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Confrontation

Chapter Text

“So it comes to this.”

Fen was surrounded. Outnumbered, overpowered. Weapons were drawn from all sides, all pointed at him. There was no denying that he had walked into a trap. And the color and the marks of their armor – none other than La Riiz’s.

And if they were from La Riiz, there could only be one person who led him to this trap.

She steps out into the open, and he greets her.

“I thought they would send someone else for this part of the plan. La Riiz must be really struggling to keep their elites.”

Melia’s face betrays no emotion. Fen always liked to think she learned to perfect it from him. But given the current situation, perhaps it isn’t so.

“You’re surrounded,” she says.

“I see that.” Fen smiles. The lips he once kissed presses into a thin line. She tightens her grip on her weapon.

“You won’t come quietly,” she observes. Fen raises his eyebrows at that.

“Oh, is a live catch preferable? But of course, you’ve had plenty of chances to kill. I do have to wonder, for what great plans of La Riiz must I be captured alive?”

Fen takes a step forward. His lover stays still. The others flinch, but do not move from where they stand. Awaiting orders, no doubt. They won’t move without Melia’s word.

“How many nights have we had now? I’m impressed with your patience. Being with your enemy, having to pretend for so long. Forcing yourself to smile, to laugh, to cry. Such effort.”

Don’t let it sink in, he tells himself. He’s merely using the situation to his advantage. It’s the best way to disrupt the enemy formation– to create distrust of the leader. That’s what he’s doing, and nothing more.

“Help me understand, Melia. Was it for La Riiz at all?”

Fen wonders if he’s fooling himself.

“Each time you chose not to draw your weapon, each time you chose not to dispose of La Riiz’s enemy… was that really part of your orders? To let me live and do about as I pleased?”

He should be looking for an opening amongst the soldiers that now exchange glances with each other. But he’s walking towards her, each step steady and unwavering. Even now she looks so lovely, and it tears him apart.

Of course, it couldn’t have been real.

Melia’s right in front of him now. He meets her eye. She says nothing. It’s probably wise of her.

It’s maddening.

“I’d like to know, Melia.” I need to know, he thinks. A part of him is screaming at him to attack, to run. She betrayed you, it says. You are a fool and she will kill you.

He finds himself responding, then so be it.

The eerie silence of the battlefield is deafening. On a whim, perhaps for the last time, Fen raises his hand and brushes his fingers against Melia’s cheek.

“What will you do now, love?”

Chapter Text

Melia was greedy.

Fen stood in the middle of the clearing. The soldiers of La Riiz – specifically, of the Cult – kept a careful watch of the man as he took in his surroundings. Trapped, with no way out. All had gone according to her plan.

“So it comes to this.”

She felt Fen’s gaze before she saw it. He always found her. She would run, she would hide, she would lose herself in the past. But he called for her, he reached out for her, and he always, always found her. Even now, it was no different.

However she felt about that didn’t matter now. She had prepared for this. She wanted this.

So she stepped out, and braced herself.

“I thought they would send someone else for this part of the plan. La Riiz must be really struggling to keep their elites.”

Her lover’s voice was light and even. Melia knew him well enough to know that it meant nothing.

“You’re surrounded.”

“I see that.”

Melia got one glimpse of his smile, and her will almost crumbled.

Almost.

“You won’t come quietly.”

Melia never expected him to. She knew him too well. He had too much to live for, too much to protect. The Cult went against everything Fen stood for, everything she wanted to stand for. He would have never submitted to the will of the Cult.

That’s where the Cult put her into the equation.

“Oh, is a live catch preferable? But of course, you’ve had plenty of chances to kill. I do have to wonder, for what great plans of La Riiz must I be captured alive?”

He took a step forward. She wanted to run.

“How many nights have we had now? I’m impressed with your patience. Being with your enemy, having to pretend for so long. Forcing yourself to smile, to laugh, to cry. Such effort.”

She should have never fallen in love. She should have never let anyone know. She should have never expected happiness for herself.

“Help me understand, Melia. Was it for La Riiz at all?”

The Cult held Ashe in one hand, and Fen in the other. The Cult told her to choose, lest they make the choice for her. The blood of the bond, the passion of the heart. You can’t have it all, they said.

And Melia was so desperately greedy.

“Each time you chose not to draw your weapon, each time you chose not to dispose of La Riiz’s enemy… was that really part of your orders? To let me live and do about as I pleased?”

He will live. Melia had seen to that. It was the most ambitious proposal Melia had made to the Cult, and they accepted it. Melia suppressed a bitter laughter. Fen wasn’t wrong – La Riiz was struggling to keep their elites. And it worked to her advantage.

She offered to return one of their more valuable assets to their ranks once more. All she asked in return was to make a permanent captive out of Gramenian king’s right hand.

A life for a life.

“I’d like to know, Melia.”

Fen, now inches away from her, had all the pain in the world in his eyes. Melia didn’t have the privilege to apologize anymore.

“What will you do now, love?”

He stroked her cheek tenderly.

His fingers withdrew dry.

It was the least she could do.