Late that night, after the kitchen had been closed down and silence had fallen, Idira sat, exhausted from crying beside Logan, her back against the bed's headboard, staring at the wall. He had stayed with her all through the long day, holding her, wiping away her tears and, as the day waxed into evening, tried to get her to eat and drink. Even Elly hadn't made any smart remarks when they came back into the still deserted inn, as Idira stumbled along beside Logan into the main dining room, her grief so paralysing she could barely walk.
'Before all this happened,' Idira whispered, 'you had something you were going to tell me.'
He drew a deep breath, the material of his untucked shirt moving over the thick slabs of his pectorals. 'Do you remember when I told you I had been promoted a few times in the last four years?'
'Well, I might have played things down a little. For a Westfall nobody without any connections, I have done quite alright.' He brushed at his breeches, suddenly shy. 'I'm actually a Commander. As it turns out I'm pretty good at being a soldier.'
Idira found a faint smile for him. 'I did wonder how you managed to survive so many demons all by yourself,' she said.
He winced. 'I wasn't going to last much longer if your Light hadn't come along, vaporising them to oblivion.'
'And . . . ?' Idira prompted, despite being uncertain whether she wanted to hear the rest.
'And,' he answered, careful, 'I have to leave. Tomorrow.'
Idira pushed away from the headboard. 'So soon?'
He nodded, guilt slicing across his face. 'It's why I haven't been around to visit for these past two weeks. The king has been demanding much of his military, and of me and my men in particular.'
'You've met King Varian?' Idira asked, astonished, temporarily diverted from her personal miseries.
Logan nodded again, terse. 'A hard man. Fair. But hard,' he glanced at Idira, uneasy. 'We are going to bring the fight to the Legion's stronghold, all of us, friend and foe, fighting together as one.'
A stillness crept over Idira. 'But you will come back.'
Logan's hand covered hers. He shook his head.
'No,' Idira breathed. 'Don't even think it, you will survive this battle. We will meet again.'
'I didn't get to where I am by being fanciful,' Logan said, his voice hard, just like it was the night he turned up at the farm and ordered her to leave. 'What we faced in Westfall was only a taste of what awaits us at the Broken Shore. And,' he hesitated, his fingers tightening around hers, 'my men, elite soldiers, all of them, have been chosen to lead the assault. I told them to take the day to say their goodbyes.'
Idira's heart clenched, fresh tears filling her eyes. She lay down on the bed and looked up at him as he gazed at her, thinking of the first day she had seen him, all gawky and awkward, how he had blushed furiously every time he had looked at her; how well he had taken care of her over the years since then; all the things he had built for her at the farm; of the day he left for Stormwind, and the awful, terrible night he came back.
'You walked all the way back to Stormwind, carrying me, wearing all that armour,' she murmured, closing her eyes.
'I did, and would do it again, over and over, if it meant you would be safe,' he answered. The mattress shifted under his weight as he moved down beside her. She opened her eyes. He lay on his side, his arm tucked under his head, facing her. 'I love you, Idira. I always have. I always will. Right to the end my heart will be yours.'
'But,' Idira said, soft, her heart aching, confused. 'The time we kissed . . . I thought you and me . . . couldn't . . .'
He scoffed. 'Yes. That remains, though it makes no sense to me, since even after all this time I still love you desperately.' He brushed away a stray tendril of hair from her cheek. 'It's as though my heart and mind are continuously at war.'
Idira turned to face him. He reached out and pulled her against him, his lips brushing against the top of her head. In his embrace she felt safe, cherished, protected.
'Let me stay and hold you while you sleep,' he whispered, rough, against her hair, his throat tight with emotion. 'Let me have this one last night with you, the only woman in all of Azeroth I have ever loved.'
Her heart folded. His earlier unequivocal confession of love replayed in her mind, he would never had admitted his feelings if he believed there was a chance he would be coming back. No, those were the words of a man saying his last goodbye. The words of a man who knew he would never come back. She wouldn't accept it. He had to live, somehow he had to make it out alive.
'Just come back to me,' she whispered. 'Do whatever it takes to survive.'
His arms tightened around her, but he didn't answer. As she drifted to sleep, cocooned, safe in his embrace, she felt his tears, silent and soft against her brow. 'I regret nothing,' he whispered. 'Nothing.'
When she woke to the sounds of pots and pans clattering and banging against the kitchen stove, Logan was gone. Only the imprint of where his head had lain on his pillow remained. She gathered it up against her chest, clutching it against her, tight, inhaling his scent; soap and leather tinged with a hint of his perspiration, drinking in the sweet, musky smell of him, the one who had been forced to love her from a distance for all his life.
She closed her eyes and imagined him wearing his armour, his body bristling with weapons, leading his men onto one of the ships in the harbour, his face hard, his voice commanding, turning at the last moment to look back as he sailed away, thinking of her, always of her.
She rubbed her cheek against the pillow, still damp from his tears. Horns blared in the distance, loud and long. The faint sound of cheers drifted after them. Her heart lurched. He was leaving. She clutched the pillow tighter, feeling herself sliding into a yawning void, suddenly alone and lost without him.
'I love you too,' Idira whispered into the pillow and pressed her face against its dampness, so her tears would mingle with his.