I don't do fluff. However I'm having a slight thing with it right now. YES, it's short, but I like it a lot. =3

Post Metal Gear Solid. Contains fluffy SnakeMeryl love and a very hidden reference to a former work of mine.

Don't own Metal Gear. I'll survive, though.

Everyday Tranquility

"Long night, huh?" he murmured in her ear, swinging the rocking bench gently and looping an arm around her.

Meryl shrugged, offering a tiny smile in response in his inquiry. "I guess. It's hard to sleep when I know the world's most famous mercenary is sleeping right next to me. Your arms are harder than I would have imagined them to be- your chest, on the other hand, is actually pretty soft."

Dave cocked his head in response to this and raised an eyebrow. This was slightly unexpected, coming from a woman who had been through Hell's territory and back within a matter of twenty-four hours. Meryl had never really shown this soft side before to him, and he wasn't exactly sure how to react. His hand squeezed her arm lightly, voice touched with kindness and sincerity. "Is that right? Can't exactly say I've been told that by a woman your age, but I'm not going to complain." His free hand interlaced themselves into her delicate fingers. "Soft chest and hard arms… like that makes any sense."

"You think it's supposed to?" the woman questioned teasingly, leaning her head against his body and shaking her head. "Not everything has a reason."

He stared out at the open field, contemplating this notion. Here was an eighteen-year-old girl, flirting around with a man nearly twice her age and frankly not really giving a care about it. The fact that she loved him for who he truly portrayed was enough to make him happier than he had while being alone with fifty huskies. Seemed kind of like a Beauty and the Beast moment- Belle had finally seen the real human inside the selfish prince, and the Beast showed his true colors. Dave breathed deeply, laughing a little to himself. "I guess not."

Meryl scowled at the slow response. "You think I'm shallow?"

"No, not at all," he replied quietly, giving a light smirk. "Quite the contrary, to be honest. I think you've opened me up and seen me in a way no one has ventured to try and see. I actually find it kind of stunning, to be honest. You've given up nearly half your days after the FOXHOUND Rebellion to be with a sick guy like me." He looked down at the planks and didn't change his facial expression. "Sick with FoxDie, sick with the tragedies of war… you amaze me to no end."

She blushed. He'd tell her this every day, sincerity resting in those calm eyes of his. Dave never blinked when he spoke with her- he'd be tried and true with everything that would slip from his mouth. It wasn't that she didn't like it- she was just astonished with what he would say. Meryl had a distant feeling he was worried about losing her. And with good reason- he had never been with someone in his entire life. Being alone in the wilderness for so many years was beginning to take its toll on him.

Good or bad, she had no idea.

The young soldier closed her eyes and lay there with him, not moving so much a muscle when a slight breeze blew through the porch area. Dave looked down at her and back out over the countryside, closing his eyes as well. "I guess it's just a time for relaxation, isn't it?" he whispered.

"I might be of age, but I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for that," Meryl joked. "But yes. If you want to consider it that, then be my guest."

One of the huskies nuzzled his owner's leg and circled twice before laying himself down at the couple's feet. Dave leaned his head on Meryl's own, took the hand with her hand interlaced in it, and gently wrapped it around the front part of her body. The slight shivering sensation she had been emanating unconsciously stopped, her body melting more into his muscles that protected him from the world's pain.

Lips moved subtly. "I love you, Meryl."

"I love you too, Dave."

He felt his heart lift. Three little words that meant so much never meant more than anything until right then.

Composed to Everyday Tranquility by Hitoshi Sakimoto. This song originated from the Legaia: Duel Saga Original Soundtrack.

Ahh, yes. A little bit of heterosexual love and affection- namely, a pairing overshadowed. Thanks for reading, my friends. Feel free to review.