Title: The Trees Never Saw It Coming
Series: FE10
Character/Pairing: Oscar/Kieran, minor mentions of Ike/Soren and Boyd/Mist
Rating: PG
Word count: 1677
Author's note: that other kink meme: Oscar/Kieran cuddling. Happy (early) Winter holidays, M!

It's a little AU in that Oscar hasn't left the Greil Mercenaries (yet) and Ike and Soren haven't gone to far off places, but it's set post-game. Or, you could look at it as set before those things happened, but still set after the game ended.

Set in the same timeframe/universe as a winter's night.

.

It'd been an intensely cold winter that year. The snow had piled up so high that most of their jobs involved cleaning out paths, It'd started earlier than usual, and showed no signs of stopping. To prevent frostbite, people bundled up tight, and huddled as close as they could for body heat.

And of course, many simply used that as pickup attempts. Shinon and Gatrie had yet to get close to anyone that didn't pay by the hour, so usually were forced to huddle together for warmth. Others, however, were more successful. Soren looked awful happy with himself wrapped up in Ike's cloak with him, while Mist had mended the hole in Boyd's coat just so she could fit snugly into it herself.

It wasn't such a problem in the kitchen, where Oscar had taken to spending his days again. Mist and Boyd were in full out courtship mode now, and she tended to be a little forgetful of things. Not that Oscar minded, considering it was the kitchen was the warmest place in the entire fort.

Kieran was yet again on loan to them. Whenever he got a little too high-strung, Queen Elincia would send him down to them with such explanations of the Crimean royalty and the Greil Mercenaries working together to stamp out the bandits and the persistent smuggling ring across the countryside, but everyone (save Kieran himself) knew they were just foisting him off on them for a while. This time, the excuse was that he was to help with the issue of snow clogging up the roads. And for all his loud claims, he really did have the enthusiasm, if not the strength of ten men.

The biggest problem now was keeping him from dying of exposure at this rate. He eschewed coats, leggings, woolen underclothing and huddling for warmth with his bellow of "A Crimean knight needs no coat, for our valor keeps us warm!"

Oscar was rather invested in keeping him alive, and not just because it'd look bad to have the representative of the Crimean Knights die on their stead–even if it had been his own foolhardy ways that had done him in.

Kieran had been underfoot all day, so he'd sent him out to collect firewood, even though they had plenty stored. Kieran tended to get stir-crazy if he didn't make use of his axe, and that was the safest bet Oscar could think of. But Sir Simpleton had been out for hours, and Oscar had visions of all sorts of trouble he could get into. Kieran never could resist fighting bears, he had an aversion to all things he deemed unmanly–coats, mittens, and clothes among them–and heavens knew he'd take on a whole army of brigands by himself, and probably not even stop to apply the vulnerary Oscar packed with him. The Imbue scroll could only help so much damage, and Kieran was a little too prone to claiming the most grievous injuries were 'just a flesh wound.'

"Honestly, you're worse than my brothers," Oscar muttered to himself. He tried to busy himself with brewing tea and prepping up the stew that would make their lunch and dinner, but his mind wasn't in it. He had this niggling feeling that Kieran had gotten himself into yet another scrape, and then he'd go get himself killed and probably even welcome the chance to die for his country like the idiot he was.

He sighed and shook his head. Sir Simpleton had gotten under his skin, he supposed. He had a way of doing that.

A voice broke through, and Oscar had never been so glad to be interrupted.

"Squinty eyed dastard, I'm home! I have bested the tree beasts!" Kieran bellowed.

Oscar turned around. Kieran was carrying a huge load of firewood on his shoulders. Had it been anyone else, he might've worried that they could hurt themselves, but Kieran had a habit of living through these sorts of things. Oscar had to admit for all his posturing, Kieran did look pretty...manly, like that.

"And there are plenty more tree beasts to take down. We shall be warmer than a forest fire started by bears!" Kieran said. He stomped his foot for emphasis as he placed the gigantic load of firewood down near the roaring fire. Oscar bent down and moved it a bit farther, so they wouldn't add 'set entire fort on fire' to the list of Kieran's disasters.

"You don't have to deforest the entire mountain, Kieran," Oscar said.

"They mock me," Kieran said darkly. "One even snapped back and hit me. I swore then that I would get my revenge on it, its brother and the rest of its brethren!"

"Well, at least take a breather before you go on your epic quest for revenge," Oscar said. Kieran was currently sporting a unibrow of frost, and his boots were caked in ice and snow. Random twigs stuck up from his armor, like the trees were giving him one last one finger salute.

"Your kitchen is a siren song, but I will resist all of this dandy allure and you with your apronly ways!"

Oscar smoothed down his utility apron, which for the record, was a whole lot less lacy than Mist's. "True Crimean knights eat lunch, though," Oscar pointed out. "It's mandatory."

Kieran snorted like a horse eager to leave its stable, but he sat down in one of the battered old chairs and managed to even not break it in the process. Which probably set a record, or something, all things considered.

Oscar pulled out some tea to steep. The soup would be fine if left alone for a few moments, so he got down on one knee to check on Kieran's condition and make sure he wasn't sporting and nearly severed limbs again.

"Have you realized the true magnificence of my manly muscles–the manliness of a Crimean knight?" Kieran asked in a voice so loud that Oscar was surprised they weren't interrupted by an enraged Soren who had walked the lengths of the fort simply to glare at them for interrupting his studies.

"Mmmhmm," Oscar said. Admittedly, his arms were quite solid. Quite nice at that. And thankfully, for once, uninjured.

"Sit with me by the fire for a while," Oscar said. He pulled up a less broken chair beside hime.

"I see your plans," Kieran said with narrowed eyes, almost like he was mocking Oscar in all his squintiness. "True Crimean knights do not cuddle!"

"But true rivals do pull each other into their manly bosoms for warmth," Oscar pointed out.

Kieran frowned at this. He seemed lost in thought for a moment trying to figure out a way to refute this, but thinking was never Kieran's strong point. Finally, he thrust his fist to his open palm for emphasis.

"Yes, but you're wearing a most delicious dandy apron! Thus your point is invalidated by your delicious unmanliness!" Kieran said.

Oscar wondered if he'd intended to put the 'delicious' in there, or if they'd just slipped out. Kieran had a habit of blurting out whatever was on his mind, no matter.

"Someone's gotta wear the apron in this rivalship," Oscar said flippantly. "Now, scoot closer."

Kieran sighed dramatically, for he did everything dramatically and finally pulled his chair closer to the hearth.

"Not that close. I don't want you catching on fire," Oscar said. Kieran conceded to this point, albeit grudgingly, and allowed himself to be pushed to a more respectable distance from the fire so that the chair didn't turn to tinder, and Kieran's pants didn't catch on fire.

Oscar put his arm about Kieran, and Kieran in turn held him a grip that probably would've given someone like Soren broken bones. Luckily, all the training Oscar had done through the years made him a little more resilient, so he'd only end up a bit bruised by morning. It was much warmer like this, with the fire to their backs, and the feel of their bodies close together. Kieran was still a bit wet from his trek outside to the woods, but Oscar wasn't sure if getting him to change was such a good idea, considering how hard it had been to keep him dressed in double layers the first time around. So he figured that he'd dry fast enough by the hearth, and feel a bit better.

Oscar let out a sigh. It'd been a long day and it wasn't even half done yet, and he'd been on his feet the whole time. Of course, this sort of complaint would get Kieran calling him a 'housewife' instead of a Crimean knight, so he didn't voice it aloud.

"Now, was that so bad?" Oscar asked.

"Yes!" Kieran said emphatically. "Your apron-clad ways have seduced me into the lap of cuddles! Next thing, I will be hugging kittens!"

Oscar shrugged. "I hear hugging kittens is considered a very honorable and knightly thing to do."

Kieran stormed out with a bellow of Must–find–kittens–to-hug! and Oscar sighed.

He should've seen that one coming. But at least he got a manly hug out of it in the end.