Something small I wrote, inspired by Bravely Second. I'm in love with the characters, and I'm in love with these gays. Just. Yeah. Spoilers are vague at best.
”You changed me, you know.”
Whatever Yew had expected his friend to say as he lay in Yew's scrawny arms, that was not it.
”What?” he asked, tears still rolling shamelessly down his cheeks as he watched Janne struggle with the simple task of breathing.
”Stop cryin',” Janne muttered slowly, usually sharp eyes softening as they glanced up at Yew's damp face. ”Yer making a scene, idiot.”
”No shit.” Janne's lips managed to pull into a toothy smirk, but it did not console Yew's mind in the least. If anything, it broke his heart further; somehow, he had expected to still be able to share many more years with Janne – as well as Nikolai, who had been like an uncle to them both in the Crystalguard.
”Yew,” Janne then sighed, noticing Yew's growing distress. ”Trust me, it couldn't have ended any other way – it was always s'posed to go down like this. Either you or me dead. But... now that it's over, I'm kinda glad it wasn't you.”
”Oh, Janne,” Yew whispered. ”Saying t-things like that is only gonna make me sadder, you k-know--”
”You'll survive,” Janne said as he forcefully moved his arm up. The movement was shaky at best and terrifyingly weak at worst, but his hand found its place on Yew's shoulder regardless. Yew might have helped with that. ”'Cause you got stronger along the way.”
Yew's vision grew blurry with another omslaught of tears as Janne kept talking in a voice much more hoarse than what was usual.
Janne noticed this, too. ”I just keep making you cry, don't I? ...Sorry, Yew, I... you changed me, but just not enough to remove the jerk in me.”
Talking awful lot for a dying guy, Janne seemed to grow more and more weary at each word that passed his lips, and the blood seeping through his uniform became all the more obvious.
Yew wanted to do something, anything, but one look at Tiz and others was enough to realize that there was nothing left to be done for Janne.
Nothing but watch life leave him...
”C'mon, Yew,” Janne sighed, fingers squeezing at his shoulder weakly and staining Yew's robes further in blood. ”There's one last thing I shoulda told ya a long time ago, too, but I never did. 'Sides the other sentimental crap I just spouted.”
”What is it?” Yew asked, wiping his eyes furiously to the black sleeve of his robes.”I'll listen, so tell me, Janne.”
Janne heaved out a sigh, his grip over Yew's shoulder faltering, which only made Yew hold onto the dying teen harder. He would not abandon a friend, even if they were running low on time. He would not let Janne go.
”It's real silly, though.” Janne's lips twitched, and his peculiarly shaped eyebrows furrowed as his exhausted eyes flashed with an emotion too quick to identify. Yew, in his distress, failed to notice it – and even if he had, there was very little he would have thought of it.
”You're dying, Janne. You could confess to adoring chicken with maple syrup on top, and I wouldn't laugh.”
”Damn, you guessed it.” Janne made a face.
”Wait, what? Seriously?” Yew frowned. ”Your dying words are about chicken and maple syrup?”
”Hell yeah, man,” Janne said as he closed his eyes, the dim green hidden under thick lashes as his body trembled with his quivering breaths. ”Don't diss the chicken syrup, Yew.”
”You're delusional.” Yew cradled Janne against himself, this time heaving a sigh out of himself as he pretended to not cry. For Janne's sake. For his own sake, too. This was the best friend he had ever had, no matter how ugly things had turned out in Janne's quest for revenge against the Geneolgia and the Crystalguard.
Yew had so many things he wanted Janne to know – so many things he wished he had the time to babble on and on about to Janne like he had during the old times!
Janne's breath hitched harshly as he made another attempt at speaking, and Yew was too immersed in his own sadness to stop Janne before the words started coming out.
”Love you,” Janne said, eyes closed and with a hint of resignation lingering in the corner of his smile. ”For better or worse, I love you, Yew.”
Yew wasn't quite sure who it was that gasped at Janne's words – was it Tiz, Edea, Magnolia... or himself?
Because... because this was not a confession of friendship, Yew knew this instinctively after having been close with Janne for so many years.
Janne meant this, more than anything else he might have said.
”Uh,” Yew cleared his throat. ”Love as in we'll be best friends forever?”
Janne groaned. ”If I wasn't dead, that would have killed me, Yew.”
”You're not dead. Even though you really ought to be with all that bleeding...”
”Give it a couple moments,” Janne rasped, eyelids fluttering open to show the displeased flicker in his eyes. ”That ought to be enough to put a lid on this discussion.”
Yew didn't know what to say. ”So... you love love me?”
”Jesus, just shove a spear through my heart and finish the job,” Janne grunted, lips pulling down as he grimaced – and not only from the physical pain, if he even felt that anymore. Seeing how Janne's limbs had ceased their quaking, Yew figured the numbness of death had already started to creep over his dear... friend.
”I can't do that!” Yew protested and hugged Janne, his face pressing into Janne's neck so that he would not have to see the life fading from Janne's usually strong, confident eyes that had given Yew so much reassurance before. ”Janne, just... don't leave me hanging! Not about this...”
”Yes, for fuck's sake, yes!” Janne's words were harsh, but his voice was but a whisper, full of choked emotions that Yew had not noticed before.
There were so many things Yew hadn't noticed... It was amazing in some fucked up way, wasn't it?
Janne's outburst did very little to the young man himself – it only made hims cough out blood and struggle harder against the steadily growing pull of death, even though he had seemed almost eager to embrace the grim reaper not too long ago.
”Listen, Yew,” Janne choked into Yew's ear, ”don't you dare to get hung up on t-this. I said it for my own sake, not just so that you could regret fighting me for real. Don't you dare regret that.”
”I don't – I don't, Janne, but you can't leave me after saying something like that!”
”Hah! Too late for that now, I'm afrai... d...”
Janne's body went still in Yew's arms, his breaths silent, and there were no more words Yew could expect from Janne.
It was over – for real, this thing with Janne, without any sort of reconcilation that Yew had desired so much even after finding out Janne's objective of vengeance.
And Janne left him with – what, exactly? Words of love that were ill-suited to a boy of action and more fitting of Yew, a boy of words and grandiose ideals.
A foolish boy, someone had said. Blind to the truths of the world.
And it was true. He had been blind to Janne's feelings – regarding any matter – for so long, it was laughable.
Yew didn't make a sound, but the tears wouldn't stop leaking from his eyes into Janne's shoulder, into the black fabric of his imperial uniform. Also into Janne's hair, because it was impossible to avoid.
Janne... oh, Janne.
If there was a chance to fix this, to keep Janne among the living, would he not take it joyously and immediately?
The thought struck Yew, but he had other things to settle before he could come back to that.
”I'm sorry, Janne,” he whispered and let go of Janne's body. At least he looked peaceful in his deathly slumber, if nothing else: eyebrows unfurrowed, skin smooth and lacking the usual wrinkles. ”I think I understand you a little more now. Why you did what you did...”
Regret was a powerful motive, Yew thought, and when equipped with anger and revenge... it was most dangerous.
”Let's go,” he said to his own comrades with a tremble in his voice as he finished wiping his face. Magnolia was already at his side, her hands gentle on his elbow and arm. Tiz and Edea both looked incredibly awkward and tense, as well as worried for Yew's stability.
”We can't go back now,” Yew continued and forced a smile as he proceeded to move and leave Janne behind him. He could come back later.
He would –
– just not in this world.