By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
The silence post-battle had always been louder than the screams of agony. Louder than the final roars of anguish that once pierced through the air, now fallen like the broken arrows that littered the ground. It had always been more powerful than the thundering of hooves below, the thrashing of wings above. It tore into the soul and left it battered, leaving callouses in ones heart and rang in one's ears until it drove them mad.
Body counting wasn't one of the things Sylvain had ever put himself in charge of, never something he felt the need to do. They had suffered losses, no doubt. Not as many as the others had as Dimitri and Byleth led the assaults - but there were still many members of the church and soldiers from the kingdom who gave their lives. Surely few, if any, would regret their spilled blood as payment for Dimitri's wish to be seen through, as the end was so near and within their grasp. He held onto that hope, and though he was not a religious man, he prayed for those who fell in respect for those who were.
There was something familiar about the field. He couldn't figure out exactly which battle this was, or where he had found himself wandering. Sylvain felt the answer had to be somewhere within his heart, but it couldn't have been the one he was to return home to. This surely wasn't Enbarr. There weren't enough dead to be their final battle.
And he could recall the night before just fine. They were not supposed to remember about their lives in Pandora when they returned, as far as he had learned. If they were to trust Claude's recollections, or if they were to trust anyone else that had left and returned. He could recall the blush on Felix's cheeks as he picked at an embarrassing memory, he could remember the strange cat the professor had taken home staring at him as he walked through the hallway. He could replay Dimitri's gentle stir as he made room for Sylvain in his bed, and he could still feel the rough but cautious hands smoothing across his skin.
Unless it had all been a dream, and he was waking up now to see that every conversation that brought peace between them was nothing. Just as his first thought was when he walked through an unknown doorway and into Byleth's shocked embrace. But again, Sylvain couldn't shake that he knew where he was. As if stepping through time and into the smoldering field - the embers kept alive by memories that were not his. And the air heavy with a loss he was never meant to taste.
There was no reason to wander into the carnage. There was no reason for his careful steps around the bodies scattered and ripped apart, aside from trying desperately to see if there were any faces he loved drained of their light. He could recognize some of the weapons, some of the armor, but none of the faces. Sylvain was moment from madness, and he was aware, but something kept his feet moving and his mind sharp. The smell of the burned bodies was tearing his stomach and pulling agonized, stinging tears from his eyes; but he was to keep his composure no matter what horrors he lived through. He marched on, only allowing himself to be half-alive. Only giving enough attention to notice Faerghus adornments among the mangled corpses.
Until finally, he could see just a hint of movement.
Sylvain's feet carried him just a bit farther, sure that he recognized his King hunched over in the sea of bodies. He was barely stirring, shaking as if the embers surrounding him were colder than the violent winds that had torn their skin so many times throughout their lives. He was frozen in his place, as if beckoned by someone he cared for and abandoned in a terrifying and unforgivable winter. As if someone had promised him sanctuary and ripped it from him.
"Your majesty..." He choked out, unsure if the title was correct as soon as it hung in the air. If he was to return home, that would be among the first few things that happened, right? Was anyone even listening? Would he rather his friend use his name in such a difficult time? Were there no other ears left to hear Sylvain's terrified shake to his voice, as filled with love as it now was whenever he said his name aloud?
He was not counted among the dead slain by the tragedy, though in many ways he had died that day for nine years. Life had lost that intricate glow it once had before his world faded away in a ruin of fire and ash. He was nothing more than a corpse, he just simply moved and breathed unlike the others that laid strewed across a field. Their ghosts clung to his body, their weeping echoed in his ears. Even as days turned into months, and months into a near-decade, that singular day haunted his very soul.
Dimitri had long accepted the nightmares that awaited him once sleep finally dragged him under. The waking world would melt away into a mad fire-storm. The faces of his loved ones had long faded away into burnt skeletons, their gnashing teeth glimmering in the heat of the flames. His dreams had always been vivid affairs, but never a picture of the tragedy that had broken both his body and mind.
Admittedly, Pandora had been a repose from such terrors. The calm that the land brought was a balm to soothe his restlessness. As he laid in his bed, only tranquility claimed him. The peace that he knew following the end of the war was only amplified. He grew comfortable within Sylvain's gentle embrace. The weight of his arms around him, his drowsy smile in the darkness, it lulled him into a restful sleep.
Yet the sight Dimitri awoke to was nothing but.
Familiar corpses were littered about in a battlefield of hatred and fury. Though the flames had calmed from the inferno he remembered them to be, they still raged, their smoke blotting out the skies. He choked on the scent of burning rot as all his strength fled him. He had only the will to stumble among the knights of Faerghus that laid motionless.
It had taken him only moments to find the one that he was looking for. A sob ripped through his throat at the sight of the familiar armor. His hand flew to his mouth, stifling the bile that threatened to rise at the sight of his father's gruesome remains. Even so, he could not pry his eyes away.
Rather than turn away, Dimitri stumbled forwards as his father's final words echoed uselessly in his ears. He sat beside what remained of his father, careful to cradle his head in his lap. He wasn't sure how long he spent sitting like that.
Dimitri failed to stir at his title, lost as he was to the tragedy that sat unfolded about him. Only mitya managed to rouse him from his thoughts. He blinked catatonically at the name, his body still slowed by the flood of memories the battlefield incited. When he finally glanced at Sylvain, it was with a dazed, terrified focus.
"Sylvain?" His voice wavered, small and quiet among the din of the otherwise silent battlefield.
Thankfully, out of all of the people that could've found his Highness, it had been Sylvain. Not only because his face would be one of comfort for the broken man before him, but because he was quick to think and quicker to perceive. He knew he would have to act fast to help his friend, but stay on his toes in case he hadn't come into the battle at the end of it. In case on of the corpses that lie on the ground were to reanimate and make a beeline for his king. In case there was someone far off with an arrow pointed at the barely-moving blonde figure before him.
He wanted to ask where they were, how they got there, but he couldn't figure out if it would be appropriate. Sylvain had already put pieces on the board, had already made the first move and drew attention to himself. It wasn't the time. He'd have to roll with the punches, put clues together - surely he would remember. This nonsense of vehicles and arcades and magical disc readers was all something he'd hallucinated in some sort of chemical warfare, or a spell that had driven him mad.
But the scene his brain had decided was time for him to be grounded to see was not imagination. He could not force himself to smell the smoke, and rot, and filth. He could not fabricate the burn in his eyes, or the shake in his steps, or the smoke in his lungs.
"Mitya, you can't be out in the open like this. We need you to hide." He knew, through all of their fights as children, all of the battles in the war, and all of the dances and nights alone that Dimitri craved guidance. He would focus on something so heavily that he'd be blinded to the task at hand, his mind clouded by emotions to the point he'd become hysterical. He needed someone to shake him, to speak firmly and calmly to show him that all was not lost. He needed those he trusted to be present in times of madness, even if they were just standing a safe distance away to make sure he did not flee. "What are you doing we have to get you out of -"
Sylvain didn't dare touch Dimitri in an attempt to ground him.
With the way he felt after his... truly, that several months could not have been a dream, could it? After whatever it was that they shared, it was the first thing he thought to do. He wanted to put his hands on Dimitri's shoulders, to get him to his feet, to allow him to lash if he must.
But something about this place seemed familiar. It was not as though it was his own memory, but he had heard it in a story of some kind. Like he'd opened up someone's woeful diary, and he'd dove into the pages so that he could share the burns and scars.
And who, in his life, bore the most burns across their skin? Who spent the most time lamenting, writhing deep into the night in howls of grief as if the walls were thicker than they were? And what devastation had planted the seed of sorrow so deeply within a soft heart? He had walked directly into the Tragedy somehow, though he knew himself to be far in Gautier territory as the King and his party of so many trusted allies made their way to Duscur.
There was nothing else he could think of, unless everything about the last few months were a fever dream of is most deeply-rooted desires. It wasn't possible for him to see what he saw as he approached his dear friend. There was no other explanation for the horrors he was seeing.
"You will be safe with me. Please, let's get you away from this." He extended a hand, though the way he clutched to the gore in his own made Sylvain think he may never let go. "You don't have to look at this anymore. Let me guide you out."
He did not know where the corpses began or where the flames ended.
He only knew that every moment Dimitri's eye was glued to the carnage tore him just a bit more apart. Would give him one less day of rest. Would be one more scar on his skin. One more sob in agony. One more reason to crack and become the madman shouting at an empty room or muttering to shadows.
He felt his eye water at the offensive smoke that swirled about in the wind; he felt the rotting air scratch down his throat; he felt the sobs that threatened to break loose from his lips; he felt the tremors that coursed through his body.
Dimitri had always felt too much. The grief that clung as adamantly to his body as his ghosts. The guilt that threatened to drown him in its misery for years. He had relinquished control to a monster over the torment of emotions that wrestled inside. The war was a mere catalyst, the symptom of a wound he had left to fester ever since he watched a sword sever his father's head from his shoulders.
He had tried so hard to heal once he was led back out of the grave he dug himself. He found happiness, etched it out for himself in this home away from Fódlan. Despite the ailments that tore at his body -his scars, his arm, his own mind- he ess doing better. He was happy to be alive, something that he hadn't expected ever since he lost himself in Faerghus's wilderness.
This was a nightmare, a waking, living nightmare that Edelgard was once trapped in. Now it was his turn to clutch at the remnants of dreams and terror, to feel tears streak channels down his face at the sight of his father's corpse.
"I am not hiding," Dimitri croaked as he cradled his father's head closer to his chest. Even though the man had been rotting for almost a decade, he could hear his whispers in the back of his head. "I have spent far too long hiding." He had spent years sequestering himself in the protection of a cave, leaving only to slaughter the soldiers that killed his people. What good has it done it? Even in his rattled haze, he could recognize the futility.
His gaze fell back to Lambert's head as Sylvain fell quiet. Gently he brushed his father's hair out of his sunken eyes. His blood stained his fingers, only adding to the disfigurement that the Tragedy had already wrought on him.
He didn't look up once more at the proposal. His grip simply tighted, a flurry of emotions rising up once more. "I cannot just leave him here," he had done that once before, even if Lambert never truly had left him. "I don't want to leave him alone," the words came out as a choke, tone high and trembling with the airs of a forthcoming caterwauls.
Finally Dimitri looked towards the hand offered. Yet his gaze wasn't truly even there, looking through Sylvain. It felt like his mind was overcame with a numbing fog. "I know that you'll keep me safe, but I don't want to leave him behind again."
If this truly was the Tragedy, then the mess of blood-stained hair - presumably light before it had been saturated - in his hands belonged to his father. Sylvain could remember the way the King's death shook the entire kingdom, how it drove everyone mad, how even Sylvain's normally calm and seemingly unfeeling father snapped in the time before the dust settled.
He remembered his brother, once again scheming with terrible plots on Sylvain's health, be it physical or mental. And his father slammed his foot down, severing Miklan from Sylvain's life as Lambert's killer severed his head from his shoulders. How the kingdom ached, how Ingrid grieved, how Dimitri had been separated from him, how Felix was forgotten. Sylvain had still been a good boy then, balancing everyone's sorrow atop his own as if it had never been there. He cared for Ingrid's horse, he tried to reach Felix, he searched and failed for the words or the comfort to give the orphaned prince.
And so he was left backed into a corner, only to lash out when he found a way to make his body and mind forget the pain he'd been lost in. And thanks to his now-monopolizing personality trait being nurtured, it yanked Ingrid from her room and into the sunlight where she may help drag him by the ear to save him from an angry Lord. It may cause Felix some sort of weird jealousy so that he may try sneaking out with him into the strange hours of the night. It brought Dimitri's thoughts away from his grief for long enough to give him something to practice lecturing him about. And for him to pursue Sylvain to remind him to stop being such a skirt-chaser, you have far more to you than that!
"...you do not have to go now." Sylvain was trying so desperately to swallow his fears, as nothing stirred in the chaos. If someone were aiming an arrow at them, they would surely be pointing at the one that looked the most dangerous. Dimitri was safe, at least in this moment. "In the event there's someone out there with their bow drawn, I..."
That would help nothing.
Not that anything he could say would help him in this moment.
I wish to take it for you was wildly inappropriate and would do more harm than good. Dimitri had watched everything he loved get torn from his hands and splattered across a field. Seeing Sylvain die in front of him? Even suggesting he die in front of him? Fucking heartless. I need you to be ready to move wasn't fair. He was likely not allowed this moment to grieve as a child - he would've been so small and much more fragile despite his strength. If he wished to cling to the dead so literally, as he had for so long, maybe... it would be good for him. Somehow.
"...I wish for it to miss me, only so that you do not have to be here on your own." He did not want to kneel to get closer to his friend. Sylvain wanted to be near, but he couldn't stand being anywhere closer to the smell of the smoke let alone bathed in it as Dimitri was. He kept his hand out still, terrified that it would never be taken again. Though he couldn't fault him.
He wanted to apologize to him, say he was sorry for everything that had transpired. He wanted to cry for him. But Sylvain's tears would not fall. "We just can not afford to lose you more than we have already. And I... could not bear the thought of you having to do this alone again."
Even at a young age, the tragedy had blinded him to the suffering of the living. He had become trapped in a recess of time, focusing solely on the anguish that the dead had known in their final hours. He still cared for those around him, his closest companions in particular, but it would be a foul lie to say that he was attentive. He heeded no mind to Felix's fear or Sylvain's troubles.
He saw only the dead knights whose lives had been robbed for nothing. He heard only their tormented voices, twisted and cruel in their want for misguided justice.
Now he was once again mourning the loss of his father. He held his head close, gently running his thumb across the deadened cheek in a gesture of affection reserved for living fathers. He had never said his final goodbyes to him before he left. He had never told him goodbye. He never told him I love you for the final time, or be safe. Was that why his soul clung to him?
Dimitri found himself stiffening as Sylvain continued. All at once the blood drained from his face, all too acutely aware of the implications behind the other's words. I would rather want to be shot was what he heard, and it lit a fire.
How many died for him without Sylvain sacrificing himself for such a useless boar? It roused him from his stupor long enough to try to protest. But, the redhead seemed to have beat him by mere fractions.
He had nothing to say, ultimately. The things that Sylvain said made sense, but a part of him could not find the words to say in response. Instead, he looked back towards his father's countenance.
"I... I do not want to be left here alone," alone with only skeletons as companions. He lapsed back into silence before finally coming to his decision. Dimitri sat aside the head, carefully resting it apon the dirt.
At long last, he rescued for the offered hand and pulled himself up. Even he could feel the way his hand shook.
"You will not be." Again, his voice was firm. If they had somehow been tossed back into Dimitri's memory, and he could still recall bringing him to bed the night before... was it possible this was the work of the world they were in? To be plucked from one place and deposited elsewhere had already happened to him once.
Did that mean Dimitri was only meant to suffer from this? Was this some sort of God's twisted idea of fun, torturing his poor friend with such a vivid retelling of his worst memories?
Or if it was the work of the divine... was it a way for him to get closure of some kind? Was there something he had left to burn in the ashes that he could still recover? Surely among those things was the doe-eyed innocence that was seared out of his skull... but it was far too late for that. What other thing may he have left behind?
Sylvain truly didn't expect for Dimitri to take his hand. He did not flinch at the idea of his former king's blood being smeared onto him, as he had enough on his hands that he wouldn't notice anymore. And without giving it enough thought, Sylvain tugged Dimitri by the hand he was given to hold him closer.
"I won't allow you to be alone during things like this again." His heart was broken - he knew of Dimitri's past, he knew of the ways it had destroyed him. He let go of him with regret in his heart, but better they weren't attached in case he did need to protect him.
If this was some sort of divine's way of bringing Dimitri back to this place, and with someone he loved... was there something else to be done? Was there anyone left to finish the job? Dimitri had survived as a child, surely he could do so as an adult with the extra help Sylvain could provide. But what could it be that would help him?
Dimitri spent years in hiding. He spent so much time running. And Sylvain was suggesting he did more of it, was that really what he needed?
"Even if there is someone out here to take the last of us out, arrows couldn't take me away from you. Maybe... we shouldn't leave." Sylvain sighed, though he didn't want to spend another moment in the smoke. "Mitya, you don't have to leave him if you don't want to. I won't allow anyone to take me from you if you must stay a while."
It was similar to the dream that both he and Claude had accidentally stumbled across, finding Edelgard in that cruel cell. Only this time it's a carnage field massacre, filled with rotting bodies and the smoldering remenants of a wildfire. He still feels as if the smoke is strangling him, that the skeletons have invisible hands digging into his skin to pull him down with them. His only comfort in this nightmarish hellscape was Sylvain.
What purpose was there to drop him among these ruins? Was it punishment for all the suffering he had inflicted throughout his lifetime? Would his nights once more become daily relivings of this day? Or was there something significant buried beneath the bloodbath? But what? A part of him couldn't shake the thought that he would never quite recover from the Tragedy. The memories would always sting like a festered wound, the voices would be a chronic malady.
Dimitri was tugged out of his thoughts as Sylvain pulled him closer. His voice was a soft contrast to the ones that echoed in his head, kinder and far gentler. Touch was an intimate sensation that he still was only growing used to. Yet now it was an anchor, steadying himself among the whirlpool of fears and insecurities that plagued his mind. He squeezed the other's hand, his grip tight but far from bruising. "Thank you." It was all he had to say, his voice betraying the immense gratitude he felt at hearing Sylvain's promise.
Yet, a part of him still felt rooted to the spot. If Sylvain asked him to move, his body would be equal parts split between wanting to follow and being unable to leave. His gaze still faltered, periodically falling back to his father who still laid motionless on the ground. Could he walk away again and abandon his father among the chaos? A part of him realized that the place they were trapped in truly wasn't Duscur, yet all of him was unable to let go.
"You would not mind staying here?" He locked eyes with Sylvain, searching for any sign of doubt. For as stuck as he felt, Dimitri could not bring himself to force the other to stay in such a hopeless place. "Truthfully, I do not think I would be able to leave, not just yet. Perhaps it is their voices, but I do not want to go." The sensation wasn't something he could honestly put into words, even if he made an effort to try. It was some innate desire to find something that had been lost here, to finally bury them. "Just a little while longer, then we can find a way out of here."
Of course he would.
His first instinct was to run, to take cover, to let his feet carry him as far away from this smell, from this feeling, from this nightmare. To drown himself in something, anything that would get this stinging out of his eyes and the taste from his mouth. Sylvain didn't want to keep Dimitri here, surrounded by the ghosts he likely saw in his every day life - but here, they were wisping and clinging to him as though they were truly still clutching at anything that was living.
They had lived in peace for so long. He had let himself forget the woes of battle, the disgusting feeling of blood sticking and drying to his face, the pain of being pierced straight through and almost bleeding out on the battlefield, himself. Sylvain had locked those things away, as if they were dreams and this world was his reality. A world of technology, and peace, where no one sniffed for noble blood when taking a mate or required power for respect. None of it mattered, the only thing that did matter was exploring the possibilities they would have never even thought of back home. Living lives they were never going to be able to when they returned. If they had lives left at all.
"I do not want to stay, no." He wouldn't lie to Dimitri, he never had a reason to. "But I promised to follow you anywhere. And if that brings us to a place of great sorrow, so be it."
He wouldn't run if he was told not to. He would bring up both the pros and cons in a fight. He would shake Dimitri from his anxious outbursts, and lead him to a better path. He would remind him of weaknesses, direct him to use his strengths. Sylvain's job was to keep an eye on him, to watch from above, to be ready to charge at a moment's notice. And his mind was still begging him to convince Dimitri they needed to find a way out.
But his heart knew that it was not yet time. "If there is peace left for you in this place, then I am honored to have been the one at your side when you found it." It wasn't about safety. It wasn't about the future. It was about the past, and if he could accept that there was no turning back... if there was some way to speak to his ghosts, perhaps there was good to be found.
It was a mean question to ask in the first place for no sensible man would wish to stay among these ruins. Dimitri was more than aware of the stench of death that clung to this place, of the blood that loosely coated his fingers and the grisly sight that awaited at every turn of the head. None would wish to say, yet he was compelled to. Why? To find something, perhaps, that he had lost among the ashes.
"If you are certain, then thank you, Sylvain," the show of honesty was more than appreciated. More importantly, however, was knowing for a certainty that he would not be left alone to contend with the smolders of a life that had faded years ago. It was a place of sorrow, something that Sylvain should never have seen. So many things already weighed heavily on his heart, Dimitri knew that. A small voice accused him of his selfishness to even ask him to stay in the first place instead of telling him to flee.
Of course, he was aware that if he stayed, then so would he. Hadn't he already insisted that he would say for him, regardless of the things that waited in the burnt down ruins of Duscur? He would be doing nothing but spitting upon that loyalty, love?, if he tried to send him away now.
He was never led astray whenever he listened to whatever advice Sylvain had to give. Loosen up, relax,and life wasn't as tense as before; it's going to be okay, and he felt less strangled. Dimitri had tried to guide himself once before using only himself and his counsel of ghosts. That had only led him astray. Here he doubted that he would be as lost, as scarred by the sights around him, so long he clutched to the hand so willing to help him.
"I... truthfully do not know what to say," he uttered, dragging his gaze back to Sylvain, back to something realand something comforting. "But I am glad that you are here with me, Sylvain. I do not know what is here waiting for me to find, but thank you for staying here. It is not an easy request to fulfill."He wouldn't make light of the situation, nor would he forget to give the gratitude the other so rightly deserved.
Even as he stepped away to survey the wreckage once more, Dimitri didn't slip his hand away from Sylvain's. He laced their fingers together, the presence soothing as he sought for one other body. It was his ruined armor that gave away his position several yards away, the rest of Glenn Fraldarius unrecognizable by the Ragnarok that had killed him.
It was almost disgusting how the brain would process such terrible images into something easier to see. The longer they stood in the wreckage, the more numb Sylvain became. He'd killed and killed, of course, but he'd never let himself take in the sight of their mangled bodies. They were to kill and to move on, to give up prayers if they must. And he did, despite not being incredibly religious, only hoping to provide some sort of peace for the souls he'd one day likely revisit in hell.
Surely the way the shock and fear fading into some sorrowful, desensitized haze was unhealthy. Surely it would cause repercussions if they were ever to return home with the memories of what had transpired. But in this moment Sylvain's need to protect Dimitri, his desire to get whatever he desired overran the nausea and the need to run. He stood strong and tall. His eyes may have glazed over. But he was there, unmoving.
He'd done little for his partners in the past. He was the type to go all out initially and fizzle once things had settled into a rhythm. He'd go as far as to lash out, to find someone else, and it could've only been days into their new pattern. But Dimitri required his aid in a time of great adversity, despite Sylvain getting nothing in return... and he would do nothing but stand at his side. Perhaps part of it was simply his deeply-rooted sense of duty that'd been passed down his bloodline, but his heart would give him no other explanation other than he is worth anything that could happen here.
Whatever corpse lied broken and mangled before them caught Dimitri's attention. Sylvain again did not want to investigate, though he had no choice but to -
Unidentifiable. Destroyed beyond recognition. Nothing but a piece of armor.
Sylvain never had many kind words for Glenn, as they hadn't gotten along as well as he had with the younger nobles. He was headstrong, and cold, and would at no point show Sylvain the softness that lived within his younger brother. Perhaps it was there somewhere within him, but he would never learn the truth. He was dead. Simply dead.
But it was no secret that he'd given his life to protect the young prince. Rodrigue had sung his praises for years, as if his death was some marvel that all should aspire to replicate. His death was honorable, and if he had done anything else, he would have been a waste. With the way the pieces of him scattered, with the way Sylvain could almost see Dimitri reliving the moments behind his eyes, perhaps he did hold something within him that would have made Sylvain feel differently about him. And for a moment, he wished he would've been able to see it for himself.
But again, he was dead. There would not be any changing that.
"Is... that him?" Sylvain asked quietly, mostly just to shake his partner from his thoughts. His voice was still soft, as if pulling him away from the flashes of horror would be anything other than helpful. He knew he wouldn't have to ask specifically, and that the both of them would understand. But he needed his king to speak again, if only to hear his voice.
The tragedy drowned him in a sea of bloodshed and fire; the tragedy had once robbed him of any chance to attain happiness in this life and the next. Death clung to him like a second shadow. The rebellion. Lonato. Remire. The war. Gronder. Enbarr. Even in Pandora, Dimitri half-expected to one day wake up sunk knee-deep in gore. How could he ever bee lucky enough to escape neverending fighting?
The longer he looked away from Sylvain, from something alive and so, so warm, the number he felt. The sight of the massacre invited the sensation of being doused in a lake of frozen water, its chilly sting fading away to nothing. Even the weight of Sylvain's hand failed to register. He felt so empty as he searched. So, so empty, staring and searching but blind. The voices, always there and always whispering, rose to screams; his hands were empty of the lance he used for the sake of the voices in his ears.
He was looking, but not truly. Searching, but utterly lost. It was only until he spotted the familiar armor did Dimitri pause. He came to a jerky stop, his grip on Sylvain's hand tightening to almost painful, but just dancing upon the border. He heard something from his knight, but he was seemingly deaf to both him and the world. The corpse invoked unwanted memories, those of a rude senior who gave his life away without a second thought. He had held onto his hand when his body burnt to a crisp.
Dimitri dropped the one in his palm as if it was a lump of scorching hot coal. He curled his fingers into fists that hung limply at his sides. He hadn't seen the mage, but Glenn had. He was wretched aside, the knight's grip on his arm like a vice as a Crest flared to life. The flames lit up the anguished expression, searing it into his mi-
He shook himself, bringing his hands to his face to press them against his sockets. His left lit up in a flash of pain, still tender even after losing his eye all those years ago. "Yes," Dimitri breathed out once he collected himself. His fingers shook. "That's Glenn. He's right there..."
There was very little Sylvain could do or say that would bring Dimitri any comfort.
He immediately felt guilty for the way he'd spoken about Glenn only days prior to this visit to the eternal flame; the wounds on his body did not come from a normal fight. Putting the pieces together, his mind gave him the image of Glenn leaping into the line of fire knowing damn well that he would burn. With the trajectory that spell must have come from, the intense burns surrounding the body, how it wasn't even whole...
No wonder the only thing that was recovered was his armor. Glenn was no longer a man, he was gnarled aftermath and debris. He was carnage and charred bone, a clump of black hair and that was all.
The smell of his flesh was so haunting even Sylvain was convinced he would never be rid of it. It existed in all of his senses, a metallic and acidic and horrific stench that was once likely similar to the pine needles and sugar that wafted from Felix. He wondered if he was granted more time with the older Fraldarius, if they had been less apart in age and more alike in battle, would things be different? Would he have mourned for him as much as the others did?
Sylvain felt so closed off from his friends, so unaffected by his death... but it was only because Margrave Gautier was destroyed by the tragedy as well, lifting the veil from his eyes and once and for all severing the ties with Miklan as swiftly as Sylvain's blade had sliced through his flesh. Sylvain was distracted, mostly by his family and by young Ingrid becoming recluse and looking over her horse and... trying his best to remain at Felix's side.
He had never again called him a nickname, never again cried unashamedly before him, never again reached for his hand until they had finally held each other as lovers.
Glenn may not have been friendly with Sylvain, but this was... a reminder of the sacrifice he made. It had a domino effect that toppled over into every life in Faerghus; from Dimitri's, who would wail at night for him. To Rodrigue's, who would convince himself of how wonderful it was for him to die and to win over Felix's scorn for the rest of his life. To every citizen, as he was a hero who was killed for their crowned prince. He was the reason Dimitri made it to the Officer's Academy in the first place, just as Rodrigue's sacrifice was the reason Dimitri was able to make it to Enbarr.
"You do not have to go closer," Sylvain wasn't sure which words he should give his distraught lover, as he was never prepared for something like this. Life in Pandora was tame, without war, without misery. He wanted to reach out for him again, to pull Dimitri away, but he new better. He stood with his arms crossed now, unsure of what to do with his hands.
"...I will not stop you, but, Dimitri - you've seen this enough. Have you not lived this enough?"