It was no more than a mile down the road that things came to a head. One moment, they were walking along, and while Liam seemed nervous- an emotion not normal for the Dovahkiin- everything else was fairly normal.

They'd been set upon by a pair of wolves, and dispatched them quickly. Vilkas carried the evidence of that in his pack, they made decent money on leather armor- true to his name, Liam Smythesson was a smith in addition to being a warrior- and it would be akin to leaving septims lying in the road behind them.

In fact, things had been so normal that Vilkas was beginning to feel as though he must have imagined the Shout. He was just beginning to feel comfortable when he saw a small flash of blue near Liam's ear, and the man began screaming.

He flailed his arms about, his screams higher in pitch than Vilkas could have imagined. Vilkas was at the ready, his sword in hand, searching for an enemy. None were apparent.

Meanwhile, Liam continued flailing, staggering backward, and falling hard on his ass. He flailed a moment longer, slapped his hands together, and began frantically wiping them upon the nearby grass. His skin was ghostly pale, and the look on his face was one of horror.

Until his eyes fell upon Vilkas once more, who was staring at him in a combination of fascination and confusion. When Liam recalled his audience, his pale skin flushed, causing Vilkas to quirk an eyebrow.

"It was uhh..." Liam stared down at his hands, at a bit of blue dust which clung to the tip of one of his gauntlets. He glanced from his hand to Vilkas a few times before making up his mind. "A butterfly."

There was silence.

And then Vilkas' laughter began. He laughed until his sides began to ache, and his breath came in rough gulps. His laughter didn't cease until Liam stood, marched over, and shoved him flat on his ass.

The sight of his Harbinger towering over him, shame and fury darkening his features sobered Vilkas, at least enough that he could stop laughing. He schooled his features as best he could- though he could still feel his lip twitching upward- and mustered his most sober gaze for Liam.

"It's notfunny."

"Of-" He almost lost it "Of course it's not."

"Vilkas, if you breathe a wordof this to anyone, I swear to the Nine that I will bring the full wrath of the Dark Brotherhood upon you."

"Of course you will."

"I mean it, Vilkas."

The two regarded each other in silence. Apparently satisfied with his Shield-Brother's sober face, Liam helped Vilkas up. They stood face to face for a moment before Vilkas could no longer restrain himself.

"Liam?" One dark brow quirked in response, but the other man didn't answer him. "What about moths?"

With an exasperated shout, Liam threw up his hands, turned on his heel and stormed off. Vilkas chuckled, dusted off his butt, and followed his partner. Through better, worse, or embarrassing, he had sworn to protect his Harbinger, and he would protect him.

From everything.

Even butterflies