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Worth

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Worth

Once, when Anna was very little, she read about the death of one of her great-great-great aunts. Killed by a drunk customer who couldn't afford her wares, that Anna's older sister discovered her body, still warm with blood. Her sister didn't cry, or even react upon seeing the body, as the records told. She simply picked up her dead sister's wares and continued selling them in the nearby town, as if nothing at all had happened and no one in the town even realized the previous Anna had been replaced.

It was then that she realized she didn't matter. She reminded herself this every day without fail, that all she did was simply furthering the Anna line, that no one would ever care about her apart from her siblings, or more likely, even at all. Even if she did wonderful things, no one would ever remember her for doing them, only Anna. She wished for nothing more than to somehow not be an Anna, to be a Morgan or an Elise or a Felicia or something instead. In the end, all that really mattered was how much money she brought in for the Anna line, and that was all that kept her going. Somewhere in the dark recesses of her mind, she rationalized that if she made more money than her countless sisters, that would make her a superior Anna, and if she could be a superior Anna, then somehow that could make her more than just an Anna.

When she met Chrom's gang, she saw that as a way to become a superior Anna. Perhaps, long after she herself died and her successors were reading her records, they would see that one Anna had fought for the sake of justice, and that would make her stand out to them, even if just slightly. Heck, maybe even if Chrom turned out to be half the hero his ancestors were, maybe historians would end up briefly mentioning the Anna who fought to save the world in their texts, and from the next world, she could chuckle and know that was her.

That hardly seemed to be how it worked out, though. No one around camp would even give her so much as a second glance if they weren't trying to buy something off of her, and in battle, no one ever came to her aid, limiting how useful she could really be. She didn't let it break her down, though, and decided to treat it as another economic venture. Maybe she couldn't be a hero of legend, but she could at least be a merchant of legend.

And then, just when she'd resigned to being just another merchant, she noticed the tactician kept looking at her oddly. She assumed at first she'd just ripped him off or something, but then he started talking to her, started calling her to his side in battle. He spoke of how there was more to life than just money, and she shrugged it off. She'd had plenty of suitors before, mostly ones who wanted a piece of the Anna line's considerable wealth, and she didn't think he was any different. His words were surely hollow, surely hypocritical, surely meaningless, but she still liked having someone to talk to.

Contrary to her rigid insistence that he was just another big-talking no one, she started to think differently after she saw him crying one night, shortly after the crazy Dark Mage and Chrom's daughter from the future had joined their army. He was sitting on the shore of the lake they'd happened to be camping near, and she'd just been going to check out a nearby town for wares to haggle down and sell back for triple the price, but she heard his sobbing as she passed him.

As she went to ask him what was wrong, he asked her with a strained chuckle if she was going to charge him for providing a shoulder to cry on. That hurt. Sure, it had hurt when she'd been bummed out and he'd pulled that card, but this was different. She didn't know what it was, but something was wrong, and he thought she wouldn't care if not for the clinking of coins. Even if it was meant in jest, it stung to hear, so she just put her arm around his hunched form and let him cry into her cape for a good while until he finally felt up to telling her what was wrong.

He said that the Plegian king, the one who had almost certainly sent Risen after their heads, had claimed to be his father, and he thought it to be true. She didn't even consider for a second how important that meant he was, or how he could be her ticket into transcending her lineage. No, she just felt a hot flush and tears come to her, as no one had ever trusted her with something so private, something so terrible, and she was overjoyed and distraught at having the sobbing tactician in her arms at the same time.

A few days later, he bought her a necklace. It was beautiful, made of glass crystals and strung steel chains more beautiful than any gold she could imagine, despite its obvious cheapness. It was the first time she could recall anyone buying her specifically something since her father had gotten her that teddy bear before he'd split with the Anna who was her mother, and even he'd gotten other gifts for her other sisters. When she asked what it was for, he noted that it was her birthday. This surprised her a bit, as she'd never celebrated that date. It wasn't really a thing in her family, as it was just another one of those small things like names and interests that differentiated one person from another. That he cared for her as a person, and not as an Anna, or a merchant- the reality of it pierced her heart like a blade.

It was then and there she decided she loved him and couldn't live without him another day. She didn't say it like that, though. With all the worries of his own lineage and war on his mind, the last thing she wanted to do was burden the man she loved with her own issues all at once, so she smiled as she told him how she felt and said it was because of how thoughtful he was. He seemed shocked, but his blush and slight smile told her that he'd been dreaming of such a thing, and that made her immensely happy.

And so she proposed. Everything had filled her with carefree joy she'd only faked previously, and the only thought in her mind was that she wanted to be a eight o' clock bride and be by his side forever. He accepted with a chuckle, and it still stung a bit. Even if he loved her, he still saw her as a merchant girl, but he came closer to seeing beyond that than anyone before. There would be time later to tell him everything, she supposed, and laughed with him, joking that maybe she could come to love him more than money.

Walking down the aisle that night, all eyes were on her. Everyone saw her as the bride, not as an Anna, and he saw her as the most lovely person in all the lands. She thought that it was the greatest moment of her up until then meaningless life, despite a nagging flame in her gut, and she nearly burst into tears at the vows.

At the reception, she pulled him aside, her heart burning with the guilt of realizing that he might not have wanted to marry the girl who only wanted to be someone, and not the carefree merchant. He embraced her as she burst into tears and told him how much she hated being an Anna. Once she had run out of things to say and apologies to give, he wiped a tear out of her eye and told her that he didn't think of her as an Anna, he thought of her as his Anna, and he was so happy to now be the one she could tell everything to. Nothing had ever made her happier, and she knew then that she wasn't just another Anna, because no other Anna would ever be the one at his side, and if she was to die, he'd be broken and deeply care, even if another were to somehow take her place.

She thought that was the happiest moment of her life, but that came a few weeks later. In a strange ruin, their army sought a mysterious treasure, and there, she saw across the waters a young thief girl with red hair. She somehow reminded her of herself, but she wasn't an Anna, that much she knew. When that girl revealed that she was her daughter, that made her happy, but when she told her that her name was Morgan, that was what made her burst into tears in front of everyone.