The Story Continues

A Fond Memory

It was late afternoon when Lynus found himself in the tearoom once again. Dinner was an hour or so away and he decided to busy himself by reading until then. It had been a relatively peaceful day that day and it would be nice to end it on a peaceful note as well.

It had been unseasonably warm that day as well and Lynus decided to sit on the couch closest to the open window overlooking the garden of the inn. The gentle breeze was blowing toward him, bringing with it the fresh scent of flowers and herbs.

Lynus had just settled himself down in his seat and opened his handy guide on crystals when he heard someone shuffle into the room, almost nervously. He immediately looked up to see that it was Macerio who had entered abnormally quietly and he seemed to be debating silently to himself.

“Is something wrong, Macerio?” Lynus immediately asked as a slight frown tugged at his lips.

Macerio stiffened slightly, as if startled that Lynus had caught him before he turned to look at him rather sheepishly. “Can I ask you a question?” he unexpectedly asked.

“Of course you can,” Lynus immediately responded.

“I’m just...curious,” Macerio started as he nervously scratched the back of his head. “You d-don’t have to answer or anything, but I was wondering what made you want to become a medic?”

Lynus unintentionally drew in a sharp intake of air. “Oh...”

Macerio immediately looked apologetic and seemed to backpedal. “Like I said, you don’t have to answer it or anything if it brings up bad memories or anything.”

Lynus sighed softly and closed the book in his hands as he gave the brown-haired gunner a small smile. “No, it’s fine.”

He honestly didn’t remember much of his life in his village, but he did remember that little incident of how he discovered his healing abilities and why he had used them. And now it was one of his fondest memories.

Lynus put his book aside before motioning to the empty seat next to him with his hand. “Let’s see...I think I was about six at the time,” he started as Macerio quickly sat down next to him and turned to give him his undivided attention. “And Axel was seven.”

... ... ... ... ...

Lynus stood at the base of a large tree, so tall that he got vertigo whenever he tried to tilt his head back to look up as far as possible. Though he got dizzy each time he looked up, he couldn’t look away. He was too scared to keep looking but he was too worried to look away.

“B-be careful, Axel!” he called up nervously at the redhead that was fearlessly climbing the branches of the tall tree.

Hooking his legs over a branch, Axel gave a boastful laugh as he hung upside-down, which caused Lynus’ stomach to do a flip. Axel continued to look unconcerned and fearless as he looked down at him, smiling widely.

“Come on, Lynus! It’s not that high!”

“Y-yes it is!” Lynus called back, his heart hammering in his chest. “G-get down before you fall!”

“I won’t fall!”

“T-that’s what you said last time and you nearly broke your arm!”

“But I didn’t!”

Though fearful for his best friend’s safety, Lynus puffed out his cheeks in mild annoyance. He couldn’t help but feel impressed, though. Axel was so brave. Nothing ever scared him and Lynus wished he could be as brave as him one day.

“Axel!” Axel’s mother all but shrieked in a panicky tone. “Get down from there before you fall!”

The moment those words echoed through the air there was a telling crack and Axel made a sound of surprised. As Axel’s mother uttered a terrified shrill, Lynus instinctively buried his face into his hands in order not to see what was to happen next. He had seen Axel tumble out of trees, windows, and large boulders before. But this time he was so high up. He was sure to get seriously hurt!

Soon after Axel’s startled cry there was the distinct sound of something landing heavily on the ground not far from him.

Tears immediately began to flow down Lynus’ cheeks as he pulled his hands away from his face. With a sob lodging itself in his throat, he looked around and couldn’t see Axel anywhere. Then a bush located at the bottom of the tree rustled. He darted forward, toward the bush he was sure Axel had landed in.

With tears blurring his vision and his hands trembling, Lynus pushed throw the sticky branches of the shrubbery to where Axel was.

He released another sob, but this one of relief when he saw that Axel was sitting up with a disgruntled pout on his lips. But there was dark red blood trickling down from his forehead, over his left eye and down his cheek to his chin.

His eyes widen in complete alarm before his face crumbled. “A-Axel!” he cried as he launched himself forward and wrapped his arms around Axel’s neck in a desperate hug. “I-I told you you’d get hurt!”

“N-nah, I’m ok,” Axel immediately said with false bravado and returned the hug. “It doesn’t even hurt.”

Lynus pressed his face against his chest. “Liar,” he mumbled.

Lynus continued to cling to Axel as Axel’s mother calmly tried to coax Lynus into letting Axel go while some of the other adults of their village, no doubt alerted by the startled cries from both mother and child, were heard mumbling something about putting Axel on a leash as he was too curious and adventurous for his own good.

But Lynus couldn’t stop crying and kept his arms firmly around Axel’s neck as Axel kept one arm around Lynus’ waist as the other rested against the ground behind him in order to keep himself from sitting upright.

Lynus suddenly felt a strange warmth in his chest and a tingling sensation in his hands. He pulled back slightly to look at Axel, at his face where the blood was still snaking down the left side of his face. He saw a large, gagged gash on his forehead. It looked so deep. And there was bleeding so much.

But…

Lynus lifted his hand and placed it over the wound on Axel’s forehead. Even as tears continued to roll down his cheeks and the blood clotted against his hand, he kept his tingling hand there.

He wouldn’t stop Axel from exploring. And he couldn’t stop him from getting hurt. But...he could stop the pain from hurting him. If…if Axel wanted to keep exploring, then Lynus…would just have to p-patch him up each time he got hurt, right?

Lynus’ hand glowed with a gentle green light and the warmth in his chest travelled along his arm and to his hand, where the felt the strange sensation of that warmth seeping from his fingers to Axel’s forehead, to the open wound there. He kept his hand there until the warmth suddenly disappeared and slowly, he pulled back his hand.

The gagged wound was gone. Replaced with a thin red line.

He remembered hearing the adults around them gasp, asking Lynus repeatedly if he had healed Axel’s injury, but he didn’t answer. He just wrapped his arms around Axel’s neck, once more hugging his friend tightly, so glad that he was all right.

... ... ... ... ...

After Lynus finished retelling his memory from what felt like now so long ago, he turned to look at Macerio and found the brown-haired gunner looking at him in both amazement and amusement.

“So Axel’s the cause?” Macerio asked him with a wide grin. “Why am I not surprised?”

“Oh hush,” Lynus chided lightly before smiling fondly. “Axel was a very reckless and adventurous kid when we were young. What prompted you to ask anyway?”

Unexpectedly, a light flush appeared on Macerio’s cheeks. “Oh, I was just talking with Lirit and we told each other why we chose the class and skills we have,” he explained before he paused as he glanced to the side with a slightly pained look in his eyes.

Lynus immediately understood what prompted such an expression. He must have told Lirit what had happened to his mother, what he remembered, and how Edgewolf, the monster responsible, was his goal and target as a gunner.

Macerio abruptly shook his head and turned his attention back to Lynus. “And, I guess I was curious,” he said with a shrug.

“Ah, I see,” Lynus said as a gentle smile slipped across his lips. “I’m glad to hear that you and Lirit are getting along so well.”

That embarrassed flush returned and Macerio quickly made his way to his feet. “Y-yeah, well, he’d have to know eventually, right?”

“Yeah,” Lynus responded. “It’s nice to have someone to talk to about anything. You should tell Lirit what you’ve learnt from me today. I’m sure he would like to hear it.”

Macerio looked mildly surprised. “Is that ok?”

“Of course, it’s one of my fondest memories,” Lynus replied.

Macerio looked at him silently for a moment, his eyes searching his before he smiled back at him. Not his usual smile, though, a warm and gentle one. One of understanding.

“Ok,” he said simply. “I’ll tell him while it’s fresh in my memory. See you at dinner, Lynus.”

Lynus nodded his head and watched with maternal warmth as Macerio turned on his heel and quickly made his way out of the tearoom, his voice calling for Lirit echoing easily through the inn.

Lynus then turned to look out the window at the slowly darkening sky, at the wisps of pink, orange, and purple clouds as the sun slowly set. As he gazed out, his thoughts were turned to Axel once more and he couldn’t help but allow a gentle smile to appear on his lips.

Axel…was his first for everything it seemed. His first friend, his first patient, his first love, his first kiss. The first man to become his whole world.

He wished he could remember more of his life in that quant little village, a place he once believed was sheltered from the world, where no harm could be done to him or anyone. A place where he was sure he and Axel could into so much unintentional trouble together exploring. But…

Lynus frowned softly, sadly and shook his head. He didn’t wish to remember the circumstances that ripped him away from his family and from Axel. He didn’t want to recall the trauma that followed so soon afterwards, pain and suffering that overtook his memories of contentment and peace.

Besides…there was nothing he could do about it now. He couldn’t go back and change things. He couldn’t stop what had already been done.

Lagaard was his new home now. He was with Axel again. Though he remembered little of his parents, he knew in his heart that they were warm and loving, and he missed them. He always will. But right now, right in this place he had a new family. Those he saw as his siblings, as friends and family, those he loved with all his heart.

Despite everything he had been through, he was happy where he was. Content, at peace. The darkness of his past was well and truly behind him. He had moved on with his life. He was taking control over his life again. And he was doing all that, living happy and free with Axel by his side once more. Though they are no longer children, there was still so much for them to see and do together. They could reattain their childhood innocence and live with each other, for each other once more.

What more could he possibly want?

The feel of someone as they sat down next to him, perfectly close to him pulled Lynus from his thoughts and completely unalarmed, he turned his gaze from the scenery outside and looked at the man sitting next to him.

Lynus felt his heart swell with peace and happiness as Axel settled himself easily, comfortably on the couch next to him. As Axel slipped an arm around his shoulders, Lynus willingly shifted in his seat to turn toward Axel, to curl closer to him and to rest his head on his chest. He snuggled closer, nuzzling his head under Axel’s chin and placed his hand over the left side of Axel’s chest. There he could feel his strong heartbeat. It wasn’t racing, nor was it slow. It was at a steady, comfortable rhythm and it was a reassuring sensation under Lynus’ palm.

Axel tightened his arm around Lynus’ shoulder and leaned forward to press a linger kiss against the top of Lynus’ head. “Dinner will be ready in an hour or so,” he said as he reached out to rest his hand atop of Lynus’ that rested against his chest.

“Hmm,” Lynus hummed as he closed his eyes and rested fully against Axel’s chest. “Let me stay here until “It’s ready then.”

“Hmm, sounds good,” Axel said simply as he rested against the back of the couch and rubbed his thumb against the back of Lynus’ hand.

Resting against Axel’s chest, feeling his warmth and heartbeat, Lynus thought back to when he first arrived in Lagaard and found himself recalling yet more fond memories. The first warm hug from Axel, his first and second kiss, his first time in the labyrinth.

He had so many beautiful memories. And he knew, as Axel kissed his forehead once more, that the chance to make even more fond memories awaited him in the future.

He…was happy to be alive.

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