Snippet #2791646

located in Fódlan, a part of Fire Emblem: Apotheosis, one of the many universes on RPG.

Fódlan

A continent divided into three different factions: The Adrestian Empire, The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance.

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Character Portrait: Jeralt's Journal
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I.Y. 1186 - Garland Moon - Tuesday the 17th
Dedriu - Evening - Cool
Alaric Goneril


Alaric decided he was more comfortable on the battlefield than he was at parties like this. He'd been approached by a few of the other Ladies and Lords, all commending him on the battle against Gloucester. No few of them, of course, had offered their female relatives in some form or manner as a potential bride to Alaric. He'd turned them down, politely, of course, but some of them had seemed rather adamant. And that was to say nothing of his father's own insistence that he settle down and marry.

Soon.

Alaric wasn't as young as he used to be. He was already in his thirties. Like Mercer, he was currently faced with a dillema of finding a wife. But Alaric didn't want a wife. He wanted... well, he wasn't entirely sure what he wanted. Friendship? Companionship? A certain red-eyed... he quashed the thought immediately before it continued. Reynard was a friend; he had to keep reminding himself of that. What else could it possibly mean? The way his heart dropped every time they were apart, the way he was afraid every time Reynard took to his missions or the battlefield. The way he'd feel delighted at simply seeing Reynard.

These were all so foreign; so strange and he didn't know what to make of it. Sighing deeply to himself, he pulled the band from his hair, allowing it to fall to his shoulders as he ran a hand through the strands. He'd seen everyone else's attire, and was certainly glad that he'd worn something a little more comfortable. The vest he'd worn was white, but the sleeveless shirt he'd worn underneath was a deep red. It didn't quite match the cloak he'd worn over it, but he'd never really been one for such things. How he presented himself was, of course, important, but it wasn't important to Alaric. Besides, it was his favorite cloak, and he'd be damned if he wasn't allowed to wear it.

It was about three hours into the event when a familiar face appeared almost out of nowhere at his side, extending a short glass of something amber colored and translucent at him. "I snuck in some of the good stuff," Reynard said, lifting a dark eyebrow with a wry quirk of the lips. "You look like you could use it fourth-most, so this one's for you."

He looked rather... different from usual. Reynard would almost certainly never dress in light colors, but he'd honored the local styles in a similar manner to Alaric, probably from a desire not to stand out. It was sort of difficult to tell if it had helped though, because the sleeveless black shirt and dark grey vest made rather obvious the fact that his arms were heavily patterned in Brigidian tattoos; and those were bright crimson against his medium complexion. More than one person just casually walking by stared rather brazenly at them. More then a few of them were broken with scars, though, white or pinkish slashes that were sometimes over and sometimes under the ink. There was a large, jagged one that disappeared beneath the shirt on one side—the scar from the wound Alaric had treated months ago.

As he always did, Alaric smiled and took the glass from Reynard. “Thanks, Rey," he replied, feeling a strange clench in his chest. It wasn't unpleasant, though. It was just like his smiles; the feeling in his chest always appeared when Reynard was around, and if anything, it caused the smile to grow just a bit. The scars, though, made Alaric furrow his brows lightly, but he'd known they were there. He'd seen them when he'd treated the scar across Reynard's chest. Alaric had no few of his own scars, but they were not as prominent as the ones Reynard had. He wondered just exactly the assassin did to earn those, but never voiced it out loud. It wasn't his place, after all.

“How are you?" he decided to ask. He nodded his head in the direction of Reynard's leg, the one that had been damaged. “Does it bother you?" he continued. He was, as always, worried about Reynard. It didn't matter where they were, or what they were doing, he always seemed to be worried if Reynard wasn't near by. It always felt... lonely.

Reynard snorted softly and shook his head. "No," he replied simply. His injury had been one of the worst, but even now he moved with the same fluidity he always had, as if it had never been there at all. He was, Alaric had already seen, the kind of person who could act like pain wasn't there even when it had to be, but he sounded genuine. "As for how I'm doing... ask me again in an hour." The words were grumbled, and accompanied by a sharp motion, in which he knocked back most of his drink.

"You didn't ask about my list of who needed this the most, but the number one answer is me."

“Sorry," he murmured softly. He wasn't aware that he should have asked something like that, and turned his attention away from Reynard for a moment. He stared at the contents of the glass before taking a drink of it. “Who are the other two that need it?" he asked, arching a curious brow in Reynard's direction. If Reynard needed the drink first, and Alaric needed it the fourth. Who were the second and third? Alaric was genuinely curious.

"You don't have to ask," Reynard replied, tilting his head slightly to the side. The red of his eyes was always sharp, but there seemed to be something unusually keen about them right now. Perhaps it was just the lighting. "But since you did... Mercer and Sorcha, of course. But I like you better, so they can wait." One of those eyes flashed closed, a wink so quick it could easily have been missed.

"How're you holding up? I can already tell this is your less-preferred kind of battlefield." He didn't sound especially surprised.

Alaric huffed lightly, smiling a bit and shaking his head. Mercer probably needed at least five of these drinks, but Alaric knew that he would be fine once the night was over. He didn't exactly know what Mercer was going to do; Mercer had to oblige the other Dukes with this ball, but Alaric knew he wasn't going to change his mind. If anything, Mercer was likely to make the engagement formal after consulting Sorcha about it. He had faith in him, though. Alaric had already supported Mercer's engagement to Sorcha. She was, after all, a very lovely woman. And not just appearance wise.

Alaric had known her, briefly, before she'd lost her memory, and even then she had the dignified pose of a woman who would one day make a wonderful queen to some place. Whether it was her own country, or even in the Alliance. He pushed the thought from his mind, though, and arched his brow at Reynard.

“Is it that obvious?" he asked. He wasn't in his element, to be sure. “Parties like these never make me comfortable. I'd rather be out on the field than in a place like this. It reminds me too much of what my father and the others are trying to impose on me," he answered, perhaps a bit too ruefully.

“If it makes it any better, we can go outside. There is a balcony over there," he stated, pointing towards one of the doors that led to the outside. “It'll be nice to get some fresh air." Reynard, of course, didn't have to go. Alaric just thought it might make it more comfortable and tolerable for the two of them.

After a moment's pause, Reynard nodded slowly. "Why not?"

The two exited to the balcony, the other man turning around to lean backwards against the railing, eye tracking Alaric as he moved. He had a way of doing that—studying people. He'd said once that he learned almost everything he needed to know about most people that way, but he hadn't elaborated much beyond that.

Outside, the air was a little cooler, away from the crowd and the lights. Reynard finished off his drink, setting the glass aside next to a planter column and crossing his arms over his chest instead, still at a relaxed lean. "Family getting on your case about marriage?" he inquired, clearly taking his best guess at what the earlier words had meant. His tone was sympathetic, with a touch of his characteristic wry humor.

“Unfortunately," Alaric mumbled, finishing off his own glass and setting it down on the other side. It would have been better if he were already married to someone, but... well, the idea of being tied down to a woman wasn't entirely enticing. He wasn't sure why that was, though. He took a deep breath and shook his head.

“I understand why they want me to get married," he truly did. “But I don't want to be married to just some person. I want..." he wasn't exactly sure what he wanted. He pursed his lips in Reynard's direction, before allowing his shoulders to slump. “I'm not sure, but that isn't it. I'm just not as strong as Mercer is, or even Deirdre, to go against my family."

He wasn't even sure he could, even if he wanted to.

"Can't help you with that part," Rey murmured, shaking his head. "I left my family rather than trying to... go against them, as you put it. As soon as I knew there'd be problems I just took myself out of the equation. Not sure my old man ever forgave me for it, since it made my cousin the heir instead of me, but... at the time I couldn't see any other way to keep everyone happy. I certainly wasn't going to get married to some poor girl and have heirs of my own. It would have felt like betraying myself, and it wouldn't have been fair to whoever they picked for me, either."

He expelled a breath, the end of the sound turning into a soft hum. "But if I said I... might be able to help you figure out what you want. Would you be interested?" His eyes were sharp again, hard almost, but there was something else there, too. Something akin to... fear? Maybe not quite. Maybe more like apprehension. Even that was unusual, though—Reynard didn't get nervous.

It was enough, though, to make Alaric slightly nervous. How could Reynard help him figure out what he wanted? Maybe Reynard knew something Alaric didn't? It wouldn't surprise him, honestly. Reynard was a clever man, always able to figure things out just before Alaric did. He wasn't going to lie, though, and he wasn't about to start, now.

“Of course I would be," he stated, standing a little straighter. “I'd be interested because I would like to know exactly what it is I'd want. If you know something I don't..." he trailed off, pursing his lips together. “I want to know."

"Somehow I was afraid you'd say that," Reynard murmured. He swallowed audibly, but straightened where he stood. He wasn't quite as tall as Alaric, but they were close enough in height to meet eyes easily. "Next question: do you trust me?"

There was a faint waver in his voice, though he tried to make it sound as matter-of-fact as he always did. Perhaps he was afraid of the answer.

Alaric felt almost worried at Reynard's question. “Of course I do, Rey. You know that," he responded. He trusted Reynard with his own life, and that was something in a world where people would take that trust, and misuse it. But not Rey. Somehow, Alaric knew Rey would never do that.

“I trust you."

Oddly, Reynard huffed a laugh, shutting his eyes and shaking his head. "Well, try to remember that afterwards, will you?"

Without offering any explanation as to what that might mean, he moved, one hand shifting up to rest on Alaric's shoulder. There wasn't anything especially unusual about it, except that Reynard almost never initiated contact of any kind with anyone. It became all of a sudden much less usual when the hand slid back into Alaric's loose hair. "See, uh... I have this stupid hypothesis," he said, taking a step in. They'd never been this close before—not outside of a spar, anyway. Close enough to feel one another's body heat.

"That maybe what you want is..." The hand in his hair shifted to his nape, and all at once Alaric was tugged forward, and Reynard tilted his chin up, and just like that there was something soft and warm at his mouth and another hand in his hair and a body against his, warm and solid and—

It was enough that Alaric's train of thought had stopped completely. Some part of him was responsive; he knew it was because he didn't break that contact and only continued it. He'd brought his hands up to both sides of Rey's face, holding him in place and deepening the contact between them. It felt strange to have everything fall into place like this. Why he felt so nervous when Rey was gone, why he always missed the ruby-eyed man, and why it always felt so comforting having him around.

He pulled away a moment later, his eyes slightly hazed as he regarded Rey. He didn't step back, though. He kept their closeness before blinking slowly.

“Why?" he asked. He wasn't even entirely sure why he'd said that, only that he needed to know why. Why him? Why did Rey choose him?

He could feel some of the tension that had slowly eased out of the other man return, and red eyes searched his face warily, as though scouring for some sign of disapproval. "Uh... why what? Why did I do that, or...?" Rey's voice was a little less solid than usual, a touch raspy at the edges, as though he had yet to properly catch his breath.

Alaric wasn't entirely sure how to answer that. He still wasn't sure why he'd asked it, but...

“Why me?" he asked once he was able to form words again, properly. “What did I do to earn this? To earn... you." He felt some parts clicking slowly for him. He always knew he liked Reynard, but never to this degree. Love? Did he love Reynard? It was possible that he'd fallen in love with him, but... he couldn't, could he?

“Is it... alright?" because for so long, he was expected to marry a woman. To produce heirs to continue the Goneril line, but... he'd never really found women attractive in that sense. Looking at Reynard, though...

"I don't know if it's all right, Alaric. That's something you're going to have to decide for yourself." Reynard's expression had grown grim at the question, but then that probably wasn't too surprising. Alaric had said earlier he couldn't go against his family, after all. "As for why you, why does anyone ever—"

He halted, words abruptly ceasing, and dropped his eyes. His face hadn't been without color for a while, and it was hard to tell in the relative darkness of the evening, but it might have flushed more. When he finished his own sentence, it was almost too quietly for Alaric to hear. "Why does anyone fall in love? I... like who you are. I like being with you. Terrifying as it's been sometimes, you make me feel... seen. I should rather ask why you like me at all. That's the more sensible question."

“Because you are the first person who has ever made me feel like myself. And that it is never wrong to just be myself. You make me feel things I've never felt before," Alaric answered almost immediately. He lifted a hand to brush his knuckle along Reynard's cheek before dropping his hand.

“You..." he paused, furrowing his brows before he continued, “if it were not for you, I would have not figured out what makes me, happy." He'd be miserable for the rest of his life, of that he was sure of. Now, though... there was a chance for happiness, he supposed. He wanted to be with Rey, but he knew that his father wouldn't approve of it. He'd suggest taking Reynard as a lover, but not... someone to spend the rest of his life with. And Alaric wanted to do just that, but wasn't entirely sure in what sense that meant.

He was Duke Goneril, though, not his father. And Alaric was going to decide who he wanted to be with; not someone his family chose for him.

Reynard huffed something almost like a laugh, but it was easy to tell that he wasn't laughing at him, exactly. "This whole time, I've never been sure. I'd play conversations over in memory, trying to decide if there was anything there, or if I'd just imagined it because I wanted it so fucking badly." he shook his head; one of his hands fisted in the back of Alaric's cloak. "That time before Gronder, when you told me I was your friend—I thought that was the last nail in the coffin."

Alaric furrowed his brows. “But... you are my friend, Rey," he muttered lowly. “Just... more at the same time," he added, smiling a little in Reynard's direction. “I'm just, I wasn't sure how to tell you properly because I didn't know how to tell you that I..." he paused, his eyes narrowing lightly. How could he put this into words?

“All these years, the most important thing you've taught me was how to love someone, and myself. I didn't know how to properly tell you that I love you because it wasn't something I thought I could say. I wasn't sure if it was something... you would want." He hadn't been sure of a lot of things, actually.

"That so?" Rey replied, half-smiling in a more familiar way. One with just a hint of trouble to it. "Well now you know: it's something I want. You're someone I want. The only someone, if I'm being entirely honest."

He leaned back a little, meeting Alaric's eyes with a faint hint of challenge. "So what are you going to do about it?"

“Mostly rectify three years worth of pent up... emotions," he stated, leaning down close enough to Reynard's face. “Unless of course you'd rather stay here in this boring place and watch Mercer make a fool of himself. As appealing as that may be, I think you and I would rather be enjoying somewhere else."

He knew Mercer could handle this on his own; he'd rather be somewhere else, though. Somewhere more quiet, more secluded, with Rey.

"I thought you'd never ask," Reynard replied dryly. "By all means, let's get out of here. A few hours is long enough to deal with all of this nonsense, I think."

“Indeed." Alaric was looking forward to it.