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“Chrom?”

“...”

“Chrom, I know you’re awake.”

“...Blast.”

Robin rolled over to face their husband, just barely making out his shape in the low light of their cabin. “You should be asleep, you know.”

“Well,” Chrom said. “You know.”

“Yes. I know.”

You are of my flesh, but of sacred blood!

It would have been easy to deny. Robin knew they were Plegian-- strange clothes and stranger skin left no other conclusion-- but all through the Mad King’s War they told themselves that their past meant nothing. Ylisse was a land of idealists, and Chrom had welcomed Tharja and Henry into their army so easily that even Robin felt the need to be wary in his place.

But they could only lie for so long, and the Shepherds were good people. They didn’t deserve… someone like Robin.

Even in the dark, Robin could feel that ugly mark crawling up their hand. It hummed with power, like a shark admiring its meal, and each pulse reminded them that they didn’t belong here. That there was still something unaccounted for, and that something would cost the Shepherds dearly.

Outside, the ship was dead quiet. Chrom lay awake, not speaking.

“Lucina takes after you,” Robin murmured.

Robin could hear the smile in Chrom's voice. “She does, doesn’t she?”

“She does. She’s… She’s beautiful.”

Lucina’s prophecy left a sour mood rippling through camp, but even still the Shepherds took to her almost immediately. When she laughed, her smile was so much like Chrom’s, and it hurt to see.

Robin could feel Chrom’s eyes on them. The bed sheets jostled, and Robin heard the sound of a match being struck. Chrom’s face filled Robin’s vision as he leaned in closer, and the sight of his earnest expression probing them was-- too much. They closed their eyes, swallowing.

“Don’t drip wax on the sheets, Chrom.”

“Something’s wrong.”

Robin’s breath hitched. They wanted to open their mouth and deny it, but what was the use in that? Everyone had seen Emmeryn’s assassin come back to life, a man who was apparently Robin’s father , not to mention the sinister Hierophant that looked exactly like them. Something terrible was going to happen, and it was going to be because of Robin.

“Chrom, I…” What were they supposed to say? What could they say, when they were faced with something as sinister as this?

“I meant what I said before,” Chrom said. “You are yourself before you are any man’s child.”

“I know you wouldn’t lie to me,” Robin whispered.

“Robin.”

“You’re so good, Chrom. You have always been… the best of all of us. You are my guiding light.”

“Robin, please look at me.”

Robin fell silent.

“Please.”

“I can’t, Chrom. I…” If they saw his face now, the rolling pit of shame lodged in their chest would grow too much to bear.

Robin felt something brush their side. Chrom pulled them close, their head resting on his chest. Robin could hear his heart pounding. They spent a long time like that, Robin getting their breathing under control and Chrom stroking their back absentmindedly.

“You know, Lucina takes after you, too.”

Robin said nothing. Chrom’s hand came to rest on the back of their head.

“She has this spark in her… this incredible will… She holds her sword like me, but the steel in her eyes is always yours. She is so much like you, Robin, and she is beautiful.”

Chrom,” Robin croaked.

“We can prevail against this. We will prevail against this. You don’t need to tie yourself to Plegia, and they cannot force you to do so. Robin, your life is yours to live.”

Robin’s arms came up to wrap around their husband. He was so solid, so real, but Robin couldn’t help feeling like he would float away if they didn’t hold him close enough.

“I love you, Robin. I trust you with my life. I will say it as many times as you’d like.”

Robin held him tighter.

“You might be making a mistake,” they said.

“You are not a mistake, Robin. You’re the most brilliant mind I have seen, and the noblest person I have known.”

Feeling the sway of a boat sailing to another continent, blinking the tears out of their eyes, and listening to Chrom’s heart beat proud and strong, they could almost believe it.