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Title: The Impossible
Genre: tragedy
Fandom: Fire Emblem 7
Characters/pairings: Eliwood, Lyn, Hector, tactician, Priscilla.
Summary/prompt: For a "game over" prompt over on Ye Olde FE Kink Meme.
Warnings: Deeeeeeeeeath.
Notes: My first serious fic, in any fandom, ever. Really. For bonus fun? Imagine that the tactician is Future!Kent as established in For My Lady.

It was a simple miscalculation. An error in tactics. A tiny misstep.

A failure.

The last was the most apt, and the tactician knows it. They all know it, but none dare speak that truth. It isn't as if saying it would somehow make it stop.

Contemplating the failure hadn't stopped the bolt of magic that felled the mercenary Raven, or the resulting screams of his sister as her staves, for the first time, failed her. It hadn't stopped the sword speeding behind Rebecca, hadn't stopped the tip from sailing between her shoulder blades and spurting from her chest. Or the javelin that pierced Lowen's horse's side, the men who crowded around him, eyes greedy for blood, for victory. The axe that took down Serra as she ran to his aid. The blast of ice that froze Florina's breath forever when, like the rest of them so wanted to, she stopped for a moment to grieve.

And just as it hadn't stopped anything before, it can't stop the blood from drenching the lordling's fiery hair, or the color fading from his once fierce eyes. It can't stop Hector's hands from shaking, can't make Lyn's desperate pleas any more effective. It can do nothing.

"Eliwood," she sputters, gripping his blue-tinged fingers. "Eliwood, stay with me, Priscilla's on the way. Stay with me. Stay with me, please."

He stares up at her, eyes unfocused, red-tinged lips slack. His breaths are slow, pained, and his gaze seems to reach toward something far beyond this cursed isle.

"Mother," he gasps. "Mother."

And it hits the tactician too hard now. He remembers, suddenly, that despite the cataclysm that looms above them all, that so many of those here are children, even the lords, barely old enough to hold their liquor, let alone fight a war for the sake of this world. He remembers that he is supposed to give wisdom, not send their leader flying reckless into a sea of swords and arrows.

Priscilla comes, her horse limping, her clothes bloodied. She is as broken as the others, but her silence betrays nothing. It has been this way for some time. She dismounts and presses deft fingers to the wound, flinching, like everyone else, at the gasp she is met with. Her staff gripped tight in her other hand, she tries. Oh, she tries, as she's tried every time before. And again, there is nothing.

"F-father. . . "

The words are softer now, a rattling whisper on Eliwood's lips as Lyn cradles him, trying not to cry. She knows, just as the tactician does, that this is time they cannot spare, that they must move on, must continue, lest every loss, including this, be for naught. And yet, she cannot let go, and the small, battered crowd around her cannot continue. Not yet.

He seems, finally, to understand there is something wrong. His distant gaze searches the group around him, and the question is clear: Why do you not ride on without me? Their answer is just as plain, and as he closes his eyes, he accepts.

"Please . . . forgive me."

And it is over.

It might be seconds, might be minutes, might be hours or days, that pause before anyone speaks again, after the last exhalation of the fire-haired lord. It is Hector who speaks first, his voice hardly the powerhouse it usually is.

"We must ride on," he says, clenching his axe and looking on to the adversaries ahead. "We cannot stop. We must not stop." And even as Nils clenches his cloak, still numb from the loss of his sister, Hector powers on, for he knows the same truth as the tactician. Just as Leila's butchered body could not be undone, just as Ninian's last breaths in Eliwood's arms could not be prevented, this is done, and there is not another moment to spare wishing for the impossible.

 

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July 2011

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