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Playing by Ear

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"Chroooom! There's another one over here!" A piercing voice invaded my slumber, shocking me out of my sleep with a gasp. Reflexively flailing at the sound, I was surprised when one of my hands actually made contact with something. That was unusual; my family had long since learned to wake me from a safe distance. I retracted my hands so as not to hit anything else and tried to make out what was going on through the absurdly bright light searing my eyes, still blurry from sleep. God, was that sunlight? Was I outside?

I shielded and rubbed at my eyes, hoping that would help me see my surroundings. I couldn't possibly be outside, right? I was…I couldn't remember. Where had I been last? What had I been doing? I last remembered…well, nothing of note, really. Certainly nothing that would lead to being sleeping deeply enough to end up outside without waking up.

My thoughts were interrupted when I was hoisted up by my jacket by a brown-haired man in light blue armor. Huh? F-Frederick? What? "Give me one reason not to gut you here and now."

"I don't know what's goiing oooon…" The world was starting to fade as all the blood rushed from my head. Freaking low blood pressure.

"Frederick, put her down. She's not going to be able to answer if she faints."

I was unceremoniously dropped. I'd complain, but I didn't feel the landing as I had indeed been very close to fainting. Once I was lower to the ground my awareness returned, and I was able to take in the situation at last. I remembered the last voice who had spoken and looked up to be sure I wasn't mistaken. There were four people waiting for me to explain myself: one with blue hair and a familiar one-sleeved onesie, the brown-haired knight who'd picked me up, one with white hair and a dark coat, and a girl with blonde ponytails and a yellow dress. No way. The shepherds? But what if they were like, crazy good cosplayers? It wouldn't explain how I ended up sleeping outside though. And I knew that voice! "Chrom?"

The now confirmed-to-be Frederick sighed heavily and scowled. The royal in question just laughed and said, "Does every stranger know my name today?"

Frederick butted in to tell him to take what was obviously some badly-planned spy mission seriously, but instead of listening I got distracted by my thoughts again. I'm talking to the Shepherds! So cool! But is it actually happening, or just a dream? I'd never really questioned reality before, but I'd be damned if I just took this at face value and just assumed it was one or the other. Sure, if I just assumed this was reality and it turned out to be a dream, it would just be a bit disappointing, but if I assumed it was a dream and did something stupid, well, that was going to be embarrassing. And if there was one thing I couldn't handle, it was embarrassment.

"Does anyone have a book, or something that can be read?" Fun fact: trying to read breaks my dreams. It's the only noticeable flaw to my subconscious imagination.

The conversation-slash-argument about trust issues halted at the unexpected question. What kind of person—whose life was possibly in question—asked for something to read, of all things?

It was Robin who ended up coming to my rescue. "I have one," he said, taking out his thunder tome and holding it out for me.

I think I heard Frederick mutter something about this being staged, but I gladly took the offered tome and hoped I wasn't blushing. Damn my stupid crush! Pushing my emotions aside before I made a fool of myself, (ignoring the fact that I already had with my previous actions) I opened the tome and saw that this…didn't prove anything. Reality wasn't crashing, the letters and words weren't moving, and I couldn't read it, period. There were just mystery scribbles that were probably letters, but it was all greek to me. So much for that idea.

'Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.' Unless my subconscious had made a personally unprecedented leap in quality, I could only assume that this was reality. It didn't rule out this being some elaborate cosplaying scheme, but really, who would go through all this trouble only to add an unwitting character who never existed in the game?

I closed the book, handing it back to Robin. "Thanks." I knew for a fact that I was blushing this time, and I couldn't look him in the eyes, but that was more out of embarrassment than anything else.

I realized I was still on the ground from being dropped and scrambled to my feet. I was in such a hurry to get up that I almost lost my balance on the way before I finally stood up straight with a flushed face. There went that first impression.

I looked up to see Frederick still glowering at me.

"What? I'm clumsy!" I defended.

I heard Lissa giggle while Chrom looked on quizzically. Frederick was still not amused. "However disarming you may hope your performance to be, you have yet to explain yourself. Your clumsiness did not hamper your accuracy when you hit Lady Lissa, and you still haven't explained how you know Milord Chrom."

Oh, so Lissa was the one I hit when I flailed? I turned to her and apologized. "I'm so sorry for slapping you earlier! I'm a pretty violent sleeper."

Lissa looked unsure of how to reply, so Chrom spoke next, sounding concerned. "What were you doing sleeping in a field? You wouldn't happen to know Robin here, would you?"

"Um…" I started. What was I going to tell them? No way was I going to pull off amnesiac, but I didn't think I'd be able to pretend to normally live here either. I didn't know enough of the lifestyle. I didn't have long to come up with anything without looking too suspicious. Did I want to warn them about anything? How could I sound credible without sounding like I planned for it to happen? Actually, speaking of warnings, how did we have this much time to talk? Wasn't there a town on fire nearby?

Right on cue, Lissa exclaimed, "Chrom! Look!" And pointed at a pillar of smoke in the distance. How convenient. Saved by the fire! Now I had more time to come up with what I was going to tell them.

"We'll talk about this later!" Chrom called back as he, Lissa, and Frederick ran towards the flaming town, leaving Robin and I behind where it was safe.

There was silence for a moment.

So…now what?

"Well?" Robin asked expectantly.

"Well what?"

"Do you know me?" He looked at me, hope in his eyes.

Crud, and here I thought I'd have more time to think of something! When in doubt, I normally tell the truth, and with Frederick already on my case that seemed like a really bad idea. Although…come to think of it, there was one thing I came up with for situations like this! (Proof that I read too much fanfiction) Hopefully I could pull it off.

"I think I know of you. You have amnesia, right?" Oh man, if he didn't have amnesia I was in the wrong timeline. God, Naga, Grima, anyone please don't let me be in that timeline!

My fears were eased when Robin nodded. "I think that's what Lissa called it."

Thank whatever deity is listening.

"I, uh, used to know a psychic. She told me stories that had you, Chrom, Frederick and Lissa in them. I was hoping to tell everyone together when I was sure Frederick wouldn't kill me."

"Oh," he looked down. Guess that wasn't the answer he was hoping for. There was another pause. "Think we should've followed them?"

Well, we had to if we were going to follow the game, but I couldn't exactly fight. Robin had his sword and magic, but all I found in my pockets was a pen, and this was not the time to see if the pen was mightier than the sword. (Or axe, in the case of the brigands in Southtown.) "Probably, but I don't want to be a burden. I don't seem to have anything with me to fight with."

"I don't know if I'll be much help, but I'm not losing track of the only people I know right now. I'm going." And with that he took off in the direction the others had gone.

I sighed. "Well who am I to refuse to help people in need? If I stay out here I'll probably get mugged or something," I tried to convince myself as I followed. I was going to die, wasn't I?