Title: The No Kissing Cousins Policy
Summary: Just another of the many dangers in an army manned by teenagers, three men, a grandpa and a useless weirdo.
Notes: ahahaha I have no excuses. Crack, OOC. Timeline, what timeline. March 2017: Updated names.
Climbing onto a small outcropping, Seliph took a moment to look across the meadow where the core group of his Liberation Army had gathered. A quick headcount showed that only a few people were missing. Maybe they could wait until the others joined too? The night was still young, and Seliph, at least, felt no particular anticipation in getting on with his task.
Next to him, Oifey pointedly cleared his throat. There would be no escaping his leaderly duties.
Sighing, the Inheritor of Light clapped his hands together loudly and called out, "Everyone! May I have you attention please!"
The chatter and rustling died down as the teenagers across the meadow turned to face their noble leader.
"Tonight, I have an important public service announcement!" Seliph continued, smiling brightly — it even looked impressively not-fake. A united groan went up from the group. "I've been asked to speak with you about certain activities that have been taking place within this army, which reflect badly upon us as the Liberators of Grandbell!"
"There's nothing wrong with taking their stuff!" Patty yelled, jumping to her feet and pointing at him angrily. "It's not like they need it anymore, and weapons are expensive! It's for the good of the army!"
Seliph continued to smile, undaunted by the interruption. "While it would be best for you to keep 'battlefield acquisitions' to a minimum," he went on, "that is not what I've been asked to speak about."
He paused, making sure they were paying proper attention. "Everyone," Seliph began, taking a deep breath, "I understand your feelings. I understand that all of you want to score with your cousins... except those who don't have cousins, I suppose... but that is something we can't do."
About half of his statement was completely drowned out by a cacophony of protests that erupted from his soldiers. Febail and Lana buried their burning faces in their hands and inched away from each other, despite already sitting on opposite ends of a downed tree trunk. Somewhere in audience, Coirpre questioned what was happening loudly, as Hannibal wisely and quickly covered his adoptive son's ears. To one side of Seliph, Oifey facepalmed heavily and groaned.
"I understand your disappointment!" Seliph continued, his pleasant smile unchanging even as he raised his voice to be heard over the din. "However, I've been asked to remind you that while this practice is less forbidden than certain other forbidden practices, it is still quite forbidden!" A beat of confused silence as everyone tried to sort out that confused sentence. Taking the chance, Seliph hurried to add, "So please aim your attempts to score at someone you are not related to."
Oifey groaned again, almost a pitiful moan now, making Seliph glance at him in surprise and confusion. Had he missed something? Thinking for a moment, the would-be Prince of Light brightened and added, "And be sure to use protection." Which was not at all the problem.
"Are there are any questions?" Seliph called out, looking across the meadow expectantly.
"What the hell do you mean you understand our feelings?!" Nanna demanded, jumping to her feet and gesturing angrily. Incidentally, one of the people missing the announcement was Finn, so Nanna felt free to use certain kinds of language that she would prefer he not know she knew.
Seliph smile placidly. "I mean, I understand your feelings. Nonetheless, I must ask you to maintain a proper and platonic distance from your cousin." He slid his gaze meaningfully toward Ares, who sat next to the place Nanna had occupied.
Glancing at Ares, Nanna flushed and cursed. "We're not...!" she protested. "Don't change the subject!"
"Right," Seliph agreed. "You're not. Because it's a forbidden practice. I'm glad we understand each other. Next question!"
"Don't just go on to the next question, you—"
"Yes!" Lene called out, cheerfully steamrolling over Nanna's complaints. She paused to shoot the girl a victorious smirk from Ares's other side. "What if you're not sure about who your parents were?" she asked, turning back to Seliph.
"That's a very good question," Seliph praised with a smile. He gestured toward Oifey, who seemed to be trying to either erase a horrible image from the inside of his eyelids or perhaps reach into his skull and crush his own brain. "Oifey," Seliph continued, "has compiled a tentative family tree for everyone. Please speak with him concerning matters of genealogy, which are vitally important! Also, as a good rule of thumb, if you have the same holy blood, you're too close!"
He made an "X" shape with his hands, masterfully ignoring the mixed groans and cheers that arose. In particular, Larcei went so far as to jump to her feet and pump her fist as she exclaimed in joy. Next to her, Iuchar slumped bonelessly and shed bitter tears of defeat.
"I have a question!" Diarmuid called out, having finally finished calming his sister. He waved lazily to gain Seliph's attention. "What about the people who aren't here?"
"Hm," Seliph drew out, looking again across the meadow. "That would be Leif, Lady Altena, Finn and Shannan," he decided. "Oh, and Arthur, Fee and Sety. Well, those three have their own circumstances," Seliph continued, drawing almost synchronized eye-rolling from his audience. The circumstances in question were Sety's continued passive-aggressive disapproval of his sister's boyfriend, up to and including stalking, er, chaperoning them when they snuck out into the woods instead of attending public service announcements.
(No one commented on Lewyn being left out of the absentee count. With his habits, it would have been more notable if he actually had been present.)
"As for Leif and his sister, I can attest that they are not scoring with their cousin," Seliph went on, the cousin in question being himself. Diarmuid glanced at Nanna, raising his eyebrows meaningfully. She crossed her arms and scowled, shooting back an equally meaningful look. For all that they had been separated their whole lives, the siblings had fallen into a sibling-like relationship rather quickly upon being reunited. Braving the lair of an evil cult together might have helped.
"That just leaves King Shannan," Seliph continued, completely skipping over Finn, which was taken for granted anyway. Theories about Finn's "situation" — whether relating to his "bodyguard" (wink, wink) duties of Nanna's mother or his deep, deep devotion to Leif's father — were many and varied across the army, but everyone knew better than to voice them where Nanna or Leif might hear. And any "forbidden practices" Finn may or may not have participated in were different from the one being discussed, in any case.
Shannan, for his part, had developed an uncanny sense for when Seliph and the others were about to do something horrifying or embarrassing, or horrifyingly embarrassing. He had also perfected the art of not being there for the fallout. It was a skill set that had served him well over the years, particularly during a certain awkward time in Lana's and Larcei's lives.
Oifey quietly cursed him out.
"Well," Seliph said brightly, "I don't want to trouble him further than necessary, so we will uphold things on our end. I'm sure I can count on you!" He beamed meaningfully at Larcei and Ulster, who didn't hesitate to shoot back twin (heh) dirty looks.
Apparently having finally worked up the courage, Iucharba stood up from his seat next to Ulster. "Um, yes, I have a question," he began when Seliph gestured to him. "Given that our concerns are arising from the possible situation with our hypothetical children and the issue of blood inheritance... if these hypothetical children were to be an impossibility... would there still be an issue with this practice?" He cleared his throat, flushing. "What I mean is, if the people involved were two men... or two women... would that still be considered unacceptable?"
"Ah..." Seliph drew out in understanding. He nodded thoughtfully. "I see. In theory, that should be fine... but it is important that we consider our circumstances. In deference to our comrades' sacrifices, I feel it would be best for everyone to share the same burden," he continued — the burden in question being an inability to score with your cousin. He dipped his head sadly as Iucharba slumped. "I truly understand your suffering."
"There it is again!" Nanna protested. "What do you mean, you understand his suffering?!"
"If there are no more questions, then we can conclude this meeting," Seliph continued, completely ignoring her protests, smile once again firmly on his face. "In conclusion, I would like to remind everyone that no matter how hungover you are, we will still be marching in the morning."
He also easily ignored the new round of complaints that followed his parting shot, hopping off his temporary stage and patting Oifey on the arm as he walked past.
"Hold it!" Nanna called out, stalking up from behind him. "Don't think you can just slip away from me!"
Seliph turned, smiled, and held up his hands as if shrugging. "Hello, Lady Nanna," he greeted pleasantly.
"Don't 'Lady Nanna' me, you," she hissed, poking him in the chest. "I'm warning you-"
"Nanna! Lord Seliph!" a very familiar voice called from behind her, making Nanna tense before she forced herself to relax and turn to face Leif with a gentle smile. Seliph beamed back at his cousin, having clearly seen his approach from the moment he faced Nanna.
"Lord Leif," Nanna greeted demurely, "and Sir Finn too. I'm so happy to see both of you..."
"Ah, Nanna," Finn nodded in reply. "Good. There is something I need to discuss with you."
"Of course," she agreed, her tone remaining soft despite the dark warning look she surreptitiously sent Seliph, who only continued to smile back placidly.
"Did we miss anything, Lord Seliph?" Leif asked as his knight and his childhood friend departed.
"No, nothing much," Seliph replied. "And you really don't have to call me that."
"Everyone is so worked up," Leif noted with an unwavering smile, showing a surprising amount of family resemblance. "Did we miss another announcement?" He looked a little embarrassed. "Finn and I were following Altena again."
"Oh?" Seliph wondered. "What was she doing?"
"The usual. Sneaking out to rendezvous with her, um, not-brother. You know the one."
"The other magic spear guy," Seliph nodded knowingly. To be fair, he still called Iuchar and Iucharba "those two axe guys."
"She thinks she's being so subtle. But come on, everyone knows. She's always pining over him. 'Oh, I love him. But I shouldn't. We grew up together! But his father killed my parents! But I helped kill him! Oh, Arion!..' Bah. Even her dragon's sick of it," Leif grumbled. He was actually completely correct in saying everyone knew. None of them dared to comment on it in Altena's presence though, since she was widely known as the scary Dragon Lady, who was more dragon than her dragon. And had a scary magic spear.
"Just elope already, for love, Thracian unity and everyone's sanity!" Leif continued, throwing up his hands in frustration. Seliph tried to smother a chuckle at the display, making Leif smile in satisfaction. Their eyes met, and the two of them burst into laughter.
After they calmed down again, Leif began, "So... Nanna seemed a bit angry with you."
"The announcement was about cousins dating," Seliph explained with a smile, making Leif nod in apparent understanding. The only one who didn't think that Nanna had a thing for Ares was Ares. "Also, she thinks I want to score with my cousin."
"Ah," Leif said. "Well. Julia is a very lovely young lady."
"...She's my younger sister."
"But her father is your mother's brother, right? So that makes her your cousin," Leif pointed out.
Seliph's smile became a little strained as he tried to not consider the implications of what Leif was saying. "In any case," he said, "that's not what she meant."
"Don't even say such a horrible thing." Seliph sighed. "Well, it's pretty clear she's got nothing to worry about."
Notes: Jugdral! This is where IntSys's incest habit began! The Fire Emblem series wouldn't be free of this curse until FE9!