Fandom: Fire Emblem: Fates
Word Count: 332
Prompt: 10 You have witchcraft in your lips - Henry V
Summary: Beruka isn't prepared for Camilla's first adoptee.
Note: This and the fic below are birthday presents for Phrenotobe. I posted them earlier, but deleted them due to formatting goofs; apologies if this messed with anyone's feed.
“Hold her while I tidy up, dear.”
Even with the title of wife replacing retainer, Beruka can’t protest the order. Nevertheless her lips purse as Camilla’s hands, cloaked in sharp and elegant gloves, pass over the baby. She rearranges Beruka’s arms into the correct position before disappearing with a flounce of curls.
Barely daring to breathe, Beruka stands as still as on a stakeout. For several movements in and out of that small stomach, the baby is otherwise still, too. Then she rotates her head against Beruka’s elbow, stretching a foot and the opposite arm. Beruka’s thin layman clothes cushion nothing.
Hesitantly she lifts her palm to the side of the baby’s face, marveling at the softness of her ear. The baby’s tiny hand wraps around Beruka’s thumb, brown skin hiding the knuckle, as if it hasn’t pressed against windpipes and dropped pinches of poison into nobles’ drinks. Dark eyes open, large and round and penetrating. Beruka has never cared for eye contact, but she returns the stare, transfixed.
The spell is broken when the baby’s smooth face scrunches and releases a wail. Beruka tenses, which only seems to increase the wailing. How does such a loud noise come from such a tiny being? Did the tears forming at the baby’s eyes seriously leak from hers once, or was she empty even then?
As she’s wondering what to do, Camilla reappears with a clean face and her hair tied in a bun out of the baby’s reach. Beruka tries to find the words to explain that she’s broken this child like she breaks everything else, but Camilla whisks her away, rocking her against her shoulder. Her crooning resembles her spell casting. Those chants are in another language, as these assurances might as well be—whispers that shake Beruka to her bone.
After only a few moments the baby nestles silently into Camilla’s collar. Beruka squints, trying to make out the telltale aura of Camilla’s sorcery, but Camilla only casts her a smile.
Title: Where There's Smoke
Fandom: Fire Emblem: Fates
Word Count: 1043
Prompt: 3 Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs - Romeo and Juliet
Summary: Rinkah has trouble sleeping and finds she's not the only one.
Rinkah didn’t know she relied on the sounds of home to sleep until she left. Without wolves to bolster it, the wind’s howl became a whimper against the fort. The soldiers were always clanking or plodding or both; every time she thought she’d settled down, the guards switched, and she became agitated all over again. She missed the crackling of fire and the chirp, rather than buzz, of insects.
Usually she kept too active to brood, but lying there brought back memories. When Rinkah was a child, her parents had gone on a hunting trip together to celebrate their union of ten years. She’d stayed up wondering why she couldn’t go with them and what she would do if they didn’t return.
Become the next Chieftain, her eight-year-old self had thought, and she’d occupied herself by sitting in her dad’s tent and barking orders at imaginary subordinates until a guard told her to be quiet.
After flipping into every position imaginable, Rinkah finally rose with a growl. She paced the hall, mentally daring any guard to interrogate her or order her back to her room. Being the only member of the fire tribe sometimes earned her suspicion, but they’d all conquered this fort together, and she had as much—or as little—right to be here as the Hoshidans.
The smooth stone beneath her feet made her wish for boots. As she was thinking of turning back for them, a whistle caught her attention. At first she thought it was yet another corruption of wind. Then she thought it was Princess Azura, as the sound brought to mind ominous watery depths. But at the middle of the aural whirlpool stood Oboro, broom in hand, sweeping a study as if she could see dirt in the moonlight.
Rinkah scrunched her nose. She should have guessed from their encounters after meals, but she didn’t imagine Oboro was this much of a neat freak. “Oboro? Do you have any idea what time it is?”
Oboro started. While Rinkah had seen her focus deeply on training and sewing, she seemed less aware of her surroundings than usual. “Um… Gee, I dunno. I got so into my chores.”
Rinkah snorted. “You were really ordered to sweep this old study?” Oboro turned away.
“Someone has to.”
Aware she had no weapon to grasp onto, Rinkah crossed her arms and leaned against a shelf. “Nobody has to do it now. Everyone but the night watch is asleep. How dirty is this place going to get before morning?”
Oboro didn’t answer. Though she stopped sweeping, hands fisted around the handle, Rinkah could tell it wasn’t because of her. Sweat ran down Oboro’s jaw despite the open window letting in the night air.
In Rinkah’s northern home, the days were shorter and colder than in most of Hoshido. Between that and the heat her god granted her, she had to scoff any time Hoshidans complained of cold. Still, the face Oboro made when she looked out the window scattered chills down Rinkah’s arms. Not that it was such a bad feeling, but she’d thought she’d seen Oboro’s angry face in the mess hall, and the way the tight angle of her brow drew in shadows now was…something else.
“Come on, Oboro,” Rinkah said, not sure how to ask about that. “Warriors need rest as much as food before a battle.”
For the second time, Oboro started. “So you’re going to fuss at me, too?”
“What, I’m not first in line?”
“Lady Corrin’s been at me about this. I mean, not that I didn’t appreciate it, but…”
“You do this so much that our commander has to intervene?” Corrin had stuck her nose in Rinkah’s business, too. Maybe it was a hobby. It still worried her, though she wouldn’t have admitted it.
Oboro sighed and propped the broom against a wall. “I might as well tell you, too. Uh, my parents were killed on a night like this. Bandits. Nohrians. So keeping busy’s good, you see?”
“Yeah. They were tailors.” Oboro’s hands clenched open air, then found books to rearrange, though she wasn’t reading the titles. “Look, I’m not trying to have a moment or anything, but since I lectured you about neat eating and all, I didn’t want you to think I was obsessed with cleaning.”
Stone scratched Rinkah’s bare back while she tried to absorb this. She’d thought Oboro’s interest in sewing was just her being finicky. It seemed like her, to want to seamlessly mend and patch holes. The Oboro Rinkah saw now looked ready to rend open the night sky itself.
“Stupid Nohrian books,” Oboro muttered as she tried to cram one into a slim spot. Like an eight year old, waiting for papa and mama to come home.
Rinkah wanted to share this with her like Oboro had shared parts of herself, but it felt like a silly comparison to her anger, her grief, her…
Loneliness? Oboro always seemed to surround herself with people to smile at. Not here, standing alone at night in a strange room.
Sighing again, Oboro gave up on her planned arrangement, and her empty hands shivered. Rinkah slid down the wall before plopping on the stone with her ankles crossed. As she called forth the heat from her veins to her skin, Oboro looked down at her, surprise disrupting her demonic scowl.
“You can’t have a proper fire in here—nothing to burn except those books, and we’d probably get chewed out for that,” Rinkah said, trying to sound casual. Around most people she acted as the dignified chieftain, but this wasn’t the time. “If you won’t rest, the least you can do is not fall ill from cold.”
She half-expected Oboro to kick her out. Instead, Oboro laughed. Rinkah’s cheeks heated; was her consideration being repaid with mockery?
“You’re going to be my little campfire, huh? Thanks, Rinkah.”
Rinkah wanted to protest that there was nothing little about her fire, especially with her face hotter than the rest of her. Oboro’s thanks, as simple as it was, fixed her protest in her throat. For fear of making a further fool of herself, she said nothing, remaining Oboro’s silent guardian until the sun rose and Oboro had no reason to shiver.