A/N: Hey everyone! I'm sorry for the late update. I had a lot going on during Christmas break and I could not finish the chapter as quickly as I wanted. It is finally done! I hope the length of this chapter will make up for the long wait.
This chapter also closes the story. I don't want to say more right now, so I'll leave a longer note at the end. I hope you will enjoy this chapter.
Note: This chapter was edited by my dear PeachteaKT. Thank you again, you're so sweet!
Stay With Me
"... He will die." Flynn never thought that three simple words could have the ability to shatter his entire world; that they could make everything collapse around him. He will die. The reality of those words took a long time to settle into the commandant's mind. When he finally realized their meaning, Flynn felt something break violently inside him. Flynn looked at Yuri's pained face, feeling dread and agony settle into his heart, piercing a bleeding hole through it. He did not realize he stopped breathing until his lungs painfully requested the air that was denied to them. Flynn turned his face towards the doctor, not even trying to hide the agony he was feeling. "Can't we do something? I won't let him die like this!" he exclaimed, pain bleeding into his words.
Kazuhei let out a resigned sigh. "Aside from giving him painkillers to ease his pain, there is nothing we can really do. I'm sorry." Flynn clenched his hands tightly into fists as his body shook from anger and desperation. The commandant tried to control his emotions, but this time they got the better of him. "I refuse to let him die without trying anything! There has to be something!" he exclaimed pleadingly, and his eyes reflected his deep sorrow. The doctor stared at him for a long time in silence.
"There's indeed something, but I don't think it's a good idea to use it. The rate of success is at most five per cent and if it doesn't work, we will only end up shortening the time he has left to live," Kazuhei finally said in a low tone, fatality clear in his voice. Flynn looked at his friend again. Yuri was trashing weakly in his bed and moaning in pain. The sight was too much to bear. Flynn sat on the edge of the bed, unable to stand up anymore as his emotions raged violently inside him. The blond managed to contain his emotions long enough to talk in a flat tone. "Tell me." If there was a slight chance of saving Yuri, Flynn needed to know.
Kazuhei looked deeply into the commandant's haunted gaze. "We have to make him bleed. It gets rid of as much infected blood as possible while still keeping him alive. It'll give his body a chance to fight the remaining infection. But on the other hand, it'll weaken him and if his body is not strong enough, the infection could take over and spread at a faster pace. It is a risky gamble," the older man explained softly.
Flynn was unable to say anything as his mind reeled in a panicked frenzy. He did not know what to do. It reflected on Flynn's face and Kazuhei stood up, throwing a sympathetic glance at the commandant. "I'll let you think about it. I'll be downstairs, waiting for your decision," the doctor said before making for the door. He silently left the room.
As soon as Kazuhei was gone, Flynn rose from the bed and paced urgently around the room. His thoughts swirled dangerously in his mind. He felt rage, desperation, and sorrow grow in him until he could not keep them in check anymore. His fist violently collided with the wall. "Shit!" he yelled, hitting the wall again and again in his desperation. He embraced the pain as it kept him from feeling the agony in which he was slowly drowning.
"Flynn..." the soft call of his name snapped the commandant back to reality. That voice was so weak and pained it wrenched the commandant's heart. Flynn turned around to see two gray eyes looking at him, strangely lucid despite the pain shining in them. The commandant was by his friend's side in a split moment, taking a frail and burning hand into his own. "Yuri..." Flynn whispered the name of his friend, unable to hide his misery from those eyes. A pained smile stretched across Yuri's lips. "How ironic... After everything I've done, I'm going to die because of a bug. Fate is really funny..." Yuri whispered painfully, almost laughing at the situation. Flynn closed his eyes in unrest and squeezed his friend's hand almost painfully. "Don't say things like that! I swear I won't let you die!" he said with a deep sadness.
Yuri opened his eyes again and looked straight into Flynn's gaze. "Don't make promises you know you won't be able to keep," he whispered before his body was wracked by yet another fit of coughing. Flynn's hand went to Yuri's hair, stroking it and trying to soothe him. Yuri sighed when he stopped coughing. He looked closely at his best friend. The agony and sadness he could read on Flynn's features pained him. He could not bear to see such an expression.
"Flynn... what the doctor said... let's try it. I won't give in without a fight," Yuri whispered and soon saw two blue eyes widen in surprise and hesitation. "But... he said that if you do it, and it doesn't work, you might die even faster!" the commandant said, looking fearful for his life. Yuri squeezed his friend's hand. "I know... But I'm done for, anyway. A couple of days won't make a difference for me," he whispered, and even through his weak state, conviction was dripping from his voice. If the situation was not so desperate, Flynn would have smiled at his friend's unwavering nature. The commandant only nodded, his face reflecting the misery he was feeling. "Alright then."
As soon as Flynn went back to Yuri's room with the doctor, Kazuhei did not waste time in giving Flynn specific orders. He asked the commandant to go fetch a bucket and a wet cloth. Flynn obeyed while the older man settled at Yuri's side. The doctor gave Yuri some painkillers as he was still in pain. The medicine could not take away all of his pain, but it would at least ease it a little. Kazuhei then took bandages, disinfectant, a scalpel, a needle and thread from his case. When Flynn came back from the bathroom with the supplies, the doctor told him to put the bucket on the ground near the bed. The commandant obeyed, and looked at Kazuhei with concern. "How are you planning to do it?" he asked with uneasiness. Flynn did not like having to hurt Yuri. The thought that they could seriously shorten his life if they took too much blood concerned him deeply.
The doctor looked at him calmly. "I'm going to slit the veins at his wrist. This is one of the places where the blood flows the more freely. And that is also why I'll need your assistance in stopping the blood while I'll disinfect and stitch the wound. We'll have to act quickly once we'll have made him bleed enough. Are you up to it, Flynn?" he asked, his expression reflecting the gravity of the situation.
Flynn looked at Yuri, who was staring back at him as the medication had not completely taken his lucidity yet. The commandant nodded slowly. "I'm ready," he said as he went to sit next to Yuri on the edge of the bed. The doctor took Yuri's wrist gently and positioned it over the bucket. He took his scalpel and pressed the blade on the skin of Yuri's wrist. Kazuhei looked at Yuri's face and saw him close his eyes.
It was Kazuhei's cue. He put pressure on the skin, drawing a clean line along the wrist. The skin tore open and blood seeped freely from the wound. Yuri made no movement indicating he had felt the cut. Flynn took his friend's hand and his thumb circled Yuri's palm in a soothing gesture. The commandant looked as Yuri's blood fell into the bucket in a free and steady flow. He felt a deep fear grip his heart at the sight, and forced his eyes away from it. Flynn's gaze fell on Yuri's face and he saw those gray eyes were looking back at him with pain. Flynn smiled to his friend, silently telling him that everything would be fine.
Time seemed to slow down as the only sound in the room was the one of Yuri's blood hitting the bucket. Flynn stole a glance at the bucket and he felt his fear worsen at the volume of blood it contained. He looked at Kazuhei to see the doctor looking intensely at the bucket. The older man seemed to be calculating the amount of blood Yuri lost. He felt a sudden pressure on his hand. Flynn directed his attention at Yuri's face, in time to see his friend shut his eyes close and hear him moan in pain. Panic took hold of the commandant. "Doctor, we should stop! He's not feeling well!" he said in a panicked tone.
Kazuhei looked at Yuri and frowned when he saw the dark haired man thrash weakly around, sweat dampening his forehead. "We can't stop now. We still need to take more blood," the doctor said confidently. Flynn was not satisfied, but he did not protest. He squeezed Yuri's hand more tightly, trying to comfort him. The commandant grew even more restless when Yuri stopped his thrashing after a while and his skin slowly turned to a deathly pale color. "Doctor!" Flynn exclaimed more urgently.
Kazuhei still did not listen to Flynn. He kept on staring at the blood falling from Yuri's wrist calmly. Flynn did not share his calm state. When he saw Yuri's eyes roll in their sockets, he grabbed the doctor's arm. "Enough! You'll kill him!" the commandant exclaimed with fright. Kazuhei seemed to agree with him this time. He quickly grabbed the wet cloth Flynn had brought and pressed it against the bleeding wrist. "Keep it pressed against the wound," the doctor said quickly. Flynn did as told, pressing the cloth tightly against the wound to stop the flow. The doctor quickly prepared the disinfectant, and when it was ready, Flynn removed the bloodied cloth. He watched anxiously as Kazuhei disinfected the wound. When he was done, the doctor stitched the wound and wrapped a bandage securely around Yuri's wrist to keep the stitches in place.
When the doctor finished, Flynn looked at Yuri and let out a sigh of relief. His friend seemed to have calmed down, but he was still worried as Yuri's skin was still a deathly white. Flynn was suddenly aware of the scent of blood hanging heavily in the air. It made him feel sick knowing it was Yuri's. The doctor seemed to sense his discomfort. He pulled a bottle of alcohol out of his case. He then took the bucket and went to the bathroom to dispose of the blood properly. Flynn caressed Yuri's hair gently, looking worriedly at his friend's face. Yuri's breathing was shallow, but he did not seem to be in pain anymore. That in itself was good, even if Flynn did not know if it was necessarily a good sign.
Kazuhei came back into the room and went to check on Yuri. He checked his pulse and his temperature. When he pulled away, he put a comforting hand on the commandant's shoulder. "He will be fine for the time being. His temperature dropped down and his pulse is almost back to normal. I'll come back tomorrow morning to check on him. Meanwhile, I'll leave you the painkillers. You should give him some every four hours or so," the doctor explained softly. Flynn nodded. "Thank you, Doctor. Really," he said in a relieved tone. Kazuhei smiled at him. "Don't hesitate to ask for me again if his condition changes," he said with real concern in his voice. Flynn agreed and watched as the doctor gathered his things and left the room.
Flynn turned his attention to Yuri again. The even breathing of his friend told Flynn straight away that Yuri had fallen asleep. As much as Flynn wanted to let him rest, he knew his priority was to strengthen him. Losing so much blood must have left Yuri in a weak state. He needed to eat and drink, but Flynn was hesitant to leave Yuri alone. What if something happened while he was downstairs? He did not want a repeat of this morning. Just as he was wondering what to do, something nudged his leg and the commandant lowered his gaze on Repede. The dog was staring at him, unflinching. Flynn understood what he was trying to say.
He smiled to the dog and bent to stroke his head. "You'll watch over Yuri for me? Thanks, Repede. I'll be right back," Flynn said before rising to his feet. He was also wondering if he should go to the castle to see how things were standing after the attack from the terrorists. Flynn hesitated because he wanted to stay at Yuri's side, but he still had responsibilities as the commandant. After some thinking, he decided to trust Sodia with the castle's matters. His second in command was reliable. She had never let him down and Flynn trusted her to do whatever was necessary in case of an emergency. Flynn decided he would stay at his friend's side until he would get better. His heart won over his reason. Flynn glanced one last time at Yuri before reluctantly leaving the room.
Yuri awoke when a gentle hand shook him gently. He could hear a voice calling his name insistently, and as much as he wanted to ignore it, he found he could not. It took great effort to open his eyes, and when he did, everything was blurry. He felt groggy and his senses were numbed. Even when he turned his head to the side to look at the person calling his name, it felt as if his eyes did not follow the movement of his head. He still tried to focus his gaze on the blurred face leaning hover him. After some time, Yuri was able to recognize Flynn and he could hear what he was saying. "...you feeling?" the gentle voice of his friend reached him. A calloused hand stroked his hair softly and Yuri sighed. He did not have the strength to answer. He still felt tired and all he wanted was to go back to sleep, but it seemed his friend would not let him.
Flynn's hand went behind Yuri's head and he angled it as he presented a glass of water to his lips. "Drink this," the commandant told his friend. He saw Yuri open his lips and Flynn gently angled the glass, making him drink. When Yuri swallowed all the water, Flynn took back the glass and presented him a spoon of food instead. He saw in Yuri's eyes that he feared a remake of yesterday. Flynn smiled at him. "Don't worry. I'm not the one who cooked this. Now eat, if you want to regain your strength," Flynn said gently. It seemed to calm Yuri down as he obediently let Flynn feed him, but after a few spoonfuls, he did not want to eat anymore. Flynn did not push him. At least he ate a little. The commandant let Yuri lie down again and watched as he quickly fell asleep again. Flynn stayed to watch over his friend, trying to divert his thoughts from their depressed course.
Throughout the day, Yuri kept alternating between sleep and awareness. Each time Yuri awoke, Flynn fed him and gave him water. Color slowly returned to Yuri's face and Flynn kept up the insane hope that his friend might be saved. Flynn feared the doctor's visit the next morning, for his diagnosis would tell of Yuri's future. It would tell if it would all be over in a couple of days. Flynn hoped with all his heart that it would not.
Yuri slowly opened his eyes to a dark room. His head was pounding mercilessly. His muscles were sore. Yuri felt a warm pressure on his hand and tilted his head to the side. Flynn was sleeping in the chair next to the bed, holding Yuri's hand securely. The commandant's head was hanging low against his chest and his neck was strained uncomfortably. Flynn's fair bangs were covering his closed eyes, moving at the rhythm of his even breathing. His sleeping face was adorable. Yuri felt a surge of warmth pool into his chest at the sight of his friend.
Lately, whenever he was around Flynn, Yuri felt that strange sensation. The sensation that he was coming to life every time Flynn as much as touched Yuri or gazed at him. Yuri was no fool. He finally understood what it was, but he did not bring himself to say it for fear of making these feelings true. Yuri was no good for Flynn and he did not think the commandant returned his feelings. Every time Yuri came to visit him, Flynn was always cold and impatient, making Yuri feel unwanted, so the dark haired man kept it all hidden from his friend. He did not want to burden the commandant with unwanted and unshared feelings.
But right now, Yuri wanted to be selfish. He needed to feel the warmth of his friend. He needed his closeness, for Flynn to make him believe he would make it through this ordeal. Yuri moved his hand, accidentally jostling Flynn. The commandant stirred in his sleep and opened his eyes sleepily. When Flynn realized Yuri was awake, the sleepiness quickly left his eyes. "Yuri, you're awake," the commandant whispered. Yuri made a small smile. "You're gonna have a stiff neck if you sleep like that," he whispered back, trying to joke despite his weak state.
Flynn straightened up and rubbed his sore neck. "You're right, but I'll manage," he answered, but Flynn did not find the strength to smile back. He did not want to smile as he did not feel like it. Yuri's smile slowly disappeared. "Stop worrying, Flynn. I'll be fine," Yuri tried to reassure his friend, but it did not work. Flynn closed his eyes in unrest. When he opened them, pain shone in them. "You don't know that, Yuri. There's no guarantee that..." the commandant was unable to finish his thought. It hurt too much just to think about Yuri dying.
Yuri understood this conversation was leading nowhere. He sighed softly. "Forget it. Why don't you come here? There's enough space for two," Yuri said softly. Part of the reason he was asking was because Yuri felt pity for his friend, since he had to sleep in an uncomfortable chair. But another part of the reason was because Yuri wanted to feel his friend's closeness. He needed his presence. Flynn stared at him for several seconds. He finally rose to his feet and approached the bed. Yuri scooted over as Flynn crawled under the sheets.
Yuri's bed was small, so the two men had no choice but to cuddle closely. Flynn did not mind in the least. He pulled Yuri close to his chest and was surprised when once again he met no resistance from his friend. It troubled Flynn. "What's wrong? You're not usually this submissive," Flynn whispered teasingly. If Yuri was in a normal state, Flynn would not have used the word "submissive" while talking about him. Flynn knew it would result in a few broken ribs or a broken nose. The knight waited for a comeback from his fiery friend.
"Ha ha. Count yourself lucky; I'm not strong enough to kick your ass right now. Otherwise I totally would," Yuri replied, but his words held no venom to them. Despite his words, the long haired man gripped the commandant's shirt tightly, like he was afraid he would go away. Flynn was even more troubled by his friend's actions. Was it only the sickness that made Yuri cling to him in such a way, or was there something else? Somehow, Flynn wanted another reason to be behind his friend's actions. Whatever the case, Flynn was glad Yuri was acting like that.
One of the knight's arms trailed slowly up his friend's back to his hair. His action caused a shiver to run through Yuri. Flynn noticed it. "Yuri?" he whispered questioningly. Yuri did not answer and instead, he hid his burning face into Flynn's shirt. It was embarrassing. Flynn's closeness was making him feel... things he should not feel. Not towards his best friend. Even that hand caressing his hair and massaging his scalp was making him go crazy. Yuri wanted to tell Flynn to stop, but at the same time, he did not want to. He loved the affectionate gesture.
A thought suddenly made Yuri tense. Flynn was not his usual self. Lately, the commandant gave cold shoulder whenever they met. Was Flynn so caring and gentle only because Yuri was sick? Was he doing that only to make him feel better? Would everything go back to how it used to be if Yuri recovered? Would they go back to seeing each other rarely as if they were almost strangers? Somehow, that thought hurt him more than he thought it ever could. If that was the case, Yuri did not want more of those lies.
Flynn sensed something was wrong with Yuri. He was about to ask him when he felt Yuri try weakly to get away from his embrace. However Flynn did not let him as his arm circled Yuri's waist tighter. "Yuri? What's wrong?" he said with confusion. Yuri stopped his futile struggle. "You don't have to force yourself, you know," the long haired man whispered and Flynn almost missed the words. He frowned as he did not understand them. What was Yuri saying? It took some time to the commandant to understand, but he eventually did. He did not like what he heard. "Yuri, look at me," he ordered in a firm tone. When Yuri did not obey, Flynn gripped his chin and lifted it until their eyes met. He could see in the gray eyes that Yuri was upset and hurt. "What makes you think I don't want to take care of you?" he asked almost pleadingly.
Yuri sighed softly. "Forget it, okay? I shouldn't have said anything," he said tiredly. He had not thought about the consequences of his previous words, and he regretted saying anything. Yuri knew how stubborn Flynn could be. He was proved right. The commandant threw him a displeased look. "It's too late for that. Now tell me," he replied firmly. Yuri closed his eyes for a split second to collect his thoughts. When he opened them again, Flynn found the hurt shining in them had grown. "Because whenever we see each other lately, I seem to do nothing but bother you. We've only grown apart lately. I just find it hard to believe you've had a change of heart now," Yuri admitted as he looked to the side.
The guilt Flynn felt the day before worsened at his friend's words. He did not realize his attitude hurt Yuri that much. Yuri was always good at hiding his feelings. Flynn cursed himself for not having seen it sooner. He pulled Yuri even closer to him and leaned his face against Yuri's forehead. "I'm sorry, Yuri. I never realized you felt that way! It's just that... I'm not used to this job. I'm not used having so many responsibilities! Because of that, I'm always stressed out and I take it out on you, even if I don't want to. I'm not proud of that, or for neglecting you all this time. Sometimes, I think I'm just not cut out for this job. I'm too young, I'm –" Flynn began to blurt out all the doubts that haunted him since he was awarded with the post of commandant but Yuri interrupted him softly. "Stop that, Flynn. You're perfect for that job. You have a strong sense of justice, you have the guts to make difficult decisions, people believe in you, and on top of that, you're stubborn as hell," Yuri whispered teasingly.
Flynn could not help but laugh. "Thanks, that's making me feel way better," the commandant replied with amusement. He soon became serious again. "Yuri... I mean it. I'm really sorry for making you feel that way," he said softly. His words had Yuri look into his eyes. Flynn stared straight into Yuri's eyes with conviction and a small blush crept on his face. "You're my best friend, Yuri. I care a lot about you. I don't ever want to lose you."
Yuri felt his face burn up again at his friend's words. He turned his face away in embarrassment. "S-stop saying things like that," the long haired man stuttered faintly. Flynn saw the blush on his friend's face. The next words left the commandant's lips before he could stop them; "You're really cute when you're blushing." Flynn realized what he said when Yuri glared at him. It was a glare that promised a slow and painful death if Flynn dared say something like that again. The commandant laughed nervously. "Oh... er... I meant..." he stuttered. He was embarrassed by what he said, and wished he could take back his words. Yuri's gaze softened after a while, meaning he was not really angry at Flynn. However, their eyes never left the other's eyes as blue got lost into gray. And Flynn found himself lost in that beautiful gaze, wondering why he did not see it before, wondering how eyes could be so bewitching. He could not tear his gaze away. Before Flynn realized it, words were leaving his lips again in a whisper; "Yuri, I promise you I'll make things right from now on."
Yuri was touched by those words, but he did not want to show it to Flynn. He diverted his gaze and lowered his head to hide his face into Flynn's chest. His heart was beating like crazy and he felt his skin burn. Yuri was sure it was not only because of his slight fever. He felt Flynn tighten his embrace around him and the sick man closed his eyes, feeling his senses becoming numb. He was too weak to fight off the sleep that pulled him in, but Yuri fought it a little longer to tell one last thing to Flynn.
Flynn's eyes widened when he heard Yuri's whispered words; "I'll hold you to that promise". Flynn looked down, and a soft smile graced his lips when he saw Yuri was asleep. Flynn stared at his friend's sleeping face. He studied the soft features offered to his eyes. He was almost hypnotized by the sight that graced his eyes. As if they had a mind of their own, his fingers left his friend's chin and slowly caressed the soft skin upwards. Flynn was not even aware that his fingers were shaking as they caressed his friend's jaw line up to his cheek and over soft, parted lips. Lips that were so soft and inviting...
Flynn snapped himself out of his trance and removed his fingers, horrified by the thoughts that went through his mind. The commandant had felt a surge of desire for his friend, a desire to kiss those lips, to claim them as his. What was wrong with him? How could he even think to take advantage of his best friend while he was asleep, and furthermore, sick? That is when Flynn realized something; he was not distressed about the fact he felt the desire to kiss his friend. He was distressed because he wanted to do it while Yuri would not be conscious of it.
Flynn realized now that his feelings of friendship for Yuri might run much deeper than that. It ultimately made him realize that he would be devastated if Yuri was to die. Flynn did not want to fathom the idea. Yuri had to survive so they could work on these feelings of his and Yuri's, if the long haired man felt the same thing than him. Flynn hoped so. The commandant leaned in and his lips grazed his friend's warm forehead. His fingertips caressed Yuri's cheek and he smiled softly, bitterly. "Good night, Yuri..." Flynn whispered and he thought he felt Yuri settle closer to his chest.
It might have been his imagination, though.
Flynn was pacing in Yuri's bedroom, restless. He kept throwing anxious glances in Kazuhei's direction. Yuri seemed better the previous night when they had their long conversation, but now his state seemed to be deteriorating. When Flynn woke up this morning, Yuri had a high fever. His fever had worsened during the night. Yuri had not awakened since then, and Flynn could not even give him painkillers. It was obvious Yuri was in pain as soft whimpers were escaping his lips. Flynn did not waste any time. He immediately called the doctor, who arrived soon after. Kazuhei first gave Yuri painkillers by intravenous. He then started to examine Yuri immediately. Flynn was worried beyond belief as Kazuhei had been working in silence for half an hour or so. What took him so long, damn it!
The doctor finally turned around to look at Flynn and the latter stopped his pacing. The commandant felt his chest tighten at the gravity shown on the doctor's features. His eyes widened when he saw Kazuhei shook his head slowly. Flynn wanted to close his ears to what he would hear, but he found he could not. Then came the words he feared he would hear; "I am sorry, Flynn. We tried the only thing we could, but it failed. I am really sorry."
Flynn's world came crashing down on him. There were no words to describe what he felt the moment those words left the doctor's lips. His heart burned painfully and something crushed his chest mercilessly, making it difficult to breathe. Flynn had never felt such intense pain before. Not even when he had lost his father and mother. The commandant's legs gave out on him and he collapsed onto the nearest chair. He hardly listened as the doctor kept on talking in a low tone, his voice full of fatality. "It is as I have feared would happen; we weakened his body too much and the infection took over. Trying it again won't help. It is already too late."
Repede barked furiously at the doctor. It was clear the dog understood what was happening. Flynn did not even have the heart to stop the dog from crying out his sadness. His gaze fell miserably on Yuri, still asleep in the bed. The pain in his chest worsened until it felt like his heart was torn away from his chest. "How much?" the commandant asked painfully. The doctor looked at Flynn, not understanding his question. "How much time left does he have?" Flynn exclaimed with agony in his voice. Kazuhei kept silent at first, but when he saw the pained blue gaze bore into his, he knew he could not avoid answering. "Three days. Four at most," the doctor whispered.
Flynn's features twisted into agony. Three days? Only three days? It was all the time left he had to spend with his friend? Flynn wanted to scream in desperation and rage. It could not end like this! There must be something they could do to save Yuri! Something the doctor was not telling him! In his desperation, Flynn wanted to grab Kazuhei's collar and shake him until the doctor would tell him it was a lie, that they could still save Yuri. But the commandant's rational side knew it would serve nothing. The doctor's miserable expression told Flynn that he was not lying. That was enough to drain his fury away and for it to be replaced by grief and sorrow.
Kazuhei rose to his feet, his case in hand. He lowered his saddened gaze. "I left you enough painkillers for the time he has left. You can at least reduce his pain until the very end. I'm really sorry," Kazuhei said softly. He bowed in front of the commandant before silently leaving the room. Flynn rose from his chair and walked on numb legs to the chair at Yuri's side. That was all he could do before collapsing on it and taking a frail and burning hand into his shaking one. He brought it shakily to his lips and kissed the soft skin before bringing their joined hands to his forehead. Flynn closed his eyes.
Before he realized it, Flynn's shoulders were shaking as he wept silently, hot tears running down his cheeks. He wept as fond memories played in his mind; memories of happy moments spent with Yuri by his side. Them gazing up at the stars, them taking care of Repede, them sparring and playing, them taking care of each other when they were wounded or sick, them laughing and crying together, them just being together... Somehow, these memories only increased the commandant's agony.
He squeezed his friend's hand to stop himself from screaming out in anger and sorrow. Life was so unfair! Yuri did not deserve to die! Flynn would gladly trade his place with him if he could, but reality was not so kind. The commandant learned it the hard way, as he cried over his friend, the only person Flynn could not bear to lose. The knight screwed his eyes shut, but it did not stop the bitter tears from rolling down his face. "I don't want to lose you... I can't lose you," the commandant whispered in a broken voice. Because I can't lose the better part of me...
When Yuri opened his eyes, the first thing he saw when he turned his face to the side was Flynn sitting next to him. The commandant had his head lowered as he kept their joined hands against his forehead. Yuri frowned at the sight. He moved his hand slightly, which made Flynn raise his head and look at him. Yuri's heart sank at what he saw. So that's it. He understood everything once he saw the misery written all over Flynn's face, his red eyes and the traces of dried tears on his cheeks. Yuri's lips stretched into a sad and bitter smile. "So, I'm gonna die... It's all over..." Yuri whispered, wanting to cry at the realization. Flynn shook his head and tried to smile as his free hand caressed the black hair splayed on the pillow. "No, what made you –" the commandant began miserably, but he was cut short by Yuri's weak voice. "Don't lie, Flynn. You've never been good at lying," he whispered humorlessly.
Flynn's smile crumbled and all that was left was sorrow and pain. Yuri closed his eyes for he was unable to see such an expression on his friend's face. "How much time do I have left?" he asked pleadingly. He needed to know that much, even if he feared the answer. At first, silence answered him and he thought Flynn would not answer, but then it came and Yuri felt even more miserable. "Three days, maybe four." Yuri let out a broken laugh. "Well, aren't I lucky? It's not even enough time to do the "Five Hundred Things You should do Before you Die". It's a shame." Flynn glared at him. "Damn it, Yuri! That's not funny! You're going to die! How can you joke about that?" Yuri smiled sadly at Flynn. "Because if I don't, I'm going to break down," he answered genuinely.
Flynn felt even more miserable because of his friend's words. He felt himself on the verge of breaking down again. Yuri saw it. "Flynn, don't cry. You're gonna make me cry too and it's embarrassing as hell," Yuri pleaded and it made Flynn smile for a split second, even though that smile was bitter. Flynn's hand went to the corner of Yuri's eye and he wiped a lone tear with his finger. His hand lowered to caress the soft skin of his friend's cheek. "I don't want to lose you. I can't. Who is going to bother me if you're not here anymore? Who is going to climb through my window and cause headaches for my soldiers?" Flynn said with a hint of a smile. He tried to ignore the painful tear in his heart at the thought.
Yuri leaned into the commandant's touch, not trying to hide his movement. What was the point now anyway? "You'll find someone eventually who can do that in my place. I'm not irreplaceable, Flynn," Yuri whispered calmly, but the sole though of someone replacing him in the commandant's heart made him die inside. He did not want that to happen, but he could not afford to be selfish at this point. Flynn's blue gaze bore into Yuri's with an intensity that made his heart sway. "For me, you are. No one could ever replace you! I can't picture my life without you! You were always there for me, always pushing my doubts aside, always there to watch my back! I can't go on without you!" the commandant exclaimed with pain.
Yuri untangled his hand weakly from Flynn's and his fingertips ghosted over his friend's cheek. Yuri smiled sadly as he felt tears threaten to fall again. Damn it! Why did Flynn make him feel so weak? "Stop that, Flynn. It's too painful to hear. What I wouldn't give to hear those words before," the dark haired man said the last part in a barely audible whisper. Flynn heard it and felt his heart dying even more. He was so stupid! He cared so much for Yuri, from the very beginning, and he never found it in him to tell him or show him until now! Flynn would regret it for the rest of his days, he knew it.
A soft call of his name had Flynn snap out of his thoughts and look into Yuri's pleading gaze. He could see pain linger in them and wondered if the effects of the painkillers were running out. Flynn was about to ask Yuri when the latter talked again. "Can I ask you a favor?" he asked weakly. Flynn nodded slowly. "Anything you want, Yuri," despite his words, Flynn was not expecting his friend's next words. Not at all. "Kiss me," Yuri asked weakly. Flynn's eyes widened and he did not know if he heard well.
When he saw the slight color that crept on Yuri's cheeks, he knew he had indeed heard right. "I just... I want to know what might have been," the dark haired man added in a whisper. He did not finish his thought as it was too painful, but the commandant understood. If I were to live on. Flynn's heart beat faster in his chest and his eyes fell immediately on the soft, barely-parted lips of his friend. The lips he had wanted to kiss so much last night. The commandant felt the temptation come back at his friend's request. His trembling fingers slid to Yuri's lips to caress them again, and he felt them quiver under the touch.
Yuri felt himself unable to move as Flynn's fingers caressed his lips. He missed a breath when that hand slipped from his lips to his neck, the commandant's thumb caressing the skin of his cheek. Shivers ran through Yuri at the gesture and the coldness of Flynn's touch against his heated skin. He thought he would lose it when he saw Flynn lean in until they were mere centimeters apart. Yuri could feel his friend's uneven breath against his lips mixing with his own. Those haunted blue eyes bored into the very depths of his soul. Yuri closed his eyes, not wanting to see the pain he could read in them.
Barely a second passed before he felt Flynn's soft lips melt into his own. The contact was so soft and perfect that it blew Yuri's mind away. He sighed softly as Flynn moved his lips against his, causing a sweet sensation to wash over Yuri. He could not describe how it felt. The kiss was gentle, soft, passionate and desperate all at the same time. Yuri did not want the contact to end. His hand went to Flynn's hair and got lost in the soft blond strands as he responded to the kiss, moving his lips in time with Flynn's desperately. Little sparks of pure pleasure ran through his entire body. Flynn's hand tilted his head gently to deepen the kiss and Yuri felt his heart about to explode at the whole sensation. It was so wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time that Yuri felt the need to cry. Before he could stop them, the tears were already rolling down the sides of his face.
When Flynn finally pulled away, Yuri wanted to pull him back in and scream for his friend to never let go, but he did not need to. Flynn claimed his lips again, this time with desperation. Yuri could feel the pain and sadness Flynn felt through their connected lips. His hands went to the sides of Flynn's face and he could feel moisture under his thumbs. When they broke apart, Flynn leaned his forehead against Yuri's and they opened their eyes, each boring deep into the other's soul. Flynn wiped Yuri's tears away, even if there was no point to it. The tears kept on falling as Yuri could not stop them. The long haired man was too overwhelmed by emotions, feelings he kept locked inside for far too long. Feelings he had not allowed himself to feel, for he had never allowed himself to break down. But now, it was alright to indulge in them. To show Flynn the fear, love, uncertainty and desperation he felt. No one could blame him now.
Flynn watched as Yuri came undone under him. He watched as he withered like a flower, as the facade Yuri so skilfully made to protect his heart shattered slowly but surely, and the commandant's heart cried out at the sight of his strong friend breaking down in front of him. Flynn found himself wanting to protect Yuri's heart, wanting to keep it close and mend the wounds of his heart. Flynn cursed himself for it was only now that Yuri was on his death bed that he finally realized the extent of the feelings he held for Yuri.
The commandant gently cupped Yuri's face and his heart leapt when those beautiful gray eyes shining with tears bore into his eyes. That's when Flynn found the strength to pour out his feelings. "Yuri, I love you... I love you so much it hurts," his whispered confession had Yuri gasp and his eyes widened. A second after, Yuri was laughing weakly, but his tears did not stop even then. "You're one mushy idiot. But I guess that's why I love you," Yuri answered, feeling a strange sort of happiness wash over him in the midst of all this desperation. Flynn felt the same way. They clung to the little haven of happiness as it was the only way they would not break down more than they already had.
Flynn leaned in for another kiss, which held both passion and desperation. Yuri responded to the kiss, feeling some of the sadness and sorrow he felt being suppressed by Flynn's gentle care. He was lost in his emotions when a sudden jolt of pain tightened his chest. Yuri gasped and broke the kiss as pain flared in his chest. Flynn looked worriedly at him. "Does it hurt?" he asked gently. Yuri's eyes shut and he nodded. Flynn took the glass of water and one of the painkillers lying on the bedside table. The commandant helped his friend take the medicine. When Yuri settled back on the pillow, he looked at Flynn with pleading eyes. Flynn understood what Yuri wanted to say. The commandant smiled back softly at his love. "Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be here when you wake up," he whispered, his hand stroking Yuri's hair. Only when Yuri closed his eyes did Flynn's smile fade. When Yuri fell asleep, the commandant was left with nothing else except a heavy silence and a breaking heart.
The rest of the day went by too quickly for Flynn's taste. The commandant wished he could stop time because he knew that each passing hour brought them closer to Yuri's death. There was nothing they could do and it was killing the commandant inside. Still, he did not allow himself to break down again. He needed to be strong if he wanted to help Yuri through this ordeal. Yuri was the one who suffered the most through it all. Despite the painkillers, Flynn could see he was still in pain. His state was slowly deteriorating and he slept in longer periods. He began coughing up blood again and Flynn could not help but notice that the blood turned black in a matter of seconds. Whenever Yuri was awake, he was more and more tired. It was like the sickness was draining every ounce of his energy.
Flynn kept watching over Yuri, even through the night. He did not dare sleep, for fear of being asleep if something serious happened. His eyes were directed towards Yuri's face and his ears were open to the sound of harsh breathing, but he was lost in memories of moments spent with his friend. The commandant wished he could turn back time, tell Yuri how he felt, and for both of them to just run away somewhere where they could be alone. Where there would be no duties, no justice, nothing to chain and separate them. Flynn had really ruined everything they could have, and no matter what he did, he could not make up for it. It was too late.
Before he knew it, a bright morning was rising, and with it, Flynn's hope was fading fast. Two days left... Flynn could not stop his mind from thinking that. He felt even more miserable. Repede seemed to feel the commandant's misery as he lay at Flynn's feet most of the time, trying to comfort Flynn in its own way. The dog knew one of his masters was dying. Repede was clever enough to understand it.
In the middle of the morning, a knock against the door startled Flynn out of his thoughts. He frowned as he stood up tiredly and went for the door. When he opened it, it was the sight of Judith smiling at him that greeted his eyes. The Krytian seemed only a little surprised by his presence. "Oh, Commandant. I am surprised to see you. Is Yuri here?" she asked. Flynn was hesitant at first, but he finally stepped aside, motioning the Krytian she could come in. "Yes. He's asleep right now, but I'll wake him up," he whispered tiredly. Judith did not move as she noticed the bags under his eyes and the exhaustion on his features. "Are you okay?" she asked with slight concern in her voice. Flynn was surprised by the question, but he quickly recovered. "Oh, um, yeah. I'm fine, thank you for your concern," he answered evasively.
Judith let the matter slide and entered the room. When the Krytian's gaze fell on Yuri's sleeping form, worry appeared in her ruby eyes. She instantly knew that something was clearly wrong. Flynn went to Yuri's side and he sat on the edge of the bed. The commandant gently shook his friend's shoulder as he called his name softly. After some time, Yuri's eyes fluttered open and he turned his head to look confusedly at Flynn. The commandant smiled softly at him. "Yuri, one of your friends is here to see you," he said gently.
Yuri turned his gaze from Flynn to Judith, who was standing near the feet of his bed. Flynn got up and went to the window, turning his back to the duo to gaze at the deceivingly beautiful morning. Judith went to sit in the chair near the bed. The worry she felt grew when she saw how thin Yuri had become. The latter smiled at his friend. "Hey, Judy. What's up?" he asked and his weak voice betrayed his condition. Judith hid the worry she felt. "Nothing really. I just wanted to see how you were doing. Not so well, as I can see," she said on a teasing tone, trying to lighten the mood.
Flynn closed his eyes as he waited for Yuri to tell her the truth. Yuri's answer had him snap his eyes open and turn around to look at his friend. "It's just a cold, don't worry. I'll be back on my feet before you know it," Yuri lied to Judith. When she saw the commandant's movement, Judith turned her face to look at Flynn and the look spattered on his face told her everything. It was a look of pure anger and pain. She understood everything. The Krytian smiled back at Yuri. "I hope so. Ba'ul and I will be waiting to take you places, so take care, okay?" she said softly as she stood up. Yuri nodded, pretending not having seen the deep sadness in his friend's eyes. He could not fool Judith. She could see through his lies. "Goodbye, Yuri," Judith whispered as she turned around.
Judith looked at Flynn and the commandant understood what she silently wanted to tell him. Take care of him. Flynn saw a single tear run down the woman's cheek as she went to the door and left the room. As soon as she was gone, the silence in the room became heavy. Flynn looked at Yuri, who had closed his eyes. The commandant soon could not contain his anger and pain anymore. "Why did you lie to her?" he asked loudly. His friend opened his eyes and turned his head weakly to look at him. "I didn't see the point in telling her. Besides, she understood anyway," Yuri answered evasively. Flynn clenched his fists in fury. "Damn it, Yuri! That's not the point! She's your friend! She deserves to know that much! How do you think your friends will react when they'll learn you died and they didn't get to tell you goodbye?" the commandant exclaimed with pain. Yuri shook his head weakly. "I don't want them to pity me! It's already hard enough as it is!" he said.
Flynn understood the hidden meaning behind Yuri's words. His anger flared up at that. "So you think I pity you? Maybe you also think I kissed you out of pity? That when I said I loved you it meant nothing? Is that it?" the commandant asked and the silence that answered him spoke for Yuri. Flynn looked at Yuri and when he saw the pain swirling in those gray eyes, his anger faded quickly to be replaced by sorrow and pain. What was he doing, yelling at his friend in his state? Flynn clenched his teeth and went to the bed. He sat on the edge, facing away from Yuri.
The commandant hung his head low. "You don't understand, Yuri. I don't pity you. I'm hurting because I'll lose you and because there's nothing I can do to stop it! I'm losing the one person I love more than anything! And I feel guilt because I didn't realize my feelings earlier! If I did, then we could have more time together! I could have showed you how much I love you!" Flynn poured out his fears and regrets, and he struggled not to break down again. The commandant dropped his forehead against his clasped hands as he tried to control his onslaught of emotions. A moment of silence answered him and Flynn thought Yuri would keep the silent act. That was before he felt two arms weakly embrace his waist from behind and a burning body pressed against his back.
Yuri had used the little bit of strength he had left to sit in his bed and lean against his friend. "I'm sorry, Flynn..." the soft and broken whisper reached the commandant's ears. "I'm sorry for doubting you... I'm sorry for everything..." Flynn did not answer, but the way he relaxed in Yuri's embrace told the sick man that the commandant forgave him. Silence stretched on for a while until Flynn broke it with a whisper. "You have to tell them, Yuri." Flynn heard a faint sigh followed by a weak fit of coughing. "Please, Flynn. I can't do it. Please understand," Yuri said pleadingly. Flynn felt too weak to protest. He would respect Yuri's wishes, even if he did not agree with his friend. The commandant kept his eyes closed as he reveled in the feel of Yuri's warmth melting into him, thinking with agony that it was one of the last times he would feel his love's warmth. In less than two days, he would lose him forever. He would be clinging to the ghost of what was and what might have been.
Yuri slept again for the rest of the day. Flynn gave him medication more often as the pain seemed to grow with each passing hour. Yuri's coughing fit also increased in intensity and happened often as time passed. Flynn could not help but think the end was coming fast. He was trying to make the most of it when Yuri had short moments of lucidity. Flynn gave up long ago trying to feed Yuri as his friend refused to eat anymore. Flynn gently took care of his friend, whispering stories of happy memories to him as he caressed his hair in an adoring gesture. Seeing the gentle smile that graced Yuri's lips sometimes soothed a little Flynn's aching heart. He tried most of the time to hide his own pain for Yuri's sake.
Before he knew it, another morning dawned, painfully recalling Flynn that it might be Yuri's last morning. Flynn did not want to accept it, but he had no choice considering his friend's state. Despite the medicine, Yuri often moaned in pain and thrashed weakly in his bed. His moments of lucidity were growing fewer and his fever kept getting worse. Despite his resolution to stay strong for Yuri, Flynn found himself weeping a few times while Yuri was asleep. It was beginning to be too much to bear.
If there was a God, Flynn hated him. Yuri did not deserve this! He had lived a selfless life, always sacrificing himself for the good of others! He had put his life on the line to save the world! Why did he have to suffer like this? Why did he have to die? It was so unfair. Hours passed and Yuri did not wake up. Flynn feared he would not wake up until the end. He did not want that. Flynn wanted to say a last goodbye, for Yuri to know he would not die alone. He wanted Yuri to know he was loved until the very end.
The afternoon was drawing to an end when strange sounds coming from outside reached the commandant's ears. He heard a loud, strange sound followed by... screams? What was going on outside? Flynn cursed under his breath. He was torn apart. He had to go check it out, but he did not want to leave Yuri. Not when he could die any moment now. More screams reached his ears and Flynn knew he could not ignore them. He looked at Repede, who had lifted his head and was listening to the sounds. "Repede, I have to go check on things outside. Look after Yuri, okay? If anything happens, go get the innkeeper," Flynn said to the dog.
Repede barked, telling Flynn he understood. The commandant returned his attention on Yuri and the sole thought of leaving him broke his heart, but he had to. Flynn leaned in and stole a quick kiss from his friend's open lips. "I'll be back for you. Please hang on," the commandant whispered desperately. Flynn then grabbed his sword and shield that were lying against the table. He did not bother putting on his armor. He did not have the time. Flynn threw a last glance at his friend before running out of Yuri's room.
When Flynn arrived at the Lower Quarter's plaza, his eyes widened in horror at what he saw. Many of the houses were on fire. Citizens were screaming in terror at the sight. Many imperial knights were already there, trying to quell the flames before they extended to other houses. Flynn quickly joined his knights. When they saw him, they bowed in front of him. "Commandant! We're glad to see you!" one of them said with relief. Flynn motioned to one of the burning houses. "What happened here?" he asked with worry. "We don't know, Commandant! We heard the sound of an explosion and when we came to investigate, the houses were on fire. We couldn't find any traces of the culprits!" another knight explained with panic. Flynn's mind registered the word "explosion" and it reminded him of something similar that happened a few days ago. Just about then, another loud sound resounded, this time coming from the Public Quarter. Flynn cursed. "You, stay here and try to quell this fire! Get the help of the citizens if you have to!" he exclaimed before running towards the Public Quarter.
When he arrived in the middle of the Public Quarter, the same sight welcomed his eyes. Many of the buildings were on fire and his knights were trying to suppress it. Flynn's heart sank in his chest at the sight. Sodia spotted him and weaved through the crowd to join him. The young woman quickly joined her superior and bowed. "Sodia! Tell me what happened!" Flynn ordered, barely keeping the panic at bay. The female knight nodded, understanding the commandant wanted to know everything that happened since he left matters in her hands. "Since the attack on the castle a few days ago, I dispatched knights all around the city following your orders, but there was no attack from the terrorists until now. We believe they are the cause of these explosions. Fires broke out all around the city, but your men are already in place and will surely manage to put out the fires quickly," Sodia explained with her usual professionalism.
Flynn took her words in and frowned. "And the terrorists? Did you see them?" Sodia shook her head. "No, but we still believe it is their work," she answered. Flynn thought so too, but the fact that none of them were seen was concerning. Flynn's mind suddenly put up the pieces together and he did not like where it was going. "You said fires broke out everywhere; did you dispatch all the knights?" the commandant asked with concern. Sodia frowned at his question. "Almost all of them. There are a few knights on duty at the castle, of course," she said hesitantly. But not enough. Flynn felt his heart beat faster in his chest as he understood the terrorists' plan. He cursed loudly this time. "Sodia, when the knights finish putting out the fires, send them all back to the castle!" Flynn exclaimed and without further explanations, he took off in the direction of the castle. Words he heard a few days ago rang into his head. "I'm going to shred you to pieces and rip your limbs off! Then I'll do the same to the little prince." Damn it! Why did he not think of that earlier?
Flynn ran past some of the knights who were evacuating citizens from a burning house. He ignored them and kept running, not even stopping when his lungs burned with exertion. When Flynn reached the reconstructed gate, his heart sank at the sight. The knights that were on duty at the entrance were lying on the ground in pools of their own blood. They were killed savagely. Flynn's guess was right; the fires were only a diversion; a diversion to get all the knights away from the castle so Ioder would be left almost defenseless. It was their plan all along: to force Flynn to dispatch the knights all around the city and he had fallen right into it. As the commandant was standing there, Ioder might already be… The thought was enough to make Flynn sprint towards the gate.
He entered the castle and emerged in the hallway were Yuri and him fought the terrorists a few days ago. His chest tightened at the thought and he pushed it aside. Flynn ran down the hallway, ignoring the corpses of both terrorists and knights lying on the ground. Flynn just turned the corner of the hallway when he spotted an enemy archer at the other end of the hallway. He ducked back around the corner, but it was too late. The arrow his enemy fired sank into the flesh of his arm. Flynn gritted his teeth at the pain as his back collided with the wall behind him. He was too careless, but the commandant had no time! He had to save Ioder! So I can go back to Yuri. Flynn kept his teeth clenched and he quickly tore the arrow out of his flesh before throwing it to the ground.
After reassessing his surroundings, Flynn quickly got out of hiding and lifted his shield in front of him as the terrorist fired another arrow. It collided with the shield and Flynn broke into a run. Before his enemy had the time to shoot another arrow at him, the commandant was upon him. He sliced his throat open, not having the time nor care to spare the lives of those terrorists. Flynn did not spare a last glance at his victim. He resumed his run into the maze of hallways, his feet taking him in the direction of the throne room. Ioder was usually there at this time of day. Flynn prayed that he was there. He would not have a second chance to save him.
The commandant passed in front of an open door, and the terrorists that were in the room spotted him. They screamed at him and Flynn cursed. He had no time to take care of them, so he just kept running, hearing their steps behind him. He turned another corner and arrived at the base of the staircase leading to the throne room. The doors were open and two terrorists were guarding the entry. Flynn was too late! They were already here! Maybe they did not have time to hurt Ioder yet! With a surge of panic, Flynn climbed the stairs quickly. The two terrorists saw him and charged at him. Flynn blocked the first attack with his shield and dodged the attack of the second terrorist. He stabbed the first one through the chest and swiped his foot under his second enemy's feet, making the enemy trip and tumble down the stairs. Without wasting another second, Flynn climbed the rest of the stairs and emerged into the throne room.
He froze at the sight that awaited him. Six terrorists were standing in circle around the throne. One of the terrorists was standing in front of the throne, his sword stained with fresh blood. He was preventing Flynn from seeing what was on the throne. Or rather, who. Flynn took a few shocked steps forward. Upon hearing the clattering sound of his sword and shield, the terrorists turned towards him and revealed the hidden sight of the throne. Flynn's heart missed a beat.
There, collapsed onto the throne like a broken doll, was Ioder. His chest was covered in blood from where he had been stabbed. The young man's eyes were closed and blood stained the corner of his mouth. Flynn was paralyzed by the sight. He almost did not hear what the terrorist holding the blood-stained sword said. "It's nice of you to visit us, Commandant. But it's too late to save the little prince. You should have heard the scream of pain as I stabbed him! It was –" The terrorist did not have the time to finish his sentence. Flynn saw red. He charged at the terrorist and he viciously stabbed him. The wounded man's eyes widened in surprise and he made a gurgling sound as blood filled his mouth.
The other terrorists sprang into action. They roared in fury and lunged at the commandant. Flynn's rage gave him more strength and agility. He turned around, his sword still stabbed into the terrorist's chest. Lifting one foot, Flynn kicked the dead man into one of his comrades. The commandant raised his shield to block the attacks as he used his sword to counter. The terrorists that had been pursuing him earlier entered the room and Flynn was now up against seven opponents. But it did not hinder him. He was desperate and angry, and those emotions fueled him. He wanted to make them pay for Ioder's death. The commandant fought with a strength born from desperation.
He felled one terrorist after another. Flynn reveled in the fear in his enemies' eyes. Some of his enemies managed to give him injuries, but they were shallow and did not stop him from retaliating. Soon, there were only three assailants left. Flynn kept on fighting, even as his energy ran low. He blocked the sword striking down on him and quickly countered, slashing deeply across his assailant's stomach. As the terrorist fell to the ground, Flynn's eyes spotted one of the two terrorists left, but he failed to see the other. Where was he?
A sudden pain flared in his abdomen and Flynn cried out as he stumbled forward. His hand went to his bleeding wound as he turned around to see the other terrorist who had just stabbed him. Flynn gritted his teeth with pain and forced himself to retaliate. He cut the man's throat open, and made a move to turn around and face his last enemy, but his wound slowed him down. The terrorist's sword slashed across his back and Flynn gasped in pain. He took a few staggering steps forward and almost fell to his knees. Flynn managed to stand his ground and turned around in time to block another furious attack.
With the last ounce of energy he had left, Flynn stabbed the men and watched as he fell on the ground to join his dead comrades. Flynn staggered backwards until his back hit the closest wall. He clenched his teeth and covered his wound with his free hand. By the amount of blood Flynn was losing, he knew the terrorist had hit one of his vitals. This was not good. The commandant's eyes traveled from the bodies on the ground up to Ioder. His chest tightened painfully at the sight. He had arrived too late! Flynn failed in protecting his master! He failed in the most important of his missions! He closed his eyes in unrest.
Suddenly, Flynn heard voices coming his way. He opened his eyes again. Was it more terrorists? Flynn was in no shape to fight them now! As he stared at the entrance, he found he was wrong. A few of his soldiers burst into the room, and with them, the princess herself. When Estellise saw Flynn leaning against a wall and covered in wounds, her eyes widened in worry. "Flynn!" she exclaimed and made a move to run to his side. Flynn shook his head. "No, I'm fine! But Ioder..." he trailed on, his gaze falling on the young boy. Estelle followed his gaze and gasped in horror. She did not waste time in running at Ioder's side. Flynn waited for the announcement of his death and he could not help but to blame himself.
"He's... he's still breathing!" Estelle announced with a shaking voice. She activated her first aid spell and began to work at him in earnest. Flynn sighed in relief. At least, he was alive. Flynn stopped the terrorists' plan, but there were many casualties. He failed to save all those knights. Nothing he did now would redeem his mistake. Flynn winced as pain spread through his entire being and he opened his eyes to look at the ceiling. Yuri... Flynn's thoughts flew over to his friend. He closed his eyes and a pained smiled graced his lips.
Estellise sighed in relief when she finally stabilized Ioder. His life was not in danger anymore. She stood to her feet and looked over to where Flynn was. Worry settled in her when her eyes did not find him. There were no traces of him left but blood on the wall where he was leaning against earlier. "Flynn?" she exclaimed with worry as her eyes scanned the room, but he was nowhere to be found. "Flynn!" the princess screamed again, panicked, but no matter how much she screamed the commandant's name, he did not answer. He was gone.
Flynn was barely aware of his journey back to the Lower Quarter. His vision was slowly getting blurry and he had trouble breathing. He had lost a lot of blood, and many times during his long walk the commandant had to lean against houses to regain some of his strength. He remembered hearing worried cries of his name by some of his men, but he ignored it all. His thoughts were on one thing only: Yuri. The thought of his friend was what gave him the strength to go on. Flynn managed to climb the stairs to Yuri's room.
When he opened the door, he saw Repede sitting next to the bed. When the dog saw him, he whined and backed away from the bed. Flynn took a few staggering steps towards the bed. When he focused his gaze on Yuri, Flynn felt the blood in his veins run cold. The dark haired man's skin was a deathly white and his lips were a faint tint of blue. "No, no it can't be..." Flynn whispered and reached the bed. He collapsed on the ground near the bed and reached a blood-stained hand to his friend's cheek. His skin was cold, but it still held some warmth. Flynn bent down and almost screamed at the strain it caused on his wound. The commandant leaned his ear against his friend's chest. At first, he heard nothing, but after a few seconds, he finally heard the sound of a faint heartbeat. Yuri was still alive. Flynn sighed in relief. He would never forgive himself if Yuri had died alone.
Flynn managed to stand up again, and ignoring the pain it caused him, he leaned over Yuri and gathered the man into his arms. He lifted him from the bed and kept him cradled against his chest. The commandant's heart sank in his chest when he noticed how light Yuri became in a few days. Flynn placed his lips near his friend's ear as he smiled bitterly. "Let's go, Yuri. Let's go to a place where we can be alone..." he whispered as he took staggering steps towards the door. Repede rose to his feet and followed his masters in silence. Flynn finished his sentence mentally, not having the heart to say it out loud even if it was the truth.
"Where we can die alone..."
Flynn was glad that place was not too far from the Inn where Yuri was resting. He did not know if he would have found the strength to reach it otherwise. Flynn found his way back to the abandoned house that was his and Yuri's hideout in the past. It was still there, standing taller than the rest of the houses around. Flynn went inside and climbed the stairs up to the roof. The house had a flat roof, so it made it easy for them to settle nicely to stargaze. Tonight would be a perfect night to do just so. Night had just settled in and there were almost no clouds to cover the sky.
When the commandant finally made his way to the roof, he leaned on the wall beside the door and slid down the wall into a sitting position, Yuri still cradled against his chest. Repede did not follow them up there as he chose to stay outside of the house, guarding the entrance to make sure Flynn and Yuri would be alone. Flynn was glad for that. He gently shook Yuri, trying to wake his friend up. After some time, he felt Yuri stir against him. Flynn tightened his embrace around his love. "Yuri..." he whispered raggedly.
Flynn finally saw his friend weakly lift his face towards him and a pained gray gaze bore into his eyes. "Flynn..." The commandant heard the soft call of his name. He smiled sadly at Yuri. "Hey..." he whispered and winced when a pang of pain tore at his wound. Yuri saw it and frowned. Flynn then felt something cold touch his wound and realized it was Yuri's hand. Worry appeared in Yuri's haunted gaze. "Flynn... you're wounded... Estelle..." he whispered partially as he did not have the strength to talk anymore.
Flynn took Yuri's hand in his and brought it shakily to his lips. "I know, but I don't want her to heal my wounds. That way, I can die along with you," he said with pain in his voice. Yuri closed his eyes and Flynn swore he saw a single crystal tear escape his eye. Flynn closed his eyes too as he brought Yuri's hand to his cheek. "I can't live without you, Yuri. I just can't. It's too painful to even think about living if you are not there," Flynn whispered with sadness.
Yuri opened his lips to talk, but a fit of coughing took him and his body was wracked by spasms. Flynn held him close. For the first time in days, as they sat there under the stars and the moon, Flynn finally felt something other than pain, desperation and sorrow. He felt peace and contentment. In a few minutes, it would all be over. There would be nothing else but silence. No wars, no death, no tragedies... only silence. The commandant was glad for that. He was so tired of it all.
When Yuri stopped coughing, he struggled to speak. "...cheesy idiot," he whispered with a sad smile stretching across his blood-stained lips. Flynn laughed weakly and caressed Yuri's cheek. He leaned in to claim those sweet lips for one last time. He burned their softness and texture into his memory, never to be forgotten. When they broke apart, Flynn kept their faces close as he gazed into Yuri's eyes. "I love you. Don't ever forget that, Yuri. Even if we get to be reincarnated into another life, I'll chase you down again and again. You'll always be mine," Flynn said as love shone in his eyes. Yuri opened his mouth to talk, but his voice gave out on him this time. Even so, Flynn could read his answer in his eyes as Yuri smiled softly at him. I'll be waiting for it.
Yuri's face suddenly contorted in pain and he struggled to take in air. Flynn's embrace tightened and he clenched his teeth as he felt Yuri writhe weakly in pain against his chest. Flynn refrained himself from screaming in desperation as he kept his hold strong and steady around his love's waist. It went on no more than a minute, but it felt like an eternity for Flynn. When Yuri finally stopped writhing, his body relaxed and his head lolled against the commandant's chest. Flynn felt his heart stop in his chest. "Yuri?" he called softly. When he heard no response, he shook him gently, but it was no use.
Flynn closed his eyes and leaned his face against his love's forehead. "No... No! Yuri, don't go! Stay with me!" he exclaimed painfully and tears escaped his eyes as he realized Yuri was gone. He cried as he cradled the lifeless body of his best friend, of the love of his life. The pain in Flynn's body increased and his sight blurred even more as his senses slowly turned numb. The commandant was relieved to know the end was coming. That way, he would be free of the pain of losing Yuri. Keeping Yuri's head cradled against his wounded heart, Flynn leaned his head against the cold wall behind him. He let his blurred gaze travel on the stars and the moon, shining with a never ending beauty in the dark sky above. Tears kept rolling down Flynn's cheeks as a sad smile stretched his lips that were slowly turning blue. "Can you see, Yuri? The moon is particularly beautiful tonight," he whispered to himself, knowing Yuri could not hear him anymore. He already departed from this world.
And as life left the commandant, the wind carried his last whispered words away, accompanied by the melancholic howling of a dog under the full moon.
"Let us meet again and fall in love all over again..."
A/N: The end... wow.
First, I want to apologize for those who like happy endings. At first, that is what I wanted to do. But somehow, it did not happen that way. This ending imposed on my mind and it did not want to go away. It is the first time that the story guides my hand and not the other way around. It was both frightening and exhilarating at the same time. I know it sounds weird, but I like to think the characters talked to me and guided me to this ending. Yuri and Flynn did not want to be separated, even as the only option for that not happening was through death. In a way, I think of it as a happy ending. None of them gets to live without the other.
For those who are wondering, I'm not seeing Flynn like the suicidal type. In normal circumstances, he would have let Yuri die and would have continue on living. But he figured that since he had an opportunity to die along with Yuri, he would take it.
Like I said before in the last chapter, that story took me really far from my comfort zone, but I'm glad it did. It made me grow as an author in a way I could never imagine. If I manage to draw some emotions from you, my readers, no matter how little, I'll be the happiest person in the world. ^^ It will mean everything to me. It will mean I can still grow and get better as an author. That in itself is the best gift that I could ever have. :)
I want to thank everyone that took and that will take the time to review, or even put this story on their favorite list. Thank you very much.
I also want to say a special thank you to PeachteaKT for she not only betaed this work, but she also made this request from me. This story gained a special place in my heart and I hope it was good enough so you, my readers, will remember it.
Thank you very much for your support everyone! Until next time!