Title: I Shot An Arrow Into The Air
Day/Theme: November sixth | let someone ask my heart about your half-drawn arrow (late)
Character/Pairing: Mostly gen. A bit of one sided Rolf x Shinon, mostly firstcrush/hero worship/Shinon has pretty hair
Summary: And that was about the time when Rolf's view of Shinon changed. Before that moment he was just the slightly mean and dangerous mercenary that Rolf never really went near, but after that sight, Rolf's entire life changed. Mostly gen with a tinge of onesided Rolf heroworship
A/N: What can I say? To me it sounds Rolf sounds like he has the biggest girly crush on Shinon in their POR supports. Can you blame him? Look at all that pretty hair~ (I totally admit that I always give Shinon Deadeye just for the hair!bounce)
For LinLin because I thought she could use with some Rolf cuteness (heart)
It'd been late autumn in a day that felt more like spring, it'd been such a lovely respite from the bitterly cold, windy days that Titiana let them leave the chores early. There would always be duties. Those same tasks would still be there on a rainy wet day, but the weather wouldn't stick around that long.
No one beat Rolf at hide and seek. He'd play Mist day in and day out and she was always so easy to find. They were unbalanced in that, it'd take him five minutes at most to find her hidden under the pantry or behind the grain bin and it'd take her near hours to find him.
Today he'd hidden up in the branches of a tree, which was almost cheating but not really. Rolf thought he'd have to stifle the giggles as she walked under him repeatedly only to just overlook – oriunderlook him.
He heard the crunch of leaves underfoot and Rolf held his breath, lest today be the day she made a lucky guess He heard laughter, too deep and masculine to be Mist's girlish giggling.
"I just love this kind of wine. Don't you, Shinon? Nothing's like wine sold by pretty bardmaids with yellow hair–" Gatrie said.
"–yellow hair, like those leaves falling over there. Hey, that rhymes! Maybe I should turn it into a poem, hmm."
"Don't quit your day job," Shinon replied.
Gatrie laughed, a sort of giddy drunken laugh. A leaf fell onto his head and he picked it up and examined it.
"Like William Tell hah– I don't think I've ever seen anybody good enough to fire an arrow through a falling leaf."
"Is that a challenge?" Shinon said.
"I'll bet the next round of drinks on it," Gatrie replied. He was drunk enough to forget that his paycheck had already been spent twice over.
The sun caught all the fiery redness of Shinon's hair as he pulled out and arrow from the compact quiver attached to his back with leather strips . Shinon drew his bow and squinted. He raised it and fired and shot that went straight, despite the amount of alcohol he'd ingested, and sailed through the air and into the falling leaf.
Shinon just lowered his bow and smirked.
"That's right, there's no one else in all of Tellius who could pull off that shot."
Rolf could only stare from his hidden place. He'd never seen anything so amazing before, Shinon looked tall and strong and so powerful and in control. And that was about the time when Rolf's view of Shinon changed. Before that moment he was just the slightly mean and dangerous mercenary that Rolf never really went near. But after that sight, Rolf's entire life changed. He began to follow Shinon around, for even if Shinon snapped at him it was worth it.
All in all Rolf found that Shinon was as Oscar would say 'all bark and no bite'. Or at least, that's how he was to People Who Weren't Ike And Soren. Even if he told Rolf to go away, he'd share food (but not alcohol, though Rolf had once sipped some of Oscar's cooking wine only to find it really yucky.)
Rolf finished his chores early that morning without Oscar even telling him to. He knew that Shinon would sleep later than usual due to the amount of alcohol he'd drank. Rolf didn't particulalry know iwhy/I those two things mixed, but enough wine and Uncle Shinon wouldn't come up until noon.
Still, he waited patiently until Shinon until the archer stumbled out from his room with unkempt hair and dark circles under his eyes. Rolf was mature enough to wait until Shinon had finished even though he was dying to ask him every question in the world. At least he waited until Shinon was almost out of the fort before giving his greetings.
Rolf threw his arms around Shinon's midriff. He smelled like smoky, like the fire hearth and like stale alcohol. The mixture was some mysterious, masculine and adult smell that Rolf loved.
"Tch. Rolf, what are you doing here?"
Rolf looked up and beamed. "I wanna watch you practice."
"I don't practice. There's no use in hitting a still target," Shinon replied.
"Then I'll watch you hit a moving target! I promise I'll be good and not any trouble!"
"Listen, this isn't a trip to town, we're not off to buy candy. I've got things to do."
Rolf bit his lip lest the tears of disappointment spill over. He was trying to be strong, he was–
"Don't cry– aw...damn. ...Fine, you can come."
Rolf brightened immediately. "Really? I really can? I'll go pick up your arrows! I'll be ever so helpful! Please let me stay and watch, Uncle Shinon!"
Shinon sighed. He pushed a stray strand of coppery red hair out of his eyes with annoyance.
"Don't bend them," he said at last.
True to his word, Shinon didn't simply hit a large target.
"What are you gonna do now Uncle Shinon?"
"If you want to come along you have to be quiet," Shinon said.
"Oh, I can be quiet– really, really, really quiet–"
Shinon cleared his throat. "Rolf. Shut it."
"Oh, right," Rolf whispered. "Sorry, Uncle Shinon."
Shinon squinted and looked up through the forest. Near the tops of a tree a crow perched. He shaded his sun from the eyes and stared the bird down. The bird let out a caw and began to preen itself, seemingly unworried despite the grave danger Shinon posed it.
He seemed to have noticed Rolf's burning curiosity and nodded towards the rook.
"Crows aren't that good a catch. I wouldn't eat those tough old birds unless I was starving."
Rolf memorized that fact, just like all the other facts on this journey. The penmanship in his mind was extra neat and the dots were dotted with hearts (just like Mist did) and the t's were crossed ever so well. For the first line: Crows weren't good to eat unless he was desperate, arrows were more fragile than he'd ever thought. Second line: Shinon was more forgiving than Rolf had have imagined, he had to be quiet, really quiet to stay by Shinon's side and Shinon had the prettiest hair he'd ever seen. The last one was an odd fact, a sort of non sequtir but Rolf didn't mind.
Shinon had always had a kind of adult mystique that fascinated Rolf. He did things that none of the other mercenaries would dare. He'd insult anyone who he felt like it, even if they were the mayor or king. Shinon didn't suck up to anybody. Most people viewed archers as second-rate, a kind of lesser backup to the swordsman and spear wielders and axemen. But Shinon acted like he was beyond all that and he was. Rolf had seen him take down that leaf mid-air and although he'd never been in battle with everyone else because he was too little, Rolf knew that Shinon would always hit his mark.
So day by day he followed along into the woods. Even as he was gruff, Shinon had started to show a nicer side. He'd bring lunch just for Rolf, he'd wait up if Rolf couldn't walk or even carry him if he got too tired. Yes, he'd complain as he did it, but Rolf had begun to learn that bitter words were just that – words.
But everything really started the day Shinon left his bow for a split second when he went to investigate something around the bend.
It wasn't as if he'd meant to touch Shinon's bow, it was just with no one there to guard it the bow had given out a Siren song that he couldn't resist. It had looked like it was glowing in the sunlight, like some treasure just waiting to be found. Rolf knew he wouldn't be focus on anything until that magical tool that Shinon could work wonders with was in his hands.
"What do you think you're doing, Rolf?"
Rolf flinched. He expected to see the full extent of Shinon's rage, the same anger he'd seen directed at Ike or Soren But Shinon's voice was calm. And not the kind of scary calm that Oscar could be when he was really angry, the calm where gentle words stung like a slap.
Rolf almost dropped the bow in guilt, but he managed to hang even though his hands felt sweaty and shaky.
"I'm sorry Uncle Shinon I– I just wanted to touch it!"
"You'd never be able to pull that string back."
Shinon chuckled, well – almost. That was the best explanation of the kind of short laugh he gave. "It's too big for you. And you're holding it wrong."
Rolf felt guilty. He bit his lip and handed the bow up.
"Where do you buy these kinds of bows, Uncle Shinon?"
"I don't buy them. I make them," Shinon said.
"Really? You make them all by yourself with no help at all?"
"Yep," Shinon said as he checked the boy for damage. Finding none, he slung the bow over his shoulder.
"You'd need something smaller," Uncle Shinon said, and it sounded almost thoughtful.
"Go off an play, I've got some work to do," Shinon said.
Rolf ran through the woods with mix of adrenaline and euphoria spinning inside him. He'd really held Uncle Shinon's bow!
Even though he told Mist all his secrets, or at least almost all his secrets, he couldn't even begin to tell this one.
Shinon was mostly gone for the next few days. When Rolf followed him quietly quietly all he saw Shinon do was strip branches from trees and bend them only to cast them aside in disgust.. Even as curious as he was Rolf eventually got bored of seeing Shinon cut wood.
He followed after Mist and helped her with the laundry, even though it was a girl's chore Rolf didn't mind. The linens smelled so clean and fresh, he'd bury his face in them and remember last summer's forts made between the drying sheets and how the even in the hottest part of the day it was still shady there in their secret place.
It never really struck him that Shinon might be actually making some kind of tool, only that Soren had demanded some kind of firewood and that Uncle Shinon was going to take as long as humanly possible just to incense Soren all that much more.
It took a whole week before Rolf followed Shinon again
It was a small bow, almost comical next to the size of Shinon's bow.
"Wow! It's so nice, can I see?" Rolf said.
"Sure. Go ahead, it's yours."
"You made me a bow? Realllly?"
"It was a good excuse to piss off Soren. Don't make such a big deal about—"
Rolf threw his arms around Shinon and nuzzled against him. He smelled like ash and smoke, and there was nothing soft about him.
"I love you, Uncle Shinon!"
"Yeah, yeah... get off, will you?"
Rolf just nuzzled against him all the harder.
"I promise to take really good care of it," Rolf said. "And practice hard until I can shoot arrows just like you!"
"I'll teach you how to do the necessary things like cleaning. And no telling anyone. At all. Got it?"
"But, Uncle Shinon—"
"No one. You tell a single soul and I'll burn it."
"I promise–" Rolf said.
It only took a few days until the landscape of the forest had been changed. Though Shinon never used targets, There was one with a big target with red and white circle pattern. It looked like candy that he'd eaten once during a festival when he'd been younger.
Without waiting for his teacher Rolf pulled back the string. Excitement rose deep inside his gut, it felt like flittery butterflies. He imagined the arrow soaring through the air just like Shinon's did. Imagination and reality did not converge, the string flopped helplessly back.
"You hold it like this."
Uncle Shinon was behind him, his hands on Rolf's own guiding them. His hands were strong and dwarfed Rolf's own. They had all kinds of rough patches, they were the hands of a warrior; the hands of a man.
Rolf hoped to have hands like that one day.
Day by day Rolf improved. He was nowhere near as good as his teacher, but he could carry the bow right and it actually hit the target. Most of the time, at least.
He'd still kept that secret so close to his heart. He didn't even tell Mist, or Oscar or Boyd. It was exciting having a secret all to himself. He'd never been trusted with such a thing before because he was too young.
Shinon had been the first person to really trust him, the first one to say that he wasn't a baby and was old enough to do something. And Rolf adored him for it. He adored how Shinon didn't stop for anyone and how he never let anyone push him around. Nobody would ever say Shinon couldn't go because he was too young or because they didn't want him getting hurt.
He wanted to grow up just like Shinon, but maybe a little nicer.