I've played Luminous Arc several times, and I've always wanted to write something, but I've never gotten around to it. So, I finally pulled my finger out and wrote something for possibly one of my favourite games of all time, along with Pokemon, LA2 and The World Ends With You.

When I played, I was fascinated by Heath and Iris, and I never really got to show how much I really cared for these two. Heath was always kinda cool and Iris... it never really touched on her past with Heath, which is why I wanted to invent mine.

This was also inspired by a fanfic called 'The Steel Witch' by MammonDaughter. It was pretty good, and it really made me want to write something about these two. Also, they are one of my LA OTPs, so... yeah.

Enjoy, you guys. It's a three-parter, so stay tuned for the rest coming soon!

Disclaimer: I own nothing in this story. Luminous Arc and all of its characters are copyright to Atlus.

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Withered Petals

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Life... it's such a generous gift, given to us by the creator of this planet. Sometimes I do wonder who does – the God we all once believed in turned out to be a monster and tried to consume everything, meaning there must be some other entity somewhere. But whoever makes life grow and flourish is a wonderful being.

My name is Heath or rather 'Sir Heath' as I am known. I am an Arc Knight, once serving under the Luminous Church before I finally figured out their destructive ways and who our God really was. A long time ago, I was merely a soldier in an army in a country, protecting the land from fiends and monsters that attacked crops and villages. I had been assigned to a squad that patrolled the roads from Adwest, through the mining Village of Gamarr and over Leastre Bridge to the industrial town of Dotruvar. We were all experienced soldiers, although rookie ones. I remember travelling during midday with my closest companion, Kai; a samurai swordsman who spoke little, but was very wise. The two of us had been close since I had started training with the Knights, both of us near promotion status. Kai was going to work with the Euros Knights to the East and I was to become an Arc Knight, guarding the Royal Church.

It was this particular day that changed my life forever. The two of us had stopped to rest on Leastre Bridge to look at the scenery. The bridge spanned over a river that had water so crystal clear, you could see the pebbles at the bottom, with grass banks that had barely a mark of mud in sight. At a small curve in the river further down there was a field of beautiful white flowers that bloomed in hundreds and spanned the entire curve. I remember these flowers well as Krystonans, a very rare and beautiful flower that if held at the correct angle in the sunlight, sparkled like a gemstone. I smiled as myself and Kai sat on the bank, having some lunch.

"Kai," I finally said after about ten minutes of silence. The other boy looked over at me quizzically as I spoke, "Do you reckon we'll get those promotions? I mean, to Arc Knight and to the Euros Knight Squad?"

Kai thought for a moment, taking a bite out of an apple as he spoke; "...Depends, Heath. We are skilled, yes. But there are others wishing for our positions."

"True..." I nodded, slowly standing and dusting off my blue uniform, putting my container of water back into the small holster on my waist and picking up my spear, "I'm going to take a brief walk. It's such a nice day; it'd be a shame to miss this scenery."

Kai nodded quietly, his long black hair falling back over his pale face as he took another bite of his apple and beginning to flick his sword slightly at some unknown enemy. Sighing a little, I stretched and began to walk down the river, towards the field of flowers I had seen earlier and gently pushing my blonde hair out of my eyes. I made my way towards them down the river, keeping an eye out for monsters along the way.

I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.

As I approached, something amidst the field of flowers caught my eye. The field had been tainted with another colour, one that hadn't been there earlier. Amidst the white, it seemed there was a small patch of purple, along with some other blotches of pink, cream and red. Unsure of what it was at first, I grabbed my spear and began to advance slowly towards the field of flowers. Perhaps it was a monster; if it was, it had picked the wrong time to show up. However something troubled me. If it was a monster, then it would have noticed me by now and either attacked or fled, but this mass of colour wasn't moving an inch. I crept closer, now on the edge of the field of flowers. I leant closer and my heart froze in my chest as I saw what the mass of colour actually was.

It was a young girl; long, untidy purple hair that went just past her shoulders, quite short and with a weak and frail stature like she hadn't eaten in days. She was wearing a dirty, faded white dress that made her blend in a bit with the flowers, and her legs and arms stuck out at odd angles. Her feet were bloody and raw with no shoes, as if she'd walked a long way and she was laying face-down amidst the flowers.

Although a soldier is meant to keep calm, seeing a girl no older than twelve in a condition like that terrified me. I wanted to run back to Kai to get his help, but I had no idea if this girl was dead or not. The way she was laid out, strewn face-down over the flowers made it look like she had collapsed from exhaustion. However I remembered that she hadn't been there about ten minutes ago. If I was fast, I could help her.

"H-hey, hey!" I called out, dropping my spear and running to her, falling to my knees and crushing some of the pretty flowers under them; "Hey, are you okay? Say something!"

No response. Panicking a little, I rolled her onto her side to get a better look. Her body was covered in mud and dirt, and her eyes were closed. Her face had some blood on it and her mouth was slightly open. I put my hand over her mouth and felt a small wave of relief break the tides of my panic as I felt warm, although shallow breath pass against my hand. Biting my lower lip, I walked over to the river hurriedly and cupped my hands in it, getting some of the water and hurrying back over to her, tipping the clear liquid into her open mouth. She seemed to be unconscious, but her body's natural reflexes kicked in and forced her to swallow the water, making her gasp loudly and her breathing become a little clearer.

"She's so malnourished..." I whispered to myself, rolling the girl onto her back, "She must've been walking for days without food or water, and judging by her feet she must've walked a long way..." My eyes trailed down to her hands. In one hand she grasped one of the Krystonan flowers, its petals still intact even though she had been lying on it. In the other hand however, she held a small locket clutched so tightly that the small metal had cut into her hand. Slowly easing the hand open, I pulled the locket out and took a look at it. In the picture was her, with two adults standing behind her; a tall man with brown hair, bright blue eyes and muscular build, and a woman with long purple hair and green eyes. The two had an arm around each other, and their other arm resting on the girl's shoulder. I could only guess that these were her parents. Gently, I placed the locket in my pocket and shook her gently. As I did, I gave a wince as I felt her ribs through her dress.

"Come on, keep with me – I'm going to get help!" I turned to leave, but as I did, the girl stirred, her eyes weakly opening to show faded blue irises that seemed unfocused and far away. I knew at that exact moment that I couldn't leave her there. Her hand rose shakily towards me, as if pleading for me to help, her mouth opening but no sound leaving it before it slumped to the ground, her body falling limp again as she passed out.

"Son of a...!" I cursed loudly like a normal eighteen-year-old would and turned back to her. I was full-fledge panicking now; I didn't deal with these kinds of situations; I simply defeated the odd monster or two. Shakily I crouched down, sliding my arms underneath her and lifting her up, beginning to run; "Just hold on, miss! Kai? KAI!"

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Kai and I had taken her back to the nearby barracks to try to recover. She was in an absolutely horrible condition with more bruises and cuts on her than I had originally thought, however she recovered. I remember spending countless hours at her bed-side watching her, looking over her. Kai had asked why, and I simply told him that I thought that it was my responsibility for what had happened. I knew it wasn't, but she was such a fragile girl that I didn't trust any of the other soldiers with her. Kai had simply shrugged it off and left, but I stayed with the girl the entire time.

When she finally awoke a few days later, I was still there, watching her. I remembered the first time I'd heard her say anything; three words that seemed natural to anyone in that situation but made my heart soar more than anyone knew it could, just knowing she was okay from those words.

"Where... am I?"

I bolted upright in my seat, leaping to my feet and running over to her; "You're awake! God bless you, little miss, you had me scared."

"I... remember you..." She looked at me with those brilliant blue eyes, eyes that were slowly regaining their focus as she blinked; "...The field... those beautiful flowers, and... I remember falling... you came to help me, and..."

"My name is Heath... you were unconscious in the field of Krystonans. I took you here to the Dotruvar barracks to recover – please, rest," I rested my hand on her shoulder as I saw she was trying to get up; "You're in no shape to move around. Your feet have had to be plastered up to help them recover."

"..." The girl was silent for a moment, her delicate fingers clutching the covers as she stared at them. I guessed she was probably remembering something, so I sat next to her and rested a hand on her shoulder.

"Do... you know how you ended up in the field? Do you remember...?"

"...M-Mamma... P-Papa..." The girl's eyes brimmed with sudden tears, and my heart suddenly turned to ice at the look on her face; "I... I tried to help..."

"What happened?"

"We... we travelled..." The girl whispered softly, her hair falling in front of her face for a moment; "We travelled all over th-the world, trading goods and selling them... I-I was the flower girl, I love flowers so much... my Mamma named me after one..."

"What's your name?"

The girl looked up at me, sniffing briefly before stroking her hair from her eyes; "...Iris... m-my name's Iris."

"Iris... a beautiful name," I smiled as I stroked her face. The girl gave a faint smile, but it died very quickly and I realised that this was much more serious than anything else I had thought of.

"Mamma and Papa... they were driving our horse-drawn carriage when we went to set up camp. Mamma told me to get some water, so... I did," The girl looked at her feet; "As I went to get the water by the mountain stream, I saw the prettiest red flowers... I ended up staying in the field for a few moments to admire them... they were red and had purple spots on them, and looked so pretty..."

"They must have been," I nodded. I wasn't the most interested in flowers, but I knew that making me sound like I was would keep her happy; "So then what? You saw these flowers and..."

"...I stayed in the field for a while..." The girl's voice faded into almost a whisper, "I then got some water and began to head back..." Her voice was barely audible now and I had to lean in to hear. However, what I tried to prepare myself for would never have been enough for what she said next.

"I... came back into our clearing... the fire wasn't lit, and it was dark. I remember walking forwards and seeing something..." Her voice wavered and she seemed to be fighting off tears; "It was... our carriage... smashed and broken... The horse was dead... and behind the carriage... Mamma... Papa..." Her eyes misted over as she sobbed into the blanket in her hands.

I felt my blood freeze over as I gently rested my hand on her shoulder. This girl... so young and having to see something like that...

"I-I ran..." she continued, holding the blanket to her face and muffling her sobs; "I ran as far away from there as I could, not looking back... I kept walking, just wanting to forget... I walked for three days straight, with no food and no water... I saw the stream across the field of flowers... I tried to get to it for some water, but... I couldn't..." Her voice trailed back into sobs as I gently put my arms around her. I could think of nothing to say at that time, so I simply held her and let her sob into my shirt.

I had nothing to say. Nothing could show how much pain this girl had gone through. I simply held her, letting her tears soak my shirt as her arms wrapped back around me.

"Iris..."

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Thanks to my courage of saving Iris, I soon got my promotional chance. However, in light of what had happened, I turned it down politely saying that I wanted to look after Iris. The current Grand Cardinal, and the Cardinal at the time who was called Kingston both seemed very surprised, but I explained to them what I thought.

"Iris... she has no parents. She barely trusts anyone, and I wish for her to at least gain some trust back in someone. I wish for that person to be me, and so, I will not leave her side until she is better."

I stayed true to my word. Iris was twelve when I found her, and at such a young age she was so innocent and pure, even after seeing something like that. I looked after Iris, treating her almost like my younger sister. Kai was even treated a bit like an older brother too, and although he didn't admit it, seemed at least a little happy with the title.

Iris put so much joy into my life. A long day fighting monsters and defeating bandits and thieves was all worth it just to go home and see her beautiful smiling face and her cheerful call of my name. She became a part of my life that I never knew I needed, and she also reminded me that even if I was just a soldier, I could make a difference in someone's life. We stayed together for three years as I watched her grow and mature into a healthy young teenager. On her fifteenth birthday, we went back to the field of flowers where I had found her. We sat there for almost the entire day, talking about general things. She even got me to start liking flowers, something that would have probably made someone in my position want to resign or kill themselves. But I wasn't like the regular soldiers; whether they killed for fun or for keeping the land safe, I did neither.

I fought for Iris, the girl who I had saved.

A few weeks later, I was asked to be promoted again. I declined, but Iris had her say in the matter this time.

"If you really want to become an Arc Knight, then I don't want to stop you, Heath..." She had spoken in such a soft tone that it had melted my resolve even from the start; "This was your dream, ever since you became a Knight. I don't want to take that from you just because you rescued me. I'm a young woman now, and I can look after myself..."

"Iris, I do not wish to leave you alone," I had protested, but Iris was firm with her statement and said that I could come back and visit anytime. I agreed reluctantly and took the promotion, much to Iris' delight. I then became known as 'Arc Knight Heath', a title I had wished upon myself for five years, ever since I had joined the army at sixteen.

I remember the day that I had left our house to do my duty; not to protect the church, but to train a group of children in the way of battling. The children were known as the 'Garden Children', and consisted of three boys and a girl. Alph was fifteen and was always very outgoing, well-trained with a gun and a sword. Theo was Alph's younger brother, only ten at the time and mostly trained with his bow. Leon was a tall boy at the age of sixteen, spiky red hair and a bit of a slacker, wielding a hefty sword over his shoulder. Finally, there was Cecille, a fifteen year old Priestess-in-training who was always calm and shy, but a good friend and companion to all. The four of them reminded me so much of Iris, and I cherished them as my students and taught them the way to fight and the way of the Church.

I had gone home regularly to check up on Iris, occasionally asking Kai to look in on her. Iris was true to her word and kept herself healthy, getting a job as a cleaner in the Church to earn money and always seemed to keep the house spotless. The house was also filled with flowers of every colour, and Kai remarked at one point that 'if you turned your head fast enough, it was like having a miniature psychedelic fit' to which I had promptly burst out laughing and the four kids had looked at me like I had grown another head.

I would go back every Christmas and birthday to see Iris and to spend time with her. When I returned on her seventeenth birthday, I had brought back a bouquet of Krystonans for her, and when I showed them to her, I was glad that I was wearing armour because the hug she had given me could have crushed my ribs. We spent the day together, and before I left, Iris had something very important to say to me.

"...Heath," Iris lowered her head in embarrassment, "I... have something I want to tell you."

"Yes?" I turned to look at her. Her head was lowered a bit, her hair in two large buns on either side of her head; "What is it, Iris?"

"I..." Iris looked away before slowly standing up and walking over to me, placing something in my hands; "...I want you to have these."

I looked at my hands. In one hand was a small bunch of multicoloured flowers held together by a tiny string, and in my other hand was a long, red piece of fabric that was folded. In the middle of the small group of flowers was a Krystonan, a symbol we now used for our trust to each other.

"Iris, these are beautiful..." I smiled at her before picking up the red fabric and unfolding it, realising there were small hooks near the centre of it on the right; "This is..."

"A cloak," She smiled broadly; "I knitted it myself, just for you! I think it suits you! Please wear it, Heath... I mean, 'Arc Knight Heath'!"

"I will," I smiled as I slipped the small hooks onto my armour so the long piece of fabric trailed down over my left arm; "Thank you so much, Iris."

Iris smiled that beautiful smile I loved seeing so much, her blue eyes twinkling and her arms flying up to wrap around me again. I smiled, returning the hug and bending down so we were eye-level with each other; "Heath, please be careful out there, and make those children see that they're learning under the best Arc Knight in the land."

I gave a soft laugh, patting her arm and pulling her in for another hug. I opened my mouth to say something until I felt her lips graze gently against my cheek. I flushed a little and pulled away, "I-Iris...!"

"Please be safe, Heath... for me."

I nodded slowly, standing up and shaking the initial shock of it off; "Alright Iris, I will. You be safe too, okay?"

She nodded and turned away, smiling back at me; "See you soon, Heath!"

"Be good, Iris!" I called back. As I turned, I gently reached up, brushing the place on my cheek where she had kissed me. Shaking it off a little, I adjusted the cloak on my arm and slipped the flowers into my armour so that the flower heads were sticking out just under my chin with the Krystonan right in the centre. Smiling gently, I tapped the tiny white flower and began to walk, thinking of the smiling girl who I had saved five years ago, the girl who was alone, but had such a big heart.

...That was the last time I ever saw her... before it happened.

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There's part one. Hooray for cliff-hangers! Anyway, that's my small interpretation of Iris' past with Heath. I tried to think on what they may have been like before the whole in-game incident when you meet Iris... I actually felt kind of sad when I was writing about Iris' past.

This was originally for a school project, and so using the Luminous Arc OST, I made my own soundtrack that relates to scenes in the story. If you play LA and have gotten the Sound Test in the "Extras" menu, then I put the track numbers in for you. The title names are from Youtube, so if you want to listen, type 'em into YT.

"Everyday Sunny" (Scene 1, Act 1) – Track 21

"A Risky Situation" (Scene 1, Act 2) – Track 26

"The Night We Can't Meet With" (Scene 2) – Track 20

"Fellow" (Scene 3, Act 1) – Track 24

"Teardrops" (Scene 3, Act 2) – Track 28

The next part basically revolves around the game, but from Heath's POV instead of Alph's. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading it.

See you all soon with part two.

+Regii+