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So, a few months ago I did a Reversathon. I got some fantastic prompts, and really wanted to write something for them all, but Real Life got in the way a little, so I eventually went with this one, partly because TLR was my first great obsession, and secondly because I'd been toying with the idea of writing this for a while:

Title: Snapshots of a life reclaimed

Fandom: The Last Remnant

Characters/Pairing: Rush/David

Rating: PG

Prompt: (spoilers) Rush/David classic Rush returns fic, set about 6 months after game end, maybe with some angsty Dave trying-to-cope just before the actual return. Could include opinions from various characters (or just Dave) on the whole Remnant revelation and if he's/they're conflicted about it, after all Remnants had a big hand in his life, both good and bad.

Teaser/summary/thumbnail: A party of David, Rush, Torgal, Caedmon and Irina fight the final battle. Their thoughts at the time, six months later, and on Rush's return.

/// Rush

"You should know, this was not originally my task to complete."

It's those very words which spark something, awaken something he's long buried. The battle itself he doesn't remember; it's a flurry of limbs bathed in green light coupled with a heady rush of emotion rather than coherent thought. There's anger at the Conqueror for wanting to take this new life from him, envy of those who have enjoyed a life among mitra for so long, and a crushing sense of despair because there is no way this can end well. Rush, or rather the remnant which has lain dormant in him for so long, fights like a man possessed, though it's not enough.
In the end all he can do is hurl himself to his doom with both the mitra he is and the remnant he's always been screaming that this is the right thing to do.

/// David

David is stunned into silence for once. He's unused to being this far from control, and finding it a most unpleasant feeling. Difficulties he'd been expecting; the rule of a city-state, even one so generally peaceful as Athlum, is not without its difficulties. He's not expecting it to be impossible, Gods, call him spoilt, but he'd grown used to believing that everything was possible with Rush at his side.

He wasn’t expecting to arrive centuries too late, only to realise that both of the options left to him involve sacrifices he's not prepared to make. He's unwilling to believe that no matter their strength, their numbers, they cannot, and will not win. The conqueror's face is impassive, immovable, and David realises that there is nothing left that he can negotiate. This struggle has arrived at its logical conclusion, and the only option left to him is to take those he holds dear and retreat.

Before he can do that, however, Rush steps forward, taking even that slight choice from him. Lord David is forced to watch as the one person who has come to mean more than all of Athum to him is torn away.

He's still watching moments later, only vaguely aware of the hands holding him back from following Rush into the void, when the Sacred Lands begin to crumble around his feet. In the endless minutes which pass before Torgal hauls him to safety David has time to think; he has to return, there was too much left unexplored for him to be gone forever.

He's almost disappointed that Torgal prevents him from waiting right there for Rush to return.

/// Caedmon

"Look after Dave for me."

Caedmon stares at the grief and shock etched on the young lord's face. Like a Tom at the loss of his mate, he thinks. Suddenly Rush's parting words make sense; Rush wasn't asking for further protection for David, Marquis of Athlum at all, it was, in fact for Dave, his mate, the one living connection to Rush Sykes left here.

Caedmon intends to honour that final request.

/// Torgal

Lord David had singled out the Sykes boy from the start. Torgal never understood the fascination at first. "The boy is surprisingly simple don't you think my lord?" He'd asked, unsure why they were paying so much heed to a mere child, though Rush had proven himself useful in time. Later, when the look in David's eyes had shifted to something more speculative he'd found himself more understanding. By then Rush's worth had proven itself numerous times anyway.

Now, though he'd long thought himself immune to the fast-burning emotions of mitra, his heart breaks a little for the young lord. A sovani living among mitra knows all too well the pain of being the one left behind, after all. Torgal sighs, and carries Lord David to safety, no longer a kindness, he knows, but a necessary evil.

/// Irina

Irina has always known her brother for what he is; a remnant, a weapon, but most of all Rush. Someone who would sacrifice himself in a heartbeat to save those he holds dear. That in mind none of this is surprising. Though it's one thing to know, and different completely to watch her big brother be taken from her. Tears stream down her face as the dust clears, taking with it her last vision of the brother she's always adored. She's vaguely aware that she's screaming Rush's name, that there are arms around her waist keeping her from her intention of throwing herself at the Conqueror, or at Rush for all the good it would do.

It's almost a comfort to see Lord David's reaction, the tears which stream down his face, the slight tremor in his arms. She takes what little comfort she can from that, knowing that, if nothing else, she is not alone in her grief.


/// Rush

Time has no meaning here. It could have been six hours or six years since the battle which left Rush alone in this darkness. There is no-one here but him, and he's beginning to doubt even his own presence. When a voice finally breaks the endless silence it's simultaneously a relief and a disappointment. The deep, toneless voice is easily recognisable, and the flare of anger that the Conqueror stirs in him is rapidly overwhelmed by the gratitude that he's no longer alone.

"What do you plan to do now?"

Rush wants to laugh, to point out just how needless the question is, though the words stick in his throat. What he manages to say is this;

"I'm going back of course, he- they're waiting for me."

The Conqueror sighs, as if he'd been expecting this, and Rush suspects that if he were able to see his face then the disappointment would be evident on his usually impassive features. There is no other choice for him, however; nothing the Conqueror can do to persuade him forward out of this limbo with the rest of the remnants. He has someone waiting for him this side of eternity, and that is enough for Rush.

/// David

Six months and Athlum has moved on, has prospered under her young lord, even in the wake of the remnants' departure. A more ambitious Lord could have the rule of several city-states by now, a more ruthless one the entire continent. David knows this; he's been questioned several times, both subtly and less so, by well-meaning generals to the same purpose: "Do you plan to advance Athlum's status further?"
His response has remained the same through six months of inactivity however; the time will come, but not yet.

He's not sure what keeps him waiting, truly. Every sense, every fibre of his being tells him Rush is gone. The search teams found nothing in Elysion, and there is truly no reason for him to delay leaving Athlum in the care of his generals any longer. Though an instinct; perhaps the same one which lead him to take a young, lonely runaway into Athlum's castle, and subsequently follow him into the most complicated and perhaps happiest part of his life, bids him; stay a little longer. No longer able to deny that pull David sits again to write the letters which will keep him from the journey to Balterossa once more.

Once the letter is written he has no further duties for the night. This is no longer a novel experience - life without Remnants is not without its difficulties; however the benefits have been great, for Athlum at least. For himself, he has found life without his remnants; without Rush, sorely lacking.

Six months ago, still smarting from Rush's actions, he'd believed that the knowledge of what Rush was would cast a shadow over his memories, tainting any happy times they'd shared. It hasn't been so. His memories of Rush are still fond; he'd suspected long before the battle, and made his peace with it then.

Others share his view, it seems; Athlum's continued success and the quick, easy assistance from other lords with his increasingly fruitless searches both prove that David is not the only one who loved Rush well enough, whatever he may have been.

/// Torgal

Athlum no longer suffers any threat; Lord David has lead his city to a greatness Torgal had not expected. Though there is much more the young lord could have done, the citizens are content enough in such a strong leadership. Rush's absence has been sorely missed, especially by David, hardly surprising given their circumstances, though Rush made friends from across the continent during his time in Athlum. Many have mourned his passing.

Lord David has proved an admirable leader in the months following the world's crisis. Athlum has needed strength and strength he has provided. His father, Torgal thinks, would be proud. Torgal himself is proud.

/// Caedmon

Caedmon is old enough to remember a life without remnants, where many these days are not. It was a simpler time, easier in a way; where any dissention would lead to war and any alliance was permanent. The age of the remnants had lead to uneasy alliances, tentative links between lords who feared even the power of their own remnants. It will not be easy, he thinks, for the mitra to return to the savage past this continent has known.

It has been controversial, the Silver Falcons working so closely with Athlum's own army. Caedmon, however has weathered worse storms than this in his time. In a less peaceful city-state Caedmon may have had concerns, in Athlum he feels secure. He is often considered unique among sovani for his ability to believe the best of mitra, though he believes that any sovani would be proud by the young lord's response to a time of crisis.

It means little to him, even now, to consider Rush's true identity. The Silver Falcons have long taught him that the true nature of anyone; mitra, yama qsiti or sovani, lies in their deeds. There, certainly Rush Sykes has left nothing to be desired.

/// Irina

Irina doesn't stay in Athlum long. She had been just as enthusiastic as Rush about the return to Eulam promised by their parents, and without Rush there is no reason for her to stay in Athlum. She hears little of Athlum these days. Any updates arrive in Emmy's looping script and those, though heartfelt, are sporadic, slotted into the General's busy schedule.

She does not resent that nothing arrives from David. In truth she does not want to receive anything from someone once so close to Rush. Any comfort she once felt at having her grief matched has long since evaporated. These days, she knows, any communication from Lord David would only make her more aware of the gaping absence in her life.


/// David

David is beginning to doubt his instincts. Nothing has come of his searches, and his generals are beginning to tire of his fruitless efforts. It is with a heavy heart that he agrees to set out for Balterossa the following day.

These days David finds himself often in his mother's garden. Though Rush's absence can be felt across the continent, this garden, once sacred to the memory of David's mother, is the only place Rush's presence can still be felt. He has need of such false closeness today; Rush's absence has never felt more final.

A soft sound attracts his attention, and David turns. What he sees leaves him speechless for the first time in his time as Marquis.

Rush is pale, and tired-looking, and his clothes hang on his slender frame. The clothes he wears are torn and dirty, and he looks ready to collapse, but he's there. It is the most welcome sight David has ever seen.

Rush looks uneasy, unsure of his place here, but David is certain enough for the both of them. Between them hangs a lifetime, it seems, of missed opportunities and unspoken words. This time David leaves no chance for avoidance though. Rush doesn't protest as David takes his hand to lead him to his quarters; there will be enough time for talking later.

/// Rush

Rush knows the castle well enough to navigate the dim corridors in the dark. It's no hardship to find his way to the garden in which he spent so much time with Dave.

The journey from Veyriel has been long, and lonely. Any thoughts of a warm bed fly out the window, though, once he stops to look at Dave. When he does, however he can't bring himself to approach Dave. He's still dressed in his finery, evidently working late into the night once again. He looks just as Rush remembers, and the sight takes his breath away.

So much has changed between them that Rush is not sure he belongs in this life any more. He shifts, uneasy now, in the one place which as always calmed him before, when he hears a gasp. He dares not meet Dave's eyes; he doesn't know what to say. Dave doesn't seem to want any words though, and Rush is happy enough to allow himself to be led for now. He doesn't feel much like talking at the moment, anyway.

/// Caedmon

The two mitra first emerge from the Marquis' quarters during lunch the following day. Caedmon has heard rumours, of course, of Rush's return, though the reality is still somewhat startling. It's no surprise at all, however to see that he is with Lord David, to notice the easy companionship they had before transformed further. They are truly well-matched. The Silver Falcons have no business left in Athlum, they have been no longer required for months now. Lord David has engineered a lasting peace. Caedmon himself has only stayed to provide what small comfort he could to her leader.

It is perhaps time for him to leave Athlum now; he is no longer needed.

/// Irina

The letter arrives exactly seven months after Rush's heroic actions had saved the world, but shattered her happy family into pieces. The writing on the envelope is small and neat and the seal on the back that of the Nassau family crest.

Though the letter is simple and short David's happiness shines from every word. Rush has returned. The rest of the letter is an invitation to the Sykes family to stay with the two of them indefinitely in Athlum Castle.

Irina remembers David's reaction to Rush's disappearance: Tears on his face; not the simple concern he'd shown her, but honest devastation. It is clear, she thinks, that Rush's place is now at Lord David's side instead of with his family. It's not the first time she's been jealous of her brother, but it's certainly the least appropriate.


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May 2014


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