Author's Note: These are all prequels to Alone, a one-shot you can find in my profile. Previously, I was going to put them all into one series of one-shots, but it felt wrong to do it that way. So you can read these independently—just a series of fluffy little stories following the series, detailing little slices of life until the birth of Nadja and Keith's first children. Enjoy!
Nadja and Oscar
"Lady Nadja has arrived, Mistress Colette," the butler said, entering the parlor with a bow. Colette stood at once.
"Oh, good," she said with a smile. She had not known when to expect Nadja, but her daughter's letters had said that they were approaching Vienna, so she had been expecting a visit sometime soon.
The young man beside her—her former nephew—stood as well.
"Mom!" called Nadja enthusiastically, skipping into the room cheerfully with her usual disregard for the common social etiquette of the nobles. She darted over to her mother and threw her arms around her with delight. It was wonderful to come back to find her mother the same as ever. She had not returned to Vienna since she had left the city with Troupe Dandelion months ago, and was slightly (and irrationally) nervous about the sort of welcome she would receive.
But the sight of her newly found mother had thrown all doubts from her mind; this was her mother, after all. She was perfectly comfortable around Colette, as Colette was around Nadja. So it had been since the time when they first met.
Just as she and her mother pulled out of their embrace, she noticed a young man standing near her mother as well. Colette smiled upon noticing her daughter's curiosity.
"Nadja, this is Oscar, your cousin. Herman's former wife Hilda's son."
"Nice to meet you," Nadja instantly said with a smile. She did not wait for her mother to introduce her—she saw no need to. "I'm Nadja."
"So I've heard," Oscar smiled. "…You are very much like Aunt, Nadja."
Nadja's already bright smile brightened even further at those words.
"Thank you! Do you come here often?"
"Occasionally. I have much to do in my own home."
Nadja cocked her head.
"I suppose if Herman and your mother divorced…you're the head of the House of Corlade now?"
"I see Aunt's been speaking about me to you, too?" Oscar chuckled.
"Just a little," Nadja smiled. "She always says how if Grandpa chooses you as his heir, you'd do well."
"You flatter me, Aunt," Oscar laughed, looking to Colette. Colette smiled.
"Just look at how naturally you're taking over the House of Corlade. If only Father weren't so stubborn about blood… Even he himself once said that you would have made an ideal heir for him, if only you had carried his blood."
"Coming from Duke Preminger's mouth, that's more flattering than anything," Oscar smiled. Then he turned back to Nadja. "I hear you're a dancing girl?"
"Oh yes!" Nadja said enthusiastically, her eyes lighting up as she began to tell Oscar all about Troupe Dandelion.
Colette smiled, watching her daughter and nephew develop an instant liking for each other. At the rate at which they were speaking, they would no doubt be as close as brother and sister in no time at all. And she could not have wished for more.