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Tumble Down Again

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Thancred honestly didn’t know what he’d have done had he not had Urianger.

When he first rescued Minfillia he had been worried. She did not know him, and was extremely wary of his presence after he stole her away from her home. If the legends were to be believed, this girl would eventually become his Minfillia.

'Minfillia remembers everything about her past and purpose when the time was right, becoming the proper Oracle of Light.' so the story went.

Until she remembered, however; she was just a girl. A girl who was extremely young and in need of a parent, not someone like him.

Luckily, she also needed a protector, he could at least be that.

What troubled him is no matter where they went, Eulmore’s army was always right behind.

Kholusia he could understand, but when they were almost snatched up or killed many times in Amh Araeng's large deserts he had to wonder if they'd be able to find any sort've safe haven.

In desperation he finally went to the Exarch.

Lakeland was known for it's opposition to Eulmore, so it was a place they could at least have a break from traveling despite the risk of prying eyes in such a giant city.

He had been surprised to find out from the Exarch that Urianger and Y’shtola had been transported here as well, a few months ago at that.

More than that, he was lucky Urianger had been at the Crystal Tower for a visit.

Explaining their situation, Urianger gave him a reassuring smile.

“Pray return to my home, dear friend.” He had said, “I have made a mine abode not far from Lakeland, and beyond the expanse lies is a forest filled to the brim with faefolk. If any step into that forest wishing ill, the fairy’s will be quick to end them with their tricks. You will be safe there.”

So they went to the faefolk’s lands, beautiful and deadly were the fae, but Urianger had their confidence, and they quickly made a home there.

Minfillia too, who had been so shy was quick to warm up to the fae, playing with them during the day and returning Thancred and Urianger for the night.

The days passed, and Minfillia had grown relaxed and almost attached to Il Mehg… and over time had grown extremely attached to the Urianger.

Urianger reminded him of a mother when he was with Minfillia. Not that the elezen was overly effeminate by any means, he just had a way with children. It wasn’t surprising considering how Alisae followed him around like a chick would its sire hen in her younger years.

Still, that masterful way he was able to make Minfillia’s eyes light up like it was effortless and how she grew a habit of following at his heels had Thancred feeling slightly envious.

That envy turned to gratitude, however; when Minfillia began to look at him with softer eyes. Eyes that were more curious than wary.

“U-Urianger… Urianger likes telling me stories… b-but…” She glanced to the side shyly, “He says this one he would tell better if you were with him to tell it.” She wrung her hands as she smiled hopefully, “Would you help him tell it, Thancred?”

Urianger smiled from his spot at the table, “it was about the first time master Loisoix put us together for a test back in our school days, you no doubt remember it.”

Thancred rolled his eyes, “How could I forget, I was flirting with Moen and you got so jealous your carbuncle picked up on it and attacked me! That little thing scratches like a bi- er” he stuttered and looked at Minfilia, “like a b-beautiful little disaster.” He fumbled out.

Minfilla giggled, and Thancred’s heart melted. The young girl had never smiled at him before.

Urianger’s smile turned warm, kindness exuding from him as he pat the chair next to him, “That was a very amusing part of the tale, but mayhaps we should start at the beginning, yes?” He chuckled out.

Thancred nodded, and Minfillia’s eyes lit up, the girl darting to the table to sit on Urianger’s lap as Thancred brought a chair close, slinging his arm over Urianger’s shoulder as they told tales of their early days in the circle of knowing.

Before they knew it, hours had passed, going from story to story on the adventures and assignments they had done together.

“Yes a lot of the time in our school days it was me, Y’shtola, Moen and Urianger. We formed a little group together.” Thancred chuckled, squeezing Urianger’s shoulder lightly, “Though I think the only reason why Urianger stayed part of it was because he would follow Moen around like he was her shadow, it was quite adorable.”

Urianger’s cheeks burned with slight embarrassment and he glanced to the side, “Well back then you were… quite warm to those of the fairer sex, I worried for her.”

Thancred grinned, “It wasn’t just the fairer sex my friend, though you were too caught up in Moen to notice any flirting from me I bet.”

“Flirting from you?” Urianger scoffed, “I hardly think you would, I wasn’t much to look at-”

“Oh back then you were everything to look at, there were many a time I wanted to rip off those cursed goggles of yours.” Thancred hummed out, tilting Urianger’s chin to look back at him, “You have beautiful eyes you know, it was a shame you were absolutely oblivious to my advances~” He teased.

Urianger stuttered and his flush spread to his ears, “Y-You, you actually flirted with-” He glanced away with an embarrassed noise, “Th-This isn’t anything to talk about in front of our charge!”

Minfillia just giggled, laying against Urianger in slight comfort as she looked up at Thancred, “It’s okay… I’m happy I got to know more about you both…” her smile faltered and she let out a soft yawn.

Thancred’s eyes softened and he gently pat her head, “Seems we’ve been talking overlong. You really should get to bed.” He said quietly.

Minfillia nodded, but not before grabbing gently at Thancred’s hand, “I would… love to hear more stories, Thancred… whenever there’s time.”

Thancred smiled, gently lifting her from Urianger’s lap and setting her down, “When there's time, I promise. Now off you pop.” he said quietly.

When she left for bed, it left Thancred and Urianger alone, Thancred wanted to help tidy up but Urianger insisted he relax, to which the newly made Gunbreaker was not about to argue against.

Finally feeling safe and relaxed was a luxury he would not squander.

Even so…

“Thank you, Urianger… I think that was the first time Minfillia smiled at me or moved to start conversation since… well since I rescued her.” He looked at him with a tired smile, “for such an imposing man, you truly have a way with innocent hearts, if I didn’t know better, I'd say you were a parent yourself.”

Urianger smiled at that, pouring him a warm cup of tea and setting it down in front of the Gunbreaker, “Well, as you know the Leveillur family had little time for their heirs… When Loisoix asked me to help rear the children I knew not what I was doing.” He took a small sip of his tea, “I was no master at it… but you learn a thing or two as a caregiver, something I will have to thank my young masters for if….” Urianger trailed off, “i-if… When. When I see them again.”

Thancred felt a small pang in his chest at Urianger’s tone. It had only been a few months for Urianger, and though he had done much in that time with taking up Astrology and managing to convince the Fae to let him stay in this realm, he knew that his heart was still raw from being separated from his home.

Thancred had a little over two years to accept it, and he still felt that longing for home on occasion.

He figured that Urianger would be the one to take it easiest of all of them, even in Eorzea the Elezen had tended to stay in the Waking Sands, and even now had gone to a secluded place that kept him safe with illusions and magic. Even the Crystal Exarch didn’t come here unattended, Feo Ul having to walk with them to Urianger’s abode so he wouldn’t be charmed by the fairy’s.

And yet… between the three of them that got whisked away… he seemed the most affected, almost broken with loneliness as he looked down at his cup longingly.

“You will see them again.” Thancred finally said. “I know things are hard here, and we have a duty to uphold so we can save our warrior friend… but when we’ve helped to stop this world from ending in destruction, i’m sure we’ll find a way to get us all back.”

Urianger closed his eyes, letting out a soft exhale before smiling weakly at him, “you’re right, old friend… I apologize, ‘twas not my intention to bring the mood down.”

Thancred shook his head and chuckled, “Nonsense, I know with only those fae to keep you company you’re most likely going stir crazy here….” He paused, glancing to the side.

An idea crossed his mind, it came to him earlier but he worried would be imposing.
`
But Urianger looked like he needed this just as much as Thancred needed him, so he downed his tea and looked at the man.

“I’ll be frank, Urianger. Minfillia is very young, and she is frail with her time behind locked doors…” He let out a sigh. “I hate… to ask but, with how things are I fear once we leave here we’d be swiftly overwhelmed. I cannot defend her like a knight would a princess, she needs to learn to defend herself, so we are not captured or killed the second we leave...” he paused, gazing at Urianger to gauge his reaction.

The accepting smile that met him was not unexpected, but the warmth exuded from it still left a pleasantly surprised feeling in his gut.

“My friend, please stay as long as you need, and allow me to aide you if it so pleases.” Urianger said softly, hopefully..

Thancred cleared his throat to distract himself from just how inviting the usually closed off man was, he was not used to it.

“I’d appreciate all the help I can get, thank you Urianger.” Thancred said with a wry smile, getting up and dusting off his jacket.

“Hand me those, I am going to be washing my robes tonight so by morning your clothes should be dry and clean.” Urianger quipped, and once he was taken down to his smallclothes by the elezen he was shooed off to bed.

Thancred had half a mind to call him “mother” but decided not to spoil the spring in Urianger’s step. The man looked so happy, a brighter smile he hadn't seen on him since well… since before Moen died.

Seeing such joy from Urianger at just the idea that they'd stay was a comfort. He hoped that his presence could help Urianger get used to his new life here.

There was no doubt in his mind that even if things were slow and steady, they’d no doubt be interesting…

And interesting they were

Urianger was quick to accommodate them, making breakfast for the three of them in the morning and taking them out and showing them where it was safe to roam and where it wasn’t. Thancred had asked for a place he could teach Minfillia to protect herself, and he provided.

Weeks passed, and though he kept in shape he couldn’t help but grow used to being spoiled.

Thancred found himself waking and going straight to the kitchen to see what Urianger had prepared for them, or coming home from an excursion knowing a hot bath would be drawn for him when he returned.

Thancred didn’t know what he did to deserve being pampered as he was, but he appreciated the man very much for it.

With Urianger and Minfillia, in this tiny cottage in a field of flowers, he had gone from feeling like a stranger in a foreign land to feeling like he had a home.

He had Urianger to thank for that.

That being said, being spoiled did not come without its negative traits.

Thancred woke one morning, stepping out and noticing Urianger wasn’t in the kitchen. Raising a brow he had gone to his bedroom to find it empty, and even went to the bathroom and peeked in.

He scrunched his nose when he saw flowers filling the basin to the brim.

Whatever did that could wait, Thancred felt this sudden urge to know where the elezen man was.

When he didn’t find Urianger in the entrance hall, Thancred decided to take his search outside, squinting at the brightness. He wandered, and it didn’t take long for him to spot a robe draped on a nearby rock. He made his way over to it, his eyes trailing to the lakeside where his eyes landed on his friend, bathing in the lake.

Thancred couldn’t help his old habits as he stared.

Urianger stood taller than him, but aside from those arms that were slightly toned he was very slim, his torso slipping into a beautiful v leading to a full rear, his hipbones jutting out in a way that would have made a younger him mad with a need to grip them.

He was however not a hormonal youth anymore, and as a spirit he found his need for most carnal appetites were dulled.

He hardly ever felt the need to eat or drink, let alone feel the need to have sex.

Sure, Thancred could. He had found himself bored and curious and in the company of a few willing individuals here and there. He was still human, corporeal or not, and even though he had to get in the mood he found that the act itself was just as enjoyable even if he didn’t have random bouts of lust like he used to.

Though he supposed his current... admiration of the man before him contradicted those musings.

Still, he didn’t come here to lust after the man. Best make his presence known before he’s labeled a voyeur.

“I didn’t take you for a morning bather, my bet would’ve been that you would be nose deep in a tome till you could barely keep your eyes open, and then steal away for a quick rinse in the middle of the night.” Thancred mused.

Urianger paused, turning to look over his shoulder as his eyes hooded, “Apologies my friend, I assumed you would be asleep for a while still due to the long journey… The faefolk played a little trick in the bathroom that forced me to clean mineself here.” He paused, regarding Thancred for a moment, “Did you need anything from me?” he asked, words rich and soothing to Thancred’s ears.

Thancred closed his eyes, taking a half beat to hush his frivolous thoughts before opening them with a smile, “Not at all. I just worried Minfillia would get up and want to know where you were, figured I’d look for you in her stead.”

Urianger smiled warmly at him, “I will be but a moment. I’ve put some tarts in the oven for breakfast, if you could check on them i’ll go get some milk and honey from the fae to better enjoy them with you both.”

Thancred nodded, going back to the small cottage and, pausing as he looked back out to the field.

The entrance to his home had a beautiful view of the water’s edge, and though it was far he could still clearly make out Urianger as the man made his way out of the lake, drying his hair.

Getting a good look at his front, Thancred wouldn’t be surprised if Urianger said he was one of the nymphs that graced the shores of this beautiful land. He was truly a thing of beauty.

Still, he could oogle another time, he had tarts to check on, and Minfillia would be up soon.

Then they could continue these happy days anew.