Title: Chance And Circumstance
A/N: First playthrough spoilers, intended for FE drabble at lj. I couldn't cut the wordcount down so I did another.
"One's country ought to be defended, whether with shame or glory, by whatever means possible."
He loved Daein though it had never done much to particularly deserve his adoration. Then again, Pelleas tended to love far off and unreachable things, so his strong love for a country that neither trusted or loved him back was simply aspect of his foolishness.
He had waited, watched and even hoped when prospective parents came to the orphanage. Orphans were a large commodity in Daein, the surplus of needy children far outweighed the parents willing to take in a child. Usually the ones that came were ones who needed a farmhand or a kitchen girl, and Pelleas was too weak and timid to serve as anything less than a scholar. He'd been trotted out like a animal at the stockyard time and time again. He'd dictated from scrolls, his voice wavering as he read the lines put before him. Farm wives and scholars alike had checked his teeth, poked his stomach and deemed him unsatisfactory. His quiet demeanor, his perchance for illness and sickly pallor always undid whatever grace his reading had earned him.
But he held no ill will. From misunderstandings of schoolchildren to the cold stares of shop ladies at the bazaar, Pelleas never lost his faith in his fellow man and country. When stones were cast and his skin purpled and bones broke he didn't become bitter.
By some chance of fate, he caught a kingdom and became its keeper. But Pelleas was no better suited for such a thing than he was to be a farmhand. He was too indecisive, too prone to be obedient when it was his turn to speak up. He slipped and stuttered his way through those first months, all the way up to the coronation. But a girl still believed in him, for she loved Daein too.
The boundaries of Daein and her coalesced, her hair was like light reflected off the deep snows, her skin like the fogs that came in the summers. The lines of the map for this territory were the same in his mind, to him she was Daein personified. It did not take long for that love of country to expand and grow until it became a love of her and the country she loved, for each were invariably entwined in his mind.
And that love of country, love of a girl almost was buyout enough to save him, to save all of them. But small choices lead to large consequences and it was one tiny misstep that felled a king. He kept the tears and sleepless nights hidden, and no one but his mother noted at his puffy, bruise-dark eyes. He was a man, and a king at that. The least he could do was show some strength at his parting. He threw himself into the books for some loophole, some escape if not for him then at least for Daein herself. He read until his eyes tired, the pages blurred to dark forests and pools and his fingers fell across strange passages as his head drooped to moments of sleep. When he woke Pelleas found the note there right in the histories just by another chance. A sly will of fate that would be his end – and his absolution.
He kept that secret, fetid and festering and didn't tell the girl until he placed the knife in her hands, like a hesitant lover's gift. He smiled lopsided at her and asked that last request as her face turned to blank shock and she seemed to reel from the weight of the metal and duty placed on her. He could ask no one else in his final moments, for who else would understand? Who else would take the weight of that love for cold deep earth but her? He loved nothing more than her and she loved nothing more than their country and those territories of longing crossed in circumference and met at this one grisly capitol that would be built on his bones like countless others. He closed his eyes and waited like a shy lover for a first kiss and waiting for his last breath to nothingness and that final forgiveness.