A/N: This is based off the manga by Miyazaki Hayao, not the movie. So if you're confused, that's probably why.

Child of the Wind

By Uniasus

The gunship returned to the Valley of the Wind. As did Mito and the rest of crew. But Mehve didn't, the Princess didn't.

Only half of the valley was surprised. They had Tepa after all.

It was a local tradition with forgotten roots, or perhaps a legend only mildly remembered, but there could only be one Child of the Wind. And when Tepa's eyes had opened, Nausicaä had been replaced.

But it was not as they all feared, the death of the princess and the destruction of the ruling blood. Nausicaä was alive! Just, not coming home.

Despite Mito's words, that she was following her heart, that she was helping those who needed her, that she had found where she truly belonged, that she had adopted a son and was staying with his people to raise him properly, the Valley lived in depression for a whole year.

The Valley of the Wind was her home! She was their princess! They were her people! Did she not promise to come back?

Did she no longer care for them?

An apostle, Mito had called her, glad in Ohmu blue and walking in fields of golden light. Oh, the sights and images of the princess he had seen! He told the Valley them all, that first night he returned and they all wept at the beauty of the image in their minds.

They loved her. Was it not returned?

Tepa saved them. So much like Nausicaä she was, channeling the princess in windriding skills, sharing a similar passion for the people of the Valley and a willingness to help others. She was a balm on their collective wound, helped alleviate the ache of Nausicaä's absence, helped understand why the princess hadn't come home yet.

"She has so much love in her heart, for us, for the insects, for the Earth, that she had to spread it otherwise it would burst from her chest! And who are we to deny the others of the princess's love? She still goes by Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. That is proof she loves us."

Such kind words, such a faith in her princess. Tepa made them understood, made them all listen to her, and they did. For years.

Jhil was dead, Nausicaä was gone, and there was no one to rule the Valley of the Wind, principality of Eftal. The council of Elders that took control while Nausicaä was fighting in the war kept their power, but they were old, succumbing to the stiffening disease. And when Gram died, the wise woman's place was taken over by Tepa. The girl had been involved in talks since she first saw the wind at age 10, her voice and thoughts so similar to Nausicaä's they were almost always followed, that it was natural for her to assume control of the Valley of the Wind.

Not a princess, heaven's no. No one could take Nausicaä's place. But a regent, someone who could rule in her stead and rule well.

And then, Nausicaä came back.

The half of the Ohmu shell the princess had found still lay in forest and those working on breaking it into pieces saw a small Ohmu crawl by. Astride it sat Nausicaä, hair long and flowing. Mehve laid behind her, and on top of it sat a boy, nay, young man wearing the head garment of a Dorok priest around his arm.

What a celebration there was that night! A feast of feasts and a tale so long, yet grand with excitement that not a single child slept until its completion at sunrise.

Their princess had done so much!

The wormhandlers thought she was a goddess in human form and listened to her every word. They had changed their culture from one of human vultures to those of resource finders, nomadic farmers. The forest tribes had taught them, welcomed them, merged with them, though it was the wormhandlers who interacted with the Dorok people. Trade between the two cultures was flourishing. The Dorok followed her too, united under the banner of a single tribe, that of her adopted son Chikuku.

A son who did not leave the side of Tepa all night.

Many of the women of the Valley twittered amongst themselves about that for a week.

Nausicaä was worshiped by two different cultures, of which members of the Valley thought of course, that's the princess and weren't very surprised. But what set the entire Valley into a tizzy was the fact that the princess had gotten married and was with child.

A child!

It was that which brought Nausicaä home, for home was what the Valley always was and will be to her. It was where she grew up, and where she wished her daughters and sons to grow up. Her husband, one of the forest tribe called Selm, was currently with his own people, but would be along within the month.

And so it was within year that Nausicaä gave birth to a daughter, Madianemos.

Chikuku didn't stay in the Valley, it was the home of his mother but not his own. But he visited, and in turn Tepa visited him on her kite, Aetos.

"The winds there are so different from the ones here," she told Nausicaä once, "Straighter, longer, lighter even."

The princess smiled, braiding the hair of two year old Madi around her pregnant body. "We are Children of the Wind, Tepa, and it's only to us that such differences can be seen. Does it call to you, that far away wind? Whisper in you heart about flying on it, showing you new sites? If so, go to it. For there are many types of winds, but it's okay to have favorites."

A year later, Tepa was gone. Married into the Dorok with Chikuku in on her arm. It seemed right, having their substitute princess, who could have been Nausicaä's daughter, actually become one through marriage.

But the Valley was once again left without a Child of the Wind. There was a Lady of Wind, that's true, but she was fickle. Nausicaä had set out to do what her mother couldn't, birth and raise 11 children in honor of the brothers and sisters who had died to give her life. She couldn't fly all the time.

There was nothing to worry about, however. The Valley had a ruler, a princess and prince, and little Madi could be seen standing on the roofs of windmills, starting out towards the Inland Sea. There already was a Child of the Wind, and her eyes would open soon.

A/N: As Nausicaa is a Greek name, I gave her child one too. It means 'wind seer'. Tepo's kite is not so imaginative and is simply named 'kite' in Greek XD

This is the result of me finishing the manga and going, 'I needa right!'. Reading always inspires me, and I was quite curious as to how the Valley would have gotten on without Nausicaa, as the epilogue says that if she does go back, it's not for awhile. And personally, I really wanted her to hook up with Asbel, but then there was that panel with him and Ketcha...and I wanted to keep this canon, which Nausicaa and Asbel doesn't seem to be. In the manga verse ^_~