"...this is our option."
"I don't know."
"Fine. Are you sure you can live with… them?"
He hesitated a moment, pictured the happy couple hand in hand… and felt a little ill. She didn't want to marry him. Her emerald hair framing her sad smile as she walked down the aisle on her uncle's arm. Walking to him. He cringed.
"My sentiments exactly," the smaller man said, brushing a lock of stray hair from his face, "but it's your decision, General." He cringed again. The man's tone was almost as revolting as thinking about his beloved Queen marrying the great hero.
Lovely Queen Elincia's face appeared in his mind, with the smile she saved only for him. He knew she'd never smile like that again if she married Ike.
"Let's do it." Ike's tactician stepped from the shadow, into the light and extended a hand to him.
"Agreed General Geoffrey."
"May I request an audience with Her Highness?" Soren asked. Ike's brow creased, as he pulled at the top button of his shirt. Elincia's queen's mask fell for a second, revealing her shock, but she quickly recovered.
"Of course, my Lord Soren."
"Soren what's this abou--"
"If you'll excuse us, Ike." Soren touched the corner of the Queen's arm, barely a touch at all, and lead her outside, to the small balcony off the ball room. Elincia took a deep breath of the chilled air and shivered.
"You look lovely, Queen Elincia."
"Um… thank you?" Elincia turned to face him, the wind blowing her earrings. She hugged herself, trying to keep warm.
"I wished to discuss your impending nuptials." Her face fell a little, barely detectable in the dim light from the moon.
"I believe it to be terrible idea. I know for fact you do not love Ike."
"Love and marriage… sadly do not go together for queens." Soren snorted. Queen Crimea's eyes looked ready to cry. She smiled a little wider, a little more fake. Soren returned the gesture.
"You are a naive woman. One would think the war your country almost fell into would have solved that problem," Soren bowed, "Good evening, Your Highness."
Elincia stood there blinking at him, watching him return to Ike's side.
"Like a laguz after a feast." Ike turned to the General standing in his door frame. Ike looked a little confused. He scratched the back of his head, and Geoffrey stepped into his room.
"That's okay, I'm used to snoring. Gatrie snores louder than anyone." Geoffrey looked at the floor. "...is it really that bad?"
"We thought the castle was under attack once."
"…well, I'm a pretty sound sleeper."
"She woke me in the west wing."
"In the east wing, top of the stairs."
Soren nodded a curt hello to Ike and the Queen. He motioned to Ike to sit up a little more, stop slouching, chin up. Ike pulled at the collar of his shirt for the third time that minute. Elincia smiled, and patted his hand, nudging it to the correct fork. She only had three days to get Ike prepared for the reception dinner.
Ike reached for the middle sized fork, and glanced at Soren. His head was almost shaking a no. So Ike reached for the large fork. Elincia's hand guided him over a little, and he went for the tiny fork.
Until she grabbed his hand and placed it directly on the middle fork.
"Here, use this one."
"Does it matter?"
"Yes," Elincia and Soren said in unison.
"May I request an audience with Her Highness?" The Queen cringed a little. She knew that voice.
"Yes, Soren?" Soren again guided her by the elbow away from the other nobles. He greeted her with a terse smirk. He reached into his robes and pulled out a small bar of soap.
"Commander Ike forgets trivial things at times."
"Bathing, for example." Elincia's upper lip curled slightly. She forced it to relax, returning to her normal, calm grit and bear it face. The soap rested in her palm, and all she could do was stare at Ike's tactician. "I'm sure you've noticed it, during the war."
"…I had assumed it was because provisions were scarce."
"I'm afraid not, Your Majesty. We could have won the war much quicker had Ike raised his arms a little higher. However, we would have lost too many allies that way. Biological warfare is too risky."
Elincia looked back down at the soap, then back to Soren.
Soren wasn't sure, but he thought he heard the Queen whimper as he walked away.
"My lady Mist?" Elincia fumbled with the edge of her cape, fingers twirling the fabric. When Mist turned to face her, she released the garment.
"Queen Elincia?" Mist inclined her head, and finished folding what looked to be Boyd's tunic. Mist smoothed her skirt, "Did you need me for something?"
"I have a… question."
"Okay." Elincia bit the bottom of her lip, and sucked in a deep breath.
"Does Ike really not bathe regularly?" Mist's eyes went wide, and she laughed a little.
"He's getting better! Really! He bathes twice a week now!" Queen Crimea gasped, her face very similar to Mist's and fled from her quarters.
Soren stepped from behind the door. Mist gave a thumbs up and a wink.
Once Soren left, she erupted in a fit of giggles.
Ike heard a knock at the door of his chambers. Too hard for Soren, Mist doesn't knock, too loud for Elincia…
"I have a gift for you," Lady Lucia said as she let herself in. She closed the door behind her and walked over to Ike's desk.
"Thank you?" Ike unwrapped the perfectly wrapped gift, after fighting with the ribbon and goddess damned why are there so many knots? He squinted at the small blue squishy things and looked back at Lucia.
"Ear plugs. You're going to need them."
"Doesn't she know that she snores?"
"Do you want to tell the Queen of Crimea that she snores like a drunken dragon laguz?"
"May I request an audience with Her Highness?" She couldn't help it. This time she cringed. Screw the queenly mask and manners and etiquette and--
"Of course." So maybe she's not so good at mean. Soren tried to lead her by the arm, but she politely side stepped his grasp. "Take that," she thought.
Soren grabbed her arm anyway. But he didn't hold it. He poked it. Lightly pinched and prodded. Elincia pulled her arm to her chest, examining it for whatever he did to it.
"You don't bruise easily do you?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Ike doesn't know his own strength sometimes." Elincia took a step back, almost glaring, like a queen of course.
"I'm not sure I follow you, my Lord Soren." Soren had to fight the smirk down.
"He can be very enthusiastic in the bedroom." Her mouth dropped. She hugged her prodded arm closer to her.
"How would you--"
"I'm Ike's tactician. He gives me an order, I follow it. All of them." This got a tiny shiver from her. "I do not recommend licking his ears if you bruise easily." Elincia gasped. She pulled her hands to her face, as if she had just seen someone's head lobbed right off.
"My Queen, are you all right?" General Geoffrey approached her, lightly resting a hand on the small of her back. Geoffrey gripped his lance tightly and stepped in front of the Queen.
"I was just leaving. Afternoon, General, Queen Elincia." Elincia's nails dug into Geoffrey's armor.
"Ike, I just wanted to give you a little advise before the ceremony tomorrow." Geoffrey smiled as warmly as he could. Ike grimaced. He ran a hand through his unruly hair and sighed.
"Give her roses. And orchids. Maybe a few jasmine flowers and violets. She… loves flowers. White and purple are her favorites." He hung his head. Geoffrey felt awful. Elincia chose Ike. He shouldn't be doing this. Her happiness is all he wanted.
"Have you seen Soren? He usually stops by every night, but I haven't seen him in the last few days. I think he's avoiding me."
"No, I haven't. But I doubt he'd avoid you."
"Soren likes lilies." Geoffrey raised an eyebrow at Ike's remark. "Well, I think they're lilies. They grow outside of my window back home."
"May I request an audience with Her Highness?" Elincia shuddered and sighed. She glared at Soren.
"It will only take a moment of your time."
"Fine, I shall tell you here. Ike--"
"Yes, My Queen?"
"Yes, My Queen."
"How's the plan working?"
"The Queen is ready to run screaming from him."
"Are we doing the right thing?"
"Her uncle said that she needs to go ahead and marry that blue haired general, correct?"
"As I recall, they are two blue haired generals in this country. He never said which one. Besides, Ike isn't love with her."
"Of course not. If he was I wouldn't interfere."
"But he is in love with someone?"
"Me." Geoffrey blushed at that comment.
Ike never got dressed for the wedding. He woke Soren in the early hours of the morning, and handed him a quill.
"I need you to do something for me." Soren nodded and scribbled down the words Ike said, save the stutters and the mistakes.
Soren copied each word, with better grammar and slight changes here and there. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, and stifled a yawn. Ike made it increasingly harder to focus by running his hands through Soren's hair, massaging the scalp. Soren put the quill down, gestured to the bed, and curled up against Ike's chest.
The note could wait until morning.
Elincia paced in her room. She stood in her night clothes at her mirror and looked at herself. She imagined Ike's hand around her waist, her head resting on his shoulder--
She forced herself not to gag. She closed her eyes and sighed.
Warm hands, calloused yet smooth, wrapped around her stomach. Even warmer lips gently kissed her neck, far too gently for--
"Geoffrey?" He pulled her into a hug. He wasn't wearing his usual armor and Elincia could hear and feel his heart beating. It was racing.
She put her head down and cuddled into him.
"Shh. Tell me tomorrow."
"I love you."
Morning came and Geoffrey awoke in her bed. Elincia laid on her side, arms almost around his chest. He saw the chill bumps on her arms and pulled the blankets up a little higher.
"Good morning Your Highness!" Lucia shouted opening the door. Geoffrey did what any man would do if his sister walked in on him in bed with the Queen; he hid under the covers.
Lucia ripped the covers off and glared at them both. Elincia was fully awake now.
"I have a message for you, from Lord Ike."
"I will not marry him."
"I won't marry someone I don't love, it's just not- wait, what?"
"Ike and his tactician left. They left this note for you." Elincia crawled down the bed and ripped the note from Lucia's hands. Lucia sat on the bed and Geoffrey just looked terribly uncomfortable.
"This is wonderful!" Elincia giggled. Lucia was smiling too. She hugged Lucia then tackled Geoffrey into a hug.
He blushed again.
"Why didn't you just say that you didn't want me to marry her? Wouldn't it have been a lot easier?"
"Probably," Soren peered up from his map then continued, "but not as much fun."
"I feel bad for the guy. How the hell will he ever get to sleep? At least you don't snore."
I hate forks. And dancing. And nobles. I'd be a terrible king. Soren even thinks so. And, I'd never be able to sleep with your snoring. Soren doesn't snore.
And just marry Geoffrey. He loves you like Soren loves me.
He's got blue hair, right? And he's a general.
The organs started and everyone in grand hall of Melior rose. The doors opened and Queen Elincia entered in a gown fit for a goddess. Lord Renning walked her down the aisle, and she smiled at each person.
Her husband-to-be took her hand from Renning and kissed the palm.
The vows were said, and Elincia Ridell Crimea was wed to Sir Geoffrey of Delbray.
"Do I really snore?"
"No. But you do talk in your sleep."
"I actually thought she was going to marry Ike."
"It's a good thing Soren interfered, isn't it?"
"I thought blue haired general would have signaled Geoffrey for sure."
"Well Lord Renning, I believe it all worked out."
"When are you going to agree to Bastian's hand, Lady Lucia?"
"When he can ask me the question in twenty words or less."