The story was inspired by the song "We are the people" by Empire of the Sun. I couldn't think of a good title, so I devote it to this band. Review if you want to.
Edited version. The content was not changed.
It smelled of grass. Damp and soft grass. Geoffrey felt it on his cheek. The moisture clung on his skin and armour. It was a pleasant feeling of coolness on his heated face. But there was a second smell in the air. The smell of blood and metal. The cold dew mingled with his warm blood. It flowed freely from a stab wound on his chest and tinged the green grass in a dark red.
Geoffrey crawled wheezing to his already fallen horse. The saddlebags had opened in the fight and the contents were scattered everywhere. Just a few centimetres away from his hand lay an elixir. With utmost strain and a stabbing pain in his chest, he tried to reach it. But he could feel how his strength left him. It was just a hand's breadth in front of him. He outstretched his fingers. They landed right in front of it. And stayed there. Geoffrey's head hit the ground. His sight blurred. The light reflected on the crystal blue bottle and mocked the dying man. Geoffrey looked at his salvation desperately. It was just before him, but still out of his reach.
"Elincia..." Geoffrey whispered before his eyes closed.
"Mylord Ike?" Ike turned around surprised and was met by two emerald orbs.
"Princess Elincia, what can I do for you?" he asked politely. She smiled slightly embarrassed.
"Have you seen Geoffrey?" When Ike shook his head, Elincia sighed deeply. "He hasn't come back yet."
"Really?" Ike said concerned and looked over his shoulder. The soldiers and mercenaries who had partaken in the last fight were in the camp. Some of them were at the fireplace, just like Elincia and Ike right now. "That´s unusual."
"Yes," Elincia quietly consented. "Normally he should be here already and make his report."
"Or ask about your well-being, lovely Princess Elincia."
"Bastian, did you find him?" Elincia asked hopefully as she turned to the mage.
"Unfortunately no, your highness," Lucia sighed. Bastian put his arm encouragingly on her shoulders.
"Don't fear, Mylady. Your dear brother is quite capable. Don't furrow your beautiful, ivory-coloured brow in concern." Lucia rolled her eyes and swatted his arm away.
"Do you think so?" Elincia asked doubtfully. Lucia nodded with a small smile.
"Count Bastian is right. Geoffrey can take care of himself. I'm pretty sure he's tending to his horse right now or polishing his armour."
"If you say so," Elincia murmured. Ike put his hand on her shoulder and gave it a little squeeze.
"Don't worry." Elincia sighed inaudible and nodded.
While Ike, Bastian and Lucia debated today's battle, Elincia thought to herself. It was just one of the many every day battles against Daein and nothing was special about it. Geoffrey was safe for sure, Elincia assured herself. She shook her head sighing and put on a smile. It would do nothing good to mop around and worry everybody, would it? She turned towards the debate and tried to step in. The bad feeling in her gut, however, didn't disappear.
"- is just disorganized these days, so-" Lucia stopped in the middle of her sentence. Ike, Bastian and Elincia gazed questioningly at her when she smiled. She pointed over Elincia´s shoulder. "I told you he's alright." Elincia and the others turned around.
A smile crept on the princess´ face. Geoffrey was standing at the edge of the place, the fire barely reaching his boots, but all the same they could see him clearly. His blue hair practically glowed in the early darkness. He smiled gently and lifted his arm. He waved to them. Elincia waved back and then put her hands around her mouth.
"Geoffrey, come over!" But he just continued to smile and let his arm sink. Then he beckoned them over. Elincia raised questioningly an eyebrow. Lucia put her hands on her hips and glared at her brother.
"Geoffrey, come here!" But the paladin beckoned to them one more time and turned around. He left the place. Elincia and the others were rooted to the spot. That was a highly unusual behaviour for Geoffrey. He would never call the princess over to him. If he wanted something, he would come to her. Moreover, he appeared and disappeared without a word of greeting.
Geoffrey turned around after a short stride and beckoned to them.
"Geoffrey, wait!" Elincia exclaimed and ran after him. Ike, Bastian and Lucia flashed each other a short glance and hurried after the princess. Geoffrey walked through the rows of tents slowly. He passed by some soldiers and most of them greeted him, but he ignored them. It almost looked like he didn't even notice them.
"Geoffrey, please wait!" Elincia called before she tripped over a lance. Her knees met the ground painfully hard. She rubbed them gently when a realization struck her.
"Are you injured?" Lucia asked and offered her hand. Acting as she was in a state of trance, Elincia took her hand and let Lucia lift her up. Her gaze was locked on the retreating back of the blue knight. He continued walking without a glance back. Normally, he would turn around, ask her if she was alright, help her up and apologize for being inattentive and careless. She would pat his arm and tell him that it was not his fault. He would blush a bit, clear his throat nervously and offer his arm. She would take the offer with a smile and they'd continue their walk. Now, however, Geoffrey did none of these things and walked on uninvolved.
"Geoffrey..." She whispered confused.
Lucia scowled at her brother. She knew just as well as Elincia that her brother was acting strange.
Just before a tent, he stopped and turned to the group. He beckoned them over and wanted to continue walking as the tent-door flapped open. Kieran exited the tent loudly.
"A duel at dawn!" he screamed enthusiastic. He turned to the group and noticed that Geoffrey's face was right in front of him. A crash was inescapable.
"Geoffrey, watch ou-" Elincia exclaimed, but she stopped abruptly. Ike, Lucia and Bastian stared with wide opened eyes.
Kieran was rooted to his spot and waited for the crash. But it didn't come.
Geoffrey just walked through him. The red paladin felt a shiver go down his spine. He spun around and watched how Geoffrey strode away. Kieran then turned to the group of four and tried to say something, but no sounds came out. They were turned to stone. Geoffrey nearly passed the last row of tents, when Zihark and Lethe appeared at the corner.
"Zihark!" Ike called out. The swordmaster looked up surprised while Lethe hissed menacingly. "Stop him!" Confused the man looked to the blue paladin. Geoffrey was nearly on the same level.
"General, the commander called you," he said, but was ignored.
"Hey, Beorc, what are you doing?" Lethe hissed angrily. "Answer when you're addressed." She tried to grab his arm, but her hand touched nothing but thin air. Lethe shrieked frightened and clamped her paw tightly to her chest. Geoffrey walked on unaffected. After a few steps he turned, beckoned and went on. Elincia jumped and ran after him.
"Princess!" Ike and Bastian exclaimed simultaneously and followed her. Lucia blinked confused before she snapped back to reality and ran as well. Zihark and Lethe just gazed after the group confused and scared.
"What was that?" Lethe asked whisperingly and looked on her paw. "My hand is freezing."
Elincia and the others followed the blue paladin. No matter, what they tried - talking to him, touching him or stepping in front of him only to be walked through-, nothing effected him. He only looked at them when they fell behind. After many unsuccessful tries the four decided to follow Geoffrey quietly.
Geoffrey led them to a small forest in the vicinity of the last battlefield. It was already dark and they could barely see the outline of the trees. In the distance, they could hear the howl of a wolf and the screeching of an owl. Sometimes there was a rustling in the woods, but nobody regarded the peaceful nature. Their eyes were glued to the back of the glowing paladin. With the light in the camp, they hadn't seen it, but now it was clear. Geoffrey emitted a soft, blue glow. It looked just like the moon light on the leaves. Elincia had grasped Lucia's hand. The hand of the sword mistress was damp with sweat. Lucia, however, was not the only one shaking with fear. Elincia was terrified. Although it was summer, she shivered. Ike and Bastian were directly behind them, but she couldn't see if they felt the same.
Suddenly Geoffrey stopped and turned to them. He smiled and pointed at something ahead of them. Cautiously Elincia and Lucia stepped forward and peered in the direction. Elincia screamed terrified and rushed into the dark. Lucia was rooted to the spot in horror. Ike and Bastian curiously walked up behind the woman.
"What is it?" Ike asked carefully. Lucia just raised her arm and pointed in the direction Elincia had disappeared in.
"What the-?" Bastian exclaimed shocked. The small clearing was laced with corpses. It was difficult to tell in the darkness who was who, but the bright green of Geoffrey's armour stood out between the black of the Daeins. Crying, Elincia leaned over the lifeless form of the young knight and turned him on the back. Lucia awoke from her trance and sped with Ike and Bastian in tow to the princess.
"What happened?" Lucia nearly shrieked. Elincia looked at her with a tear-streaked face. She couldn't see that much, but she knew the smell of blood. And the dark stain on Geoffrey's chest didn't quite look like water. Bastian opened a fire tome and mumbled lowly. A fireball appeared in his hand and illuminated their small circle. Lucia gasped in shock when she saw her brother's lifeless and white face. A small streak of blood ran down his cheek.
"Why...?" she whispered while stroking his cold cheek. Her gaze fell on the innocent blue bottle. "Just by a hair's breadth and you would have made it..." Elincia covered her mouth with her hand and sobbed loudly. Ike looked to the ground, while Bastian tried to wipe his tears off. New tears appeared as soon as the old were gone. Elincia looked up with a fuzzy gaze when she saw the blue glow in the corner of her eye. Geoffrey's ghost stood smiling in front of them.
"Geoffrey..." Elincia whispered sadly. Lucia couldn't look at him. Bastian forced himself to do so. Then something incredible happened.
The ghost bent and sat down, so that he was on the same spot like the body. His legs fused with the real ones. His arms followed in the same fashion. Then he lowered his torso. With a last small smile, he closed his eyes and the ghost melted into the body.
Suddenly Geoffrey gasped for air. Elincia cried out in shock and hope. His intakes of air were short and laboured, but they were there. She grabbed for the elixir and ripped it open. Hastily, she poured it in Geoffrey's mouth. Half of it flowed down the corners of his mouth, but he did swallow something of it.
"Not so fast!" Lucia exclaimed and snatched her the bottle out of the hand. Elincia looked at her in shock. Lucia ignored her stare and poured the rest of the elixir over Geoffrey's wound. Within seconds the wound closed and his breathing became stronger. Some colour returned to his face, too.
"Thank you, Ashera. Oh, Geoffrey," Elincia whispered and snuggled the paladin against her. "Thank you, Ashera. Thank you so much for giving me Geoffrey back." Lucia wiped off her tears, but she couldn't stop sobbing. Bastian knelt down next to her and hugged her to him. She buried her face in his shirt. Bastian just smiled relieved and stroked her long blue hair. Ike stood behind them, feeling slightly out of place.
Elincia stroked Geoffrey's face lovingly and pressed a kiss to his forehead. She stopped surprised when his eyes fluttered open.
"Geoffrey!" she exclaimed overjoyed. The paladin opened his eyes tiredly. Lucia looked up from Bastian's shirt and turned to her brother. She cried out his name when she saw his open eyes. "How do you feel?" Elincia asked quietly. Geoffrey blinked slowly as he tried to phrase an answer. Then, after a dreadful long silence, he smiled exhausted.
"You´ve found me," he whispered. Elincia nodded and sniffed.
"Of course," she answered and stroked his cheek again. "I'll always find you." Geoffrey's smile broadened. When he closed his eyes and dozed off, Elincia leaned down and pressed her lips to his. She could taste his blood in her mouth, but she didn't care. His lips were warm. "I'll always find you."