I won't say much, just... be prepared. This chapter is quite different...
Disclaimer: I do not own Fire Emblem. If I did, that last chapter would have been the Final Level.
[One Year Later
The Frelian Ball. Despite the commotion from last year, it was still held. This year, however, steps were taken. Guards were posted everywhere, even the punch table. Innes turned to his new brother-in-law, and scowled. Ephraim laughed, and walked off, having seen his wife. Innes felt a hand on his shoulder, and turned to see Eirika.
"Innes, it isn't that bad being married to me, is it?" She asked with a smile. He scowled at her.
"It would be better if...he wasn't my brother." She laughed, and grabbed his arm, before pulling him out on to the dance floor.
"You two settled your differences, didn't you?" Innes shook his head.
"Eirika, the match was a draw." Eirika giggled, and put her hand on Innes' shoulder. Innes put his own hand on her waist. She turned to see Tana and Ephraim doing the same. She laughed slightly as they began to dance.
Ross spun Amelia in a graceful arc. He grinned roguishly, and spun her again, this time releasing her. She let out a peal of laughter as Franz caught her, and the two began to dance. After a few moments, Franz spun her, right back to Ross. Ross continued to dance with Amelia, long into Franz's turn. Franz walked over and tapped Ross on the shoulder.
"Farmer, I believe it's my turn." Ross laughed, and nodded, passing Amelia on. Franz smiled, and moved Amelia further away, completely intent on doing the same to Ross. Amelia laughed. This was becoming fun. When they had danced up till Franz's next turn, Ross came over.
"Knight, it's my turn." Franz shook his head.
"Ross, It is definitely my turn." Ross' eyebrows rose, and he nodded.
"I see." Amelia gasped as Ross punched Franz. Franz stood back up, and nodded.
"Right." Ross reeled as the blow hit him. He chuckled, and then threw himself on the knight, punching and kicking.
"Ross! Franz! Stop it!" Ewan turned from where he was dancing with his sister, and grinned. He made his move.
"Amelia, would you like to dance?" Amelia smiled, and nodded. Franz and Ross stopped fighting just long enough to see Ewan dancing with their girl.
"Shall we?" Franz asked, standing up.
"Yes, let's." Ross said, cracking his knuckles. Saleh would never know exactly what happened to his pupil. Ewan showed up the next day for training with two black eyes, three missing teeth, a broken arm and a shattered collarbone. Seth would later tell him, that the same day Ross and Franz showed up for roll with much more extensive injuries. They refused to say who had beaten them so bad, but Amelia hadn't spoken to either for a week. For a month, the two cringed whenever she came near. Who injured them so badly? Amelia? Ewan? A crazed Author by the name of Twilight? You be the judge.
Rennac sat in a chair, his white tuxedo a stark contrast with the random colors the others had. L'Arachel was sitting beside him, slowly growing angrier.
"Why aren't we dancing?" She asked, trying to contain her temper. This was the third time she had asked her husband this question.
"My wound hasn't healed." He said simply, staring back at the crowd.
"Your wound healed completely three months ago!" Rennac sighed.
"I don't want to dance." L'Arachel stood up.
"You don't have a choice! Come on!" She grabbed his arm, and pulled him into the dance floor. He sighed, but agreed.
Kyle sat down by Forde with a sigh. His wife smiled and walked off, to dance with her King, if he would stop dancing with his wife long enough for her to do so. Poor Eirika had five other men wanting to dance with her. Innes, however, refused to let them.
"Having fun?" Forde asked, never taking his eyes from his painting.
"A bit." Kyle said, looking over his friends shoulder to see the painting. It was of the Ball, with Innes and Eirika dancing, while Seth and Saleh both stood by, waiting for their turn to dance with Eirika. Ephraim was dancing with Tana, and Syrene with Kyle. Vanessa stood off to one side, conversing with Gilliam and Moulder. Ross and Franz were attacking Ewan, and Amelia loomed over all three, her face contorted in rage. L'Arachel was forcing Rennac to dance, while Dozla and Garcia were trying to learn to use swords by watching Joshua and Gerik spar. Marisa and Natasha sat nearby, conversing with Tethys. Duessel and Knoll were nowhere to be found. Cormag was standing slightly away from the others, his eyes closed as he thought of his brother. Forde had even painted Glen's face, smiling down at Cormag. Lute and Artur were sitting with Neimi and Colm. Neimi and Artur were blushing furiously as Lute and Colm argued over which of their significant others was better. Colm had started it, and now he was paying for it. Lute was winning with the fact that Artur could cook. Kyle looked over at his friend.
"Where are you?" Forde smiled. He let his brush speak for him, and painted himself into one corner, sleeping. Kyle shook his head.
Cormag looked out one of the windows. Tears threatened his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. As he watched the sun begin to set, he could almost see them. Glen, Selena, Vigarde. Cormag could remember dancing with Selena, her golden hair twirling about her in the dimly lit hall. He remembered laughing with Glen as Duessel stood to dance, trying to keep up with Selena's ravenous pace. When Duessel couldn't cut it, Vigarde stepped in. Cormag remembered laughing and slapping Glen and Lyon on the back when Vigarde threw his back out. Selena had then glided over, and held out her hand for Cormag again. Glen laughed, but Selena had shot him a glare that said he was next. Cormag had nodded, and stood. He couldn't remember when they stopped dancing; he only knew that Glen never got his turn. As Cormag watched the sun set below the horizon, he could almost swear he saw Selena, smiling at him as she and Glen danced into the night; He raised a hand to wipe at his eyes, then turned, and walked for the door.
Artur and Neimi were chatting now, Colm's insane need for Neimi to be better than Artur finally quelled when he said,
"Neimi's a beautiful woman. That's something Artur can never be." Lute had moved to say something, but Artur had cut her off with a kiss. Anything to stop that crazy conversation before it got any farther. Now Lute sat with slightly red cheeks, reading, while Colm contemplated the chances of stealing Rennac's wallet while he danced.
"So then Ross says, it's not my turnip!" Neimi said, giggling. Artur laughed lightly, then screamed, very girlishly. Lute started, and turned to him, only to see a spider walking across the table. She sighed.
"On the other hand," Colm began, grinning to Neimi. "It sounds like he may be gaining on you."
Joshua darted backwards, his blade shining like silver as he backtracked. Gerik pushed him, trying to over balance him. Joshua suddenly swerved, forcing Gerik's own weight against him. Gerik fell forward, and Joshua put his blade to his friend's neck. Marisa suddenly leapt up, and drew her sword. She cut the lower half of her dress off, turning it into a short skirt. She smirked, and charged her King. Joshua laughed, and spun, meeting her blade-to-blade. Natasha shook her head, and Gerik moved back to the table with a sigh.
"I think he enjoys sparring with her more."
"What makes you think that?" Natasha asked, watching her husband and silent best friend duel.
"He spars with her more." Gerik said, sitting back. "Plus, she's more unpredictable." Joshua and Marisa continued to spar, Joshua slowly gaining ground. Suddenly, Marisa jumped backwards, and came at Joshua with a curved arc. Joshua countered. Anyone watching would have thought, if not for the deadly steel weapons in their hands, that they were dancing. Joshua pushed forward, and Marisa was slowly being pushed back. She suddenly tripped over a now sleeping Forde. Joshua reach for her, but was too late. She had landed on Forde's sleeping wife, Vanessa. Forde had finally convinced her to try it. Unfortunately, her sleep had been interrupted. Joshua held out his hand for his friend, intent on helping her up. Forde, however, had awoken in the melee, and sat up right as Joshua leaned over. The result? Joshua wound up in Forde's lap, and Marisa in Vanessa's. Gerik and Natasha had run over, fearing that someone might have been harmed.
"Wow." Gerik said, grinning. "I never knew the King of the Shifting Sands swung that way." Joshua glared at him, and rolled. He then held up his hand for Marisa, who took it. Next was Vanessa, then, finally and begrudgingly, Forde.
"We can all see how well that worked, Forde." Vanessa said, turning to try and find Innes to dance with.
"How is all that my fault?" Forde asked, following her. Joshua, Gerik and Marisa looked at each other for a moment, then all three began laughing. Joshua walked over to his wife, and smiled roguishly. She smiled back at him, and then glided to the dance floor. Gerik and Marisa were right behind them.
Eirika smiled as Innes sent both Vanessa and Seth off. Her smile soon turned into a sigh as Innes looked over at the door again.
"Innes, you prepared for every occurrence. You shouldn't worry." He sighed.
"I can't help it." He said, turning back to her with a sad smile.
"The lower half of Frelia was ravaged by those monsters. Our people are still trying to rebuild." Eirika met his smile with one of her own, and looked aside to watch Cormag fly away on his trusty wyvern.
"Our people came out of it with almost no casualties. Most of them were safe further inland from the War." Innes nodded.
"I just..." Innes looked away, and closed his eyes.
"I feel like it's my fault. My responsibility." Eirika looked down at the golden band on her hand.
"Our responsibility, Innes. And it is." He glanced over at her, not quite expecting that answer. She began fidgeting with the ring on her finger.
"It's our responsibility to take care of our people. We have to make sure they have food, lumber..." She blushed intensely, and looked away from Innes.
"An heir..." Innes coughed and almost fell over in surprise. Normally Eirika wouldn't have approached that subject like that...
"Innes... I need to tell you something..." Eirika was fidgeting even worse now. Realization struck Innes like a hammer. Eirika had been sick for the last two weeks, every morning. Eirika was craving the strangest foods lately. Her strange abruptness with the conversation of an heir.
"Innes... I'm pregnant." For the very first time in his life, Innes was speechless. Eirika began getting nervous. Innes wasn't saying anything.
Everyone else looked at her, but Innes didn't.
Eirika's pregnant... I'm going to be a father... How did this... Never mind that. When did this... Yet another stupid question Innes...
"INNNES!!! I'M PREGNANT WITH YOUR CHILD!!!! DOESN"T THAT MATTER TO YOU?!?!?" Eirika's breath hitched when she felt all the eyes on her. The ballroom was deathly silent. Innes suddenly folded, his eyes rolling slightly as he pulled his wife into a hug.
"I'm going to be a father..." Eirika felt relief wash over her, and couldn't help herself as she began to tear up. They both froze when they heard clapping. One by one, everyone in the room had begun to clap. Eirika and Innes smiled, and Innes looked down into his wife's eyes.
"We're not naming him after your brother." Everyone except for Innes burst out laughing. Eirika had a large smile on her face. Innes looked her straight in the eye.
"I'm serious. We're not naming my son Ephraim." Eirika gave him a weird look, and he couldn't help himself. He kissed her, then whispered in her ear.
"I like Innes Jr. more." Eirika laughed and pulled her husband out onto the dance floor again.
As the last of the laughing couples departed, three russet pairs of eyes growled out his warning to the dark roots of the bush he was hiding in. It had taken the Amalgam a whole year to reassemble himself from a single arrow.
"They think it's over. If only they knew..."
Author's Notes: Not all of you might have liked that, and I apologize, but I wanted a more... happy ending. We have now finished The Frelian Ball. Thanks to everyone who reviewed the first chapter, and those who review my other stories. Now that this is done, I can devote more time to War and TotT. Hopefully, a new chapter to both will be up Saturday.
Thanks again to my wonderful reviewers, and to Twilight in my Eyes for the inspiration, and the always devoted reviewing to everything I write. I recommend her newest Fic, The Arrow Pierced Heart, which was written for me. Thanks again Twilight!