So I actually wrote a thing for a change. In this universe, Rubio is the same as he is in Sapphire Fighters, only with jet black hair. So. And yes Sapphire Fighters is why I'm writing this in the first place. Beta'd by Konpeki Rei.
"Alright! Now Sevalia has been kind enough to secure lodgings for us tonight at one of her family's estates…"
Sevalia blushed, replying "'twas no matter."
Sokara nodded, and returned to the rest of the Shepherds. "There aren't enough rooms for everyone, so we'll have to double up. Because of the… children…"
He glanced at the group of time-travelers, lead by Eleanore Kendora. He smiled at his daughter. "Anyway, there's an uneven number of boys and girls, but an even total overall. In order to deal with this, Marco Rubio has an idea."
The dracoknight/tactician stepped forward, hiding something in his robes. "I have a bowl filled with the names of all the male Shepherds. Koshka has the women's names. We'll both draw, and the names chosen have to share," he explained. There was a murmur of agreement from everyone, save for Sobek.
"Hey Feathers! Why can't married folks share?"
Sokara was quick to step in. "Can't risk any more time-travelers, Sobek," the Exalt offered. "There are still several we have yet to find."
He looked at his sister and best friend. "Go ahead."
With a glance, both War Cleric and Tactician drew a name. Koshka read first- "Eleanore!" The girl in question eye's widened at her aunt's words, but her composure remained firm.
Rubio was mute, his face maroon. Sokara shot him a questioning look.
The jet black-haired man walked over to Kendora and gave a meek, feeble grin. "I suppose we're roommates.
"I'm not sure we shouldn't have a re-draw," Sokara said hesitantly.
Eleanore rolled her eyes. "Father, you trust this man with your life. Furthermore, no person can save themselves from Ragnarok."
Marco gulped. "Sokara," he began, "It'll be alright. Go rest. I'm sure Vigur is waiting."
"Fair enough," the brown-haired man responded. "Good night, you two."
"Good night, Father," Eleanore answered in unison with Rubio (albeit with a different final word).
Together, they entered their quarters, causing the girl to gasp.
"Eleanore? Are you OK?" Marco asked hurriedly.
"I… I just haven't seen such opulence since my childhood…" That's right, Marco thought. In her time, this is gone.
He looked at his reflection in the dresser mirror. He was fairly sure there was a tear on Eleanore's cheek in the glass, but perhaps it was just a trick of the candlelight.
Kendora turned to her companion. "Would you indulge me in some childishness?" she inquired, voice soft.
Her answer came in the form of a gentle smile, a ghost of a laugh, and a solitary nod. Emboldened, she bounced onto the top of one of the plush mattresses. "Oh… it is as soft as Pegasus wings… How comfortable," she gushed.
Rubio pulled a book from the shelf above the bed next to Elelanore's. "You are welcome to go to sleep now, if you want. I'm just going to read for a while."
"You always have that silly head of yours in a book, Marco," Kendora commented.
The tactician shrugged. "It's my job to study as much as possible," he said, settling against the pillows. "Besides, it is a good way to calm down after a stressful battle. What do you do for fun?"
That gave the young woman pause. "I… I don't much remember," she confessed. "I never spent much time relaxing. You and Father and Mother… you were all at war… and then…." Her voice cracked.
"Tell me about the others," Rubio said, quick to change the subject. "You mentioned that you have a brother?"
Eleanore nodded. "Eryeth. He's a mercenary, but he secretly loves to dance like Mother. Very shy about it, says he'll use it to impress the ladies then backs out at the last second," she concluded with a chuckle.
The jet black-haired man smiled. "How about we search for him tomorrow?"
"Thank… thank you, Marco," she responded with a yawn. "I think I will retire now. Good night." She curled beneath the blankets, armor on the floor.
"Night, Kendora," he whispered to her back.
"Stop! No! Father- NOO!"
Rubio jumped slightly. He had never actually gone to sleep, kept awake by strategies and the fascinating book in his lap. He hurried to the side of the screaming girl. "Kendora! Kendora, wake up!"
"Father… no..." Her voice faded as she opened her eyes. "M-Marco?"
He sat next to her on the comforter, bringing the candle closer to them. "You were screaming. A nightmare?"
Elelanore nodded, brown bangs in her eyes. "I'm so sorry, Marco, for waking you… Please. I'm alright."
The man's tongue clicked in disagreement. "Dragon droppings, you're as pale as Segarus. Hold on." He grabbed his canteen and poured in something from a pouch that he yanked from his pocket. Then he took a tome from the shelf and used to cast Arcane, warming up the concoction. After a moment, he offered the brew to Eleanore with the order to drink.
She took a sip, her face immediately softening. "It's divine… what is it?"
"Tea. With a splash of Vulnerary River Lavender." He shrugged. "Maline brewed it once, said it was good for the nerves."
She blew at the steam rising through the cap hole. "Thank you, Rubio…"
His face heated.
"I'm only doing what I can. It's nothing," Rubio said in a small voice.
Eleanore watched the dracoknight/tactician fidget, slowly enjoying her beverage. She knew what this man would become. What he would do. And yet… he helped save Galen, Larendalle, Cillia, and Inari. He promised to find Eryeth. He was someone her father trusted, and perhaps not unwisely. Most importantly, he had shown nothing but acceptance and care to her.
Rubio's fingers danced across his lap, just like his thoughts. She's an infant! But she's full grown. She's Sokara's daughter! But he's your b est friend. You're like her uncle. You can still change fate. She's Sokara's DAUGHTER! She's beautiful and intelligent and strong and caring and-
"Marco?" The swordmistress's voice was nearly lost in the burning of the candle. His head whipped to see her. "What are you thinking of?"
He stammered, but ultimately the truth came out: "you."
Kendora flushed, mouth a perfect circle. "M-me?"
His head bobbed up and down. "Your father is right. You don't deserve the pain and suffering you've had to endure." He didn't realize his fingers had intertwined with hers until he finished speaking.
Their eyes met. Eleanore had decided to ignore her future; Rubio, his relationship with Sokara; for both, their better judgements. He could see the Brand in her gently shutting eyes, she was able to count the crow's feet around his eyes.
There was a connection in their lips and that was all they knew. Kendora felt every heartbeat, unable to distinguish hers from his. Marco took his free hand to gingerly stroke her chin, awarding him with a soft sigh of content. They parted, red as a morning dawn, silently laughing.
The exhaustion finally began to take a hold of Eleanore. With her last bit of energy, she brushed the hair from Rubio's vision.
"Together, we challenge fate…" she breathed before collapsing in his embrace.
"Kendora!" Marco yelled worriedly, but calmed some when he heard her snores. "Alright, back to sleep…" He got up, or at least attempted to. Her grasp was too tight, even for him. It also wasn't entirely unpleasant…
Sighing, he held her tight and laid his head on the pillow next to her.
"Good night, Kendora," he mouthed once more. . . .
"Marco! Eleanore! We're about to lea- WHAT IN THE NAME OF THE ROYAL NAGAS!?"
Sokara's yells forced the slumbering pair apart, both dazed and refreshed.
"Sokara? What are you- it's not what it looks like!" Rubio screeched in his defense.
Eleanore jumped from the bed, pleading to her father. "He did nothing, Father! I promise you! It's alright!"
Kelli, curious as to why her husband and daughter were screaming, appeared as well. "Um, w-what's going on?"
The Exalt turned to his wife, everyone in the room bearing a striking resemblance to an overripe tomato. "Rubio was… in bed with Kendora," he said through gritted teeth. The dancer swayed, made a few pitiful noises in discomfort, and fainted on the spot.
Marco grabbed Sokara's shoulder. "Stormfang. Your daughter and I did nothing of fault. She had a nightmare last night about you, Kelli, and I- our demises. I comforted her, and she fell back asleep with me still there. I assure you, she is unharmed."
The brown-haired man glared at his daughter. "Is this true?"
She nodded, unable to speak properly.
"Very well. We're going to move out in an hour. Marco, I'll need to speak to you about what we are doing today. Maybe we should search for another time-traveler…" His voice was tense and his eyebrow twitched, but he seemed reasonable.
Rubio nodded eagerly. "I agree completely. In fact, I may have a plan formatted already."
Sokara gave a bitter smile. "Very well. I'll see you in a bit." He picked up Kelli and left both tactician and daughter alone.
"Marco… I just wanted to say thank you for covering this up… But does last night mean…?" Her voice and face dripped with worry.
He shook his head in disbelief. "No, Kendora! Last night… I enjoyed it immensely. However…" Rubio couldn't get the words to work for him. "For now, I believe being allies is enough… but you are important to me. I promise you this."
Elelanore felt a stir in her chest, but withheld the bitterness rising to her mouth. "...I understand. Maybe in the future."
He nodded. "In the future." He clapped his hands together. "Now then! I believe we have a missing brother to find?"
Now a oneshot... sorry...