I'm so sorry about my hiatus but I have been so ungodly busy. Speechless is going to be updated soon, I promise.
As for this, my goodness.
I'm really embarrassed to say I ship this, but I do. I wish I didn't, but alas, I find myself here again with the spawn of my pathetic brain. Just be kind.
ALSO I changed some of the specs about her parents' deaths and her necklace and how she came about it so just bear with me please c: And I don't remember the exact order of the plot of events, so please don't kill me.
Lara has always been a people pleaser. At first glance, this may not seem so, but it is the shameful truth. Yet that 'shameful' truth is only shameful to her, for had anyone close to her realize this was the case, they would have assured nothing was at all wrong with trying to do your best for others.
This was never more the case than with Conrad Roth. Not surprising in the least, it was because Lara always had the most to lose with him.
After the death of her parents, there was no one around in the Croft's life to care for the heiress without any malicious intent, but Roth. Roth, the man who barely knew the family for more than a year, yet developed a searing bond to the young girl that would last through her life. It was he who took her in, cared for her, taught her what she needed to know to be a good archaeologist like her parents. He was her only stability in her life, as she couldn't remember her mother or father, and appreciated nothing more than his presence.
She knew this even when she was little; for it was with him she had her first memory. It was silly, and she doubted he thought about it as much as she did, but she cherished it all the same.
They were mountaineering on an ancient bluff in the north of Ireland, camped in for the night. Roth was under contract with a kind Dublin curator who invited Lara to tag along to keep her young son company. The dig site was absolutely fascinating to Lara, all the areas roped and tools strewn about, and she could barely sleep.
Kicking about her sleeping bag in their tent, she slipped up and out into the cool winds of the bluff, knowing well enough to stay away from the edge. Paying no mind to the chilly wind, she carefully crossed her way to the area of the site where there was high activity before everyone turned in. Pulling out the toothbrush Conrad gave her, she sat down and began scrubbing away, all the while listening to the water below.
After about ten minutes she began to catch a chill, but was pleased when her spastic shivers made her brush move quicker, not deterred in the least. A time later, no more than twenty minutes, a glimmer caught her eye. Too excited to use her brush or to call anyone, Lara dug out the lump with her clumsily cold fingers. Too dark to see, she clutched the object to her swelling heart and dashed back to the camp, shouting as she went.
"Conrad! Madame Curator! Look! I found something!" She dashed over to her tent and poked her head in. "Wake up, this is important!" She dodged out again to go knock on the flap of the leader's tent.
With a groan, Conrad rubbed his face and sat up. Checking his watch, the time read 0329. How long was the girl up and about? He emerged from the tent to find a little six year old Lara jumping at the feet of his employer.
"What is it? What is it?" She abruptly snatched the found item from the woman's hands and brought it to Roth, who knelt and took Lara on his knee. Brushing the remaining clumps of dirt on the piece, and thanks to the light given from the curator's lamp, Roth identified the piece.
"Lara, this is pendant is medieval, at least! This is an amazing find! You must show us all where you dug it up!" With the largest smile she could muster, she threw her arms around his neck, writhing with excitement. Returning the embrace, everyone could not help but smile in return. The curator was sprinting back to the site, even though it was too dark to do any serious digging.
The two alone now, Conrad could feel his heart swell with pride as he watched down on the little girl admiring the lump. He crouched in front of her, placed his hands on her shoulders and had her face him.
"Your parents would be very proud. This is what they used to do, and now you're doing it." Without missing a beat, Lara returned;
"But are you proud of me, Conrad?" Taken aback, he could barely reply.
"Of course I'm proud of you girl, of course I am."
Lara made the smallest find of the dig, and was offered to keep her gem, who readily accepted. For her thirteenth birthday, he presented her with a polished necklace, making all the effort to embarrass her fully when he had just had to add that she ran in front of an entire research team in her penguin pajamas.
It was the necklace that reaffirmed his fondness to her, and gave her security that he wouldn't run off. It was during her young teen years when self-doubt and fear crept in. What would happen to their relationship? She was in and out of whichever boarding school had the programs to keep her interest, while he was doing his tours around the globe.
When they were both home at the same time, she worried the most. What if this is the last time we are together? What if he goes off and never comes back? What if he gets killed?
With enough money to her name, Lara could already afford to take care of herself, and of course Conrad knew this. Should he decide to go off on a new expedition, another tour, just run off and abandon her, he could do it knowing she would be ok.
Lara knew deep down that wouldn't happen, but she could still fear. It was for this reason she was always obedient, always a good student, and always more than helpful. She never thought of it as 'people pleaser' characteristics, but just who she was.
But she was also jealous.
Jealousy never seemed to seep in until she was older, particularly around 17 on. The ladies in Roth's life were few and far between, as far as Lara thought. When she was younger, she would never see them, though every so often, a kind face would show up and offer a few kind words to Lara. She never thought twice. Later, though, when Roth knew she was old enough to handle that concept, there were more women. Never an exorbitant amount, but enough for Lara to feel subpar. What kind of company were these pathetic city-women who have never laid hands on a mountain in their life?
Naturally, Lara never let Roth knew she was disdainful; her strange worry came from something else that she couldn't quite identify. She wasn't trying to be selfish, but how could Conrad try to replace her?
It was about this time when she stopped calling him Conrad, and began calling him Roth. The first time was shocking to all present, even though it was all in good fun, but it stuck. The last time she called him Conrad was when she left for college.
They saw very little of each other during her college years. He was around the world, and she was tied up in her studies. They still kept in touch with letters, and the even rarer phone call. The last phone call they shared was when she called to propose he accompany her on her expedition to Yamatai.
And all was going well until the Endurance wreck. Lara, who came out of orphanage with fewer hard knocks than others, was not at all prepared.
The Solarii were not at all prepared for Lara, but they wouldn't know she wasn't ready for them. Everything she did, all she knew, came from Roth. Her theory of survival was beyond impressive, but was never put into practice. She had definitely not killed before.
She had to sneak past the Solarii stronghold, finally got into a partially secluded area, but she was still found, and when that man came on to her, and she got the opportunity to shoot him, she took it.
It was the beginning of the end, and she did not like it, though she knew she had no other option.
Then out of the blue, Roth chimed in with the walkie talkie, and she could finally meet up with him.
When they met, they were both a wreck. His leg was in shambles and she looked about as good as she felt. She fetched the meds to treat his leg, the first priority, before he asked how she was.
"I had to kill somebody, Roth." She was in shock, he could tell.
"Wow. It must have been scary." As a royal Marine, killing was not something he was unfamiliar with, but this child who pushed through to do what she must was a strange sort of admirable.
"It was scary how easy it was." That was a shock. He was not expecting that.
The bastard probably deserved it. Roth didn't want to know what happened. He was in no shape to take down the damn psychos on this island with his leg so messed up.
They had to part so Lara could find send the SOS, but it was not so soon after they met again, this time after the crash of the rescue. At all costs she must go to the other pilot, and why Roth would stop her, she would never know. This is something she must do. Why can he not understand that? To hell with his idea of sacrifice!
"I know about sacrifice." His face softened and twisted the slightest amount
"No, you know about loss. Sacrifice is a choice you make. Loss is a choice made for you."
"I can't choose to let him die!"
Alright, maybe it was a bit of a suicide mission, they both knew it, but it still must be done. She made it to him, but not before being chased off the dynamite strewn bridge, watching the pilot she was so desperately try to save be killed.
The next time they met was when she just watched Grim kill himself to save her. The shots rang out and the Solarii coming behind her dropped. And Roth was backing her.
"Looks like you're going to have to go under. I'll back you up." Lara had no doubt he would.
"I was afraid you were going to say that." She began her climb under the bridge to the palace to free the team. Shots rang out every few seconds as another goon would drop dead in front of her. From his scope, Roth was watching her climb and jump deftly through the air towards the team.
She made it in, freed them, and said they would meet at the beach. After escaping from the flames and barely making it inside the helicopter. That meeting with Roth was the best thing that happened all day. They finally had a way off, and the group was free and relatively safe. However, that nagging instinct inside her to pull the pistol off Roth and point it at the stubborn pilot was just another sign this fiasco would not end quickly. No way in hell she'd leave without their group.
They almost landed the chopper, but alas, it wrecked and suddenly, the world went black.
Blackness, then she was coughing, then the explosion. Two things registered in her mind: the pain, and the fact Roth was next to her.
They just about fell into a weak support embrace, happy to be alive, when all of a sudden she spotted them. Roth swung around and began to shoot; killing as many as possible. Realizing he was out of ammo, and that the hatchet was coming, he swung around to protect Lara. He pushed Lara to the ground, but he kept shooting.
He just finished them off when he collapsed
This was it.
The heroic Conrad Roth is going down fighting, and Lara is not alright with that in the least.
"I can't do this without you." She was barely keeping in her sobs.
"I'm sorry, Lara," He was fading. "You can do this," He placed his twin pistols down.
"You're a Croft." And he was gone. Lara couldn't keep it back any longer, and began to sob openly, moving next to him to grasp one last time at his still, slumped body.
She realized then that this was wrong. Their relationship was wrong. There had to be something more. She was nothing more to him than an orphan to his old friends. She was nothing more than the daughter he never had. Perhaps that was her fault; had it not been for her, he would have gone out an gotten married.
With a cough and a few more raking sobs, she thought that this was not the case. He did love her; he stuck with her to the very end.
But Lara couldn't help it. She felt something, a much stronger connection that has always been there, but never identifiable. She cherished him as the only one who has ever been there for her, whereas he thought of her as his own. Why would he see her as anything else but that?
It was wrong of her to think like this. She owes him everything: stability, her sense of survival and adventure, a chance for happiness in an impossible scenario. It was wrong, but at least she could name it.
The least she could do was send him out as the warrior he was in life.
Though a hero in death, he will never know how many times he had saved Lara, twin pistols blaring.
This is the worst thing I have ever written, I am so sorry. Ugh this is so embarrassing.
To make matters worse, I think I might write a second bit about his side. It isn't going to be creepy I swear.