Summary: Seven reasons why there never was a choice. Written for 31_days, March 31, 2013: the curves of your lips rewrite history. Chrom/F!Avatar, Lucina, Morgan, post-game. Sticking with Robin for the Avatar's name though I'm not particularly fond of it.
...This is like the shortest thing I have written in years in the shortest amount of time, wow. It was like the fic I used to procrastinate re: writing other fic. Ha. It is thus suitably not very good, but whatever. Also Chrom/F!Avatar is permanently headcanon, so...yeah, you know. The story lacks a certain kind of emotional gravitas without it. Y'know, like Severa's stew.
one life for one universe
It is only when they are alone in their tent, after the war council, that Chrom brings it up again.
"Don't think about sacrificing yourself, Robin."
She looks at him.
The urgency in his voice makes her pause. "I wouldn't call it sacrifice. I just want what's best for everyone. I want to make sure everyone has a happy future."
"Our future can't possibly be as happy without you in it."
Robin shakes her head. "The bonds we've made are strong. You'll never lose me." Even if I were to die.
"I already had to lose Emm the way I did. The choice I would have made - I just - " And suddenly he is embracing her, though he was always one for impulsive actions.
She merely smiles and tucks herself in the crook of his neck which she's gotten so used to, closes her eyes.
"Just let me seal Grima away," he says. "Our descendants will be able to defeat it, just as we will. You don't need to do this."
"I want to."
"There's another way," he says, voice resonating against her skin. "There's always another way. We always end up finding it, with your help. We couldn't do it without you, so - "
He looks down at her; the way his emotions are so vividly painted on his face only makes her heart feel all the more -
(please. let me go. let me go, and I will return. or gods I will die trying.)
"This is the other way," she says.
His grip tightens and she breathes out her apologies, hoping he'll understand.
(In another timeline she kills him, and the shock of it more or less kills her too.
Chrom stares at her as she regains control, but rather than condemning her, merely says, "It's not your fault."
(couldn't he have condemned her, he should have condemned her - )
The last traces of the Thoron spell are still coursing through her fingers, but it doesn't matter, nothing matters, how could he be so selfless right now when it's obviously her fault -
(I should have been stronger, I should have - )
"Promise me you'll get out of here," he all but manages before collapsing to the ground. Falchion all but drops from his grasp, and no, no, no, no, no.
She falls to her knees alongside him, grabs his hand and grips it like doing so will bring him back, because this wasn't supposed to happen, none of this -
(I was supposed to be stronger than this we were supposed to be so much more together these things shouldn't have happened.)
And then she looks up and hears Validar's maniacal laughter and -
All is darkness.)
"Lucina," she says - and her daughter's eyes are so pained when she drops the sword that had been held deadly still at Robin's throat a moment ago, her hands now so unsteady - "I would give anything for your sake. For your father. For Morgan."
And she would have unsheathed her own sword to her neck to prove it, but Chrom appears, and the moment passes, and she shakes her head and doesn't know what passed over her.
But she walks up to Lucina and gently envelopes her in a hug, and the girl cries and cries like a dam that had long already bent to burst.
They've always praised Robin for pulling off the crazy strategies that no one else would ever have dreamed up. But surely - surely this, they know. How much this miraculous opportunity means.
She is only one person, but they - everyone now, and everyone in the future - are an entire world.
If they were in her shoes, they would make the same choice in a heartbeat.
(she closes her eyes.)
"Robin...no. No." Chrom's already at her side, grabbing her by the hand as if it could possibly keep her rooted here.
"Thank you, for everything," she says, and knows her smile is probably more sheepish and less of an actual smile than she had intended. "But this was always going to be my choice."
His face is like a kaleidoscope of ragged emotion; she wonders, did he see something like this back then in hers, when he'd been the one dying and she the one left behind?
"Tell the others that my last thoughts were of them."
His expression makes her heart drop, is almost enough to make her regret this decision, almost - but she knows that this will prevent such a catastrophe from happening ever again, or at least avert similar heartbreak one thousand years from now.
Then she suddenly feels so light -
(there had never been a choice - )
And everything disappears.
Morgan is far too precocious for his own good. As though he inherited both her and Chrom's capability and stubbornness, twofold.
Then again, so is Lucina, she thinks, and suddenly the feelings she has for her family threaten to crash down and swallow her whole, make her waver.
(No. She chose.)
Morgan's head pokes through the folds of the tent. "Mother, do you have a moment?"
"Of course," she says. Tomorrow is the last leg of their march towards the fell dragon, so she has a vague idea of what is about to come. What her son is here for.
He slips into the tent and meets her eyes once, then looks back down. His white-knuckled fingers clutch his tome.
She smiles, and it hurts.
"Here to discuss some strategy ideas?" she says, as lightly as she can.
"Well...kind of," he says. "Maybe just...about one thing in particular?"
"We all know what you're thinking about. And I just - " Morgan, radiantly happy and positive little Morgan, suddenly looks as if he's about to cry. "Please, Mother. I don't - I don't want to - repeat the past. What happened in my timeline."
She leans down, holds him close to her. "We would never let our world fall into Grima's hands. Don't worry."
"No! That's not what I - " Silence. "I meant that I didn't want you to die and leave me behind again. I just - can't."
She lets him go, looks into his eyes. "I don't want a world where anyone has to be afraid of something like that happening again because of Grima."
He looks at her like she's dying all over again, like he's suffering all over again, and she knows far too well: you may have the whole world to consider, but you are the whole world to me.
She bites her lip.
"Will you promise, Mother? That you won't leave?"
(lightning coursing through her fingers as Chrom's life leaves his body - Falchion dropping to the ground as Lucina's eyes close with a thousand regrets - the twisted smirk on the hierophant's face, her own face, staring right back at her -
your birthright, dear daughter, your birthright -
the laughter that will haunt her to the end of days.
I never knew that this would happen - I never wanted any of this to happen - but now there is a choice, something I can do.)
"I promise that I would never go somewhere where - " Her mouth is dry. "I promise that even if I were to leave, I would return. I could never abandon you, Morgan."
"Okay," he says - does he believe? - and he turns and slips out before she can react.
Robin closes her eyes -
Naga, give me strength. Just this once.
She wakes up in a field to Chrom and Lissa's voices, and feels a strong sense of ironic déjà-vu before she even realizes what's going on.
But her eyes widen when she takes his proffered hand and sees that the sigil on the back of hers is no more, and the feelings of amazement and wonder and oh this can't be more than a dream, but if it isn't - if it isn't - start to kick in.
"It's over now," Chrom says, and gods if she can't keep from indulging herself and jumping into his arms, just this once.
She's not quite crying, but she's buried deep in his embrace and Lissa's laughter is ringing out somewhere behind them and she's remembering what it's like to breathe and life has never been more beautiful.
"I told you, didn't I?" she manages. "There never was a choice. Everything was going to be okay."
She doesn't have to see his face to know that he's smiling. "You've always been right about these things."
"Yet you wouldn't believe me."
He moves back a little bit so that he can look her in the eyes. "The very idea of losing you - I just couldn't - "
She remembers the memory that's not quite hers, of just how it felt to take away his life with her own hands.
"I couldn't either," she whispers. "I just couldn't let that happen to someone else."
She can feel his breath catch. "Perhaps..." and his voice drops to the whisper of a shame, "perhaps I should have been more noble. Like Emm."
She shakes her head, can't help but feel everything so clearly and strongly right now. "Don't. It's only because you cared that much that I was able to stay."
Chrom is silent for one long, searching moment, then laughs again - a little ha that seems to expel the last of his worries and fears. He moves closer and stares into her eyes like there's just so much to take in -
She leans up to bridge the distance.
It's over. Welcome home.