windsnocturne: (Faye)
[personal profile] windsnocturne
Title: these hands are only human
Fandom: Fire Emblem Echoes
Prompt: comfort food
Rating: G
Characters/Pairings: Faye/Silque
Warnings: Endgame spoilers

Summary: It's not easy for some people to accept that they're truly on their own now. Mila is gone, and as devout as her servants were, they are still only human.

She has those dark circles under her eyes again and she can barely hold her head up. Silque has always been a hard worker, but she seems to be stuck in that mode full-time since the war's ended, almost as though she were trying to make up for the loss of Mila to those who relied on her most.

It's been over a year since the gods were laid to rest, but it's been a struggle to adjust. People still pray to Mila for guidance when their crops won't grow, or to Duma for the strength to fight off bandit attacks on the road. Mila idols still stand, but their power is waning little by little. Even Faye herself has to remember that the gods are only figures of legend now, that this is truly the age of man.

The people in the tiny Rigel village they've stopped at are still in denial. All of their children are ill with scarlet fever, and their parents have started to treat Silque as though she held the power of Mila in her own hands. They mean no harm, but Silque takes it to heart, feeling like she's failed because she wasn't able to cure the disease with a wave of her hand.

So she works her fingers to the bone, concocting medicines, using nearly all of the magic within her body, and Faye worries.

It's past sundown, and Silque hasn't returned yet tonight. Faye stirs the soup in the kettle and sighs, glancing out the window of their small cottage. The moon's waning and there haven't been many stars as of late, she hopes Silque will find her way home all right.

That is, if she hasn't collapsed on her way back. She could barely keep her eyes open this morning...

She adds a bit more rosemary to the pot. It's one of the recipes she learned from Nan back in the village, one she used to make for Mycen and Alm and the rest before they left to join the Deliverance. It's one of her favorites; a simple concoction of ham, carrots, potatoes, and peas in a rich broth. This is the first time she's ever made it for Silque, though. Peas have such a short season.

Silque finally walks through the door, her head bowed and her shoulders slumped. She's either about to cry or she's been crying, and either way she seems close to collapse. Faye is at her side in an instant, guiding her to their room. She helps her into a clean nightgown and then into bed.

"Stay there," she instructs. "I'll bring dinner in here."

"All right." The words are so quiet Faye barely hears them. She hurries to the kettle and dishes up two bowls of soup, which she puts on a tray; with this she slices up half a loaf of bread and peels two oranges. Luckily, Silque is still awake when she gets back.

"Here." She sets the tray down and presses a spoon into her lover's hand. "Eat something before you keel over!" With a shaking hand, Silque dips the spoon into the bowl and begins to eat slowly. She's quiet, but she seems to improve a bit after a few sips.

"Thank you." A ghost of a smile. "This is delicious." Faye can't help but beam as she digs into her own soup.

"I used to make it for everyone back in Ram," she says. "It always cheered them up when they were sick or feeling down..." She closes her eyes briefly, chasing away a fleeting memory. Even if she's moved on, it will still be a long time before she can think of Alm without sadness. Thankfully, she's had plenty to keep her busy for the past year.

"I wonder if it will help the villagers." Silque puts her spoon down and picks up a slice of bread, nibbling at the edges. "They can't afford very much right now, and the children are malnourished. It's how the disease caught them so quickly." Faye frowns, putting down the section of orange she was about to bite into.

"You've done all you can for them. I think maybe you need to step back a little and take a break before you get sick," she chides gently. Silque looks like she's about to protest, but she only sighs and shakes her head, stirring the soup still in her bowl.

"Mila is gone." Faye moves closer, resting a hand on her shoulder.

"I know."

"I've done all I can, as a person, but they expect me to bring a miracle. And looking at those children, at their frantic parents...I can't bring myself to tell them there will be none. Not the kind they hope for."

She pushes her bowl away, blinking back tears.

"Even knowing I don't have the kind of power they think I do, I still feel I've failed them."

"Oh, Silque..." Faye puts her own bowl aside, wrapping an arm around her lover's shoulders, the other hand smoothing her limp hair. "Of course you haven't! You're knocking yourself out to help them, they're the ones who need to realize you're just one person!" She's almost a little mad at this village, she knows they can't help it but if they'd just accept Mila's passing they'd realize that with all Silque's done for them, the children probably have more of a fighting chance than they realize.

"I know you're right, Faye." Silque leans into the embrace, sighing softly. "In my heart, I know you're right. But when I think of those faces, the constant prayers, the desperation..." Her shaking hand clutches at Faye's dress, and Faye's heart aches for her.

"All you can do is your best, and they should know that." She hugs Silque a little closer, kisses her temple, then makes her sit up again, pressing the bowl into her hands. "Now finish eating before it gets cold. You'll feel better once you've finished."

They eat in silence for the next few moments, Faye finishing her serving before Silque manages to eat half of hers. She's exhausted, she feels hopeless, and Faye wishes she could do more to ease her mind.

"It's going to be okay," she murmurs at length. Silque takes a long sip of the broth and sighs, managing a tiny smile.

"I hope so."

"Why don't I take over for you tomorrow?" Faye offers. "I'll go check up on them so you can rest."

"Are you sure?"

"Of course." Faye smiles. Despite her frustration, she does want those people to be okay. "I'll take care of things over there, and I'll tell you all about it when I get back." She winks. "But don't worry, I won't be gone long! I'll make sure to come back in plenty of time and take care of you."

For the first time in days, Silque actually smiles.

"Thank you, Faye." She dips her spoon into the bowl again. "And you should definitely bring them this soup. If nothing else, a good meal should cheer them." Faye smiles, there's more than enough soup left in the kettle and she can stop by the marketplace for some bread, too. And maybe some milk and eggs from the farm nearby.

Silque finishes eating, and while she still looks tired there's more color in her cheeks and she seems less likely to collapse at any second. Faye takes the nearly-empty tray back into the kitchen and straightens up, finding a basket to pack for tomorrow. It doesn't take her long, but when she returns to the bedroom Silque has fallen asleep.

"Good." Faye changes into her own nightgown and slides into bed, tucking the covers around them and nestling close to Silque. "Sleep well," she whispers, pressing a kiss to her temple and closing her eyes.

Tomorrow will be a better day. She'll do all she can to make it so.
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