Author's Note: Damned Plot Bunnies. I have to get this down or I won't be able to sleep
Genre: General/slight angst/fluff
Characters: Ashe/Vossler friendship
Summary: Because it was not Basch who fought her nightmares, but Vossler.
By: Mazzie May
Little Ashe wipes furiously at her eyes in effort to keep the tears of fear from making their hot way down her flushed face.
Stupid Victoria, she thinks spitefully. The prissy noble girl two years her senior had told Little Ashe a frightening rumor that the Child Snatcher from Bhujerba has made the short trip to Dalmasca, to Rabenaster, and has been seen near the castle walls.
Now, Little Ashe knows this to be rubbish, but she'll be damned (without telling her parents, of course, because Little Ashe Princesses did not say that word) if the shadow on her balcony did not resemble Victoria's crude drawing. Little Ashe had simply rolled over, yawned, opened her eyes and there it was. She's very proud of herself for not screaming, but now she wonders if she should have. Maybe that would've brought someone.
She shakes her head quickly. No! If she screams, it might make its move! She'll have to go get help on her own. As she begins to quietly and slowly push the sheets away, she sniffs. Well, not help, because that would mean the Victoria had been telling the truth. She'll just get someone to check, to prove Victoria wrong. She nods to herself. Yes, that's exactly what she's doing.
Her little blonde curls sway as she tip-toes in long strides and it's distracting, and why the heck is her nightgown so loud? It's made out of something soft, but heavy and it makes nose when she moves. She looks back at the window. It's still there. She sighs, though it's hard to say if it was a sigh of relief or disappointment.
She makes it to the door in a little over a minute but it feels like the longest minute of her life. Carefully, Little Ashe takes hold of the large white gold handle and turns it, cringing at the extreme and definite sound the locks make. She turns back to the glass doors and is startled to find the shadow gone.
The door open only a crack, she squints at her balcony, trying to find it when the clock chimes loudly that the twenty-third hour of the day was beginning. With a shriek, she throws open the door and darts out and to the right, not caring that the king's and queen's chambers were far away to the left, even though she really, really wants her mother.
She's nearly to the stairs when someone grabs her arm and she screams again.
"Princess!" The owner of the voice whirls her around and because he's on one knee she's nearly eye level with her savoir. "Princess, what's wrong?"
She stops struggling and says, "Vossler!" before bursting in tears. He takes her by the shoulders and shakes her a little, making her look at him. She hasn't seen him this concerned since the time she got a little carried away during her horse back riding lessons and rode off into the desert, forcing him to ride after her.
"What is it? What's happened?"
Little Ashe sniffs and hiccups, making broken sentences. "On my buh-buh-balcony…" She sobs again.
Vossler's jaw clenches and he pales just a bit, imaging some low-level assassin, come to slay the heir to the thrown. Of course, Little Ashe doesn't share the thought process and becomes more terrified, thinking that, he knows about the Child Snatcher and he didn't think it could get into the castle, and oh, man, Victoria was right! and begins to cry harder.
"Who?" Vossler asks, one hand dropped away from her shoulder, and resting against the hilt of his sword. By now, a few guards have heard her cries and have come to investigate. Vossler makes the gesture for intruder (Ashe recognizes it), and the guards suck in their breath through their teeth.
She sniffs. "Cha-Child Snatcher." They all stare at her for a moment before Vossler's head snaps back as if he's been slapped and the guards let out shaky laughs. Ashe wipes at her face as he waves them away with a sigh. Blinking, she watches them go. "Where are they leaving to?"
He stands and she takes his hand and they begin to head back towards her room. "Wuh-what about the Child Snat-Snatcher?" Even though she's stopped crying, she's still hiccupping. Vossler glares exasperatedly down the hall, waving off any servant and guard that have wandered over due to her screaming.
"Everything will be fine," he says. She frowns up at him and Vossler smiles that smile she's only ever seen when he speaks with her. "I am not a child, Princess, it will not snatch me."
She feels better.
But not better enough to go into the room with him and waits just outside the door with her nanny, explaining the story that Victoria had told her earlier in the day as Vossler searches her balcony, closet, amour, hope chest and beneath her bed. Her nanny blushes something shameful and apologies to Vossler, promising that the girl will get the proper scolding she deserves for such an upset.
That makes Little Ashe feel better, too.
After three thorough investigations of her room, her nanny excuses herself to inform Victoria's family of aforementioned nonsense and Little Ashe steps out of the hallway.
Vossler demonstrates several times that the lock on her glass doors and windows are secure. She stares up at him with big, gray eyes that reveal that she's only six and just not old enough to understand what he's telling her.
He sighs, but smiles, promising to stay in her room for the rest of the night and the night after that and as many nights as necessary until she feels better.
It only takes three nights for Little Ashe to feel better, but she doesn't tell him that.
Not-so-little Ashe knows that the shadow that passes over the window is not the Child Snatcher and she's not a child anymore so she has nothing to fear, but that does not stop her staring intently at the window for two hours.
She needs her rest, she knows she does. Vayne is making his grand entrance tomorrow—or is it today now? What time is it?—and that's when the Resistance will be making their move. But that shadow… She narrows her eyes. Stupid Victoria, stupid me.
The metal and wood door opens slowly, just a bit, just enough for someone to look around the room. "Princess, you must sleep," Vossler says. She waves him in.
Closing the door, he faces her. "Are you nervous for today?" Ah, so it is today. She winces, shaking her head.
"Vossler…" She begins to finger the sheets, a nervous habit. He waits patiently. Always, eternally. It makes her smile. "Do you remember the Child Snatcher?"
He stares at her for a moment, head tilting slightly away, unsure of what she's asking. She shifts her eyes to the window and then down at her hands, bashfully, shamefully.
There is a sigh that is almost a laugh and she watches him walk to her window, check the lock, move to her closest, search inside, drop to his knees, look underneath the bed. He does it three times in that order before settling on the side of her bed.
Vossler smiles that smile she's only ever seen when he speaks with her and promises to stay in her room for the rest of the night and the night after that and as many nights as necessary until she feels better.
It only takes a few minutes for her to feel better, but she doesn't tell him that.
Looking back on everything now, staring out into the darkness from the bridge that leads to Jahara, Ashe honestly wishes had.
Author's Note: Seriously, guys. Basch did not watch over Ashe when she was a kid. I know a lot of people like to think that, but nay. Vossler was her sworn protector and had been for a long, long time before the game started. Hell, Landis didn't even get oblitered until, like, what did the Beastiary facts say? Six years prior to Ashe and Rasler's wedding? So... yeah. Go Vossler/Little Ashe cute fluffy bunny frienship fics! Yay!
R&R please, any and all commentary appreciated.