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Project Grima

Chapter Text

The figure walked forwards as he slowly made his way through the snow, eyes scanning the snow covered road before him, watching for cars or more concerning, the paparazzi cameras that tended to follow his every move no matter where he went and all for the sake of money and stories that weren't always true- or some that were out right lies at times.  The winter's air bitterly cold and the falling snow gently creating a frozen blanket. It had been a long time since Ylisse had snows like this and as the figure walked he shivered slightly. It was very cold for the middle of the day, something about the clouds making it seem even colder and more drab than usual.

 

Blue eyes scanned the tall seemingly abandoned apartment block buildings and the streets between them, buildings that should have been torn down.  This was the rundown part of Ylisstol and as the young man tugged on his beanie to keep it from slipping off his head and exposing his head to the snow, he had to wonder why he of all people was there in the one part of Ylisstol that was statically the most dangerous part of town even if it was to get away from his own obligations for the moment.  Perhaps it was because he'd felt like there was something pulling him there for some reason he would figure out sometime later but not realise in the moment.

 

He knew that his sister, Emmeryn would probably have an entire list of reasons why he should be there, her usual calm façade shining through with her warm green eyes hidden by her soft smile.  Thinking of how much she'd been put through since their father had died...Chrom sighed softly.

 

He sighed and pulled on a stray lock of dark blue hair out of his eyes and tugged on his scarf shifting it more.  Really he couldn't have come at a worst time, but he supposed walking along the street like this was a good way to see Ylisstol without the ever present bodyguard he'd have to deal with when he returned to the car waiting for him.  He stopped and glanced down a side street by chance.

 

Chrom froze and felt the cold wind cut through his clothing; no matter how warm they were supposed to be as he saw a strange object that made him do a double take.  It was partly covered in snow and likely had only just been left there though for how long he didn't know. It was as if he'd been mildly possessed as he hastily made his way over towards the unfamiliar object.  He only intended to shift the snow off it to get a closer look at what it was, not to have it melt under his touch like a bubble breaking.

 

"Naga damn it!" Chrom cursed loudly as to his horror, it revealed a surprisingly small newborn baby to the cold air and it was then he realised what it was he touched, though he doubted it would have lasted much longer even if he'd not touched it as the baby looked to be right on term.  Though had he looked closer, perhaps he'd have noticed the warning light blinking softly- a sign of how early the baby had reached their present state of development. "Oh gods! Hang on little one!" He gasped and was quick to undo his coat and do what he could to get the baby warm as quickly as possible.  All the while unbelieving that someone would just dump an incubation device, a bio-tube out in the snow for Naga knew how long and put a child at risk like this willingly. No sooner than he managed to help the baby into the protection of his coat, then did he turn to see if there was anyone nearby who might be able to take the child in.  Even as Chrom did so, he knew he didn't have time. He had to get the child to the hospital as there was no telling how much time the bio-tube had been exposed to the cold. He groaned. This wasn't how he pictured his day going.

 

"Okay looks like we're going to have to make a little trip." He said to the baby, unsure of it they heard him.  Plus he'd not much time and had to act quickly, let alone have time to check the child's gender at this point.

 

Chrom made his way to where he'd left the car and he knew that Frederick was going to kill him or lecture him either not something that the Crown Prince of Ylisse cared for.  He sighed. The fact he'd have to head to the hospital was enough to worry but…he was still not going to enjoy this one bit.

 

The baby wasn't moving and he feared the worst, still he didn't know how a child from a bio-tube was meant to react, as bio-tubes were banned in Ylisse except for extreme circumstances where it wasn't safe for a woman to bear a child- and even then the bio-tubes usually were kept in a hospital at the perfect temperature with the mother connected to it so that the baby would have as natural an existence as possible and know their mother's voice.  He'd never heard of one being dumped in the back streets of Ylisstol in the dead of winter, especially near an abandoned complex such as this one.

 

He came into sight of the car and as he shielded the baby from the cold, he knew he was going to most definitely going to be chewed out for this.  He winced at the sight of a familiar tall brown haired man in a pressed suit under a thick coat to keep the cold away. He wasn't pleased, clearly.

 

"Lord Chrom!" Dark brown eyes looked disapprovingly, and the young man said firmly,

"We can discuss this later, right now we need to go to the hospital.  The child needs a doctor before they get much worse." Frederick's eyes widened and he said,

"A child?" In a shocked tone.  Chrom could see another lecture forming on Frederick's lips but there wasn't time for that.

"Yes." Chrom said shortly, "They'll probably die if we don't get a move on."

That was all it took to get Frederick to open the door to the passenger side and for Chrom to slide into the seat, shifting to shield the tiny child as the door closed as it was the only option right about then.  Chrom shifted to get the child against his skin, something Lissa would have told him to do, he was sure since she and Emmeryn had done the medical training and Chrom had little more than listening to them. He could feel a little movement and sighed as Frederick was quick to jump behind the wheel and start the car and turned the heater on and pulled out from the curb.

 

~*~

 

The five minute drive was almost silent- Chrom however was answering Frederick's questions, but it wasn't long before a weak cry sounded and Chrom looked down at the small child against his chest.  He prayed to Naga that he'd made the right choice helping this tiny baby, though knowing no matter how it turned out he'd do it again in a heartbeat. The car was much warmer than the streets were; as Frederick drove Chrom barely noticed the city speeding past.  It was only as they pulled up to the hospital that the child made another more instant cry, but it was still weak. It sounded as if the baby was trying to breathe and was clearing their throat.

 

Their arrival to the hospital saw Chrom make his way to the emergency room of the hospital and as he stepped in he cradled the child keeping his coat as closed as possible to keep the cold away.  He barely spoke to the receptionist before the triage nurse spoke, "Send him through." And Chrom was in the triage room.

 

"Okay, what seems to be…?" Chrom shifted and she blinked, "Oh my!" She cried when she saw Chrom's coat fall a little.  She was quick to get a beanie to put on the baby's head to help keep them warm.

"I found this child on the back streets, I fear they may have been abandoned.  The...bio-tube was half frozen."

The nurse looked very serious, "You've been doing the right thing." She said as she moved to carefully check the child to keep the baby from getting too much colder, "We're going to have to take you both through."

Chrom nodded.  He guessed as much given that the child was likely already imprinted on his voice, especially if it was the first thing the baby had heard.  Of course it meant that he was going to be a while, and perhaps...perhaps he might have to have the child stay under his care- that was a frightening thought, though the more Chrom thought about the more he knew this wasn't an easy decision to make.

 

An hour later and Chrom was sat in a chair while the tiny baby boy was covered in all kinds of wires and there was a tube in his small nose that had been used to give him emergency colostrum.  His vitals were being measured by the wires but other than that he seemed to be quite content. According to the pediatrician Chrom had saved the boy's life with his quick thinking, something that Chrom had not actually thought about, all he'd done was what he felt was right.

 

The man came to check on the baby who was still recovering from hypothermia while resting on Chrom's chest, the pair wrapped in a fresh warm blanket while Frederick was hovering near them muttering about something or other, Chrom wasn't paying attention.  He was too busy wondering about why someone would just dump a child in the middle of winter essentially to let them die of exposure in this day and age. A low sigh escaped him as he realised he'd probably have to drop a note to Vaike, gods knew the young cop would probably know how to track the person down who'd done this to the baby boy Chrom carefully cradled in his arms.

 

The baby was of course was wearing the tiny little beanie the triage nurse had given him to wear as well as a nappy.  He was kept covered by the blanket and was starting to get to what Doctor Libra told Chrom was a normal body temperature, much quicker than they expected, and the apparent ease in feeding the baby when he was offered a bottle was also unexpected, but very welcome as it meant they could get him onto formula while looking for his mother- though House Altea had wet nurses Chrom wasn't sure that would be a good idea just yet, he wasn't even sure if the baby was going to stay with them.

 

Chrom had Frederick contact Emmeryn to explain the situation and as Chrom looked down at the baby, the child reminded him of a baby robin in the nest.  He could see the less than pleased expression on Frederick's face. He would take the lecture later. For now with the sleeping baby on Chrom's chest, he felt he could relax a little, he couldn't stop himself nodding off either as he was warm and comfortable.

 

~*~

 

With the snowfall the way it was, Emmeryn arrived three hours after she'd been called by Frederick and by the time she'd arrived, Chrom was asleep with the baby on his chest, both looking cute.  Lissa had to be reminded to be quiet briefly as Emmeryn got a good look at the child. The baby had white hair and was adorably clinging onto Chrom. Of course neither were aware of the fact the child had imprinted on their brother's voice but Emmeryn had a feeling this tiny boy was about to become a part of their lives.  She didn't know how but as she saw the baby's eyes open, chocolate brown orbs blinked owlishly at her to her surprise. He was a bit more focused than a newly born child from a bio-tube had any right to be. Still she smiled softly at him and gently brushed her brother's hair off his forehead, "Emm…" Chrom slurred, partly lost in the clutches of sleep,

"Hey Chrom!" Lissa said loudly and Emmeryn chuckled,

"Lissa," She said playfully, "Not so loud, the little one needs his rest.  The poor boy has been through quite a lot."

Lissa blushed, "Oh, sorry." Hands clasped behind her back as she carefully leaned in to get a peak at the baby who seemed more interested in snuggling into Chrom's warmth than looking around.  "Oh he's so cute." Lissa cooed and Chrom blinked tiredly, "Please Emm can we keep him~?"

Chrom stiffened and Emmeryn sighed, "Well he does seem to have imprinted on our brother, so we would have to be able to help care for him." Emmeryn spoke calmly, spotting Chrom relax,

"I was thinking of calling Vaike." He said more alert now,

Emmeryn nodded, "Yes, we need to find the little one's mother, if only to be sure she didn't intend to have her child in this condition." She surmised, "However we should probably act quickly if that is the case."

 

~*~

 

Eventually the little one was was discharged another four hours later from the hospital into the care of Chrom, as he decided to take Robin on with the help of Emmeryn and Lissa (the later seemingly wanting to sit beside Robin to entertain him).  Chrom noticed that Robin seemed to be more interested in sleep than anything else, the baby content under the warm blanket with his small jumpsuit. Oddly enough he didn't seem to suck on his thumb at all.

 

~*~

 

The first night was difficult, Chrom was expecting to be woken up and he was, but Robin didn't seem to be interested in his bottle, though he would suckle if it was offered to him.  No, it almost seemed as if Robin was scared, scared of being left alone. So naturally Chrom shifted the cot into his room and that seemed to settle Robin down a little, but not too much as Robin still cried when Chrom set him down gently at first.

 

Chrom looked down at the baby asleep comfortably in the cot.  He'd turned the heater up a little to help keep Robin comfortable and warm.  He quietly headed back to bed and collapsed tiredly. It was going to be a long day ahead.

 

It barely felt like he'd just gone to sleep when he was woken by a soft cry.  Chrom hastened to get up and check on Robin, who was crying. "Hey, Robin, what's up?" Chrom asked gently as he reached to carefully pick the baby up, Robin it seemed was a little calmer but still didn't seem too happy.  Oddly enough Chrom thought that Robin seemed to be formulating a response, though as far as Chrom knew babies were not this focused. It was then that his phone rang. Chrom sighed, "Well I'd kind of hoped for a bit more time before the calls started." He sighed as he carefully shifted Robin so that the small baby was supported in his arms.  He turned to see a familiar number and he blushed. It was quite early in the morning but with a friend like Vaike, Chrom supposed that it was inevitable she'd find out.  He sighed and answered the call, "Hey Maribelle." For some reason Chrom was always like a love struck teenager whenever he spoke to Maribelle despite neither of them being teenagers and Chrom never having much experience with that, especially since he was as sheltered as he was.

There was a small scoff but he knew she liked the informal greeting, "Good morning to you too, Milord."

Robin blinked and grabbed at the phone, Chrom smiling softly as he was distracted by Maribelle's voice and not realising that the small boy was very curious about why that was the case.  Chrom spoke, "I suppose I'll let it slide, but really you don't have to be so formal, please Maribelle. I trust Vaike spilled the beans?"

"Not exactly, Lissa sent me a text last night with a photo." Maribelle chuckled softly and he happened to look at Robin who settled for deciding to take a small nap, looking rather adorable all things considered as he did so, He's quite cute.  I do look forward to meeting him."

Chrom hummed, "Yeah, I still can't believe we found him out in the snow." Robin meanwhile had some of Chrom's shirt in his tiny fist and wasn't going to let go any time soon though his eyes were closed, his breathing belied his façade of sleeping, Chrom knew that Robin was just having a mini nap and would eventually get impatient for his bottle and probably start crying soon.

"I'm glad he's got the all clear from the doctors and is in good hands." Maribelle agreed  "I can only wonder why he was left in the snow like that...Still you did tell Vaike so doubtless the others will most definitely know and want to meet him too."

Chrom carefully made his way to the kitchens, at this hour he could hope on Amelia to be preparing breakfast and he replied, "Hopefully everyone will get to meet Robin soon.  In the meantime I'll have to check with Panne, she was busy helping Vaike with that murder case they had."

Maribelle sounded worried, "That one with the poor Plegian woman?  Oh Naga that was horrible to say the least."

"Yeah, it was.  I hope they find some leads soon." Chrom sighed and he heard a beep, another phone call, "I'll have to talk with you later, seems someone else wants to get me, though they should probably wait a while."

"Of course, I'll see you and Lissa for morning tea, we'd better be allowed to meet little Robin then."

 

~*~

 

By the time Chrom had Robin suckling away on his warmed bottle of formula, he'd got off the phone with with another friend, Sumia who'd certainly heard from Vaike about Robin and she couldn't wait to meet him.  Of course Lissa arrived just as Chrom was about to sit down with Robin, "Can I hold him, please?" She begged and Chrom chuckled,

"Sure, just be careful." He replied amused.  Of course Robin fussed at first until Lissa had him comfortably in her arms with his bottle.  Of course that was the only time Robin let anyone who wasn't Chrom hold him without crying too much.  Chrom smiled softly as Robin seemed to be extra hungry from the previous night, though he'd yet to realise what it meant.  Amelia happened to come in,

"Sweet Naga, he's got an appetite." She said as Robin emptied the bottle and started to cry as if he wanted more, of course he made even more of a fuss because he wasn't with Chrom.  Lissa gently cooed at the small baby and Robin looked like he was pouting but he still cried all the while. Once again he was voicing his clear displeasure, "Well we'll have a new one ready for you."

Robin looked at Amelia and waved his arms around, Chrom had a feeling that Robin was trying to say something but he wasn't sure what, until a small spark of magic shot out.  It took a moment until Robin cried again and Emmeryn had arrived just after that,

"Did...did you two just see that?!" Chrom asked and Lissa looked at him eyes as wide as his.  It seemed she was just as shocked as he was,

"Magic?" She asked and Emmeryn spoke,

"It's very rare for children to show that much in the way of magical ability…" She seemed as shocked as the others, "Most don't have it manifest until they're at least six months old, and even then...not as focused as that was."

Chrom noticed that Robin seemed to be scared and he wasn't surprised as Emmeryn gently brushed Robin's small hand.  Little Robin was certainly full of surprises. He cried more insistently now and thankfully Amelia came back with another bottle, and Robin upon being aware that more milk was forthcoming, settled, only to practically grab the bottle as soon as it was within his reach and drink with great enthusiasm.  Lissa let out a surprised gasp, "Chrom!" She cried out as Robin emptied the bottle in less than half a minute- far too quickly for Chrom's comfort and hers too as Robin started to cry again, "How many has he been emptying like that?"

Emmeryn frowned slightly, "Lissa," she said calmly, "I am very sure that Robin wouldn't have gone without his milk, Chrom wouldn't allow it."

Chrom sighed as he carefully took Robin again and started to gently pat the baby's back, which elicited a fairly loud belch before Robin let out a sigh and Chrom knew that the baby had most certainly fallen back to sleep, how he wasn't sure but he just knew it was strange to think that Robin could fit such a large amount of milk into his small body.  A small sigh escaped him, "I wonder how long it'll take before the others arrive." Chrom said with a low sigh.  Robin was very determined to not let go of Chrom this time and Emmeryn came to look at him,

"Oh, he's fallen asleep." She cooed softly, "Though he's certainly got your shirt in hand."

Chrom chuckled, "Yeah he does.  I'm not sure why but…" Chrom noticed that Robin was a bit heavier than last night and he decided to voice his concern, "He seems to be a bit heavier than when I found him."

Emmeryn frowned, "Are you sure it's not just him being full of food?"

Chrom went to reply but he sighed, "I'm not sure.  Maybe it is just me. Anyway, Robin will need a new nappy more than likely." A job Chrom knew wasn't pleasant but one that was essential for Robin's comfort.

 

~*~

 

By the time that Chrom's friends had arrived, Robin was the centre of attention- something he didn't seem to like as he fussed in all but Chrom's arms at first.

 

Sumia gave him a toy bear which Robin seemed fascinated with, though he didn't chew on it like they thought he might.  Robin shook it a couple of times and decided that he liked it enough to hold onto it as Chrom ended up having to give Robin another bottle which seemed to calm him down.  He'd still not let go of the bear.

 

Vaike arrived not long after Sumia and Cordelia, he looked at Chrom and the prince knew that his friend had some bad news, "Hey Chrom…"

"What's up Vaike?" Chrom asked and Vaike looked at Robin,

"Ya know about that murder we was investigating?  Turns out our Plegian vic was...well she was the kid's mother."

Chrom froze in shock, "What?!" His jaw dropped,

"Her name was Reflet Ann Grima, single mother with no family.  She got killed pretty quick, it was likely the bio-tube was stolen and dumped, when you found it.  Seems like the murderer thought it was something else."

"Oh gods…" Chrom said softly, looking at Robin, who looked like he was going to cry.  Chrom turned to Vaike, "So then…?"

"We've gotta find the bastard that killed 'er." Vaike replied, and he looked at Robin and the baby sniffled, "And we gotta make sure Robin here stays safe."

Chrom nodded, "Of course, leave that to me." Robin looked at Chrom, and seemed to understand what was going on around him.  Robin emptied the seventh bottle in less than half an hour, the baby's appetite surprisingly large for one who was so small.

 

~*~

 

Unknown to Chrom and indeed the rest of the adults the small boy would take less than six months to reach the physical maturity of a sixteen year old child and the mental maturity well beyond that of a normal human...the only person who knew that was dead Reflet Ann Grima.  And she was killed for a very specific reason. A Plegian bio-weapon was now in the hands of the Crown Prince of Ylisse being raised as a person, a bio-weapon which would become even more powerful than the Grimleal had intended.

 

Project Grima was currently busy holding onto the bear it had been given and was observing the people around him having accepted the blue haired man as one of his exemplars.  Of course being so small he had only one real need and that was as much nourishment as possible.  He didn't like crying, it was so primitive. He listened and tried to mimic their words. His ability to talk hadn't developed enough. Crying he tried to make it clear he wanted more nourishment as hunger gnawed at his stomach again.  The blue haired man came to him as Project Grima was sitting up, crying. Blue eyes looked concerned, "What's wrong, Robin?" The man asked and Project Grima kept crying, trying to stress his desire for nourishment.

"It seems that Robin is hungry." A woman with blond curls spoke up and it was then that it clicked with Project Grima.  They had designated him as "Robin" and...it was...his name?

 

Project Grima bit his thumb in thought, if his name was "Robin" then he would accept that.  His crying soon brought nourishment and Robin grabbed at the bottle he knew would contain the milk they had made for him.  It would take him six months to be off the milk completely he knew this, yet it was warm and pleasant, more so when his exemplar held him for some reason.  He was missing a female exemplar but the male exemplar was living with two females, though Robin didn't know if they were supposed to be exemplars or not. He assumed the latter.  His brown eyes fell on the young woman with blond curly hair and he had a feeling this woman was the one his exemplar was in love with. He graciously decided not to fuss as much when she held him.  He noticed some raised eyebrows but she was warm- much like his exemplar. Robin let out a content sigh and decided that he could afford to sleep in her arms, so long as she was going to stay.

 

~*~

 

Chrom nearly died when Robin decided to fall asleep in Maribelle's arms.  Vaike whistled and Emmeryn was even surprised. It seemed that Robin decided that Maribelle was "Mama", something that made Chrom go bright red at the thought.  Chrom could see the raised eyebrows and Vaike finally said, "Holy shit...the little guy's imprinted on Maribelle. So you two got something to say?"

Chrom hid his face as he saw the smug expression on Gaius' face, "It's obvious Blue's into Twinkles."

It was even more embarrassing as Robin had outright made it clear that he 'd chosen Maribelle and Chrom flushed red, it could have been worse, but for that secret to get out…

 

Maribelle spoke firmly, "Do you not have any shame?!" She demanded, "The fact of the matter is that Robin is probably very tired."

"He did spend most of last night drinking a lot of milk so…" Robin let out the equivalent of a noise of agreement and he slept contentedly.  Chrom didn't think he could stand the thought if any rumours got out about his feelings for Maribelle which she might not share.