Words Left Unspoken
She'd looked suddenly lovely as the moonlight spilled across her hair. How ethereal she was in that moment, he thought as she watched him; her eyelids lowered for a moment to cover her eyes—eyes that looked like the reddened soil of Etruria.
Pherae would find her irresistibly charming, and his mother…
Well, his mother would love her.
"You look beautiful," he said.
"Don't be silly." She blushed as she pulled the hem of her skirt over her ankle. "I'm fine. Really."
"Are you certain?" He believed her. But if there was any hesitation…
"Yes." A smile—small, but forced.
His fingertips brushed against her cheek.
"W-What is it?" Her skin was warmer than it usually was.
"Is something wrong?"
Her blood was darker than her eyes, and it was thin. It seeped through his fingers like water through a sieve, and his heart hammered in his chest. How long could it possibly take for Hector to bring help? He licked his chapped lips and pressed his hand tighter against her side.
Her lashes fluttered as she returned to him—to the world of the living, and for that he was eternally grateful.
He whispered her name as he bent closer to her. "Ninian," he started, but realized he didn't know how to finish the sentence. If he asked her if she was okay, he would feel ridiculous. After a long minute, he settled for simply smiling at her, the same kind of smile his father would show him when he wanted to assure him that everything would be fine.
The same kind of smile that the man had worn in death.
Eliwood's smile fell away from his face when footsteps finally approached. Serra's loud, demanding voice reached his ears.
"Let me see," the young woman said. "Get out of my way. Go help where you're needed. I've got this."
And he let go, watching as the blood continued to flow. His tired eyes scanned the distance. Lyndis was fighting alone. Dorcas was outnumbered. Nils and Wil were barely succeeding at fending off aerial attacks…
"Lord Eliwood," Ninian murmured as she dizzily tried to sit up.
"Mark said to go assist someone who actually needs your help!" Serra snapped at him.
"I'm staying right here."
"Lady Lyn told me today that home is where the heart is." She was lying on her back, looking up at the sky. "What do you think?"
He'd lived in the same place all his life. A life of grey, stone walls. Of mattresses and pillows. Of feasts and balls. It wasn't an easy life, but it was comfortable. Never had he needed for anything.
"I think that Lyndis's home will always be the plains," he said.
She turned her head to smile at him, and a dandelion fell into her hair. "Really?"
"And I think that, in all my life, I have never felt more at home than I do right now."
She was leaving him. Her eyes were sad.
He wondered if she wanted to stay.
Would it be selfish of him to ask her to stay in a world like his, in a form that was not her own?
Would it be fair of him to ask her to shorten her life?
"Please don't go. Stay—stay here with me."
"I need you."
"I love you."
"Goodbye," he said.
Life is full of missed opportunities.