Title: a bright spot in a shadowed room
Series: FE9
Character/Pairing: Rhys, Titania. (Rhys – Titania, Titania –Greil)
Rating: G? PG? I don't know.A/N: comment_fic: / Rhys/Titania, it's always hardest after the battle's done / 10. within me my heart chars


Her hair is still wet from the rain. It retains the same brilliant red shade, but it has become darker, heavier. Tresses cling to her wet, cold cheeks. Rhys turns as she closes the door behind her. Firelight flickers, casting faint light over the small room that serves as a kitchen in this ancient, broken down place.

"I've made tea," Rhys says. His voice is hoarse and he clears it. She doesn't speak, just nods her head.

"You should sit by the fire awhile. To warm your bones up again. I don't want you to catch cold."

He doesn't mention the puffiness, the red rims around her eyes. He doesn't ask if she wants to talk about it, for he isn't sure if her voice will hold.

He swishes the tin cup and watches the light solution swirl about. They hadn't time to pack more than a few minor serving implements. The barest of bare. (He remembers leaving small china cups from his parents house, economic, but comfortable things. He remembers long nights with Greil busy and yet there in every word she said, there resting on her lips.)

The tea is weak, the leaves already brewed for three pots already. Still, they hadn't time enough to stop for supplies. They'd have gone hungry had Shinon and Gatrie not done some hunting before they left.

He puts the tin cup before her, dinged and dingy, like a unsuitable offering. She places her hands over it, mechanically. (He thinks that he is one of the few to know her well enough to see this side of her. Everyone else would see the knight, not the woman behind the armor.)

"I was prepared," she says, "It's something we all are prepared for. In this line of work anyone could die at any moment. It is our duty to prevent that, but.... It happens. Even you. Even me. Even Gr-Greil–"

She takes a long breath to steady herself. Her hands tighten over the cup.

His gaze shifts down, to her lap, her feet.

"You'll never get used to losing someone. Some people do, surely, but you're not that kind of person," he says, "You're not bitter and hard. And you're not that kind of person to become that. Besides.....Commander Greil wouldn't want it– or for you to be like that."

She smiles, faint, soft but there. A corner curled up, a bright spot in a shadowed room.

"I'm afraid I don't think I have the stomach for tea after all...I think I will try to get some sleep. For tomorrow."

Rhys nods. He sets his tea aside and lifts hers from her hands.

"It's for the best. I'll keep you in my prayers...and all of us."

"Goodnight, Rhys."


He places her tea away and sips at her tea, where her lips almost touched. It is always like this for him: an almost. He thinks of red hair slipping out of braids, and the sort of trusting gazes she directed to her commander and him alone. He cannot lie and say he did not have instances of jealousy, but with much prayer and contemplation, they have been burnt to ashes. Jealousy is a acidic thing that will burn through the holder if not taken care of swiftly.

"I'm sorry I ever was envious of you," he says, softly, to the wall and the speckled traces of firelight.

He begins the prayers he has memorized. Perhaps it would be a better thing if he were a true monk, truly wedded to heaven and if each thought of mortal women would be a sinful, unwarranted thing.

He will never be Greil, nor should he think of trying. Still, even presence of buried things haunts them. Greil's presence lingers still, even after his death, and so does this. So will this for her.