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[personal profile] asherien
Title: Hide and Seek
Genre: gen.
Fandom: Fire Emblem 8
Characters/pairings: Lyon, mentions of Knoll, Eirika, Ephraim
Summary/prompt: Lyon, hide-and-seek. Depressing, happy, kidlet-fic...whatever you want. :D Freelance charity fill for Hooves on LJ/Improvisation on FFn.

Lyon has always been skilled at hiding. He knows how to press his slender body tight against the cold stone walls and tuck his knees into his heaving chest, how to slide into the dark crevices between dressers and beds and quiet his shaking breaths. He can keep the castle servants busy for hours as he stifles his giggles and waits, hunched under a tea table or lurking in a closet or pressed under a manservant's bed, for them to give up their search. It is an excellent game, if only because he is good at it. He is not good at most games.

On some afternoons, especially when the weather is gray and the castle is too lonely to stand on his own, he sneaks into the vast, ancient libraries and recruits an accomplice. There are always protests and quiet arguments, harsh, warning whispers that echo off the musty tomes and ring off the vaulted ceiling, but Lyon always manages to convince him.

The games are always far shorter when they are together, for it is harder to contain giggles and whispers of excitement when they are shared. Lyon doesn't mind at all. When he shares his ways of sneaking into spaces boys should not sneak into, he feels less like a weak child and more like a mastermind, a grand conspirator. Despite the initial scoldings from his quiet, cautious companion, he likes to think he is not alone in his imaginings.


Lyon finds himself wilting far too often beneath the cold gazes of the courtiers. Their gaudy clothes and questioning stares never fail to startle him, and he always manages, somehow, to make a fool of himself. He trips in a dance, he sways with his weakness, he speaks too softly. He betrays himself, time and time again, and he can see the pity, the scorn in their simpering smiles.

It is not long before he hears his name whispered in the ballrooms when he enters and sees furtive, derisive glances cast his way. He is not the prince anyone expected his father to sire, that much he knew. He is too small, too quiet, too delicate in his manners and speech to truly be his father's son. He did not think that everyone else knew. The laughing ladies with their painted smiles, the hulking lords leering behind their sweat and cologne, they all seem to see him not as a prince, but as a peon.

He shrinks in the eyes of the nobles and makes excuses to get away, then spends the evenings at the edge of the ballroom, pressing against the wall and willing his body to turn into stone.


Lyon's father does not approve of the long days and nights he spends in the castle libraries, but has little voice left to speak his objection. Lyon tries not to let his thoughts dwell too long on the hollows in his father's cheeks or the shadowed circles around his tired eyes, though when they do speak, the agony in the pauses between his words is inescapable.

And so, Lyon stays in the shadows, surrounded by books far older than himself, or his father, or the ancient keep itself. His old co-conspirator, among at least ten other men, sits by his side as they study things he knows no prince, no man has ever studied before. Forbidden auras, forgotten magics, the stuff of dreams and nightmares.

He sees visions of horrors from which he cannot hide – storm clouds gathering over a tossing sea, ships thrown into chaos like so many toys. He swallows his fear and send orders to the harbors in shaking, unsteady letters, stamped with the royal seal and without his father's approval, delivered on wyvernback that very night.

The ridicule when word reaches the courts is quiet, but deafening, and his father's scowl has never been quite so deep when cast in his direction. But morning comes with reports of the fierce storm on the coastline, the dreadful fate of the lone ship that disobeyed the royal orders. For a moment, Lyon's weakness is forgotten, and his moment of insight, however strange, is hailed. Perhaps if they see the lives he has saved, they will forget the pathetic boy that hides within.


The alliance with Renais is one Lyon has known of throughout his life, but it is only now that he meets her royal family. The late summer sun fills the royal garden as he meets the twins from his country's neighbor, each far more the image of royalty than he could ever hope to be.

He expects from them the same scorn and derision he hears from the pampered courtiers, the vague revulsion at a prince so contrary to the image his father so hoped for. Instead, his quiet introduction is met with smiles, enthusiasm, a warmth both alien and inviting. They spend the afternoon in the damp summer air, the twins planning grand adventures and weaving intricate plots and Lyon, in his haze of uncertainty, trying his best to follow along.

They excel at fencing and jousting, things he's barely tried, but he indulges them only to see them smile. He knows they are not versed in magic, but wonders if they ever still play hide and seek in the castle at Renvall. Before he asks, he reminds himself that it is a game for children, not for any of them.

He hears his name being called, and then feels two sets of hands on his shoulders, pulling him along without even a trace of impatience. He has nothing to hide from them.


Lyon hides in the corners of his mind, pretending as if he does not recognize the sights he is seeing, as if the voice he hears is not his own. It is easy to act as if this is not his doing, the fields strewn with the dead of his homeland and his former allies'. Though he feels the tome in his hands and the surge of magic through his body, he slides into the tiny crevices where the horrors cannot reach him and waits for it all to end.

He has always been a fool, a joke of a prince, and now, as his body carries him to the temple in the heart of Darkling Woods, he is the greatest jester of them all. He will hide behind a diabolical mask that is not all his own, for them: the co-conspirator of his youth, the twins he both loves and hates, so that they may do what they must and save themselves. He only hopes they will not look too closely, for after all these years, he has lost his skill for hiding.


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July 2011

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