Despite what the vengeful public liked to think, growing up wasn't easy for the three siblings that made up the entire royal family of Ylisse. Emmeryn, along with facing the constant scrutiny of her people, also had to basically raise her younger siblings. With only middling help from the castle staff, Emmeryn made sure to pamper Chrom and Lissa as much as possible without robbing her people of anything that wasn't hers. This meant that each child had complete control over what happened on their birthday every year. It was a privilege most children would have taken advantage of without hesitation, but Chrom and Lissa were slightly more sensible than that, asking only for what they knew for a fact could be provided.
In fact, as the years wore on and Emmeryn grew older and busier, Lissa's only wishes were to spend quality family time together. Lissa's one and only demand on her sixth birthday was for her beloved siblings to help her put up her trademark pigtails for the day. This was a simple enough task for Emmeryn, who had been the first to style her hair that way. But Chrom, being the young boy he was at the time, wouldn't stop complaining. After Emmeryn gave him some preliminary pointers, he got to work, pouting as he tugged on Lissa's hair in an attempt to fashion it correctly. "Hey, watch it!" Lissa squealed after a particularly violent tug. "You're putting my hair up, not ripping it out!"
Chrom huffed and crossed his arms, letting Lissa's not-quite styled hair fall to her side. "I can't do this. Why should I be styling your hair? That's a girl thing, and I don't do girl things."
Emmeryn gave him her calming, trademark smile that, at this point, had started to finally win over more of her subjects. "Now Chrom, remember that we're doing this for your sister."
"Yeah but..." Chrom stuck out his lower lip, not able to formulate an argument right away. Finally, he said, "why do I gotta know how to do this?"
"Because I want you to," Lissa said confidently. "Asides, someday, you're gonna have a beautiful wife who will love you because you can do her hair for her!"
At the mention of matrimony, Chrom recoiled as if he had been poked by a cattle prod. "Ew, no! I'm not gonna get married. Not never."
In response, Lissa giggled. "Aw, why not? Every prince needs his princess."
"Nuh uh!" Chrom vehemently shook his head, his blue mop of hair going every which way and his face flushing red. "Our sister is doin' just fine without being married. Isn't that right Emm?"
Emmeryn gave a gentle chuckle. "That's right, Chrom. I wouldn't have the time to get married if I wanted to, what with having to deal with you two and all." To illustrate her point, she reached over Lissa and ruffled Chrom's hair, causing him to giggle uncontrollably and half-heartedly ask her to stop.
"See? I don't need a wife," he said once his sister's hand had gone back to the other head of hair in the room. "Besides, I have the only two princesses I'll never need right here in front of me." He beamed proudly at his sisters, and in response, Lissa squealed and took her brother into the tightest hug her little six-year-old arms could muster.
"Aww, you're the best big brother!" She cooed happily. "But you should know how to put up your princess' hair, so get to it, buster!"
Chrom groaned as he realized he had just trapped himself in this chore. "Aw, man!" He continued his attempts at putting up Lissa's pigtails while Emmeryn and Lissa shared a good laugh at his expense.
At Lissa's birthday banquet that day, her right pigtail was as pristine as it could be, while the left side of her hair looked like a bird had decided to call it home. Everyone assumed she had done that herself, and the embarrassed young prince sitting next to her had no intention of correcting them.
Despite the fact that she looked like a hot mess that day, Lissa insisted that Chrom and Emmeryn do that every year for her birthday from then on.
And so they did. Every year, as Chrom matured, he grew to accept his role as his sister's annual hairdresser, and he got better and better at this rarely required task. It didn't exactly make him a girl magnet as Lissa had said it would, but his acceptance of this delighted Lissa more than she could describe.
Unfortunately, the day came when it was Chrom alone doing her hair.
Lissa's sixteenth birthday came soon after the war with Plegia, which claimed the life of their beloved older sister. The brisk almost-spring morning found the siblings sitting in her room, Lissa staring in the mirror while her brother stood beside her, fussing with her hair as if he'd been trained to.
Which, of course, he was.
The room was silent, save for Chrom's mumblings to himself about what still needed to be done that day and Lissa's occasional wistful sigh. Finally, Chrom broke the tense silence. "Lissa, I have a question."
"What's up, bro?"
Holding up a strand of hair, Chrom made eye contact through the mirror. "How do you think Robin styles her hair?"
Lissa raised an eyebrow. "Uh, why do you ask?"
Chrom fought down a lump in his throat and coughed awkwardly from the effort. "Oh, uh, no reason. It's just that..."
"You think she might like you if you knew how to style her hair?" Lissa guessed.
"Damn, you know me a bit too well, Lissa," Chrom answered with an awkward laugh.
With a grin, Lissa reached up and undid all of Chrom's hard work, shaking her hair after the fact. "Let's spend some time figuring that out. Gods know we have the time."
"Sure, okay," Chrom agreed. Together, they started experimenting with Lissa's hair, attempting to emulate their new tactician's hairstyle by memory and eventually, they had Lissa's hair looking somewhat like Robin's. They nodded sagely at the result and shared a highfive before letting her hair down to put it back in the pigtails again. As Lissa shook her head to get her hair back to it's default state, Chrom let out a sigh. After being asked what was wrong, he shrugged. "I...I've been trying not to bring it up, but with your hair down like this, you look just like Emm."
The sound of her name broke the tense, awkward air that was hovering over them. It was as if the floodgates holding back all of their emotions had been opened, and the rush of sadness was overwhelming. So much so that all they could bring themselves to do for the longest time was cry in each other's arms. Finally, Lissa choked out, "I miss her so much." Chrom silently nodded in agreement, a new wave of tears coming thanks to his feelings being voiced.
It wasn't done in a timely manner at all, but finally, they managed to collect themselves enough to finish their yearly ritual. When Chrom finished with one of her pigtails, Lissa decided to strike up a conversation. "Chrom, I know you said you would never need a princess, but I think you would feel better if you did have one."
Chrom rolled his eyes. "I said that once. A very long time ago. You act like I can never change my mind about anything." After Lissa giggled, he continued. "I mean, you're right. A wedding would help everyone's morale, actually. Not just my own."
"Then you should totally marry her then," Lissa said confidently. "Robin, yeah?"
"Er, yeah," Chrom stammered amidst his face heating up. "I mean, I guess it was kind of obvious, considering my question earlier. It wasn't exactly a mystery, so don't get too full of yourself."
"Whatever you say, bro."
Once Chrom's chore was finally completed, he got to work setting up the rest of Lissa's birthday festivities. What would have been a small dinner with friends turned into a much larger affair thanks to the rapid pace at which the Shepherds at grown in the past couple of months. Lissa acted like she didn't much care for all the attention she was getting, but it was impossible to hide her delight when all of the voices of the Shepherds sang happy birthday to her at the same time in many drastically different tones and pitches.
And not a single person thought her hair was any different from how it normally was. Which was pretty impressive, considering it was the first time Chrom had done her hair all on his own.
The time between the two separate events that brought all the Shepherds together didn't feel like very long at all, though it was actually quite a while. Despite how long it had been, nobody was going to pass up watching the two leaders of their small army become husband and wife. Once the grand festivities involving the whole town were wrapped up, the Shepherds got together for their own reception, one that involved heavy drinking, several dances, and one passed out mercenary thanks to the aforementioned heavy drinking.
At one point, someone struck up a conversation with the maid of honor. "Boy, Robin's hair sure does look great today," an only slightly impaired Vaike said. "Whoever did it up all pretty-like sure outdid themselves."
Lissa nodded. "He sure did."
Vaike looked at her confused for a moment. "Wait...I assumed you got her hair did, considerin' you're the maid of honor an' all."
Proudly, Lissa shook her head. "Nope. Actually, Chrom himself put her hair up."
Vaike paused, completely awestruck by this revelation. "'scuse me? Ain't it like, bad luck or somethin' for the groom to see the bride all prettied up?"
"If he sees her in her dress before the ceremony, yeah, but there's nothing wrong with him doing her hair before I help her get dressed." Lissa, still wearing a proud smirk, took a bite of one of the snacks that had been laid out.
Astounded, Vaike nodded understanding before shrugging. "Huh. Never took Chrom as a hair doin' kinda guy."
"That's totally my doing," Lissa said proudly. "Back when we were young, me and Emm would force him to do my hair for my birthday every year. That's how he's gotten so much practice."
"Huh, well I'll be damned!" Vaike laughed. "I guess that just proves it, huh?" After being asked what he meant, he elaborated (which is far too big of a word to ever be associated with Vaike, but that's beside the point). "A lot of people thought that this was awful sudden, and we didn't know if Chrom was actually in love with Robin or if he just married her to beat me."
Vaike puffed his chest out. "Well, yeah! The Vaike's his rival an' all! Rivals in the field, rivals at home, and rivals in love. I was thinkin' he just married Robin so he could say he beat Teach just this once, but now I know he really does love her."
Lissa was still confused. "How do you figure?"
Vaike shrugged. "Well, when ya love someone, ya get to be willin' to do stuff you wouldn't normally do for 'em. Chrom ain't the dainty hair-stylin' type. He ain't got the hands for it. But for you an' Robin, he makes an exception. An' that's real love, I think."
Finally, what he was saying sank in, and Lissa nodded. "Oh, okay. I think I get it now. And I guess you're right. I never thought of it that way, really." Before hearing Vaike explain it, Lissa had assumed Chrom only did her hair because she forced him too, but as he got older, he had so many excuses to reasonably pass on the birthday tradition, but he didn't; and the significance of that was only now apparent to her.
She was about to go show her appreciation to her brother, but was stopped when Vaike spoke up again, his usual bravado mostly gone. "Hey, er, Lissa?"
Confused by being broke out of her train of thought, Lissa looked to him. "What's up, Vaike?"
Vaike scratched the back of his head awkwardly, his face heating up slightly. "Do ya think you could show me how ta do that? Hair stuff, I mean?"
Lissa smiled, immediately knowing why he asked. "Why? Is there a girl you wanna impress?"
Vaike, unable to grasp her teasing, scoffed. "Well I ain't exactly askin' to do my own hair!"
Watching Vaike get flustered brought a laugh out of Lissa, and she promised she would help him out after taking care of something. After he agreed to wait, she ran off to find her brother.
She found him, surrounded by Robin and some official looking people who were about to be very confused. She loudly called his name and nearly tackled him to the ground with the force of the hug she gave him. A surprised Chrom gasped, regained his footing, and was soon returning the hug, though he wasn't sure why. "Uh, hey Lissa. What's...going on?"
"I just wanted to say thank you for everything you do for me!" Lissa said quickly, fully aware that she was probably receiving dirty looks.
"Uh, no problem," Chrom said, confused but grateful for the recognition. "I don't know where this comes from, but thanks. Er, you're welcome?"
Lissa giggled. "I'll tel you all about it later. Sorry to interrupt you." You gave a small curtsey to the others present before dashing off with a call of, "see ya later, bro!"
A while later, Chrom and Robin found Lissa again to explain what she had interrupted. Apparently, the official-looking people were approaching Chrom with some sort of business bargain that she didn't quite understand completely. "You don't need to understand," he assured her. "After you left, they had some unkind things to say about you, so I turned them down."
"That's not the excuse we told them, of course," Robin said with a laugh.
Hearing this, Lissa smiled smugly. "Heh. Good call, Chrom."
Chrom nodded agreement and ruffled Lissa's hair. "Of course it was. I can make those on my own sometimes."
Robin and Lissa both shot him a look that said "oh, really?" and shared a laugh at his expense. The moment brought back the warm feeling of when Lissa and Emmeryn would laugh at Chrom together, and it was then that Lissa realized that Robin was already a seamless part of the family.
That one was Lissa's good call.
Lissa's one of my favorite FE:A characters, so I just had to whip something up for her birthday! I hope you enjoyed the story, and please leave some feedback if you did!