Author's note: people have been discussing the marked lack of stuff about Chrom and Sully, and I completely agree that there's not enough. Even though I don't ship them, their supports are fantastic, and they make really great bros, too. So have a fic, because I love writing about tiny!Shepherds.
Twelve-year-old Sully's morning ritual, just like Sumia's and Lissa's and Maribelle's, involved a mirror. She pulled her hair up into its long red tail to keep it out of her eyes, washed her face to make herself more alert, and tucked in her shirt because if she didn't, Frederick would be cross. Then she stared at herself in the mirror for a while—not to make sure her hair was straight or to darken her eyelashes, like the others, but so she could look herself in the eye and say,
"Today I will become stronger. A knight who has not earned her title is not a knight."
Then she picked up her lance, headed to the stables to saddle her horse, and went to the ring for training.
Her mother thought she was crazy for wanting to join the Shepherds, rather than staying at home and learning to embroider, but to hell with embroidery. Sully liked riding horses and sparring, she liked everyone from the princess Lissa to the apothecary's son Stahl, and she liked that since she was a squire, Frederick let her fight all the boys. Most of the time she won, too.
Her favourite partner was Chrom, because he was the best match. Stahl was too scrawny and she could never hope to beat Frederick yet, six years her senior and her teacher besides, but she and Chrom were practically twins in the ring: both quick and wiry, and since she'd hit her growth spurt first, they were the same height. Their score was even, at ten wins each.
Today, she was going to change that.
All the Shepherds arrived right at dawn, several minutes before training would begin, for woe to any who was even a second later than Frederick. He, of course, was there an hour before any of them, but never drilled them a minute earlier or later, to teach them the importance of a consistent schedule.
Sully sat on the wooden fence surrounding the ring and watched the others while she waited for Chrom. Sumia had her nose in a book, Stahl was eating what was probably his third damn breakfast, and Frederick was distracted finding a helmet that would fit Vaike's giant head.
Suddenly, Sully felt a sharp tug on her hair that stung her scalp, and whipped her head around to find Chrom behind her, grinning.
"Morning," he said, ignoring her completely, and hopped onto the fence to sit beside her, feet balanced on the lower railing as hers were. She scowled at the shoulder and the curved mark on it.
"How come you never wear sleeves? It looks dumb."
"Emmeryn says I shouldn't," he said as he looked at his own shoulder. "She says the symbol means hope for people, so I should let them see it."
"Isn't it impractical to fight with your right arm always uncovered?"
"Maybe. Isn't it impractical to fight with this mop of hair?"
He tugged it again, hard, and she grabbed his wrist to pull him off her. "Hey! Stoppit!"
"Make me," he said.
She called him the bad word she'd just learned yesterday from Vaike, he grinned again, and they went back to sitting in silence. Just when she'd finally relaxed he pulled it again.
"Chrom!" she shouted. "Pull my hair one more time and I'll knock your teeth out!"
He locked his eyes on hers and then, with all the solemn "what's the worst that could happen" that a twelve-year-old boy can possess, reached out for her hair again. She stayed still, daring him. He grasped her ponytail and yanked.
She tackled him off the fence and onto the ground, hollering, and had punched him in his damn stupid face four times before Frederick hauled her off.
"Sully! Milord! This is no way for Shepherds to behave. You will each give me twenty laps, right now."
"I didn't hit her!" Chrom insisted with his hands raised, just as Sully shouted, "He started it!"
"I said now."
Frederick was smiling calmly, and Sully knew already to never, ever argue with that smile. She and Chrom looked at each other, sighed, got to their feet, and began to run.
She tried to use the laps as a way to strengthen her heart, so she pushed herself to a fast pace, and Chrom matched it. By the time they both finished they were drenched in sweat and exhausted, but Frederick was merciless, throwing them back into drills with everyone else.
At sunset Chrom's right eye had swollen and purpled, and Sully was so sore that her legs trembled when she walked. She was also mad as hell. Sure, a Shepherd should never overreact, but she'd warned Chrom! He'd just been asking for it! And now he had a black eye and she was going to get in trouble. Who was stupid enough to punch their own prince?
The recruits were dismissed, and she simmered as she led her horse back to the stables. Chrom calling her name after her didn't help matters.
"What do you want?" she asked as he appeared at her side.
"Look, Sully, I'm sorry for messing around so much today. I was the one pulling your hair and it's my fault you had to run laps."
"Damn straight," she grunted, but softened when she saw his eye. "Well, maybe trying to pulverize you wasn't good of me, either. I'm sorry about that shiner."
He only smiled. When they got to the stables he helped her unsaddle and brush down her horse, and afterward, when they were standing in the doorway preparing to part ways, he told her,
"For what?" she asked, confused.
"For punching me."
"I must've hit you harder than I thought," she said with an odd look.
"No, I mean it. Nobody's ever hit me straight-on like that, Sully. Because I'm the prince and they're afraid to. It makes me feel different, and I don't like that." He scuffed one boot in the dirt before he looked up at her again. "You didn't hold anything back, though. You're a real friend."
"You're so weird," she said, but she had to smile despite herself.
He smiled back. "So I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Yeah," she said as she put her hands on her hips. "We should spar in the morning before training starts. I was going to ask you today, but…well, I think I already won. So now our score's 11-10."
"That's not fair," he said. "I'll pull your hair again, just see if I don't!"
"You will not," she said, and tossed it. "Because I'm going to hack it off with my sword as soon as I get home."
"That's right. I'll make it even shorter than yours. Then you can't ever grab it again."
"I'll stop," he said, "I promise."
"Well, you were right, earlier. Somebody else could grab it in battle, and then I'll be sorry."
"Aren't you afraid you'll look like a boy?" he asked, but she only shrugged.
"It doesn't matter what I look like, as long as I become a strong knight and protect a lot of people."
"Fair enough," said Chrom. She turned to go and he called after her, "For what it's worth, I think it'll look cool!"
"I think so too," she said over her shoulder. "Night, Chrom."
"Good night, Sully."
That night, her day ended in a mirror, just as it began. Her mother shrieked and her brothers laughed, but she liked how uneven and spiky her hair was now. Chrom was right.
Perhaps that evened the score up to 11-11, she thought that night as she settled into bed. She fell asleep with a smile on her lips and dreamed about waking up and kicking his ass.
Author's Note: I love the thought of the Shepherds as young'uns. I'm sure a preteen Chrom would have been obnoxious sometimes, and I'm sure a preteen Sully would have been angry a lot. (Actually, I'd love to see more fics about young Shepherds, dear fandom, if anybody wants to get on that :P). Thanks for reading!