Travis felt his spirits soar at the song that Anya had requested. He had always been rather patriotic, and the lyrics as well as the rhythm made his blood pumping fiercely; he was ready for anything. He was prepared to fight for Maylene and Raven and the others. He felt a grin pulling at the corners of his mouth. The man's enthusiastic performance and the way his eyes glittered with the country's colors made him feel even more capable. He listened intently until the song ended, grinning proudly the entire time. Once the music stopped, he was once again swept with the sensation of uncertainty. 'No,' he thought, frowning in concentration. 'I have to stay focused; I won't let my determination slip away...'
He hardly noticed as Raven finally spoke up to request her own song. Before he could ask her to repeat herself, the man's eyes turned a calm shade of blue, and he began. It was a familiar song to him, but he didn't know the lyrics. However, as he listened, he began to feel rather depressed, even more so than when the man had sung his own request. Why did Raven pick such a sad song? He couldn't find any uplifting meanings in the lyrics, and he frowned sadly.
When you walk away I count the steps that you take.
Do you see how much I need you right now?
At this line, Travis blinked. It made him think about how Maylene must feel, lying in that white hospital bed without him by her side. He was rarely with her anymore. Even though he was at the hospital nearly ever day of the week, he was always busy watching surgeons as they performed operations, or taking notes as doctors made their diagnosis and prescribed appropriate medications. He was doing his best to become a proper doctor -- to study medicine so that one day, he could make life easier for his sister. But he had never before realized how he had always been showing his back to her.
How did she feel, every day when he left her bedside? How did she feel, when he was home studying hours on end without sleep or human interaction? Was she worrying about him, as much as he worried for her?
" Brother, you look tired," She had said on more than one occasion, her eyebrows furrowed in concern.
His reply had always been, " It's nothing, I'm fine. We both have to keep our chins up, right?"
At this, she had always gone silent, staring at him with those knowing, unusually mature eyes. "...Right."
Travis shook his head to rid his mind of the memory, but he continued thinking. Was she upset about how he had decided to throw his life and friends away in order to save her? The idea made his eyes overflow with fresh tears.
' But... how can we ever be together if you're not better?' He thought, shaking his head furiously. He didn't want to stop researching medicine. No matter the cost, he would find a cure or a treatment to help her. He would do whatever it took to make sure she could live happily; even if it meant selling his soul to those money-mongering doctors. Yes, Maylene would be upset, but as long as she was healthy, Travis didn't care what happened to him.
As he thought this, he noticed Raven looking up at him, making direct eye contact. She seemed to hesitate for a few moments before she finally spoke up, over the voice of the man's melancholic singing. "Travis... I love you...Not as a brother but as... something more. Whether as brother and sister, or as lovers...I can't live without you."
She then buried her wet face into his poncho. Travis couldn't move. His eyes were wide in shock; it had been one of the last things he had expected.
He them remembered how Raven had screamed while she had been in the grasp of Angel during the first trial:
"I LOVE YOU!"
The realization hit Travis like a bulldozer to the chest; he felt out of breath -- stunned. That outburst hadn't been for a friend or a family member, but for... him? He looked down at Raven, whose face was still hidden inside his poncho. He saw her as a beloved sister, that much was certainly true. But... he never would have figured that she had thought so much of him. Had he really been that blind? Now that he looked back on all the time he had spent with Raven, he recalled how the only person she had spoken freely to was him. She had stood by him as he fought; she had been there when he felt like he was about to break down from all of the slaughter and blood. He had never left her side, but she had also refused to leave his.
He felt himself smile; whether in sadness or in joy, he himself didn't really know... maybe both? He placed a hand on Raven's head and messed with her hair a bit, as he did with Maylene. "Thanks... Raven. You don't need to worry; I'll be here with you until this is over, okay? You won't have to live without me. I promise."
Travis knew that he had been acting impulsively since he had entered this realm; without thinking twice, he had rushed headlong into battle, preparing to die for those he loved... but at the same time, he hadn't taken the feelings of those he loved into account. How would they feel if he so selfishly sacrificed himself for their sake? Would they really be happy with that?
He wrapped his arms around Raven, still smiling. "I promise."