The Good Fight, a story for the Giraffe Call (@anke)

This is to [personal profile] anke‘s prompt here to my February Giraffe Call.

Warning: violence and war.

I do believe this is fae-apoc post-apoc, but it could be any apoc.

The boy prepared for battle. He strapped on his sword and his knife and his small, sometimes-reliable pistol. He strapped on his armour, scrounged and shaped and above all strong (and heavy), and his helmet, he kissed his wife on the lips and his mother on both cheeks.

His mother straightened the straps of his breast-plate. His wife adjusted the guards he wore over his shins, and the heavy gloves he wore. His father murmured advice from a world ago and decades ago, advice that still held true.

That was all they had time for. They had to hit the enemy, fast, before they knew what was coming, before they could react. The enemy was so much bigger, and so much stronger.

They hugged the boy and kissed him and sent him out to fight.

The mother and the wife watched. The father had seen more than his share of battles and had no desire to watch his oldest boy go out to war, but the women…

…they held each other’s hands for a moment, and then the wife, ensconced in a blind behind layers of armor, set up her rifle. Her firearm was far more accurate than her husband’s, because she had far less chance of it being taken away from her.

He walked to the edge of the forest, knowing that his wife and his mother guarded his passage. He moved quietly, for all the armor, nearly silently, and stepped with long-practiced caution around the minefield that bordered their lands.

Two hundred feet of naked earth in all directions, and he had to cross it to complete his mission. Once, this had been farmland. Once, this had been their farmland.

He ran, knowing the path by heart now, trusting that the enemy had not placed more mines in the cover of darkness. They watched this border, but the guards were lazy, made complacent by weeks of silence and the mines which they thought protected them.

He darted in through an opening in their walls they did not know existed, slipped in, lithe despite the armor, because it had been built to allow him this movement.

The wife watched the city through the scope, even when she couldn’t see her husband. She watched the plume as the building exploded, and watched, again, when her husband appeared, sooty but still in possession of all his limbs, to dart back, slow, too slow, across the minefield.

Her bullets guarded his passage and heralded his return; his mother wrapped him in her arms, soot and all, when he limped back into their home.

And he would do it again next week.

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