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Unreciprocated

Chapter Text

Thancred glanced out the window of the ornate carriage that was taking him to his new home, still reflecting on the series of events that landed him here.

When he had attempted to steal from an old man, it was supposed to be a subtle affair.

It wasn’t supposed to be the great Louisoix the Valiant. The elezen was a hero known even to someone like him, and when he had been caught he wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

Getting adopted from the rogues after a sizable contribution to the guilds funds was NOT on his to do list, nor was being immediately spoiled. Louisoix had kept him well fed, had his retainers bathe him and get him new clothes, and he was thoroughly waited on and pampered, the man going so far as to getting him a new set of ornate knives as a gift of good faith.

It all felt like some sort of strange dream, one he could wake from at any moment.

He was still slightly worried that even if this was the great Louisoix that he could be a less than heroic person on the inside.

He had a hard life, and aside from the rogues that had raised him he trusted no man, even a legendary hero.

Louisoix didn’t seem to mind his wariness, stating that at any time if he felt like he needed to leave he was free to go.

“My home is yours, Thancred. I wish to try and help you hone those talents you have for good.” Was Louisoix’s explanation.

Thancred didn’t know what the man saw in him, trickery and thieving were not things he was proud of.

But if the old man wanted to spoil him, he could stay and at least try.

Louisoix looked up from his book, gazing out the same window with a smile, “We are almost to my home. We’ll get you used to Sharlayan society and from there we will get you enrolled in The Studium.” The man said quietly, “I have two students I will be enrolling at the same time as you. One you will meet in due time, another who lives at the manor with me.”

Thancred raised a brow, not looking away from the window as the large manor came into view “Do you have a habit of picking up stray children?” He asked.

Louisoix chuckled, “I do not. The pupil that lives with me does so due to distance. Studying to enroll in The Studium is arduous and if I am to be teaching, it is just easier for them to stay with me.”

Thancred hummed as the carriage stopped, arriving at its destination.

The two stepped out, making their way into the large manor as Thancred stared up at the ornate entrance hall in slight awe.

Louisoix looked around the vacant space, before bringing his hands up to cup around his mouth. “Urianger, I have returned with a new pupil! Do come out and say hi!” he called out.

There was silence for a beat, and then a loud explosion.

“Oh dear.” Loisoix said with a long sigh.

Thancred raised a brow, walking with Louisoix up the marbled staircase and down high arched halls, walking till they came to a large, gilded door.

The room with the source of the explosion was a study of sorts, walls stacked high with shelves that housed countless books, a few bookshelves dotting the spacious room. Near the back, Thancred initially thought there was a bar, but the liquid within the crystalline bottles ranged through many fantastical colors that had Thancred second guessing that.

In the center was a table, the beautiful rosewood stained black with ash, bits of congealed matter and broken glass flecked all around the site and on the chair and floor.

Loisoix let out a long sigh, “Urianger, are you quite alright?” He called out.

Thancred watched as a small elezen child peeked out from behind one of the bookshelves, thick goggles over their eyes and long, sandy blonde locks mussed as they framed a young, tanned face.

“A-Apologies, Master Louisoix… t-twas not-” The child fumbled, fidgeting, “T-Twas not my intention to-”

“All is fine, Urianger, so long as you are unharmed a small mess in the pursuit of knowledge I can overlook.” Loisoix chuckled out. “Come, we have a guest that will be staying with us for a time.”

Urianger turned to Thancred, cocking his head to the side in what Thancred assumed was curiosity.

“I’m a new student, or some such.” Thancred stated with a shrug.

Urianger shrunk back a bit, and Thancred had to hold back a sigh.

Louisoix smiled, “Well, have free reign of the manor you two, i’ll go contact my retainers to restock the items that were lost. The maids will be along shortly, but so long as you let them work you are free to do as you please.” the elder Elezen said as he walked to the door, “Urianger, I know you’re shy around new people, but Thancred is a good boy. Please show him the utmost hospitality.” He said warmly.

“Y-Yes, Master Louisoix.” Urianger replied back timidly.

Loisoix bowed at them both, before turning and leaving out the door.

Thancred watched the elder Elezen go, before turning and looking back at Urianger, waving awkwardly at the child hiding away from him.

“O-Oh, yes hello.” The child said timidly, coming out from behind the bookshelves. They were dressed in a silken dark blue robe, tied on with a velveteen sash that had intricate designs hand stitched into the fabric. On their feet were sandals, the shoes simple but glittering with woven gold, Thancred immediately knowing the ensemble could fetch quite the price.

The child was well dressed, like a pretty present. Thancred couldn’t help but feel jealous at how Louisoix must have spoiled him.

He promptly tried to ignore those thoughts. They had different lots in life, and that wasn’t anyone’s fault but fates.

At his silence, Urianger fidgeted, glancing to the side as they played with their hair. “The pleasure is mine, um…”

“Thancred. Thancred Waters.” Thancred replied, feeling more at ease at the child’s timidness.

“S-Sir Waters.” Urianger said, the child bowing politely.

“Th-Thancred is fine. I’m not used to being called by my last name.” He said as he held his hands out defensively.

"A pleasure, Thancred…" Urianger said quietly, taking a step forward in offered greeting.

Only to trip over an obscenely large tome and fall ungracefully forward.

Thancred reached out and steadied the elezen, pausing as he noticed the deep smudges on the goggle’s lenses, “It must be hard to see in those. Perhaps you should take them off?” Thancred offered.

Urianger hesitated, slowly nodding as he shakilly brought his hands up and removed them.

Thancred was floored at the golden irises that met him.

Oh screw the outfit… the person wearing it was far more valuable.

The elezen was a rare sight, sweet face, deep skin, gem-like eyes wide and innocent and pure…

Thancred hated how his mind immediately strayed to appraisal, never having liked slave traders or anyone who dabbled in it, but it was just his way. He had been raised to see monetary value in everyone and everything, and Thancred knew worth when he saw it.

Such a pretty girl with such rare assets would have been plucked off the streets and torn apart in his world… A protectiveness swelled within the thief at the thought.

It wasn't until Urianger squirmed a bit in his hold that Thancred realized he was staring.

“Apologies… A genetic anomaly rendered mine eyes the strange color you see.” Urianger said quietly. “They are abnormal, I know. Tis why I usually have eyewear to hide them away.”

Thancred blinked.

Urianger thought she was strange?

The hyur had to bite back a laugh.

“I think you look fine, Urianger. Don’t worry so much about it.” Thancred chuckled out, patting the young girl’s head. “How’s this, i’m new, and don’t know where anything is. If I'm going to be here for a while, then maybe you can show me around?”

Thancred hoped confidence and reassurance would help the elezen be less shy.

The hyur was pleased when Urianger’s face brightened a bit.

“Y-yes! Full glad would I be to aide mine peer.” Urianger said as she smoothed down the robes and played with her sash, “It takes much training to get into The Studium. We will be together for some time, so…” Urianger glanced to the side, “I pray we get along.”

Get along they did, but Thancred found they had very little in common. As he was shown around Urianger was happiest when talking about books and learning, her tone much less interested when she got to the sparring room.

Thancred figured a girl of such a prestigious house wouldn't be into sparing much, so it didn't bother him. He had been told to always be respectful of women, women with fat pockets even more so. Treat them delicately he was taught, and he had reaped many rewards from well off girls finding him adorable or sweet when he was chivalrous.

If she wasn't interested in fighting it was only to be expected. Girls were usually a soft sort.

Still when all was said and done, Urianger sat and watched him train, the small elezen's eyes wide in awe as she watched the way he moved.

He felt a bit of pride well up in him. His technique had been honed for survival, and definitely not for show, but having someone appreciate the results of his hard work was satisfying in its own way.

"Such speed, thou art truly amazing Sir Thancred." She said when he was done.

Thancred panted, wiping the sweat from his brow and grinning. "That's nothing. You should see me in an actual scrape."

"It is something though. Full well would I fumble in comparison." She smiled.

Thancred waved off the comment, "I think your smarts are more impressive. You speak like a scholar, and you're what, eight?"

Urianger pouted, puffing out her chest, "eleven, I'll have you know." She said proudly.

Adorable.

Thancred chuckled, "ah yes, still I'm impressed… if you wanted to learn how to fight like me though, I'd be more than happy to train you." Thancred offered.

Urianger's confidence faltered, and she glanced to the side shyly, "oh no, I could never…" she wrung her hands "I-I think I'll stick to my strengths."

Gods damned adorable.

"That's fine." Thancred said easily, bowing low as he kneeled before her. "If there is a fight to be had, this rogue is more than happy to defend a pretty lady as sweet as you."

Urianger blinked. "A lady?"

Thancred chuckled, "Yes, even if you're shy about your appearance, I think you'll grow into a fine woman. Have more confidence in yourself. "

Urianger grew silent, and Thancred raised a brow, turning his gaze upward curiously.

Urianger's cheeks were burning red, the elezen looking flustered and shy.

"I- I… thats… I'm um…" Urianger cleared her throat before taking a step back, "Yes well I should go… “

Thancred raised a brow, watching as the young girl stumbled, looking dizzy and tongue tied before turning and quickly walking away.

Thancred watched her go.

Curious, was it something he’d said?

After that, Louisoix had started their lessons, so he didn’t have much time to figure it out.

A few days passed, and Urianger didn’t recover from whatever bothered her. Thancred barely could catch a glimpse of the girl, Urianger becoming skittish and running away anytime he got near.

This was not usually the reaction he got. He found girls enjoyed being praised, put on pedestals. Complimenting a fair lady was honestly the easiest way to get free meals or a generous patron who would give him a hearty handful of gil when they’d crossed paths in the streets.

It had never failed him before, so why now?

Thancred used his street smarts and common sense.

When he walked up to Urianger, he took the young girl in.

She was shy, cheeks burning and hands wringing nervously. When Thancred approached she would shake like a leaf, trembling and finding every excuse she could to run away. She couldn’t even carry a conversation with him.

A lightbulb went off in Thancred’s head.

The poor girl probably thought he was coming onto her.

He’d seen it before, lecherous men who were too bold, too forward and scaring girls away. He was used to talking to older women, and to be honest he had never put on airs with someone younger than him. He must have laid his compliments on too thick.

Urianger was pretty, but she was young, they both were. He was a guest here and he wouldn’t have her worried he was some sort’ve lecher.

So, he carefully cornered her one day, being sure to keep his distance as the timid girl looked up at him shyly.

“I apologize if I’ve offended you, Urianger. Please do not be frightened of me.” Thancred offered.

“F-Frightened?” Urianger stuttered out, reaching up and playing with her hair, “I… am unsure of what you mean Thancred…”

Thancred grinned, “You do not have to worry, you are very pretty but I would never come to you with ill intentions.”

Urianger’s flush spread to her ears and down her neck, “I-ill intentions…?! I… Y-You-”

Thancred raised his hands up defensively, “I meant it as I don’t! A young girl like you shouldn’t be worried about your chastity with me. I’m sure you’ll grow into a beautiful woman, and whoever takes you for a bride will be lucky to have you, but I am here to grow as a person, not to find a wife.” he said matter of factly.

Urianger’s mouth opened and closed, a small stuttered sound passing her lips as her face burned redder and redder.

Then she swooned.

“Ah- Urianger-” Thancred caught her easily, raising a brow as he pouted down at the unconscious girl.

What did he do wrong? That seemed to only make it worse…

The rogue let out a long, tired sigh as he scooped the young girl up into his arms, taking her up to her room and laying her down on the bed.

He frowned as he left her there, wondering what to do about this predicament.

They didn’t HAVE to be friends, he supposed, but he also didn’t want the girl to be so apprehensive toward him. He’d grown to like Louisoix and his new home, and he wouldn’t jeopardize that due to a misunderstanding.

His musings would have to wait, as while he was mulling things over, the front doors to the manor burst open.

“URIANGERRRR~!” A happy voice called out, “I have arrived! Come and play!”

Thancred blinked, peering over the railing curiously.

A small roegadyn girl was standing proudly in the hallway, her hands on her hips as she looked around excitedly.

She blinked before looking up, her eyes meeting with Thancreds.

“You! You’re Louisoix’s new student!” She said with a giggle, running up the stairs and offering her hand, “Moenbryda’s the name, but you can call me Moen.” She grinned.

Thancred blinked, taking her hand as she shook it.

“Do you know where Urianger is? I have free time before my lessons and was hoping we could get some work done together.” She asked.

Thancred cleared his throat, scratching the back of his head, “U-Urianger is… taking a nap.” He offered. It wasn’t TECHNICALLY a lie.

The young girl pouted at that, “I said in a letter days ago I was coming early, how rude!” She said as she crossed her arms with a huff.

Thancred sighed, “I fear I may be to blame for that… Actually, Moen, you’re Urianger’s friend yes?”

“Best friend.” She corrected, “I’ve been Urianger’s only friend for as long as I can remember.”

Thancred became hopeful.

Maybe Moenbryda could shed some light on why the girl ran away from him.

“Urianger and I haven’t been seeing eye to eye, and i’m not sure why.” He said, “I want us to get along, and I was hoping you could give some advice on what I should do or say to make things right.”

Moenbryda looked up thoughtfully, “Urianger is timid, but is very forgiving and not usually rude… what happened?”

Thancred sighed, “I- we were getting along alright, but when I said she was a lady worth protecting she got shy…” Thancred said with a pout, glancing away “Ever since, she’s avoided me. I thought maybe she thought I was flirting, which gods forbid I wouldn’t, but when I confronted her and said I wasn’t coming onto her, I fear I made it worse.”

Thancred was met with silence, and he chanced a look at the girl in front of him.

Moenbryda was holding her sides, trying hard not to laugh.

Thancred raised a brow, “What?”

She barked out a laugh, “Well! If you’re not joking, I think I know EXACTLY what’s bothering Urianger.” she said as she finally broke down into a small fit of giggles, “Y-You ah- haha. Are you certain you made it clear you weren’t flirting with such a sweet and frail girl like her?”

“Yes! She’s pretty don’t get me wrong, but I’d never-” Thancred was interrupted as she howled out another laugh, “Well don’t laugh at me, just tell me how to fix it!” He said with an exasperated sigh.

Moenbryda wiped a tear from her eye as she tried to reign in her laughs, “How’s this then.” She said through giggles, “If you find Urianger to be such a pretty and fair maiden, then I guess it falls upon me to defend her honor.” She grinned, pointing at him, “Spar with me, and I’ll tell you exactly what you did wrong.”

Thancred raised a brow at that, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I don’t want to hurt you-”

“Hurt me? Please. Worry about yourself ‘defender of pretty ladies’ ” She said as she laughed, practically skipping to the sparring room.

Thancred didn’t know about this. If she was anything like Urianger he’d have to be gentle, far too gentle for his liking.

When they arrived, the girl passed the usual wooden training swords, instead staring up at an axe that was much bigger than her, the wooden “blades” wrapped tight with woolen cloth and cord to keep the blows soft.

Thancred raised a brow. It must weigh as much as her, surely she wouldn’t-

“Prepare yourself… or are you getting cold feet~” Moenbryda hummed out, pulling the axe off the shelf with ease and giving it a few test swings, turning to him with a grin.

Thancred stared wide eyed at the girl for a bit.

Then felt excited.

He ran and got his practice swords off the shelf, testing them in his hands for a bit before bowing to her, “May the best fighter win.” He said, waiting for her nod of approval to start.

The two clashed, and it didn’t take long for Thancred to realize she was stronger.

MUCH stronger.

He had speed over her though, and quickly adjusted as he began to use that to his advantage, testing her stances and trying to find an opening to best her.

It was a thrill.

Unlike Urianger, this girl was far more his speed.

Speaking of…

“M-Moen what are you doing!?” A familiar voice called out.

Thancred chanced a glance to the door, Urianger standing there as she watched the two of them spar.

“Ah, the fair maiden has arrived!” Moenbryda laughed out, “Worry not, fair princess, your knight is here to defend your honor from this dastardly rogue!” She declared proudly.

Urianger groaned, “Et tu? Thou shouldst not reinforce this!” She whined.

Thancred raised a brow at the reaction, but snapped his eyes back as he barely dodged being bludgeoned.

“But why not? Don’t you want to be my princess? Or do you want to be stolen away by this boy?” She said dramatically, grinning as she playfully blocked a swing from Thancred. “I promise I can care for you far better than he could!” She teased.

Urianger buried her head in her hands as her face burned, and Thancred grew flustered.

“A-As I told you, I wouldn’t come onto you like that! I’d never be so crass to a noble lady!” He tried again, watching Urianger as the familiar flush spread down her neck.

Urianger let out a frustrated yell as she stomped her foot and gripped her hands at her sides, “I am NO lady! I am Urianger Augurelt, SON to the Augurelt family, NOT daughter.” he yelled out

Oh.

OH.

Thancred blinked, pausing as he stared owlishly at the elezen boy.

“Got you!”

Then Thancred was winded, flying back as he hit the ground hard.

“Th-Thancred!” Urianger ran to the hyuran boy, staring down at him worriedly, “Art thou alright?"

Thancred stared up at Urianger, brain fumbling as he couldn’t really figure out what to say.

“I wiiiin!” Moenbryda proclaimed, giggling as she went over to Urianger and pulled the smaller boy into a bear hug, “Did you see me Urianger?” she asked, twirling him around like he weighed nothing.

Urianger’s cheeks burned at the closure, glancing away from the girl as he was swung around like a rag doll, “Y-Yes. Thou strength is admirable as always, Moenbryda.”

She let out a happy sigh, putting him down and holding his hands in hers, “I have to go say hi to Master Louisoix, but when i’m done it’s your turn to play with me.” She giggled, swinging their arms between them.

Urianger nodded, watching as she backed off him with a wave and ran out the door.

This left Urianger and Thancred alone, the two boys staying in a state of deafening silence.

Thancred let out a long sigh, “Sorry… about the mistake”

Urianger jumped, playing with the sash on his robe, “‘Tis quite alright. Though you erred, little did I do to correct you.”

“Why didn’t you?” Thancred asked, looking at Urianger curiously.

“...I worried thou wouldst treat me different. When first we spoke, full glad was I to meet such a kind soul. I did not want that to change because I wasn’t some sort’ve delicate maid.” Urianger pouted, “Even so… Am I that effeminate in appearance?”

Thancred eyed the boy for a bit, “To me, yes… We don’t have many elezen in Limsa. You’re very… soft looking compared to the boys I grew up with.” He tried carefully.

Urianger frowned. “I see.” He said quietly.

Thancred mulled everything over, shrugging as he sat up, “Well, even if you’re not a girl, I still think you’re impressive in your own way. I don’t see any reason why I should treat you any different either.”

Urianger looked at Thancred hopefully, “A-And I you, Thancred.” Urianger replied, “I hope that thy time here can be one of happy memories, despite our differences.” He said, offering his hand out to the hyuran boy.

Thancred smiled, taking his hand and getting up as he reached out and pat his head, “I’m sure they will, Urianger.

With the home he’d found, and the people in it, he was very sure he would.

Chapter Text

For a time, his days were the same, a routine becoming a normal part of Thancred’s life in Louisoix’s manor.

Thancred and Urianger were taught separately at different times, so most days they barely saw each other.

In the morning, they met for breakfast, then Urianger was taught, leaving Thancred alone to spar with the equipment or one of the retainers. When it was around lunchtime, Louisoix would come fetch him with Urianger at his heel, the three eating lunch together.

Or, as together as they could, Urianger wanting to run to the study to work on projects in his offtime, usually leaving Thancred and Louisoix to eat alone before it was his turn to be taught.

When he got out it was time for dinner, and afterwards they went their separate ways to bathe and then went to their respective rooms to sleep.

On weekends, Moenbryda would be dropped off, and she would spend the entire weekend with them as she did her sessions.

That was the only time he spent any reasonable amount of time with Urianger, as they were free the entire day. Moenbryda was the glue that kept them together, always full of energy after her tutoring, with plenty of time afterward for them to do what they wanted as she plucked them both from their respective places in the manor to play with her.

Thancred appreciated her, as she put up a great fight, the little roegadyn girl actually managing to beat him in matches just as many times as he beat her. When he tired of sparring, she’d sit with Urianger, the young elezen boy trying to ignore the roegadyn girl until he caved and allowed her to help him.

Thancred found a small enjoyment in watching the younger kids as they performed countless experiments and came up with many theorems that went over the rogue’s head. Even if he never participated looking after them was calm, enjoyable.

Thancred was happy.

But even though the hard life he had was behind him, The unsightly reminders of it popped up in various ways.

The worst was the nightmares…

Louisoix and the maids and retainers all slept in a different wing of the house than Urianger and Thancred, and Urianger slept far down the hall, so he was able to keep it a secret for the most part.

They never heard his cries, how he’d wake with a start.

How Thancred needed to take a bit to calm himself down and then force himself back to sleep.

This was fine, he already had enough good in his life. He didn’t need to burden his newfound home and it’s inhabitants with such a minor problem.

That’s what he thought… until one night, a particularly bad night terror haunted him.

“Lonwoerd we have to go back for him!” Thancred screamed out, watching as another of his group, someone not much older than him was tossed to the floor.

“PLEASE!” the man screamed out, crying as he was flogged into submission.

There was so much blood… his screams anguished enough to curdle the blood of everyone around him.

Thancred teared up at the sight. “They’re killing him… gods they’re killing him-”

“I know, you don’t think I know that?!” The roegadyn hissed out as he hoisted Thancred over his shoulder, “You can’t help him Thancred, you’ll only get caught too.” The man grit out.

No…

The sound of flesh being pulverized hit his ears, over and over.

No he had to fight… had to save his friends, his family..

“Thancred stop you can’t save him.”

He wrestled out of the man’s grasp, sprinting toward the group of men.

“THANCRED!”

He’d save his friend… more than that...

“...Thancred?”

he’d kill them all.

Thancred’s eyes snapped open, tensing when he felt hands on his shoulders. With a sharp intake of breath he brought his hands up, gripping the sides of the person pinning him and flipping them easily, situating himself in-between their legs to keep them from kicking.

“Ah- Th-Thancred-” The other tried to struggle, but Thancred swiftly collected their wrists as he pinned them hard above their body, bringing his other hand down to grip at their neck as he pressed all his weight down hard.

“I’ll kill you…” He grit out, “God’s I’ll kill you for what you-”

“Th-Thancred please!” A soft, young voice gasped out as he was pinned, “Thou foe I am not… look upon me… know mine words be true…” the other pleaded, barely able to force the words out as his legs kicked and clenched around the rogues hips, their smaller body squirming helplessly.

Thancred finally snapped out of the horrible haze he was in, breathing heavily as he realized he wasn’t in the dark and gritty alleyways of Limsa Lominsa.

That’s right, he was in Louisoix manor… and the person he was pinning was-

“Than...cred…” Urianger’s eyes became unfocused from lack of air as his head began to loll back.

Thancred pulled his hands away like he’d been burned, watching in shock as Urianger arched off the bed and took large, heaving breaths.

Thancred was mortified, swallowing as he tried to collect his thoughts.

Gods he could’ve killed this poor boy…

Urianger’s breathing became less desperate, the elezen’s breaths evening out as he gazed dizzily at the hyur above him. “Thancred…” Urianger started softly, voice strained as he reached out and gently gripped at Thancred’s nightshirt, “art thou alright?”

Thancred stared at Urianger in shock for a moment, unsure of how the boy could still be worried for his sake when he had almost been killed.

Still, Urianger waited expectantly, and Thancred gave him a slow nod, not trusting his voice.

Urianger looked at him worriedly, struggling to sit up a bit before reaching out to cup his cheek. “Art thou certain…?” he asked timidly, his thumb stroking gently at the high points of his cheeks.

Wiping away tears Thancred didn’t know he was shedding.

Thancred swallowed hard, his breaths shaky as he found the tears only ran heavier down his face.

Urianger bit his bottom lip, timidly bringing his other hand up and wrapping his arms around Thancred’s neck, pulling the other man into a hug as he pet over the older boy’s hair.

Thancred felt his heart stir with something alien. It was warm and soft and made his heart ache as he felt his chin come to rest on Urianger’s shoulder. He shook, trembling as he cried and took comfort in the strokes down his back and the hand carding gently in his hair.

They stayed like that for a time, neither of them saying a word as Thancred sobbed silently in Urianger’s arms.

Eventually his tears dried, and Thancred sighed as his eyes slid shut, burying his forehead into Urianger’s shoulder as he took comfort in the hands still petting him. He took in a slow inhale, Urianger smelling slightly of spice and ash, reminding Thancred of the room he often found the elezen boy working in.

As all his senses were occupied by Urianger, he suddenly felt extremely tired, exhaustion creeping up on him.

Before he knew it, his consciousness left him and he fell into a pleasant dreamless sleep, his nightmares far away as he slept like the dead.

When Thancred finally came to again he was warm, feeling pleasantly fuzzy as the sun tickled his back. He let out a heavy sigh, hugging his pillow close as he snuggled into it, not wanting to get up just yet.

“Th-Thancred? Hast thou yet woke? Horrible do I feel to try and rouse you but… Louisoix will be expecting us within the hour…”

Thancred’s eyes snapped open, suddenly remembering what happened last night as he realized he wasn’t hugging a pillow. He shoved himself back from Urianger and felt the world tip, his arms flailing as he tumbled off the bed with a loud thump.

“Ah- Thancred!” Urianger crawled to the edge of the bed, peeking down at him worriedly, “A-art thou hurt?”

Thancred groaned, letting out a slightly annoyed sigh as his head pulsed, “M’fine, Urianger…” he grit out, getting up and sighing as he sat on the edge of his bed.

Urianger fidgeted a bit as he played with the hem of his nightshirt, the elezen boy occasionally passing sidelong glances up to Thancred as they sat in silence.

Thancred let out a long sigh, deciding he’d have to be the one to break it.

“I’m sorry about last night… I didn’t mean to hurt you, Urianger.” Thancred said numbly.

Urianger let out a nervous laugh, “N-No I um… tis common knowledge one should not rouse another when they are in a state of lucid dreaming. T’was mine error, panic overtook me when I heard you cry out and I went to wake thee.” The younger boy glanced to the side shyly, “I hope… I hope the sleep that came after was a much better one, even if thou caught but a wink of it.”

Thancred smiled, “It was, thanks.” He said, reaching out and giving Urianger’s shoulder a small squeeze.

Urianger smiled at that, and he pursed his lips, looking down shyly as if he wanted to say something.

Thancred waited, learning long ago that patience was key with the verbose yet timid elezen child.

“I wanteth not to pry, but full well do I know this is a common occurrence for you…” Urianger admitted quietly.

Oh.

Curse the eighth hell that he found himself in.

Urianger noticed his discomfort and brought his hands up defensively, “N-Not yon’d that i’m complaining just… if’t be true mine own presence helps, I could… I-I would ask Master Louisoix to move mine things hither.” Urianger offered, “Full well could I sleep here, and if the night becometh too much I could help thou rest like we did this night gone past… I mind not…” Urianger offered, looking hopeful.

Thancred felt his heart swell slightly at that. Though he’d never admit it it last night was the best sleep he’d had in… ever, really.

He could not remember a time he had been so at peace.. But…

Thancred eyed the bruises already forming on Urianger’s neck, heart clenching in horrid guilt at the discoloration marring his skin.

“Thats… no, Urianger. I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” Thancred said with a frown.

Urianger’s hopeful look faltered, “Thancred please, mine want is to help-”

“I know it is, and too bad.” Thancred said evenly. “These are my problems, my issues and I’m not going to bring you into them.”

Urianger put on a stubborn look. The one he always wore when he’d sooner blow the entire study up than not get the result he wanted. “Tis not weakness to rely on another, Thancred. I just want to be there for mine peer…”

“It’s not a good idea.” Thancred said, sounding annoyed.

“‘Tis a valorous idea, thou just liketh it not.” Urianger responded, crossing his arms.

Thancred let out a long sigh.

Urianger wasn’t going to budge, that tone and that determination had him set in his ways.

Even so, he couldn’t relent. Not when he’d hurt the younger boy like he did.

If Urianger was going to be stubborn, he’d just make him drop it.

“What if I pin you down again, mm?” Thancred growled out, glaring at the elezen. “Hold my hands to your throat and don’t realize it’s you for longer than I did last night?”

Urianger’s eyes widened, taken aback by the intensity of the glare, “I… y-you wouldn’t if I don’t rouse you from sleep like I did-”

“I could, Urianger.” Thancred bit out as he leaned close, “You’re small, fragile… helpless… I could kill you and you wouldn’t be able to do a thing to stop me…”

Urianger’s lip quivered, visibly hurt by the other’s words, “I just… I-I just want to help thee-”

“By what, getting yourself killed?” Thancred interrupted, voice raising ever so slightly, “Louisoix would mourn you… he’d brand me a murderer and cast me out. Tell me Urianger, how would that help anyone?”

Urianger teared up, a small hiccup leaving him as he looked truly at a loss for words.

Thancred sneered, “The answer to that is it wouldn’t, and that you can’t… so drop it and get out.”

Urianger shook, a sob wracking him as he finally broke down, tears falling freely down his cheeks. “Th-Thancred… Thancred I-”

“OUT. Urianger. Or do I have to make you leave?” Thancred was borderline yelling now.

Urianger flinched, before getting up and running out, his soft sobs tugging at Thancreds heartstrings. He wanted to chase after the boy, but he forced himself to stay.

Urianger couldn’t be around someone like him… Thancred wouldn’t hurt the fragile child ever again, even if it meant driving them apart.

Drive them apart, Thancred did.

Urianger didn’t talk to him after that unless he was relaying a message from Louisoix, the smaller elezen not even able to look at him most of the time as he kept his head low.

Weeks passed, and that didn’t change. Thancred thought maybe Urianger would come around, but if anything the elezen grew more distant the more time passed.

It hurt Thancred more than he thought it would. He hoped time would make it easier but it didn’t.

He supposed this was better for Urianger, and merely got used to the pain, his heart aching as he forced himself to be numb to it.

Eventually, it got to the point that Urianger spent all the free time he wasn’t being tutored by Louisoix in the study, holing himself up and refusing to leave his projects unless it was time for bed or he was physically dragged out by Moen.

Eventually the roegadyn girl came up to him, her arms crossed, “Urianger won’t say it but something happened between you two didn’t it?” She accused with a pout.

Thancred glanced to the side, “Nothing worth mentioning... “

She didn’t believe him, but he elected to ignore her. He stopped sparing with her, and began avoiding her when she sought him out so the three could be together.

It was better if she focused on Urianger. Better if Urianger found companionship in her.

Thancred knew it was best… even as the night terrors returned.

More time passed, and the horrible dreams only seemed to get worse. He found it was affecting him more than he’d like, Louisoix taking notice and asking if he was okay.

He pretended he was fine, and the elder man dropped it, not wanting to pry but obviously worried.

By a month, Thancred felt like he was at his breaking point, the stress of the day and the terrors of the night having his emotional state teetering on hysterical.

It got to the point Thancred contemplated running off into the night, leaving the manor and the relationships he had broken and were breaking behind.

Then, one night during a particularly lucid dream, when he was at the brink of terror, he suddenly felt himself floating away from the horror, a gentle fade like the nightmare was being painted over in black ink until there was nothing but darkness.

Thancred slowly opened his eyes, registering that he was back in his room.

The hyuran boy could only let out a soft, relieved sigh.

“Thank all that is good, seems it worked…” A soft, familiar voice spoke out, flooded with relief.

Thancred blinked, turning and looking toward the voice.

His eyes landed on a small golden glowing… creature at the foot of his bed.

Alarmed, Thancred jolted back, “What in the seven hells is that?!” Thancred barked out.

A soft giggle met Thancred’s ears, and he turned toward the source.

Urianger was smiling shyly, peeking at him through the doorway, “That, Thancred; would be a Carbuncle. One of mine own design.”

Thancred raised a brow, “Okay… why is it in my room?”

Urianger bit his lip, glancing to the side shyly. “I… he is the one who roused you from slumber. It uses a spell, much gentler than physical contact and he is a being made from weaving together my aether... something you can’t hurt if you wake from a fright…”

Thancred’s eyes widened, understanding slowly dawning on him as he stared at the elezen boy, “Urianger… you…”

Did this for me, was what he wanted to say, but he couldn’t manage to get the words out.

Urianger cleared his throat, bouncing on the balls of his feet, “I knoweth thou wish is to deal with the terrors of the night on thy own… but even if I cannot physically help you, I hope…” Urianger grew shy, “... I hope Carbuncle can ease your burdens a little, on nights where it is too much to bear alone.”

Thancred’s heart swelled, that strange alien feeling curling pleasantly in his chest.

“Urianger… come here.” Thancred said, voice soft.

Urianger hesitated, timidly walking into the room as he gripped tight at his shirt, slowly making his way to the bed.

Thancred stared deep into his golden eyes, seeing the deep seated want for approval in them.

How could Thancred deny him.

“Thank you so much... It means a lot that you would go this far to help someone like me.“ Thancred said honestly, the warmth in his words surprising even him. “I’m… I’m truly sorry for how I treated you that night. I don’t deserve the kindness you’ve shown me.”

Urianger’s eyes glimmered, the boy’s inner preening almost palpable at the praise. He cleared his throat and glanced to the side. “If it be true, if you truly mean that… then I would like a hug.”

Thancred blinked, “Pardon?”

“A hug, Thancred.” Urianger quipped, “Moenbryda said… She stated that all would be well between us once we um, ‘hug it out’ as it were… Full well did I know t’was not an appropriate request when you were upset but… Now I believe is a good time to ‘hug it out’ with you.”

Thancred grit his teeth to bottle up his laughter.

Thancred forgot the elezen boy was far too precious for his own good sometimes. He ALMOST said that it was a metaphor and they didn’t ACTUALLY have to hug, but…

“Of course we can hug it out, Urianger.” Thancred chuckled out.

Urianger smiled, looking beyond pleased as he walked up and wrapped his arms around Thancred’s neck.

Thancred smiled into Urianger’s shoulder, closing his eyes as he returned the warm hug. He stroked gently down his back, and couldn’t help but inhale that comforting scent.

Spice and ash… he didn’t realize how much he missed it.

“This… is nice.” Urianger said softly, petting Thancred’s hair as he stayed close.

“Mhm…” Thancred responded, relaxed.

Urianger paused the petting for a beat, “How long doth we hug until we’re hugged out?” He asked curiously.

Thancred hummed, “I think you can pull away when you’ve had enough.” He settled, deciding that if it was the elezen’s hug he should be the one to end it.

“Ah…” Urianger responded, sounding thoughtful.

They stayed like that for a little longer, and then Urianger held him tighter.

“...Urianger?” Thancred’s eyes slid open, gazing curiously at the boy holding him.

“Mine thought… is that I’ll have had enough come the morn…” He confessed quietly.

“Urianger…” Thancred groaned out.

“Carbuncle can stay out to make sure terrors in the twilight hour don’t drive you to cause mine form harm… I think it’ll only be right if we stay like this tonight.”

Thancred’s heart melted a bit, and he let out a defeated sigh. “Alright… just for tonight then.”

Thancred tugged back slightly from the hug, maneuvering them so Urianger was snuggled up against his chest, the elezen’s head tucked under his chin. He felt Urianger’s arms wrap around his torso, hands coming up to grip at the shirt on his back as he kept him close.

Thancred watched the younger boy cling to him, and his heart fluttered with those strange feelings he couldn’t place and didn’t care to.

Right now all he wanted to do was sleep, comforted by Urianger’s hold, his scent, and the cute little carbuncle curled up at the foot of his bed.

So he did, falling into the best sleep he’d ever had.

Chapter Text

The first days at The Studium were awkward.

The institute was god's damned giant, and it took Thancred a while to figure out where his classes were.

They were separated into years, Urianger, Moen and Thancred being first years with Mr. Totolymo as their homeroom instructor. Thancred was surprised at the range of ages around him, some looking like children barely able to walk with others far older than he.

Since he would be taking classes that dealt with infiltration, espionage and more physical talents, most of his classes he didn’t share with Moen and Urianger.

He was training to be a spy, and they were going into more academic fields.

By some stroke of luck, or maybe due to Louisoix pulling some strings, Urianger and him ended up being dorm mates.

“Tis common a student of more scholarly pursuits would be paired with one pursuing a more hands on field. That fortune smiled upon us and put us together fills my heart with joy.” Urianger said with a chuckle.

Thancred agreed that he couldn’t ask for a better roommate.

They got situated, and it honestly felt like they had never left home. Urianger and him would wake, go to homeroom, then go to their respective classes for the morning half of the day, and go to meet for lunch. Then afternoon came and they’d go to their respective classes, and then hang out in the library or sparring room depending on the days events.

Their group of three turned to a group of four, a young Miqo’te girl having warmed up to Moen and taken to following her around.

Y’shtola was young, almost nine, but she had a silver tongue and a quick wit that made Thancred quickly stop babying her.

At night, Urianger and Thancred would retire and help each other study, Urianger helping more than Thancred. The two became a bit closer in those days, Urianger sometimes venting to him about hard days events and Thancred about various issues.

Since puberty hit Thancred like a brick a few years back, relationship issues were his norm.

Thancred found once he got situated at The Studium that he was VERY popular.

He was asked out barely a few weeks after he started, and things had gotten fairly hot and heavy.

By the time of their breakup he definitely was no blushing virgin, and it didn’t take long before he was courted again.

He went through partners like water, and though Urianger was good about making sure it didn’t affect his studies, Thancred wondered why he was so bad at holding a relationship beyond the initial passionate phase.

They got together, it got intimate… but after a few weeks of it he found he couldn’t keep interested.

Urianger didn’t seem to care, until he flirted with Moenbryda.

He didn’t think he’d ever forget it. It was the first time Urianger was genuinely furious with him.

They had been at The Studium together for almost a year, and she was growing into an attractive young woman.

She had said something offhand and he had wrapped a hand around her waist, flirting with her. She had returned the laughter easily and allowed for his flirting even though she was giving playful ribs back that showed she was only playing along and wasn’t interested.

Unfortunately, Urianger hadn’t taken it as innocent.

He still had the scratches from where Urianger’s blasted carbuncle tackled him, Moen having to break them up herself afterward.

“It was just a bit of fun, Urianger. You know I wouldn’t ever date Thancred of all people.” She said with a huff as she held them both apart by their collars.

He’d never been more appreciative of how strong the roegadyn woman was.

Urianger relented, but even if he did out of respect for Moen’s wishes, he was still more than upset with him.

“You will not add her to your list of mindless conquests.” Urianger had said to him that night in private, visibly hurt.

He understood that. Thancred wouldn’t mess with their close knit group. He would literally die for any one of them, and tried to make it clear he was just messing around, but it only had Urianger relenting that he was done fighting with him.

Done fighting, but fighting only changed to the silent treatment.

Urianger was mad at him for days after that, avoiding Thancred to study in the library most nights and trying to leave before Thancred woke up in the morning.

This was fine, Thancred was many things, persistent one of them.

He eventually wore the elezen down with rare gifts, specimens that were hard to come by that he hunted down in the woods.

He tracked down tomes that cost a pretty penny that he gladly paid so Urianger could add them to his collection.

When days wore on Urianger he’d pluck his harp and let out soothing hums, having taken up the bard talent in his spare time as he crooned out.

Urianger tried to pretend it was an annoyance, but the way the stress drained from the other’s face told a different story.

After a few weeks of trying to placate him, Urianger finally relented.

"I miss our time together terribly, so I will forgive you the once..." Urianger said as he hugged himself, glancing to the side with a pained expression. “Just swear to me… Swear to me thou won’t ever treat her like that again. Ours deserve more than a brief tumble only to be tossed aside.“

“I swear, Urianger.” He promised, meaning it more than he meant anything in his life.

After that little incident, he found himself confiding in Urianger when it didn’t work out between him and a partner.

His messing around had gotten more frequent, and he was well known around the school as a bit of a playboy.

He tried to reel it in after every big breakup, but he found he couldn't keep himself away from companionship for long. Eventually he wondered if there was something wrong with him.

I just… don’t understand it sometimes.” Thancred said with a sigh, flopping back onto the bed as his legs dangled off the side “They say love is supposed to be great, but… I don’t know. I feel something when they ask, when we’re together and then… nothing.” He said with a frown.

Urianger grew thoughtful as he leaned back in the chair, still in his cowl and thick goggles as he hummed, “Mayhaps thou feels a physical attraction and nothing more? ‘Tis quite obvious thy lovers hearts overfloweth with love for thee, but if tis not thine wont, their overflowing love would never be enough to fill thine heart.”

So he just had to find the right person to love and hope they loved him? How would he know? It was all so complicated.

Urianger walked up to the bed, leaning over him and smiling, “Worry not overmuch. Despite our fight I do not think less of thee, for we are young.” He said as he sat next to him, “Trysts… are to be expected, after all. Thou aren't the only among The Studium’s number who have found solace in carnal pleasures.”

For some reason, knowing Urianger didn’t think less of him left a fuzzy feeling in his gut.

He figured it was just that he was happy he still wanted to be near him after their fight. Thancred wasn’t ashamed to say he enjoyed the particular type of companionship Urianger gave him through the years.

Urianger had helped him through his worst times and was in awe of him at his best times.

Having someone in his life like that was… nice.

Thancred chuckled, “Well if you find someone just don’t bring them back here mm? Unless you want a threesome.” he said as he playfully shoved Urianger.

The elezen’s cheeks burned and he returned the small laugh, “Shouldst I find someone, I have many a doubt I will be as eager as thee to claim them.” He said with a smile.

Thancred shrugged, “You never know. Flirting is a fun thing, all excitement and a rush… you’d be surprised how invigorating it can be to pursue or be chased.”

Urianger hummed, “Well, empirical evidence would be quite hard for mine more chivalrous self to accumulate… ‘Tis not like asking someone to flirt with me to appraise the validity of thy words would be appropriate.”

Thancred laughed, “Flirting doesn’t HAVE to be with any sort’ve intent, Urianger. It could be innocent.” He grinned, slinging an arm over Urianger’s shoulder, “If you were so curious you could always ask me, I promise I’ve never left someone wanting.”

He was expecting to be ribbed for it, but instead Urianger looked thoughtful.

“...Mayhaps I might take thee up on thine offer then.” He said.

Thancred barked out a laugh, “Seriously?”

Urianger rolled his eyes, “Mine wont is to observe. Gods know I shall never know what those women see in you, and full well do I know thou wouldst not pursue me. ‘Tis a means to sate my curiosity.”

Thancred grinned, “Alright then.” He said as he took Urianger by the hand, the two laughing as he sat the elezen onto the fainting couch they had in the corner of the room.

Urianger sat delicately, crossing his legs as he folded his hands in his lap, the elezen trying hard to keep from laughing.

“Oh don’t laugh at me, I haven’t even started and you’re already wounding me~” He mused out.

Urianger pursed his lips as he smiled, letting out a hard exhale through his nose as he tried to regain his composure, “Apologies.” He cleared his throat, relaxing a bit, “Alright then, Thancred. Play this game with me.”

Thancred smiled, his playfulness already humming through his veins as he reached up and gently slid Urianger’s cowl down, unclasping his goggles as he set them aside.

Urianger flushed in slight embarrassment.

“You’re always so shy when your eyes are bare.” Thancred said softly, “Even though they’re truly stunning.” He crooned out.

Urianger sputtered a bit, face turning red as he let out as a chuckle, “Mm… flattery will get you nowhere, Thancred. Thou must try harder than that to win mine heart” He teased, gazing at him with a challenging smile.

Oh, he wanted to play the part?

Then the game was on.

“It’s not flattery, Urianger…” He said as he slung an arm over his shoulder, “You are such a pretty thing, looking upon you has me like a man possessed…” He said, voice going low and pleasing as he leaned close to Urianger’s ear, “Like my inner demons are tempting me to open my mouth and tell you over and over just how beautiful you truly are.” he purred out.

He felt Urianger shudder in his hold, watching the elezen’s eyes hood as he allowed Thancred to pull him closer. Urianger closed his eyes as his smile returned, “If thou had such desires, why didst thou spend thy time overmuch with so many others before me?”

“I figured you were out of my league…” Thancred replied easily, a line he used often. “You’re so pure and wonderful… Almost holy, if I'm to be honest. Being in your presence makes me want to worship every inch of you.” he said as he lifted Urianger’s hand to his lips as he kissed it.

Urianger let out a soft, shaky noise at the gesture, and that noise sparked something warm in him.

Thancred felt emboldened by the little sound, delicately tugging Urianger to sit on his lap.

“I don’t want to scare you off, you pretty little thing, but when I look at you I'm helplessly consumed with a want to make you mine…” Thancred murmured, entwining their fingers gently with one hand as he wrapped the other around Urianger’s waist, hugging him possessively.

The hyur somewhat registered that he was less flirting and was more full on wooing, but he couldn’t bring himself to back off the intensity.

“That is… astounding…” Urianger said, his eyes hooded and pupils blown wide, his heart hammering so hard that Thancred could feel it from their closure.

Thancred felt want thrumming in him hard, leaning close as he nuzzled Urianger’s cheek, “Isn’t it…?” He breathed out, getting lost in the moment as he felt himself leaning in to kiss him.

Urianger closed his eyes, letting out a shaky exhale before letting out a small laugh, “Thine ability to give me such a rush is admirable, I’m almost jealous!” He said as he got up, stretching, “Dost that be a technique taught to you in pursuit of espionage? Or art thou a natural at putting others in that state?”

Thancred blinked.

Oh… that’s right, this was a game.

Thancred wasn’t sure how he got so caught up in it, but he managed to recover quickly.

He grinned, jumping up “I promise nobody taught that. I’m just that good.” He said as he stuck a hand on his hip, leaning forward and cupping Urianger’s cheek, “Don’t go falling for me now.” He joked.

Urianger chuckled, brushing the hand away, “I wouldst not count on it anymore than thou falling for me.” He responded back easily. “Come, we must away to bed, we have classes come the morn.”

Thancred nodded, putting that strange feeling behind him.

It was a new feeling, one he’d never felt before during his flirting, but he was sure he just got caught in the moment.

It had just been a game, after all.

Chapter Text

Years passed, and their studies had been something truly enriching to Thancred’s life.

Despite his reputation as a loverboy, Thancred was top of his class in most of his fields.

They were all slated to become Archons, and it gave Thancred a feeling of deep seated pride that he had actually made something of the chance given to him.

Louisoix had been proud of his students, and though Matoya was a bit miffed that Y’shtola had fallen in with them as a crowd, she was happy for her young charge.

Soon they were three fourths of the way done with their studies, and only had a year left.

“This calls for a celebration I think!” Moenbryda grinned, “I know how much you hate the water, Urianger, but the lake is absolutely wonderful at night this time of year.”

Y’shtola became thoughtful, “There is a crack under the lake that has crystallized aether keeping the planet’s wound closed.” She said softly, “During winter months the fluctuations in temperature aggravate the crystal causing it to glow. It illuminates the center of the lake, and I hear it’s quite beautiful.” Y’shtola quipped.

Moenbryda let out an excited squeal, “We should get a boat and see it for ourselves! This is the last year we’ll be able to, by this time next year we’ll be graduated.”

Urianger was covered much more than he usually was, his thick cowl and goggles accompanied by a large woolen scarf that was covering his mouth.

His shoulders slumping meant no expression was necessary, the elezen letting out a long sigh. “I suppose ‘tis a study worth braving the waters for.” He said meekly.

Moenbryda let out an excited giggle as she hugged Urianger tight, swinging him around like he weighed nothing as the listless elezen flopped about in her hold.

Thancred grinned, “I’ll prep us a boat then! It’ll be a good memory for all of us.”

So they did, the four of them getting on a boat and heading out to the lake one fine night.

Y’shtola and Moen were ecstatic, the two at the edge of the boat looking out into the water as they waited patiently.

Urianger did not share their spirits, the elezen curled up in the center of the boat and keeping his knees close to him.

Thancred smiled, finding it a bit endearing that even Urianger had things that scared him. He sat by the elezen, wrapping an arm around him and rubbing his back in comfort.

Urianger didn’t say anything, but the way he leaned into Thancred’s touch felt very much like a thank you.

When night hit, sure enough the lake glowed a brilliant blue, glittering and beautiful and a sight that had even Urianger peeking out to look into the water.

“Ooooh I wish I had an aetherometer on me.“ Moenbryda said as she grabbed her goggles from her bag, leaning over and looking through them with a bit of glee.

Y’shtola’s ears lowered, “Moen be careful, the boat is being rocked pretty bad, You could fall in and that would be bad at these temperatures-”

A particularly bad rock of the boat had Moenbryda losing her balance.

She didn’t fall into the water, but her goggles tipped from her hands, falling into the icy lake.

Everyone grew silent.

After a beat, Moenbryda let out a strained laugh, “I-It’s fine. I should’ve been more careful.” She said as she glanced down at the lake, “Well nothing for it, c’mon we have to be getting back.”

Urianger curled into himself a bit, “Those were the goggles that Louisoix got you as a gift for being accepted in The Studium were they not? You truly loved them…”

Moen shrugged, “Yes, well, there’s no getting them back now is there?” She said as she waved him off, “C’mon now, the light in the lake is waning and we should be heading back.

She tried to be chipper, but Thancred could tell she was upset at losing them. He felt bad for her, but better the goggles than if she’d fallen into the freezing lake, he supposed.

They went back to the dorms, and it wasn’t long before Moenbryda and Y’shtola went back home for the holidays. Urianger and Thancred usually went home to Louisoixs' manor, but the elder elezen was going on a long trip to Gridania and said it'd be best if they stayed in the dorms this year.

It was fine, Thancred didn't mind, Urianger made good company. They spent their vacation like they usually did. The days got colder, and Thancred could only be happy that even if it was freezing their winters weren’t as frigid as they were in Coerthas.

Usually Urianger would come back with a large stack of books in hand from The Great Gubal Library, setting them down to read on his bed.

Occasionally, he’d sit with Thancred and show him an excerpt from one of the books when he thought it would interest him.

Even when it didn’t, Thancred felt his heart warm at Uriangers attempt.

One day though, Urianger was gone for a bit longer than he usually was.

It was fine, but Thancred got bored.

The rogue grabbed his gear and put on a jacket, deciding to go out for a walk. He wound his way around the road leading to the gardens, eventually finding himself by the lakeside as he walked along it. He paused, seeing a boat out on the middle of the lake.

Curious he lightly jogged down the dock, Squinting as he peered out. He realized It was Urianger, the elezen doing… something to the water's edge.

Urianger wobbled a bit, trying to keep his balance as he stood at the edge of the boat. Aether was flowing from his fingertips, the elezen using an apparatus with his energy and almost looking like he was fishing. Eventually something rose out of the water, Moen’s goggles it looked like.

Urianger sighed in relief, looking happy as he put the goggles into his robes.

And then Thancred noticed the boat was tipping…

“U-Urianger your balance!” Thancred yelled out.

Urianger looked up at him for a beat, before the boat flipped out from under him.

There was silence for a few seconds, and then Urianger broke through the water. As the elezen flailed, Thancred couldn’t help feeling a sense of dread overcome him.

No, if he flailed like that in such cold water he’d drown…

Thancred tossed his jacket off and dove into the water, gritting his teeth as his body seized up from the frigid temperature. He had to focus on moving, knowing full well that diving into water this cold was a horrible idea.

Swimming in this water could kill him, but if he did nothing Urianger would definitely die.

After a bit of effort he made it to Urianger, the elezen already starting to sink under the surface as he gripped his collar and hoisted him up.

Thancred assessed the situation.

The boat was too far, and even if he got to it he didn’t know if he’d be able to flip it. Thancred panted as he floated on his back, struggling to keep them both afloat as he began to swim back to the dock.

He could do it, it wasn’t as far as he thought it was. He just had to rough it out.

After a bit of time he finally made it, thanking the twelve it was a low dock as he gripped the edge and hoisted himself over it, using all his strength as he got up and dragged Urianger out of the water.

Thancred was frigid, already shaking violently from the biting cold air, he had to get them inside…

Wait… Urianger wasn’t shivering.

Eighth bloody hell, Urianger wasn’t even breathing...

Thancred immediately rolled him onto his back, tilting the elezen’s mouth open and starting chest compression's, trying to keep the panic at bay as he quickly got into the swing of things.

“Urianger don’t you dare die…” Thancred grit out, pumping against the elezens’ chest before leaning in, sealing his mouth over his. He thanked the twelve that even street urchins like him were taught the breath of life in Limsa due to it being a portside town.

He kept it up, his heart hammering in his chest as close to a minute passed.

“Please…” The words shook on Thancred’s lips, “Please Urianger-”

The elezen jolted a bit as he coughed up water, breaths heaving as he blinked up, “Th-than-” he coughed as he turned and curled onto his side, raggedly breathing in before coughing more water out of his lungs.

Thancred let out a long, shaky sigh of relief before gritting his teeth, “S-seven hells Urianger what were you THINKING. If I hadn’t been strolling like I was you could’ve died!” He said, rubbing the Elezens’ back.

Urianger shivered violently, teeth chattering as he tried to say something, only able to croak out a soft shuddering noise.

Thancred was then very aware of how hard his own body was shivering.

That's right, neither of them were out of the woods yet.

“Dammit all” Thancred chattered out as he tossed off his soaked shirt and threw on his jacket, scooping Urianger up and thanking the stars that the younger male was still slightly shorter than him and barely weighed anything. “I’ll g-get you to the infirmary-”

Urianger gripped hard at Thancred’s jacket, shaking his head.

Thancred was already storming toward The Studium. “Urianger you’re bloody freezing, You were in that water longer than me and I won’t have you becoming hypothermic-”

Urianger gave him a pleading look, and Thancred felt his heart soften. He knew if they went to the infirmary Louisoix would be notified, his trip may be cut short, and Moen might find out he almost died getting her godsdamned goggles.

He’d be inconvenienced and she’d feel guilty as sin.

He shouldn’t care… but he cared that Urianger cared.

Thancred grit his teeth, “You better not die on me.” He said as he broke out into a run, leaping easily over hedges and benches and other obstacles and making his way to the dorms. He had to keep moving till they got inside or they'd both freeze to death.

Thancred thanked all that was good that they only lived on the second floor. Most of the students were gone for the holiday, so it was easy to sneak up to his room, taking the dripping male and setting him on the fainting couch.

Urianger curled into himself, shivering.

“Stay awake just for a bit longer, Urianger. Don’t fall asleep.” Thancred ordered as he tossed wood and fuel into their already lit stove until it was roaring in a way that was most likely not good for the appliance, leaving the door to it open as he grabbed pillows from the bed and chucked them in the stove’s general direction. Thancred tossed off his damp jacket and soaked pants, leaving himself only in his small-clothes before going to the couch and peeling Urianger's layers off with great effort.

"Gods you're ice cold." Thancred murmured, Urianger’s skin freezing as he hoisted him up, kicking over a large fur pelt and rolling it out on the floor as he lay Urianger down atop it, keeping him near the fire as he wrapped his arms around the elezen.

Urianger shakilly wrapped his arms around Thancred’s neck, shivering violently as he took comfort in the heat at his back and the body near him.

Thancred took to massaging at Urianger’s sides and legs, trying to regulate his circulation as he mouthed over the elezen’s temple and hairline, exhaling hot breath slowly in the hopes of speeding up the warming process.

They both shivered horribly for a time. It could've been hours or minutes, Thancred wouldn't ever know.

Eventually Urianger’s violent shakes turned to soft shivers, and from there his chattering teeth finally gave way to shaky breaths as he snuggled close.

Thancred let out a long exhale, relief flooding him when Urianger warmed up.

Relief… and exhaustion.

Thancred reached out, grabbing the pillows and dragging them onto the furs before flailing out and grabbing a sheet, covering the both of them and getting comfortable.

By the time he got situated, Urianger was asleep, his lips exhaling soft even breaths on Thancred’s chest as he held him close.

Thancred’s heart ached, he had been absolutely terrified, the aftershock of everything hitting him hard.

He didn’t know why he felt this way, Urianger was fine… he was alive...

Even still, Thancred felt a protective need flood him as he held Urianger close, just needing to feel his heart beating along his as he kept him near.

He stayed like that for a time, carding his fingers through Urianger’s hair and feeling himself relax the more he cradled him close.

Eventually, exhaustion won out, Thancred following Urianger to sleep as they slept snuggled together..

Chapter Text

When Thancred woke, he was content, feeling well rested and warm all over. He let out a soft hum as his eyes slid open, registering the sunlight filtering in from the window as he glanced around.

Someone pressed close, and Thancred sighed as yesterday came back to him.

That’s right, last night they both almost drowned and froze to death.

Almost, but they didn’t, Thancred smiling down sleepily at Urianger.

The elezen was dead asleep, clinging to him lazily as their legs tangled together. His hair was mussed and his breaths were even.

He was cute like this, and Thancred couldn’t help it as he tucked a stray strand of hair behind the elezen’s ear.

Urianger let out a soft sigh, mumbling something incoherent as he held Thancred tighter.

As they pressed together, the hyur realized he had a problem.

Thancred’s cheeks burned as he felt something very telltale pressing into Urianger’s hip, cursing morning wood.

He tried to move away, but Urianger tightened his grip around Thancred, his leg wrapped around his hip as he tugged him close.

Well.

Alright then.

Thancred was unsure of what to do about his little problem. With the elezen clinging to him as he was, he looked like he wasn’t keen on letting him go.

He sighed, figuring it’d go away on its own or he’d take care of it when Urianger woke up.

He’d woken with morning wood and someone in his arms before… but the other person had always been a partner more than willing to take care of the problem with him.

Urianger was definitely not that…

Never someone he’d see that way, anyway...

... and yet for some reason when he told himself that, he felt like he was lying to himself.

It happened sometimes, where they would joke back and forth or physical contact lasted just a little too long. Something in the air would change and Thancred would feel a warm sort’ve… something fluttering in his heart.

He’d always told himself it was nothing, but the more time passed, the more he felt like it was something.

He regarded Urianger for a moment, gazing at his sleeping face. They hadn’t lay cuddled together like this since they were boys, but Urianger was far from the little boy who snuggled close to him and kept his night terrors at bay. He was growing into himself, and he was sure that like all elezen’s he’d be taller than him soon enough.

He hesitated, before gently tilting Urianger’s chin up to look at him better, searching his face as he took in every inch of him.

Gone was the roundness in his face, it having given way to a slightly sharper jawline. Thick lashes, defined lips… Urianger had matured…

Not just that, he’d become beautiful…

Thancred swallowed hard at the thought, feeling his heart flutter at the realization that he found Urianger extremely attractive.

Thancred wasn’t sure what to do with this information. They lay together many times, relaxed amongst each other only yesterday, Thancred also knew Urianger wasn’t a saint, having walked in on him a few times taking care of himself, this ending in small teases that had Urianger throwing pillows and books at him in response.

They’d been together so long… but this felt different.

What had changed? Was it almost losing him last night? Or had he felt this way for a long time and just hadn’t realized it?

Thancred felt like he’d never really know the answer to that question.

Urianger stirred, interrupting Thancred’s thoughts, and the hyur distanced himself slightly as a courtesy..

The motion edged Urianger awake as he glanced sleepily at Thancred.

“Mh… morning... “ Urianger yawned out, eyes fluttering closed as he tried to snuggle closer.

Thancred’s heart hammered hard at the action, and he held fast to Urianger’s shoulders.

Urianger’s brows furrowed, and he gently brushed Thancred’s arm off his shoulder, head flopping against Thancred’s chest as he began to scootch close and cuddle.

Thancred kept him away, clearing his throat as he got up.

Urianger let out a soft noise of protest as his arms searched for him, and Thancred’s heart swelled, scooping Urianger into his arms.

“Mmm? Thancred?” Urianger looked up at him sleepily, eyes hooded as he allowed the hyur to carry him.

Seven hells why did Urianger have to look at him like that right this second.

“Bed. You need rest.” Thancred ordered, laying him down on his bed since he had tossed the contents of Urianger’s onto the floor.

“You should come to bed too… ‘tis most likely early…” Urianger yawned, reaching out to grab at Thancred’s wrist.

Thancred stepped out of his reach, “I um… I have something I need to take care of.” He settled.

It wasn’t exactly a lie.

Urianger murmured quietly as he closed his eyes, relenting and pulling a pillow close as he snuggled into it.

Holding that pillow like a lifeline... he was godsdamned adorable.

. . .

Seven hells what had gotten into him.

“Rest, i’ll be back in a minute.” Thancred said quietly, Urianger letting out a tired hum of acknowledgement as he turned and headed to their bathroom.

He had a very pressing need to take care of.

Thancred took care of himself, trying hard to think of soft curves and sinful edges of previous lovers.

He closed his eyes, his mind going to the faces of people he’d been with, people he could see himself with, even just trying to put random faces of what he thought an ideal partner would look like.

It didn’t work, his mind going back to the feel of Urianger in his arms.

The golden pools of his eyes… the softness of his hair…

His mind entertained thoughts of how it would feel to hold him in a different way. What little noises he’d pull from him if they were together more intimately…

As Thancred worked himself to completion, he couldn’t stop his mind from gravitating to the elezen. He felt a warm fluttering feeling that swelled in his chest at the thought of Urianger looking at him the way others had.

Flushed cheeks, a warm adoration all for him…

A heart overflowing with love, all for him.

Those thoughts had his heart soaring, barely stifling a groan as he tipped over the edge.

Thancred panted out, cheeks flushed and eyes hooded as he felt this strange, fluttery happiness consuming him.

Gods it was so… invigorating…

Invigorating, but he needed to get himself under control.

Urianger needed Thancred to care for him, not take care of him.

He cleaned up, taking a moment to regain his composure before going out to check on Urianger.

Urianger was still as he was when he’d left him, bare and hair mussed, dead to the world as he curled around Thancred’s pillow.

The rogue’s heart skipped a beat.

Well, if he was going to rest, Thancred figured he could play the part of caretaker. He put on some clothes and ran to the mess hall, happy that they were still serving food despite the holiday season.

It wasn’t good by any means, but a bit of warm porridge was just what the elezen needed after almost freezing to death.

He made his way back to the room, setting the piping hot bowl down on the nightstand as he looked at Urianger.

The blanket had slid further down his body, and Thancred felt that stirring feeling return tenfold.

Down boy. He chided himself.

Still, he couldn’t help but want to indulge just a little bit. He could’ve shaken Urianger awake, but Thancred decided to give Urianger a bit of what he wanted earlier, crawling into bed with him.

“Urianger…” Thancred murmured out, gently petting the elezen’s hair as he tried to slowly rouse him. “Urianger wake up, mm?”

Urianger groaned, turning sleepily to gaze at Thancred through bleary eyes, “I thought thou..” Urianger yawned, “bade me rest…”

Thancred smiled, “Trust me you aren’t stepping out of this bed, but you should eat something.” He said, shifting Urianger to sit up as he propped him against the pillows.

Urianger let out a soft noise as he took the porridge given to him, holding the bowl close and scooting closer to Thancred as he tucked himself against the hyur’s side.

Thancred wrapped an arm around Urianger, letting the other get comfortable as they sat in silence, the quiet sound of the spoon clinking against the bowl the only sound between them as Urianger ate quietly.

When he was done, he set the bowl down on his lap, a thoughtful expression on his face. “Truly do I feel mine error, Thancred… I put thee in great danger. Even at the risk of thy life did thou save me from the frigid depths of the lake…” he said, glancing at Thancred with a sorrowful expression, “Full well could thou have joined me in a watery grave. This thought fills mine heart with a deep sorrow that thou were in such a dangerous predicament…”

Thancred let out a tired sigh, “Well I wasn’t going to just let you drown, Urianger, I couldn’t…” He said as he rubbed his thumb soothingly against the elezen’s arm, “Even if I can be a right asshole there are people out there I would die for… you’re definitely one of them.”

“Please don’t… don’t speak of dying so easily.” Urianger said quietly. “I care for thee too much for thou to talk about thine life as if 'tis measurable to mine… like it means so little compared to mine own... We are not blood, but even so I have found someone who is more than friend and more than family. A kindred spirit I would not want to be without.” Urianger confessed quietly.

Thancred couldn’t help the smile that bloomed on his face as he held Urianger’ tighter, “I’ll try to keep from risking my life so much next time I save yours then, mm?” He cooed out.

Urianger smiled at that, resting his head against Thancred’s shoulder, “Well… I oweth thee mine life.” Urianger said as he relaxed against him, “Though it took a life threatening experience for this small exchange, filled to bursting am I with happiness knowing the ways thou cares for me…” He said, looking up at Thancred with a happy smile, “I thank you, Thancred… so much…”

Thancred almost couldn’t take the rush of emotions he felt, unused to how strongly he was feeling.

He thought back to what Urianger had said a few years back, that maybe his heart wanted love from someone specific. That if it wasn’t what his heart wanted no amount of love would fill his heart.

With how just the smallest smile Urianger gave felt like it was too much, he felt like he’d found who his heart wanted.

Thancred smiled, “Any time, Urianger.” He said quietly, hesitating only slightly before leaning in and kissing his temple.

Urianger chuckled at that, allowing for the innocent kiss before sighing, “Mmh… now that I am well fed… I feel quite exhausted.” Urianger murmured out.

Thancred’s smile softened and he maneuvered them so Urianger was laying down, spooning the elezen from behind as he hugged him close, “Is this okay…?” Thancred asked.

Urianger let out a long sigh as he relaxed back into the hold, “Yes. I think I like this very…” Urianger yawned, “very much…” He said as he closed his eyes, “Apologies, I shall return to slumbering in mine own bed come the morn.” he said as he relaxed.

Thancred rested his chin on Urianger’s head, closing his eyes as he smiled. "It's no problem at all, Urianger." He said easily.

Thancred felt like if Urianger allowed it, he would never let go.

He could figure out this shiny new feeling another day.

Chapter Text

After that night together, Thancred knew he was smitten.

Thoughts of Urianger consumed him, devoured him…

He knew it was attraction, and knew he was VERY interested in being with his elezen friend.

Trying to gauge how interested Urianger was in return however, was… difficult.

Thancred was popular, and he found many times he had his pick of men and women in The Studium. Usually when he was interested, he’d flirt. Offhand comments or being a bit bold usually turned people off or had them flirting back, and it was easy after that to see where things were going.

Still, for some reason even when his flirting seemed to work on everyone else, it didn't seem to work on Urianger.

And he tried.

"Not now Thancred I spent all day on mine knees cleaning up a horrible mess of an experiment gone wrong." Urianger said tiredly as he plopped in the dormitory chair.

"Really now." Thancred said warmly, wrapping his arms around the scholar's shoulders from behind, "If I spent a bit of time on my knees for you I bet I could make you feel much better."

Urianger raised a brow, "How so? If thou wished to assist me worry not, I finished mine tasks ages ago."

Really. He tried.

"Ugh I feel a headache coming on" Urianger whined as he slammed his book shut.

"Come to bed, Urianger. If you let me give that head of yours a good stroke, it'll help you relax…"

Urianger rolled his eyes, "I am not a child, Thancred. Thou needs not baby me."

REALLY tried.

“Mm… Such a good friend you are…” Urianger said quietly as Thancred massaged his shoulders and back, the elezen on his stomach on the bed as Thancred straddled his legs.

Thancred’s eyes hooded, “I could be better for you…” He said as he traced his hands down Urianger’s lower back, “I could make you feel quite wonderful…” He crooned out, gracing his fingers around Urianger’s sides and massaging the barest hints of the elezen’s hip bones.

Urianger let out a soft noise of pleasure, “Mm… no thou art fine as you are... “ He said as he let out a deep exhale, “Full selfish would I be… if I had you do anything more…” He said softly as he dozed off.

Thancred tossed his head back as he silently cursed.

Seven hells Urianger was the most oblivious pursuit he’d ever had.

He was fine with going slow with Urianger, and if the man didn’t want a physical relationship that was more than okay, but he couldn’t even tell if he was interested.

Then again Urianger never really showed any romantic interest, maybe he just wasn’t really receptive to flirting of that intensity. The elezen was always very old fashioned, maybe he had to do things in a more old fashioned way?

Thancred thought long and hard about it, and decided that he’d just have to go romantic and make it obvious.

He’d buy the man something nice, something he could treasure. He’d offer it to him and make his feelings known, and ask if he’d like to go on a date with him. He’d warm his heart and treat him right, make him see just how much of a treasure he was.

Thancred’s heart warmed at the idea, his heart fluttering a bit at the thought.

Exams were coming up, so he figured after them would be a perfect time to court the elezen. Before might distract him, and after that… well if he didn’t act after that there’d probably be no time to. He already had his future endeavors lined up with Louisoix and there would be no time for courting after he graduated.

They could have time to establish things between them before they dedicated themselves to their graduated lives. He’d make it work for Urianger if he could.

So he waited, seeing less and less of Urianger as he spent most of his time up late at night in The Great Gubal Library. It was fine, as the four years they’d spent together he always became scarce during exams. Soon enough the day before exam week was upon them.

Thancred closed his books, done studying for the night as he stretched out, pausing when he noticed a familiar tome on the bed.

One of Urianger’s texts.

'Glamors and Their Application Onto Whole Structures'

The exam of which, was tomorrow.

Thancred sighed, smiling as he grabbed the tome.

He figured just this once he could help the elezen out.

Thancred made his way out of their dorm, walking down the winding halls and making his way out across sloping hills until he found himself in front of the Great Gubal Library. He quietly entered the intimidating structure as he began to weave the halls looking for his friend.

He forgot how giant this place was, and with no one here at this hour to direct him he found himself aimlessly wandering for quite some time.

After ages of searching, Thancred let out a long sigh, figuring at this hour he could break the quiet rule.

He opened his mouth to call out, only to pause when he heard a giggle.

Moenbryda?

Curious, Thancred followed the laugh, eventually hearing hushed talking and small giggles. He focused, concealing his presence as he peered out at the source of the sounds.

Urianger and Moenbryda were sitting on a large cushion, the two snuggled close as they shared a tome together. Urianger’s cowl was pulled back and his goggles were off, a rare sight as he spoke to her.

Moenbryda whispered something into Urianger’s ear, a flush coloring his cheeks as his smile grew warm.

Thancred had never seen Urianger look like that… so blissfully happy like his heart was soaring.

The hyuran man swallowed hard when he realized he didn’t like it.

Not like this at least.

Urianger put the book down slightly, glancing to Moenbryda as his eyes hooded.

Thancred would never know what Moenbryda whispered to him. But he’d always remember that response.

“All that I am is yours…” Urianger responded back to her “Full consumed am I by the desire to be with thee… feel thou near me…” He said, voice growing warm, desperate, “Mine heart tells me I will never love another with the feverous intensity that I love you…”

Thancred’s heart felt like it was in a vise, and he felt a wave of dizziness at the horrible aching feeling.

Moenbryda’s playful look changed to one of awe at his words, and a loving smile bloomed on her lips, “Urianger… gods…” She said, sounding breathless as she reached down and entwined their hands, pressing their foreheads together as she got lost in his eyes.

Why…

Urianger chuckled, smiling at the innocent action.

And then he was leaning in… and Thancred couldn’t.

“Urianger!” Thancred called out, unconcealing himself as he walked around the bookshelf like he had been looking for him.

The elezen jumped back like he had been burned, and Thancred hated how their separation soothed him.

“Th-Thancred!” Urianger let out a soft sigh, “Full surprised am I that you are in the library, at the witching hour no less.” Urianger got up, gazing at him curiously, “Dost thou need me for aught?”

Thancred tried to look Urianger in the eye, but his heart felt like it was splintering, the cracks in it white hot and aching.

Those eyes felt like they were literally killing him.

Thancred closed his eyes, having to rely on all his Studium training to put on a friendly smile, “Nah, you left this.” He said with a grin, “I know you’ve got a test tomorrow and this is one of the books you were supposed to pack.”

Urianger’s eyes fell on the book, his eyes widening a bit, “O-oh! Yes thank you so much…” He said, smiling warmly, “thou saved me quite a bit of grief. I am in your debt, dear friend.”

“Nah it’s fine, I wanted to go on a stroll anyway.” Thancred grinned, turning to wave at Moen.

Moen gave a half wave, but her eyes were distant. Like she was thinking hard about something.

Thancred cleared his throat, “Well that’s all, I’ll be heading back. Unlike you two the way I prepare for exams is getting a good night's rest.

Urianger smiled a small smile at him, “Do take care, dear friend.”

Thancred grinned, giving a half wave before turning heel and making sure he took easy steps. Only when he was out of sight did he begin striding out, his brisk steps barely giving away the emotional storm inside him.

So Urianger and Moenbryda were together…

Of course they were. How could they not be? They were bloody perfect for each other.

Thancred sighed, making his way out and sitting down on the library steps.

His body felt numb, and his heart felt like it was swollen and aching. He’d never felt like this before.. But he knew what it was.

So this was heartbreak.

It was gods awful.

Thancred let out a long, slow sigh, getting up and making his way back to the dorm, kicking off his shoes and flopping down on the bed.

This was fine. Time heals all wounds and all that.

He’d seen friends die, almost starved on the streets, done unspeakable things to others and himself to live another day.

He’d stared hell in the face in his earlier days. He could get through heartbreak.

Once he finally swallowed down those numbingly frustrating emotions as best as he could, he closed his eyes to try to get to sleep.

It took some time, and he almost did, until he heard the click of the door open.

Urianger was back? So soon? It hadn’t even been an hour…

Thancred pretended to sleep, evening out his breathing as he heard the elezen shuffle around the dorm.

There was a long pause, and then Thancred felt his bed dip.

“Thancred…” Urianger called quietly, “Thancred, prithee wake for a small time… I needeth thine counsel…”

He sounded hurt.

How could Thancred ignore him when he sounded so fragile.

Thancred shifted, sighing as he feigned waking as he glanced with hooded eyes over his shoulder.

Urianger looked upset, his shoulders slumped and his eyes glassy, the elezen looking like he was in an absolute state of inner turmoil.

Thancred turned in bed, searching his face as he felt concern permeate him, “Urianger what happened?” he asked quietly.

Urianger played idly with his robe, biting his lip and reminding Thancred of when we were boys and he was shy and scared to say something odd.

“May I lay here for a time… I wish to speak with you, but full well do I know you must be tired.”

Thancred nodded, moving back a bit and tensing as the elezen lay down next to him. He gripped his hands, resisting the urge to pull him near, waiting instead for Urianger to say something.

Urianger let out a shaky exhale as he closed his eyes, “Have you ever loved someone but felt like it might not work?”

Oh the irony of this conversation and it barely started.

Thancred let out a long, tired sigh, “Why wouldn’t it work with Moen, Urianger?” He asked, not about to beat around the bush with this.

He’d usually be less blunt, but he was tired of thinking about them.

Urianger’s cheeks burned, glancing to the side shyly. “‘’Tis that apparent?" He asked quietly.

Thancred chuckled, trying not to sound bitter, "we're roommates and I'm training to be a spy. Of course I know." He paused, "you two are a pretty perfect match. What happened?"

Urianger bit his bottom lip, "I confessed mine feelings and she rejected mine advance, stating she could not be in a relationship knowing full well she would leave soon after…”

Thancred raised a brow, “Leave? ”

Urianger sighed, “Moenbryda wishes to travel the world after graduation. She knoweth I would not be able to accompany her… mine efforts then went to placating her with pleas that waiting did not matter to me… but it matters to her…” Urianger paused, bringing his hand up to his chest, “Mine heart is heavy, and I… th-thou are so much more experienced in manners of the heart… I asketh thee advice in the hopes you can guide me...”

Thancred stared at him, “...you want me to tell you what to do in this situation?”

Urianger nodded and Thancred felt a strange mix of emotions… He had power here.

He could end this. He could tell him to listen to her, and Thancred knew Urianger would. He’d get his heart broken and let Moenbryda go and Thancred could be here to pick up the pieces.

He could have a chance, and if Urianger could just see it they’d be so good together.

But…

“You really love her, yes…?” Thancred asked quietly.

Urianger nodded, “Yes... “

Thancred's look grew distant, “Tell me what it's like, mm? This love you feel for her.”

Urianger’s cheeks flushed, but he looked pensive. “Every fibre that makes up mine very soul wishes to be with her when we are apart. When we find ourselves together, everything she does with me adds to mine happiness... subtracts from mine sadness… When arguments happen, afterward she always finds a way to bring me joy. ‘Tis like we were made for each other.”

Thancred’s heart ached a familiar ache. He wanted to be selfish, really he did… but how could he say he loved Urianger if he tried to take this away from him?

How could he put Urianger through the heartache he was going through?

“Tell her you’ll wait for her again, Urianger. Even if she doesn’t like the idea, tell her it’s your choice…” Thancred looked at him, “When she leaves… wait for her. If your love can withstand the time you’re apart, you’ll know it’s true, and you will find happiness for it.”

Urianger nodded, giving Thancred a warm smile, “… You’re words resonate true with mine feelings. ‘Tis not mine wont to give up on what we could be. I know things will work out if I wait for her to have her fill of the world.” He said with a sigh, leaning against him, “I thank you, Thancred. I knew thou would have mine best interest at heart...

Thancred smiled, able to ignore the slight ache in him as he returned the small affectionate gesture.

This was fine… Even if his heart was broken he could at least prevent Urianger from having the same wounds as him.

Chapter Text

Exams came and went, and Thancred expected a lot of things on the last day at the Studium.

He expected teary goodbyes from his classmates, a sassy Y’shtola who warned he’d better visit, and Urianger helping him pack and giving him a warm hug and a hope he’d visit often.

He expected all of these things.

What he didn’t expect was to be accosted by Moenbryda in the halls as he was headed out of the Studium.

“What did you say to Urianger, Thancred?” Moenbryda asked, looking upset.

Thancred shrugged, “What he needed to hear. You love him don’t you?”

“I do… gods I do... but the call to travel the world and learn its secrets is too great for me to ignore.” The roegadyn woman said quietly “It wouldn’t be fair, it’d be almost selfish to tell him I love him back only to force him to wait for me while I’m off living my life.” She smiled sadly “Instead of waiting for me to come back and return his feelings, he should find someone who can live his life with him.”

She hadn’t even told him she loved him back?

Thancred internally sighed at how hopeless the two were.

"He told you himself, didn’t he? He'll wait for you, you know… whether you want that for him or not." Thancred said quietly.

Thancred felt the weight of that statement. That Urianger would love her from a distance, blind to all others while he waited with bated breath for his lover to come back to him.

It wasn’t fair, but he’d be damned if he was going to let these two ruin it when their relationship caused him so much grief already.

“He loves you…” Thancred said quietly. “He loves you and he’ll wait for you. I know you probably want some other person to maybe come along and sweep him off his feet and make him happy, but you want that out of love for him… and that’s probably one of the reasons why he loves you.” He said as he gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze, “Don’t return his feelings if you want to give him the option… but let him love and if you return those feelings let him wait because he’ll probably do it no matter what you say.”

She smiled sadly, “...I know he will… gods I just hope his waiting is worth it…”

Thancred smiled, pulling the roegadyn woman into a hug, “I’m sure it will be.” He said, letting her go and turning heel to walk down the hall.

He had said his goodbyes. It was time for him to go... but Moenbryda’s voice stopped him one last time.

“Thancred, when i’m away please watch over him.” She asked quietly. “I know you can’t hang over his shoulder like a guardian angel, but you’ll be able to see him more than me when I start to travel the world.” She let out a fond laugh “Urianger will no doubt hole himself up in some place filled to the brim with books and won’t look for company, but he will be lonely.” She paused, “Just… keep tabs on him. Make sure he’s okay when i’m gone.” She said finally.

Thancred turned and grinned at her, “I will, I promise.”

He couldn’t do much for Urianger, but he could at least be that.

At least he thought he could.

After he left Sharlayan, he visited Urianger often, catching up with him when he’d get jobs and missions from Louisoix.

As Urianger got more mature, Thancred only found him more desirable.

Eventually, he started picking up odd jobs while on missions for Louisoix, jobs that required him to linger in city states instead of going back to the Louisoix's manor. He found himself indulging in fine booze and even finer men and women.

He returned less and less, until eventually Louisoix would send word of his next assignments by mail.

Urianger never wrote, the man having gotten busy helping Louisoix with the Circle of Knowing and also helping the Leveillur family with their personal problems.

It made his choice to not go back easier, and before he knew it time had gotten the better of him.

He didn’t realize how much time had actually passed… until he visited a very cross Y’shtola on one of his trips through Matoya’s woods.

“It’s been years, Thancred. Moen isn’t even there right now. Just go see him…”

Thancred let out a long sigh, exhausted from this conversation.

He’d come to visit Y’shtola because he had been in Dravania and knew she was home to visit Master Matoya.

He was expecting a friendly chat, not for the girl to try and be his love counselor.

“I can’t, Y’Shtola.” Thancred said, leaning back on the wall as he rubbed his temples.

She pouted, “Why not?”

“Because it’s not that simple.” He bit back.

“You’re always saying that to me like you know better because your older, what’s not simple about it.”

“It’s just not.”

“Explain to me why!”

“Because! Because for all the time that’s passed part of me still…” Thancred couldn’t say it, gritting his teeth as he glanced to the side.

“Part of you still feels for him.” She said, voice soft and tinged with empathy.

Thancred barked out a bitter laugh, “It’s pathetic, I know…”

She frowned, “I didn’t say it was-”

“Well it is.” He said with a long sigh. “It is… and i’m stuck. He has all of me and I absolutely hate it.”

Y’shtola sighed, reaching out and rubbing his back, the small Miqo'te girl having to get on her tiptoes to console him, “Do you resent Urianger for making you feel that way?”

Thancred shook his head, “No… I could never hate him, but I hate the way he makes me feel...”

There was a pause, and Y’shtola let out a long exhale. “Go see him, Thancred. I know it’s hard, and he’s more than a friend to you… but I’ve been to see him, and you’re his family… he misses you.”

Thancred let out a slow exhale, “You’re right… I hate it, but you’re bloody right.” he said with a wry smile.

“Maybe seeing him will help you move on.” she offered.

Thancred could only hope so.

So he made his way to the Leveilleur manor, Urianger spending most of his time at Fourchenault’s when Louisoix was busy. He let himself in, knowing the lord of the house was gone most days. His retainer bowed to him, and led him to the person he was looking for.

Urianger was in the garden, two little elezen children hanging off each of his arms, both of them looking at the man with pure adoration.

Thancred leaned in the doorway, watching him.

Urianger’s smile was so warm, the man dressed down in airier robes that allowed more movement as he walked with them. Gone were his usual goggles and cowl, leaving his face bare and beautiful.

Urianger was perfect as he could be, as always...

The elezen looked up, smile brightening when he saw the hyur. He scooped up one of the children into his arms and made his way over.

“Full glad am I to see you, dear friend.” He said, bouncing the child in his arms a bit before setting one of the identical children down, “Master Alphinaud, Mistress Alisae. If thou couldst play inside ‘tis mine promise I shall return to you posthaste.”

Alisae pouted, “But you promised you’d play hide and seek with us…”

Urianger cooed as he kneeled in front of her, patting her head, “I will make up all the time that’s lost and more, little one. 'tis just important that I catch up with him, mm?”

Alisae sent Thancred a dirty look, and the rogue had to bite back a chuckle.

Alphinaud looked up to Urianger thoughtfully, “Could we play with Carbuncle then, Urianger?” He asked curiously.

Urianger smiled at him, “Of course.” He said with a deep bow, before pulling out his book and summoning his amber carbuncle.

Thancred felt his heart melt a little at the way Alphinaud’s eyes lit up, the tiny child kneeling down and hugging the little creature.

Alisae sighed, nodding as she took her brother's hand, the two scurrying off to play by themselves.

Urianger looked back at Thancred with a warm smile, “Come… I shall make us some tea.” He said as they walked to the living area.

Thancred sat down, looking out at the manor and all its splendor. When the elezen returned, they sat together for a time, Urianger starting conversation as they caught up with each other.

They talked about their lives in their years after graduation. As they spoke, Thancred reflected on everything he’d been through now that he’d graduated from The Studium and had time away from his close knit home.

What he realized… was Urianger and him lived in two different worlds.

Now that he was an Archon Thancred’s want for study had waned, wanting instead to go out and share his talents. He had at least one man or woman waiting for him in every city state, and could never really see himself settling down. He lived for adventure and where it took him.

Urianger was in a class all his own, all beauty and grace that was backed by a brilliant mind that was voracious with a want to learn. He lived in a manor, doting on children that he adored like they were his… Faithfully waiting for a lover that challenged his wit and invigorated him in a way that Thancred never would.

Even if they lived together in the same home and in the same dorm for years, their lives couldn’t be more different. What could someone like Thancred ever really offer him? The rogue had to wonder why his heart even bothered when Moen was such a better fit for the elezen...

Thancred knew his place, that nothing would ever happen between them.

It just reaffirmed what he already knew, and Thancred wanted nothing more than to leave.

When the conversation waned, Thancred got up. “Well, it’s about time I left.”

“So soon? You only just arrived…” Urianger said as he gazed at him.

Thancred shrugged, “Yes well, was there anything else you wanted to share? Or something you wanted to ask of me?”

Urianger grew pensive, glancing down at his folded hands for a moment before looking up at him. “Dost thou still proclaim thyself versed in the minstrel’s artes?” Urianger asked quietly.

Thancred shrugged, “Yes, I do still play the part of a bard from time to time.

Urianger smiled, “Afore thou aways on thine travels… mayhaps thou could sing for me?”

Thancred grinned at that, “Sure, what would you like to hear? Something riveting? A heroic tale? Or maybe just a shanty?” He asked with a chuckle.

Urianger’s gaze grew distant, “A song of love, one that is bittersweet… That would be appropriate for mine mood.” He settled simply.

Thancred gave a sad smile, that want striking a cord with him.

“Alright then.” Thancred said as he moved to shuffle through his things, waiting for Urianger to sit closer as he pulled the small lyre from his bag and plucked it a few times to tune it.

Urianger leaned against him, his head lolling so his temple was touching Thancreds as he got comfortable.

Thancred smiled as he began to play. Singing quietly to himself.

“I want a cup that overflows with love, although... it’s not enough to fill my heart… “
“I want a barrel full of love, although, I know… it’s not enough to fill my heart…”

Urianger looked like he was resonating with the song, and Thancred began to wonder if it was a good or bad thing

Still, he continued

“I want a river full of love, but then, I know… the holes will still remain…”
“I need an ocean full of love, although, I know… the holes will still remain…”

Thancred continued the soft song, one about how all the love in the world would never be enough if it wasn’t the right persons.

For Urianger, if it wasn’t Moenbryda’s.

Just like for Thancred, if it wasn’t the love of the person beside him.

He finished with a sweep of the strings in the minor key, stopping as he smiled at Urianger.

“I know that was probably a bit more depressing than the mood called for, but… I haven’t composed many songs that have those themes.” He chuckled out, “Most people prefer happier ditty’s.”

Urianger’s eyes widened, “Thou composed that piece? Thancred t’was truly beautiful…”

Thancred’s smile faltered a bit, and he cleared his throat as he glanced to the side, “Yes, well… I wrote it from the heart.” He said quietly.

Urianger cocked his head to the side, “Thou wrote a song of love? Doth that mean thou found someone?”

Thancred shrugged, “Yes… but it didn’t work out. Even if they cared about me, they loved someone else.” He said as he waved his hand dismissively.

Urianger’s shoulders slumped, “Apologies, I did not mean to bring up bitter memories.”

Thancred chuckled, “It’s fine, Urianger. I wrote it a long time ago, and I've been over it for a while.” He said as he put the instrument away.

It was a lie, but Thancred hoped one day it would be the truth.

“Alright, now I really have to be going.” Thancred said, keeping the bounce in his movements as he measured out everything from his tone of voice to the lightheartedness of his step.

Urianger pouted, “Thancred please… at least let me find you something to eat. The journey here must have been arduous.”

Thancred shrugged as he turned heel, “it was, but I really should be off, I just wanted to check on you.” He let out a warm chuckle, “Thanks for having me, Urianger.” He said as he slung his bag over his shoulder and moved to leave.

He wasn’t expecting Urianger's delicate hands to reach out and grab his arm, to be gently pulled back from the door.

“Please stay…” Urianger said quietly, “Even if it’s for a short time… could you stay? I have… I’ve missed you terribly.”

Thancred felt his heart clench, and he let out a small exhale as he smiled tiredly to himself. “I wish I could, Urianger, but I have some things going on in my life that need sorting, mm?”

He tried to keep his tone light, but he couldn’t keep that hint of begging from lacing his tone.

Begging Urianger to let him go, because that’s what he needed.

Urianger held onto him for a little longer, his grip tightening a bit like he was going to keep him.

But after a few moments, his grip lost all its strength, letting Thancred’s arm slip from his fingers.

“Please take care then… Should you come back round, thou knowest where to find me.” Urianger said quietly.

He sounded so sad… Like something was being lost between them.

It was almost enough to make him stay.

Almost, but he had to get over this.

Urianger needed a brother, a friend. He already had someone that loved him the way Thancred did.

He needed to learn to be what Urianger needed.

“I’ll be back, Urianger. I promise I won’t forget to visit.” He said with a reassuring smile.

Even if it took a while, he’d be back. He just needed time

Chapter Text

Ten years went by in such a blur… so much happening in Thancred’s life.

The circle of knowing, Minfillia, The Calamity, losing Louisoix, Gaining a new ally in the Warrior of Light…

Getting possessed by a gods damned Ascian

So much had happened in his life he was a completely different person than the lovesick man that had left Sharlayan over a decade ago.

He’d been over Urianger for a while… more than that the two of them had grown very distant.

Thancred still visited the Waking Sands and Rising Stones often, but usually only to get new orders so he could set out again. He felt like even with his old friends from The Studium here, the only reason why he stayed was because he wanted to watch over Minfillia, making sure she grew up happy and safe.

Not that he was antisocial. Occasionally he’d stay in one headquarters or the other and drink with his fellow Scions when he had free time.

Urianger never seemed to have time to do much socializing, the elezen man tending to only give him a small greeting before feeling the pull to go back to his studies. He’d make the effort to stay and chat with his fellow scions as long as he could when they came back from being gone for a while, but inevitably he’d bow out and go back to his work.

That was all fine, Thancred was happy he was doing what he wanted.

Happier still, was he when Moen would visit, the girl always managing to pull Urianger out of his shell.

They were in love… Moen still hadn’t told him or made it official, but Thancred didn’t think she had to.

Every time she visited she’d stay longer, and everytime she left the goodbyes took just a hair more time. Thancred knew she was tiring of leaving, and soon She and Urianger would get together properly.

Thancred wondered if maybe he’d be invited to a ceremony of eternal bonding, or perhaps he’d have little elezen and roegadyn children running around their headquarters soon enough.

Those thoughts warmed his heart… he could use some good in his life, they all could.

But then life had other plans.

Moen was ripped away from them... Suddenly and without warning they had lost her.

Thancred felt a burning upset mar his entire being. The roegadyn woman had been like a sister to him, and he had cared deeply for her…

Now she was gone… Urianger having left their new headquarters for the old one to mourn her alone.

They had a small ceremony, and Thancred had grieved for her in his own little way.

He took his time, but he knew he had to be strong for everyone. It wasn’t the first time he’d lost someone close, and he knew he had more experience with losing people than many of his friends.

He took the time to make sure everyone was alright, and things started to go back to some semblance of normalcy in The Rising Stones.

Still, weeks passed, and Urianger hadn't made himself known. After a while, he wasn’t the only one who noticed.

“Thancred… please check on him” Minfilia had asked, “I worry, and Moenbryda wouldn’t want him to waste away if her death is hitting him hard.”

Even if she hadn’t asked, as the days went by he had found himself worrying more and more.

He would’ve caved eventually and checked, and now he had an excuse to rush over.

He made his way to the Waking Sands, entering the familiar headquarters and making his way to the main hall.

“Urianger?” Thancred called out, pausing when his foot clinked against something.

A bottle? Mead it looked like.

He followed the trail of empty bottles to the headquarters library, raising a brow at the state of the place.

Books littered the ground, a half spilled bottle of spirits ruining a few papers and tomes that were on the table. A vase stand had been knocked over, the vase having rolled and spilled water all over the floor and the flowers that were housed inside were long dead.

The Urianger Thancred knew would never leave the study in this state of disarray.

"Urianger? You here?" Thancred called out.

There was the sound of shuffling, and Urianger peeked out at him from behind the bookshelf. His cowl was down and his goggles were off as he squinted at the man.

“Thancred… apologies, I didn’t hear you come in…” He said quietly, taking a few steps forward only to trip over his feet.

Thancred caught him easily, hoisting the Elezen man up a bit.

“Gods Urianger are you drunk?” Thancred asked as he slung Urianger’s arm over his shoulder and took him to the couch.

“Mh… Hungover, actually.” Urianger murmured out.

Thancred raised a brow, “It’s the middle of the night.”

“Yes, in the twilit hours I began to partake of the winecellar’s stock... then came the morn but I continued nonetheless… and then mine mind struggles to remember what transpired.” Urianger replied, bringing a hand to his temple, “I can recollect naught but a blur of the time after that…”

Thancred gave a sad smile, “Hows about a little chat, mm?” He tried

Urianger looked bitter “tis not mine wont to talk about feelings at present.”

Thancred shrugged, “We don’t have to talk about that. It’s been a long time since it’s just been you and me… maybe we should catch up?”

Urianger looked thoughtful before looking at him, really looking at him as he searched his face.

Even if he came here regularly, The look in his eyes was like Urianger was seeing him for the first time in a very long while.

Eventually Urianger settled with a small nod, smiling wryly, “I… I think I’d like that very much.”

So they caught up, Urianger talking about his time researching Bahamut and the various things he had been working on before he got drunk and spilled ale on his notes. Thancred talked about his time helping the Warrior of Light slay primals, gathering information and doing what he usually did.

Their catchup eventually devolved into small quips and little jokes. Thancred listened to a story and couldn't help throwing in an innuendo or two, and Urianger picking up on when he was embellishing his stories and pointing it out to get an innocent rise out of him.

Urianger sometimes cracked a smile, and even if it was a small victory, Thancred was happy he could ease his pain even if it was only a little.

Eventually the conversation died down, the two just relaxing with each other.

Urianger played with the hem of his cowl, looking thoughtful before turning his gaze shyly toward Thancred.

“Dost thou see me as an attractive individual, Thancred?” Urianger asked curiously.

Thancred shrugged, “Well, yes you’re very attractive. Godsdamned elezen men and women are going to be the end of me.” he said with a sigh, grinning to him, “Such elegant features your kind has, you’re very easy on the eyes.”

Urianger didn’t return the smile, his eyes growing distant as he took in this information. The silence stretched on, and Thancred wondered if he should say something.

As he was about to, Urianger continued.

“Were we strangers… If thou didst not know me and we met in some other life, couldst thou see yourself bedding me? See yourself burning for me?” Urianger asked quietly.

Thancred cleared his throat, unsure of how to answer him in a way that was appropriate.

There was a time where Thancred couldn’t help but love Urianger. Even when he tried not to, Urianger became his world, the gravity of his love for the elezen always bringing him back no matter how many people he drowned himself in.

But that love was gone. He had mourned the loss of what could never be and he let it go a long time ago.

Still…

“In another life maybe.” Thancred said with a sigh, smiling bitterly, “If things had been different, who knows..” Thancred gave him a wry smile, “Maybe under different circumstances you could’ve been the sun in my day… the moon in my night.”

"Thou art not repelled by the idea of me in an intimate scenario?" Urianger asked quietly.

"If we're speaking hypotheticals, not repelled, no." Thancred replied easily.

Urianger’s eyes fluttered a bit before closing, the elezen letting out a shaky sigh as he turned and moved close to him.

Thancred’s eyes widened as Urianger gripped the seat of couch on either side of him, his breath hitching as the elezen man straddled his waist.

“U-Urianger, what-” Thancred swallowed as he felt Urianger hold him, his head falling against the elezen’s shoulder.

Thancred’s eyes slid shut as a familiar scent hit his nose.

Gods… Spice and ash…

It had been over ten years since he took in that scent that was completely and totally Urianger.

Thancred was thrown back to his youth, back to moments where the times he held Urianger were the best parts of his life.

Memories of comfort, a small elezen boy who had shown him the first slivers of of love and companionship that felt truly real.

Memories of fear… when he thought he had lost the man who had become so dear to him and realized he felt something more.

Memories of love… of a burning passionate love that never came to be. One that had slipped through his fingers and out of his heart with the sands of time.

Intaking that familiar scent, he almost felt like he was in all those places at once, like he could be any one of those younger hims that thought the world of Urianger.

Thancred hesitated, returning the hug as he ran his fingers gently up and down Urianger’s back, pressing into the hug.

Even if it wasn’t the man he was now… He’d never forget who he was then.

The man he was now, however; felt gentle lips on his neck.

Felt a body pressing against his in an all too familiar way.

“U-Urianger-” Thancred shuddered, turning to him with a shaky sigh as he felt heat begin to stir in his loins. The elezen rocked his hips down, and Thancred couldn’t help as his hips snapped up to meet him.

Urianger’s kisses moved to his face, pausing before moving in to kiss Thancred’s lips.

Thancred held him fast, giving him a warning look, “Urianger what’s gotten into you?”

Urianger’s eyes widened, the man looking lost and almost as confused as Thancred felt, before looking down as if unable to meet the rogues eyes. Urianger’s body shook, and Thancred felt wet tears falling onto his shirt as the elezen drew close, fingers glossing over the hyurs’ neck and chin to rest on his cheeks..

“Please… complete me…” Urianger pleaded, holding Thancred’s face in his hands as he pressed their foreheads together. “Thou needs not love me…” Urianger sobbed out, “Thou may use me, just…” he let out a wracked breath, “Alloweth me to feel… Thou hast what I need… all that I am I would offer up to feel something… Anything but this emptiness..”

Thancred felt his heart break, a familiar feeling he knew all too well with the elezen.

It wasn’t one for what could’ve been between them. This was heartbreak for what should have been between two people Thancred cared for very much.

“Urianger...” Thancred crooned out to him softly, pressing his forehead back against the other mans in comfort. “If me bedding you would help, I’d do it in a heartbeat.” He said as he gazed into those golden irises brimming over with tears. “But i’ve been where you are, and I promise it won’t.” he said quietly, “I’m not her. I’m not what she was… and I can’t be who she was… It might feel good for a bit, but the second it’s over that emptiness is still going to be there.”

Urianger took in a shaky breath as he shook his head, eyes screwing shut in defiance, “But thou couldst fill that emptiness… if you’d just have me you could-”

“I can’t…” Thancred smiled sadly, bringing a hand up and stroking his nape. “I can’t, you know I can’t.”

Urianger let out an anguished cry as he clung to Thancred, full on weeping as he held him tight.

Thancred just held him, massaging small circles into his back as he rocked a bit, soothingly shushing him and whispering soft nothings into his ear, crooning out words of comfort as the dam that held the elezens’ emotions burst.

It took a while, but eventually those loud cries turned to timid whimpers and whines, until Urianger was slowly breathing in and out, soft hiccups leaving him as he was soothed by Thancred’s touch.

Silence came between them again and Thancred let Urianger take his time, idly petting over his hair as they relaxed together.

Eventually Urianger cleared his throat and spoke up.

“Thou words are true, Thancred…” Urianger said tiredly, letting out a bitter laugh as he sunk against the man, “I apologize, mine mind is consumed with grief, ‘twas only when thou arrived I found it in mineself to cease mourning… even for a bit.” He confessed quietly. “I know of your tendencies, and thought perhaps if I could lose myself with thee t’would help… even if I am not your normal type of conquest I thought maybe you’d find me interesting enough to acquiesce to a tryst, even if it was only for a night…”

Thancred had to fight rolling his eyes. Now was not the time to say that Urianger was the ONLY type of conquest he wanted in his younger years.

“Under different circumstances I wouldn’t have minded.” Thancred settled, “but I’ve been the one who has lost, and I have buried myself in other people and let them have me in turn… at the best of times I’d just leave and never see them again and at the worst of times i’d grow to resent them…” Thancred said, idly rubbing Urianger’s back, “We aren’t as close as we used to be, I know… but you’re still family, and I’d rather not ever lose you as a comrade…”

Urianger pondered this for a moment, nodding as he let out a soft sigh, “I understand, I think. Mine error is more grave than I first thought if that was the case…” He said as he moved to pull back from him.

Thancred held him tight, and Urianger turned to look at him.

“Even if my body won’t be of use to you, is there anything else I can do to help?” Thancred offered.

Urianger pondered this for a moment, looking guilty as a thought crossed his mind “… Even if it’s not intimate, could I ask thee to stay with me for a time.” Urianger asked, eyes gazing at him glassy and hopeful, “I know thou must most likely away to other engagements… but I worry for the nights… Those horrid nights that have come and gone, that will no doubt continue to come.” He sighed with a tired, sad smile, “Even if thee cannot fill this empty void I ask… nay, beg thee to stay with me for a little longer.”

It had been ten years since the last time Urianger asked him to stay.

Ten years since the last time Urianger needed him, and before he couldn’t answer his call. He couldn’t be there for him because of his own weaknesses and his own issues, and he found himself sometimes regretting that their time apart is what made them almost strangers now.

This time, however; he could be there for him.

Even if Thancred felt like they’d probably never get that closure back, he could at least be what Urianger needed.

Thancred smiled at him, “You don’t have to beg, Urianger…” He said as he got up, gripping hard at Urianger’s thighs so he wouldn’t slip from his waist, “Keep me as long as you need. ”

Urianger’s cheeks burned in embarrassment as he was carried, towering over the hyuran man carrying him as he gently held his shoulders. “Thou art kind… so much kinder than thou needs to be…” He whispered out.

Thancred lay them down on Urianger’s bed, holding Urianger close as he carded his fingers through the Elezen’s hair.

A small memory flashed before his eyes, of a small Urianger and carbuncles and midnight cuddles, and Thancred smiled, “Even if you have to deal with the terrors of the night on your own, and even if I can’t physically help you…” Thancred turned, his lips brushing Urianer’s temple as he spoke, “I hope I can ease your burden a little when it’s too much to bear alone.”

Urianger tensed, looking up with wide eyes as he recognized the words.

And then, even if it was a small one, Urianger smiled at him.

“I see…” He chuckled as he snuggled into Thancred’s arms, “Are we hugging it out tonight, then?”

Thancred let out a feigned thoughtful noise, “Yes, we can hug it out tonight… just for tonight though.” He responded, grinning at him.

Urianger hummed, his eyes slipping closed as his smile grew warm, “Then… for tonight.” he said quietly, relaxing as he already began to doze. “I hope thou woudst be blessed with wondrous dreams.” Urianger murmured out.

“And I you, old friend.” Thancred responded easily as he stroked down his back.”

Thancred stayed awake, humming out a small tune and watching over Urianger until the other man fell into a deep, even sleep.

He would stay until the elezen was on his own two feet again, make sure all was well before leaving. He’d helped his other scions grieve and he would help Urianger through it too.

It might take some time, but they had it. Thancred had nowhere else he needed to be for now, so he wouldn’t squander their time together.

He had made this promise many times, to Moen, to Louisoix, to Minfillia… and even to himself many years ago.

Look after him… Thancred felt like he could finally do that.