Every night for the past month, Robin has had a schedule of what to do. Right after her tactical meetings, she pretends to go back to her quarters. The moment she’s there, she gets some things packed; a nice piece of bread she got from a local bakery earlier that morning, maybe a book to read and pass the time (even if she always forgets it’s there), and, of course, her favorite flower she could find while wandering around.

The flower’s for her friend, of course. Her, um, friend. That’s all.

Once it’s dark enough, she tries her best to sneak away. It’s not too hard in Ylissetol, given how crowded it always seems to be, so the only tough part is getting out of the barracks. There’s a couple of guards that get confused, and a certain brunette knight in particular that just loves getting on her case the few times he caught her, but usually it’s just as simple as walking out of the entrance and—

“So, off to see ’em, again?”

“Uh.” Robin freezes up. “N-no idea what you’re talking about there, Sully.”

“You haven’t exactly been subtle about it, you know.” Sully stifles a chortle. “What, did you think nobody would’ve caught you two holding hands in the middle of a city?”

“Wh—” Her face goes red, as she hides in her robe. “That was one time.

“Hah, knew that was you!” Sully cries out a bellowing laugh, which isn’t helping Robin’s embarrassment. “This place isn’t exactly teeming with big ladies in robes, after all!”

“I was just scared, okay?” She puts her hood up, pouting underneath. “The crowd was too big and I couldn’t see very well!”

“What, you needed a handsome masked knight to pull you away and save you?”

Robin’s grip on her hood tightens, her ears absolutely glowing. “More or less.”

Sully snorts loudly. “Well, aren’t you just a storybook princess.”

“Ghh.” Robin isn’t quite sure she can get any more red than she is right now. “H-how many other people have caught on?”

“Ah, it’s just me, I think. At least, if anyone else saw you walk into the inn they’re at, they would’ve talked by now.”

She freezes up even harder, and as it turns out, she definitely can get more red. “W-why did you ask about the handholding if you already knew!?”

“Because it’s fun as hell to tease you.”

She might actually faint from sheer anxiety, at this rate. “Meanie.”

“I kid, I kid.” Sully gives her a pat on the back. “Nobody else knows it’s you, and even if they did, s’not like you’re doing anything that’ll make anyone mad.”

Robin is still frozen.

“You need encouragement for your crush, don’tcha.”

“N-not my crush.” Just a friend. That’s all.

“Sure, sure.” Sully speaks like she knows something Robin doesn’t. “So, when you go meet up with your not-crush, just remember: it’s fine if people notice. Nobody’s gonna start a riot that the tactician’s buddying up with the hero that saved Lady Emmeryn, yeah?”

“Okay.” She tries to breathe deeply, finally getting the strength to move. “Okay, um, yeah. It’s fine.”

“Good!” Finally, the redhead waves her off, smirking. “Have fun with your date. Go get ’em, girl.”

Robin has absolutely no idea what that means. What does it mean to ‘get’ someone? Isn’t that the thing bandits and the like do when they kill someone? Wait, no, she doesn’t want to kill them, oh gods that would be utterly horrific! Sully can’t be talking about that, surely. Maybe she’s talking like Robin’s attempting to recruit them, because she never really implied otherwise. And, actually, what the hell is a date, anyways? As in those weird, chewy things she sees in the marketplace? Was that a hint of some kind?

She gets stuck on this line of reasoning, considering if these ‘dates’ are meant to be a gift friends give each other, wondering if this is another one of those social things she didn’t catch onto, and barely even noticing the crowd around her enough to feel anxious, before she suddenly realizes that she’s in the middle of the plaza again.

Okay, tremendous! Perfect. The plaza is, um, technically where she’s supposed to be for this meetup. She would very much prefer to be in a corner where nobody could see her, but sure, being a really tall lady sticking out like a sore thumb in the middle of this densely populated area where everyone is yelling extremely loudly will do fine, she supposes. The ringing in her ears and blurring of her eyes is purely coincidental. Just a bit dehydrated, is all.

Actually, she’s getting a headache. Goodness, she must be really dehydrated for it to be getting that bad. It’s a shame all the places to get a drink are not right here, in the center of this crowd that’s getting louder. Robin’s not much of a fan of the loudness, if she’ll be frank. Never quite sure why everyone loves to be this loud! It seems like it takes so much effort, and all that happens is that everyone else has to get louder to compensate, and then the sound of constant static and lightning shows up and it’s so overwhelming.

It’s just like what she hears in her dreams. Her dreams, that never change every night, no matter how much she wants them to.

The ones where Chrom dies, and it’s her fault.

The static keeps getting louder. She’s convinced people are looking–because of course they are, she’s a big massive target who’s definitely starting to take a few too many breaths per second–but to know for sure would require looking up, and Robin’s a bit too terrified of it all becoming too much to handle for her to ever manage that. Maybe if she just keeps looking down, fists tight and body shaking, everything will disappear.

The only person who made this go away isn’t here with her. Nobody is, she’s alone in this crowd with nothing but the noise that consumes her, the thoughts of that damned nightmare telling her that she’s a monster, that she’s meant to kill all of her friends, that she’s never going to become a better person and everyone’s right to be suspicious of her and—

“Robin?”

Robin snaps back into reality. “M-Marth…?”

They don’t respond, knowing that she would only get more anxious having attention be brought to her, and instead quickly takes her by the hand to walk off. Any sudden panic Robin would have is replaced by the pressure, squeezing between her fingertips every time she breathes even a little bit too quickly, their thumb brushing over her palm, every bad thought that keeps wanting to pierce through about how weird this must be leaving every time she’s reminded that someone she trusts dearly is here.

“Let’s go right to the inn.” They look back and smile gently. “No need to make you more overwhelmed, I think.”

Gods, their hand feels so safe. Like the most comfortable blanket Robin never realized she could be wrapped in.

Maybe Sully knows something she doesn’t.