Chris: Since Writer Awakened was brave enough to challenge me, the renowned crack pairing author, I will now present a new, short, multi-chaptered fic for you all! Enjoy and see if you can guess what the pairing is! It shouldn't be too hard though…
Note: I'm actually not a renowned crack pairing author. Oh, and I don't own Fire Emblem either. And technically, he didn't challenge me. He dared me. And he didn't exactly dare me.
Chapter 1: Tempting the Fates
Joshua whistled softly to himself as he flipped his good luck charm in his hand. It was early in the afternoon and Ephraim had declared that the rest of the day be used to recuperate from all the fighting and bloodshed. Joshua didn't mind the break. After all, the time could be well spent separating an arrogant, brash noble from his coin.
'Speak of the devil…' Joshua thought absentmindedly as he watched the noble in question, Innes, storm past him.
"Go back home, Tana. It's too dangerous here." Innes stopped abruptly and turned to face his younger sister, a shorter girl that had her navy blue hair tied in a ponytail. "I won't tell you again. You shouldn't be fighting."
"Everyone says that!" Tana shouted, her small hands balled into fists. "I'm one of Frelia's pegasus knights and I have a right to be here! This is my war too! And what about you, Innes? You're a Frelian prince! You shouldn't be fighting either!"
"This isn't about me." Innes's eyes narrowed slightly. "You are going home, Tana. That's all." He turned away from his furious sister and walked away, ignoring the angry glares that she shot at his back.
Joshua watched Tana, interested in the stubbornness and spunk that the girl showed. Back at his home, it would be rare to see someone argue so fiercely about fighting for his or her friends, especially a seemingly pampered princess. The princess was shuddering angrily, hot tears pouring out of her eyes. He wasn't certain that it would be the wisest course of action to butt in right now, but life was full of risks and he decided to take one. Just as confirmation, he flipped his good luck charm in the air.
'Tails, I don't get involved. Heads, I find out what's happening.' Joshua deftly caught the spinning coin and smiled. It was heads. Pocketing the charm, he sad, "Hey Tana."
"Huh? Oh…Hi Joshua." Tana sniffed and rubbed at her eyes fiercely. "I'm sorry you had to see that. My brother is such a jerk sometimes."
"Why don't you tell me about it? Come on, sit next to me." Joshua patted the soft earth next to him. "I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm intruding, but my curiosity got the better of me."
"Thanks." Tana smiled weakly and sat down next to him, pulling her legs up to her chest. She looked at the gambler gratefully with her shining blue eyes and began talking. "Innes keeps telling me that I don't belong on the battlefield, just because I'm a princess! I was trained by two of Frelia's best pegasus knights, yet he still treats me like I'm a child. Ephraim lets Eirika fight. Why can't Innes let me fight?"
"Maybe he's just worried about you." Joshua offered.
"I know that and I'm grateful. But he needs to realize that I'm my own person and I can hold my own. Others can't always pamper me. I need to fight for myself now." Tana replied.
"Heh…" Joshua smiled roguishly. "I like your spirit. You've got your own brand of courage, Tana. I'm sure you'll convince your brother of that fact someday. Hey, how about we make a bet?"
"A bet?" Tana looked at Joshua curiously.
"Sure. Nothing like a little bet to put everything in perspective." Joshua explained. "We'll just bet on something important and we'll each offer something to cover the bet. The bet will be that I'll be able to convince your brother to let you keep fighting."
"I…uh…What should I do?" Tana said, flustered. "I've never made a bet before. What should I offer?"
"Something to cover my bet. Myself, frankly, I think I'll succeed, so I'll wager this." Joshua lifted his good luck charm out of his pocket and showed it to Tana, the bronze coin shimmering in the light. He flipped it, showing her that the coin had two heads and no tails.
"So I offer something to cover it?" Tana asked. "Um…Will this do?" She reached behind her and tugged at the ribbon that tied her hair into its ponytail. Carefully unraveling it, she showed the ribbon to Joshua, a small smile on her face. It was a beautiful light-blue ribbon, checkered with white squares. "My mom gave this to me. It was hers, you know."
"You sure you want to offer that? It looks valuable." Joshua said, frowning. "And knowing that you'd risk something that valuable on me losing is kind of depressing."
"W-What?" Tana flushed. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean any offense. I just couldn't think of anything of mine that would be acceptable. I'm sure that charm of yours is valuable too. I've never seen a coin that has two heads."
"I'd be surprised if you have. It's nothing really special, though." Joshua shrugged. "But I still don't want you to risk your mother's ribbon. I can't take something like that. We'll just cancel the bet for now, until you can come up with something less valuable." He smiled. "But that doesn't mean I won't try to help you. I like you, Tana. Anyone with your measure of bravery deserves a couple of friends."
"Oh, thanks!" Tana smiled brightly. "It means a lot that you would listen to me and try to help me out. So…we'll just make the bet later?"
"Sure, of course." Joshua grinned, nodding. "Good luck, Tana. I'm sure you'll be one of the best people in our army. Better than me, probably."
Tana blushed and looked down. "That's too much…but thanks. I'll try my best!" She stood up and tied her mother's ribbon back into her dark-blue hair. "Bye Joshua, and thank you!"
Joshua nodded his farewell and watched her leave. She certainly was a very delightful person to talk to and for once, he didn't mind not being able to make a bet with someone else. He smiled whimsically and flipped his coin in the air. "Heads."
The next day, everyone was busy setting up for the trek ahead. After their little break, they were now going to advance on the capital of Renais, which was occupied by the soldiers of Grado. Unfortunately for some, the advance would have to be cut short.
"Tana, I don't want to say this, but I have to prevent you from entering the fighting." Ephraim said.
"Ephraim, not you too!" Tana pleaded as she faced the handsome prince of Renais. Ephraim looked at her with a concerned expression, his hands gripped tightly around his lance. "What did my brother say to you?"
"Look, I know that you can fight. I've watched you. But you shouldn't be so far ahead in the front. What if archers were to shoot at you? What could I say to your father? You're my responsibility, Tana, and I don't want you to get hurt." Ephraim said, frowning. "Please listen to me."
"Grrr…" Tana ground her teeth together. She was normally a cheery girl, but when she wanted to be, she could be extremely stubborn. Now was one of those times. "How will I ever get stronger if I'm not allowed to fight? A princess should not just be safe. She should be strong and wise!"
"And it's not wise to be out in the front." Ephraim pointed out.
"Then why are you at the front? You're the future of Renais. You shouldn't be fighting either." Tana challenged. "Eirika is allowed to fight. Am I that different?"
Ephraim sighed and put a hand to his forehead. "Tana…Look, I have lots of things to do right now. We can talk about this later. Just…be careful out there."
Tana's fierce expression faded into a tired, kind smile. "Thank you, Ephraim. I'm sorry I'm such a pain. I'll try my best to not get hurt out there. Don't worry about me." She bowed briefly before leaving Ephraim's tent.
Outside, Joshua, who was wearing his trademark grin and flipping his good luck charm in the air, met her. Joshua pocketed the coin and waved at her, smiling. "I heard the commotion. Any luck? Judging from your expression, I'd have to say that you weren't exactly successful."
"You're right…" Tana sighed sadly. "I like Ephraim a lot, but he worries over me too much. And he never notices how I feel. He's always busy getting challenged by Innes or worrying about how we're going to defeat Grado's soldiers. The war is killing him slowly, Joshua, and I don't know what I can do."
"Hey, cheer up. A beautiful girl like you shouldn't have to wear a frown like that. I'd hate to have to see your lovely face marred with sadness." Joshua smiled and flipped his coin at her. Tana caught the coin by reflex and blushed with pleased embarrassment when the full meaning of Joshua's words hit her. She hurriedly handed Joshua back the coin.
"Don't kid me like that, Joshua. I'm flattered, but now isn't the time." Tana shook her head. "We have to get ready for battle. I'll see you out there, okay?"
"I'll be watching for you." Joshua laughed briefly. "Hey, since we couldn't have a bet last time, how about we have one now? Let's see who can defeat the most enemies in one battle."
"I don't know if I'm comfortable taking a bet like that." Tana murmured. "Betting on the deaths of our enemies…It seems cruel. I'm not sure if I can do that. Life is too precious to be wasted on a bet."
Joshua gave a small sigh and shrugged. "What a shame. A bet has a way of getting you prepared for battle. Very well then. I guess I'll have to wait for a better opportunity." He looked at Tana thoughtfully. "I heard you saying that a princess needs to be strong and wise. From my standards, I think you're filling out both of those qualities very well. I have no doubt that you'll become a great Queen someday."
He turned and left, raising his hand in farewell. Tana blushed again as the full measure of his words hit her. She hurried off to collect her equipment, Joshua's words ringing in her mind. A small smile lit her face as she ran through the camp. 'Thanks Joshua.'
'Whew, this is tough.' Joshua thought as he raised his sword to parry an opponent's strike. The army was positioned outside of Castle Renais, except there was one small hitch in the plan. There were enemy soldiers at every entry point to the castle, so Ephraim had decided to push all of his forces through one of the points instead of spreading his men around. Unfortunately, these soldiers seemed to be much more experienced than the rabble that they had fought earlier. Yelling angrily, Joshua brought his sword down hard against his foe's shield, slicing through the wooden planks and piercing the armor.
Joshua watched dispassionately as the soldier breathed his last. In battle, there was no time to regret killing others. Only after the battle were you allowed time to think about the people you've killed. He was musing about those thoughts when he heard a sound behind him. Spinning, he spotted another soldier running towards him, a lance set against his shoulder in a charge.
Before Joshua could even blink, a javelin flew through the air and pierced an unarmored part of the soldier's body, striking the neck and nearly decapitating the soldier. He lowered his sword and looked around for his rescuer. "Tana?"
"Are you okay?" Tana looked down from her mount, smiling at Joshua. A spare lance was hanging from her hand as she examined the results of her work. "I saw you and I was wondering if you needed help."
"I didn't need it, but thanks." Joshua smiled back at her. He saluted her briefly with his sword before moving on, spotting a couple of fighters that were harassing other members of the army. Tana watched him leave for a moment before directing her pegasus back into the sky.
'The sky is always so beautiful…' Tana thought as she flew around, gazing at the pure blue sky with awe. Even after all the times she had flown through the sky, she was still astounded at how beautiful everything looked from the air. It was so quiet and peaceful, with absolutely nothing to disturb her. She could just fly forever, without having to worry about anything. It was the perfect fantasy.
Tana looked down at the battle below her, trying to see if there was anyone that required her help. A small gasp escaped her lips when she saw that Ephraim was struggling against a couple of cavaliers that were using their horses' superior mobility to ride circles around the prince. She directed her pegasus downwards, setting her lance against her shoulder as she prepared to plunge her weapon into the nearest foe. Her lance came downwards and the cavalier was speared on her lance. She kicked the body off of her lance before turning her pegasus around to attack the next cavalier.
"Tana, watch out!"
She spun at the noise, distracted. Suddenly, her pegasus reared upwards as an arrow flew past his head and Tana barely managed to hang onto the reins. Her lance slipped out of her sweaty fingers and slowly plunged towards the ground. Another arrow flashed past and Tana was jolted out of her saddle, saved only by her tight grip on the reins. She gulped with terror as she hung from the reins with one arm. Tana gasped as an arrow lodged into her arm and her fist opened by reflex. She let out a scream as she began falling from the sky.
It was a long way to the ground.
Chris: Well, hoped you enjoyed it so far. It's not really romancy yet, but I'm planning on developing the whole relationship thing first before actually having the whole "OMFG WE'RE IN LOVE!" part. So, hope you've enjoyed it and leave a review please!
Note: EDITED! Also, fixed some of the parts that were off. Other than that, this is virtually unchanged. Waaaait…Yes. No. Maybe. Also notice my weak-ass editing that magically switched the attack from Grado to Renais. Yes.