It's hard to see through the blood and dirt in your eyes, but still you strain to find the familiarity of your brother's face. Your voice is hoarse and the raw wound on your back sears to your bones with pain, but you can't muster the strength to lift yourself from the ground. For once, you try to focus on your physical anguish, try to draw your thoughts away from the fear that sings in your veins when your cry for your father is met with only wind, rain, and thunder.
You feel him before your see him. The familiar warmth and bulk of his hand beneath your frantic fingers draws a relieved sob from you as you gather his broken body in your arms, holding fast to him in a manner you hadn't in years.
He calls out your name as though you are far away, grasping at your sleeves. "Run," your father tells you, "your mother is gone."
Every frayed nerve in your body bids you do the same, but you shake your head fiercely through your fatigue, tightening your hold on him and struggling to a kneel. "I'm not leaving you," you whisper hotly. "Lucina will come!"
The rain seems to rinse your eyes of blood for a moment; you see him looking at you, truly seeing you, and he smiles. "My brave girl. You were always the strong one, you know?"
And it's not rain the clears your vision, you realize as tears spring from your eyes.
You open your mouth to beg him to stop speaking with such finality, but he is suddenly and forcefully torn from your grasp. The force of the pull makes you fall face-first into the ground again. You cry out for your father and choke around the mud in your mouth, raising your eyes to meet your attacker, but find, instead, the glassy, hollow gaze of your brother.
His lips form around the first letter of your name, but his voice seems to catch in his throat - this isn't right, this isn't your baby brother, it's not your blood and flesh and partner and best friend that's grasping your father by his hair and yanking it back to bare his neck.
"Your mother is gone," this demon that resembles your sibling repeats, and you scream over his words when he holds his sword to your father's throat. "There is only Grima."
"My mother is gone," you snap fiercely when Robin reaches out to touch your hand - she retracts her own quickly, and the look of hurt on her youthful face is enough to make you stay your tongue in fear of crying openly. That dark husk wasn't your brother, and this young, happy couple isn't your family.
"What happened to her?" you hear her inquire softly to Lucina as you storm away from them, though you stall just outside her tent to catch the princess's response.
"I… am not sure," she replies hesitantly, and the concern that seeps into your leader's already weary voice splits your heart in two. "She says she lost her brother and her parents, but it seems her memory is fractured - like yours."
"That poor child," Robin murmurs brokenly. "My poor girl."
If you linger any longer, you're sure the grief will swallow you whole.
These ruins pulse with ancient, forgotten power, and there's something electric in the air that profoundly thrills you. Despite the gravity of your exploration, your mother and father smile at you as you chatter animatedly at some of your fellow troops, and when you finally notice their fond gazes, you shyly return the gesture.
Even when Risen inevitably make their presence known, you jump into battle with the razor-awareness of a tactician and the enthusiasm of a seasoned fighter. Cynthia hollers something about delivering a swift and just end to the minions of darkness and destruction, and you can't contain the laugh that bubbles from your lips.
But you hear a familiar, surprised voice, and the smile suddenly feels too heavy on your face.
Your mother speaks with the boy, who replies with obvious intimacy and excitement that even you can recognize is similar to your own. Robin spies you from the corner of her eye and calls you over, eyes bright with exhilaration, and for a moment you feel your heart twist and the old-but-still-too-fresh scar in your back go white-hot with fear, but your brother meets your stare with befuddlement.
"Sis… ter…?" he asks more than greets, and you inhale slowly and deeply, drinking in your darker emotions and plugging them behind a watery smile.
"Welcome home, Morgan."
You find that even with the spots in his memory, Morgan is uncomfortably perceptive to your unease. There are days where things almost seem normal - the two of you bicker and laugh like old times, and when side-by-side in battle, your movements are coordinated enough to put even Chrom and Lucina to shame. Even your relationship with your parents has mended, and you often spend evenings seated together at the mess hall, Morgan and Robin avidly discussing battle tactics while you and your father roll your eyes good-naturedly over their heads.
You almost slip back into your old habits, almost believe your own lies, and peace almost manages to find its way back into your heart.
But sometimes the light catches the edges of Morgan's eyes in a way that darkens them into void. Sometimes he slashes his sword in a manner that's burned in your memory and for a moment you see the pale neck of your father beneath his blade.
Your little brother knows you far too well for someone who doesn't remember you at all. He has learned not to go looking for you in rainstorms, and to stop asking what's wrong when your face goes white and your breath catches in your throat.
"Maybe we're better off without our memories, you know?" you nervously tell him one day, while he's lying in your lap as you idly weave flowers into his hair. He lifts his gaze from the thick tome in his hands to look up and back at you, and the uncharacteristic weight in his gaze is almost enough to make you seize up with fear again.
"Is that really what you think?"
You can't hold his eyes any longer and cast your stare to the side. "I think… the memories we make now are more important," you mutter lamely, and bite your lip to hide your shame. "What's important is that I'm your big sister, and I want the best for you - for your future. We'll build a better future together, without old, sad memories to bring us down."
Morgan scrutinizes you for a few moments, and it takes all your willpower not to flinch or cry when you remember the sound your father made as this same boy wet his hands with his blood.
He suddenly grins. "You know, I wanted my memories back so desperately," he says, finally moving those terrifying eyes from your face in favor of the sky overhead, and it's as though your stuttering heart remembers to start beating once the apparent danger has passed. "I mean - sorry to get all sappy on you, Sis, but I love you this much already, even if I don't remember you. We must've made some great memories together, and I'd gladly take the bad ones with them to have them back."
You feel yourself starting to cry - and if he feels your tears falling into his hair, or hears your stifled, heartsore sobs, he makes no indication of it and continues to smile and speak serenely while you curse the gods for this deceitful life you've been given.
"Don't worry about it, though. If the prospect of bad memories returning scares you that much, I'll look forward and only forward to focusing on our new future with Mother and Father. Hey, we must've done something good to deserve this second chance, right?"