Rubio was in a slight panic as he examined the calendar he kept with his books. His anniversary was coming up in less than a week and he had not gotten Elmeri anything yet. Marching with the Shepherds and meticulously planning out battles far in advance was his excuse, and Elmeri probably would understand if he explained it. Hell, she didn't remember her own birthday some days!

Thankfully, they had stopped in a fairly large city for the evening. Marco had saved up a pretty penny for something extravagant. An all-purpose "exotics" store caught his eye as he wandered the streets. Maybe some perfume? Another necklace might be a bit much, and he never saw her wear any rings beyond their wedding band…

When Rubio entered the store, he froze almost instantly. Standing behind the counter and leaning against it was Elmeri. What's worse is that it was definitely his Elmeri and not one of her many sisters. "Hey there, handsome, what brings you around these parts?"

"How did you already set up… is this shop owned by one of your sisters?" Marco asked, dumbstruck, as he closed the door behind him. It was too late to back out and look at local wares now, but maybe he could convince her to just go get another Elmeri.

"Sure is! Elmeri asked me to watch the store as she went to 'negotiate' a few deals. I almost wish I could've gone with her, but Reuben ran off somewhere and you're, well," Elmeri gave a smile at him, the kind one uses before giving a backhanded compliment, "let's just say your forte isn't sales…"

As good as Rubio was with managing the Shepherd's funds and purchasing or selling equipment, that was as a consumer. Trying to sell things to others would be nigh impossible, frankly. "So, ah, no chance of you getting your sister to run the shop for a bit?"

"Nope! Sorry, I bet you came by to snag me for some date or other, but I've got an obligation."

"Yeah, that was it, actually," Marco felt bad for going along with her wrong assumption, but a little white lie to avoid some kind of surprising gift seemed okay. Besides, when he gave her the gift, he could apologize and explain! "Since you're so busy, I suppose I should be on my way…"

"Wait, before you go, you have to at least look my wares over! What if you see something you really like? You can't pass these deals up, dear," Elmeri had that glint in her eyes that told Marco he was probably going to get shanghaied into purchasing some overly expensive something.

"I suppose there's no harm to it," Rubio approached the counter slowly.

"Excellent! Now, how about these coats? I hear they're from Gudora, and they're in a similar style to your own!" Indeed they were, albeit a lighter shade than his own. "Oooh, how about these history books? A few books on cavalry tactics from Fonaxe, a nice Tempest tome for those quick and messy fights…"

Marco picked the tactics book up and flipped through it. "Actually, I think I will buy it. How much is it, exactly?"

"For the handsome tactician? I'd have to just give it to him for free!"

"What? You? Giving something for free?"

"Now who said it was free?" Elmeri pushed the book into Rubio's chest with a grin. "I'm pretty sure it's customary to purchase a gift for your spouse for your anniversary!"

Marco blinked, dumbstruck once again. He was speechless, to be sure! The gift was not what made him burst into a huge grin, rather the fact she remembered the day was something to celebrate, alone. "I honestly thought you might've forgotten it! I know I did…"

"To be fair, I did! But when you were at that war meeting the other day, I decided to do a little tidying up around our tent and noticed the dates on top of your books. A quick glance at all of those dusty books and a few pigeons later, Elmeri here was able to procure one you didn't have," The merchant leaned against the counter again, smiling up at her husband.

"In that case, it's only fair you pick something out that you want."

Elmeri winked at him, "Not this time, buster. I'm thinking I want something a little less gift-y,"

Rubio quickly put his hand on her forehead, testing to see if she had a fever, "Well now I'm just a little insulted! Sometimes a girl just wants an expensive dinner with her husband!"

The tactician took his hand back, laughing. "Sorry, I just had to make sure. We are in this city for the next few weeks, so we can look around for a good place."

"Already done!" Elmeri took out a rolled up paper from under the counter and spread it out. It was a detailed map of the city, and marked up with her scribblings all around. Rubio assumed most of the X's and O's were restaurants, in particular one was circled more than once with arrows pointing to it. "Reservation's all made, or should be if Elmeri is able to grease those wheels, and it'll be a wonderful night!"

"You really planned all this out, huh? I'm… I'm really impressed."

"Out-maneuvering the famous Delyran tactician in his own game of love? I wish I had some way to capture this moment! For now, I'll have to settle for a kiss!"

The two kissed, the map crinkling against both their chests as Elmeri slid it between them.