Genre: floof, UST
Fandom: Fire Emblem 8
Characters/pairings: one-sided? Lyon for Ephraim
Summary/prompt: FE8, Ephraim/Lyon. Lyon tries to get Ephraim into books, with little success. Freelance charity fill for sarajayechan.
Warnings: It's floofy~ also, tons and tons of subtext and implications.
“. . .until the year 24, when Fitela, first heir to throne of the hero Siegmund, laid siege to the last remaining outpost and. . . . Ephraim, are you listening?”
Lyon glanced up from the book he was narrating from to see his friend slumped over the table, face down in the musty pages of A Concise History of Magvel, Volume 8, snoring as freely as he might in his own bed. It wasn't an unfamiliar sight; it seemed every time they attempted to study – or rather, every time Lyon attempted to tutor and Ephraim attempted to distract him – it ended with the same result.
“Ephraim. Wake up.” When the request was met with only a muffled grumble, Lyon hesitantly reached out to poke the other boy's shoulder. “This is the history of your country, your ancestors. Doesn't it interest you at all?”
His words were finally met with the crack of one eyelid and a loud, exaggerated yawn. “ 'Course it interests me, Lyon. I was listening.” As Ephraim stretched and pushed the book away from himself, Lyon couldn't help but roll his eyes.
“Then, what year was it that Fitela overtook the rebellious clan of Siggeir in the south of Renais?”
“Uhhhmmm.” Ephraim did not look to Lyon as he pondered the question. He stared out instead through the open window, to the flowering Jehan almond trees and welcoming fields beyond Grado Keep's stifling walls. “It was in the year . . . 46, right?”
As tempting as it was to chuckle, Lyon managed to hold back. “You're more than two decades off. Try again?”
Ephraim sighed and lifted his head to glower in Lyon's direction. “Why does it matter, anyway? Either way, it was still nearly eight hundred years ago. It's never going to be important. And besides, why do I have to study it? What about Eirika?”
“Eirika passes every one of Father MacGregor's quizzes,” Lyon reasoned with a light shake of his head. He pushed the book back toward Ephraim, finger on a passage regarding the marriage of Fitela and the princess of the Siggeir. “You. . . well. . . don't. ”
Ephraim's gaze dropped down to the passage before him, and he wrinkled his nose in distaste. “But it's so. . . dull.” He looked back to Lyon, but it was clear from the glazed look of his eyes that he wasn't looking at the other prince, but rather, through. “You know, right now I could be out practicing with General Duessel – and you could, too! I'm sure you'll get stronger if we keep working at it, and– ”
“Don't you remember the last time I tried that?” Lyon did, too well. He grimaced as he recalled his outright fainting after a single bout, and the week of bedrest and lukewarm broth he'd endured afterward. His frown faded, only slightly, as he remembered Ephraim offering him a hand up and a shoulder to lean on, and later, lobbing protests at the castle nurse with his sister when they were ordered to leave Lyon and let him rest.
“Perhaps this time will be different?” Ephraim leaned over the table, hopeful grin playing on his face. “I swear, you'll get better. Someday, you'll be just as burly as Duessel himself! Just you wait!”
Finally, Lyon laughed, though still he shielded his mouth behind his hand like a lady in court. “I sincerely doubt that,” he responded, between peals of childish giggles. “I don't think I'd ever want to be, either.”
Ephraim's grin widened and took an a nearly devilish quality. “Agreed. If you were, I couldn't carry you around. Speaking of which–”
“Don't even try it,” Lyon warned, tapping the book for emphasis, and Ephraim's smile vanished. “You have to pass this time. What if Father MacGregor writes back to your father?”
“Maybe Father would realize that I have better ways to spend my time. You know, I heard from one of the soldiers that there's a mercenary group staying in the city; maybe we could just slip out and – ”
“I'd make a terrible mercenary, Ephraim. And you're still a prince.” Lyon's point was met with a huff and scowl from his friend. ”Why don't we move on to a different topic, then? What about the Five Heroes?”
“I know all about them already. Siegmund, Latona, and. . . some other people. . . killed the Demon King and freed Magvel from tyranny and destruction and all that. Right?”
“You can't even recall the hero Grado?” Lyon sighed again. Sunlight crept across the pages of his thick, time-worn tome as he flipped through, trying to find something, anything, that might catch Ephraim's interest. There was little in the old history books about the adventures of mercenary troops or dashing pirates or any of the other romantic fancies he'd dream up for his future.
“It's just a legend, though, that whole demon business, right? There's no such thing.”
“It could be,” Lyon answered absentmindedly, before pressing his finger to another passage in the book. “In any case, the heroes, at least, were real, and so were the weapons they wielded. Like the lance named after Siegmund himself, and the sword named for his sister Sieglinde. Look.” He pointed to an illustration of the weapon. Long and slim, with intricate metalwork along its length, it was a thing of beauty, more like a sculpture, Lyon thought, than a weapon.
To Lyon's delight, Ephraim scrambled to get a glimpse of the sacred weapon of his homeland. His eyes lit up as he ran his fingers along the drawing, barely brushing Lyon's in the process, and murmured, awestruck, about the shape of its head, the weight of its shaft. Lyon barely understood what any of the terms meant, but he was content to watch Ephraim gush over the quality of the handiwork and wonder if the drawings were really accurate, or if the lance would look even better in real life.
“It's fantastic,” Ephraim sighed at last, with a dreamy quality in his eyes that Lyon imagined, for just a moment, was directed at him. “It's a treasure of Renais, it says here. So, why haven't I seen it? When do I get to use it?”
“Well. . .” Lyon chewed his lip, trying to find words that wouldn't ruin what he'd started. He was sure, already, that Ephraim could speak of at least one sacred weapon with enough fervor to convince Father MacGregor that he'd learned something after all. “You. . . probably never will. I'm sorry.”
“What?” Ephraim looked up from the diagrams, eyebrows furrowed in a way that often reminded Lyon of his father. “But why?”
“It is a sacred weapon, after all. Not just any old lance. It's only for the direst of crises, the worst imaginable situations.” At his friend's growing frown, Lyon scrambled to find a way to spin his words in a positive light. “And. . . you'll never have to face anything that bad, right? We've been at peace for eight centuries, now. There's no way you'd ever need to wield something like Siegmund.”
“That's true,” Ephraim sighed, though he slumped again as the words left his mouth. “I'd still like to at least hold it. Just once. Is that allowed?”
Lyon shrugged. “Mmmm, I don't think so. They aren't toys. Father won't even let me into the room where our weapons are kept–”
As he pondered the question, Lyon barely noticed the mischievous grin creeping back onto Ephraim's face. He only caught sight of it when the other boy's large hand closed around his slim wrist.
“Grado has sacred weapons, too?”
Lyon didn't bother trying to squirm free. At first, it was only because he knew it would be futile, but after a moment, he realized he didn't actually mind being pinned down by Ephraim. Actually, the thought of more than his wrist in his friend's strong grip seemed oddly appealing at that moment – almost as appealing as that playful smile and tousled hair and sculpted shoulders and–
As he felt the heat rising in his cheeks, Lyon quickly cleared his throat. “W-well, of course we do; every country does, besides Carcino, but–”
“Then why are we loafing around here? We should go, uhh, study the outside of the vault! Yes!” Before Lyon could object, Ephraim was jumping out of his chair and dragging him along, out of the musty library and into the vaulted halls – in the direction of the courtyards, far from the labyrinths that led down to the sealed chambers below.
“Ephraim! Ephraim, you're going the wrong way! The chambers are the other way!”
“We'll get there. Eventually.”
Again, Lyon doubted it, but he knew well that it was useless to object. He wasn't sure he wanted to, anyway.