Prompt: On one of their birthdays
Word Count: 1,682
Notes: Okay, so I lied. I was originally going to wait for April 20th to post this since the prompt is what it is, but then I decided...why the heck not?
Before we begin, I would like to dedicate this chapter to ObsessiveCompulsiveValkyrie. Thank you for all your hard work as a beta and for always being willing to put up with my constant need for someone to brainstorm with!
Her hands felt clumsy, but steady from years of swordplay as she weaves the stems together under the watchful gaze of a child. She remembered doing this before as a child. The Sumia from her ruined world was the one who had taught her and she did her best to recall the instructions the legendary pegasus knight had once spoken. Making a slit at the top of first stem, she threaded the stem of the last daisy, completing the loop.
"There! It's done!"
The young princess leaped up in happiness when the older woman placed the crown of daises upon her head. "Thank you!" she squealed happily. She and her fellow daisy-bedecked friends each gave her a hug in thanks before running off to join the others who were pestering Morgan – the older one, who stopped by for the occasion – to show them some tricks with his magic. Nah wasn't too far away from him, rolling her eyes at the spectacle, but smiling all the same.
Side-by-side, a grown man and a seemingly much younger girl, it was as though they were a visual reminder of how much has changed and how much that hasn't.
The changes were obvious, but what stayed the same was less so, at least on the surface. She may have parted ways with her friends and some of them were hard to contact due to being constantly on the move, not unlike herself and her husband, but it wasn't as though she never heard from them again. She also had her family and she took great care to write to them regularly while traveling, recounting the tales of her and Inigo's little escapades and putting their worries to rest in case they could not contact her directly. The invisible ties that held them together wouldn't be severed so easily by time and distance.
Dusting the stray grass off herself, Lucina sat down on the garden bench as she happily watched her younger self, affectionately referred to as Lucy (a nickname originally coined by her brother to avoid confusion between addressing the two of them) chatter away with her friends who were all invited to celebrate her birthday. Lucina loved Lucy as a younger sister and her feelings were mutual. Daddy's girl she may be, maybe even more than Lucina ever was, Lucy was prone asking endless questions about her adventures when simply reading about the rest of the world wasn't enough to satisfy her curiosity.
But for better or for worse, she still hasn't asked the question Lucina had no idea how to answer. Her parents told the child that Lucina was kind of like an older sister to her and she had accepted that, though a little grudgingly because it meant that she won't be the oldest child in their family anymore. Maybe she was too young to notice that Chrom and Robin were far too young to have a child Lucina's age now, but one day she was going to notice and start asking questions...
Suddenly, somebody covered her eyes from behind and a voice whispered softly in her ear, "Why the scowl, love? You shouldn't be frowning today of all days."
If she had unconsciously started frowning as she thought about the day where her younger self would realize that there was more to her sister than meets the eye, it was gone nearly the instant when he made his presence known. He had a funny way of being able to put her mind at ease like that.
Hands sliding down from her face and onto her shoulders, Lucina turned around to find herself face to face with Inigo. Her husband had disappeared from her side when Lucy came up to her and asked her if she knew how to make a flower crown. She had thought it was because he wasn't interested, but she was proven wrong when she saw one sitting lopsidedly off his head. Noticing where her eyes were fixated, he grinned and removed the chain of daisies and placed it on hers.
"It is your birthday, too," he explained in response to the quizzical look she gave him.
"I suppose it is," She's outgrown her excitement for birthdays, but she thought it was sweet of him nonetheless. "Thank you, Inigo."
Still behind her, Inigo draped his arms around her shoulders as she reclined against him. "So what were you thinking about?" he questioned curiously.
The words came out almost automatically. "About the day when she finally learns the truth," Lucina replied, referring to her younger self. "It's not as though we can keep it a secret forever. One day, they're going to ask questions."
Inigo narrowed his eyes as a boy took a toy away from another boy, one with silver colored hair, not unlike himself. The first boy held the toy out of reach of the second while blowing raspberries and making fun of him. After a few unsuccessful attempts to reclaim his toy, the silver haired boy started to cry and that was all it took to set off Inigo's protective instincts. Lucina felt him tense.
Before he could give the bully a few choice words, Morgan confiscated the stolen toy and handed it back to its rightful owner.
Relaxing again, Inigo murmured, "That is not a conversation I'm looking forward to." After all, how do you tell a child that was some alternate world out there, one where his beloved parents died and the world went to hell, and the person he's considered a brother was actually him from that world?
"It's going to be hard," Lucina agreed. The children who were now begging Nah to transform and give them a ride on her back were blissfully unaware that they will one day be facing an identity crisis.
"But something tells me we'll get through it okay," Inigo speculated with a small smile, "After all, who else is a better candidate to teach him how to talk to girls when the time comes?"
Suppressing a groan and not entirely sure if he was joking or not, Lucina reached up and gave him a light swat. "Please don't. I'm sure there are other ways to improve his self-confidence."
"Okay, okay!" Inigo answered. More seriously he added, "So I suppose we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it?"
"Hmm...Yes, I suppose so..."
Chrom and Robin had joined their younger daughter in the gardens now, the latter holding an infant in her arms. Watching them, Lucina did her best to feel something – envy, longing, a sense of knowing she didn't belong despite welcomed as a part of the family – but she felt nothing.
Nothing negative, anyway. Almost as a reflex, her hand found itself resting on her stomach. She was not so far along that it was obvious from just looking, but knowing was enough to send a thrill of mixed emotions through her.
The whole thing was completely unexpected. Then again, a lot of things that happened hadn't been expected. Falling in love, marriage, and motherhood were the kinds of things she might have included in her visions of 'normal life' if she'd ever thought about them. Except that she didn't until the moment where she had an epiphany that made her realize she felt more than friendship for one of her comrades in arms. As her mother would probably say, war had a funny way of bringing love alongside its less benevolent twin.
"Let's take a walk," Lucina suggested. She needed to clear her head. Her parents didn't know yet as she decided to put off telling them until Lucy's birthday party was over. "Everyone is distracted right now. We'll come back when it's time to cut the cake."
Inigo did a double take at her suggestion, "What? Now? In your condition?"
"First Brady and Aunt Lissa, now you?" Not much of a retort, but she was starting to get a little exasperated with how everyone who knew was treating her. She may be pregnant, but she hasn't become helpless all of a sudden. "Inigo, I'm not that far along."
"Sorry," he replied a little sheepishly, "I'm just worried."
Smiling as she was never angry to begin with, she turned around and kissed his cheek in appreciation for his concern. "I promise I'm not going to do anything that will overexert myself."
"You don't exactly have a stellar record with the 'not overexerting yourself' part."
"I mean it," Lucina said, knowing she couldn't deny the fact that he was right about that because Brady and Laurent can back him up on it. "I am not going to overexert myself knowing I'm with child. All the better to take this walk now? I know I will be longing for them in a few months time."
Running a hand through his hair, Inigo knew he didn't have it in him to refuse his wife on her birthday (not that he had much resistance to begin with anyway). "Alright, let's go."
Grabbing his hand, Lucina led him away from the party like a pair of children committing truancy. Morgan caught his sister's eye as she left, but he only smirked and turned a blind eye.
Of course, it was all a pretense to get some time alone.
As soon as they were away from prying eyes, Lucina caressed his face. Closing his eyes in content, Inigo encircled her wrist with one hand and fingered the flowers as he ran his hands through her hair. She had cut it short once, to spare herself the trouble of having to maintain it, but now it was starting to return to its original length.
Drawing her closer, he opened his eyes long enough to say, "I still owe you a birthday present this year don't I? At least one that's better than an amateur daisy crown."
"Don't be silly," she whispered against his lips, "You've given me a reason to smile for everyday of my life and that is worth far more than any birthday gift."
AN: I will regret this when the phrase "Grandpa Chrom" stops being funny.
ohmigods I actually completed this challenge! That is a personal accomplishment, haha. I never finish anything other than one-shots.
Anyway, I would like to extend a massive thanks to Sara Jaye, Michiru Shiroku, BethanRose, passwordrawr, GreenEmeraldGirlxoxo, Light1172, Zantetsuken Reverse, Greatnerdowl, utdfan22, Strawberry Eggs, Re-Boot Writing, Brunosaurs4, super mario 675, FE Frog, mariogman25, Naekane, ObsessiveCompulsiveValkyrie and every one who read, alerted, favorited and reviewed! I really, really appreciate your support for this fic. You guys are awesome!