Hello. Sooo, first fanfic. Fun stuff. Probably Reyson/Soren, eventually. Anyway, I don't own Fire Emblem, save in game disc form. Enjoy.

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Soren didn't like the heron. Why would he? The heron was haughty, and condescending, and always around Ike. Which was where Soren always was. Which, of course, is why he couldn't simply walk away, and ignore the fact that the heron knew about the brand, and acted the way sub–that is, laguz–always acted, speaking over him to Ike whenever possible; why he couldn't avoid the way that he always looked so subtly superior, shaking his long gold hair, fluttering his pearly pure white wings, flaunting every drop of the elegance he'd had decades, at least, to perfect. He himself felt like a dark blot in the heron's shadow. It only made it worse that the heron didn't seem to be doing any of it on purpose.

Oh, no. The heron was the epitome of sincere gratitude and genuine efforts to be friendly, or at least civil. He didn't like the beorc any more than any of the other laguz, but his hatred had largely redirected itself towards Daein, and he was better at censoring his opinions than the ginger cat, at least. And Soren didn't have to spend so much of his time around her. At any rate, the heron was behaving civilly and helpfully, and he'd forgiven the apostle, and joined their company, and everyone like him, except perhaps Shinon, who was too much of a bastard to like anyone but Rolf. Why he made the exception for Rolf was beyond Soren. It would have been preferable had the sniper never returned.

So everyone who counted liked the heron, except for Soren. He couldn't complain about the heron's participation in their meetings, couldn't protest his presence in their army. Ike had allowed the heron to be there in the first place, and Soren wouldn't go against Ike because of a personal grudge. He was stuck with the White Prince, possibly until the war ended.

Awake as early as ever, Soren trekked through the shallow snow to the supply tent, his usual morning routine marred. Instead of the crisp silence of past snow-blanketed mornings, the air resonated with the soft strains of the heron's singing, as it had every morning since the heron had joined them. Soren knew the value of practice, of training; with Titania around, all the mercenaries did. Still, did the heron have to sing the same song so early every morning? Soren was used to having this one time of day to himself.

Unfortunately the heron seemed to be practicing this morning directly in Soren's path, as his perfect voice–did he even need to practice?–was increasing in volume as Soren trudged on. Sure enough, in a grove of trees beside the makeshift path, Soren could make out sparkles of light glancing off of the heron's golden hair. In the snowy landscape and weak dawn light not much else was visible. The heron was quite as pale as Soren himself, and wore almost exclusively white, after all.

The heron turned, too elegantly to say twisted, to face him as Soren walked past. Without looking at him, Soren walked the last few yards to the large supply tent, ignoring the completion of the heron's song and the soft whisper of wind on feathers. The heron didn't have to walk through cold, wet snow.

"Are you always awake so early?"

Another thing; the heron always sounded like he was singing, or about to. This, too, annoyed Soren. It was a needlessly flamboyant gesture, and doubtlessly the heron had no idea he was doing it. Instead of replying to the mellifluous voice, Soren doggedly began taking inventory. Kieran would need a new axe; it was lucky they were so cheap, considering the number that he and Boyd were continually smashing...

"I do hope General Ike appreciates how hard you work," the voice continued. Soren wondered why the heron was bothering to talk to him. He hadn't before.

"What are you doing, anyway?" Emotion sounded so much more vivid in the heron's voice; what would have been a bare trace of curiosity in anyone else was coming across with frustrating clarity.

Still refusing to turn around, Soren reached for a box of vulnaries. Before he could reach them, a pale hand had lifted the box off of the tall stack it had been perched on. Irritatingly, the heron was also taller than he was. And now he would have to turn around to take the box, because the heron didn't seem ready to relinquish it.

Spinning around snappishly, Soren snatched the box out of the heron's hands. "What do you want?" he demanded.

"Everyone says that you're the one who really runs this army, and that General Ike, while quite talented with people, simply cannot keep track of the everyday things," the heron said, looking perfectly calm and composed. "The past few meeting have made these facts abundantly clear, as well."

"That isn't an answer," Soren snapped, resuming his inventorying.

"I felt that I should become acquainted with the one who orchestrated the battles in the swamp."

Soren grimaced. So this was part of the heron's gratitude spiel. "While I do conduct our battle plans, it is Ike who decides our main course of action. Had everything been up to me from the start, we would still be at home in Crimea."

"Do you really wish you hadn't rescued Princess Elincia and begun this journey?" The heron's expressive voice made it clear how unlikely he found that idea. "You would most likely be dead."

"I never said I regret our current situation. It is true that our prospects in Daein-occupied Crimea would be slim."

"So your initial decision would have been wrong. I wouldn't have thought you would admit that."

Soren spun around again, nettled by the way that the heron had twisted his words. "Do you not have something better to do? Some of us have important duties with this army."

Of course the heron's pale green gaze was as cool as ever, not a flicker of discomfort on his face, not a shade of irritation. Soren could only feel his own building, a most unwelcome state of things.

"I'll let you get on with your responsibilities then," the heron said, sweeping out of the tent without a backwards glance.

Soren seethed for a few moments. What did the heron think he was doing, suddenly bothering him out of the blue like that? Finishing the inventory barely calmed him down.

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If you have comments, please leave them. Especially if they include knowledge of how old Reyson is; I mean, if the game says I missed it, and he looks maybe twenty, but was at least old enough to remember and understand what was going on during the Serennes massacre, which was twenty years pre-game...And Janaff is what, a hundred thirty or some such? Why can't laguz age like normal people, so we can at least guesstimate their ages? And is guesstimate a real word? Because my spell-check isn't picking up on it. And my spell-check jumped on "Ike."

By the way, this starts around chapter 20 of PoR, after Reyson's encounter with Naesala.