“I will never forget you, Carver.”
Time was always so very short, quickly slipping by and offering few moments to simply stand still.
She ached to stand still, just for a little while, just to remember and mourn at her own pace. She wanted to stop, bid the world to slow down and allow her to face the grief she felt rather than leave it behind with her brother’s body, motionless on the ground.
“We need only a moment. That’s all.”
She wished there were hours to be taken, hours to spend bidding a farewell she knew would be difficult and more painful than anything she’d ever known. A minute or perhaps two would be all the time she felt the Darkspawn would spare them and it seemed better to have a brief parting than to risk facing another loss.
“Take your moment if you truly need it. I would recommend you make it quick, however.”
It seemed that a Witch of the Wilds could offer safe passage along with a bit of understanding when it was truly needed and Cecilia offered her thanks with a silent nod, mumbling her sister’s name as she began walking. Bethany answered with the sound of her footfalls, stepping quickly to match her older sibling’s stride, moving past scorched ground and motionless Darkspawn to seek another still form. Their mother made no move to follow, her soft weeping beginning anew and met by the sound of whispered words as Aveline mumbled her own good byes, taking a moment for herself and for Wesley.
It took little more than a few seconds to reach Carver’s side, to kneel down rather than stand, looking down at him after the past few years had required them to look up. He’d grown so tall and he’d been so damn proud of it. Who would they look up at now?
Bethany’s fingers trailed over his cheek, seeking whatever warmth there may have been left behind in his skin, growing cold with the life no longer inside him. She stroked his face the same way their mother had always done when he’d been sick, as if to comfort him or perhaps to comfort herself, his name the only thing Bethany seemed able to say. It was a broken sound, a soft utterance that carried her heartache so clearly, and Cecilia wished she could manage it herself.
She wished she could say something at all, offer her little brother a few words as she’d intended. Prayers had been said for him, but they felt insufficient. A Templar’s prayer would not be the goodbye she gave to him. Carver deserved something better than that. He deserved her words even if he was in a place where he could no longer hear them.
Cecilia wanted to tell him that he had been foolish. She wanted to yell at him for running headlong in to a fight without thinking, for having more bravery than sense. She wanted to scold him for letting his sword and his strength play the part of his mind, remind him that she’d told him time and again that swinging his blade around couldn’t solve every problem. After so many years of tumbling together in the dirt and bickering, of playing pranks and protecting their home, what felt normal was the urge to berate him as a good older sister was supposed to. Carver would have expected that, had always seemed to prefer it to her sweeter moments, accepting her elbow hitting his ribs much better than her fingers tussling his hair.
Carver was gone and there was nothing left for him to expect of her when his eyes could no longer open, when his heart had stopped beating. Bethany’s fingers had pulled away, settling on her sister’s shoulder instead and it gave Cecilia some of the strength she needed It helped her to find the words that she didn’t simply want to say, but that she needed to say.
“You’ll always be with us.”
The buckles keeping his bracers in place came loose one by one, easing away from his wrists with every deft movement of her hands.
“You died for us…and we’ll live for you…as best as we can, little brother. We’ll keep mother safe. I promise.”
Bethany began weeping as Cecilia fastened Carver’s memento around her forearm, pulling the straps as far and as tight as they could go. The bracers hardly fit either of them, their limbs so much smaller than Carver’s had ever been and Cecilia knew they would need to find other ways to bind them, keeping them where they now belonged.
Even though it was hard, Cecilia and Bethany managed to pull themselves back on their feet, taking leather braces and memories with them rather than the brother they wanted to be there instead.
If only they’d had more time.
(I should really stop writing sad ficlets and write something a bit more happy or humorous one of these days. Poor Carver. ;_;)