"Are you talking to that axe?"
Severa always thought Owain was a little odd, even when they were children. His happy-go-lucky attitude was somehow grating, but at the same time, she found herself drawn to him. She would watch as he vanished off with Gerome and Cynthia to play Justice Cabal, and though she felt the desire to give chase, she always refrained. She wasn't one of the dreamers like they were, someone who could escape into the realms of fantasy to get away from the grim and cold reality that was slowly sucking away the warmth of the world. Instead she stood by in the distance, a sharp rebuke ready on her tongue whenever he gave her that inevitable invitation to join the games she outright insulted. Still, no matter how many times she chased him off, no matter how often she told him how childish she thought he was, the next day he would be there at her door again. His ashen-brown hair would be a mess of curls, his eyes bright and ecstatic, and his voice never lost that youthful sweetness even when she told him in no uncertain terms where he could put that wooden sword of his.
Still, he persisted, and still she refused him. She was certain he knew she had no intention of ever joining them on their escapades, that she wouldn't likely be welcomed even if she did accept his offers. While he was childish, cocky and dramatic, he was also remarkably intelligent and hard to honestly fool. It was one of the reasons why she trusted him, because he saw underneath the prickly shell she had erected about herself and didn't seem to mind stinging his fingers on it every so often.
The day he had come to her on the anniversary of her mother's death, however, he had done more than prick his fingers on her shell of ice and stone. With that same cheery expression he had dared to ask her to join him again out in the woods, saying that it would be fun and she could even name some cool moves if she felt the urge. While part of her knew he was being the same old Owain, another half had snapped under the weight of her grief that the day always brought to her, and in return she unleashed every ounce of that suppressed emotion on the unprepared boy on her doorstep.
Owain didn't resist when she tackled him to the ground, and he allowed her to sit on top of him as she slammed him repeatedly with curled up fists. His eyes were closed, almost patiently, and he calmly raised one arm to protect his eyes as she punched and yelled all matter of obscenities a girl her age shouldn't have known. When her anger had been spent, and horrified realization replaced her fury and grief, she was frozen as she watched the blood she had drawn on him flowing down from the gash in his cheek and the lip she had split open. She couldn't move, and tears burned in her eyes when he finally lowered his arm and met her gaze.
The boy underneath her was no longer a boy, and his eyes were old, almost ancient with an empathy Severa would never forget no matter how old she managed to live to. He lay still, letting her sit across his chest as her hands lay quivering and small on his shoulders, and as blood trickled down his chin and splattered against his collar, he spoke with a softness she hadn't expected. "Do you feel better now, Severa?"
For the first time she truly understood him, and the knowledge hurt. She buckled and let it go, unable to keep the facade up under such honest and altruistic questioning. She felt him sitting up, wrapping his thin arms about her shoulders in a firm hug, and she cried into his dust-covered chest. Months of grief that she had been carrying fled her with her tears, and she gripped desperately at the youth who was only a few months older than she was. She forgot the rules that had kept her unconsciously separated from him, and the lies that she had thought up to avoid the fact that she did like him and thought him special. He was someone who knew her better than she knew herself, and had come to her when she was breaking apart so he could pick up the pieces.
Burying her face against the blood-splattered shirt, Severa let her tears fall as he rested one hand gently on top of her orange hair. Owain held her awkwardly but gently, as if he wasn't sure how to hug a girl his age, but she didn't really notice the embarrassment. What mattered more was the comfort, the sensation of release, and as her fingers curled tight about his shoulders, as her tears flowed wild and unrestrained, she forced out her apology through broken sobs, "I'm... so sorry... I'm... sorry..."
"Cry until you can't anymore. Then we'll go play. It'll be all right once you cry, Severa. I promise it will."
"Ooh! I still haven't named your weapon!"
The game evolved into reality as they became old enough to take up arms, and Severa noted with pained dislike that Owain no longer swung about that wooden toy sword that his father had fashioned for him in their youth on the farm. Now real steel burdened his hands, and he moved with macabre grace on the battlefield as swathes of Risen fell before him and those who fought with him. They were soldiers now, childhood and teenage life had been chased away by the bleak outlook of war, and they had no choice but to fight to survive. Their parents' war had became theirs, and the world edged closer every day to ruin as they fought to stop the unstoppable. Every day a new town was obliterated, more Risen took up the ones they dispatched, and they grew older than their bodies as the heaviness of being true warriors rested on their shoulders.
Sighing wearily, Severa took a long pull from her canteen as she allowed herself a moment of relaxation. The small group that was marching towards Ylisstol had come to a halt after another soldier had collapsed from exhaustion, and though every single member of the party understood the need to press onwards... They could only push their bodies too far, and an exhausted soldier was a dead one if Risen ambushed them.
Sitting down in the dirt on the side of the sunburnt path they were following to Ylisstol, Severa wiped the excess water from her lips and rubbed it onto her forehead to give her a little cool in the heat of the summer sun. In the distance she could see Lucina at the head of the resting column, her eyes focussed on their goal that lay just at the brink of their sight. The young princess was exhausted and limping on a sprained ankle, but nonetheless she never spoke a word of complaint or pain. She kept ahead of the pack, always glancing over her shoulder to ensure how her followers were managing, and had more than once doubled back to really check on those straggling behind.
However, now at the front of the column and alone... Severa saw the longing flickering in the young girl's face as she gazed north. Lucina hadn't been back to Ylisstol for longer than anyone else in the group, having forced herself to take up her father's blade and his role as leader much before she was ready. She had grown up well overnight, leaning on no one and shouldering all of those who now looked desperately for her guidance because she had no idea what else to do.
Severa watched as she was joined by that young swordsman she could never mistake, and a rare smile crossed Lucina's face as she greeted her cousin. Shaking her head, Severa almost laughed at his bravery. Very few would approach Lucina when she drifted away from the main body to have a moment of time to think, but Owain wasn't ever one for that kind of ceremony. It was his own way of keeping himself together, by being that shoulder for everyone else even if he was being irritating, and as Lucina's smile broadened just a hint, Severa knew that the princess was more than aware of his gift.
Absently, the mercenary reached to touch the handle of her sword as she watched the two talk and turn in the direction of their birthplace. Underneath her fingers she felt the carved letters she had etched into the hilt upon first receiving the battle-worn sword years ago, and she smiled secretly to herself as she took comfort from the name. She would happily escort whoever found out about her naming her blade to the gates of hell, but all the same, there was a gentle type of comfort she took from the letters engraved on her sword's hilt.
She watched its namesake carefully, noting the tiredness in his shoulders but the way he gestured grandly and managed to wring a laugh from his exhausted cousin. He could have been sleeping, and he looked like he needed the rest, but instead he had gone to Lucina's side to give her a moment of comfort and laughter during their brief respite. She could imagine all of the things he would be telling her, how they would be empowered once they reached home, and she couldn't suppress a laugh of her own. He still was that playful boy even though he'd grown up into a young man, but then again, it was that pleasant inability to be cowed that made him so likeable.
Still, when he finally left Lucina's side and began moving back to his place in the ranks, Severa stiffened when she saw him casting his gaze on her. He would join her since she was sitting alone, and likely he would start talking a mile a minute about how their success in the battle had something to do with his great moves earlier. Forcing her smile down and adjusting her sword carefully against her side so he wouldn't notice the carving, Severa curled her arms about her legs as he came closer, one hand raised in greeting and a smile on his lips. She cut him off bluntly before he could say a word, knowing that no matter what she said that smile wouldn't fade away, nor would that gleam in those expressive grey eyes when she ordered him coolly, "Keep walking, weirdo. I don't want to talk to you."
"No! Keep your grubby mitts off!"
She hated being separated from him. Though she knew it was for the necessity of the mission, and that she was better suited to remaining in Ylisstol, it didn't make the separation from him any easier. Worrying about him was almost second nature to her now, even if they were on the same battlefield. Severa was well aware how capable he was on the battlefield, more times than she wanted to count she had been saved by his quick thinking and amazing swordplay, but she still had to worry whenever she wasn't there to return the favour.
That wasn't to say she didn't trust the other three young men who had gone along with him in their hunt for the Gemstones, but she had a vested interest in keeping him alive other than simple camaraderie. The thought brought a flush of red into her face, and she sighed in exasperation at her inability to keep a level head when she let her mind wander on him. When they had parted, when she had watched him go with Inigo, Yarne and Brady, she had nearly called out to him. She wanted to make him promise to stay safe, to promise that he would come back even if he failed in his mission so at least she wouldn't have to bury him, but no words escaped her closed lips despite her heart's desires. She couldn't be so selfish, and nor could she let such words be the last ones spoken between them if he didn't come back. She already had such broken promises lingering in her ears from both her mother and father, and she wasn't sure if she could survive adding Owain to those bitter memories. So, instead of speaking she had just watched him go, stone-faced and tight-lipped. She locked away her heart, and had promised she wouldn't let it out into the open until he came back. She wouldn't survive if he didn't come back.
Footsteps on the cold stone alerted her to the fact that she wasn't alone, but she was surprised to see that Lucina was the one joining her in her silent musing in the dusty hallway. The princess looked just as startled as she felt, which brought a weary smile to the mercenary's lips. That expression on the navy-haired youth's face was a mirror image of the one Severa saw reflected back at her every morning, and she reminded herself that she wasn't the only one who was worrying so fiercely for a loved one that had no idea how dear they truly were to their other.
Deciding it was better however to keep that knowledge a secret, especially as she doubted Lucina even knew how she looked and the reasoning behind such an expression, Severa broke the silence between them with a sarcastic but still gentle, "I have this hallway, so there's no real need to patrol. Besides, it's late. You should be sleeping."
"I tried, but I couldn't manage to rest." Lucina answered with a tired sigh, and after glancing questioningly at the step beside Severa and receiving a nod in answer, the princess dropped down heavily next to her. She ran a hand tiredly through her hair, and then slouched forward to rest her elbows on her knees. She glanced sidelong at the mercenary at her side, and then questioned politely, "And you? If I could be resting, the same could certainly hold true for you, Severa."
The lateness of the hour wasn't lost on her, but all the same she didn't find the idea of sleep very appealing. The waiting was the most terrible part, and she feared missing his return because she was asleep, or worse, missing the news of that he wouldn't be returning at all. She didn't say such things though, and instead merely shrugged as she stared off in the darkness of the corridor that stretched out ahead of them, "I don't do a lot of resting. Plus it's weird having an actual bed to sleep in after so much marching lately, so I can't really relax."
Lucina didn't answer, and Severa watched her from the corner of her eye to see if her lie had been absorbed. There was a strange expression on her face, almost as if she was trying to think about something extremely puzzling, but then she shook her head as she decided it clearly wasn't worth pursuing. Instead, after a long pulse of silence, Lucina said quietly, suddenly, "I'm worried I made the wrong choice, sending them off on this fool's errand. I don't... want to bury any more loved ones."
The words were like daggers to Severa's heart, and it took all of her self control to stop herself from losing her temper and turning on the princess with every ounce of her rage. Doubt was a luxury they couldn't afford, even though they had long since given up any real sense of hope. There was only grim determination driving them now, a fierce and angry rebellion that made them continue to fight, and Severa answered the words of hesitation sharply and coldly, "Stop being so weak-hearted. Do you really think any one of them would have gone off without so much as a peep if they thought they were walking into a death-trap with no hope for reward? Give them some credit, Lucina. They went because they believe they can do it. If you don't believe in them, then it really is a fool's errand."
Lucina inhaled sharply as if she had been struck, but Severa paid her no mind. Words she wanted to speak but never would let pass her lips roared in her mind, and she grit her teeth together to bite them further back in her throat until she could swallow them and keep her secret hidden. 'Don't belittle Owain's belief in your orders. In your leadership. He wouldn't have gone if you hadn't ordered him to do it, and you wouldn't have ordered him to do it unless you thought he could succeed. If you say otherwise, then what's the point in fighting anymore? Believe, damn you. Or else the entire world will just fall apart and I'll have nothing left to fight for.'
Laughter, hallow and tired followed after a moment, and surprised, Severa turned to see Lucina smiling at her. There was still doubt in her expression, aging her by decades when her body had yet to finish maturing, but that old flame of determination had returned to her eyes. Her hands curled into fists on her knees, and she nodded as Severa watched her before saying firmly, "Yes... You're right... I'm sorry, Severa. I was weak there for a moment... Please forgive me. I had no cause to say those things."
"As long as you never do it again, I'll let this one slip by." Severa answered with an errant shrug, forcing her gaze away from the princess who was watching the hall longingly. She wondered with a secret smile if Lucina truly understood why she was so worried, but she knew better than to bring it up. They all had their secrets, and many didn't even know what was blossoming in their hearts after years of war-torn childhood. Friends were no longer simply friends, but their focus was too outward to ever let them notice or act on the little sparks of attraction that were beginning to take root in pained souls. Severa knew that better than most, and so she just shook her head as she wished the dark-haired mercenary who was in Lucina's heart luck for the future. 'The gods know we need it... Especially with people as dense as them.'
"Severa? Hey, Severa!"
Gritting her teeth, Severa cursed for the ninth time since she had woken up and realized her ring was gone. The sorcerer in charge of the mercenary band she had been forced to align with upon being brought to this time had stolen it, and she couldn't move on until she had it back. The thought filled her with a sick despair, and she reached up to touch the silver chain that dangled around her neck that was now empty of the ring. She had intended to move that day, leaving behind the mercenary group that spoke of controlling Ylisse to search for her comrades, but now she couldn't go anywhere until she retrieved her treasure.
She heard a little part of her mind scolding herself angrily for refusing to leave the trinket behind and continue forward anyway, but the thought of being alone in this strange world without even that one lasting memento to keep her company was too much to bear. The entire mission back in time had been a fiasco as far as she was concerned at this point, and with an angry hiss, Severa threw herself down onto her cot and yanked her sheathed sword to her chest. She hugged it tight, hating herself for her weakness yet needing the comfort of the trustworthy blade that had seen her through more battles than she could possibly count at this point.
Her fingers traced the carving of Owain's name, and she forced herself to think positively. He was stronger than she was, all of her comrades were, so it was likely they were all okay. It wasn't the first time she had been separated from them by a strange twist of fate, though she admitted it was new to be in a different time where she had no bearings at all to rely on. The world of the past was strange, everything was bright and crisp and clear, and it was the first time she had been forced to draw steel on living people instead of Risen.
Her stomach twisted with guilt and nausea, but she stuffed it down cruelly. She couldn't falter. She had no choice but to continue drawing her blade on these living people, at least until she could get her ring and leave. Her friends all would be in the same predicament she was in, and it was imperative to move forward if she ever wanted to find them again. She could only hope that the others had managed to arrive in the same time as she had, and that she'd find them eventually if she searched hard enough.
Flopping back onto the hard mattress that served as her bed, Severa cradled the sword against her heart as her eyes closed tightly against a welling of tears she couldn't fight. Waking up alone in this strange world had scared the wits out of her, and for the first time since she had lost her parents, she had felt a crippling agony that made it hard to breathe. Even when she had buried Gaius at least her mother had been with her, and when Cordelia had gone on to join him, she still had her friends to keep her upright.
Laughing bitterly, Severa shook her head until her long twintails struck her neck from the force of her movement. She spoke aloud, taking solace in the empty room and the chance to voice her thoughts in privacy, "No, that's not right. I didn't really have anybody at first. He was the one who started visiting me regularly after they died... every day he'd show up. I could set it to a clock. It was him that kept me upright. It was... always him..."
Sighing shakily and hating herself for moping, she sat up abruptly and dashed a hand across her eyes to remove the tears that had yet to fall down her cheeks. She wouldn't cry, not yet. She had gone through worse than this, and it wouldn't be that difficult to get her ring back if she played her cards right. She was the daughter of a thief, after all, and she had learned quite a handful of his old tricks. She would manage to pilfer her treasure back, and then she would be happily on her way. She would find her friends, because she had to believe they were here, and when she did...
"I'll tell him... that I love him."
"Did you really just say 'special moves'?"
Seeing her parents again had broken something inside of her when they had come to the mercenary fortress with the intent on stopping the rogues responsible for terrorizing the villages. Her legs had nearly given out when she had spotted her mother astride her mount, her lance moving with deadly accuracy and grace every time she struck out at an enemy. Talking to her again had shocked the sense from her, and both reminded her that she had indeed arrived in the proper time and that her family was still okay. She had forced herself to swallow the joy and grief that rocked its way through her body when Cordelia had looked at her without recognition, and put up her mask of snark and coldness in answer. She had a battle to fight, a villager to save, and a ring to find before she could allow herself a moment of relief.
She hadn't been allowed to focus however, as the second Cordelia left upon being summoned by the dark-haired tactician leading the force, she had been greeted by the last person she had expected to see. Side by side, smiling and looking as delighted as she honestly felt, Severa saw Lucina and Owain making their way towards her as the tide of battle changed in their army's favour. For a moment she wasn't sure if she was ecstatic or embarrassed as she took the cousins in with a quick glance and found them both looking shockingly healthier than they had the last time she had seen them. The age had seemed to wear away from both of their faces, replaced by a strange sort of peace that made their movements confident and full of hope.
Lucina reached her first, and to Severa's intense shock, she was drawn into a fierce embrace before she could speak a word of greeting. The princess crushed the breath out of her in the hug, forgetting the battle, forgetting the world about them as she whispered in a tight and glad voice, "Oh thank the gods, you're all right...! Severa, I am so glad to see you!"
Her sense returned as Lucina let her go and Owain moved forward with similar intent, and without thinking she sidestepped and avoided him neatly. Lucina laughed aloud, but the swordsman looked honestly crestfallen by her evasion to his greeting. Swallowing down the break in her heart from that look, but refusing to let herself be a victim of battlefield romance, Severa kept her composure as she snapped tightly, "I don't think so! This is a battlefield! You shouldn't be hugging anybody!"
Turning on Lucina in order to keep her shield intact, Severa started in the smiling princess as she fully ignored Owain. Her heart was throbbing with equal amounts of relief, joy, and pain, and she had to keep a tight leash on herself so she didn't just give in and knock him flat to the ground. She was so glad to see him again, to see that he was okay, that he was healthy, that he was smiling. If she looked at him for too long she knew she would forget herself, that she would let everything go into the open, and she had no desire to hold her heart in her bare hands for him with everybody there to see it. "And you! Don't start hugging people on the battlefield either! I don't care how happy you are to see me! We've got a fight to win first, then you can get to the hugging and the greeting, all right?!"
"All right." Lucina answered agreeably, but her eyes were dancing with mirth as she nodded and glanced to Owain, who was once again smiling broadly even though he had been completely and utterly ignored by the orange-haired mercenary. The first thing he had asked upon being brought into their army was whether or not they had found Severa, though he had been quick to add on the rest of their friends in case he was found out. The importance of who he thought of first wasn't lost on Lucina, as she had felt the same upon her own awakening in the world three years prior, and she could clearly see how happy her cousin was to have found her again even if she was going to ignore him now that they were back together. "We can continue this after the battle. The others will be happy to have seen you... We're almost all together again."
"Together, huh?" Severa repeated, wondering who had been found and who was still lost, but her eyes drifted on their own to Owain as he stood at Lucina's left and watched her with that same wide and unrelenting grin. His eyes were glued to her, and he looked so damned happy that it almost hurt. Her heart gave a frantic drumroll in her chest, and her stomach flipped pleasantly as she reminded herself what she had promised to do once she saw him again. Averting her eyes as her face turned red despite her best efforts, she held her sword reflexively to give herself both comfort and a tether to reality instead of succumbing to the urge to step into those strong arms that she knew would embrace her without question. "T-That's good, then... Glad to be back."
"You think... Do they really...?"
Severa groaned unhappily as she massaged her temples, and she glanced sourly at the blade standing up beside her cot that recently had been the cause of all of her troubles. Nothing had changed, despite her promises to tell him the truth once she had found him and had a moment of time alone with him. Instead, if anything, she had gotten worse with him. She had no threshold for his antics, though she knew she never really had, but all the same there was a new edge that she couldn't fight anymore whenever he was close to her.
Sharp words popped out of her mouth before she could think better of it, and when she wanted to apologize for it she would be too embarrassed to speak properly. Yelling and insulting came easier to her than sweet nothings, and the very thought of letting out her honest feelings had her scurrying for cover before she could really formulate any coherent sentences. Even though she knew it wasn't his fault that she couldn't control herself about him, all the same she unleashed herself on him as if he was her personal training dummy. What made it worse was his ability to take almost every ounce of her punishment without ever seeming to be bothered.
At least, until yesterday. The thought made her shiver, and the guilt gnawed away unhappily at her stomach as she remembered just how clearly her angry tirade about him being a child had broken him. He had looked so depressed, so utterly defeated that for a second she had been terrified there was no return for him. Even in their world of the future he had never been so beaten down, and to know she had hurt him to that degree had nearly killed her. She had been desperate to cheer him up by any means necessary once she realized the seriousness of the situation, and though she had scolded herself silly for it later, she couldn't stop her voice from becoming soft, tender, when she told him that confidence and blind faith had always been his greatest strength. Even though her words were barbed, she had meant it with every iota of her soul as she knelt down next to him and tried to give him the light he was ignoring.
To her intense relief he had bounced right back, energetic and glad once he had absorbed her words. Yet that hadn't been enough to open the floodgates, though she did feel them beginning to crack under the pressure now that she had allowed such tenderness to slip out. Regardless of how much she scolded him, how much she insulted him, she really did love him. The words simply wouldn't be formed on her tongue yet, but the feeling was real and she wanted that to reach him more than any terrible thing she said did.
Sighing, Severa nudged her sword with her foot as she mumbled to herself, "I'm hopeless... Really hopeless. This is getting out of hand. I have to say something to him, and mean it, really soon... I can't keep dancing about it, or else I'll just keep hurting him. Gods, if what happened yesterday happens again...? I'd kill myself. A sad Owain is just too sad to watch..."
A little knock on her tent's post snapped her from her musing whispers, and she sat up straight on her cot before glancing quickly about her tent to see if anything possibly incriminating was lying on the open. Deciding she was safe to have company, Severa pulled her sword up and onto the cot before she called in what she hoped was a nonchalant voice, "Yeah?"
To her surprise, horror, and delight, Owain stuck his head into the tent with that same old expression that made her heart race and stomach twist. She just stared, speechless as she realized the gods had heard her unspoken prayer and decided to challenge her words. He stepped inside when she didn't shoo him out, and her face reddened as the chance turned up on its silver platter for her to take. She watched his smile, felt her heart throb with a mixture of fear and relief, and she decided that if he had shown up when she called silently for him, then she wasn't going to chase him away from her this time.
"Hey, Severa." Owain greeted her with a little nod, and he placed a hand on his hip as she stood up and absently returned her blade to its place in her belt. There was a new tinge to his voice as he stepped back to give her space, but as always his eyes remained fixed completely on her face as he began, unaware of the resolution burning in her heart and mind, "I wanted to say sorry again for before, you know..."
"... No, Owain. It was just right."
Repost of "Someone To Trust", my original songfic changed so my account's existence is no longer in jeopardy. (Seriously, what the bloody fuck, FFN?) I had to remove the lyrics to Pink's "Please Don't Leave Me", which totally ruined the fic, but after some painful deliberation, I swapped out the lyrics with quotes from the supports between Severa and Owain, alternating between the speaker with every jump that the lyrics meant to signify. The change is still jarring, and it ruins the integrity of the work, but I really liked this fic and I didn't want it to grow cyber-mold in my documents folder. The original fic, complete with song lyrics, is on my DA account which you can access from my profile, and to really make this fic the best it can be, just listen to the song and enjoy.
Also: I am well aware of the rules against songfics, but I never really took it seriously. Since 2005, I have posted a number of songfics, and never once received a warning. To be honest, the fact that I got one for an FE:A work really just ticked me off. I don't really understand the hate songfics are getting with the staff, as every single thing the site stands for can technically be seen as copyright infringement and right of creative liscence. Still, I'm not willing to lose my account, (which has served me well for longer than I care to remember) over being pissed off with the rules, so I did as ordered and changed it up a little bit.
As usual, any requests, suggestions, etc are welcome, and I hope you enjoy my works, and continue to read as I continue to write. It's honestly readers like you guys that make what used to be a past-time into an honest passion, and I'm always happy to try and indulge my audience while going along with my muse. Inspiration comes from unlikely places, so if there's a couple that you like that corresponds with mine, or you have an idea for a fic, please feel free to leave a review or give me a PM with what you'd like to see. I can't promise to do all I receive, or devote whole fics to your suggestions, but I will slip in whatever I can in my other works whenever the chance arises.
So, in summary... I dislike FFN's staff, Pink is awesome, drop some reviews, and enjoy summer!
Listening To: "White Wedding" - Billy Idol