Safe
By: Manna


…-…-…

Lyn would laugh at him if she could see him now, he thought, but even the thought of his former self-declared rival making fun of him did little to quell his shaking hands or release the pressure he felt in his chest. His knuckles were white as he clenched his fists.

…-…-…

"No!" he had shouted. "No! You're not getting out of bed!"

"But Daddy!" she whined, "I'm sick of being in bed. It's so boring!"

"You need your rest!"

"But it's been a week already! Daddy, it's just a cold!"

"I don't care. I'm your father and I know what's best for you! I won't lose you like—"

Her eyes were full of confusion and tears, "Like what?" she asked, chewing on her lower lip.

He turned away, his chest aching so much that he thought it might burst. "Like your mother."

…-…-…

He looked down at his ten-year-old daughter as she slept. Her breath didn't catch in her throat when she breathed, and her skin was free of sweat. Color was back into her cheeks. She was no longer flushed.

But he couldn't help himself. He couldn't.

Farina had caught "just a cold" five years earlier, and she had never gotten out of bed again. At first he had been in denial. Maybe she was pregnant again, he told himself, and her vomiting was more morning sickness. When that failed, he convinced himself that she would get better… It would just take time. Surely, God did not intend for him to lose everyone he had ever cared about to sickness.

When she was so ill that moments came when she did not recognize him, he fell upon hours of desperate prayer at her side, but it was to no avail.

Illness was something he could not fight, he realized in her final moments. He could not take an axe or a sword or even the most powerful magic in the world to battle it. It had stolen from him his father, his mother, his brother, and in the end, even his wife.

He hadn't meant to get angry. He had killed a dragon (with a little help) and had fought in countless battles throughout his life, but nothing frightened him more than an enemy he couldn't fight.

To see his little girl flushed with fever, with exhaustion in her eyes—eyes so much like her mother's—filled him with a terror that he had never before experienced.

He wanted to keep her safe. Making certain that she was completely well before she was allowed out of bed eased his troubled mind just the smallest bit. What if she wasn't completely well? What if she got sick again?

Lilina stirred and after a few moments, opened sleepy eyes to peer up at him. "Daddy?" she asked slowly, and yawned widely.

Was it fair, he wondered, to keep her in the dreary castle on such a nice day? Farina would punch him for keeping her away from the things she loved. He smiled down at her and straightened her messy bangs with his fingers. "You can go out and play," he said after a long moment.

"Really, Daddy?" she asked.

"Yes, really," he said, and he felt a lump form in his throat as she smiled and wrapped her little arms around him and squeezed.


…-…-…

Author Notes:

I always thought that, if there was something Hector would be absolutely terrified of…it would be illness. Ironic, isn't it, that in the end…it seems even Eliwood might add to the tally?