Chris: Well, I've finally come out with another romance one-shot for this archive! So you all sit back in your computer chairs and enjoy!

Disclaimer: Don't own Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. If I did, I would have added in a Support Conversations option to benefit writers worldwide. So, you know, they could actually get reference from their game about the supports. Which is totally vital.


Training

"Hssss…" Lethe's bright purple eyes narrowed as she looked at the person in front of her. "What do you want?"

"And greetings to you as well, Lethe." Ike said wryly. "I just came to make sure you're all set for a journey to Daein. I know they aren't that fond of laguz over there and I was hoping that it wouldn't bother you."

Lethe continued to glare at the blue-haired person in front of her. "You insult me. I said I would stick with you and I never go back on my word. Unless you imply that I am…"

"No, no! Of course not!" Ike shook his head. "I'm sorry if you got that impression, but that wasn't what I meant at all. It is a leader's moral duty to make sure all of his soldiers are ready for the march ahead." He gave a little shrug. "Well, just as long as you're all right, I guess I have no other reason for being here."

"No, you do not." Lethe snapped.

"…" Ike shook his head dismally, turning to leave. "Oh…Right. Before I go, did you think about what I asked?"

"I did. And I think it's a stupid idea. You and your weak beorc muscles would not be able to handle a full-blown training session by me." Lethe folded her arms, her orange-furred ears twitching with impatience and annoyance. "Don't think about it."

"Still, it would be nice to try it out. After all, I need to learn all the fighting styles I can to make sure that we survive. If you don't want to, however…I completely understand. I'll just have to ask Mordecai." Ike shrugged and left, closing the door.

Lethe frowned, thinking hard. Now her tail had joined in the fun and was swishing behind her as she struggled to bring her emotions under control. Muttering a few choice curses she learned in Gallia, she opened the door and looked out at the hallway. "Ike! Wait!"

"Hmmm? What is it?" Ike spun on his heel, looking confused. "Change your mind?"

"…Grr…Yes." Lethe said, restraining the urge to grind her teeth. No matter what anyone said, she would never get used to serving in a beorc army with a beorc at the head. Never. "Be at the castle training grounds in the morning! And don't keep me waiting. I don't like waiting." She glowered at him before stomping back into her room, her tail thrashing madly. That was one thing that wasn't good about being a laguz. It was the fact that her tail kept betraying her emotions. Clamping back down on those pesky emotions again, Lethe looked around the room and sighed. She just hoped she wouldn't get blamed for mauling the army leader.

---

"So, what do I do?" Ike placed his hand on the hilt of his sword, looking at Lethe.

"Hmph…First you toss away that thing you beorcs use." Lethe folded her arms again, frowning. "Sheesh…so weak that you resort to using unnatural things to fight."

Ike didn't bother replying as he unhooked his sword belt and dropped it to the side. "Okay? Now what?"

"Now we fight! Show me if you're more than just meat and bones! Since this is just your first time, I won't transform."

"Gee, thanks." Ike said dryly as he brought his arms up in an unorthodox fighting position. "It really makes me feel wanted."

"…" Lethe wasted no time on words. She jumped on Ike, knocking him down to the grass as she swung a fist at his stomach. Ike blocked her blow with one of his hands and used his legs to toss her over his head. With a quick roll, Ike got back up to his feet, looking back at Lethe, who bit off a remark of surprise.

This time, Ike attacked. Dancing forward, he did a quick jab with his left that Lethe dodged. Next, he did a strong right hook aimed at Lethe's side that she blocked with her arm. The blue-haired man now proceeded to move low to try to trip her, only to find out that he had forgotten something. Beast laguz had tails. Tails that were strong enough to grip him by the foot and throw him away. Which is exactly what Lethe proceeded to do, dumping Ike unceremoniously in a heap on the grass.

"Ouch…" Ike winced as he saw blood well out of a wound in his knee. Staggering upright, he brought his hands up into a fighting position again, trying to keep his weight off of his wounded leg.

"What are you doing?" Lethe frowned again, her tail and ears twitching with agitation.

"I thought we were going to continue training."

"You're wounded. You can't fight like that." Lethe spat.

"We'll see about that." Ike said confidently as he moved in closer. Lethe stifled an irritated sigh and prepared herself for another one of Ike's attacks. Ike started out the same way, throwing another jab with his left hand that she once again dodged. However, instead of swinging with his right, he brought up his wounded leg to send crashing into her side, knocking her over and causing him to bite off a curse of pain. Lethe rolled up on all fours, hissing as she stalked Ike, walking around him and spotting his weak points.

However, Ike didn't want to give her the chance of using whatever knowledge she might have gleaned. Moving forward again, he tackled her to the ground and was about to land a punch in her stomach when Lethe shoved him off of her and reversed their positions, with Lethe poised to beat Ike senseless if she wanted to. And at this point, with all the battle energies flowing through her, she did want to beat him senseless. Except something interrupted her.

"Ike! Ike!" Mist called out for her brother as she ran out into the courtyard. Chancing a look, she spotted Lethe on top of her brother, about to pummel him. "Ike!" She rushed to his side, although she couldn't resist sending a verbal jab his way. "Losing to someone else in training this time?"

"Urgh…Yeah…Um…Lethe…Can you please get off?"

"Huh?" Lethe looked down at Ike and quickly moved off, flushing slightly. "Sorry."

"It's okay…whew…" Ike sighed in relief as healing energies from Mist's heal staff flowed into the wound in his leg. "That was rough." He let himself collapse on the cool grass, smiling faintly as he stared at the clouds.

"Hmph…Maybe you did better than I expected." Lethe grimaced, her eyes showing nothing but hatred and loathing. "But we'll see about next time. I expect to see you out here tomorrow at the same time." She stalked off, her tail swishing majestically behind her.

"What's wrong with her?" Mist asked curiously.

"Oh, probably just some of that reverse prejudice." Ike said with a small sigh. "I had hoped that since she was with us for a long time, she might have overcome such thoughts, but I guess not." He scratched his head.

"Don't worry, Ike! I'm sure that you'll be the one to help her open up!" Mist said cheerfully, patting her brother. "And if not, you can always let her beat you up at practice!"

"Thanks Mist. Thanks." Ike said, smiling.

---

Unfortunately, unexpected events came across the way of Ike's second training session. Actually, it wasn't unexpected at all, because the attack on Daein had been planned for months. It was only bad luck that the order to move would occur right when they were going to start.

"Groan…I was looking forward to it too…" Ike mumbled to himself as he sat on his horse, overlooking the movements of his army. "Training is much better than doing this stuff…Sheesh…"

"Hmph…Some leader…" Lethe said scathingly as she passed by Ike. "Not only weak in the body, but also weak in the mind as well. Just like all beorcs."

Ike frowned as he watched her go ahead of him. Shaking his head angrily, Ike ran up to the cat laguz and grabbed her by the arm. Lethe spun, hissing and showing her pointed teeth. "Listen Lethe. It's all right if you don't like me but it is not all right when you disparage everyone who is a beorc."

"…" Lethe looked at Ike dispassionately before sliding out of his grip and continuing to walk.

"Lethe, wait!" Ike yelled, catching up to the orange-haired laguz again. "I have no idea what's come over you. Earlier you were never this rude. What happened?"

"It's none of your business, Ike." Lethe walked off angrily, her tail swishing behind her. Ike watched her go and scratched the back of his head. Shrugging, he turned to head back to his rightful place behind the line. Sure, he might not know what the hell was bothering her, but at least she had called him by name.

---

It was only later, after he had asked Mordecai about Lethe's strange behavior that he finally figured out what was bothering her. So, like any good leader, he decided to confront the problem head on. Also, like any good leader, he somehow managed to completely botch the situation.

"GET OUT!"

Ike crashed into a wall as the door in front of him was slammed shut. He shook his head wearily, checking to make sure he wasn't wounded or bleeding. Luckily, for the moment, Lethe appeared to have let him get off early, with only a couple of bruises to fully showcase her rage. 'I should not have done that…'

The blue-haired mercenary stood, shaking his head again. Staggering off, he winced as pain started to flare up his leg. "Whew…Almost like a training session…"

Lethe waited by her door to make sure that Ike left the vicinity. When she was absolutely certain that he was gone, she slowly creaked open the door, looking warily around her. "Hmph…Stupid beorc. He had no idea what he was talking about." She crept out of the inn they were staying in and found some shelter behind a couple of trees. Closing her eyes, she basked in the calm and tranquil scene. What had been bothering her earlier was the fact that some of the members of the army had been making lewd passes to her and that wasn't something she wanted. The fact that it bothered her only got her even more pissed off, resulting in her less than respectable behavior around Ike.

"Hey, I've been seeing you around. Hehehehe…How's about I treat you to a nice, cozy dinner for two? And then I can show you a couple of my treasures later." A greasy, slovenly man who somehow managed to make it into the Crimean army walked up to her, grinning lustfully.

Lethe peeked open an eye. "Go away before I rip my claws through your throat."

"Aw, come on girl. Give me a chance. Let me show you that not all people in Crimea hate laguz. In fact, I love laguz."

"I said go away." Lethe opened her other eye and glared at the man in front of her.

"Fine! Be a bitch! I'm sure there are millions of other sub-humans who would just love to have me with them!" The man stomped off, leaving Lethe alone once again.

The orange-haired catgirl let out a deep breath to try to release the tension that was built up inside of her. When she failed, Lethe grumbled and pushed herself up. There was only one way to get rid of all of her stress and anger. And that was to completely pummel Ike during their training session. She cracked a couple of her knuckles and stalked towards the command tent. Lethe felt like showing Ike why she had such contempt for the beorc race.

---

"IKE!"

The lord in question winced inwardly and steeled himself for the assault that he was certain was coming. As such, he was completely unsurprised when Lethe burst into his tent. "So…Can I help you?"

"It's time for training! Get out on the field and show me what you've got!" Lethe yelled before leaving and stalking outside. Ike looked on, slightly amused, before turning to his tactician.

"I think she wants to kill me." Ike remarked to his black-haired friend, Soren.

"She isn't the only one. I'm certain there are some Daeins that want to kill you too." Soren replied as he looked over the figures on his sheets. "You might as well go. In her mood, she isn't going to bother waiting. And it's not like you ever listen to me whenever I talk about supplies." Even as he finished his sentence, he saw Ike's eyes glazing over. "I'm not going to talk about them anymore, Ike."

"Oh, sorry about that, Soren." Ike gave a helpless shrug. "You know how I feel about all the technical stuff." He gave a small sigh and opened the tent flap. "Tell everyone that I died in the head of battle. It won't be that far off from the truth."

---

"Took you long enough!" Lethe grumbled as she paced in a line, her hands clasped behind her back. Ike watched her, frowning when he saw how much her tail and ears were twitching.

"Lethe? Did that guy come back?" Ike asked, concerned. "I could tell him to lay off. You aren't doing yourself a favor by letting all of this stew inside of you." The blue-haired mercenary stepped forward.

"I thought I said it was none of your business!" Lethe cried as she spun to face him, her twin bells jingling as they flew around her body. "You beorcs are all the same! You never know when to leave well enough alone!" She screamed in rage and dropped on all fours, quickly transforming into her laguz form. Yowling, she jumped and aimed a swipe at Ike's throat. The mercenary, already caught off guard, just barely managed to dodge in time, falling to the ground.

"Lethe! What the hell are you doing!" Ike yelled as he dodged another one of her attacks, reluctant to draw his sword or some other weapon. But no matter what he said, it appeared that the orange-furred laguz was way past talking. 'I guess the only thing I can do is fight. Yeah, that's smart. Fight against a beast with claws and fangs that are quite able to rip you to shreds.'

Ike sidestepped another one of Lethe's charges and then quickly followed with a drop kick on top of Lethe's back. Not wanting to lose the slim advantage he had gained, he gripped her body with his two legs and fell to the ground, tossing her over his head. Lethe somersaulted in the air and jumped on Ike, scratching at his eyes. Ike moved his head away and struggled to get out from under her body, but it didn't seem possible. In her laguz form, she weighed much more than he did and he doubted that she would ever let him get away.

"Lethe! Get off of me!" Ike yelled angrily, starting to get fed up with her actions. "Now!" Using all of his might, he shoved Lethe off of him and punched her in the stomach with his sword hand. He pushed himself up, panting heavily as he watched Lethe get up as well. She jumped at him one last time, transforming into her human form as all of her anger faded away. Even still, she continued to weakly flail at his body, yelling curses at him.

"You are all the same! All the same…" Lethe cried as she continued to punch Ike in the chest.

"Whoa! Lethe! Control yourself!" Ike restrained the orange-haired girl, pinning her arms to her sides. "Listen, I don't know where you got the idea that I'm the same as that creep that's been bothering you, but I'm not, okay?" He slowly sat up, letting Lethe cling to him. "Please, calm down."

Lethe shook her head, angrily wiping away her tears. "I don't need a beorc's pity!"

Ike gave a little sigh and scratched at his hair. "Lethe? Why do you have to be so tough? Why can't you just be…I don't know…happy and relaxed once in a while. You're always so tense. Kind of like Shinon, now that I think about it."

"…This conversation is worthless! I'm not going to bother even answering that question!" Lethe said, folding her arms. "I'm…I'm going back to my room!" She quickly got on her feet, but weariness claimed her and she wobbled slightly before falling into Ike's arms. "What are you doing!"

"I thought I told you. I care about all of my friends. I can't let you just fall down and give yourself a concussion." Ike replied.

Lethe stared at him for a moment before looking away, her ears twitching. "Hmph…"

"Listen, I won't tolerate anyone harassing my soldiers and especially not people I care about. Trust me. You won't be bothered by anybody like that again. I can do that. I'm the leader of this army."

"Hmph…Like I said…Some leader…No true leader would spend his time like this."

"Hmmm…" Ike wondered. "I see…And do you want me to be a true leader?" He looked down at Lethe, a small smile at his lips.

"…No…" Lethe replied, closing her eyes. "Not at all…"

"Glad to hear it." Ike said, slowing running his fingers through Lethe's short hair. "Hey, we're still doing the training, right?"

One of Lethe's eyes opened. "You still want to continue?"

"Of course. If a true leader doesn't spend his time training, then that means I should continue training so I'll never be a true leader." Ike flashed a smile at her.

"Hmph…Some logic…" Lethe smiled a little in return. 'Some logic indeed…'


Chris: Ahem…Well, I hope you liked it. First PoR romance story for me…With Ike/Lethe, my favorite pairing for reasons unknown at the moment. I just like it. Yep. Review please!

PS: To all those writers who need to update. Update please. Thank you. Now it's time for me to update something else.