Jesus, this was hard to write. I kept slipping out of past and into present tense, something I haven't had this much trouble with since I was a freshman. So if you find places where the tenses don't match… please remember that I beta my own work, and sometimes when you're a writer you add things in that aren't really there, because that's the way it is in your head. At least… I do… Oh well, enjoy.
Disclaimer: Don't own Fire Emblem. Just wish I did.
Warning: Yes, this is a HIGH SCHOOL fic. One that follows the game's plotline, somewhat. I don't know why I wrote it, really, it's just a thought that won't leave me alone. Um... since this does follow the game's plotline (loosely), spoiler warnings for everything, including Ninian and Nils' past
Parings: Eliwood/Ninian, Nino/Jaffar. Other parings will definately appear, I just don't feel like tying myself down to them, in case I change my mind. So I MAY listen to you if you (nicely!) ask for a certain pairing.
And before you ask, yeah, Nadia's the tactician. Now, on with…
Prologue: Before First Bell
She was totally comfortable.
She didn't want to move.
She could stay in bed forever…
…beep, beep, be-…
After all, it was…
"MONDAY!" Lyn gasped, sitting bolt upright. Monday. Schoolday. And she was now running…
She peeked at her battered digital alarm clock. Fifteen minutes late. Beautiful.
"Okay, I really need a new alarm clock," Lyn groaned as she pulled a dark blue, v-necked t-shirt out of her closet. "Or, I could stop staying up so late talking to Florina." The shirt wasn't one of her favorites, but it would have to do, she was running late. With lightning speed that belied her tiredness, she pulled on the shirt, shoved herself into a pair of black jeans, and searched madly through the junk on her dresser before she found a hair tie to pull back her long green hair. Then she jammed all her homework into her black backpack and slung the thing on her shoulder, narrowly missing knocking over her bedside lamp for the third time since the school year had started.
"Bye Mom, bye Dad," she said to the picture that sat on her nightstand. It showed a woman with pale blonde hair and kind green eyes and a man with dark green hair and warm dark brown eyes. Standing between them was a ten-year-old Lyn.
Lyn dashed downstairs and snagged a pack of pop tarts out of the pantry before running out the back door. Somehow, by the grace of Father Sky and Mother Earth, she hadn't run into any of the various people who worked for her wealthy grandfather. No one was going to badger her about acting like a 'proper lady' this morning. Thank the gods.
She ran to the corner of the street that she lived on, jamming her breakfast into her mouth in a most undignified manner. She pictured the expressions of the household staff and laughed around her breakfast.
Ever since her parents had been murdered by bandits, she had lived with her grandfather. Well, ever since they had sorted out the whole incident with her great uncle trying to steal her grandfather's fortune by killing both her and her grandfather, she had lived with her grandfather. And she loved her grandfather, Hausen Caelin. It was just everyone else in there that drove her to the brink of insanity. Instead of looking down on her because she was half-Sacean, they seemed to be determined to make her into a proper young lady despite the fact that she had grown up in a ger.
Had she mentioned that their idea of 'proper' and her idea of 'boring' were almost the same thing?
Leaning against the pole of the stop sign, her nose buried in a book, stood an unremarkable young woman with flat, brown hair that fell to her shoulders, slightly tanned skin, and dark eyes. She was wearing a wine-colored blouse, dark blue jeans, and a dark green windbreaker to fend off the early autumn chill. It wasn't all that cold, really, but then the brunette became cold easily.
She looked up, her dark eyes locking on to Lyn's viridian ones. "Lyn, did you forget what yesterday was?"
Lyn blinked. "Yesterday was Sunday, Nadia. What's so special about Sunday? I don't go to church, after all…"
"Lyn," Nadia said patiently. "Yesterday was Daylight Savings time. You know, the whole 'Spring forward, Fall back' thing?"
"Right. Again… oh, you're not telling me…"
"Congratulations, Lyn!" the onetime tactician said cheerily. "It's six o'clock. The bus won't be here for another forty-five minutes."
"It's six o'clock?"
"You mean, I could have eaten a warm breakfast?"
"And slept for another half an hour?"
Nadia blinked. "Um… if you take your shower at night… which you probably do, with that long hair of yours…"
Lyn blinked again. "I'm going back to bed." She then walked over to the bench, tossed Nadia's backpack off, curled up, and tried to do so. Nadia only rolled her eyes. Lyn had never been a morning person unless necessary. "Say, Nadia."
"Why are you here so early?"
"I'm always this early."
"What do you do with all that spare time?"
"I read. Or play my handheld games. I found this really neat one, it's called The Legend of Zelda…"
"Didn't want to hear about it," Lyn grumbled, throwing an arm over her eyes. She did not bother to question her friend's idiosyncrasies further, Nadia just liked being strange. Today was going to be a very long day…
Jaffar was filthy, covered in the dried blood of his latest assignment: polishing off more people who Sonia wanted dead. When wasn't he killing people that Sonia wanted dead?
He blinked, and shook his head. Three months ago, he wouldn't have been thinking about these things. Of course, three months ago, he hadn't known her, either…
Automatically, his dark eyes, sought the balcony of the Reed Manor that jutted out of the wall, her balcony. He was unsurprised to find a green-haired girl standing there looking for him, her blue eyes clouded with worry. He knew they were, even if he couldn't see them…
He turned away from the window. He didn't understand why he cared all of a sudden, but he knew it was wrong. Her adoptive brothers doted on her, and had threatened to eviscerate any male who came close to her. He should stay away too. She would be sad to see him fight her brothers. And that bothered him. Of course, so did the fact that she had probably stayed up all three nights that he had been away on assignment waiting for him with that same sad expression that he knew she was wearing right now…
"You should be in bed, Nino," he said solemnly. "Your first day of school starts today. You're going to fall asleep in class." He blinked. He was on the balcony. When the hell had he climbed up on the balcony?
Sorrow turned to joy in those big blue eyes, and she smiled that enormous smile of hers at him "Jaffar, you're okay!" she cried, and hugged him so hard that he almost lost his balance. He caught himself on the brick, though, and hugged her back with one arm. Not a thought for the blood, his daggers, not a hesitation to hug him. She seemed so innocent, Nino did. But it was times like this that he remembered that Sonia was her mother. Or at least the person who had raised her. Could someone like Sonia even have children?
It wasn't his place to think on these things.
But when it involved Nino, he just couldn't seem to stop…
He stayed a little longer, they exchanged some words. Mostly, Nino talked about her magic lessons, and how her mother was still disappointed in her. Jaffar couldn't understand that. The child was fourteen, and could already use anima spells of the third rank. Most mages her age were still barely able to get the sixth rank spells to work reliably. Nino was doing very well. Why couldn't Sonia see that?
And why was he getting angry again?
"I think you're doing a good job," Jaffar said awkwardly. "And I think that the people at your school will say so as well." Or I will make them say so. The assassin blinked in confusion. Now where on earth had that come from?
Nino smiles through her tears. "Thanks, Jaffar. You're the best friend I've ever had!" She leaned over and kissed his cheek, and Jaffar felt… something. What?
Maybe he can get Legault to tell him what these… emotions… mean. As long as he didn't bring up Nino. Something in the back of his head thought that that would be tantamount to asking the Reed brothers for advice, and he knew that would wind up in all likelihood with him dead and them dying. Even the Angel of Death is no match for two of the other Four Fangs at once.
And the thought of dying bothered him, because it would make Nino cry.
"I must leave. You need to prepare for school." The light was the gray of pre-dawn, but people will start to rise soon, and he must not be seen.
"And you need to change your clothes," she reminded him. "Most people take exception to seeing a tall, broody guy covered in dried blood."
"I'll see to it." the corners of his lips twitch, and Nino looks at him with a shocked expression.
"Um… Jaffar? Did you just… smile?"
And somewhere nearby, a camera went off. "Aaah… nothing like gathering some blackmail on the morning paper run," Farina sighed contentedly, lofting a newspaper over the gates to the Reed Manor and pedaling away on her shiny new bicycle.
"Oracle of the Ice…"
Golden eyes leering at her in the darkness.
"Child of Sacrilege…"
Pale hands clawing at her dress, dragging her brother away from her…
"Daughter of… Destiny…"
Tainted laughter. The blazing sword, coming down on her, and that hateful, hateful laughter…
A child in her arms. Tufts of red hair, large and clear blue eyes, wrapped lovingly in a soft white blanket. He looks just like his father….
"Mama," says the baby in her arms. "It's time to wake up, Mama."
A pale, slender hand slammed down on the battered, second hand alarm clock with a force somewhat surprising from the fragile-looking, milky appendage that appears as if it has never done a day's hard work in its life. With its work done, it snaked back under the lump of cheap blankets. A bird that hasn't flown south for the winter yet chirruped cheerily at the lump. The sheets are thrown off with a muffled groan of aggravation, and reveal a young woman with teal hair and startling crimson eyes. She snatched up the alarm clock and drew it closer so that she could make out the time…
The hour hand was pointing at the six, and the minute hand was pointing at the three, while the bright red second hand moved methodically around the clock's face.
Really, she'd never liked clocks.
"That was the strangest dream I've ever had," Ninian sighed, rolling out of bed. She still had to wake up Nils. She should tell her brother about the dream, whenever she has one, it usually means that they've been found, but…
She doesn't want to leave here, not yet. She doesn't want to leave her friends…
Ephidel grimaced at the gray dawn out of the tinted limousine window.
"Drop me here," he said to the driver, an under-morph who exists only to follow commands. Things were going quite well in this lazy little corner of Elibe. Now, all he had to do to finish his part was…
Masquerade as a high school student. Something he had no desire to do whatsoever. Not that he had a choice in the matter, any more than any morph did after the master had spoken. Simply because he was more advanced than his brethren didn't change that fact.
He looked balefully at the plain brick building. Perhaps he would find something here that would make the trip worthwhile.