"But dad, we don't want to go to bed!" Morgan stuck out his bottom lip into a pout.
Chrom chuckled, ruffling his son's hair. "You might not want to, but you'll be sad in the morning if you don't," he said. "Your Aunt Lissa is coming over tomorrow, and I know how much you love playing with Owain. It would be a shame if you weren't awake enough to enjoy yourself."
"But I'm not tired," said Morgan, dragging the last word out.
"I want mom to put us to bed," said Lucina, crossing her arms resolutely.
Chrom glanced at his daughter. "Why not me?"
"You're just no good at it," said Morgan bluntly.
The Exalt blinked twice, slowly. "Huh?"
"Mom always tells us stories before we go to bed," said Lucina, with the kindly air of someone explaining a sunset to a blind man.
"What kind of stories?" said Chrom.
"All kinds!" Morgan spread his arms wide. "There was one about a brother and sister who fought a demon together, except it turned out that the demon looked like one of their friends, and it was sad and scary and exciting, all at the same time!"
"I liked the one about the princess from the plains," said Lucina, starry-eyed. "Especially the beginning, when she was getting all of her friends together... and it was so romantic the way they were dedicated to her."
Morgan huffed. "My favorite part of that story was the end. They fought a dragon."
Chrom smiled, recognizing what had been some of his favorite stories as a child. So that's what she's been telling them. He leaned forward. "Well, mom's not here right now, but I could tell you some stories, too." Both of his children gave him looks of such cynicism that he had to laugh. "Really, I could. And even better, this story is about something that truly happened."
"Real stories?" said Lucina.
Chrom nodded, tapping the side of his nose in a conspiratorial fashion. "Let's get you tucked in, and I'll tell you."
"Well, I suppose if you're really going to tell us a story, then we can get ready for bed," said Morgan, though his tone was still dubious.
"Come on, don't you trust your dad?" said Chrom with another chuckle. "Come on, let's head on up."
Lucina sighed. "All right, dad..."
A few minutes later, Chrom sat on the floor of the room Morgan and Lucina shared, leaning against the wall between their beds. He felt their eyes on him from either side, already silently evaluating. Just like their mother. They'll be scary ten years from now...
"Are you comfortable?" he said, glancing to each of them in turn.
"Yes, fine, dad," Morgan sighed, rolling his eyes.
"So, are you going to tell us a story or not?" said Lucina, her tone somewhat impatient.
"Of course." Her father smiled brightly, dropping his voice into a mesmerizing cadence. "It all started years and years ago, when a young prince found a princess asleep in a field..."
Robin opened the door to her children's room, smiling as she heard the faint sound of snores from within. Morgan still shifted all the time in his sleep, and tonight was no different: he'd managed to get his feet up to the headboard, and his pillow on the floor. She gently adjusted his position, pulling the covers back into place, and gave him a light kiss on the forehead.
As she moved over to check on Lucina, she saw her daughter stir sleepily. "Mama?"
"Hey, Luci," said Robin, smiling. "Sorry, did I wake you up?"
"No, I was still awake. I was just thinking about the story that dad told us."
"Your dad was telling you a story, huh?"
"Yeah, but he fell asleep right before the ending." She frowned. "I really wanted to know what happened next, but I didn't want to wake him up, either."
Robin looked down at the space between the beds, smiling at her husband. He was splayed out in a position that could only be described as "awkward," his head held up by one arm and his legs curled up to the side. How did he even fall asleep like that?
She turned back to Lucina. "Do you remember how the story went? If you tell me, I might know how it ended."
"Let me think..." The little girl furrowed her brow. "There was a prince and a princess in it, only the princess had no memories. He found her in a field, and they traveled together. And there was something about her being destined to kill him, only she loved him so much that she was able to stop that from happening. And then they fought a dragon and..." She yawned. "The princess disappeared, and we never found out if she came back because dad fell asleep."
Robin smiled. "Ah. I know that one."
Lucina narrowed her eyes. "Was there really a dragon in that story, or did dad just add it to make Morgan happy?"
"There was really a dragon in that story," said Robin.
"So... what happened to the princess? Did they ever find her again?" Lucina's voice was fading fast, as she became drowsier and drowsier, but she fought to stay awake, wanting to hear the end of the story.
"Yes," said Robin simply. "They found her in the same field she showed up in to begin with. And she and the prince were together for the rest of their lives."
Lucina gave a sleepy nod of satisfaction. "I thought it might be... something like..." Her voice trailed off, and her head fell back onto the pillow. Robin smoothed her daughter's hair out of her face and smiled, bending down to kiss her goodnight as well.
"Sleep well, Luci."
For a moment, she stood in the middle of the room, watching the moonlight through the windows washing over her sleeping family in utter contentment. After all this time, I never expected a happy ending to that story. Yet... here I am.
She bent down next to Chrom, shaking him gently, and smiled as his eyes flickered open, meeting hers. Quietly, her tone teasing, she spoke.
"There are better places to take a nap than on the ground, you know. Come on, give me your hand."
She felt his hand close around hers, and knew that she would never find a story she loved more than their own.