Actions

Work Header

The Choices We Make

Work Text:

Throughout Askr and Nifl’s combined campaign against Múspell, the Flame Kingdom, Corrin had grown used to facing Princess Laegjarn in battle. As an enemy general, she’d made for a fearsome opponent: she flew into battle with all of Camilla’s confidence and Hinoka’s control; swung her blade with the same devotion to her country and cause as Xander and Ryoma; and her keen, strategic mind surpassed even the talents of Leo and Takumi. She and Corrin had personally clashed swords in one battle, and that experience—where even a single misstep could have cost either of them their lives—had been more than enough for the Nohrian princess.

As such, it was more than slightly surreal for Corrin to now be facing her across a table instead of a battlefield – and receiving her as a guest in her quarters.

“Thank you for agreeing to meet me on such short notice, Princess Corrin,” Laegjarn said. “My apologies if this all seems quite sudden.”

“Oh, it’s no trouble at all,” Corrin replied, offering up her best smile. She walked over to Laegjarn with a selection of Askran biscuits, opening them up and sliding them to the centre of the table. “Are you hungry?”

“Peckish enough to indulge, maybe,” Laegjarn said, returning the smile and casting an eye over the offerings. There was a slightly stiff formality to it, but Corrin could see the warmth—still a little strange after all the times they’d fought as enemies—resting beneath.

Strange. Yes, that was the word for it. That was the word for all of this.

The war with Múspell was at an end. Askr and Nifl had been spared from the flames, and the slow process of healing the ravages of war had begun. And Laegjarn—eldest princess of Múspell, daughter to King Surtr, sister to Princess Laevatein, a paragon of decency against her father’s ruthlessness—had died in the war’s final hours. She had surrendered her body to the Rite of Flames and died before Corrin’s eyes.

Corrin couldn’t understand it – couldn’t understand how the girl before her was unmistakably Laegjarn, or how she’d retained the knowledge of her death, or how the Order had managed to summon an individual from their own world and restore them to life, even if only temporarily.

Everything about it was unreal. The fact that Laegjarn had once been their enemy seemed inconsequential next to the fact that she was back from the dead. But as Laegjarn sat across from her in her room, sharing biscuits and smiling gladly, Corrin couldn’t help but feel her apprehension slip away.

The act of summoning, if nothing else, certainly seemed to give the summoned time for self-reflection.

“I must say,” Laegjarn said, “they all look quite tempting. I ought to buy treats like these for Laevatein more often…”

“I bet she’d love that. They’re the best I’ve found in the whole kingdom – even if the price is a little… extravagant.”

Laegjarn’s smile widened, and she picked out a cream-filled biscuit, twirling it in her fingers. “Extravagant, mm? Well, I shan’t dare ask. But when it comes to one’s sister, a little extravagance every so often isn’t a terrible thing.” She bit into the biscuit, closing her eyes as she savoured the taste. “My, these are good…”

Corrin giggled. “You sound like my sister, Camilla. Always doting on me and Elise…”

“Princess Camilla? Yes, I’ve had the pleasure. She’s certainly quite… fond of you.”

“Just a little. She can be so attentive that it’s smothering, but I love her all the same.”

Laegjarn nodded. “As it should be. The bond between siblings is stronger than those without them could hope to understand. It’s our duty to look after one another; to depend on one another. Even if you’ve made an enemy of the whole world… a sibling won’t ever leave your side.”

Corrin took a plain biscuit in her fingers, looking down at it. Laegjarn’s love for her sister was inspiring; but it only gave rise to a cold, sad feeling in her heart.

How she wished Laegjarn was right. How she wished that her own siblings—bound by blood or not—could have understood the decision she’d made back home.

Laegjarn took a deep breath, and the smile faded from her lips.

“I suppose that brings me to the matter I wanted to discuss.”

“A-ah… Yes, of course.” Corrin looked up, giving Laegjarn her attention. “I can’t claim to be particularly wise, but… I’ll do my best to answer.”

“That’s quite alright,” Laegjarn said, offering another polite smile. “It’s just… something that’s pressed on my mind for some time. And from what I’ve gathered, you may be in a better position to advise me on it than most.”

She put her own half-bitten biscuit down, and turned distant for a moment, as if deciding how to phrase her words.

“I know my situation,” she said. “I’ve accepted it. In this world, I’ve died. I invoked the Rite of Flames so that Laevatein wouldn’t have to – and burned away my body in the process. But as strange as these current circumstances are—being alive again, being an ally to my former enemies—I’m not going to brood over them, or feel anything but pride for saving my sister’s life. I’m glad to see that the world’s found peace again, even if peace is always so precarious. What matters is that Laevatein is alive and safe.”

“She’s been so strong, hasn’t she?” Corrin said. “Even despite everything that’s happened…”

Laegjarn smiled again. This time, it was unmistakably sincere. “She has. She knows that I won’t be around forever, of course—that my presence here is only a brief blessing—but we’ve decided to find happiness in the extra time we’ve been given together. I only hope I’ll have enough time to see her become a wonderful queen.” Laegjarn’s fingers linked, and her elbows came to rest on the table. “But she’s not the matter in question. Not entirely. It’s—how might I put this?—more to do with what might have been than… what is.”

Unsure of how to respond, Corrin only nodded, urging her on.

“I understand that in your recent lifetime, you’ve been forced to make a difficult decision,” Laegjarn said. “Accounts vary. Some here in the Order claim you sided with Hoshido, the land of your birth, while others swear you’ve held loyal to Nohr, the land you grew up in. And a select few—for reasons unclear to me—believed neither claim was entirely accurate. The particulars aren’t important to me. I’ve no interest in prying into your hardships, nor have I any desire to tear open old wounds. But all the same… you found yourself thrust into a position where there seemed to be no clear answer. Am I correct so far?”

Corrin swallowed, then nodded. “That’s right. In the midst of a battle between Hoshido and Nohr, I had to decide who I was loyal to. And in the end…”

She paused for a moment – then shook her head.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “As you say, the details aren’t important. But… it wasn’t easy. I knew whatever choice I made was going to hurt people I cared for.”

“But you decided all the same. You took action, as we so often find ourselves forced to do.”

“Yes. As much as I wanted to find a peaceful resolution… I couldn’t find one.”

“I see.”

Laegjarn picked up the half-eaten biscuit, finishing it off as she collected her thoughts. When she looked at Corrin again, her expression was soft but focused.

“Forgive me if this is a difficult question, Princess Corrin, but… do you ever regret the path you took?”

A question that had haunted Corrin for months on end. A question she tried to avoid, but couldn’t. Even here, a world removed from her own, she couldn’t escape it.

“…Yes,” she admitted, looking down at the table. “It’s not that I hate what I’ve done, but… I wish I could have found a way to stop all the fighting before it started, and I wish I could have done something that hadn’t made enemies out of my family. I can’t help but wonder how things might have been different if I’d made a different choice; walked a different path. And I’ll never know for sure. That’s the difficult part, I think. The uncertainty. It makes me second guess everything I do…”

A pause. She could feel Laegjarn’s eyes on her, but didn’t meet them.

“You understand, then.”

“Understand…?”

Corrin looked up to see that Laegjarn had leaned forward, her bright red eyes studying her intently.

“You understand the pain of wondering if there wasn’t something else you could have done. If there wasn’t a better way. You understand the frustration of having to make an impossible choice – and the indignity of the regrets that follow.”

Corrin shuffled in her seat. The heat from Laegjarn’s gaze was almost uncomfortable, but there was a look of kinship and sympathy that set her at ease. She nodded.

“I know it too,” Laegjarn said softly. “All throughout Múspell’s invasion of Nifl and Askr, and even here… my thoughts constantly wander. I question whether, in my obligations to my country and my service as a general, I’ve walked a road of blind obedience instead of sticking to my principles. Neither Nifl nor Askr had done anything that warranted invasion. My father’s ambitions were the opposite of just.”

Her words struck an uneasy chord in Corrin’s heart. There was a sense of familiarity. She’d thought those words before; felt that same feeling.

It was almost uncanny.

Laegjarn shook her head. “I could have said no. I could have refused to play a part in my father’s madness, taken Laevatein, and fled to Nifl or Askr. I could have warned them of his plans and helped restore dignity to my nation. I could have done all those things – but instead, I did nothing. That, in itself, was a choice. And I shudder to think how many lives it might have condemned…”

“Maybe it would have made a difference,” Corrin allowed. “But your father’s strength was… terrifying. There’s no guarantee you could have escaped from Múspell with your sister – both of you might have lost your lives. And without you to lead Múspell’s armies, Princess Laegjarn, their onslaught may have been merciless. You led them with honour; offered us the chance to surrender over death. If you and your sister had died at your father’s hands, it’s unlikely the new leadership would have shared your compassion.”

“My compassion?” Laegjarn grimaced. “Yes – I tried to spare lives, keep damage done to a minimum… but it didn’t matter. Those prisoners of war I promised fair treatment to were slaughtered behind my back, and my father went as far as to burn the slums of our own people just to satisfy his cruelty. It would have made no difference if I led Múspell’s armies or not – save for that by being alive and doing so, I was complicit in his atrocities.”

Corrin placed her hands on Laegjarn’s across the table. “You can’t think like that. You can’t blame yourself for what he did.”

“Can’t I? I remember the war well, Princess Corrin. I was there, as were you. Our blades met. You saw me lead his armies into Niflese villages; saw them burn everything to the ground; saw my loyalty to his cause. I may have detested my father’s methods, but I enacted his will all the same. I walked a bloody path when there might have been another way. Whether it would have ultimately changed anything, I don’t know. No-one can. But the thought of it is… a burden.”

Corrin’s grip tightened. “You said it yourself. Your sister’s alive and safe, and the world’s starting to heal again. I wish a war could have been avoided entirely, but… sometimes that kind of peaceful resolution I try to find just doesn’t show itself in time. And I can’t say your father ever struck me as the type to accept such a resolution.”

Laegjarn’s eyes narrowed, and she looked down at Corrin’s hands wrapped around hers.

“I’ve never harboured love for my father,” she said. “He was a monster when I was born, and a monster when he… when we died. Laevatein was always my guiding light. My motivation. Everything I did was for her sake. You’d do anything for your siblings, too, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes,” Corrin said immediately. “They’re all so precious to me.”

“I’m glad. But that affection can lead us astray. We can conflate our siblings with the vague concept of ‘family’, and fool ourselves into thinking that if we love even only one part of it, we’re duty-bound to the whole. I was willing to go to any length for my sister… and as a consequence, I believed that doing as my father commanded was upholding my loyalty to the family she was a part of. I recognised the injustice of it all – but I was with her, and that was enough. I was choosing loyalty to my family over loyalty to my own principles. And as a result, I waged war in my father’s name.”

“You can still be loyal to the ones you love while staying true to yourself,” Corrin said. “Your sister, my siblings… Even as I can’t understand the wanton cruelty of my father in Nohr, I know my brothers and sisters are all good people at heart. It’s them I’ll fight for – for them, my allies, and myself. When we’re feeling lost, or having doubts—and goodness knows I’m familiar with both—they can be all we need to keep going.”

“Even if to ‘keep going’ means to walk the wrong path?”

“Yes.” Corrin admitted. “Maybe. But we can only do the best we can in any given moment. We can’t turn back time, or revisit old choices. All we can do is learn from our mistakes in the present… and strive to do better in the future. And when I start doubting myself, I know that at least I’m not walking that path alone.”

“You live with your doubts, then?”

Corrin nodded. “I’ve had time to think about it. So much has happened… I’ve had to make so many decisions, cross swords with so many people I don’t want to fight. At times, I’ve wanted to give into despair. But then I think about the future I want to see, and it gives me hope. It comforts me.”

“I see,” Laegjarn said. “And… what is that future, for you?”

“Well… Hoshido and Nohr at peace. My world united. It seems impossible right now, but… it’s something to strive for. It’s something to hope for. The path I’ve chosen isn’t an easy one, but when I see my siblings fighting alongside me, I know that even if there was a better way, I could have done much worse. And that’s enough, I think.”

Laegjarn sighed – then her hand squeezed Corrin’s, looking back up to her with a faint smile.

“…I think I understand. In the end, despite everything, I tried to make the best of the choice I’d made, and I tried to be there for Laevatein. And her bright future… it’s all still to come. All thanks to the Order.”

She straightened up, resuming an air of nobility.

“Pardon me, Princess Corrin,” she said. “It’s hardly right of me to spill all my regrets over what’s done when your troubles are still ongoing. But I’m glad to have told someone. And it’s comforting, somehow – to hear that I’m not the only one who’s felt this way.”

Corrin giggled. “I really don’t mind. Sure, it’s best not to get bogged down in introspection all the time, but it’s only healthy to talk your troubles through. Better that than letting them sit in your heart and torment you.”

She lifted a hand, ruffling Laegjarn’s green hair, and began to pat her on the head.

“You’re always welcome to speak to me if you need to,” she smiled. “I’ll always lend you an ear, and if I can help in some way, I will. After all the time we spent fighting, it’s nice that we can finally find some peace together.”

But Laegjarn wasn’t paying attention to her words. Instead, she was glancing up at the hand in her hair, arching an eyebrow.

“Princess Corrin… What, exactly, are you doing?”

Corrin blinked. She’d hardly been aware of her movements; hardly been aware of anything save for what had felt perfectly natural.

“What am I—? I-I mean, I’m…”

Her voice faltered – and then she became conscious of where exactly her hand was, and how inappropriate it must have looked.

“Oh!” she gasped. “Um… I’m sorry, I just… I was…”

She quickly pulled her hand away, rubbing the back of her head. Of all the people to forget herself in front of…!

“I… um… S-sorry. Bad habit from home,” she said, rushing out an explanation. “Me and my siblings are usually so affectionate with each other, and – and I know touch can bring people together, so I was just… a-attempting to comfort you, and….”

Ah, for the love of – could she sound any crazier? What sort of half-witted excuse was that?

To her surprise, however, Laegjarn didn’t look upset, or angry, or anything worse than confused. Instead, she simply smiled.

“I don’t recall asking you to stop.”

Another pause. “Y-you… Wait, you aren’t…?”

She shook her head. “In fact, I quite liked it. You may… continue. If you wish.”

“R-really…?”

Laegjarn turned away slightly – and the faintest hint of a flush was apparent on her cheek.

“If you… don’t mind,” she said.

Corrin gulped. “Of course not. I’d be glad…”

She slowly reached over the table to Laegjarn’s head once more, now stroking her hair with both hands. The Múspell princess closed her eyes and smiled, letting out a gentle sigh.

“This must seem a little odd for me,” she admitted. “But Laevatein would often do something similar to this when we were taking a break from battle. It’s… nice. Nostalgic. I’d forgotten how much I liked it.”

“A-ah, well… I sort of picked up the habit from Camilla … She’s very physical in her love, so it’s just how we’ve always done things. Then it bled over to other family members, and then friends…”

“Careful, now,” Laegjarn chuckled. “Too much affection, and you’ll end up petting your enemies in the middle of battles.”

Corrin managed a nervous giggle. It still hadn’t completely registered that Laegjarn was just letting her do this. “That would be a little troublesome, wouldn’t it? But to be honest, when I face someone I recognise on the battlefield… I’d much rather be doing this than fighting them.”

“You’re a kind girl, Princess Corrin. I’m sure you’ll be able to find the peaceful resolution you’re looking for.”

“I… I hope so.”

Corrin’s hands moved down from Laegjarn’s hair to her face, softly caressing her cheeks, her chin, her jawline…

She was so pretty. Her face, her hair, her body. Everything about her was so—

Wait. What was Corrin thinking? She hardly knew Laegjarn; they’d spent most of their acquaintance fighting on opposing sides of a war. They shared a lot in common, understood each other well, but…

But her heart was pounding all the same. Corrin wanted to be closer to her, to touch her more intimately and—

Oh, snap out of it…! What had come over her all of a sudden? This was nothing more than an affectionate gesture – the same thing she would’ve done for any of her friends back home. That’s all it was. A friendly show of closeness between two people who had, until recently, regarded each other as enemies. Nothing more, nothing less.

As her hands stroked Laegjarn’s cheeks, the princess’s eyes fluttered open once more, her smile widening.

“Your hands are so warm,” she murmured. “It’s very pleasant.”

“I-I’m glad,” Corrin managed, as her face turned several shades redder. “And your skin is so soft… T-that is, I mean – Gah! I should really stop talking…”

“Don’t.” Laegjarn’s voice was as collected as ever. “I quite like how you talk.”

Corrin felt her voice catch in her throat. “Do… do you…?”

“Yes. You’re very open with your feelings. You don’t wrap your thoughts and emotions in vague, roundabout terms. It’s why I’ve appreciated your counsel today.”

“O-oh,” Corrin stammered. “I see. Well, I’ve always been a bit like that, I guess… I’ve never seen the point in being indirect…”

A rush of heat swept through her body as Laegjarn’s smile curved up into a smirk.

“I can tell.”

One of Laegjarn’s hands reached up to take Corrin’s, and she guided the girl’s fingers towards her mouth.

In that moment, something in the atmosphere changed. Corrin shuddered as her fingertips brushed against her glossy lips, somehow even smoother than the rest of Laegjarn’s face, and found herself glad that she wasn’t wearing her gloves today.

“You’re so red,” Laegjarn whispered. “And shaking, too. Do I make you nervous?”

“N-nervous? Me? No! Why should I be nervous…?”

She was nervous. She was very, nervous. A fact that Laegjarn not only recognised, but also seemed all too eager to tease her about.

Corrin’s mind was trapped between two worlds; two choices; two diverging paths opening up before her. She wanted to be friendly; she wanted to be intimate. She wanted to stay noble and dignified; she wanted to indulge like an animal in the heat she was feeling. She wanted…

She didn’t know what she wanted to do. Life always broke off into so many different roads – and this time, there was precious little time to decide.

But she had to remain calm. She had to remain in control of herself. She had to maintain her usual composure. It wouldn’t do to make a fool of herself in front of someone as beautiful as—

Beautiful?

No. No, that wasn’t it. This was all just a way of comforting her – like hugging Silas after a bad day, or reassuring Felicia when she’d broken another plate or seven. She was just being a good friend. She was showing Laegjarn the same affection she showed her siblings. That was all.

Laegjarn’s lips against her fingers were so soft, so inviting. Her eyes, filled with the same fire Corrin had only seen before in battle against her, stared into her own.

“You know, Princess Corrin,” Laegjarn said softly, “you can be very easy to read. In a duel, that might be a fatal flaw.”

Then, those lips kissed Corrin’s fingers; a gentle press that sucked on her skin and left a cold wet mark in its place.

She’d read Corrin with the same expertise that she read a battlefield. And Corrin—flush-faced and dizzy, barely able to comprehend what was happening—couldn’t think of anything else other than how good it felt.

How good it felt when their eyes met.

How good it felt when Laegjarn’s lips kissed her fingers.

How good it felt when—

She couldn’t finish her thoughts – because only a moment later, Laegjarn turned it up to eleven by taking her thumb into her mouth, sucking on it gently and teasing it with her tongue.

“A-ah…” Corrin quivered. “T-that’s…!”

“You have such tender hands.” Her voice, once firm and professional, was now closer to honey: smooth and syrupy and sweet. It was almost as if she were drunk on something. “How do my lips feel?”

“They feel… good,” she managed. Her thumb was glistening with Laegjarn’s saliva, and the sight was stirring up unbearable feelings inside her.

“Oh? Just good?”

Corrin gulped as Laegjarn stuck out her tongue, tracing the line of her thumb before taking it into her mouth once more and suckling on it eagerly.

“Do I need to do more to earn your satisfaction?”

“N-no… I think… you’re already… a-a-aah…!”

Laegjarn’s mouth took in another slender finger, then another, as she began to suck with more enthusiasm. Her wet tongue slathered over Corrin’s digits and took them deeper into her mouth.

“Oh…!”

The princess of Múspell stopped briefly to look up at her, a string of saliva connecting her tongue to Corrin’s hand.

“Does this feel nice?” she asked.

“Yes,” Corrin breathed, shuddering again. She wasn’t thinking about her words anymore; only riding the emotions. “P-please…”

Laegjarn smirked, then went back to work.

Corrin couldn’t comprehend what was happening. A simple series of affectionate touches had escalated in an instant, and now her fingers were somehow wrapped up in the other girl’s hot, moist mouth.

And she couldn’t get enough of it.

“L-Laegjarn…!”

The biscuits on the table separating them had been entirely forgotten now; their candid exchange about decisions and regrets was a distant memory. Now, there were only the wet sounds of sucking, and Corrin’s muffled moans.

“Nngh… a-ahn… T-that’s…!”

All manner of naughty, wonderfully dirty thoughts were racing through her mind. Thoughts that a royal princess of Nohr simply wasn’t supposed to have; thoughts that Camilla, had she known about them, might have punished her for.

She might have liked that.

Slowly, finally, Laegjarn slid Corrin’s fingers out of her mouth with a wet popping sound, leaving the tips glistening. The fire in the former general’s eyes had grown even brighter – and Corrin, abandoning her senses, could only think about how much she wanted to run her fingers over other parts of Laegjarn.

“Forgive me if I sound too forward, Princess Corrin,” she murmured, still smiling, “but I believe this table’s rather getting in the way.”

Camilla had been right, Corrin realised. A little bit of physical affection really did bring people together.


Corrin’s fingers traced across Laegjarn’s stomach, gliding down her body and drawing out moans at every inch. Nothing in her technique had changed: her touches were warm, her hands were as soft as the bedsheets beneath them, and her movements were cautious and delicate. She was still showing her affection, as she might have done for any of her loved ones, and she was still working to comfort Laegjarn; this woman who had faced the same tough decisions as her, who had to suffer through doubt and regret at every turn.

The only difference was that they were naked, that their bodies were intertwined, and that Corrin was doing her best, in addition to giving affection and comfort, to drive Laegjarn wild with lust.

Yes; something significant had occurred in the hour or so Laegjarn had spent in Corrin’s room. It defied explanation that only a few head-pats and face-rubs in concert with a friendly conversation could have taken things to this extreme.

But in the heat of the moment, neither of them paid much mind to the details.

“Nnh…” Laegjarn murmured. “F-further down…”

Corrin obliged, sliding her hand lower and lower until her fingers brushed across the tip of Laegjarn’s mound and the other woman let out a whimper.

“Here?” Corrin asked.

“Y-yes… There, please…”

Laegjarn’s earlier boldness had all but vanished. She’d allowed her composure to briefly slip when Corrin had started rubbing her face, but she’d seized the advantage and regained control as soon as she’d identified Corrin’s weakness. Now, though—pressed against the bed and entirely at the mercy of Corrin’s touch—she’d become a writhing mess, and she could only bite her lip to keep from yelling out.

“Is… Is this good?” Corrin asked, running her fingers up and down Laegjarn’s slit.

“Yes… Yes, that’s perf—AH!”

Corrin pushed into her wetness, and was rewarded with an even louder moan; a moan that grew into a cry and then faded back into a low, sustained whimper. Her free hand reached up, cupping one of Laegjarn’s firm, heavy orbs, and squeezed gently, flicking her nipple and rubbing in slow, regular motions.

Maybe it had been their shared fears and doubts over the actions they’d taken, or maybe it had just been something magical in the feeling of Corrin’s hands against Laegjarn’s skin that had provoked such an intense reaction. But whatever the reason, affection had come naturally between them, and with affection came attraction, and with attraction came intimacy – and they’d already crossed the line of intimacy long before either of them had removed their armour.

“Please…” Laegjarn whimpered. “Please, I–I want…”

She didn’t need to say anything. Corrin was more than happy to comply. Her finger sped up, dipping in and out of Laegjarn’s folds, and she gradually added a second finger to the task, then a third. Laegjarn moaned, pressing her head back against the pillow and grinding her hips against Corrin’s touch.

“Come here. Closer, Corrin… Closer…”

Laegjarn pulled Corrin into a kiss, and Corrin closed the distance by herself, locking their lips together and pushing her fingers even deeper inside her partner. Laegjarn, gasping and groaning into Corrin’s mouth, dug her nails into her back, tensing more and more with each thrust.

“There…” she gasped. “There…!”

Corrin worked with feverish devotion, as if to make up for her earlier hesitation that evening. Their bodies continued to grind, their moans and sighs filled the room; and as their hands explored one another’s body, the mood grew more and more frantic.

It was enough.

Soon, the tension broke, and Laegjarn broke with it, collapsing into a shuddering mess as she came. Corrin followed shortly after, letting out a cry of her own as she fell against Laegjarn’s body – and then all went still as they laid there for a moment, limp and drinking in the afterglow.

“You really did feel as good down there as you did up here,” Laegjarn managed, running a hand along her face. “You’re a talented woman indeed, Corrin. I see I did well to ask after such an experienced host…”

Corrin let out a light, tired giggle. “I’ve… never actually done that before,” she admitted.

“You might have fooled me,” Laegjarn purred. “Who knew that mind-mannered demeanour of yours was hiding such an expert?”

“Well... I just wanted to show the same affection as I do to anyone – my siblings, my friends. T-though… I can’t say it’s ever turned out quite like this before…”

She heard Laegjarn sigh. “I should probably have responded with a little more dignity when you first touched me. But for some reason… I felt myself faltering against you. I let myself grow silly; unrestrained.”

“Camilla always said it helped people grow close. I guess… if those people already feel close on a deeper level—like a sense of shared experiences—and one just happens to find the other attractive… then ‘silly’ things can happen.”

Laegjarn chuckled. “I shan’t dare question it. Evidently, your sister’s knowledge of ‘affection’ puts mine to shame. It makes me feel almost distant to Laevatein.”

“She has a way with it, it’s true,” Corrin said, smiling. “Though I may need to ask her a question or two about the side effects…”