i. Eye Contact

It had been a little over a week since Lon'qu had been stationed as her bodyguard and with each passing day, Lissa was finding it harder and harder to approach him. She'd tried nearly every level of persistence she could think of when it came to befriending the brooding myrmidon – from idle chatter to outright trickery – and with each attempt came a degree of failure, something that set the otherwise exuberant blond teetering on the edge of explosion.

She'd voiced many a complaint about his offhanded attitude, questioning his adamancy in maintaining his distance from women, but with each inquiry came the same, monotonous answer.

"I find them… disconcerting," he'd said once, gaze settled on the empty blockade between them, "but it will not interfere with my duty."

And, true to his word, it didn't interfere with his duty. Why, there was never a time nor place where Lissa could turn her head without seeing the flitting shadow of Lon'qu. Resting against a tree, a tent, maybe a boulder with his eyes closed and his arms crossed he'd be; one foot crossed over the other with ears that could rival even the mightiest of gossips of Ylisstol; quiet as a mouse, lips sealed tight as if he were sworn to secrecy; and nose upturned, eyebrows settled in its usual knot of indifference.

Yet, despite that reserved nature of his, he could close the distance in the blink of an eye, sword held tight in his hand as he'd cleave an enemy in two, never allowing a Risen or a thug to break that chain of protection he'd so quickly wrapped around her wrist.

Lissa was grateful, no doubt about that. Words alone could not express how much she appreciated Lon'qu's protectiveness; however, his attentiveness to his duty was what made things so difficult for her to befriend him. Innocent questions and cryptic responses were the essence of their relationship (if she could even call it that). Why, he wouldn't even shake her hand during their first, real conversation, choosing instead to stare at it as if it were infested with warts or some unknown disease. She'd gotten him to compromise in the end – though, somewhat grudgingly – suggesting that they nod at each other instead; and while that had been a start – a very painful start – Lissa was still left feeling unsatisfied.

Because she couldn't help but notice that while talking he didn't make eye contact, chestnut gaze settling on everything but her.

Maribelle would've considered it the ultimate form of disrespect had she been present, but for Lissa, she considered it the starting point for their budding friendship as bodyguard and charge. While she did try to push for some type of dialogue between her and Lon'qu, she settled on trying to hold his gaze, if only for a few seconds.

So, one day, while she'd been fretting about camp with no particular aim in mind, she'd spotted Lon'qu resting against a tree, eyes closed, arms folded, and legs crossed in that reclusive way of his. Her mind reeled at the idea at finally being able to penetrate his shield, so much that the Ylissean princess couldn't stop a smile from hugging her lips. Settling on a more leisurely pace (because she didn't want to appear too eager and blow her chance), Lissa began to bound up to the hired hand, fingers clasped behind her back and jade eyes twinkling in innocent amusement; yet, for however quiet she was in her mission, it meant nothing when Lon'qu caught her.

She stilled, breath caught in her throat as she held her protector's gaze for what felt like an eternity. Cocoa bore into emerald, widening in bewilderment and reaching quirked eyebrows. Lon'qu's lip twitched ever so slightly, but words seemed incapable of escape as he fought back the panic settling on his shoulders; yet, it was Lissa who broke contact, cheeks staining pink, and, in a very Lon'qu-like manner, she lowered her gaze, murmured a frazzled statement, and rushed towards camp, hoping to calm the beat of her pounding heart.

Author's Note: This is a part of a drabble series called "Take Five," where I will be taking some of my favorite couples and writing five 500+ word prompts in regards to them. Lon'qu/Lissa are the first, and hopefully I'll be moving to Frederick/Sumia (it saddens me to know that they have such a small, almost non-existent fandom). Thank you for reading. :)