With the minister and the altar behind him, Frederick began to pace back and forth, his eyebrows furrowing with increasing worry. With every turn he made to retrace his steps at the front of the room, his gaze would travel toward the closed wooden doors at the end of the aisle, expecting his bride to enter. He had already been there for an hour, having arrived early, just in case anything happened, and his thoughts were beginning to get the better of him. His hands gripped each other tightly in front of him, his breathing was uneven, and his shoulders were stiff. Every beat of his heart indicated the passing of time, causing him to simply grow more nervous, fearing for the worst.
Sumia, by any means, was certainly not the most cautious person around, and had a habit of making blunders. The distance between her and him wasn't great, but it was a distance nonetheless, and Frederick feared for her safety. There was so much that could go wrong, and even though Sumia's friends, and their trusted comrades, were with her, Frederick couldn't stop himself from worrying. The war with Plegia had ended but the Risen were still a threat to their safety. Though they had been spotted less and less throughout the halidom after Gangrel's demise, Frederick couldn't dismiss the threat from his mind. What if Sumia got ambushed on her way there? He knew she would be wearing her gown, which would make fighting back difficult if she were to be attacked… What if she ended up getting killed because her attire got in the way? He vehemently shook his head, chasing away such theories. His heart pounded against his chest and his breathing sped up in response to such thoughts, unnerving him.
He knew he should've pressed the issue harder when last discussing it, but Chrom was his liege, and Frederick had to listen to him. Chrom, and especially Lissa, had been adamant about him and Sumia going through the traditional wedding ceremony once they had gotten wind of their engagement. The king of Ylisse had set everything aside, including plans for rebuilding the ruined farmlands from the war, to plan out this ceremony, just for Frederick and Sumia. If it had simply been up to him and his bride, they would be back at the Shepherds' camp, or perhaps at Castle Ylisse, celebrating with the rest of the Shepherds. Frederick didn't need all this, and neither did Sumia, though he was hesitant to say such a statement on her behalf. All Frederick had needed had already been accomplished: she had accepted his proposal. That didn't matter now though, for it was too late to change anything. He could only wait until his love showed up.
That had been one of the best, if not the best day, in his life so far. Of course, there were many other memorable days in his life, but they all paled in comparison to that day in particular. With ease, Frederick could remember how Sumia looked that day, how her voice sounded when she said yes, how her cheeks reddened when she accepted his ring. He had polished the silver for hours before moving onto polishing her armour that day, and while it had taken a lot of work and time, it had all been worth it. Sumia's smile that day had captured his already taken heart, and simply seeing her shine in the sky made his knees weak. She was truly beautiful, in every way imaginable, and if it had been possible, Frederick thought she looked even more beautiful that day, when she had agreed to be his wife, to be by his side, always.
Frederick smiled to himself at the memory, pausing in his pacing for a brief moment. Her voice echoed through his mind, the memories of her smile flashing before his eyes, the shadows of her lips moving effortlessly over his own. While they had yet to share an intimate moment together, they had locked lips at least once before, and the simple memory of it made Frederick shiver. He had never thought that she would be his, that she would say yes, that she loved him as much as he loved her. Neither of them were perfect, but they balanced each other out. He was always there to watch her back and to catch her when she fell, while she was there to aid him in his tasks around the camp, helping him with the horses in particular, and to brighten his day with a smile. He simply couldn't ask for anything more.
"You're awfully cheerful for once, Frederick," Lissa commented, breaking the great knight out of his thoughts. "Although, Sumia's taking a long time, isn't she?"
The reminder was all Frederick needed to resume his pacing, the smile slipping off his face. Nervousness and worry flooded him as unwanted thoughts penetrated his mind, forcing the memories of that fateful day into hiding. His eyes darted over toward the door at the end of the aisle, but it remained closed.
"Just relax, man. Nothin'll go wrong now the war's over," Vaike added, throwing an arm around the cleric, who laughed in reply.
Frederick opened his mouth to reply, but his lord interjected, standing up and walking over to him, placing a hand reassuringly on his shoulder. "Vaike's right, Frederick. I'm sure Sumia's simply taking her time. Besides, Sully and Leaf are with her, they won't let any harm befall her."
"It is her wedding day after all, Frederick. Sumia probably wants to look her best for you; a lot of girls dream about such a day ever since they were children," Lissa threw in, leaning forward in her seat to stare at the knight.
"Oh yeah? That include you too?" Vaike asked with a raised eyebrow, to which Lissa replied by elbowing his sides, rolling her eyes. Her cheeks flared up and she looked away from the fighter with a huff, though a gentle smile claimed her lips.
Chrom sighed at the two of them and patted Frederick's shoulder before sitting down again. He knew it would be time for the ceremony to start soon; all he had to do was ease Frederick's mind for a while longer. "She has a point, you know. Gods know how long it took Leaf to get ready before our wedding."
"Milord, you're the king of Ylisse, and the people look up to you, and by extension, to Lady Leaf. I should hope she took the preparations for your wedding seriously," Frederick replied, his feet stumbling over the edge of the carpet as he doubled back in his pacing. Luckily he didn't trip, though hues of pale red had settled faintly onto his cheeks, indicating his embarrassment.
The people that were watching him got a chuckle out of his stumble, though their laughter was mostly stifled, barely reaching the great knight's ears. The church they were in was a private one that had mostly been used by the royal family of Ylisse, though it had been untouched for many years. It resided behind Castle Ylisse in a corner, with a stony path paving the way up toward its doors. Many rows of seats were aligned throughout the room, facing the altar, and even with all the members of the Shepherds present, along with the allies they had made during the war, there were still many empty seats, though Frederick didn't mind that fact. He was hardly paying any attention to the people sitting down, too busy keeping his eyes on the door. Everyone had arrived at random intervals after Frederick and Chrom had gotten there, occupying themselves with each other while they waited for the bride to show up, but as time ticked by, they had also gotten restless, their voices increasing in volume. Luckily for everyone there, Sully was with the bride, keeping the loudness to a minimum.
"The truth still holds, Frederick. Sumia is a lady after all," Chrom continued, smiling to himself at seeing his friend's nervousness.
"It is pleasing that you remember that, milord," the great knight countered in his monotone voice. Lissa giggled, having heard the remark, and Chrom's cheeks took on dark shade of red as he looked away. It had simply been a coincidence that Frederick had been standing outside the training tent that day, having been there to witness Chrom running out to avoid having a rock thrown at him by Leaf after the lord had suggested that she wasn't a lady in any sense of the word. "I apologize, milord; I did not mean to…"
Chrom merely laughed, dismissing his apology with a shake of his head, the blush on his cheeks already calming down. "It's fine Frederick, though I would appreciate it if you don't mention that around Leaf. You know how she can get."
Frederick only had time to nod before the doors at the end of the aisle opened with a creek, the sound reverberating throughout the entire chapel, drawing everyone's attention. His body instantly went rigid, his posture straightening, his eyes moving toward the opened door. Soft piano music filled the air, courtesy of a friend of Lissa's, and Sully entered, dressed exactly like how she normally would be, except without her armour. The red haired cavalier walked down the aisle, stopping midway to enter one of the pews, taking a seat next to Stahl. "She's coming, alright? Stop looking so damned impatient," Sully announced, her voice echoing around the quiet chapel, earning her laughs from everyone present, except for Frederick, of course. He merely stood his ground, staring straight ahead. His hands felt clammy as they rested in front of him and his heart pounded against his ribcage, leading to a buzzing sound echoing in his ears.
His attention was drawn back to the door as Leaf entered, hurrying in much like Sully had, and also like the cavalier, she didn't pause until she reached her seat, which was located up front, next to Chrom. She looked out of breath and her hair was windblown, but she offered Frederick a reassuring smile nonetheless.
"Did you run into any trouble?" Chrom asked his wife, taking her hand in his.
"No, nothing of that sort, luckily. Sully thought she was capable of doing Sumia's hair, and so we let her, to save time arguing over the matter. It didn't turn out well and we had to rush to fix it; everything's fine now, though, I hope," Leaf replied, shaking her head with a roll of her eyes.
Their words barely registered in Frederick's mind, as with every breath he inhaled, he simply grew more nervous. Any second now, Sumia was to enter the chapel, and they would be married. Married. The word seemed foreign to him, but it echoed lovingly in his mind, and he couldn't wait to say it out loud, to Sumia.
The piano music reached a crescendo, and at that moment, Sumia entered his line of vision. Instantly, his breath caught in his throat, his mouth left open as he stared at her, eyes wide and unblinking. The clumsy Pegasus knight made her way slowly down the aisle, seemingly floating toward him. The hem of her gown brushed the ground as she walked, swishing back and forth from the movement. Her gown was an off white colour, the skirt laced with pale blue, and while it was certainly no polished armour, Frederick couldn't tear his eyes away from her, for she seemed to shine even brighter in it.
In his eyes, she was perfect, no matter what faults she had. Her imperfections made her who she was, and without them, Frederick didn't know if he would've fallen for her like he had. They were a part of who Sumia was, and he cherished every part of her, embracing every flaw and strength.
A warm blush crept up Frederick's face, settling on his cheeks as he continued to gaze at her, watching her every step as she got nearer and nearer. Each time her feet moved forward, a second seemed to pass, and Frederick's heart ached, emotion filling his entire being to the brim. Sumia looked up at him, smiling widely, a blush adorning her own cheeks, and he couldn't help but smile back. Everything else besides her faded from his sight, until it was only her and the distance between them that lingered in his mind's eye. They were so close now, that he could reach out and pull her toward him.
One more step forward, and as expected by everyone there, Sumia stumbled, her foot catching on the hem of her gown. The momentum sent her falling forward, straight into Frederick's arms, and she giggled, the blush on her cheeks intensifying. "Are you alright, milady?" he asked after a moment's pause.
"Yes, I'm fine," Sumia replied, turning her gaze toward the front of the room. With her cheeks stained crimson, she righted herself so that she was standing next to Frederick, and they both turned their attention toward the minister. The piano music ceased, and all was quiet, for once, as everyone waited with baited breath to hear those magical words.
Their hands found each other at their sides, holding onto each other tightly. Frederick's left hand rested stiffly at his side, his entire posture rigid, while Sumia's right hand held onto the bouquet of freshly picked daisies. The minister cleared his throat before speaking, reciting a speech thanking Naga for granting them a chance to be together. The minister's voice was mechanical, barely carrying any emotion, and from behind him, Frederick could hear his lord mumbling under his breath to Leaf, who whispered back. Their words escaped him, as did the minister's; Frederick's attention was focused solely on Sumia. Her cheeks were dusted with a light blush while her lips were curved upward into a wide smile, much like his own face, and upon seeing that, he simply smiled even wider.
"Do you, Sir Frederick, take Lady Sumia, to be your lawfully wedded wife, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, until the end of your days?" the minister recited, turning to stare at the great knight.
"Yes I do, of course," Frederick answered in a controlled voice, snapping out of his thoughts. He tore his gaze away from Sumia and looked at the man standing in front of him, nodding.
"Do you, Lady Sumia, take Sir Frederick, to be your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, until the end of your days?" the minister repeated, looking over at the Pegasus knight after hearing Frederick's answer.
"Y-yes!" Sumia replied with no hesitation, though her voice wavered slightly as her cheeks darkened.
Ricken approached them, carrying a pillow in which their rings rested on. The mage, the youngest male within the Shepherds, had been designated as the ring bearer, and while it normally was a role reserved for young male children, he didn't mind. He had already played the part of ring bearer at Chrom's wedding, what was doing it once more? Stopping in front of both the bride and groom, he extended the pillow to them, exchanging the rings for Sumia's bouquet.
Frederick picked up one of the gold rings with his right hand, holding Sumia's left hand with his own, and looked into her eyes. Strands of Sumia's hair had been left loose, framing her face, while the rest had been tied up, held in place with a winged clip. Her face was untouched, free from any speck of makeup, but the more Frederick looked, the more radiant she appeared, looking even more beautiful than on the day she accepted his proposal. He hadn't though it possible, but here he was, standing next to her at the altar, seeing her in a wedding gown, looking every bit as beautiful.
"With this ring, I thee wed," he announced, slipping the ring onto her ring before clutching her hand in his grasp. They stared at each other for a moment, both smiling and blushing, before Sumia retracted her hand, moving to pick up the other ring.
Mirroring him, she picked up the other gold ring, the one meant for him, with her right hand, and held his left hand in her own. "With this ring, I thee wed," Sumia declared, sliding the ring down his finger until it sat snugly at the base of his ring finger. Their hands met together, fingers intertwining, as they smiled at each other, happiness showing through every part of their face.
The minister cleared this throat again, looking sternly at everyone sitting in the audience before turning his gaze onto the newly wedded couple. "I now pronounce you husband and wife." Cheers erupted throughout the chapel, followed by thunderous applause. "You may now kiss your wife," the minister concluded.
Wife… The word echoed in Frederick's ears, and his lips mouthed silently, repeating the word, testing it out. His heart hammered in his chest as he gazed up at Sumia, looking directly into her eyes. She giggled, and their grip on each other's hands tightened. Slowly, almost hesitantly, they leaned into each other, until their foreheads were touching. Their noses were only mere inches apart, and bit by bit, their faces inched closer together, until finally, their lips met in a soft kiss.
It didn't last for very long, but it was enough to cause the blush on Sumia's cheeks to brighten immensely, and the great knight chuckled. "Milady, my love, my wife," Frederick breathed, the words leaving his mouth as a wide smile blossomed on his lips.
"My love," Sumia replied, sounding just as breathless as he did. "Today was the best day of my life, and I'm so glad to have shared it with you! You've made me feel special for once, and I love you, more than anything in the world."
"And I, you," he replied, bringing her hands up to his lips, kissing them gently. Their friends were still applauding them, cheering for them, but Frederick could only focus on Sumia, his eyes never leaving her. He was happy, beyond happy, and he was more than ready to begin his life as a married man, to start a life with his wife at his side. The words lingered on his lips, sending a tingly sensation all throughout his body, and Frederick smiled even more. "You look so beautiful in white, my love." He pulled her closer toward him, and pressed his lips against hers once more before moving so that his lips were next to her ear. "My wife."
A/N: I am horrible at writing weddings but somehow I keep finding myself going back to them, ugh. Apologies if anything was amiss, I clearly don't know enough, and all that I do know is from watching weddings in HK dramas, which I doubt are reliable sources of information.
I hope no one was too OOC; I will probably forever have trouble writing Vaike no matter how many of his supports I unlock, and the same goes for Frederick. This chapter's named after the song Beautiful In White by Shane Filan, which I definitely recommend giving a listen to.