Hey! This is my first fic, so I hope it turns out okay…
We'll get to the citrus-y bits later in the story, don't worry! I hope that I'll be able to write it out okay haha…
(6/17/2014: added some touch-ups since this chapter was really bothering me a lot!)
Lon'qu was as gruff towards Robin as usual. She had recently insisted on spending more time with the myrmidon beyond their sparring sessions. He thought it a pointless notion at first, especially since Robin had claimed strengthening her relationships with the individual troops was just as important as formulating strategies. Even so, Lon'qu noticed that she seemed to linger around him more than the others. Yet… for what reason would she? The man thought himself nothing special.
What was it that she wanted out of him...?
The tactician held a clear fondness for tomes over swords. Robin could have easily chosen a sparring partner that excelled in magic, but she was insistent about pursuing him instead. Lon'qu didn't particularly mind. He would never admit it to Robin, but he rather enjoyed her company. Even if their friendship had started out rather... rocky.
It's not often that one makes a new friend over handfuls of tossed figs and a bruised chin.
Robin had been a kind woman since the day Lon'qu first met her at Ferox. She spends her leftover time with the other shepherds rather than focusing on herself. It was surprising to him that she managed to keep up in battle despite using less of her time to train than the others. Her strategies had proven to be brilliant on several occasions as well; none of the main Shepherds had fallen in battle yet. It was considered an honor to share time with Robin, and Lon'qu felt as though he were undeserving. Aside from Khan Flavia of Ferox, Lon'qu had never met a woman with such beauty, wits, and strength. To have her as his sole female friend was more than he could ever ask for, really.
A lady of her caliber could surely find better uses for her time rather than approach the myrmidon… especially with his condition. Perhaps it was only because of her admirable traits that Lon'qu was able to bear her presence, despite his crippling phobia. He would never approach her on his own time: he had more important matters to attend to, such as honing his mastery of the blade. Although, he couldn't deny that their training sessions together were at least productive. The man had heard rumors of their tactician's amnesia, yet she fought with such strength and grace that one would think them a lie.
...At least, until their most recent training session.
Perhaps Robin thought it would be amusing once to aimlessly poke him in the ribs while flawlessly dodging his strikes. It offended Lon'qu at first, especially when she proceeded to laugh at his scowling. Yet he found himself unable to stay angry with her, even though she proceeded to repeat her actions thrice in that same week. Lon'qu mentally noted to confront her on this strange behavior while they were alone. He couldn't think of a single reason for one of his commanders to act in such a strange fashion.
Still, she naturally held a large reputation in camp due to her role in the army. No one spoke poorly of her aside from minor criticisms and idle gossip. As the chief tactician, rumors frequently flew by about Robin having a secret relationship with Chrom. It seemed reasonable, yet they remained only rumors. Lon'qu hoped regardless that the petty gossip would not be true. He didn't quite understand why he had those concerns, but they pestered him like flies whenever Chrom's name was brought up in conversation.
Lon'qu sighed and brought a palm to his forehead. He couldn't let his mind wander like this in front of Robin. The scowl on his face was more apparent now than it usually was, which the tactician always recognized as an indication something was amiss with the man.
"Lon'qu? You seem… troubled. Are you perhaps ill?" Even though his back was turned to her, Lon'qu could feel Robin's warm, brown eyes attempting to meet his gaze.
The sound of her voice brought Lon'qu back with a jolt, turning to face her. Robin was well aware of his ailment; then again, he happened to remind everyone in the camp of it on a daily basis. Robin kept herself a fair distance away from him as a result, despite the look of concern on her face. She was only doing what she thought was in his best interest and Lon'qu could definitely appreciate that. Yet the swordsman hated the way he always made her anxious with concern about him. He wished to cease being a burden on top of the other sources of stress this woman had to face daily. Lon'qu had long loathed nothing more than feeling useless and weak, and having someone worry on his behalf only made things worse. He had no idea of how to reassure them without fear of being too blunt and chasing them away.
But no matter how blunt he was, Robin always stood by him.
On the battlefield, in camp, during training regimens... She had always been there. Through the time that they had spent together, Lon'qu grew rather... fond of the tactician. He couldn't admit it even to himself, but these feelings were undeniable. His cheeks would flush and his heart would race with something other than fear. Her presence made him feel warm, and... calm.
Lon'qu could never speak of his feelings to Robin, though.
She would never feel the same. What if whatever he was experiencing wasn't even love? Robin deserved a man that would not be afraid to hold her in his arms and shower her with kisses and affection. Someone who would love and cherish her for the brilliant woman she was.
…Someone like Chrom.
"…No, Robin. I'm fine."
Lon'qu gestured for her to follow him into the woods. Tomorrow, the shepherds were to rescue Emmeryn from Plegia's clutches. Robin already had a strategy planned out, of course. She had checked it over several times to determine their best odds of success. A single mistake would cost the beloved exalt's life. The tactician tried to conceal her anxiety from the others in camp, but she failed to avoid Lon'qu's knowing eye. The man would watch her from afar on occasion, so he knew when she was not feeling well. With his distasteful past, he understood such feelings well.
He had just finished training and offered to lend an ear for her woes, bringing a smile to her light face. The man recalled the way his heart had leaped from his chest at the sight. Lon'qu sighed heavily, feeling his cheeks go pink from the memory.
The forest was silent aside from the idle chatter between various birds and insects. Robin wanted to share at least some small talk with the myrmidon, but the natural quiet was something that was often best left alone. Lon'qu had always been fond of silence anyhow, so he didn't mind. Her presence was enough to keep him satisfied anyway.
Which reminded him...
"Robin, I have been meaning to ask you something. About our most recent training sessions."
Strangely enough, there wasn't a hint of surprise on her features. It was almost as if she had been expecting him to bring this up with her. "Yes? What's the matter?"
She had to have been mocking him.
"Is there any particular reason you see fit to treat our training as a practice of ridicule? Because it isn't amusing." The last words almost came out as a snarl, but Robin was completely unfazed. If anything, her knowing smirk only spread wider.
"Oh? Are you talking about how I almost tickled you the other day?" She stepped closer to him, making a jab at him with her finger to replicate the motion. He made sure to swiftly dodge it, giving a glare of disapproval in return.
"Yes. It was beyond absurd for you to do so. You may be a madwoman, Robin, but you are not a fool. For what reason do you see fit for wasting precious time and effort?"
She poked at him again, landing her finger square on his chest this time. Their bodies were still fairly spaced apart, but the contact only made him momentarily flinch. It was only after her next words that emotions began to bubble from his embarrassment.
"And haven't you noticed how much more comfortable you are with me now?"
Oh no. She hadn't caught on to his feelings, had she?!
"R-Robin? Whatever are you t-talking about?"
"Really, Lon'qu? I'm talking about this!" Her fingers gently tugged at the fabric of his tunic for good measure, making Lon'qu finally realize exactly what she was talking about.
For the first time in years, he was subconsciously allowing a woman to stand so close to him with growing frequency. And for the past week, that same woman had managed to touch him without him even noticing! Almost in a panic, Lon'qu suddenly forced himself away from her.
"W-What in blazes did you do to me, woman?!"
To his dismay, Robin ended up laughing at his deterred behavior. Had she slipped him a potion? Cast a hex? Read a book on how to seduce men...?!
"Nothing, Lon'qu! I just chose to act strangely around you in hopes of drawing your mind away from your fear. It may not be the most ideal method, but it seems to have worked so far!" She laughed again, although more sheepishly this time. "To be honest, I'm just glad you don't hate me or anything for it."
There were so many things Lon'qu could have told her at that moment, but none of the right choices seemed to surface. With a lopsided grin, Lon'qu tried his hardest not to join her in laughter.
"...You are a con artist of the highest order."
"Hey! I managed to make you smile!"
Lon'qu surrendered that Robin had indeed won this round, unable to wipe the smile from his face. He was too tired to fight back anyhow; all his energy was spent out on training. The man felt his eyes grow lazy as a cool breeze caressed his face. He was accustomed to the frosty conditions of Ferox, so even the lightest of breezes was like a blessing in the Plegian heat. It was amazing that they had even managed to find trees at all. Before his eyelids could gently shut in relaxation, Lon'qu was brought back to a start from a helpless cry by Robin.
"R-Robin?! Are you… all... right?"
The man had one hand placed on his killing edge in anticipation of an attack. Instead, he only saw Robin sitting on her rear after a not-so-graceful fall. She nervously chuckled at Lon'qu's confused expression. "Yeah, I'm okay. I just got startled by… ah!"
Normally-admirable Robin was staring at him wide-eyed and with a quivering lip. Whatever she was trying to talk about really had the tactician worked up. "D-don't move! Let me see if I can get it off of you…"
The myrmidon raised an eyebrow at her statement. What the hell was she talking about? The question quickly left his mind and his own eyes widened when Robin stepped closer. She stopped almost immediately after remembering his fear. While she managed to break through it before during training, the myrmidon had been distracted at the time. Approaching him wasn't going to be easy if his focus was entirely on her. "…Ah. Right. Sorry Lon'qu. It's just… it's on your shoulder."
The tactician shakily raised a hand to point at the menace in question. A large, black beetle with wide mandibles perched on the swordsman's shoulder. Instead of recoiling in fear or disgust, he moved to tenderly lift it off of his shoulder and carry it in his palm.
"What, this? This… is what you are afraid of?"
Robin flinched as he held his hand out to her despite their fair distance. The poor girl must not have been so accustomed to bugs in her youth. She relaxed after some time, seeing how the beetle appeared relatively harmless in the man's hand. Peculiarly enough, Lon'qu seemed to be completely at ease with the insect scuttling on his wrist. "See? Nothing to fear."
Noticing the relieved look on her face, Lon'qu decided to try and make a friendly gesture. "Would you… like to hold it?"
The tactician blinked at the offer before letting a smile creep back onto her face. She modestly nodded and held out her hand. Lon'qu approached her, and stretched out his own palm so the insect could crawl off of his hand to hers. He had completely forgotten about how they needed to close the distance between them, lest the beetle fly away. His cheeks grew bright and flushed when his fingers accidentally brushed along Robin's own in the process. He turned away as soon as the beetle crawled onto her hand in hopes that Robin wouldn't witness his flustered demeanor. The way she was giggling told him otherwise, though.
Robin watched the beetle scuttle from her hand onto her arm's sleeve in curiosity, laughing innocently like a child. She understood now why Lon'qu wasn't so afraid of the insect despite its menacing appearance. It was almost endearing to see how quickly she acquired a change of heart for the insect. As Robin distracted herself with the creature, Lon'qu was busy thinking to himself at how he had managed to get so close to her without going pale or panicking beyond his flushed cheeks.
It had been such a simple touch, yet he would never forget how soft her fingers felt compared to his own.
And that's the first chapter! I'm hoping to build up a little bit more with their relationship before I get to the really fluffy or lemony goodness. Reviews are appreciated, and thank you for reading!~