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The Weathered Heart

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Gasping and wheezing, Robin commanded her arms to push off the ground. Her lungs burned hot. Her limbs burned hotter. The dust kicked up from the floor, swirling up from between the threads in the purple carpet and choking her windpipe. Swirling around, scraping her insides. She fought back the tears in her eyes. Whether they were from pain or grief, she couldn't tell.

Her tome lay discarded on the floor. The pages were singed, and any magic it may have held was gone. All it was now were sheets of paper bound by leather, curling with the flames that danced over the ashes.

Spots lingered in her vision, but to her, they seemed like glaring, yellow eyes, burning into her soul. The emotionless eye that adorned the altar at the end of the hall gazed down on her trembling, form, lying on the ground. She felt alone. She was alone in the dark. Yet it never hit home until she tore her head from the floor.

Brown eyes met deep blue. Her eyes widened, and icy claws clenched her heart. Chrom looked stunned, his mouth gaping open. He tried to say something. A strangled gasp was all that escaped his lips. With great effort, Robin ripped her eyes from his shocked face and to his chest. A sickly purple sludge, remnants of dark magic, swirled out of the gaping hole in his chest.

Finally, her muscles spurred themselves into action. Chrom fell as she rose, and her arms wrapped themselves around his dying body. As he went limp, and the life in his eyes dissolved into nothingness, his fingers brushed against the golden ring on her hand, polished and smooth.

"I tried," Robin said. Getting a single word past her sobs felt like moving a mountain. "I couldn't react–I wasn't fast enough..."

She felt his arms twitch. They tried to rise, but the strain was too great for him, and they plopped uselessly on the floor again. The only sounds that Chrom could make were ragged gasps, his chest trying to rise despite the blood pooling from the gaping hole in his chest. The edges of his lips turned up in a smile. It was a weak thing, but they might as well be the last words of a dying man. Robin looked into his eyes, but found only bittersweet happiness.

Then the man fell still. Falchion clattered to the floor. And at last, all the emotions swirling inside Robin burst forth. Her lips parted, letting out great, choking sob. One became many, and there at the Dragon's Table, Robin wept. It flooded into the air, intertwining and weaving between the cackling of her father behind her. It was an ugly sound they made, and it drowned out the world.

Gasping and wheezing, Robin commanded her arms to push off the ground. Her lungs burned hot. Her limbs burned hotter. The dust kicked up from the floor, swirling up from between the threads in the purple carpet and choking her windpipe. Swirling around, scraping her insides. She fought back the tears in her eyes. The tears of pure, unaltered grief.

Her tome lay discarded on the floor. The pages were singed, and any magic it may have held had been forced to abandon them from the sputtering flames that ate away at the paper.

Spots danced in her vision. The yellow eyes in her head, glaring at her again, searing into her soul. She felt alone. She was alone in the dark. It took her tearing her gaze from the floor for it to finally sink in.

Brown eyes met deep blue. Her eyes widened, and she felt liquid silver pool in her stomach. Chrom looked stunned, and his mouth hung wide. A strangled gasp was all that escaped his lips, robbing him of his last words. His shocked face spurred a queasy feeling in her, and she ripped her gaze from his. Instead, she found herself staring down the tip of a sword. The sword running straight through his heart, blood gushing down his coat.

Finally, she spurred her muscles into action. Chrom fell as she rose, and she caught his dying body before it hit the floor. As he went limp, and the life in his eyes dissolved into nothingness, his fingers brushed against the golden ring on her hand, dulled and scratched.

"I tried," Robin said. Her voice was cracked, like the ruins of the castle back in Ylisstol. "I been faster... should have seen it coming..."

She felt his arms twitch. They tried to rise, but the strain was too great for him, and they collapsed to the floor again. The only sound that Chrom could make was a sputtering hiss. The sword digging into his chest lifted and fell, weighing down on him as he tried to breathe. The edges of his lips turned up. It was a weak thing, and she felt no solace in it. Robin looked into his eyes, and again, bittersweet happiness swirled in there.

Then the man fell still. Falchion clattered to the floor. And again, all the emotions churning inside her spilled onto her face. Great streams of tears poured down his face, and she opened her mouth to let out a wail. She slammed a fist into the ground. It stung, sending waves of pain up her arm. Her cry was not just grieving, but also filled with frustration. The laughter that wove between it had no such complications; it was a pure, malicious joy.

Gasping and wheezing, Robin ignored her screaming muscles, uncaring of whether they bled out as she tried to force herself off the floor. They only screamed louder, like the whimpering cries of a dying man, flimsy like a burst balloon. Her lungs cried out as well, tired of all the dust that shredded their insides. She fought back angry tears and forced her eyes off the floor.

Her tome lay discarded on the floor. The pages rank of smoke and ash, and the cover was reduced to strips. There was no magic there. By now, it would be thoroughly destroyed. Just like it always was.

The yellow eyes that stained her vision just glared, uncaring of the fact that it was seeing her struggle on the floor one more time. Despite all the eyes on her, she was still alone. Always alone. It didn't take her looking up to reaffirm that.

She still did, and she met Chrom's stunned gaze. He let out a ragged gasp. Maybe they were a cruel distortion of his attempted last words, as it felt strange to assume otherwise. She tried to keep her eyes away from the axe digging halfway into his chest. She could do nothing about it now.

Her arms were already outstretched when Chrom collapsed. He went limp. The light in his eyes flickered, and as he fell, his fingers brushed against her hand, hardened and bare, slick with blood.

"I tried," she whispered. "You should have listened."

He tried to smile. His lips twitched, and they did manage to pull themselves up to the smallest degree before they stopped. The axe buried in his chest made it hard to breathe, yet he still managed to take his last breath. Tattered and in pieces, like the one before. All the drama from this breath was gone. Now it was just another thing to tick off her list.

Finally, the man fell still. Falchion clattered to the floor. Laughter rang through the hall, victorious and filled with malevolence. Robin just sighed. Her weak body could barely assume any other form than a shivering heap on the floor. And despite that, she pushed herself on as she always did. Past the searing muscles refusing to pull themselves together. Past her trembling fingers, stinging from the great magical power that she forced through them time and time again.

She watched her father's form as it was wracked with malicious cackling. Reaching inside her cloak, she pulled out a spare tome, one she had fashioned herself to be more durable and had survived the brutal fight. Robin wasn't sure what she expected to change this time. It never did, remaining the same through whatever she tried to change. But if fate refused to change, she would not either.

Her pride wouldn't let her do otherwise.