"I ain't never seen anythin' like it before," Vaike muttered, adjusting his arm guard with a shrug and a confused expression.

"What, you mean the passive-aggressive tea-drinking or the dagger-like glaring? I reckon I can sharpen my blade in her eyes if I tried hard enough…"

Vaike gave Gaius a fleeting look before he decided to run a hand through his untamed hair. "I thought she had somethin' against the guy before, but I dunno, man. She don't even look at me like that and not a day goes by where she ain't callin' me a barbarian or a troglo-whatever." He jabbed a finger towards the object of her glare with a sympathetic look. "Ya think he might've done her somethin' or what?"

"She looks at everybody like that," Gaius replied nonchalantly, popping a raspberry-flavored candy into his mouth, "even if she is looking at Lon'qu like she wants to kill him. If anyone knows Twinkles besides the Princess herself, it's definitely me. Give it a day - if she has somethin' to say, she'll say it."

Vaike released a hearty chuckle as he thrust his unruly hair back with his usual band. "I guess you're right. After all, you're the one who's gotta put up with her and her insults for the rest of your life. Just don't come runnin' to me when she finally decides to clamp that heel'a hers on your neck. 'Ole Vaike here can only take a cryin' dame."

A smile played across Gaius' lips as he redirected his gaze between the sharp-tongued troubadour and dismissive swordsman. He dropped his head and stuffed his hands in his pockets with a shake of his head. "I'll try and remember that."

Vaike laughed once more before the two decided to part ways; however, much like Gaius, he chanced a peek between the two Shepherds, unsure if his concern was misplaced or not.

Maribelle hadn't allowed her glare to stray so much as a centimeter away from Lon'qu's figure. She held her cup to her lips, hiding whichever snarl she allowed to twist its way across her mouth this time, and took a bitter sip of her tea before setting both her cup and saucer down. She watched him polish his sword, only averting her gaze when he deigned to meet hers.

Any minute now, Lissa would bound up to the myrmidon, just as cheerful and amiable as she was the day prior with what could only be described as an infectiously affectionate smile. Lon'qu's expression, stoic and detached as per the norm, would soften ever-so-slightly - Maribelle figured that it was as close to a smile as he'd ever get - and the two would exchange a short, almost cryptic conversation, ending with the Feroxi's nod (of approval, she wagered) and the Ylissean's giggles.

She wasn't sure anyone noticed, but their distance, unlike how they were during Lon'qu's guard duty, had decreased significantly. One could almost say that they were closer than ever; however, Maribelle highly doubted anyone - aside from herself, of course, and Frederick, and perhaps even the lord and his tactician as well - paid them any mind. Lissa's brilliant personality made it hard for anyone to place her affections. Sure, at first, she'd gone through a phase with her retainer, but that had been such a long time ago, and it was obvious as the day was bright that Frederick was more focused on his lieges' well-beings than anything else.

Or perhaps he was just that daft, she thought, remembering with closed eyes how painfully obvious Lissa had been about it.

Maribelle blinked open her eyes just in time to catch Lissa flounce near Lon'qu. True to her theory, the distance between them had diminished. What used to be ten, perhaps even fifteen feet, was nothing more than a mere five feet, maybe even less! The princess hovered over the swordsman's shoulder with a pretty smile, while his own tight-lipped expression softened. Lissa looked more than a little flushed, but otherwise happy as she exchanged words with Lon'qu - about what, Maribelle knew not, but she was determined to find out. The Feroxi warrior gave her another one of his silent nods before Lissa proceeded to make her exit; however, the energetic princess made sure to toss her a wide smile with a frantic wave of her arms.

"Hey, Maribelle!"

She jumped at her friend's exclamation and, seemingly flustered by the attention she was receiving because of it, cleared her throat before raising her tea to her lips for a drink. Lissa beamed in return, bidding Lon'qu farewell, and bounced off in search of her brother. Maribelle chanced a peek above the rim of her cup, roseate eyes prodding the bed of soldiers in search of one tight-lipped myrmidon, only to find that the man in question was no where to be seen.

She lowered her cup, lips pressed in a thin line, and - for a second time in the past thirty seconds - nearly jumped out of her skin when Lon'qu appeared right next to her. She looked up, tongue grasping for words her mind had yet to think of. He kept his gaze forward, hand resting over the hilt of his sword as if it were an everyday thing.

"It's rude to stare," he said.

Maribelle turned her head away and straightened her back, tightening her grip on the handle of her tea cup. "Yes, well it's rude to sneak up on people. I'm not sure if that's how you do things in your country, but here in Ylisse, there's a little thing called manners. Perhaps, you should acquaint yourself with them."

Lon'qu said not another word as he took his leave, leaving Maribelle alone with nothing but her thoughts. She was no fool. There was something going on between her sweet darling and that wretched lout, she was sure of it. No other female in this entire camp seemed to have sway over him as she did. While Maribelle wanted nothing more than to question Lissa over it, remind her of her position as princess and the proper protocol in regards to their unsavory counterparts, she knew that getting anything out of her would be like pulling teeth. And approaching Lon'qu, unfortunately, would end in nothing more than a throttle of insults, she was sure.

It was obvious that in order for her to get results, she'd have to take matters into her own hands. Going to Chrom would probably end unkindly. The prince was, after all, kin to Lissa, if not more protective than she, and Maribelle could never bring herself - whether it was the truth or not - to accuse Lissa of any unsavory conquests in regards to not just Lon'qu, but anyone in or outside of camp. She loved the girl, naive and stubborn as she was, like a sister (and there were just some things one couldn't tell their commander and prince about his beloved sister).

Setting her cup and saucer to the side after drinking away the remnants, Maribelle stood quietly in her seat, parasol in hand.

Yes, it was apparent that something was going on between Lon'qu and Lissa, she thought with a sharp turn of her head, eyes sparked with fierce determination. And she was dead set on finding out what that 'something' was.


Author's Note: I had half a thought to pair Vaike/Maribelle, but Gaius/Maribelle has a special place in my heart. I've always wondered how Maribelle would take this kind of thing between Lon'qu and Lissa (OTP) - she's an over-protective momma bird, after all. She'd probably have all kinds of crazy assumptions about them, hehe. Anyways, constructive criticism is appreciated! Thank you for reading.