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Nightshade had killed Gaius, sure, but he was stronger than she originally thought. She had underestimated Maro, and it almost cost her her life. Everything was dim for Nightshade. She wasn't unconscious, but it seemed like she was halfway there. She heard the nervous whispers of her siblings as they stood around her bed, and the consent weeping of someone next to her. The shaky, unsteady voice sound familiar. Who was it? Nightshade knew the voice, but why not the person? Then she realized who it was...
"Cicero is sorry Listener... Cicero has failed you..." Cicero said between sobs.
'He failed me? How? Was he there with me when I was nearly killed?' Nightshade asked herself. Then she remembered. He had been with her, as she asked him to. And he tried his damnedest to distract Gaius while Night attacked him. But Gaius had ignored the jester and kept his attention on Nightshade, trying to plunge his sword in her stomach. Luckily, that was easy enough to avoid, since Nightshade was an acrobat before she left Cyrodiil. But it was his quick punches that got Nightshade, causing her to lose her balance, then be impaled by a sword.
She didn't remember anything more than that. She knew as soon as she went down, so did Gaius. But had she killed him like she thought? Or did Cicero...?
"...Mother?" Nightshade thought. There was a prolonged silence, and she thought she must have imagined it. Then,
"Grace poor Cicero with your voice... as I never could."
"I... I don't think I can, Night Mother... It's taking all of my strength just to stay conscious... I can't speak." Night thought.
"Yes... You can, child. You have the strength, just say a few words, and Cicero will be happy."
"It's all Cicero's fault... Cicero tried... So very hard, but he couldn't distract the brute. It's all my fault..." Cicero sobbed.
"N-no..." was all Nightshade was able to say at the moment. Cicero looked at her hopefully. "It... isn't your fault, Cicero... I know you did your best..." her voice was weak, too weak for Cicero's comfort. But at least she was talking. At least Cicero knew she was okay. "Gaius is dead, I knew this much... You did w-well... m-my love." Nightshade finished, and slipped into darkness.
Night Mother said Cicero would be happy if she said a few words, but it only made what he was feeling even worse. He wanted more, he wanted to continue to hear Nightshade's voice. He wanted her to be okay. He hoped this was all a joke and that she would wake up and laugh with him.
But there was no laughter,
Nightshade did not wake up and told him it was a joke,
all there was, was silence.
And it was almost...
Cicero held Nightshade in his arms, and continued to weep. He prayed over, and over, and over to the Night Mother, to Sithis, hell, even the Divines! And Cicero despised the Divines! He wasn't ready for his Listener to leave him. Not after he waited for 13 years for one to appear. He would not let her go. He couldn't...
"Cicero..." Babette said quietly, placing her hand on his shoulder. "Leave her in peace. It's up to Sithis to decide."
A wave of frustration and anger swept through Cicero. He threw the unchild's hand off his shoulder. "No! Cicero is done waiting! Cicero wait 13 years for a Listener to finally appear! Dammit, Cicero doesn't even care about that anymore! To the Void with that!" he exclaimed. Everyone gasped. "Cicero does not want Nightshade to die! She is the best thing that has happened to Cicero since he first joined the Brotherhood! And that was... so long ago..." he sighed. His anger washed away, and the deepening sadness returned. He continued to hold Nightshade in his arms.
He wouldn't let her go...