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The Lion's Den

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X years prior to the start of the game, Jeralt and his mercenary group come across a girl who seems to be lost and have no recollection of who she is. The man allows her to stay with the group, not wanting to leave her alone and defenseless in the wild and even teaches her way around the bow and arrow.

Eventually, Jeralt asks Sir Alois if he can take care of Lilianna, and he accepts, adopting her as his daughter and with her taking his family name. With his connections to the Officer’s Academy, Alois enrolls Lilianna into the Academy, and because she has no affiliation, she is allowed to choose whichever House she wants to join. Even though she’s more proficient with the bow and would be well suited for the Golden Deer, Lilianna chooses to go with the Blue Lions.

Because of her “special circumstances”, Lilianna tries not to draw too much attention to herself; however, she manages to befriend many fellow members of the Blue Lions. She’s particularly close friends with Ashe while Dedue treats her like a sister. Sylvain flirts with her at every opportunity that presents itself, and she can’t deny that she enjoys his sweet words.

Lilianna greatly respects Prince Dimitri, and after he saved her from a near death experience in battle, she pledged complete loyalty to him. She remains by his side, even after the timeskip.

In truth, Lilianna was actually isekai'd from modern Earth to Fódlan after she had committed suicide by hanging. She has no memory of this whatsoever and simply wakes up in a forest, lost and confused. Although she has no memory of her past life, she retains marks on her neck from her death, but she has no clue as to where they came from. She's quite self-conscious of it and tends to hide it by wearing high-collared shirts or otherwise any other kind of neck accessory.

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Dedue - A bond similar to that of siblings. Lilianna is one of the few people who do not look down upon him and his people, treating him with respect, and for that, he's thankful. Dedue is quite protective of  her, almost as much as he is towards Dimitri.

Lilianna huffs to herself, her arms trembling underneath all the weight of the books she's carrying. A professor had kindly asked her for a favour in delivering the textbooks to another class, and she had accepted as she would be passing by the area in any case. ...However, now that it's come to this, Lilianna can't help but start regretting her decision. She mentally berates herself and laments her situation when a firm voice calls out to her.

The woman tilts her head to the side so that she can peek past the tower of books that obscure her view. Her lips naturally draw up into a slight smile when she's greeted by none other than Dedue.

"Would you like some help with that?" He asks, gesturing to her task at hand.

Lilianna shakes her head to the best of her ability while making sure not to drop anything. "It's okay," she answers. "I wouldn't want to bother you."

Dedue's brows crease together, and despite her words, he reaches out and takes about two-thirds of the pile from her arms, helping alleviate the strain she was putting on them. "You should learn to accept kindness when given to you," he gently berates her. "There's no shame in asking for help when needed. Kindness can be difficult to come by, so you should not take it for granted."

Lilianna bows her head, slightly embarrassed. "I... Yes, I suppose you're right. I'll reflect upon it."

Her fellow student hums in approval, nodding his head. A comfortable silence falls upon the two as they walk side by side so that they can do their task.


 Ashe - A friendship formed through shared experiences. Both Ashe and Lilianna feel as though they can relate to one another in the respect and gratitude they feel towards their adoptive fathers. They're completely at ease with one another, and it wouldn't be a surprise if romantic feelings blossomed between them in the future.

"What do you think about this?" Ashe asks as he leans over to Lilianna's side and point to a certain passage to the text in front of her.

A thoughtful hum falls from Lilianna's lips as she contemplates her response. As the seconds tick by, a frown forms on her face, and she groans in defeat. Seeing as the two were alone, the woman allows herself to unceremoniously slump over on the table in front of her and bury her head in her arms. It's completely undignified, but since it's Ashe, she's perfectly comfortable with acting this way.

"I can't do this anymore," she complains in a whiny voice. "I'm so tired... Aaaasheeee... Can't we take a break?"

Ashe's lips twitch into an amused smile before going over the time. "I guess we can. It looks like you're almost at your limit."

"I am," Lilianna admits, her head snapping back up to pout at the man. Her features relax soon afterwards, and she heaves a sigh. She sits back up to her full height but is quick to lean against Ashe's shoulder. She doesn't know why, but he's quite comfortable to lean on, and he doesn't seem to mind in the slightest. Her eyelids gently fall shut, and she exhales. "...Thanks for tutoring me on this."

"It's no problem," Ashe responds with a soft and gentle voice. "I'm happy to be of help."

"Mmm... If ever in the future you need help, feel free to come to me. I'll offer whatever aid I can."


 Sylvain - An odd pair that many people wouldn't have expected. Although Lilianna isn't fond of being the center of attention, Sylvain's words seem to have an effect on her and make her smile. Perhaps it's because of his friendly disposition that she feels she can be playful with him.

"My, you're looking as beautiful as ever today, Lady Lily."

Despite herself, Lilianna ends up with a bashful smile on her face from Sylvain's honeyed greeting. "I am not a Lady," she reminds the student. "And I would appreciate it if you refrained from calling me by that name. Only my closest friends are allowed to call me as such."

Sylvain's grin remains plastered on his features, and he leans in close to the woman, prompting her to turn her head to the side. "But you seem to enjoy it," he points out. "Moreover, I'm quite hurt. I had thought we were close friends by now."

"Perhaps if you learned to hold your tongue, then it might be possible in the future," Lilianna shoots back, but her voice comes out teasing and playful which seems to make Sylvain light up.

He unreservedly wraps an arm around her shoulder and pulls her close to him. "So I'm not a lost cause?"

Lilianna smirks and smoothly shrugs off the man's arm. She starts to walk away as she had some plans, but she pauses for a moment and turns her head back. She wears a slight smirk, delight dancing behind her eyes. "I don't like getting people's hopes up, but no, you're not. You're too amusing."


 Dimitri - An awkward kind of relationship that feels like it can be something more. Lilianna holds a deep respect towards Dimitri and has pledged loyalty to him. Although he's thankful, it somehow doesn't sit well on his tongue, like it isn't what he's looking for from her.

A melancholic look hides behind Lilianna's eyes as she stared up at the darkened sky. The heavy rain continues to fall with no signs of letting up any time soon. She would like to head back to the dorms, but it's quite a fair distance away, and she had omitted wearing the uniform jacket and was left with the white button-up blouse. She didn't want to take that risk.

She senses a presence takes its spot beside her, and she turns her head to find none other than Dimitri. She lowers her head in a respectful greeting to which he returns. Silence stretches over the two, neither awkward or comfortable, and they both stare off into the distance. Somehow, they can't find the words to say.

From the corner of his eyes, Dimitri notices Lilianna shiver as she rubs at her arms. "Are you cold?" he asks.

"A little," she answers with a trouble smile. "But you need not concern yourself with me, Milord."

Dimitri doesn't seem quite satisfied with that, and he removes his jacket and drapes it over her, his fingers brushing against her shoulders. A pinkish hue forms on Lilianna's cheeks, and thinking back to Dedue's words, mutters a timid word of thanks while graciously accepting the small act of kindness and clutches the jacket closer around her.

Dimitri nods his head and takes a step back, resuming his previous stance, but somehow, he seems to be standing a little closer to her than before.

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"Lilianna."

The woman visibly flinches in surprise at the voice that calls to her from behind without warning. She turns, her lips parting slightly when she sees the head of the House standing there. Lilianna is quick to recompose herself, folding her hands neatly in front of her as she offers a respectful bow in greeting to the future king of Faergus.

"Your Highness."

Dimitri smiles wryly at that but chooses against commenting on her overly formal behaviour. "My apologies," he says instead. "I did not mean to frighten you."

"You didn't frighten me," Lilianna answers a tad bit too quickly and defensively. Somehow, Dimitri seems amused, almost like that was the kind of response he was expecting to receive. In any case, the young woman changes the subject. "Did you need me for something?"

"The professor told me that your swordsmanship skills have been lacking. He's asked me to train you, if you'd be willing to have me instruct you," Dimitri explains, his voice carrying a hint of hope that she'd accept.

Lilianna furrows her brows, and a look of dissatisfaction forms on her face. It's no surprise that her swordsmanship has been put into question, especially if one were to compare her to the other prominent members of the Blue Lions. She's much more adept with the bow and arrow, and although she knows how to handle a blade, she only knows the bare minimum when used in self-defence.

"I..." the female student hesitates, biting down on her lower lip. "I wouldn't want to trouble you, Your Highness."

Although there is some truth in her words, more than anything, Lilianna is too embarrassed to have Dimitri watch over her lessons. She can't deny that she feels strongly for the prince, and she has no desire to have him see her make a fool out of herself.

"It's no trouble at all," Dimitri insists. "It'd be a lesson for me as well."

His eyes sparkle with a sense of eagerness, and poor Lilianna can't find it within herself to reject the man's offer. Fighting back the urge to heave a sigh of defeat, Lilianna forces a smile onto her face. "Then, in that case, Your Highness, I would be grateful if you could teach me."

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She had been careless. And now, she was facing the consequences.

Lilianna could only stare at the armoured man that was lunging straight towards her. She had been caught by surprise by an archer's curved shot, and in her attempt to evade, the woman had tripped on the uneven earth and fell to the ground. She hissed in pain at the sensation that coursed through her ankle, but she wasn't given the time to focus on it, her attention having been stolen away by the sound of clinking footsteps rushing towards her.

She had expected to see an ally, but all she found was an enemy charging straight for the fallen student, lance at the ready. She needed to move. Lilianna knew that she needed to move, but she couldn't bring herself to react. Her mind had blanked, and she couldn't think or do anything. All she could do was focus on the sharp tip of the lance aimed straight for her heart.

What happened next was a blur. One second, it seemed like she was about to get pierced, and then the next, a javelin had whizzed in. The weapon had landed on the unsuspecting knight's neck, sending him flying. It was a deadly accurate and critical hit, and Lilianna barely registered what just happened when the sound of galloping hooves reached her ears.

"Are you alright?" Dimitri, the one who had saved the woman, asked with frantic worry.

Lilianna could only stare wide-eyed and dumbfounded. A crease formed between the prince's brows, and he quickly dismounted from his horse. He offered his hand out to her, adrenaline slowly starting to fade from her nerves. Lilianna accepted the outstretched hand, still in a slight daze, and Dimitri helped her back up to her feet.

Even if he had done so as elegantly and carefully as possible, the sudden weight on Lilianna's ankle made her gasp as a sharp pain coursed through her. She stumbled forward, falling to the prince's chest who was quick to catch her. Lilianna glanced down towards her ankle that throbbed relentlessly. It looked awfully swollen.

Dimitri, who was following his fellow student's gaze, narrowed his eyes at the sight. It was unfortunate, but neither of the two had the time nor supplies to tend to Lilianna's injury. Instead, Dimitri had no choice but to literally sweep Lilianna off her feet, prompting her to squeak in surprise. He moved with purpose, heading back towards his horse and placed her atop to ride side-saddle. He made sure she was comfortable before picking up her bow that lay on the ground, having been dropped and forgotten after that whole ordeal.

"Thank you..." Lilianna murmured, taking the bow back and holding it tight against her chest.

Dimitri only gave a faint smile in return. His expression was quick to change to a more serious one soon afterwards, however, and he mounted himself onto his steed once more and took his spot behind the injured woman.

"I'll bring you back to where Mercedes is so that she can tend to your ankle," he told her, and Lilianna's heart jumped in her chest at how close he sounded. She dumbly nodded her head, and he continued. "I can't hold my weapon well while like this, so can I ask you to cover us from any possible enemy encounters?"

"Y-Yes, Your Highness," Lilianna finally managed to find her voice again.

Dimitri smiled at her, his expression warm and soft. He grabbed his horse's reins, caging the woman in between her arms. "I'm counting on you."

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"Your Majesty." Dimitri looks up and finds Lilianna leaning against the doorway. Her face is clear of any makeup, and her hair is down and unstyled. Judging by the nightgown she wears, she's about to head off to sleep, but yet she lingers and steadily holds the king's gaze. "Will you not be going to bed?"

"No," the man breathes out, carrying fatigue in his voice. Lilianna frowns, and she moves to pull up a chair and seat herself across from him. Dimitri raises a brow. "You should go on ahead and sleep before me," he tells her.

"I cannot sleep peacefully without you," she answers without missing a beat. Because I worry about what you might do, she mentally adds to herself and bites back those thoughts.

Dimitri stares at her for a moment, and he holds out his hand towards her. "Come here." It sounds like a command, but Lilianna knows better—it's a plead. The woman nods her head in understanding and obeys, placing her hand in his palm and stands before him. In one smooth motion, Dimitri pulls her down to sit upon his lap.

"Your Majesty—"

"Enough," he cuts her off, his tone impatient. A beat passes before he continues, his voice softer and more gentle than before. There's even a hint of slight vulnerability behind it, Lilianna notes. "It's just us here."

"Ah," Lilianna makes a small sound of understanding, and she brushes the king's hair away from his face so that she can caress his cheek. "Forgive me, Dimitri," she apologizes in a hushed whisper as she drops all sense of formalities.

Dimitri hums, seemingly satisfied as he closes his eyes and leans in closer to his lover's tender touch. "You should go to bed," he repeats and gently chides her.

"As I've said before, I can only sleep peacefully if you're beside me, so if you aren't going to bed, then neither am I."

The clouds outside clear, and moonlight seeps in to illuminate the two lone figures in the room. Dimitri opens his eyes once more. One of his arms move to wrap around the woman's waist and pull her closer to his chest while his other hand strokes her cheek. His fingers trail down the column of her neck and brush along her collarbones before continuing its descent to the valley between her breasts.

The king shifts in his seat and leans forward to place a firm kiss on Lilianna's neck, prompting her to let out a sound bordering that of a wavering moan. By now, Dimitri knows every single sensitive spot on his lover's body, and he hums in approval. "My lovely Lili..." he murmurs against her skin, his breath warm as he squeezes her against him. "Will you give yourself to me and allow me to have my way with you?"

Lilianna's eyes grow soft and warm. There are many people who tend to look at her with pity. There's no doubt that those people assume that the reason why Lilianna remains by the king's side is out of fear, but they're mistaken. Despite everything he's said and done, Dimitri has never once hurt her—intentionally, at least, and in the accidental times that he has, he had always apologized and tried to make things right—nor had he ever forced himself upon her.

For the people who do not personally know the couple, they will never understand that Lilianna's and Dimitri's feelings for each other are mutual.

"...Did something happen?" Lilianna asks as she runs her fingers through her hair. Something about his voice when he asked his question made her a bit concerned.

"No," he answers as he presses another kiss on her skin. "I was merely reflecting on the things I have lost, and I want to remind myself that you, at the very least, are still here."

"I see." The woman hums in acknowledgement, and she slowly rolls her hips against Dimitri's, pulling out a rumbling growl from within his chest. "I am yours," she reminds him. "You may do to me whatever you desire, as I desire it just as much."

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Dimitri's eyes do not dare glance away as Lilianna removes her overcoat, revealing a short sleeved tunic underneath. Almost immediately, his gaze falls upon a scar on her right arm. It is large in size, starting from around her elbow with a diagonal trail down to just above her wrist. Dimitri reaches out a hand and gingerly wraps his fingers around the woman's arm. He gives her a careful tug towards him so that he can inspect the wound further.

"Who did this to you?" Dimitri all but growls, anger flashing behind his eyes as he stares at the scar, as though willing it to disappear. "I know you said that it was an Imperial soldier, but if you tell me their name or face, I swear I will hunt them down and sever their head myself."

"There's no need," Lilianna responds in a firm but gentle whisper. Her free hand moves to cup the prince's cheek, prompting him to lift his head and meet her gaze. "I do not remember. I make it a habit not to remember those I fight on the field, lest I wish to have them haunt me."

A moment passes as Dimitri allows her words to sink in. He drops his gaze as he slowly loosens his grip on her. "...It must have been difficult for you," he murmurs underneath his breath.

Lilianna nods her head. There's nothing to gain by denying it. "Yes... but everything will turn out fine... now that you're here." She offers him a meek smile before her expression falls. "I'm sure it's the same for you. Forgive me, Dimitri. I had no intention of leaving you alone for all those years."

"Silence. I have no need for your apologies."

Lilianna seems surprised at the harsh response, and she presses her lips together in a firm line. Dejection makes its way to her tone as she averts her gaze in shame and looks off into the distance. "...Yes. I suppose you're right."

Dimitri stares at the pained expression on the woman's face, and he heaves a sigh. He tries again, his voice a bit softer than before. "You... have no reason to apologize to me. I was the reason why you..." He clenches his jaw, and his hands ball into fists by his side. "I should have been with you."

"You needed to live and survive," Lilianna responds without missing a beat. She knows how important he is to his kingdom which is why she chose to act as she did on that day.

"I've been dead for a long time," the prince hisses, though his anger isn't directed towards the woman before him. It is directed towards his own weakness and inability to save and protect those dear to him. "My heart died with you on that day."

"I am not dead," she reminds him. "So if that is the case, then your heart certainly still beats, alongside mine. You and I are still alive, and that's all that matters." Dimitri remains quiet, brows furrowed and seemingly lost in thought before Lilianna laces her fingers with his. "Will you take a walk with me?"

"...If that is what you wish."

The night air is cool against Lilianna's skin as she links her arm with Dimitri's and take a leisurely stroll around the monastery. Every now and then, they come across a corpse or pile of one. She closes her eyes every time they encounter one of the deceased, but Dimitri looks on ahead, unwavering, though there is a hint of melancholy hiding behind his features.

The two find themselves in the part of the monastery where the gazebo once stood tall and proud, and they decide to take a small break of sorts. Lilianna unlinks herself from the hardened prince and rubs her arms to generate some heat. She had opted against bringing her overcoat, thinking it wouldn't be necessary.

Dimitri glances down at her before breathing out a sigh. He slips off his cloak and instead drapes it over his lover's cold shoulders. It's quite big on her, the furs making it look like they're engulfing her, and a small chuckle makes its way past Dimitri's lips. It's strange a strange feeling. He hasn't laughed like this—a genuine laugh without malice or scorn—for a long time.

Lilianna stares at his face, and it looks like she too is surprised at the sound that he had made. Dimitri's expression then turns contemplative, tilting his head to the side as his fingertips delicately stroke the woman's cheek. "How strange..." he muses. It almost sounds like he's talking to himself, but Lilianna hangs on to his every word. "Back in the Academy, I always thought you couldn't get any more beautiful than you alrady were, yet here you are, having proved me wrong..."

Lilianna doesn't know what kind of face to make, but there's no denying that her heart had skipped a beat from his words. She buries her face a bit deeper into the furs of his cloak. The smell of blood lingers on it, but somehow, she can't find it in herself to be disgusted by it. Rather than be disgusted by the scent, her chest becomes painfully tight that it would be something associated with the prince.

"You don't put your hair up anymore," Dimitri comments, moving the conversation along after Lilianna's silence.

"It's... too much effort," she explains. "It is a hindrance in battle, but I've been trying to stay on the move and avoid as many battles as possible."

"I see."

"..."

"..."

The conversation lulls to a stop, and a long silence hangs over the pair. Lilianna bites down on her lower lip as a question rests on her tongue, asking to be spoken out loud. "Dimitri, may I ask you a question?" She braces herself.

"What is it?"

She hesitates. "What is it that haunts you?"

She watches as the prince's one good eye widens before narrowing dangerously. He makes a sharp turn on his heel and walks several paces ahead. "That is none of your concern," he spits out. He won't show weakness to her, nor will he drag her into his own mess any further than he already has.

"Dimitri, please," she implores as she moves forward and try to lessen the space between them. "I want to help you."

Lilianna places a hand onto his arm to show that he isn't alone, but he slaps it away and refuses to look at her, his back remaining turned towards her as he stares down at the ground. "Do not touch me," he commands with an edge in his voice.

Lilianna inhales deeply. "...My sincerest apologies," she finally utters. "Then, Your Highness, I shall take my leave now."

Dimitri doesn't look back as he listens to the woman's retreating footsteps. When he finally lifts his head once more, the ghosts of his past are before him, and his shoulders quake. "I know!" He cries out into the air, voice cracking with desperation. "I know what I must do, and I will not stop until it is done! My resolve has not wavered!"

He lowers his head again as though apologizing, and he takes a moment to calm himself and steady his breathing. He turns to head back and try to get some rest when he foot makes contact with his cloak on the ground. Lilianna must have left it behind. The prince suppresses the emotions that rise up within him as he bends down to pick up the article of clothing and throw it over his shoulders once more.

He exhales a sigh and notices a faint floral scent. As subtle as it may be, he recognizes it as the one Lilianna liked to wear. Even if she had only been wearing it for a short amount of time, her scent had lingered, or perhaps he was simply imagining things. It surely wouldn't be the first time his mind had played tricks on him.

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Lilianna steps inside the Goddess Tower, slightly out of breath but otherwise satisfied with having reached her destination. She glances around and finds that she's all alone, though she supposes that's to be expected. The ball is most probably over by now or close to ending, much to her chagrin. She had been looking forward to participating in the festivities, but fate was cruel, and she had ended up falling sick. She stayed in bed the whole day to rest, and just when she was starting to feel well enough to be up and about to head to the ball, almost everybody had left already.

She tried not to let it get to her though, and so she decided to at least visit the Goddess Tower. She had heard of the legend that if a man and woman were to enter the Tower on this particular day and make a wish, it would come true. As a hopeless romantic, Lilianna just absolutely couldn't resist the temptation.

Still, the place is awfully creepy at night with nobody else around. Unable to deal well with this kind of atmosphere, Lilianna turns on her heel to leave, only to jump and scream in fright when she finds that somebody was standing right behind her all this time. She clutches at her chest to calm her racing heart, and Dimitri--the perpetrator for scaring the life out of her--makes an apologetic face.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."

"I-- I wasn't scared. You didn't scare me," Lilianna lies a bit too quickly, but Dimitri decides against commenting on it to save her from any further embarrassment. She clears her throat and asks him a question. "May I ask why you're here, Your Highness?"

"I needed to take a break from the festivities," he answers before gesturing towards her. "And what about you? I heard from Mercedes that you were ill. Are you feeling better now?"

The young woman bows low in response. "I thank you for your concern. I am feeling better than I was before, and I... ...Well, I was really looking forward to the ball and wanted to join, even if only just for a little bit, but I was too late it seems. At the very least, I wanted to be able to visit the Tower and make a wish."

"A wish?" Dimitri asks in momentary confusion before making a sound of understanding. "Ah, you must mean the legend associated with this tower."

"Yes. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone to accompany me, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to at least check it out myself."

"How strange," the prince comments with a faint smile on his lips, bringing his fingers up to his chin in contemplative thought. "I never expected you to be interested in that kind of thing."

For some reason, Lilianna starts to feel self-conscious, and she begins to fiddle with the hem of her outfit while glancing off to the side. "Is it... that strange...?"

"No," he answers her in assurance as he brings his arms back down to his sides and relaxes himself. "But I do find it a bit surprising. In any case, since we're here anyways, why don't you go ahead and make your wish now?"

The student doesn't answer straight away, and she hesitates. Sensing this, Dimitri goes to tell her that she doesn't need to share if she doesn't want to, but Lilianna cuts him off before he has a chance to speak. She turns her head back to look at him straight in the eyes, and her expression becomes soft.

"Then, I would like to wish for your happiness and safety, Your Highness." She tilts her head to the side, and her eyes hold a tender gaze. "You have helped me tremendously in our time together, and you have given me so much joy. I would like to wish that you find and experience that same joy you have given me, if not more."

Dimitri's heart thumps against his chest, and his eyes widen slightly in surprise. "My happiness...?" He repeats, dumbfounded and confused, but he's quick to shake his head, and a solemn air surrounds him. "Such a kind wish is wasted upon someone blood-stained as I am. It would be much better to wish for something else or for yourself."

Lilianna refuses, her smile never leaving her face. "I am satisfied enough with what I have. So long as the people I love and care for are safe and happy, then I have no need for anything else."

Dimitri pauses for a moment, allowing her words to sink in. "...Lilianna, there is no need for such a wish." His expression turns serious, and he takes strong and purposeful steps towards her. His arm winds itself behind her waist and pulls her flush against him, causing colour to rise to both of their cheeks. "I am already happy enough as is, so long as you remain by my side. Stay with me, and your wish will always remain true."

He leans down to kiss her, but she snaps herself back to reality, lightly pushing against his chest as she turns her head to the side before he can do so. "Please wait, Your Highness. You shouldn't. I'm still sick, and I would not want you falling ill as well."

Dimitri doesn't respond but cups her chin with his fingers and tilts it back to have her look back at him. Lilianna parts her lips to speak once more and insist that he maintain a reasonable distance, but he's quick to silence her with an open mouthed kiss. Even if she did have the strength to do so, Lilianna can't possibly bring herself to pull away from the warmth that seeps through her.

When they part, the prince is sure to keep his gaze steady with hers, hooded as they are. His hands find hers, and he gives them a soft squeeze. "Lilianna, I... I am not the person you think I am, but even so, I want to be with you. Will you allow me such a selfish request?"

She smiles at his words and rests her head atop his chest. "There is no need to ask," she responds with a gentle voice, one that soothes the prince's heart. "I always welcome your company and wish to be with you, too."

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Somehow, Lilianna finds her current situation a bit frustrating. She leans against the bench, tilting her head back to look up at the sky as a heavy sigh falls from her lips. Her heart feels like it's being weighed down but also empty at the same time. There's an unpleasant feeling in her stomach, and her shoulders are heavy with a feeling she can't quite describe.

...Loneliness? Is what she's feeling right now loneliness? Lilianna presses her lips together, and a crease forms between her brows. ...Yes, perhaps she is lonely, but she wonders if she has a right to feel lonely.

She... had an acquiantance, if it would be appropriate for her to call them that. Her acquiantance was rather kind and sweet. Lilianna was grateful for their company, and she always tried to respond accordingly whenever they had a conversation with her, but even then, Lilianna kept her distance. She never actively tried to maintain that sense of camaderie and never took the initiative.

Lilianna wanted to consider them her friend, but she wasn't sure if it would be presumptuous of her to do so. She did not find herself worthy to call them a friend, and she was always too scared to start a conversation or attempt to deepen their bond. That being the case, Lilianna can't help but think that she's being ridiculous in feeling this way.

Her acquiantance no longer talks with her. They no longer pay attention to her. But isn't that her own fault? Isn't it her fault for not trying harder to keep or even deepen that relationship that they had?

Or perhaps she was overthinking things. Perhaps Lilianna's acquiantance had their own reasons for behaving as they are. But at the same time, the woman can't shake off the feeling that perhaps she did something wrong. Did she do something to upset them? Was she inadequate? She would ask them herself, but she can't bring herself to do so out of fear. What if she was bothering them? What if she didn't like their response? But more than anything, Lilianna understands that people have their own reasons for doing things, and she has no reason to meddle. She understands that she can't do anything about it, so... she had already given up on that "friendship" before even trying.

...It hurts.

She feels as though she lost something precious, and it makes her heart ache. Lilianna continues to stare up at the sky, listless. A part of her wants to cry, yet the tears won't come. Even though she's reflecting on her own emotions like this and finally becoming aware of the loneliness and sadness she feels, she can't cry. She feels numb, like she's felt this way far too many times before that she no longer has any more tears to shed.

"Lili?"

Lilianna is pulled away from her thoughts, and she finds Sylvain standing before her, a worried look on his face. Lilianna doesn't know what kind of expression she's wearing right now, but she tries to pull up a faint smile on her face. "Good evening, Sylvain," she greets him, thankful that her voice did not betray her and show her true emotions. "Did you need something?"

Sylvain rubs the back of his neck. "Well, you look kind of troubled. I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

"Yes," she lies. "I'm fine."

Sylvain isn't certain if Lilianna is telling the truth or not, but he doesn't push the question any further. "Alright, if you say so..." He awkwardly turns on his heel to leave but is stopped midstep when Lilianna reaches out to grab his hand. She retracts it immediately the moment she realizes what she had done and apologizes, almost as though out of habit.

Sylvain stares at her for a moment before smiling and plops himself down beside her on the bench. "What's on your mind?" He asks. Lilianna shakes her head. Sylvain tries again, taking the woman's hand into his own and giving it a reassuring squeeze. "Lili, I'm your friend. You can trust me."

Trust isn't something Lilianna can easily give, and it's especially difficult whenever it's with she feels emotionally close to. The closer she is to someone, the more she starts to doubt them. It's a confusing contradiction, but Lilianna finds it a difficult line to make sense of. The more she wants to trust someone, the more she can't do so
out of fear of losing it or being betrayed.

...But with Sylvain, she wants to try. Maybe it's because he's rather dishonest himself in more ways than one that she can feel a bit more comfortable around him and lay out her heart to him. It really doesn't make any sense to her, but she wants to try. She explains her predicament, head bowed low out of shame and embarrassment, but Sylvain is patient and understanding with her. He squeezes her hand for reassurance every time she trails off, hesitant to continue, and he listens to each word she says.

The male student offers his own thoughts, being mindful of his choice of words. "I think it's fine if you leave things as they are. People drift away from each other all the time, but if you are willing to try, you can always approach them and try to build that relationship up again. You're a strong woman, Lili. You always continue moving forward no matter how many hardships you face, personal or not."

"I'm not that strong..." Lilianna argues, but there's no doubt Sylvain's words have alleviated the burden on her heart, and a small smile appears on her face.

"You are strong," the man insists. "Which is why I know that no matter what you choose to do now, you'll be okay in the end."

"...Thank you, Sylvain."

Sylvain beams, relieved to have been able to cheer Lilianna up a bit. He carefully lifts her hand up to his lips and places a chaste kiss on the back of her fingers. "Don't mention it. Anything to get you to smile again, Lili."

Chapter Text

Lilianna kneels before the gravestone in front of her and rests a bouquet of flowers on the ground. Her eyes read the name and words inscripted on the stone, but she doesn’t properly register them, her mind and heart far too numb with grief to fully be aware of her surroundings. Even if she did not shed tears for the recently departed, her chest aches with unbearable pain, unable to push it away.

She thinks back on the short amount of time she had with the now deceased man. Despite their time being together being quite short, Lilianna viewed the man like a fatherly figure. He might have been rough around the edges, but he truly did care about her, just as much as she cared about him. He had taught her many things, and now… Now, she would never be able to repay that kindness he showed her when they first met that fateful day in the forest.

“…Lilianna.”

The woman looks up at the call of her name just as Dimitri approaches her. His eyes are sympathetic as he offers his hand out for her to take. Slowly, she accepts it, and he carefully helps her stand back up on her feet. Dimitri gently squeezes her hand for comfort. “I cannot begin to tell you just how sorry I am for your loss. I know that he meant a great deal to you.”

Lilianna nods her head, the action requiring much effort on her part. “…He did,” she whispers. “Though I never got to properly tell him…”

“I’m certain that he knows,” the prince tries to assure her, but it does little to soothe her feelings. He gives her a subtle tug to coax her into following him. “Come, Lili. You’ll catch a cold if you stay out here for too long like this.”

Lilianna lowers her gaze and slips her hand out of Dimitri’s grasp, prompting his expression to become solemn as the woman looks back onto the gravestone. “I want to stay,” she tells him, her quiet voice being carried by the wind. “I want to stay for a bit longer. There are still many things I want to tell him…”

Dimitri nods his head after a moment’s pause. “I understand,” he tells her. He leans in and kisses the woman’s forehead. “Take as much time as you need.”