In The Twilight's Shadow

Summary: Holy Queen Yuna has finally returned to her king's side after the Battle with Gimle. However, since her return she has been experiencing some interesting dreams.

Pairing: Krom/Yuna (MU), mentions others

Warnings: AU/Canon mix, Spoilers!

A/N: Is it just my luck that when I say I'm going to keep doing my best to post daily on Unsung, something happens to me? Not long after I finished Chapter 16 and posted it, I ended up in an accident. I'm okay now, but I was only released from the hospital on Sunday. During my stay I just couldn't do much but recover. But I had this to distract me and I thought I'd share.

Enjoy!

Edit: Thank you, DragonDamsel for pointing out a silly mistake I made. It's fixed now.


It was the sound of soft whimpering-like noises in the adjacent room that awoke her from her befuddling dreams.

Yuna blinked drowsily at the bedroom window as the haze of sleep muddled her mind and made her eyelids heavy. She woozily noted that she could see the full moon and a few of the brightest stars through the pane of glass, meaning it was still very late at night. It was way too early to be getting up and out of bed now. But the whimpers were encouraging her that she had to get up, even with the warmth of the light sheet blankets, the soft comfortableness of the bed, and the soothing breath caressing the nape of her neck trying to pull her back into sleep.

Reluctant, but unwilling to keep her distressed child waiting any longer than necessary, Yuna raised herself up, supporting her weight onto her elbow and brushing a bang out of her eyes. She raised her other hand and rubbed the sleepiness out of her eyes as she let out a little yawn. The strong warm arm around her waist tightened, as if knowing that she was going to leave the bed and wanting to keep her there. The arm which she had laid her head upon instead of the pillow rose up to wrap around her chest, grasping her shoulder. Behind her, her husband made a sleepy noise of what could be described as protest and snuggled his face into the middle of her back.

Yuna let out a quite chuckle of amusement. One would think her husband, the King of the Holy Kingdom of Iris, was not the type of man to be clingy, but Yuna found out differently when she first began sharing sleeping quarters with him, back when they were dealing with Gangrel, Perezia's war-hungry king.

They had not been sharing the same tent for long before they began to share the same bedroll. There Yuna often woke up with an arm (or two) wrapped her. Many times the arm kept her from leaving the bedroll when duty as the group's tactician compelled her to start the day as soon as she woke up. Sometimes she would find a way out of the strong grip, but other times she had no choice but to lie back down and wait for him to wake up.

Although she would then put up a fuss at her husband for keeping her away from her duties, at heart, Yuna did not really mind. She slept and woke up easier since they first began sleeping close to one another. Before her husband was there to ease her into a restful slumber, her mind always tried to force itself to remember the life she had forgotten. But it like trying to both swim to the bottom of the ocean and climbing the ice peak of a mountain without climbing gear at the same time. No matter how hard she tried, she was always held back or blocked.

Her dreams weren't any better.

She was sure she was remembering important bits of her past life when she dreamed. But when she woke up, those memories would turn muddy and fade away back into the deepest corners of her mind's sub-consciousness. When she tried to hold onto them, they would become like the desert sands of Perezia, slipping away through her fingers no matter how tight her grip was. The escaping memories and the distressing inability to hold on to them caused her mind great anguish. She would develop tension headaches as she awoke, and they could last of the entire day, turning focusing on doing her tactician duties into a rather difficult chore within itself.

Her headaches did not go unnoticed by her allies who would become her friends. Many a time, she found herself being forcibly dragged away from her duties by someone; sometimes even by a group. She would be taken somewhere within or close to the camp and be ordered to sit or lie down and relax until the headache faded away. Sometimes someone, usually Sariya, would sit with her and keep her company while the others would pick up on the duties Yuna was forced to abandon.

The female dark mage was actually quite helpful, as she would skillfully massage the pain in the strategist's temples and forehead away, soothing Yuna into a hum of heavenly peace. In those blissful moments when in the release of tension, Yuna could ignore Sairya's claim of the two of them being "fated lovers."

Sairya was understandably upset when the strategist's relationship with the captain of their vigilante force grew into what it now was. With Krom's increasing informal presence around Yuna, the strategist would migrate to him when she was distressed with her headaches and frustrated at her memory. As such, Sairya's stalking presence grew darker in her sadness, but mercifully no jealousy was in sparked Sairya during that time. Thankfully, that dark presence was eased by the most unlikely person: Ronku.

Nowadays, Yuna did not have to worry about that silly claim anymore ever since Sairya and Ronku had finally married one another. The appearance of Noire, Sairya's daughter from a possible future now destroyed, and Mark, Yuna's future son from different possible future, had Sairya rethinking on the prophecy she told Yuna that made her believe she and the strategist were meant to be together, despite the fact that they were both women.

When the female dark mage learned of Noire and Mark's mutual attraction to one another, she proclaimed her mistake to Yuna, and told her that the "fated lovers" were actually their children. Just like when Sariya proclaimed "fated lovers" the first time, Yuna was not sure how to take the news. But, after thinking about it for a while, she did not think it would a bad idea to allow Noire and her future son to have a relationship and a possible marriage. Despite her faults, Noire was a sweet girl and she seemed the happiest when in the presence of her future son.

But that possibility did not seem to matter anymore now.

Yuna was unsure of what happened to everyone's future children, including Mark and her grown-up Lucina, after Gimle's death by her hand. She had not seen any of them since she returned from wherever it was she went when Gimle, both versions of him, died that day. No one could really tell her when she asked. Only that they left or disappeared.

Possibly back into the future where they belonged.

Behind her, Krom made a sleepy hum and snuggled closer to her, making Yuna turn her waist a little so she could look over her shoulder and smile sweetly down at him.

Yuna could understand why her husband was so clingy to her. Although he had hid it skillfully from their friends and his sister, he had been greatly upset when it seemed she died along with Gimle when she struck down her alternate future body with her magic.

They had been warned that she could die along with Gimle due to their connection, and Krom had refused to sacrifice her; his wife, Liz's new big sister, his children's mother, his nephew's only surviving aunt and Iris's Queen. Krom had been perfectly willing to reseal the evil dragon away for another thousand years, just like his ancestor did a millennium ago, just so she would not die.

He would have done it out of love for her. Everyone else agreed that they would not allow their good friend, and in Lucina, Mark and Wood's case, their mother and aunt, to be sacrificed just for the sake of the world.

But Yuna had not been and could not be as selfish as they were.

Unlike them, she was perfectly willing to sacrifice herself to free the world of Gimle's evil. It was because of that dragon that so many people had suffered over the last millennium that he had been sealed away. The theocracy of Perezia had been created because of the evil dragon, and through that kingdom, so many have suffered, including Krom and Liz's elder sister, Emerina, the former Holy Queen of Iris.

And Yuna had no doubt that her mother, whoever she was or had been, had suffered greatly as well.

Why else would a woman, once so loyal to Gimle, turn her back on him when she realized just how high the cost of that loyalty would bring her? Unlike her father, her mother had found the strength to realize just how wrong it was to worship a creature of evil like Gimle.

And then there was the future her daughter and her friends' children had come from.

How could she, the only one with the power to destroy the Evil Dragon, allow a future like that to come about again, even though it would not be her children's future? Just because Gimle was sealed away, it did not mean his evilness would be sealed away also. It would continue to seep into the world, and the suffering would continue.

Yuna could and would not allow anymore suffering at Gimle's claws.

That was why, despite Krom's protests and knowing how much it would hurt him, she had landed the killing blow on her alternate future body and destroyed herself.

"Neeeeeeh!"

Oh right. Lucina, the baby, was crying for her.

It was a bit of struggle, but Yuna managed to pry out of Krom's clinging grip on her. When she was free, she placed a bunched up blanket in the place where she had been laying, watching and nearly giggling when Krom wrapped his arms around it and snuggled his face within it. She was going to tease him mercilessly about how boyishly cute he looked, cuddling a blanket like young child with a special toy in his sleep, when he woke up.

But that would be for later, when it was morning, right now Lucina needed her.

Out of habit, Yuna reached to grab the nearby robe off a chair and put in on over her nightgown. The nightgown was actually one of the articles of clothing Lucina, the grown up one, had bought her during one of their clothes shopping trips together. It was black, sleeveless, ankle-length and made out of a soft sheer fabric with a mid-thigh length slit on the side. Mother and daughter mischievously agreed that the nightgown would drive Krom crazy. Lucina convinced her to buy it when she explained that only Krom would get to see her wearing something like that.

The nightgown quickly became one of Krom's favorites; mainly because, as he explained to her the first time he saw her wearing it, that it symbolized just how much she opened up to him since they first met on that side road just before everything had happened. It was an unexpected but very sweet thing of him to say to her.

The reason she was wearing it tonight was because of the heat wave that had settled in over the kingdom. Even during the night, temperatures were still high, making it uncomfortable for some to sleep. She and Krom had kicked all the blankets, expect for the lightest sheet, to the end of the bed since it would become too uncomfortable otherwise to sleep with so many layers on top of them. Yuna decided to wear the nightgown for it was the lightest one she currently had. Krom had settled on sleeping in his underwear.

Both silently agreed that tonight, they'd focus on trying to catch some sleep as they snuggled under the light sheet blanket.

Yuna had one arm already in the robe before she realized what she was doing. She quickly pulled it off and placed the robe back on the chair. Shaking her head at herself for momentarily forgetting the warmth, Yuna turned and headed for the door to the nursery where her little daughter was awaiting her.

"Shhhh," Yuna soothed her eight-month old daughter, distressed from the heat as she stroked her little blue-haired head.

Lucina's near cries died down to whimpers as she stared up at her mother with blue eyes that were an interesting mixture of the blue shades of both her parents' eyes. Yuna could see the mark of Naga shining in her baby girl's right iris; a sign of how upset she was as the mark would only show itself when the girl was experiencing strong emotions. It was something both her parents' quickly learned during the times when they could take care of their daughter.

Yuna touched the back of her fingers to the little one's forehead, then the cheeks and neck. Lucina's hair was sweaty and her body temperature was up and needed cooling down before she got sick.

Yuna picked Lucina up and settled her onto her arm. Lucina rubbed her face into her mother's shoulder, tired but unable to go back to sleep when she was so warm. The little princess let out another whimper and Yuna gently patted her bottom as carried her daughter to the table where the washbowl and pitcher were.

She reached for the pitcher, picked it up to feel it's weight. It felt heavier, meaning that there was still a lot of water in it. She looked into the pitcher to see how much was in. Confirming that there was enough, she put the pitcher back down on the table and pulled the washbowl closer to her. She placed Lucina down to sit in the middle of the bowl, and quickly removed the light nightgown Lucina's nanny had placed her in and the soft cloth diaper.

Lucina was getting too big for the washbowl Yuna decided as she supported her daughter to stay sitting up and to keep her from wiggling too much. But Yuna settled that the little princess was currently too tired and miserable to cause her mother much grief as she gave her something of a bath to help cool her down.

Being very careful, Yuna raised the pitcher up over her daughter and gently poured water down onto the baby's back. Lucina didn't make sound but Yuna figured that her daughter was happy to be feeling something soothingly cool on her heated body, instantly taking the un-comfy warmth away. Once the bowl was half-full, Yuna placed the pitcher down and grabbed two nearby soft hand towels. One hand towel she gave to Lucina, allowing the little girl to teeth it. The other towel Yuna dipped half into the water and began to wash Lucina's back, softly singing a song Lucina liked.

The last time he saw her,

carried away in the twilight's shadow

She passed on sad but smiling warmly,

carried away in the twilight's shadow

When Krom awoke, he felt a rush of fear and panic when he realized he was clutching a blanket to his chest, not his wife's warm solid body. He almost flew up into a sitting position and looked around the bedroom frantically. However, his fears eased away when his ears caught the sound of Yuna's soft singing voice coming from the nursery.

The young king let out a breath of relief. He reassured himself that Yuna had not disappeared like he had fearfully thought. She had just gone over to the next room to take care of their daughter.

Krom then proceeded to frown at himself.

Yuna had been back for quite some time now. He and Liz had found her ironically, or perhaps, fittingly, in the precise the same spot on the exact same road where they had first met her. His wife had even been lying down in the same position. Everything about her was the same, expect for one thing.

The mark of Gimle was gone from the back of her right hand.

Not only was she alive, she was free from burden of the Evil Dragon's sacrificial vessel.

He had to stay, but he would pray

To see her in the far away haven

He had to stay, but he would pray

To see her again one day

Yuna had returned to where she belonged, and had been gradually falling back into both the role of Iris's Queen, and being a mother. During that time, Krom hardly let her out of his sight. But when he had to leave her, the young King made sure to leave her in the company of Liz. However, if his sister was busy spending time with Donny, he would order Fredrick or Sumia to watch over the Queen.

By now, it was probably silly of him to still be worrying about his wife disappearing again, but no one said anything to discourage him; in fact he had been teased that he had become even more of a mother hen when Yuna returned. But he couldn't help himself with the need to be assured that Yuna wasn't going to disappear. And he had a feeling his wife was feeling the exact same way as she never once made any protest.

Yuna had yet to tell him what happened to her when she faded away after she struck Gimle down. But Krom knew that it was best not to push her. It was quite possible her mind did not want to remember, and forcing it to come back would only result in causing Yuna great pain. Back then, when she admitted to him that she tried to force her memory back to the surface of her mind, resulting in those migraines, he told her that she was only hurting herself.

Yuna ended up agreeing with him and promised to not force her memories anymore. As far as he knew, she kept her promise as the migraines had died down considerably after their talk.

The mourners gathered at the altar

carried away in the twilight's shadow

singing the song of their sorrow,

carried away in the twilight's shadow

She saw the silhouette of the dragon,

He saved the four sisters from sacrifice

Unable to see the dark river of fire

And she sacrificed herself to save him

Now he could hear that she was singing that particular song.

He had only heard it a few times before himself, but Yuna told him that Lucina loved the song and wanted her to sing it whenever they had the chance to spend time together.

It was a sad but rather beautiful song.

When he first heard her singing that song to baby Lucina, he thought Yuna was singing about them during the times when they defeated both Gimle and Fauder, her father; thus Lucina's maternal grandfather. He mainly thought that because the song was about an unselfish woman who had willingly sacrificed herself and died for the sake of saving the life of the man in the song. It reminded him too much of Yuna.

Over the course of their journeys together, Yuna proved herself to be a selfless woman, who cared more about others more than herself, even strangers. That selflessness was part of the reason he was drawn to her, and later fell in love.

However, it wasn't until much later that he saw just how far that selflessness extended.

"…All right. You won't have to worry about me…" To the grown-up daughter that needed to fulfill her duty to save the future.

"Krom! Look out!" To the man she loved when the Dark Tome's magic was directed towards him.

"…so, I'll go with you." To the dragon that wore her face before she struck it down.

But when he heard the song again for the second and third time, he realized Yuna was actually singing about something else; different, yet similar, to their story.

Krom pulled the light sheet off his legs and stood up from the bed, grabbing a pair of his sleeping pants to put on before heading to the nursery.

He had to stay, but he would pray

To see her in the far away haven

He had to stay, but he would pray

To see her again one day

Peeking into the room, he saw Yuna just finishing up with giving their daughter a nice cooling down bath. Lucina wasn't giving her mother any trouble over the bath, meaning she was either too tired or enjoying the cool water too much to be fussy. Usually, Lucina hated taking baths and would often try to get out.

But then again, ever since mother and daughter reunited, the baby princess hardly ever had given Yuna any grief. Everyone had agreed that it was a testimony to how much she missed her mother during the long time that she had been away; first with the clash with Fauder and his cult, and then during the time she had disappeared after the final battle with Gimle. After being gone for so long, it was a miracle that the little girl even remembered and recognized her mother at all, though Krom had some speculations that Lucina's older counterpart version had something to do with that.

Rather than disturb this much needed mother/daughter time between two out of the four most important women in his life, Krom leaned comfortably against the nursery doorway, waiting the scene in front of him and continually listening to the song.

And the Holy Kingdom arose,

forever honoring her name

carried away in the twilight's shadow

carried away in the twilight's shadow

Yuna sensed when her husband appeared in the doorway, but her attention stayed focused on Lucina. She could see that Lucina was falling back to sleep now that she had been cooled off, and her comforting singing voice was soothing her into sleepiness. Yuna was glad Krom had seemed to instinctually know that it was not a good idea to enter the nursery right now. Because otherwise Lucina would get excited by his presence and sleep would become the last thing on her little mind. And Yuna really wanted to get back into bed.

Blocking the little girl's view of the doorway with her body, Yuna raised Lucina out of the washbowl and wrapped her into a soft towel, gently drying her off. Lucina let out a cute little yawn and rubbed her eyes with her tiny hands. Still wrapped in the towel, Yuna began rubbing Lucina's back and rocked gently on her feet as she sang the last verse.

On a silvery night, he looks to the stars

To see the face he could not save

Wondering why she had to be the one

To be gone before the harmony begun

He had to stay, but he would pray

To see her in the far away haven

He had to stay, but he would pray

To see her again one day

A snore erupted from the bundle in her arms, signaling that Lucina had fallen back to sleep. The little one had stay awake just long enough for her mother to finish the song before she let sleep reclaim her.

"She loves to hear that song," Krom spoke, keeping his voice at a soft whisper

Yuna gave a small smile as she placed the sleeping girl back into the crib, the faintly damp towel still wrapped around the baby to keep her cool for the rest of the night. "It's probably only the sound of my voice," she said, also keeping her voice low, "One day she will have no time for my songs."

"I don't tire of hearing them," Krom countered gently, "Why should she?"

Yuna let out a soft noise amusement.

A few moments later the royal couple found themselves back in their shared bed, but neither felt very sleepy and did not bother with the light sheet. Instead, despite the warmth the night still held from the heat of the day, they snuggled together.

They said nothing, but both felt that they still needed the reassurance that they really were together. Krom lay comfortably on his back with a pillow under his head. One arm wrapped itself around Yuna's waist to alternate stroking her side and one of her two soft ponytails of raven black hair. The other held her hand, his thumb stroking over the Mark of Naga shaped wedding band on her finger. Yuna lay half on top of her husband, resting her head on his chest, the sound of his heart beating into her ear. Without realizing it, Yuna began to hum the song she had been singing to Lucina as she listened to the comforting beats.

But all the while, the images of the dream she had been dreaming about before her daughter awoke her danced around in her head, refusing to fade away and be forgotten like most dreams did.

It was not an unfamiliar sensation either.

Though the dream would shift and change in numerous ways, many of the images constantly stayed the same. It had been like that since she woke up back on the same side road where she met her husband and younger sister-in-law for the first time in what seemed so long ago, but really was not.

Royal duties and the responsibilities of being a mother would take her mind off the dream images for a while, but always, when her mind was undistracted, the images would fill her thoughts once again. She had managed to hide the agitation that the images would cause her, but for some time now, she could feel herself slipping up and people were starting to notice. Their notice would cause worry among themselves. Holy Iris had already lost a beloved queen, and then they believed to have lost another queen within the space of a year. Her return had brought much joy back to the kingdom, but it had also brought a near overbearing concern and fear that she would be lost again.

Yuna would brush the fears aside by either saying she was fine, or that she just needed to get used to the role of a Queen again. This would appease many of the servants, the guards, and the ambassadors, but not to those who knew her personally.

Liz and Donny, her upcoming brother-in-law, would try to subtly trick her into revealing what was bothering her. But Yuna had always been the more clever one (one did not become a tactician without being clever), and easily dodged around their attempts with skillful ease. She would then give them her best reassuring smile, and then leave without them suspecting that she was avoiding them. But all the while, Yuna tried not to look at their disenchanted frowns that made her feel guilty.

Sumia wouldn't say anything throughout the times they read books together in the castle library during the few times both the Queen and the Pegasus Knight had some time off. But Yuna would often catch Sumia looking over the top of her book at her worriedly. Yuna would pretend not to notice.

Multiple times, in his own sweet way, Fredrick would come right up to her and offer his assurance that his ear was available to her just as much as it was to the king. Wyck and Tiamo, whom Yuna learned recently had just become engaged, would offer their time to listen to her when she needed it. Yuna would smile, thank them then return to work.

Like Sumia, Soiree never said anything, but Yuna noticed that she was keeping a lot of people away from her. The Queen had feeling that the female redhead cavalier was keeping a close eye on her and was keeping people, even her husband, Viole, away from the Queen to avoid unnecessary stress befalling her. Yuna would have to thank Soiree for her thoughtfulness.

Even Mariabel and Gaia had noticed. Yuna could openly admit it to herself that she was actually avoiding those two lovebirds. When not distracted by the sweets he craved, Gaia could be surprisingly observant when he wanted or had to be; something all successful thieves had to be Yuna supposed. And Mariabel could be very overwhelming when she was worried about someone she cared about. The noble born girl meant well, but sometimes Mariabel was careless about how other people's feelings.

It was pretty much the same thing with the rest of her friends in each of their own unique way of saying or doing it.

The only one who acted like nothing was wrong was Krom. But Yuna knew her husband too well to believe that he actually did not notice a thing and wasn't worrying over her more than he already was.

But then again, Krom knew her just as well as she did with him. He knew that given enough space and time, she would open up and share her feelings of distress. Like him, Yuna did not like showing her weaknesses and would rather take the responsibility of solving other people's problems, then have others shoulder her burdens. They were alike in that way, and it was why they worked so well together.

Just as well, it had taken her a long time to convince Krom that he didn't have to show his strong to her all the time. As his wife, as well as his friend, she was there to support him when he had to let himself go, in order to continue being the source of strength for others; both in his vigilante force and in his kingdom. He had opened up when he told her that he would rather seal Gimle away then sacrificed her for the god-like, but still mortal, dragon's demise. They didn't agree with how Gimle should have been dealt with, but somehow, they both ended up supporting each other, agreeing to disagree.

Even now, he was still supporting her and showed his trust in her to support him. It was really too cruel to not use the support and comfort he would always give her.

He did give her what she needed when she came to him about her migraines, why should the dreams be any different?

With a sigh to cement her decision, Yuna raised herself up and off her husband to curl herself up into a sitting position on her side of the bed. The move and the body language was enough to convey to Krom that something was bothering her.


I'll stop here for now.