A light shimmered from the ruins, a puff of smoke highlighting the tree-shaped stone with a green stone at its center. It was a normal day of summoning, with Kiran once again trying their luck toward pulling a Grima -- a Hero they’ve wanted ever since Feh told them he was able to be summoned. It seemed, however, that today was no different than any other day of the week: they did not obtain Grima. But, rather, a different new Hero entirely surfaced.
Kiran didn’t recognize them at all, but the Hero was clearly dressed in Askran attire, which made them all the more curious to figure out just who they were. It didn’t look like any of the new Heroes that Feh had mentioned had appeared, not remotely. Honestly, if they were to compare the Hero’s appearance to anyone else they knew, it would be --
The Askran-attired Hero stared with bright teal eyes towards Kiran, shouting the only name he had ever addressed them as. He could not have been more excited to see them after so long, but he soon realized that the Kiran he was looking at was much, much younger than the one he knew back home. “Oh, Nini, do you recognize me?” he asked curiously, nervously curling some of his brunet hair around his finger.
Kiran, however, was distracted. The boy’s coat was similar to theirs, as was their hair and facial structure, but what stuck out the most were the blond tips. Kiran only knew one bloodline that had hair like that in Zenith, but to think of them and -- Kiran shook their head, tossing the idea aside. It wasn’t possible. He was far too distant to care for anything other than his own means. But, they noticed, was that a circlet around the back of his head? They, once again, shook their head. “I’m afraid I don’t,” Kiran answered honestly.
At first, the opposing figure frowned. But he soon forced his spirits back up, responding with, “I’m Freyr -- your son! I think you must have summoned me from a different time. You did tell me that you used to do that so very often in the past.” Kiran was taken aback by the first line alone, barely realizing the boy had kept talking. “Do you know where Dad is? I’d love to see him so young, too. You look so different!”
Kiran wanted to deny the possibility of ever having a child. They hated even thinking about it being true. But at the same time, they really didn’t want to upset this poor Hero they had mistakenly summoned. This “Freyr” would be sent home in due time, of course -- there was no way they had time to be responsible for a child, even if he did appear to be about fourteen or fifteen. Frankly, they weren’t really looking forward to finding out who the father of this boy was either, but it seemed that Freyr wasn’t going to have it any other way. Or, at least, Kiran couldn’t find themself able to deny the pleading puppy-dog eyes gazing towards them with an intense grin spread across his face. They sighed. “Alright, sure! Let’s go find Dad, shall we?” Gods, saying that alone made Kiran feel sick.
On the other hand, Freyr couldn’t have been more excited. He snatched the wrist of his nini, dragging them along. He hoped that his father wouldn’t be doing much other than patrolling the halls of the castle -- which, as he wandered down the familiar halls, found these to be far more empty than the ones he knew back home. Many people were missing as well, including a handful of his closest friends. It was sad to see, but he also wasn’t surprised: his aunt had once told him how Nini was very conservative when they summoned, only doing so when it was absolutely necessary. He could only assume, with that knowledge, that it meant many Heroes he grew to know over his childhood were possibly summoned towards the end of the Order's final battles, before Askr had retained peace once more. He wondered just how it was that his father decided on Kiran when that time came, seeing how quaint and reserved they were so long ago. Surely, Freyr thought, Kiran had done something to win over his heart, but he had never really thought to ask about it until now, when he wouldn't have been able to get an answer. Freyr didn't know for certain, but if he had to guess, he would say he was summoned twenty years in the past, when Nini was nineteen and Dad eighteen.
Lost in his thoughts, Freyr almost ran past his own father. He came to a stuttered halt once he spotted a fluttering white cape down the hall to his left. He noticed that his father's hair was far more vibrantly blue at this age. Freyr also took note of the circlet around his father's head: the same one that, once Freyr turned ten years old, had been gifted to him. He didn't notice, but a smile cracked across his own cheeks, filling him with nostalgia. “Dad!” Freyr yelled down the hall. The blue-haired figure didn't respond -- however, Kiran did. Their arm tensed instantly at the sound, to Freyr's concern. “Nini? Is something wrong?”
Very, very wrong , was what they wanted to say. But instead, Kiran kept their mouth shut, shaking their head violently with a vague, false grin across their cheeks. Freyr, once again, tried to call out to his father, to no avail. Kiran didn't want to do this, but at the same time, they wanted to rip off the bandage in one fell swoop: get this over with as quickly as possible so Freyr could be sent home to his real parents.
Kiran shrugged off the boy's grip, and yelled, “Alfonse!” This time, the walking figure stopped, turning with the lowest amount of care possible. His teal gaze wanted to be anywhere other than the presence of Kiran right now. The summoner walked forward down the hall, their “son” following close behind. “Alfonse, um, I have someone I want to introduce you to. I summoned him today and, well --”
“Dad! It's good to see you!” Freyr grinned.
Alfonse turned his attention to the brunet, shocked. He didn't speak for a very long time, merely staring at the boy -- who was a good three inches taller than him, he might add, or maybe he wouldn't, considering Alfonse was a bit self-conscious of his five-foot-seven height -- the boy who had just addressed him as… “Dad.” Alfonse was merely eighteen, amidst war, and still a measly prince. For what reason would he ever have a child now? He couldn't even fathom how it had happened, since he hadn't had any particularly close relationships with anyone in the past few years, especially not women.
“He's from the future,” Kiran clarified. “His name is Freyr. He claims to be our child.”
Alfonse paused, furrowing his eyebrows and turning directly to Kiran. “I'm sorry, our child?”
Kiran could only nod hesitantly.
That made even less sense.
Freyr, meanwhile, fell hurt. This was his family, was it not? His nini Kiran and father Alfonse? Maybe, he wondered, they didn't always get along as well as he once thought they did. His father seemed so disinterested in both his and Kiran’s presence. Freyr wondered if, possibly, he was ruining things just now and making things worse off for his parents’ future. Or, maybe , he thought with a shudder down his spine, is this not just the past… but an alternate realm where Dad and Nini do not marry? Where I'm not supposed to exist? He didn't want to think about it, but it made sense. Nini used to summon the same Heroes from different realms all the time -- what made his existence from another universe so strange of a theory? It still, however, cut to realize that his own parents were not destined to be together no matter what. Were they not as in love as he believed they were? They always seemed inseparable. The three of them did everything together as a family.
Alfonse, amidst his disgust, contemplated leaving without another word on the topic. But, as he went to turn around, he caught sight of Freyr's eyes, aimed at the floor and glimmering with distress. Initially, it didn't bother him, until a memory sparked within his own mind.
“You're so dreadfully irresponsible, Alfonse. Join the Order of Heroes? What kind of a prince would put his own life on the line like that?”
“Go, be out of my sight. You'll reside in the castle to the west with your sister and Anna. I cannot trust you to rule this alone.”
“Gods, I wish I had another son to spare, since you're so willing to toss away your own damn life. You're such a grave disappointment.”
Alfonse's heart twisted. His whole mentality on the situation altered. Surely, he was not this child's father, at least not now. But this child believed in the fact that he was. There was nothing he could have done to change that -- and therefore, he had no choice but to go along with it. Alfonse faced Freyr, forcing a half-hearted attempt at a smile. “My apologies, Freyr. I should have taken a moment to think about this more. Now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense that you would be my and Kiran's son.”
Freyr looked ecstatic. Kiran looked bewildered. They mouthed, “What are you talking about?” Alfonse merely shot back a look that said, “I'll explain in a minute.”
“Really?” Freyr asked. But Alfonse still seemed a bit wary -- Freyr couldn’t help but notice. “What’s with the sudden change of heart?”
Alfonse had not particularly prepared this far in advance. He had expected that the boy would have been excited and that would have been the end of it. Kiran looked to him with desperate eyes, almost begging him to not mess this up. Under a lot of pressure, partially self-imposed, Alfonse said the first thing that came to his mind: “Well -- Kiran and I are engaged.”
Freyr looked like he was going to cry with joy. Kiran looked like they were going to scream with fear. “Really?” Freyr repeated, more enthusiastically than last time.
Alfonse, his quick and reluctant gaze falling on to the desperately confused Kiran for a brief moment, continued the lie with a solid, “Yes.”
Immediately, Kiran grabbed the prince's wrist. “Alfonse, can I speak with you for a second?” He nodded, telling Freyr they'd be right back. Kiran led him as far away from the boy as possible, turning down the hall to the castle library, and leading the both of them to walk inside before slamming the door shut behind them. “What the hell were you thinking? Why would you lie about -- something like that?! ”
“I - I don't know!” Alfonse answered, burying his face in his hands. Gods, what was he doing? He was insane. To suggest that he was going to get married to someone he couldn't have cared less about -- what was wrong with him? “I just sort of had an instinctive thought, I guess? He looked so upset, I couldn't just tell him no.”
“But to suggest that we're engaged? ”
“I know, I know!” Alfonse retorted. “It's my fault, alright? I said something really stupid. I get it. You don't have to keep reprimanding me.”
“You keep shrugging it off, but you realize there's no getting out of this, right?” Kiran answered. “Not unless we just send Freyr home.”
“What?” The sad expression across Freyr's face was implanted into Alfonse's mind. “No, we can't do that.”
Kiran seemed frustrated, but she understood why he would say that. Frankly, they didn't want to bare seeing the boy off with tears in his eyes now, either. They had only wished they had done it immediately rather than drag it out and introduce the boy to Alfonse. “Then we're stuck like this. There's no way out of it now.”
“We can explain it to everyone else, can't we?”
“Who's to say one of the other Heroes won't just tell Freyr the truth, then?” Kiran sighed, leaning their head into their palm. “This is not how I planned to get married. I didn't even get a choice, and now I'm stuck with you.”
“What's that supposed to mean?” Alfonse snapped, clearly insulted.
“What are you talking about, ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ It's pretty obvious what it means!” Kiran growled. “You're so distant all the time, and everytime I try to talk to you, you just dismiss me. It's obvious you don't care about me, or any of the other Heroes for that matter. Except, I suppose, Freyr, it seems. There are many other people I'd rather marry -- so yes, I'm stuck with you! I hope you're happy.”
Alfonse wanted to fight back, but he really didn't know how to. He really hadn't thought out any of his actions from earlier at all. Frankly, it's not as though he wanted to be wedded to Kiran, either. Although he knew he would have to be married someday, he figured that he'd merely deal with whoever his father deemed was the best fit for the kingdom rather than make his own choice. Now to try and convince his father to let him marry the summoner, a mere member of the Order of Heroes who barely has knowledge of much in Askr aside from what they've seen on the battlefield… Maybe his father was right, he was very irresponsible. “Look, we don't have much choice, I guess. We'll make the best out of it,” Alfonse suggested.
“I - I don't know, but we'll figure out something.” Kiran didn't look impressed. “I'll figure out something.” Kiran looked less enthusiastic than before. “Something good will come from this, I swear my life on it, alright?”
“Good for who is the question,” Kiran sighed. “I'll tolerate the idea for now. As you said, we don't have much choice. I don't want to see Freyr upset either, but it also doesn't feel right to lie to him like this.” Their voice softened, the harsh expression on their face turning somber. “Nothing about this situation is good. We're lying for the sake of a child who claims to be our own. I wanted to send him home immediately to hopefully avoid anything wild from happening, but…” They shook their head. “But I didn't. And now we're stuck here.”
Kiran waved away the topic with their hand. “Whatever. I’m not going to worry about it right now. I have other things to attend to -- and I’m sure you do too, do you not?”
Alfonse merely nodded, and the two split ways for the day. Kiran stayed within the library for the time being, attempting to finalize some battle plans for the following week. A small team of Heroes would be heading out to protect the capital from Emblan troops that were, according to Anna, set to arrive sometime before the end of the month. Kiran figured that if they could create a solid brigade of units designed to defend against nearly anything and send them all to the capital to keep it safe that there would be little to worry about. However, considering the capital was a day’s travel out from the castle, Kiran had until next week to finalize plans.
And yet, they found themself distracted beyond belief.
A few notes had been scribbled down on the sheet of paper they were working on, but Kiran found that they were staring out the window and watching the wind blow around the tree branches, gazing as birds flew across the skies. This whole place had a new meaning to it, and the more they thought in silence, the more their heart warmed. Truly, some part of them didn’t mind the idea of marrying Alfonse -- but every logical part was aware it was a bad idea, which was the majority of their thoughts, but the ones currently silenced for the time being.
Had it not been for how coldly he treated them on a daily basis, Kiran might have had some more interest in the prince. But ever since they met, Alfonse refused to address them as more than a mere member of the Order. Initially, they had felt a level of remorse when Alfonse kept turning them away. They had kept trying to talk to him, over and over, to no avail. It wasn’t until Sharena approached Kiran and explained how Alfonse was still severely cut by the disappearance of his long-lost friend Zacharias that they finally backed off and stopped bothering him. Any thoughts considering Alfonse to be even remotely attractive, out of respect for keeping distance, soon started to wean off, disappearing entirely. With that, they grew to slowly hate Alfonse, deep down, and picked out every awful piece of his personality, realizing that he cared little for anything at all.
And yet, now made it seem like those many months of hating him never happened.
The same thoughts that had obsessed their brain when they first arrived in Askr began to seep back. A different side to the prince -- a softer side, where he smiled genuinely and treated Kiran like they were worth talking to. Cliché thoughts of fairy tale princes harbored Kiran’s daydreaming as they wondered how he would look riding upon the back of a white horse. They let loose a gentle sigh.
But as soon as it happened, they cut off the thoughts with a loud groan, slamming their head on the table. “ What am I doing?! ” they complained aloud to no one. “I need to be prepping for war, not marriage…”
“Marriage?” another voice spoke up, sending a jolt of fear down Kiran’s spine. They had not realized anyone else was in the library. “You did look a bit more distant than usual, Kiran.”
The summoner picked their head off the table, meeting eyes with the blonde princess of Askr, Sharena. She seemed to have a puzzled look across her face, dressed without her armor for the evening. “Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt you! But I was looking for you,” she grinned. “So, that new mage you summoned today -- uh, I’m sure you’ve talked to him -- for some reason he keeps calling me ‘Auntie’? Do you know what that’s about?”
Kiran sighed. “So you’ve met Freyr, then, I see,” was their first response. “Yes, I do know. Freyr is, apparently, Alfonse’s son from the future. And, um, mine, I guess.”
Sharena originally merely nodded. “Oh, so how like Lucina is the daughter of Chrom despite being so close in age --” She only paused once she realized that Kiran had added on that following sentence. “Wait -- yours and Alfonse’s kid? No way!” she gaped. “Wait, wait, is that why you were mumbling about marriage earlier?” She gasped. “Wait, wait, wait -- don’t tell me, are you marrying my brother?”
“Don’t be so excited,” Kiran mumbled. “It isn’t willingly.”
The princess frowned. “Huh? What do you mean?”
“Alfonse was too worried about upsetting Freyr when they met today, since both of us were definitely not open to the idea of him being our child, and mistakenly told him that the two of us were going to get married soon to keep him happy. And since neither of us had the heart to tell Freyr that was a lie…” Kiran shrugged, an ironic smile spread across their cheeks. “Guess we’re going to get married.”
Sharena’s entire aura changed. She seemed, according to Kiran, some sort of place between disappointed and annoyed. Internally, though, she was just shocked, left unable to properly come up with a way to respond to this. They’re both… so stupid , she thought.
“I don’t know, though,” Kiran whispered.
“Don’t know what?” Sharena asked.
“If…” They shook their head. “No, nevermind, it’s nothing.”
Sharena, however, was far too interested to let the summoner get away with that. She pulled up a chair from a nearby table, plopping herself next to Kiran with a bright grin across her face. “Go ahead, you can tell me anything! I promise I won’t tell a soul.”
They weren’t so certain, but the princess was incredibly insistent that Kiran tell them at least something . “Fine,” they sighed, staring out the window. “It’s just that… I don’t know how I feel about this marriage.”
Sharena let loose a soft sigh. “Um, maybe you should Freyr the truth, then…?”
“No,” Kiran responded, “the other way.” The princess wasn't sure what they meant. Kiran turned, facing the desk they had been previously working at, picking up the mangled piece of charcoal they had been writing with and spinning it around their fingers. “This feels weird to talk about, since you're his sister, but… Prince Alfonse. I - I've never particularly hated him.”
Sharena gasped, covering her mouth with her hands. “Oh my gosh, really? You like my brother?”
“I didn't say it like that…”
“Unfortunately, I don't think he reciprocates those feelings, Kiran.”
“You know, I already got that --”
“My brother's incredibly hospitable, but I haven't seen him harbor actual feelings towards someone since we lost Zacharias, so I don't know that --”
“Sharena,” Kiran broke. “I'm not concerned about that. We're already stuck together.” They huffed, dropping the charcoal stick to the table. “I just want him to treat me like a person for once and not just someone here for the Order, alright? That's my only concern. Had it not been for that…” They shook their head. “Nevermind.”
“Marriage wouldn't be so bad of an idea?” Sharena hummed.
Kiran's cheeks reddened. They nodded.
With a mischievous grin, Sharena got up from her seat, sliding it back to the table where it belonged. “Let me see what I can do about that,” she announced.
“P - please don't approach Alfonse about this!” Kiran begged.
“Oh, I'm not going to, don't worry about that.” She pat the summoner's head. “But… well, I'll just see what I can do about it.” She gave them a quick wink before leaving the library.
Kiran decided to pack up for the evening.