Desire to Stay
[A/N: Based on my gamesave of Fire Emblem Awakening, so the avatar “Robin” is named after myself. And I went with the Chrobin route on my playthrough. I just wanted to write about myself and my perfect, precious anime daughter ;_;.]
The sun was setting, and a certain blue-haired princess was sitting in one of her old hide-aways at the castle watching it. She had to leave soon. She had prepared herself for that from the start. There was no way to go back home. Where she came from might not even exist any longer. The future had been changed. Saved. Grima was gone, though the cost had been great.
So now it was time to follow through on the rest of the plan, and move to somewhere in the world where she was out of the way, and could live her life in obscurity and peace. Perhaps find someone to settle down with. She should probably leave the Falchion. The exalt line would be better off with two than one. One for little Lucina, and one for little Morgan. This Lucina wasn’t needed any longer, and would just make everything more complicated by staying.
Yet she didn’t want to go. Her plan and determination had gone awry, and she desperately wanted to stay. With her father. … with Chrom, she corrected herself. Her father was Chrom, but not this Chrom, but… but they were almost exactly the same, and it was crushing her heart to think about losing him a second time. Especially by choice. Getting to know him, getting close to him, that was never the plan. That was the opposite of the plan. But it was probably hopeless the moment she saw him. The tug on her heart was too strong.
The thought of losing that again was eating her up, and she hugged her legs so hard her knuckles turned white. She had already lost…
“Lucina? Are you up here?” A voice from inside drifted out, and Lucina thought she was hearing things. That sounded like…
A head with a long mass of pink hair peeked out.
“Ah, there you are!” the figure said, and Lucina had to rub her eyes and pinch herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.
“M… mo-mother?!” she got onto her feet as Rita stepped out. There she was, standing just like Lucina remembered her. Well, minus the long coat. She was wearing a light vest instead. “Mother, is that really you?” Maybe this was some trick.
“Yeah, it’s me…” Rita said. “The me that’s from here, at least.” She sounded slightly awkward. “I’m sorry I-” was as far as she got before Lucina threw herself at her, and wrapped her in a tight hug.
“How?” Lucina asked in a sore voice. “I saw you disappear.” She didn’t want to let go, in case this was all some dream or illusion.
“If… if you let me breathe… I’ll tell you…” Rita strained to talk. Her daughter was really strong. Lucina got so startled she nearly let go entirely, apart from holding onto one sleeve. Just in case. Rita smiled at her.
“Hello again, Lucina. I’m back,” she said softly. “I… I’m not exactly sure how, but… your father found me. In the same field he first did. Though how he knew to look… he’s not telling me. And neither is Lissa.” She sighed, but her smile returned, a little brighter. “But I’m back, and… and I wanted to find you right away.” A chill suddenly ran down Lucina’s spine.
“D-does… does that mean Grima also…?” she asked, filling up with fear that even after all that, their efforts were for naught.
“I don’t think so,” Rita said with enough certainty that Lucina’s thoughts halted. Rita held up the hand where her dragon-brand should be. “It’s gone. My brand of the fell dragon is gone, and it’s nowhere else on my body either.” Lucina just stared at the empty patch of skin. “We checked baby Lucina as well, even though we had never seen that brand on her in the first place. Totally clean. And baby Morgan isn’t even…” She placed a hand on her stomach involuntarily. “We’ll check you and your brother tomorrow to be safe, but… I think Grima is actually gone. It’s like I can feel it…” Or perhaps more accurately she could not feel it.
“T-then… we really did it?” Lucina had to ask, tears forming in her eyes.
“We really did it,” Rita said back. “Though if I knew marrying your father would cause so much trouble, maybe I would have let someone else have him,” she joked. “You might have been better off with Sumia as your m-” Lucina hugged Rita again.
“Don’t say that,” she said with a hint of anger through the tears. “Don’t you dare say that. You’re my mother.” Except she’s not, a cruel thought in the back of Lucina’s mind said. Rita returned the hug and started stroking Lucina’s hair. Just like Lucina remembered her real mother doing.
“I’m sorry, Lucina. That was a bad joke,” Rita said comfortingly. “I’m proud and honoured to have you as my daughter, and I would give the world for you.” Lucina gripped the back Rita’s vest tightly.
“Even though I’m not your re… real daughter?” Lucina asked and sniffled. This was unbecoming of a princess, but it wasn’t like she had ever been much on protocol and proper procedure. There had never been room for that.
“You’re right here in my arms. Of course you’re real,” Rita said teasingly.
“You know that’s… that’s not what I mean,” Lucina said hoarsely. Rita squeezed her firmly for a moment.
“Even if it’s from the future, you still the carry the blood of myself and Chrom,” she said seriously. “And I love you dearly and deeply. I’d say that makes you my daughter in every way that matters,” she added in a softer tone.
“Mother…” Lucina whispered, and clung on while her tears flowed. “I missed you…”
“I’m very sorry for everything I’ve put you through, sweetie,” Rita said, trying and failing to hold back tears of her own. “As any version of me.” She kept stroking Lucina’s hair, to calm herself as much as her daughter. The sun passed below the horizon.
After a while Lucina felt like she had gotten out the worst of it. Rita could tell her daughter was calming down.
“We should probably head inside. I’m sure your father is worried,” she said. It was also starting to get colder up here.
“I… I can’t let father see me in this state…” Lucina murmured, hesitant to leave at all, in case her mother was going to vanish again as soon as they got inside.
“I highly doubt he’s going to mind,” Rita said, taking Lucina by the shoulders and gently pushing her back so she can see her face. “But if it’ll make you feel better, we can go wash our faces first.” Perhaps it was too dark out here now for Lucina to see that her mother had also been crying.
“Okay,” Lucina said quietly, and Rita led her inside. It wasn’t that far to get to a washroom. It even had a mirror! Rita insisted on using a washcloth to clean Lucina’s face.
“How did you find me?” Lucina asked. Normally it would be embarrassing to have your mother wash your face at her age, but she wasn’t about to object.
“Well, I know myself, and Chrom, and you,” Rita replied. “So I thought to myself: ‘where would a daughter of mine go if she wanted to hide and think?’.” She didn’t mention that she had checked several other places first. Lucina smiled. “There we go. I’m sure your father won’t be able to tell at all,” Rita said. Chrom was pretty oblivious about these things to begin with.
“Mother, I…” Lucina started, though it hurt her heart to even think about what she was about to say. “I should leave.”
“What do you mean?” Rita asked while washing her own face.
“I can’t stay,” Lucina said sadly. “It’s just going to create problems, and… and…” She was making herself cry again. Rita was quick with the cloth.
“Hey now, don’t say that,” she said honestly. “Your father and I won’t be bothered in the least.”
“B-but everyone else… the people… baby Lucina… I need to…” Lucina knew it was the right thing to do. But what she really wanted was to be talked out of it.
“We’ll explain it to the babies when they’re old enough,” Rita told her with a gentle smile. “As for everyone else… your father and I want you to stay, Lucina. We’ll deal with any issues that come up.” She figured she might as well save the cloth for when Lucina had gotten her crying done.
“But I…” Lucina whimpered.
“As a matter of fact, I insist you stay,” Rita said firmly. “If you slip away, I will come after you, find you, and drag you back.”
“Really?” Lucina sniffled.
“Really,” Rita said with a kind smile. “And I’m also going to force Frederick to eat bear, for letting you get away. You don’t want me to do that to him, do you?” Her tone was more lighthearted for that last part, but Lucina didn’t doubt her mother would do it.
“I… I guess not…” Lucina replied, offering a weak smile. “I… I want to stay… with you… with father… with everyone… but…” Rita hugged her again.
“I know, sweetie,” she said. “You’re such a dutiful girl,” she added reassuringly. “But don’t sacrifice your happiness for your duty when you have a chance to grab it.” Lucina clung on. It might be a while before they got to Chrom at this rate.
“You… you said something similar before,” Lucina said, the memory arriving unbidden.
“Did I? Oh, you mean…” Rita said, and Lucina nodded. Rita leaned back and started cleaning Lucina’s face again. “Come on. We should try to get to your father before bedtime, or he’ll panic.”
“Father? Panic?” Lucina had a hard time imagining it.
“Oh yes,” Rita said. “He’s a great leader, and focused on the battlefield, but in personal matters he can be hopeless. Did I ever tell you how we- actually, you probably don’t want to hear that kind of stuff about your parents.” She smiled and turned to open the door.
“No, I… I want to hear,” Lucina said, following Rita back into the hallway.
“Oh? Later then,” Rita said. “We have time ahead of us, so I wanted to talk a bit about what we might do with that time.” She waited for Lucina to come up alongside her, so they could walk together.
“Do with the time?” Lucina asked, a little confused.
“Yeah, like… I can teach you how to use tomes, or we can just read stories or history, or go fishing, or…” Rita paused for a moment. “Actually, what do people do on their time off? My memories start back when this whole mess started, so I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t on the road as part of some war or mission.”
“You’re asking the wrong person,” Lucina said with a smile.
“Right, sorry,” Rita said. “I didn’t think about that.”
“Your suggestions sound good to me, though,” Lucina said. She reached out and gently grabbed onto Rita’s sleeve.
“Well…” Rita looked down at Lucina’s hand, and smiled. “It might still be a good idea to ask Lissa for some tips.”
“Maybe.” Lucina agreed her aunt probably knew more about these things than her and her mother put together. Then she asked: “Is… is anyone else staying?”
“Hm… your brother, of course. And I’ve gotten the impression Owain is going to stick around for a little while,” Rita said. “Lissa seemed reluctant to let him go anyway. Cynthia wants to formally join the pegasus knights. And there’s a certain grumpy redhead whom I suspect might have a reason to stick around…” Rita directed a clever smile towards Lucina, but Lucina had no idea what her mother was talking about.
“Anyone else?” Lucina asked instead of worrying about what her mother meant.
“I don’t know, sorry,” Rita said. “I just came back today, so I’m not fully caught up. Maybe your father knows more.” Speaking of, they came around a corner and could see him up ahead, looking a bit frantic. “Ah, Chrom!” Rita shouted and waved her arm. “I found her!” He quickly snapped around, and even from a distance they could see his relief clearly.
Lucina felt nervous as he came towards them. What could she say? What should she say? What would her mother say? What would her father say? When he hugged her, that eased her nerves.
“I thought you might have left,” Chrom said. “I’m glad you haven’t.” He sounded genuine.
“No, I’m… I’m still here,” Lucina said, not sure how far she trusted her voice right now.
“Where did you find her?” Chrom asked Rita as he released Lucina.
“That’s a secret,” she replied with a hint of cunning. “The girl needs to have places she can be alone, I think.”
“But… you know!” he said with a hint of indignation.
“Mothers are different from fathers,” was Rita’s excuse. Her smile was triumphant, because she knew this was where Chrom usually gave up, and as much it annoyed him, he did. He knew it was futile when his wife got like this. Lucina broke into giggles watching the two of them. She made her final decision.
“Father,” she looked at Chrom. “Mother,” she looked at Rita. They both looked back at her. “I… I want to stay here. With you. I-is that okay?” Rita just smiled. She had given her answer already. Chrom looked confused.
“Why wouldn’t that be okay?” he asked. “Even if the circumstances are a little unusual, you’re still my daughter, Lucina. Your place is here.” Lucina could feel herself tearing up again, and she hugged onto Chrom, burying her face in his chest.
“Father… thank you…” she murmured. Chrom looked down at Lucina, then at Rita. He still wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. His wife signalled for him to return the hug, and he put his arms around his daughter.
“You’re welcome?” he said, unable to disguise his confusion. He really wasn’t sure what the big deal was, but they could talk about that later.