Hi all! I just burnt through Path of Radiance in about... well, 4 days. This is a fic I came up with a while ago, and my replay made me go back and take a look at some of the fics about Tellius that I'd written. This one seemed okay (the other have been reworked a little), so I decided to post it. It's always escaped me how the relationship between Ike and Elicina can be purely platonic, even in their supports. It just doesn't make sense. I mean, surely you'd at least feel a little something for the man who conquered two nations in your name, yeah? I'm also aware that Ike willing gives up his title at the end of PoR, and i really wanted to weave that point in, but it didn't fit, so meh.

Disclaimer: I don't own Fire Emblem. If i did, Ike would have been swinging around Ragnell a lot earlier, like, 19 chapters earlier.

Contrary to popular belief, Ike hates the word "hero".

While most would be happy to have such a title bestowed upon them, it is a reminder of his common birth. His title of lord means nothing, for while the queen can bestow titles upon anyone, without a fiefdom and acknowledgement from the nobility he will always just be a hero whose actions earned him a title, but nothing more.

It is a reminder that despite his faithful service to his country, the woman he loves is always just beyond his reach, despite the actions that speak volumes of his loyalty. It is a reminder that in public, he is simply a general to her at most, and not the one who was willing to risk execution in front of the continent's most powerful ruling body to defend her feelings.

It is a cruel reminder that the two-faced nobles, who simply hid and cowered when faced with the might of Daein, are a step above him in the world. It matters not that he and his small mercenary company were the ones who defied all odds to seize not one, but two countries in the name of Princess Crimea. At the end of the day, it is the nobles who stay close to the queen, and he is just simply a famous mercenary, often kept at arm's length.

Queen Elincia does her best to hide it.

At court, she puts on an elegant, graceful face, skilfully dealing with opposing factions who have no interest in the rebuilding of the country. Factions who could care less about the citizenry and more about how to secure the throne for their progeny. Yet year after year, the king's seat remains empty, and the whispers only grow louder.

However, in private, her closest retainers know why that seat remains empty. Why in private, her face is one of a wistful, listless woman. A woman whose position would never let her be with the one she has set her heart on. A woman who carries the weight of an entire nation on her shoulders, a burden she was never meant to bear.

But it is not the burden of a nation that crushes her. The burden that does is one she can only ease during the rare trips around the countryside under the guise of overseeing the mostly complete reconstruction efforts, where a month is spent traversing the countryside, and a week is spent at a secluded fort in the woods that make up the northwest of Crimea. To those around her, it sometimes seems as if she saves up her happiness throughout an entire year or more for that one week.

The times they share are brief, urgent, and private, but never lustful and needy. They would never go so far as to do that, for their relationship is a special one. It is a relationship forged under the flames of one war, tempered by a rebellion, and sharpened under a second conflict. It is a relationship of employer and employee, of a queen and her general, of the damsel in distress and her twice saviour, of a woman and the man who would gladly throw down the gauntlet at even the slightest besmirchment of her name. But they desire none of these.

For them, the relationship they desire is one of lovers.

And that is the one relationship this world would deny them.

Review if you feel like it!