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through the tinted glass

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It wasn’t long into their marriage until Twilight realized that something was… off about his wife.

 

The first sign was on the night he proposed to Yor. The glint of a knife that Twilight was unable to dodge, an enemy bearing down on him from above with the intent to kill, suddenly thrust aside like a ragdoll by one well-placed and powerful kick from Yor. He rolled around a dozen feet before hitting the wall and coming to a stop. That sort of strength was not normal in a person. Twilight filed that away for further analysis later, and Loid expressed gratitude to his soon-to-be wife for saving him. In the end, Twilight never did unpack that observation. In hindsight, he wondered if it truly was because he was growing sloppy in all his exhaustion, or if on some subconscious level he wanted to avoid the truth. As more time passed, Twilight suspected the latter, though he would never admit it.

 

The next incident was at the museum, when Loid found Yor admiring a painting of a guillotine and the razor edge of a knife. Although it was unexpected, he didn’t think much of that one. People had plenty of weird quirks, and perhaps Yor simply liked sharp objects. However, combined with all the other evidence Twilight had amassed, her seemingly innocuous fancy took on a sinister light.

 

Things like this continued to happen–when a stampede of cows threatened to overrun them at Eden Academy, Yor displayed knowledge of pressure points that no ordinary person would know despite her yoga class excuse; at their celebration of Anya’s acceptance into Eden, she demonstrated fighting talent while drunk that easily surpassed Twilight’s own–and he was a top-tier spy. 

 

Loid never asked questions, even though it would have been so easy to pry the answers out of Yor. Twilight knew all sorts of techniques to get a person to talk, and he probably wouldn’t even need them with a person like Yor. Just a bottle of alcohol and some probing questions would be enough to make her spill her secrets if he so inclined.

 

He wondered time and time again why he never asked. Twilight scolded himself for being far too laid back but never actually did anything about it. But for Loid, it was quite simple: a good husband would let his wife have her privacy. 

 

Months might have passed with Twilight remaining unaware of Yor’s secret if he hadn’t coincidentally stayed up late going over ciphered case files. Maybe in another universe he would have put the papers aside and gone to sleep, but in this one, he hadn’t–and that simple choice changed both everything and nothing at the same time.

 


 

Loid Forger, family man and well-respected psychiatrist, sat at his desk pouring over work-related papers in the dim light of his bedside lamp. Twilight diligently reviewed details about various missions, planning his schedule for the next week in order to balance Operation Strix with all the side missions he had to complete. 

 

The clock ticked away. It was late in the night, around 2 AM. He wouldn’t get much sleep, but he was used to running on a few hours. It had become the norm for him for a long time with how demanding his work was.

 

Loid put down his papers and removed his glasses, rubbing his face sleepily. Still, maybe he should just go to bed. If he was too tired, it would hinder his ability to retain information, which could lead to him compromising a mission simply because he didn’t remember some critical details.

 

Loid sighed and arranged the papers in a neat stack on his desk before standing up and stretching. He decided he would get himself a glass of water and then go to bed. As he stepped into the hall, he paused for a moment outside Anya’s room, opening the door a notch to check on his daughter. Loid smiled at the sight of her sleeping peacefully and gently shut the door again. 

 

Entering the kitchen and pouring himself a glass of water, Twilight performed a routine check of the house he always did before going to bed. Even though he never found anything during his time as Loid Forger, he knew better than to let his guard down. Besides, there was still that incident with Edgar and his lackeys kidnapping Anya. He still didn’t know how he had been compromised, and it had been bothering him ever since. At least he had silenced everyone involved, and they wouldn’t go near him any time soon.

 

Everything was clear as usual until Twilight reached the bathroom. Loid frowned, hearing very faint shuffling inside. It’s probably Yor, he thought. He risked a quick stealth walk to Yor’s room and peeked inside–sure enough, it was empty. Twilight arched an eyebrow at the state of her bed–it was as if she hadn’t slept in it all night. It was still perfectly made, not a crinkle to be seen, and no blankets tossed aside haphazardly as they should be if she had woken up in the middle of the night. And he certainly hadn’t heard her leave her room in the first place. She’d also managed to slip out of the house without him noticing.

 

What had she been up to the whole night, then? 

 

Twilight ruffled his hair and adopted a sleepy expression as the door opened. A softer, unassuming appearance would lower her guard.

 

“Oh! Loid!” Yor exclaimed, not expecting him to be standing there. She was wearing her pajamas. She must have changed before entering the bathroom, unless she’d been walking around town in her pajamas, which Loid highly doubted.

 

“Hello, Yor.” Loid gave her a small smile and squinted at her slightly through tired eyes. “I was just waiting to use the bathroom.”

 

“Oh, of course,” Yor said, stepping aside. “I’ll just, uh, go back to bed now.” She didn’t look at him directly. Twilight knew enough of her tells after living with her to see that she was feeling guilty. About what?

 

He flashed her one last smile and shut the bathroom door before scanning the room. There weren’t any immediate signs that anything was out of place, but he could pick up the slight scent of blood. A normal person might not have noticed it, but Twilight was well acquainted with the stench and had learned to pinpoint it among an array of smells. It was important when assessing signs of injury or fighting, after all. After he was sure Yor had gone to her bedroom and sufficient time had passed, Twilight flushed the toilet and opened up the medicine cabinet, the toilet masking any sounds he might accidentally make.

 

Twilight frowned. The medical supplies had not been placed like that the last time he checked. It was clear that Yor had done her best to arrange everything the way it had been before, but he had a good memory.

 

Loid felt a flash of worry for his wife’s wellbeing. Had Yor gotten injured somehow? Why didn’t she come to him for help? The only answer he could think of was that she didn’t want him to know she was hurt, probably because that would require her to explain how it happened.

 

Loid sighed, washing his hands for show and walking back to his bedroom. He would think more about this later, but for now he had to wake up in time to get Anya ready for school.

 


 

The warm, soothing aroma of coffee wafted around the living room as Loid sipped his morning coffee. He had already finished making breakfast. Fluffy pancakes were stacked aesthetically on a plate, sitting at the table and waiting for Anya to devour them.

 

“Good morning, Loid,” Yor greeted, emerging from her bedroom. 

 

“Good morning to you too,” he returned, moving to serve Yor some pancakes in her plate. “How was your night?” he asked amiably. 

 

Yor gazed at him for a moment as if searching his face for something. Trying to see if I know anything? Twilight wondered.

 

“I slept fine, thanks. How about you? You didn’t stay up late working again, did you?” she replied.

 

Loid smiled sheepishly. “You got me.”

 

Yor frowned. “Really, Loid, you shouldn’t have to work this hard. You deserve a break too sometimes, and sleep is important!”

 

Loid was touched by her concern for him. It almost distracted him from his objective this morning: to assess Yor for injuries and figure out what additional things she might be hiding.

 

Before he could respond, Anya trudged out of her room, rubbing her eyes drowsily and sitting at the table. “G’morning, Mama, Papa,” she said, still half-asleep.

 

“Good morning, Anya!” Yor was as chipper as ever.

 

As Anya regaled them about the latest episode of Spy Wars through mouthfuls of pancakes and maple syrup, Loid leaned against the kitchen counter and observed his family contentedly. Twilight’s eyes zeroed in on Yor’s slightly stiff movements. She was doing a good job of hiding it, but her left arm movement seemed to be impaired slightly as she used her fork and knife. He didn’t smell any more blood, though. That was good.

 

Just what had Yor gotten up to last night that forced her to sneak home in the dead of night and tend to an injury that left a small but noticeable dent in their medical supplies? Twilight narrowed his eyes in suspicion. He couldn’t let the signs slide anymore; this was something he had to investigate until he got to the bottom of it. His wife’s health was in the balance, after all, and her wellbeing was crucial to Operation Strix.

 

Anya suddenly sat up straight in her chair. “Mama, I’m sorry!” she exclaimed, looking very alarmed.

 

“Huh?” Yor asked in confusion.

 

“I’m sorry I leaned on you too much yesterday when I was taking a nap! Now your arm is sore.” Anya sounded devastated, and somehow also frightened. She was a sweet girl to be so worried about her mother.

 

“Eh? That’s not why…” Yor started, before glancing at her arm. “Er, it’s because I slept in somewhat of an awkward position last night. But it’s not that big of a deal–I didn’t even think it was noticeable. Don’t blame yourself, Anya.”  

 

“I hope your arm gets better soon,” Loid spoke up. “It seems to be hindering your movement.” After a pause, Twilight decided to give it a try. “Maybe I should take a look?” he offered.

 

Yor instantly refused. “Oh, it’s really no trouble! I’ll be fine, I promise. Thank you for your concern though!”

 

As I thought. Twilight closed his eyes in consideration. She’s definitely hiding something. Feigning casualness, he slipped his hand into his pocket, fingers wrapping around the bug he had just in case it came to this. Then, he walked over to their coat rack under the guise of getting Anya’s jacket ready for ease of access when they left the house. His hand brushed Yor’s coat, slipping the bug on and activating it. Sorry, Yor, but I have to be sure.

 

He already had a theory, what with Yor’s incredible combat skills and the events from last night. Loid sincerely hoped he was wrong and it was all a misunderstanding. After all, if Yor really was a hired killer like he suspected, that meant someone could order her to go after Twilight at some point, and he wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight against her.

 

Twilight had bugged her before, but it revealed nothing. Perhaps she just hadn’t been up to anything on that day. He needed to collect a larger sample size to be certain. 

 

As Anya wore her jacket and put on her shoes, she turned to Loid with a serious expression on her face. “Papa, you and Mama trust each other, right?” 

 

Loid and Yor exchanged a glance. What brought this on?

 

“Well, of course,” he said.

 

“That’s right. I know Loid would have my back in any situation!” Yor added.

 

Anya looked sad. “Mama and Papa will stay together no matter what, right?”

 

Twilight pushed down a twinge of guilt. “Of course.” Loid beamed at his daughter. “We’ll always be there for you.”

 

“Come now, Anya, or we’ll be late for the bus,” Yor urged gently, the moment passing.

 

“Okay…”

 

Twilight tried to push aside the somber look in Anya’s eyes as she asked that question. Despite his best efforts, it stuck with him during the walk to the bus stop.