Title: A Muted White
Series: FE 10
Character/pairing: Naesala/Leanne
Rating: PG-13
Author's note: fic_promptly: a muted white / cottoncandy_bingo: telepathy/mentally connected.


He could hear the song a long way off, the laughter of two Herons reunited again. He kept to the side; crows always stuck to the shadows, whether they were banished there or simply assumed that they would be skulking around. Beware the black birds, bad luck came with them.

She shone in the sunlight, golden hair and golden smile lighting up a dark place within him. Her fingers delicately plucked a lyre, the instrument melding with the sound of her voice and Reyson's voice. Tibarn was nowhere to be seen, though he was sure that somewhere, his right hand men were keeping an eye (and an ear) on him.

Something drew her eye. Had she heard his heartbeat from this far away? She dropped the lyre, the song, even the conversation with her brother as she rushed through the forest to him.

You came!

He almost answered, a quick repartee, but she read his heart, the because you called me, how could I resist before he even couldn't say it. Herons did have that troublesome ability. It made his life so much harder.

She crooked her arm in his, nuzzling against his arm. Her green eyes crinkled at the corner. Joy was a good look on her, and nothing made her light up more than being around him. Despite himself, Naesala found himself softened, touched by this display.

Trying to hide it was futile. He could hear in her soft laughter that she had caught his momentary weakness.

"It's been a while," he said a bit too stiffly.

Too long. You missed me, too. It wasn't a question, so much as a statement of fact.

"A little," he said.

A lot, she said.

"Maybe," he said.

She turned to her, golden hair flipping. She saw straight past his lies, golden light spilling into the dark. She focused, and he could feel himself being read, spread out before her. He didn't draw back. He let her see him, in all his smug, twisted glory. Let her take this as a warning. Let her hopes be disillusioned.

She only held him tighter, loving him through his darkest sides. Her naivete was astounding, at times, but that was to be expected.

I'm not naive, I just don't care, she said.

For once, she'd gotten the best of him. No witty comeback, just closed eyes and the softness of her presence near him. A guard lowered despite himself. Her hands were a gentle touch across his chest, easily feeling the beating of his heart as she read him, knew him like no other.

Crows love shiny things, she said, perhaps with a trace of rightly deserved smugness.

"That they do," he said. "And you Herons will be the death of all of us."

She put her hand to her mouth to conceal her laughter, and he couldn't help but think he'd rarely seen such a show of beauty. He shook his head. He'd lost this battle before the war had even begun, long ago when a young Heron girl had called out his name for the first time. It'd only taken him twenty or more years to realize it.