For FE Contest's crack pairing challenge.
To say it had been a long day was an understatement. The rescue of Ross and Garcia, the bandits, all the travel...Eirika sighed, carefully removing her armor and running a hand through her now-limp hair. It felt good just to be able to sit down for a moment, even knowing they had to be on their guard in case of more bandits.
Unfortunately, the one good thing about all the fighting was that it had kept her busy. When she was focused on the target before her and on helping protect everyone else, Eirika didn't have time to think about anything else. But now that she was alone and didn't have to focus on battling, the troubling thoughts were coming back and wouldn't leave no matter how hard she tried to banish them.
Father, Ephraim... Her father was really and truly dead, and her dear brother was risking his life against the might of Grado. The shape of Renais was getting worse and worse by the day, it seemded, rumors of bandits popping up everywhere. And worst yet she still didn't understand why Grado had suddenly turned against them. Emperor Vigarde would have never approved of such actions, and Lyon...what would he think of all this? Suddenly she was worried about her friend as well, and that just made it worse.
"What can I do? I can't help Ephraim, I couldn't help Father..." She felt helpless, and it was the worst feeling in the world.
She sighed, heading for the creek. A quick glance around let her know she was alone, and she began to undress. Maybe a bath would help ease her tensions. However, as soon as she got in she realized she hadn't checked as well as she thought she had.
"Oh! Dame Vanessa, please forgive me, I didn't realize you were here," she said quickly. "Should I-"
"Princess Eirika." The knight blushed a little. "It's quite all right, I was only finishing up. I'll just get out now and leave you to bathe in peace." As soon as she mentioned leaving, Eirika's chest tightened; being alone was the last thing she wanted right now, even if all they did was engage in idle chatter she needed something, anything to distract her from her troubling thoughts.
"...actually, if it's not too much trouble, Vanessa..." She blushed, looking away. "Could you stay?"
"I...I could really use the company, that's all," Eirika said. "If you'd rather not, I understand, but..." She heard Vanessa's breath catch, followed by uncomfortable silence. Maybe I shouldn't have asked.
"If that's what you want, Princess Eirika," the knight finally said, and Eirika sighed with relief, moving a bit closer.
"Thank you," she mumbled, fighting back a blush. It wasn't a big deal, they were two women sharing a bath, right? Even if they were naked...she bit her lip, trying not to stare too hard at Vanessa. She was slender with just the right amount of muscle and curve to her, and her hair was done up in a messy bun as opposed to her usual tight braid. She should wear her hair like that more often, Eirika thought idly, then wondered why she was even pondering it, or looking at Vanessa so intently. She turned her gaze skyward, pretending to be very interested in the night sky.
They sat in silence together, the awkwardness eventually wearing off as Eirika found herself leaning against the other woman. Vanessa slid an arm around her in response, and Eirika sighed. The pegasus knight's body was so warm and comforting...unfortunately, now that that tension had eased off, her earlier worries were taking over. Father, Ephraim... Tears stung her eyes. I'm helpless, I can't do anything, I couldn't do anything.
"Princess Eirika?" The knight's voice snapped her back to reality and she looked up; the tears were threatening to spill over and her attempt to hold them back was weak.
"You seem a bit lost in thought," Vanessa said. "Are you feeling well?"
"I..." She sighed. Somehow she just didn't have the energy to pretend. "No," she said softly as the tears began to fall. "No, I'm not. My father is gone, my brother is risking his life, Renais is a mess..." She shook her head. "I've tried so hard to be strong, I didn't want everyone to feel like they had to protect me and comfort me all the time, but..." Her voice trailed off, giving way to quiet sobs. Vanessa's arms encircled her, cradling her and holding her close.
"You don't have to pretend with me," she whispered. "You have every right to be afraid, Princess." Her embrace tightened, and Eirika had never felt so safe. Suddenly she was very glad King Hayden had sent Vanessa along with her; not only was it nice to have another woman along, but Vanessa, despite her serious nature, was such a comforting presence. When her sobs had eased up, she lifted her head to stare up at the other woman.
"Thank you," she said, barely audibly.
"You don't need to thank me," Vanessa murmured, and Eirika caught a hint of something in her eyes, something that mirrored her own feelings.
"Vanessa," she whispered through suddenly dry lips; the pegasus knight only smiled and leaned in, and their lips met. The kiss was soft and short and left Eirika wanting more. Vanessa's hand rested on her side, and her cheeks flushed hotly again. "I..."
"Princess." Vanessa's face was serious. "If...if you wish, I..."
Eirika nodded, taking Vanessa's hand and guiding it upwards, towards her breast.
"Please," she whispered, "make me forget, Vanessa, even if just for tonight...make me forget."
Mouths met, fingers and hands roamed over slick skin, soft moans filled the air and when it was over they just sat there, wrapped in each other's arms until it was time to retire for the night. Just for tonight, Eirika had said, but somehow both knew that this wasn't going to be a once-only event. Something had bloomed between them in that stream, and neither cared to forget or deny it.
Eirika made a mental note to thank King Hayden personally for sending Vanessa to their side.