I thought this might be funny… a man who desires nothing but to be the most powerful warrior meeting a woman who desires nothing but to be the most wealthy merchant. Two single-minded egotists coming together to make something wonderful.
…That sounded wrong.
I should probably warn you – I haven't played FE13 in a while so some of the characters may be a bit OOC.
And this is DEFINITELY rated T for a reason.
Vaike cheered as he felled the last enemy in the area. Suddenly, Anna, the army's new assassin… thief… trickster… or whatever she called herself ran over to him.
"Hey, big guy, you've got quite the axe arm, there! How much is Chrom paying you?" the red-haired woman stroked her chin.
"Chrom doesn't pay me squat! But then again, ol' Teach doesn't need any money! All I need is to fight powerful opponents so I can get stronger and become the best warrior ever!" the fighter laughed.
"Hey! Money is important! Without it, your weapons will rust, and you can't fight without your weapons!" Anna shouted.
"Oh, nothing! Just something one of my sisters from outrealm told me she heard once. But seriously, you can't live without money!"
"I've lived without it my whole life! If you wanna learn how, Teach'll gladly show you!"
"Ugh, no thank you! I love my money. My dream is to have more money than anyone else in the world! A dream I am working very, very hard at making a reality." Vaike could have sworn he saw dollar signs in her eyes.
"Well, you keep telling yourself that! I've lived just fine without money my whole life. My combat skills get me by just nicely! As for you, what would you be without your cash? You can't fight and you're not really likable!"
"OK, first, I don't need to fight; I pay people to do that for me. Second, I can be very, very likable when I need to be! And third–"
"Let me stop you right there," Robin interrupted as he approached, assuming the voice of reason, "what happens if you go up against a wealthy enemy who bribes your paid muscles to switch sides? Or if your mercenaries get themselves killed? You need to learn to defend yourself in case of–" Suddenly, the tactician found a knife at his throat.
"You were saying?" Anna smirked.
"Whoa, that was fast,"
"Thought so." Anna lowered her knife and Robin walked away.
"So you can fight!" Vaike raised his eyebrows.
"A girl's gotta learn to defend herself! And I have enough money to afford some of the best private instructors around!"
"Yeah? who might those be?"
"I'll tell you for 500 gold!"
"No way. The Vaike doesn't need to be trained – he trains himself! I was just curious about who thought their teaching strategies could compare to mine! Only I get to be called 'Teach'!"
"My teacher insisted on being called Master. Truth is, I never really learned his name. Everyone just calls him The Master," Anna brought a finger to her chin and suddenly gasped, realizing she just gave away valuable information for free.
"Hah, and you said you wouldn't tell me anything about him!" Vaike laughed causing the merchant/trickster to blush.
"Grr, how did you–"
"The Vaike's got charm!" the axeman cut the trickster off.
"Oh, in your dreams! I'm out of your league, kiddo. Maybe if you had a couple grand in the bank (and smelled a little better), I'd allow you to treat me to dinner."
"'Smelled a little better'?! I smell of battle and sweat - the two things all great men aspire to smell like!"
"…You really are thick, aren't you. How about this – pay me 500 gold, and I'll teach you about how to please women,"
"Have you been listenin', Annie? Teach doesn't need to be teached anything."
"Taught…" Miriel groaned in the background.
"I'll prove it to you! By the end of the week, I'll catch your eye!" Vaike winked at the red-haired woman.
"Keep telling yourself that, 'Teach'".
Anna was sitting in her tent, counting the gold she made from conning Tiki (A.K.A. the most oblivious woman in the world) when Vaike barged in bearing freshly cooked meat.
"Oy, Anna! I made you dinner!"
"Smells decent, I suppose," the merchant/trickster shrugged, pulled out her custom-made silverware and started eating.
"Mm, this is good! What's it made of?"
"Miriel turned me on to the idea of blind experiments. I took some random meat I found on a field, cooked it and prepared it for you."
"I'm… not sure that's how blind experiments work. Hang on… if you yourself found this meat, how can you not know what it is?"
"Enjoy!" Vaike walked out chuckling.
"Vaike! Get back here! I demand you tell me what this meat is! I'll pay you 500 gold! 1000! 2000! 1500? VAAAAAIIIIIKE!"
"You just went down," Miriel said, who apparently was listening in.
"…I'm a haggler…"
"That is an asinine excuse and you know it."
"Why do you keep listening in on me?" Anna attempted to change the subject.
"I'm not 'listening in' on you; I have elected to shadow Vaike in order to better comprehend the psyche of ignoramuses,"
"Is that it? Or are you jeal–"
"Anyway, I'm going to test a new theory about apples I thought of when one fell on my head," Miriel walked off.
"I don't think I'm ever going to understand that girl…"
A week later, the Shepherds, alongside the Valmese resistance forces, finally took Fort Steiger, an easily-defensible fortress in the heart of the continent, and the group celebrated with a big feast. Naturally, Chrom and the Vaike were boasting about their victories, each trying to out-impress the other. Anna did her best to avoid them, still suffering nightmares about the axeman's mystery meat. Despite her fears, however, she couldn't seem to keep her mind off of the axeman himself.
Must be disgust, she tried to rationalize.
As she happily nibbled on some vegetables, Vaike decided to pay her a visit.
"Oy, Anna! What'cha eatin' there?" he asked.
"Just some vegetables. And there is no way you're going to convince me to eat some meat."
"I'll pay you 100 gold to try the pork! I've never had better meat in my life!"
"That's not saying much…" she muttered before coming to a realization, "Wait… where did you get that money?"
"I won it in a drinking contest I had with Chrom." Anna peered over at where she thought the prince was sitting, only to see him laying on the floor barely conscious.
"Well… fine. Seeing the prince in such an undignified manner has lightened my spirits!" the merchant/trickster took the gold from the axeman, walked over to the buffet table and sliced herself some ham. One bite of it caused her to widen her eyes and gasp.
"Whoa, what's in this stuff?"
"I put a hex on it to stimulate a particular part of the brain," Tharja smirked, causing Anna to go pale.
"Wh-which part exactly?"
"I'm sure you can feel which part," the dark mage chuckled and walked off.
"Damn it! What is it with people trying to poison me!" Anna shouted to no-one in particular.
"The meat contains no poison, my dear. On the contrary, it contains greatness! I feel like I can fly!" Virion laughed, seemingly intoxicated.
"Fascinating… these victuals seem to be stimuli that intensify such tremendously unscrupulous desires! I cannot help but feel… a sultry sensation in my nether regions. Should I concede to these new impulses and do something… licentious?" Miriel's eyes became glossy, her pupils dilated.
"Yeah… I'm getting out of here," Anna said nervously and rushed out.
Eventually she made it back to her private tent where she could relax undisturbed. She could not help but feel incredibly warm and extremely lascivious. What was worse was she still couldn't help but think about Vaike and his persistent advances.
Maybe I should indulge him… just once… Anna squirmed in her seat and began massaging her body.
"NO! You're better that this, Anna. Resist!"
"Resist what?" Vaike poked his head in the tent, his eyes mirroring Miriel and Virion's (and presumably her own).
"N-none of your business!"
"Oh, come on. Let Teach give ya a lesson on control!"
"I'm quite alright, thank you." Vaike, however, was not deterred. He came inside the tent and sat himself right next to the merchant/trickster and wrapped his arm around her.
"Gah!" Anna jolted up, "leave me alone you pervert!" Secretly, however, she enjoyed the axeman's advances.
Damn that meat. I swear one of these days I'm going to get my revenge on that witch! Anna quickly drew her knife and, since he did not bring any weapons (and saw how the redhead handled Robin), Vaike ran away.
The next day, everyone reverted to normal and Anna began scheming to get her revenge on Tharja. Her plan? Collect some crows to bribe Henry into placing a hex on her. To her (and Henry's) pleasure, it worked perfectly; the next thing the Shepherds saw was the dark mage running around in nothing but a very revealing bikini, seemingly under the impression that it was summer and she was in a spa trying to woo men. Virion almost fainted at the sight; fortunately for him Cherche was there to keep him in line.
Vaike ran over to Anna, laughing his lungs out, thinking the move was hysterical.
"Oh, Anna. That was marvelous! But was it worth the price? I thought you were planning on becoming the wealthiest woman in the world; spending money on revenge seems counterproductive."
"I'm surprised you managed to say something that didn't sound completely idiotic. You have a point, but sometimes gratifying your ego can be nearly as satisfying as making a fortune. Emphasis on 'nearly', though," Anna smirked.
"Actually, according to my research, relinquishing control of your actions to your ego provides only ephemeral euphoria. Ultimately, compunction eclips–" Miriel started.
"Nguuoooohhhh! Hard words make my head hurt!" Vaike rubbed his temples.
"And there it is," Anna rolled her eyes, "you know, to be honest, your stupidity can sometimes be cute."
"Oy! Teach ain't stupid! I just have a hard time followin' Miriel!"
"Anna, you do realize you just called Vaike 'cute', right?" Robin raised a brow.
"What? I did not!" The merchant/trickster frowned.
"Ya totally did," Ricken chuckled. The redhead blushed and ran off.
After the war, Anna convinced the Shepherds to take a break in outrealm. Virion noticed that she seemed to be in denial regarding her feelings for Vaike.
"As the great love-master, I must remedy this!" the Duke of Rosanne thought aloud.
"YOU'RE NOT THE LOVE-MASTER – THAT TITLE BELONGS TO ME!" came a voice from beyond the gate.
"Hmm. I cannot help but ponder who that could have been," Miriel scratched the back of her head. Virion paid neither the voice nor the sage any mind as he approached Anna.
"Ah, most fair dame Anna – you whose glorious red hair is more beautiful than the greatest sunsets – the great love-master can see within your eyes a burning passion for the burly axeman known as Vaike!"
"Please. You have a better chance at earning me than that oaf, and you attempt to woo any woman who moves! Hell, I think I caught you flirting with Cherche while she slept."
"Heh heh, yeah… but that is of no concern, o beauteous one! For the fires of your heart cannot be ignored! It is my responsibility to ensure the successful romances of all the fair ladies in our marvelous troop!"
"Oh, give it a rest, why don't you."
"Why don't you accept your feelings! Denying them will only bring you pain!" the Duke almost sounded like he was pleading.
I need to change the subject, Anna groaned inwardly. Fortunately for her, Tiki passed by.
"Hey, Tiki, why are there so few dragons in this world? I've read about all the wars of old, but I'd think by now you could have repopulated."
"Well, young one, dragons age far slower than humans. Plus, in terms of procreation, dragons… often suffer problems. Specifically, infertility–" the Divine Dragon started, but was interrupted by the entrance of the Vaike.
"Hello, all! I've just come to tell something to Anna!" the axeman shouted.
"You don't have to scream, you know. We can all hear you perfectly well," Cherche groaned.
"Of course I have to scream! Warriors always scream!"
"On the battlefield, fine. When everyone's just trying to relax, that's another story," Robin sighed.
"Whatever. What do you want, swee– err, Vaike?"
"Were you about to address him with the endearing sobriquet 'sweetie'"? Miriel raised a brow.
"I–I say that to lots of people!"
"Sure you do, my fair damsel." Virion chuckled.
"Anyway, I came to say Lissa insisted on paying me and gave me enough gold to buy a little something for you," Vaike took a small box out of his pocket and opened it, revealing a diamond ring.
"Ooh! A diamond!" Anna smiled before realizing what it was attached to, "hang on… are you proposing to me?"
"You bet'cha! So, whaddaya say?" Vaike winked.
"Absolutely not! I'll take the diamond though," the redhead smiled.
"Sorry. You get the ring when you give in to your feelings and marry me!"
"I don't know what 'feelings' you're referring to!"
"Oh come on, surely you feel our connection! We both strive to be the best - I want to be the strongest warrior, and you want to be the wealthiest woman! Our specific goals may be different, but in the end we both strive to be at the same level!"
"That hardly makes for a good relationship."
"OK, how about this: I still have some gold left over – so why don't I treat you to dinner? I'll even agree to your fee of 500 gold!" the axeman said. Anna pondered this for a moment, then sighed.
"Alright, fine. You give me the 500 gold, take a bath, put on nicer clothes and meet me at Jake's Pub at 7:00PM and we'll dine together."
"Perfect! Trust me, this'll be the best choice you've ever made!"
"I doubt that," Anna muttered and walked away.
That night, Anna was pleasantly surprised to see that Vaike had actually taken a bath, brushed his hair and put on a nice white tunic and blue pantaloons.
"My dearest Anna, 'tis always a pleasure to lay my eyes upon such beauty!" the axeman smiled.
"…You've been taking lessons from Virion, haven't you," Anna chuckled.
"I already told you, Teach doesn't need any lessons! But… I did consult the Duke about flirting properly."
"Heh heh, as flattering as his lines can be, you should be yourself when you are dating a woman. You can't fake your way through a relationship forever."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right. Still, it was worth a shot – I got you to blush!" Anna's response to this was an eye-twitch and an angry stare.
"Oh come on, I'm just jokin' around with ya! Lighten up a bit!" Vaike laughed.
"Well, at least you're acting like yourself again," the redhead rolled her eyes. Vaike offered his arm to the lady, who gladly took it as they walked into the restaurant together.
"Table for two, please!" Anna said to the host, who nodded and directed them to a booth.
"So, Anna, what do you want to talk about,"
"Money. What else?"
"OK then. What was your most successful business venture as of late?"
"Well…" Anna started and went on for a good half-hour, only pausing to order her meal, before finishing her story, "…enough about me, how's your training going?"
"I'm getting really close to beating Chrom! Last match I almost had him!"
"If I had a gold coin for every time I've heard you say that…"
"I really was this time! I had him exactly where I wanted him, but then I got overconfident. I would have won anyway if Miriel didn't interrupt and distract me,"
"You're never going to be the best warrior if you allow yourself to be distracted."
"I know, and I'm not usually. It's just… Miriel uses such big words that I get headaches just by listening to her talk."
"You have to fight through the pain. Chrom probably did. Then again, he was professionally trained and likely had discipline drilled into his head. Oh, that reminds me, where were you raised?"
"I grew up on the streets, learning axemanship by defeating bandits who tried to raid the village."
"Oh, you poor thing! I can't begin to imagine being homeless!"
"Uh, did you hear the second part of my sentence?"
"Now I'm actually beginning to develop sympathy for you. I thought you formed your mannerisms by choice; it never occurred to me that you had to learn on your own!"
"I'll take that as a no."
"Hm? What's a 'no'?"
"I also mentioned that I developed my skill as a warrior by fighting and defeating bandits. I eventually formed a band with some other street kids, and we served pretty well as a militia. In case you're wondering, I joined the Shepherds at Chrom's invitation. After seeing what a powerful warrior he was, I knew he would be the perfect rival. That's how it all started."
"Interesting story!" Anna and Vaike continued their conversation throughout the rest of their meal. Vaike actually managed to pay the check and leave a calculated tip, despite admitting he was good at neither math nor money.
Once they were outside, Anna sighed and smiled,
"Vaike, I have to admit, spending time with you has been rather enjoyable."
"I told you so! Now let's get back home and–" Vaike was interrupted by Anna kissing him. Both blushed and made their way home in relative silence.
Alright! This was my first romance piece that exceeded 3000 words since my first oneshot, "My Sister's Guardian".
Notes for this, as always, can be found on my blog; the link for which is on my profile page.
Oh, and in case you didn't notice, there are a few references to FE7 support conversations embedded in the fic. If you can name them all (PLEASE DO SO IN A PM NOT A REVIEW), I'll write you a oneshot.
One last thing: Cormag Ravenstaff, COOKIECHEESEMAN, if you read this, you might have noticed a certain phrase Tiki used when explaining to Anna why there are so few dragons in the world. I hope you appreciated it.