A/N: I've played the game and watched the anime several times over, as well as read the great stories here on FF. Then I got the urge one day to write my own multi-chaptered rewrite of the entire game! Sounds fun, right? Of course, I'll work to make this story different from both the canon and fictional stories on here. But wish me luck- this is quite a big project as I'm sure you all know! This is also one of my, 'what would have happened if' fics. TOA is perfect for exploring this...
So here's the start to the story! I'll try to have the first chapter up by tomorrow.
Keep in mind that this was seventeen to eighteen years ago. Lady Susanne and Duke Fabre are a bit more…lively than before the exhaustion that comes with raising children happens. Or so that's my excuse.
Enjoy the first part. Don't worry, after this, AN will come at the end.
Disclaimer: All rights to Namco and such. Nothing is mine but the plot.
Prologue: Yulia's Naming Prophecy
"ND2000 In Kimlasca shall be born one who inherits the power of Lorelei. He will be a boy of royal blood with hair of red. He shall be called the 'light of the sacred flame' and he will lead Kimlasca-Lanvaldear to new-"
"Will you hush that mouth of yours!" a frazzled-looking wet nurse snapped, glowering fiercely at the formally dressed Scorer in the corner of the room.
The Scorer looked taken aback, hesitantly looking in between the wet nurse and Duke sitting beside the rumpled sheets of the Lady's bed. His dark blond hair was plastered to his forehead beneath the hat of his uniform, causing an uncomfortable itch. "But I have been asked by His Grace to read-" he started to say.
"I don't care what you've been asked to do," the wet nurse growled. "I have a baby to help deliver, and I can't focus when you're droning over my instructions to Her Grace."
Duke Fabre frowned and prepared to reprimand the stout woman, but his words were caught in his throat as his wife in labor crushed his fingers with her surprisingly strong ones. He turned his attention from the wet nurse to his wife.
"Leave…her…be, dear," Lady Susanne grit from in between clenched teeth, strands of dark crimson hair hanging wild before her pale, sweating forehead. Her left hand grip on his hand trembled violently as the wet nurse standing at the edge of the bed concentrated on the task of safely delivering the child inside.
"Leave my hand be," Duke Fabre muttered in response. Luckily for him, his wife hadn't heard. Because if she had… The Duke cringed at the very thought.
"Alright… one more push should do it," the wet nurse encouraged with a warm smile, as if she had never been irritated in the first place.
Lady Susanne gave a barely noticeable nod of her head and shut her eyes, pushing viciously with every last bit of energy she had left.
There was a piercing wail.
Duke Fabre grimaced, his hand completely numb as his wife fell back in exhaustion, struggling to regain her erratic breathing.
"You did it," the wet nurse praised the Lady. "Congratulations, it's a boy."
"Just as the Score said," the Scorer humbly said, bowing his head. "Many blessings, Your Grace."
Duke Fabre, tearing his gaze from his most-likely mangled fingers, spared a glance at the young man. "Your services are no longer required. Speak to Ramdas for your payment," he said.
"Yes. Thank you." The Scorer raised his head and left the room quickly, eager to leave the sharp gaze of the Duke and wet nurse alike.
The wet nurse, with the aid of several other maids assisting nearby with towels and warm water, separated the red-haired baby that had come out and carefully swathed the child in a fluffy white blanket. A wide smile crossed her portly, dimpled features, and she handed the Lady's new son to her. "Now don't worry," she began to say. "You rest right here. I'll be back in a moment. Then we'll take care of everything else and clean up."
Lady Susanne accepted her child with a tired, yet soft smile. She thanked the wet nurse and then moved her attention to her husband, cradling the bundle of white blanket in her arms in a gentle manner only she could possess. "Look dear," she said as the wet nurse and maids that had been with her left the room for a brief moment. "Our son."
"Yes," Duke Fabre replied, offering a small smile back, glad his hand had been released when Susanne had taken the baby. "Of course his name shall be-"
Susanne's face suddenly contorted and she let out a horrendous noise of agony, flinching and squeezing her eyes shut. The Duke was on his feet immediately, looking at her in great concern. "What is it, Susanne?" he demanded to know.
"There's…another," Susanne whispered, squeezing the baby she held tight as her stomach rolled and curled.
"Another?" Duke Fabre stared.
"Another child," Susanne ground out, opening an eye to glare.
Duke Fabre blinked in slight confusion. "Another child?"
"Is there an echo?" Susanne angrily asked. "Help deliver it! I'm in pain."
"R-Right." The Duke moved to stand at the edge of the bed. And then he stared. "Susanne," he said after a moment.
"What am I supposed to do?" Duke Fabre pinned her with a serious look, though his voice has raised a considerable amount."
"Ease him out!" Susanne cried, her soft features continuing to twist in pain.
"How!" the Duke shouted.
Susanne grew frustration, fixing her husband with a vicious look. "Grab his head!"
"Susanne, there's nothing to grab!"
The wet nurse and several maids hurried into the Lady's chamber at her cries and the Duke's panicked shouts. Immediately the wet nurse ushered the Duke aside and took his place, looking utterly bewildered. She called out quick orders to the equally baffled maids and prepared to deliver a second child. Though this baby came out much easier than the first, the wet nurse held the child as if it were a bad omen. She still cleaned and wrapped the second red-haired baby in a soft blue blanket- which wailed even louder than the first that began crying at the flurry of motion.
"A-A second child," the wet nurse managed to get out, offering the baby hastily to the Duke. "A second son!"
He took the child and made a face similar to the one the wet nurse wore before walking quickly to Susanne's side and giving her the wrapped baby. He was just as baffled, if not even more, than the others in the room. "Susanne… there's not another one coming is there?"
Susanne cradled the screaming babies close to her chest. "No. I'm sure he was the last dear," she wearily said, supressing an improper eyeroll.
The wet nurse looked at both the heads of the House, stricken. "Your Graces, if- if I may please be excused… There are, other duties I must see to briefly. I'll have someone else sent in," she hurriedly added.
Susanne nodded her head. "You may. Thank you."
The wet nurse scurried backwards and out the room, the door closing with a sharp click. The other maids remained in the room, unsure as to what exactly they were supposed to be doing.
"She will tell everyone in the manor," Duke Fabre muttered, displeased.
"They will know anyway," Susanne soothed him. She held both sobbing babies with ease, trying to quiet them with soft jostles.
"There was only supposed to be one," Duke Fabre noted, staring intently at the pair of wrapped babies. He lifted his gaze to meet Susanne's. "Shall we get rid of one?"
Susanne looked aghast, as did the other maids in the room. "Of course not dear! They are equally my children. We won't abandon one simply because the Score was mistaken!"
Duke Fabre narrowed his eyes. "But the Score…"
Susanne narrowed her eyes right back at him, no longer the epitome of fragility and peace. "We will keep them both."
The Duke and Lady of House Fabre engaged in a silent match of wills, the maids glancing worriedly in between them. Several moments passed before Susanne's brows furrowed and Duke Fabre silently cursed, averting his gaze to the carpeted floor below.
Susanne smiled sweetly at him at the show of defeat. "I'm glad we've come to an agreement dear."
Duke Fabre folded his arms, grouchy. "…As am I."
Taking this as their cue, the maids finally moved from their stupor and started cleaning up the Lady's bedroom which had become a labor chamber for the past nine hours.
The twin babies took one look at each other from either side of Susanne- and began shrieking.
Susanne tried to quiet them, gently asking, "What's wrong?" even though she knew they wouldn't respond.
"See? They don't even like each other," Duke Fabre pointed out. "This will be a hassle Susanne."
"It won't," Susanne scolded. "Now stop saying such nonsense and come let us name them."
Duke Fabre reluctantly moved closer to the bed, looking at the identical squinted faces of his…sons. Although they had quieted slightly within the past minute, they were still making loud huffing noises and wails of distaste whenever silence prevailed for more than three seconds. "The Score said that you would give birth to a child we would name 'the light of the sacred flame'," he said.
"But the Score was wrong," Susanne softly replied. "Should we really name one as the Score said?"
"Of course we should," Duke Fabre sternly said. "If at the very least something goes right here, it'll be the naming of one of them."
"Dear," Susanne reprimanded.
"I'm only speaking the truth," the Duke uttered. He studied the pair of twins carefully, trying to see past the snot beginning to run down their noses. "Which one came first?"
Susanne looked exasperated. "The one in the white blanket dear. It didn't happen that long ago."
"Then let that one be called 'Luke'," the Duke proclaimed.
"No," Susanne disagreed. She affectionately looked at the son in the white blanket before moving her eyes to his twin in the blue one. "This little one will be named 'Luke'."
Duke Fabre frowned heavily. "You can't pick favorites Susanne."
Susanne lifted a dainty brow at his words. "I'm not. It merely suits him more. Look at his hair," she urged.
Duke Fabre did as told. "…What about it?"
Susanne sighed lightly as the maids finished cleaning around them. "It's just a bit lighter than our first son's."
The Duke looked at him wife blankly. "Is that how you're naming them? Why not call the firstborn 'Asch' then?" he sarcastically said. "I'm sure he won't mind, if only because his hair is a shade darker."
Susanne thought about saying something on his attitude, but changed her mind, instead taking a liking to the dryly offered name the more the name rang through her head. "Yes… that's a fine idea dear. The firstborn will be named Asch, and the second, Luke."
Duke Fabre rubbed a tired hand over his worn features. "I have no say in this, do I?"
Susanne smiled prettily at her husband. "None at all."
Later that evening as the Duke watched his wife sleep curled with her newborn twins, he stood from the chair beside the large bed and shook his head. Carefully he moved several fallen strands of hair from his wife's face before stepping back and turning to leave the bedroom. "Susanne…" he quietly said aloud, pausing in the doorway. "I hope you know what you're doing…"
Duke Fabre stiffened and looked over his shoulder. Susanne remained lying, but she was wide awake and filled with a certain calmness. "Perhaps the Scorer was simply mistaken dear."
"…Perhaps," the Duke became thoughtful. There was something shifty about the Scorer from the start."Yes. You're right." Duke Fabre's gaze hardened and he firmly nodded his head. "I'll be sure to have the guards hunt him down for questioning-"
Susanne's slightly exasperated laugh cut him off. She slowly shook her head at him, eyes dancing mirthfully. "There's no need. Can't you just be happy we have two new sons to spend our lives with? I know I am."
Duke Fabre opened his mouth to argue but saw little point in it when his wife stared at him in such merry joy. He sighed and lowered his chin. "I'm happy too Susanne. Just a bit concerned, that's all."
"Well don't be," Susanne lightly chided. "Go to bed dear. I'll be alright with the children."
Duke Fabre watched as his wife settled back between her sheets and wrapped her arms protectively around the twins. A smile tore at his lips and he moved away from the door, coming to sit at Susanne's bedside once again.
Susanne seemed surprised. "Dear…"
"I will stay here for the night," Duke Fabre told her, his voice loosing its gruff edge. "You get your rest."
Susanne smiled at her husband and gave a single nod before allowing her eyes to slip shut.
And thus the scions of Lorelei were born, setting the world on a new path to prosperity.
The Duke supposed he would put his trust in Susanne as he always had and let the gut feeling he had of something being horribly wrong be left alone. Susanne was usually right in most cases. Besides, the idea of having two sons to train and raise to be valiant nobles was beginning to excite him. Maybe having twins be born wouldn't be so bad after all!
When Duke Fabre reflected on these feelings many years later, he would wonder what had even possessed him to have such optimistic thoughts.
Because his gut instinct had been right after all.
Horribly, horribly right.
It's okay- either way I'll continue or else I'd drive myself crazy :D