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Fraying Ties

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Corrin looked at Felicia, a tad of apprehension in her eyes. "Have... Have I told you I can turn into a dragon now? Azura gave me a stone that helps me transform using magic..." She trailed off and took a decisive gulp from her cup of tea as if to show that she was finished with her sentence.

Felicia, sitting next to her, had waited patiently for Corrin to finish before answering her question, fingers wrapped around the warm porcelain of her teacup. "Yeah," she said, "Jakob told me." She looked wistfully into her tea, subtly avoiding Corrin's eyes. "Truth be told," she said quietly, "I kinda wish I had found out sooner. We used to be so close, and now with this whole mess you're in— I mean, I understand that you're super stressed and busy! If I were you, I— I would probably feel crazy worried about trying to bring two big rival kingdoms together, and friendships would take a bit of a back seat. I just..." She dared a glance at Corrin, who was wearing a faint smile, soft eyes watching her as she spoke. Felicia sighed. "I really miss the way it used to be."

Corrin wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her tight to her side. Tea sloshed over Felicia's hands as she fumbled with the cup. "I promise, once this war is over, we'll have plenty of time to catch up." She considered offering to lend her as much time as she liked, sitting with her during meals and letting her help with tasks, but stopped herself. As much as she wanted to remain as Felicia's closest friend and confidante during the war's duration, the other people deserved her attention too. If Felicia was guaranteed a place by her side, she might take unwitting advantage of the privilege, then break into hysteric apologies once she realized what she was doing. Felicia didn't deserve that. Some nagging dread inside of Corrin said that with whatever international turmoil was settling after the war, she wouldn't have time to spend with her then either, but she pushed the thought away. Felicia was like a sister to her, and deep down Corrin wanted their relationship to go back to the way it was too.

Back when they were young, Corrin and Felicia had designated sleepover nights where they braided each other's hair and wove fantastical stories together and gossiped about the staff of Corrin's Northern Fortress. These sleepovers had faded into something different as they grew older: nights spent gazing up at the stars, pouring their hearts into conversation as fireflies twinkled below, or sitting by candlelight in the dining room, sharing cups of spearmint tea and plates of cookies. With the advent of the war, these moments had vanished into the wind.

"Th-thanks, Lady Corrin," Felicia said, breaking her thoughtful trance, "I look forward to the war ending, then."

"Say, Felicia, you haven't seen my dragon form in battle, have you?"

She shook her head vigorously, and more tea splashed out of her cup.

Corrin grinned. She let go of Felicia, drained her teacup, and stood up. Withdrawing her dragonstone from her pocket, she stretched her muscles. A joint cracked in her back.

Felicia watched as a light began to glow from Corrin's dragonstone; horns and a scaly tail pushed out from her body, and after a moment, there she was, standing before her as a sleek, four-legged dragon.

"What do you think?"

"Eep!" Felicia jolted, and her teacup tipped over, remaining tea spilling onto the seat. "You can talk!"

Corrin could talk; despite the odd structure of her jaw, she could create sound by some unknown power of her dragon form. "You seem so surprised," she said, suppressing a giggle. "What, have you never seen your best friend unleash the power of her dragon ancestors using a stone given to her by a songstress with a magic pendant? Psh, Felicia, I can't believe you."

Felicia giggled and approached her, placing a hand on her rounded head. "I guess things really are all different, aren't they."

"Aw, Felicia, I—"

"It's okay, it's okay!" she said, "I'm... I'm really proud of you, Lady Corrin. I knew you were never meant to stay cooped up with me and the others, and it's selfish of me to still want that for you."

Corrin sighed. "That's true, but I don't blame you at all." She gave her folded wings a slight rustle and adjusted her footing. "You know, you're not the only one who lived for those little midnight heart-to-hearts we used to have."

"Oh, Lady Corrin..." Felicia wrapped her arms around Corrin's scaly neck and hugged her tight.

She bowed her head over Felicia's shoulder. "I'm still gonna be your sister, no matter what." She took a soft breath. "Just your army-leading, kingdom-uniting sister who's also a dragon. I'll still love you, Felicia."

"Thanks, Lady Corrin," she said, "And I'll be your sister who's also your maid and who's... and..." Corrin felt her shift slightly.

"You still have time to figure the rest out," she replied, turning her head to look at her. "You've got a lot of healing staves to use, and a lot of teacups to break—"

"Hey!"

"Sorry, Felicia; I shouldn't make fun of you. But trust me, you'll change. We'll all change; this whole continent will change thanks to our efforts."

"That's just like you to say, Lady Corrin," Felicia said, smiling.

"Okay," Corrin said, glancing down at the spilled tea, "maybe some things won't change."