She steps, voice soft and clear, sweet and confident. He doesn't mean to spy, but he is captivated so, as he steadies himself against the tree he's leaning on. When she twirls, he smiles. When she skips, he chuckles. But when she falters, he raises an eyebrow and notices, with a degree of delight, that she's doing a dance suited for two, not one – oh ho! he exclaims – and that's when he decides to come out of hiding.
For a minute, Olivia feels as if she's floating. She doesn't remember a thing once she encloses her hand in his, only the sound of her hum entwined in his – and the cicadas and the birds and the winds and the trees – as they rotate about the clearing with practice and poise.
W-what? was her first thought as she curls into herself. She cradles her hands to her chest in a feeble attempt to calm the thrum of her beating heart.
"E-excuse me?" Olivia stutters. Her cheeks match her hair and she takes a step back, anxious and dizzy.
Virion shakes his head, smiles that charming smile of his, and keeps his proffered hand extended. "In order to learn this next part, it is imperative that we close our distance, yes?"
She's brimming with nerves, unable to find the right words to turn down his offer, and averts her violet gaze to the frills shielding his neck. "Yes," she answers meekly, "b-but-"
But he doesn't let her finish.
"Come now, fair maiden!" he laughs patiently. "If I remember correctly, it was you who sought my help; t'would be a grave dishonor if I didn't uphold my end of our agreement."
With gentle fingers, he guides her hands away from her heart and presses one of his own to the small of her back. She doesn't know what to do, what to say, what to think; however, she isn't given a chance to ponder on any of her options when he presses her close and requests that she sings with him before they move.
Like a candle, her insecurities flicker out of existence when she dances – pink spirals into red, confidence replaces timidity, and passion scalds shame. He can't tear eyes away.
When Olivia accuses Virion of deceit, his first thought is to pull her in his arms and hold her close. He sees the trepidation swimming in her lilac depths as they narrow in a vicious stare, a stare most ill-suited for someone as beautiful as she. She doesn't make an effort to relax her frown, though he sees the quiver nagging at her lips and the tremble in her hands, and, because of this, his smile drops.
"You do not believe me?"
"Ha!" she emits almost immediately, squaring her shoulders and grounding herself. She ignores the lump forming in the base of her throat as her mouth spews allegations before she has the time to process what, exactly, it is that she's saying. "I wager you say that to every girl you see! Love probably strikes you three times before breakfast."
Virion regards her with a raised eyebrow as the corners of his lips pull into a half-smile. Three times before breakfast, she says - she couldn't truly be serious, could she? Oh, but she is, he thinks, taking notice of the mist behind her rapidly blinking eyes with a pang of guilt. Regardless, he strikes down her accusation with a slight shrug of his shoulders and places a hand to his hip, fingers twitching against the curve of the ring case in his pocket.
"There," he shakes his head, "you are wrong! I have never said it to anyone, ever."
Her voice is soft and hesitant with hope as she averts her clouded gaze to the ruffles of his collar – a habit she's formed when she's unable to hold his stare – nose tingeing pink from her building sniffles. The corners of his mouth ease into a gentle smile when he catches her cheek in his hand and brushes a lone tear away with his thumb.
"Truly, my dear."
Thrice now, had an arrow whizzed over her head, impaling a nearby foe with deadly accuracy right in the heart. The hilt of her dagger dragged along the seam of her pants as she relaxed from her battle stance, sweaty and breathless.
Olivia allowed her gaze to drift from the nearby battle – it was entirely one-sided anyway – eyes roving over the field, intent on uncovering her protector's identity. It was difficult to discern who it was, as lately more and more Shepherds had begun to pick up the bow and arrow; however, just as she was beginning to return to the frontline, a streak of blue caught her eye before another arrow rattled through the air, piercing a brigand in the neck.
While the sight of the thug choking on his blood was no laughing matter, she couldn't stop a shaky, albeit grateful smile from claiming her lips as the sound of Virion's laughter, loud and haughty, rang through the air.
Oh, how in Naga's name had it come to this? she thought, her heart hammering wildly against her chest.
Day had come and gone in a flash. What was once scalding heat and blinding sunshine was replaced with chilly air and shimmering moonlight. While the Feroxi dancer was accustomed to the blistering temperatures of Regna Ferox, there was something about this particular night that put her at ease; though, the feeling hadn't lasted very long.
It was but a minute ago that she stepped outside her tent for a bout of fresh air. The Shepherds were fast asleep, sans Gaius, who'd just switched out with Donnel for night watch. The orange-haired thief had warned her of the possibility of brigands skulking about, and while she'd heeded his warning, letting him know with a shy smile of thanks that she wouldn't stray too far, things took a sour turn once she was out of earshot of the camp.
"Now, what do we have here?"
She wasn't given a chance to react as an arm clamped around her neck and dug into her throat. Olivia could feel his breath, hot and foul against her ear when he pressed his nose against her skin to inhale her scent, chapped lips dancing along her exposed shoulder with ill intent. Her first thought was to scream, but he held her close with his knife dancing along her bare hips.
"Scream an' I'll gut ya like a fish, wen-"
His words died in his throat when an arrow tore throw the foliage like a flash of lightning, hitting him right between the eyes with pinpoint precision. She felt his body go limp against her own, his knife clambering to the ground before his body fell along with it, kicking up a cloud of dust. Olivia was rigid with fear, but her troubles ceased when he stepped through the thicket, fingers curled around another arrow.
Virion looked out of breath, but he still managed a smile when he said, "Thank the heavens, you're all right!"
It took less than a second for her to reach him, her tears seeping through his shirt as she wept with frightful gratitude. He wrapped a protective arm around her, fingers brushing along her hair in an attempt to quell her fears as he murmured soothingly in her ear.
The first time Olivia spoke ill of her dancing was when she'd asked for his assistance. He'd tackled her apprehension with a wave of his hand, a smile, and a kind word before they poured themselves into what would later become their routine.
The second time Olivia spoke ill of her dancing was after he'd volunteered to show her the steps to a particularly tricky sequence of spins. She sat off to the side, hugging her legs close to her chest and resting her chin on her knees. While her eyes lit up at the mere sight of his movements, fluid and elegant – like water, she'd mused, breathlessly – uncertainty clung to her insides, twisting its way towards her heart like a parasite.
He'd turned towards her with a smile when he was done, one hand resting on his hip with the other extended towards her. They hadn't been partners for long, but Virion had spent enough time with the Feroxi dancer to know when something was bothering her. When asked of her problem, Olivia merely shook her head, stood to her feet, and offered him a meek smile; however, as Virion guided her along the clearing to practice their routine, he reminded her with a tap of his finger to her nose that had it not been for her, dancing would've been a mere pastime, not a passion; that even as her teacher – a term he'd began to use loosely – he was still learning, and she should take pride in that. Because everyone loved confidence and hers was limitless when lost in her passion.
The third time Olivia spoke ill of her dancing, she'd went unheard as he silenced her. They'd just finished performing for the Shepherds, twin bands glinting in the light while they held hands and bowed. Flush from their performance, both were in desperate need of a break. Olivia had fumbled beneath the crowd's praises, her fiancé returning their thanks with a haughty laugh and a gesture in her direction. T'was all her, he said, pressing a warm hand to the small of her back before he guided her through the masses and towards the exit.
She'd laughed it off behind her hand, cheeks pink with exhilaration and gratitude. When they'd finally made their escape, Virion embraced her face between his hands and pressed a tender kiss to her eyes before claiming her lips in a gesture of pure, unadulterated adoration.
Olivia squeaked, too embarrassed to form words over his assault. By the end of it all, he'd leaned his forehead against hers after taking her hands in his own, surprising her with his urges to cease her self-denunciations, warning her that with each critique she'd give herself, his advances would increase tenfold, because she deserved far more credit than she was ever willing to give herself.
Suffice to say, Olivia made sure to never speak ill of herself again, especially in her husband's presence; she didn't know if she could handle any more of his risqué advances.
There was no telling what Virion held hidden behind that flattering smile of his, especially when he was so keen on sharing such sly gestures with their giggling wallflower of a four-year-old son. When asked the meaning behind such behavior one day, Inigo offered her a toothy grin as his father laughed in response to her reaction.
"Mommy is the most beautifulest woman in all of Ylisse!"
30. Writer's Choice – Tactics
"V-Virion!" Olivia managed to say, wrenching herself free of his grip and covering her mouth with the tips of her fingers. She blushed to the very end of her toes. "Y-You… I-I… Oh!" she stammered, standing to her feet in a flurry. "You're cheating!"
He chuckled in return, crossing one leg over the other as he set the game pieces back in order. "All is fair in war and love, my dear. Besides, I believe it was you who set the rules. Now, what have you say? Shall we go another round?" he paused, quirking a suggestive brow in her direction. "This time, we play by my rules."
Olivia eyed the chessboard with complete and utter disdain before chancing a peek at her husband, trying her best to ignore the flush in her cheeks. "I think I prefer Robin as our tactician, instead."
Author's Note: This was originally going to be a 50 Scenes Challenge for Virion/Olivia - a gift fic for my baby sister (relax, she's 15, lol) - but it was hard just writing these ten snippets. I hope I did their characters justice. Thank you for reading.