Fan-fiction · Fire Emblem · Uncategorized

Fire Emblem Fates: The Princess, On Her Night

Fire Emblem: Fates Fan-fiction || Hinoka/Orochi/Reina

💖💫 Woah, it’s a non-smut thing from me! 😮 It’s been a while!! 💖💫

…it’s also just been a while, yeah? o_o;;; Sorry!

So this is a cute thing that’s kind of a continuing timeline from an unfinished Orochi/Mikoto story I wrote allllllll the way back. Years after crushing hard on her queen (and many pints of whatever the Hoshido equivalent of sadness ice cream is) Orochi discovers she may’ve fallen for the next generation instead! XD

It’s the most lore-y thing I’ve done, probably, and I have another chapter in the bank–and then after that, maybe some smut can sneak its way in–so please enjoy and look forward to it! orz orz orz

You can read this on Archive of Our own, if you want!

Hinoka’s legs ached.

Ladies and men of Hoshido…

She was accustomed, now, to extended exercise and strain. She had begun training with pegasi at the age of seven, and had hardly spent a single free moment outside of the stables since the awful day…

Best not to think on that.

My beloved servants of Hoshido—drat, no.

Her legs shook, when she wasn’t careful. Despite powerful thighs built for hard effort, everyone has limits, and she had been standing in front of the huge, ornate mirror since sunup as retainers fussed over her.

Though this was to be expected: the robes and jewelry of the Rite of Ascendance were intricate—every hairpin and every tie had not just a ritual method, but a ritual meaning. The fact that HER retainers insisted upon being part of the preparation, however, made the process no swifter. Azuma, once granted entry, had knelt in the corner, offered only “what is adulthood? Death, but through the eyes of others” and had hardly moved before being summarily ejected. Setsuna had somehow suspended herself from the ceiling in her first attempt to tie an obi.

And Hinoka had, for the most part, fussed and fidgeted throughout the entire, day-long ordeal, thankful for the moments of distraction, when eyes were on suspended Setsuna and she could breathe without looking in the polished brass mirror that seemed to calculate and track her ongoing descent into ritual femininity. She was only too happy to let the inevitable be delayed.

But it was inevitable, wasn’t it?

Thus, midday came ‘round with precious little progress to show for it, and there was only one thing to do: call in professionals.

[[MORE]]

When Orochi and Reina arrived, Hinoka felt some strange relief despite herself—ah, adults! They’d handle everything. With precision and grace, her mother’s retainers went to work. Orochi flitted about her like a butterfly, pulling robes close, adjusting and creating form as a stoic Reina deftly closed these shapes around Hinoka’s body with traditional water-blessed rope and silken ties in ornate knots.

That relief soon congealed into a new form of disappointment, as the robes draped and tied around Hinoka’s lithe, toned frame failed to transmute her into the emblem of beatific womanhood her mother represented. Never had she felt more childish than on this, the eve of her twentieth birthday, and her official coming out as the eldest princess of Hoshido. It was a dual, yet paradoxical disappointment: Hinoka resented these robes for what the mythical image of femininity they represented, and yet she also resented that they failed to bestow her that same image, when forced upon her.

She tried to focus on her speech.

Loyal servants of our b-beloved Hoshido…

Then there was the matter of the hair. She flinched this way and that as the pins and clips went in, her relative lack of experience with them amplifying a fear of being poked and prodded at the scalp. Orochi’s dexterous hands had to redouble their efforts just to ensure that Hinoka’s rabbit-like quavering did not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“O-our bold and… noble… charges; gathered here today we… we… we…” Hinoka swallowed, suppressing a groan of frustration as her head was urged forward and her short bangs fell into her face. Frustrated bloomed red on her cheeks, and her hands balled into fists. “W-what is it now, Orochi?”

“Your hair.” Orochi filled the space of her pause with a mild sigh. The sun was slinking behind the distant, snow-capped mountains already; it was hardly an hour before the ceremonial banquet. “I’ve been working on you all day, Hinoka-poo, and there is not a Single. Thing. I. Can. Do.” Noting the consternation that claimed the Princess’s visage, Orochi braced her with a smile, and a squeeze on the shoulder. “Never you fear! What style we lose in hair, we’ll gain in makeup.” The flighty woman, herself complicated and ornate, who moved with fluid grace despite the heavy bangles and rosary beads that adorned her slim arms and the majestic array of decorative combs and pins of her intricate hairstyle, reached for jars of pigment and brushes small enough that gods of grass could dance upon their single bristles. “Relax. Sit. You’ll be just fine.”

Sit? Relax? Hinoka’s thighs and rump ached from standing all day, it was true, but it wasn’t a seat they craved. Her haunches yearned to spring into motion, to dash away and find her beloved mount, to take to the skies and soar—or to even pick up her training lance and whack away at a straw dummy in an empty courtyard. Anything but this!

And, especially, anything but what might come after…

And makeup?

“No,” Hinoka said firmly, though her reddening cheeks (she hardly needed rouge!) and wilting gaze transmuted that denial almost into a petulant whine as it broke the air, the sound trailing into the echo of a childish do I haaaave to?

Reina lifted Hinoka’s arm to tie off a thick tress in her gown, and Hinoka cleaved to her—a powerful knight of the sky, like Hinoka aspired to be—for support in this engagement. Though she did not know her mother’s retainer especially well, the blue-haired warrior hardly seemed the type to give into parlor games and court antics. If Hinoka had an ally in this plight against caked-on beauty and the encumbrance of jewelry and gowns, it was surely stoic Reina!

In response to Hinoka’s plaintive look, Reina cleared her throat, furrowed her brow, and, after a moment, broke her silence.

“My parents were magistrates when I became a pegasus knight,” she said. “I was required to attend many a court banquet in my day, before I joined the kinshi, and your mother’s service. And yours…” the faintest hints of a smile surfaced on her face. “Are not the first ceremonial silks I’ve arranged, or knots I’ve closed.”

Was that the hint of a blush on Orochi’s cheeks? Her own cosmetics were artful and careful, and did well to conceal this new, natural pinkness. Conspicuously silent through the exchange, she rallied. “Besides, I’ve done your divination! It’s extremely important that you look your best tonight!” She nodded, firmly, the many brass bracelets on her left arm clinking. “Now, sit!”

Hinoka settled down into her chair and straightened her back, attempting to assume the role of a proud and indefatigable ruler that she’d present on stage—the confident, self-assured, eldest daughter of Hoshido on the long-awaited night of her debut as an adult. The first coming out of a royal princess since long before her birth. It was fair to say the nation was in a dizzied fervor of anticipation. And still, Hinoka had only one thing on her mind… and it was hardly the make-up.

My dutiful subjects of Hoshido…

But the make-up was certainly the most present. And so she clarified her position, and her timidity. “I mean… really, must we, Orochi?”

Orochi’s fingers pressed softly against Hinoka’s cheek—delicate and beautiful, for someone so fierce. “We must. It is tradition, and I promise it will make you look so very ravishing!” Her grin was easy and wide, and with a soft ivory she began applying a foundation. “Don’t think on the makeup. Tell us a bit about the words you’ve planned, show us the Princess of Hoshido you plan to reveal to the nation!”

The word ‘ravishing’ triggered some uncategorized and unpleasant thought in Hinoka’s mind, and the pit of her stomach sunk a little. For some reason she found herself painfully aware of her breasts, and how the tight ties of her robe seemed to emphasize the shape of her curves despite her modest bosom and the thickness of the cloth. She sighed, biting her lip and trying to relax into the ticklish feeling of Orochi’s tender brush strokes along her cheeks.

Reina emphasized Orochi’s statement by braiding a silk through and around one of Hinoka’s shoulders and pulling it taut, a tight sensation at her shoulder even as Orochi practically caressed with the gentle ivory. “It’ll be important. They love you, and they take strength from you. This is everything you are.” The warrior—with a casual comfort and confidence, which Hinoka envied almost as much as the soft leathers of Reina’s military uniform—grunted, and the corner of her mouth quirked up, patterning against the crossed scars on her face as she gently tied the brocade loops at Hinoka’s chest. Her tone softened. “Take heart. The ladies in this room have suffered similar trials, and both lived to tell the tale”

Hinoka’s face made a show of shifting, both as she struggled to accept Reina’s advice and she struggled to avoid bursting into laughter at the thought of strong and scarred Reina in these ridiculously ornate robes—the latter bringing a mirthful wrinkle to her nose. She glanced between her attendants. It was a trial to keep her coltish body still, and thus, she sublimated that energy with her eyes, darting them back and forth as Reina and Orochi manipulated her like some precious doll.

“The speech?” she asked. “It’s all but written for me… I’m to be proud, yet magnanimous; bold, yet gentle; fierce yet…” Forgetting herself in daydream, the young princess all but smiled, for a moment.

“Head up!” Orochi chastised, playful yet stern, pushing a finger beneath Hinoka’s daydream-drooped chin, so that the light caught the eldest daughter’s cheekbones and Orochi could continue her work.

Hinoka flinched to attention—to reality—at Orochi’s order. Her posture became rigid and her broad shoulders set, and she was obedient… for a time, her expression turning rueful, even as Orochi’s paints drew out those deep lines of beauty from her youthful face. “But if you’ve divined it, then surely you must know what happens, isn’t that so, Orochi? If you told me what you saw,” she began, solicitously, and oddly shy, and her hands gripping gently at empty air as Reina lifted and manipulated her arms to tie off her sleeve. “It might put my mind at ease, isn’t that right?”

A tremor took Orochi’s heart. It was just last night she had laid out the cards, and frowned, and collected them, and laid them out once more before summoning Kagero. The kunoichi had, with heavy heart, refused to interfere, for reasons of her own, so there had been only one other choice…

Here, Reina decided to interject, glancing over the top of Hinoka’s head and leveling a conspiratorial gaze at the young fortune teller, and interrupting her reminiscence. “Even better, you might tell Hinoka the tragedy of your own royal debut.”

“Oh, I know that,” said Hinoka, eyes bright with innocence, a quick smile creasing the corners of lips. “It’s one of mother’s favorite stories. You predicted she’d fall into the fountain, isn’t that right? How mortifying!”

With Orochi uncharacteristically silent for a moment, Reina softly said, “Oh, that’s only half the story. It was the talk of the court all evening, the things Orochi said before our queen, your mother.” Deft, calloused fingered expertly adjusted the crease of Hinoka’s tall collar, and a bit of mirth softened Reina’s stern features, in the face of Hinoka’s trenchant naivety. “But to my memory, the truly mortifying part came after.”

“That’s quite enough.” Orochi sternly said, as red as her rouge-pot. “It’s a night to weave new tales of the princess’s debut, not rehash those stale stories of ours.”

“Indeed,” said Reina, with a couched smile.

Orochi favored Reina with a narrowing of her eyes. “That lack of subtlety is why I am responsible for her hair and makeup while you tie knots.” The look that filtered across her face was arch, almost inscrutable. She turned her attention to Hinoka once more, highlighting her cheeks, lining her eyes, painstakingly. “We began calling her the Butcher because of how she treats hair.” Orochi’s own hair was as elaborate as ever, lifted high and pinned under to create an ornate crest, but for some reason a simple, white leather strap was laced through the locks of hair secured by the pins. “Close your eyes.” Gently, she swept a bit of powder along Hinoka’s eyelids, and Hinoka felt a ticklish wriggle run through her blunt nose. “And pay no mind to your divination; if I said it was good you would not believe me, and if I said you fell in a fountain you’d not go. But you MUST go. It was certain on that point.”

Reina scoffed, glancing down at Hinoka’s hair—it’d been shimmered, smoothed, pinned out of her eyes, her cropped locks given an almost feminine cast beneath the sun-emblem crown pinned precariously into the back.

Feeling unsated, but slightly more at ease, Hinoka obeyed, for a time. The room fell silent but for the gentle susurration of brushes against skin and the whisper of cloth as the women committed themselves to the final flourishes of their duty. Orochi’s fingers roamed down Hinoka’s neck, gently turning her head this way and that to apply detail and contour, layer upon layer paper thin, until one could suspect that Orochi’s brushes were empty, that she was simply tormenting the girl for the delight of it.

At some of these touches, chaste though they may’ve been, Hinoka would tremble a little—caught as if between conflicting desires to shy away from this strange intimacy and to throw herself bodily into it, into the skilled, yet somewhat cold, hands of the beautiful women gilding her. Her lips parted, and her breath quickened just a pace in her chest, at the thought of their proximity, and all that might entail. Through the make-up, she could feel her skin ready to bead into sweat. It was nerves, she told herself.

And then, after a time, it was over.

“Perfect,” said Orochi, placing the last of her brushes on the table beside her. She stepped out of the way of the mirror, and the face staring back at Hinoka was oddly intense. It was unmistakably her own, but… moreso. An afternoon of sitting, finished… and a strange woman looking back at her in the mirror. Her snub nose was adorable, demure, her lips plush enough to pout, but set firm. The liner on her eyes seemed to focus the gaze on that part of her face, as though she were sizing up an opponent. In one moment, a delicate princess; in the next, a ferocious warrior. But undeniably feminine throughout—indeed, it was a cocksure, headstrong femininity that Orochi had drawn out, uniquely Hinoka in every way.

Proud people of the sun, my noble Hoshidan brothers and sisters…

Hinoka raised her hands to touch her face, as if to confirm it still belonged to her.

Reina favored the younger woman with a smile. “Don’t touch it or worry at it, it’ll smudge.”

The warning halted the princess full stop, and Hinoka hastily bused her hands cupping each other in her lap.

…but it was strange, to look at herself in the mirror this way. Though the thought of having make-up applied had risen a nausea in her gut whose cause she hadn’t fully understood, the face that looked at her now, even made up as it was, had nothing to do with the reflection of her mother’s feminine grace that she expected; for some reason she couldn’t explain, that comforted her. “It’s—”

“Perfect, as I said.” A prideful grin bloomed across Orochi’s face. “An image befitting Hoshido’s proudest warrior and Princess.”

“If you’re quite finished praising your own work,” Reina interjected, “Hoshido’s proudest warrior and Princess still has a banquet to attend.”

With grin unfaltering, the fortune-teller folded her hands, faux-demure, between her breasts, providing room for Hinoka, in her robes and crown, to stand and lead her new procession.Hinoka stood with uneasy, affected grace. The wooden sandals were uncomfortable to walk on, and she yearned from the constrictive comfort of her riding boots. The sun sigil crown pinned to her short hair and the yards of cloth wrapped around her were heavier than any armor or helmet upon her shoulders and head. Though the robes draped wide around her form, they pulled dramatically tight around her legs, so she could only shift forward in meager steps, when her body craved its usual loping stride. To one so accustomed to soaring freedom, such demure shuffling barely seemed like movement at all.

Hinoka had managed to avoid robes like this for many years—since the sakura festivals of her youth. Since those days of blooming flowers, she had bloomed too, followed a path she might never have expected, and grown into a woman—and these robes had only grown more constrictive in their absence.

But Reina and Orochi were waiting, as were all those beyond the dressing chamber’s doors. She took the first few steps, tearing herself away from the trance-inducing mirror, and stepped thoughtfully, practicing her movements…

…and only as she reached her chamber’s sliding door, and the murmurs of the waiting crowd of retainers, servants, maids, and attendants reached her ears, did she begin to shake.

“I can’t,” she said, with quiet urgency, turning to appeal the inchoate procession of two behind her (indeed, their presence could only remind her of how many more were waiting to join in the hall outside, and had been for hours).

Reina and Orochi looked to her, then to each other.

“I can’t,” Hinoka said, simply. She wasn’t ready. There had to be someone else who could do this. Anyone would do. “Sakura,” she spoke to herself, in a pained whisper. There had to be another princess of Hoshido who could do this—anyone but her.

Another odd, shared glance passed between Orochi and Reina.

Reina nodded, eliding past Hinoka with a watery grace, and stepping into the hall as befitted Hoshidan Guard—that is to say: protectively. The door opened, the small crowd came alive at even the brief glimpse of the princess in her formal garb, some of the younger servants—many of them young enough to have never seen a princess at her debut—going as far to crowd the door in the excitement.

“Step back. Princess Hinoka requires room to breathe.” Reina turned to a minor functionary, with considerably more expensive clothing, and considerably worse makeup, than the Princess herself. “Princess Hinoka has ordered that you summon Princess Sakura. Just as each citizen of Hoshido relies upon the next for safety and prosperity, the royal family shall present itself united in support of its citizenry.”

It was no secret, of course, what was missing from Hinoka’s heart, and as Reina addressed the mass, so Orochi took the Princess by the shoulders, kept her upright, her robes and makeup and spirits in order.

“I was not to tell anyone, Princess. But a year ago, on the anniversary of your mother’s ascendancy, I read that the family would one day be rejoined. She ordered that I not speak of what I foresaw in that fortune, but…” Orochi looked away for a moment, fretting at her lip with her teeth. “Even if your family cannot all be present for this occasion, it will not much longer be apart.”

“All my family?” Hinoka asked, as if in a daze. The murmurs of the crowd were like war drums in her ears, and her eyes with glossy with confusion. “You mean to say…”

My loyal Hoshidans. Long have we suffered the loss of…

With a firm grip upon Hinoka’s shoulder, Orochi stripped the tall Princess from the clouds of her thoughts and back to ground. “You will be the one who leads us to that future, the free spirit and ferocity that sustains us until that day.” She took Hinoka’s rough hands in her soft ones, clasping them in quiet entreaty. “We all need you, and your bravery.”

But even as she spoke these confident words, Orochi internally faltered. She’d never been so close to the Princess, and never noticed the litheness of her, the muscle. With her eyes, perhaps, as she tied and measured; but never pressed against her like this, with such immediacy.

Hinoka, too, found herself swept away by Orochi’s close embrace. Gone were the cool touches of her attendant who dressed her hair. Orochi’s hands were warm around hers, and her face was so close that Hinoka could smell the sweet, summertime scent of cherries that lingered on her breath. It reminded Hinoka of a different time, and, eddied by sensation and memory and Orochi’s generous, bodily warmth, she parted her lips to—

Like the sun from behind a cloud, Princess Sakura emerged, her robes emblazoned, characteristically, in white, red, pink—those of a priestess in training—and the corridor fairly sparked with resplendent cherry blossoms as she hurried to her sister’s side. With that smile, with a hug and a hopeful tug of the hand, Sakura beckoned the older princess forward, and Orochi released her, with some regret, under Reina’s watchful gaze.

Sakura’s face was flushed and, though she tried to hide it, her breath came in short pants. Unlike her older siblings, Sakura had no aptitude for physical exertion. She must nevertheless have practically run—in her ceremonial robes and sandals!— to her sister’s side upon hearing her need. Brave young Sakura selflessly lifted her head and smiled, despite the shortness of her breath, and clasped Hinoka by the hands, just as Orochi had done moments ago. “They said you had need of me?”

Family. All my family.

Her thoughts cleared, and she felt the vacuum within her fill.

“Need?” The sight of this selflessness sparked something in Hinoka. She screwed her bravery deep within herself, and put on a face unwavering—Sakura was still a child, barely a teenager, it was hardly her duty to muster the confidence her eldest sister lacked. Standing tall and taking her sister firmly by the wrists, Hinoka offered a smile almost cocky in the face of Sakura’s generous, unblinking concern. “Only that I wanted you to be the first to see me like this.”

“Oh, Hinoka.” Sakura’s evident worry for her sister’s well-being washed away with a girlish titter. She took her taller sister by the arms and gave her an affectionate squeeze. “I should only hope to be half as beautiful as you, on my own day of my Ascendancy.”

As Hinoka faltered before Sakura’s fearsome wave of compliments, looking away and descending into stammers and blushes, beneath her breath Reina spoke to the fortune teller.

“Must I tell you everything, again?” She set eyes upon the conspicuously simple leather strap woven in amid Orochi’s many ornate hair ornaments. “I’ve no more hair ties to give.”

An undaunted smile answered the knight’s chagrin; Orochi had become deft and daring in such escapades, and likely it was only Reina who could remember a time when she was not. “We serve, with our lives and hearts,” Orochi said, with a rakish wrinkle of her nose and a knowing wink. “And a heart as strong as hers deserves everything ours can give.”

With that, Orochi closed the sliding door behind them, and the two attendants followed the procession to the great courtyard and the banquet.

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