of Rolante. I bet the caves amplify it, almost like an instrument."
Like singing, like humming like knowing like breathing
"You've already seen them when you liberated the castle," Lise said.
"That's alright, I don't mind seeing them again."
"Well, if you insist," she said. She picked up her spear and walked on and he followed. The winds of Rolante pulsed like a second heartbeat. It was the kind of that he could listen to late at night. The sound was like the breathing of a lover or a welcome memory. He liked the sound, the lullaby this wind spoke.
Each year the wounds of the world healed a little more. One day Mana would return, but until then they'd have to make their own happiness. One hesitant step at a time.