Fool of Fools
Rated T (Warning: There's a fairly disturbing death flashback towards the end.)
"EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE?!" Alysa screamed into Gangrel's face. "I COME BACK FROM A DAYS REST, FINALLY FEELING HAPPY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MONTHS THANKS TO THE EFFORTS OF A VERY GOOD FRIEND, AND THE FIRST THING I HEAR IS THAT YOU THINK I'M EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE?!"
"You're not making much of a case in your defense-" Gangrel muttered to himself, wincing as Alysa launched into a fresh tirade.
"WHAT THE GODS DO YOU KNOW?! DON'T YOU DARE PRESUME YOU KNOW ME!"
"Alysa, calm down." The mad king said, wincing as he cleared out one of his ears with a finger. "I can assure you, I was merely trying to dissuade Orpheus from trying to 'fix' you. I assume it elevated from there. I believed there was nothing wrong with you."
Alysa suddenly became very sheepish, and the room filled itself with an awkward silence. "...oh."
Then her face darkened.
"Why was that sentence in the past tense?"
"Because..." Gangrel drawled, mentally preparing himself for the onslaught. "...there clearly is."
"Really?" Alysa hissed, grabbing the king by the clasp of his cloak. "And what, exactly, would that be?"
"Well, the part that really cemented this fact would be that you come in assuming one situation instead of looking at it from all angles like you used to." Gangrel said with a crazed grin that may or may not have been brought on by oxygen depreviation. "But I've had my suspicions since you woke up crying in the middle of my court."
Alysa froze and let the king go, dropping him to the marble floor as her face went white. "You saw that?"
"Saw? I was right behind you, woman!" Gangrel grumbled as he stood up. "Gods know I didn't know how to deal with it, so I told Chrom."
"You what?!" Alysa slumped back into the nearest chair, hand over her mouth. "Oh, gods, you told him. That's...he didn't need to know."
"After all that garbage about invisible bonds tying you two together, and you refuse to share something like that with him?" Gangrel snorted. "Sounds like you're being one hell of a hypocrite to me."
"It's different." Alysa said weakly. "The circumstances were...it was my fault, Gangrel. There was no need for Chrom to get involved."
"Oh, he didn't need to, I didn't need to, et cetera." Gangrel waved a hand lazily. "But we are now, so you might want to get used to that fact."
"...It's my problem, no-one elses." Alysa said stiffly. "I'll work through it on my own-"
Gangrel's face suddenly got much closer to hers, a fierce snarl making up his features.
"On your own? Go on, then, genius – fix yourself. It's harder than it sounds."
Curling his hands into fists so tight his pointed nails dug deep enough to scrape bone Gangrel rose to his feet and shot a look of disgust at the shocked woman before leaving.
"You disgust me."
He locked the doors behind him, leaving the tactician to her self-pity. Scowling to himself, he wandered off to his room, wondering what in the world had almost possessed him to give the damn woman an hug and assure her it would be alright.
Gangrel might be scum, but ever since he came back he'd made damn sure he wasn't going to be a liar again. Whatever would happen, he was certain that from Alysa's point of view nothing would be 'alright' ever again.
Alysa glanced at the map on top of the table and found her hand twitching towards the box of miniatures.
"No." She whispered, looking away from the map. "No...no more distractions. Deal with it. Fix myself."
The impossibility of the statement almost made her laugh. Gangrel was right about one thing, it was hard to fix yourself. Other people were necessary – gods, look at how he was when they found him the second time. Practically suicidal, and now he's running a country that by all rights should have collapsed under its own weight now.
Alysa glanced in the mirror set into one of the many columns in the hall, shakily pulling her bangs away from her eye as she looked herself in the face and noted – from a perspective other than keeping up appearances – exactly how tired she was.
"Fix myself. Fix myself."
Alysa's hands shook from – exhaustion? Fear? Confusion? - something, and she had to steady herself against the wall. The reflections in the mirror changed, from her own face to Miriel's bleeding out from a stomach wound, abandoned in the desert shortly after meeting her son to Yen'fay's Reunited with a version of his sister, only to take a blow for her that same day and break her mind all over again to Donnel's Killed in his first real battle, wyvern riders catching them by surprise and roasting him alive with their breath to...oh, gods, no, please not him - disintegrated by Grima's breath and falling apart in her arms, layers of skin slowly flaking away and she couldn't heal him and the others were too far away and Chrom struck the final blow while she was distracted and Grima will return because she got too attached and she'll never forgive him for manipulation on that level but all she could feel was the horrifying sense of emptiness as her beautiful baby boy, who'd lived for fifteen years but could only remember six months, died screaming in agony and begging her to make it stop as he pawed at her robes with skinless hands where bones jutted out from underneath blackened flesh, and even those were stripped away. He finally stops suffering when his heart ripped itself apart in front of her, all flesh and blood blocking it from sight stripped away, and she was left clutching a fistful of ashes and a shred of his robe –
Alysa's fist smashed forward and shattered the mirror, glass cutting her fist. She sank to her knees and sobbed into her hands, blood mixing with tears and broken glass.
"Gods. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I failed. I had to be perfect, and I failed, I failed all of you. Please..." She opened her eyes, and saw the reflections of her fallen soldiers glare at her from the broken shards surrounding her. "...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
As she slipped away into unconsciousness, she saw Morgan in his shard give her that manic grin of his and nod.
The message was clear: I forgive you. Of course he would, the wonderful boy, he understood that nobody was infallible, even if he placed his mother on that kind of pedestal he'd understand her failure.
The question that had to be answered now, of course, the tiny analytic part of Alysa's brain chimed in just before the black enveloped her mind, was if she would ever be able to forgive herself.
A/N: Well that was...extremely distressing to write. So, yeah, moral of the story, kiddies: Don't push the PTSD victim too far if they don't want to face something, because bad things happen. Anyway, I'm happy to say this is as bad as it gets and we can get on with the repairing of Alysa's psyche instead of developing how bad she actually is.
Hopefully I didn't just cause a bunch of people to be unable to sleep or anything like that.