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Alex looked over his records as he assessed what companies needed additional training, resources, and manpower, ensuring that they are using their gear and mounts with refined and makeshift focus, as some of the Shepherds had started to branch out with the troops, even some wyvern riders who decided that Plegia was becoming too... strange for their taste, despite any loyalties to the people. 'Perhaps there is something going on in Plegia to cause fully-capable riders to devote their strengths over to Ylisse, just makes keeping the ranks more troubling than before as Plegian soldiers don't have the best impression on us one bit.' Though through him, the Plegians fell in line after a incident with he was called upon to correct a small problem involving a drunk and Vaike and both being mentored by Fredrick. He continued to sort through the records further until there was a knocking at his door. "Enter." The door swung open, revealing a Wyvern Lord with his helm under his arm as he came in and salute, as a sign of loyalty with several a bit angrier in the ranks, even with Fredrick's training.

"Sir, the Fifth Plegian Company is ready for action." Alex nodded as he stood up and sorted through the fifth's roster, led by the Lord who is named Firboar who was once loyal to Gangrel, but with the fallen of the old class with the wake of the new reign, he left the country, feeling some tragic elements in the order that had taken control, shortly gaining a ire from the Ylisse cavaliers before he was pardoned in exchange for his service to Alex, feeling the tactician a excellent guide and viewing Chrom to be a worthwhile leader to follow. "Where would you have us?"

"There has been a influx of Risen to the southern parts of Ylisse so I feel that you should bring your trainees and show them what to expect with these undead constructs." Firboar saluted before departing to ready his company with Stahl to follow as these of the Shepherds took on the responsibility of ensuring that these Plegian soldiers were worth trusting and have their convictions to be honest as some showed signs that they were more eager to spill blood from anyone than actually following orders, those individuals sent back to Plegia. The door closed as Alex returned to his seat, not sitting down as he established Firboar's qualities under Stahl's additional support and information, making it verily credited. He placed the folder in his cabinet and returned to sorting through the records again, refreshing existing Shepherd details and confirming new soldiers to the armies when a knocking was heard outside the door. "Enter." This time, it was a dark mage who had 'forsaken' his old magics in order to relearn with a newer focus. "Welcome, how can I help you this day?"

"M'lord, it is about several things." Producing a roll of paper from his cloak, the mage gave the paper to Alex to study as he spoke. "Vaike has once again primed a fighting contest to 'prove' he is the best."

"Let him think that when he is defeated." Alex looked past the first subject that boldly stated Vaike's little brawl that Fredrick will most likely hurt Vaike for, and focused on the others. The second focused on some shipping that Anna and her sisters have planned on delivering, but somehow some of their stock ended up lost in Ylisse and Anna, being a business woman, was more than happy to give a discount of 10% on all her inventory for a successful delivery. The next was a request from Maribelle to help advance her studies in law with a small donation of a series that Alex was familiar with from the royal library with a side note that Gaius had been very helpful with his underground sources. The final one was a strange one as he read it. 'Meet me in the barracks, I want to talk about something.' Despite any label to tell him who it was, Alex was sure that Tharja was the culprit as she was most inclined with having any chance of talking to him. Alex straightened up and returned the paper. "Have Fredrick find Vaike and whip him back to good sense WITHOUT a whip, send a message to the Exalt to put a search party together for the missing supplies, and have Ricken obtain the volumes that Maribelle has need of."

"But Sir, what of the last subject?"

"I will be checking into that myself, please proceed with my instructions." Opening the door, the mage left with Alex locking up his military office as he had the thought as the refugees were coming, it was better that he treat with them far from the palace as to both ease the unrest that would be and provide a safe location as to conduct the military actions for both Ylissian and Plegian forces. Walking through the wooden halls, he soon came out to the sunlight where soldiers trained and sparred to improve their skills and resolve as they find allies in the foes they once had, some waving as Alex passed and returned the gesture. Though it was a short walk, Alex could not put aside the feeling that he was needing to do this for a while now and now was the time that he could be alone with her to put it to action. As his steps echoed through the hall down the barracks, he continued to ponder on what he needed to say, what he meant, and what was needed to be explained as there has been some misunderstanding in the past when he started to notice that someone was following him. They were going the extra mile in staying out of sight whenever he stopped and looked and he knew who it was. Glancing farther on, he could see the barrack across the courtyard with a small group of soldiers coming from the opposite direction. Alex breathed and continued on, nodding to the soldiers as he entered into the barracks, its interior being renovated for the service of others, adding new books and selves into the room and is likely to occur from the small divisions should time tell, but here Alex was alone with another wishing to talk. "Tharja?"

"Yes?" By the tone of voice, she was believed to be indecisive, but knew the reason why.

"Don't you think it's time you stopped standing right behind me?"

"Why?" Tharja could be quite coy about these things and Alex knew she just loved to toy with people in that way."

"Because I can't see your face."

"Why would you want to?" Alex wanted to sigh, this wasn't how he had planned this to happen, but his feelings and perhaps her's as well wanted it to be done this way.

"Fine." Alex tilted his neck to the sides several times, trying to build some heart for Tharja. "I'll just turn around." As swift as he did, Alex turned fast and caught Tharja a bit shocked as he loomed over her a bit, both staring at the other. "That's better." Silence filled the room as neither wanted to break the moment, but the moment of quiet wasn't there to be. "...Now that I think about it, this is the first time we've stood like this... So close... face-to-face..." Though this has happened in the past, this was the first time for him to be the bold one, not the safeguard of Tharja.

"Perhaps." Tharja was nervous, here was Alex posed to be her better and knew full well what was happening here, to her, she felt her love may not equal up to the tactician as he has just been a shield for her and shoulder, but then why was she shaking in the slightest bit?

"I rather like it." Alex smiled as he closed the distance the same way that Tharja did in their first exchange. "Maybe we should do this more often..." This was the make or break, Tharja looked about ready to run, but was pinned between her love and some supplies close-by. "Maybe we could stand together...forever."

Tharja now wanted to bolt at the mere mention, clearly he was simply saying it as a friend,but if that was the cause, he would asked her to instead come to his office, not come per knowing her request. "...Forever?"

"...Forever." Alex's hand descended into one of the inner pockets of the cloak and Tharja was curious as to what he had inside the pocket.

"Wait, what are you giving..." The hand returned and Tharja saw it was a small wooden box which popped open to reveal a silver band, a diamond set inside the alloy, her heart stopping at the meaning behind it. "...Alex, is this a ring?" Her face started to glow bright at the jewelry.

"I love you, Tharja." Her tome began to fall, but Alex caught it like his hand and placed it on the nearby crate as he just smiled to the woman that was his other half. "I want to be with you, forever."

Tharja was in panic, this was too much for her to take easy. "N-no! I can't! Not like this!"

"Oh." Of course she would reject the claim, she was a simple dark mage and she just wanted to be his ever-watching stalker which only meant that she was not ready.

She, however, spun him around and clutched his cloak, the swift breathing slowing down until she regained a level of calm mind, despite her whole being shaking in amazement and joy. "...There." She inhaled and exhaled in pace, she wasn't ready quite yet to look fully into her love's eyes like a true couple until she had adjusted. "Now try it again."

Alex knew that she would do this, but it was her way of love, he couldn't force her to immediately say yes and promise her being into his life, she just needed some time to ease things in. "Um, well, I guess if this makes you more comfortable... In truth, I'm getting used to it myself..."

"Good." Slipping the ring on after lifting the box from Alex's hand, Tharja gazed at it with longing and happiness before leaning into his back with a chuckle. "I can't believe you made me love you! 'Course if you back out, I murder you in your sleep." Alex chuckled as well as Tharja simply rested her head against him, feeling her heart pound through in rapid beat as this was a great day for her. "Thank you for this, I don't know if I can easily match your love..."

"From what I have seen, I'd say you have more than enough to show than to prove." Taking the box back, Alex popped the top of the box open to reveal another ring, a rare opal engraved into its silver texture, Tharja watching as he placed the ring on and shared its colors with the diamond's shine. "Tell me if you can, what are the same qualities that these rings share?"

"Don't make me think on such a nice day, Alex." Tharja could just hex the answer out, but she knew that he was asking about the rings themselves to ease the mood so she took a look as she turned the ring around before she started to match what were the same. "Both have wyverns encircling the gems?"

"Indeed." She searched evermore for another that was shared as it was a sign for her.

"Miniature figures of us on opposite sides?" Tharja stared at the cravings, amazed by the sheer detail of both of them as they stood alongside the sides of the gems.

"Correct..." Alex smiled as Tharja looked and found one final detail, on the bottom of the rings. It was their faces meeting as initials stood out that read 'S.L.'. Alex's hand gripped Tharja's as he turned back around as she was confused as he moved closer, lifting her to him.

"S.L.?" So close was he as he murmured the words to her.

"Shadowed Love, my lovely mage." At that, their lips met and both sunk into the kiss, blissful and at peace with each other. No one would bare witness to this moment, leaving the two lovers in the darkness of the barracks as the light of candles dimmed out...

__________

"So..." Chrom rubbed his temples as he looked at something that was meant for Alex, but with some revised edits to it. First off was a contest between all the forces hosted and contended by Vaike with the passage that followed done in Fredrick's hand. Despite the long rant of the Marshal-of-Arms, Chrom had taken to looking at the next agenda that were brought to him. Luckily, the small force that he had dispatched had found the supplies that Anna had been looking for, in the further corner of the storage house while he had gotten a small request for the books of law and approved it as it was Alex who had first acknowledged it, but the last agenda was something that Chrom was uneasy with. "The Grandmaster didn't say what he was doing about the last thing on this list?"

"He just mentioned that he was looking into it himself, sir." Chrom resumed his thinking as he dismissed the Ylissian soldier that came to tell him. The Exalt realized that it was just Alex resolving a strange situation that couldn't ask for any other to look into, but the least he could have done in the first place was ensure that he wasn't walking into a trap because, like how he expressed his caution for him, Alex should show the same for himself.

"Well, if anyone is going to check on him, might as well be me." Standing up from his study chair, he left the room, waving greetings to both Ylissian and Plegian civilians as he headed toward the training ground, despite any soldiers that asked for him to return to his chambers or to accompany him for protection. He declined as he instead started to ask around for Alex, not rushing to save anyone as there were too many eyes about the place. Chrom got his answer from Gaius who, while strolling the grounds while his wife was dueling with some laws, saw Alex enter the Shepherd's barracks a while ago and hasn't come out since then. This relieved the Exalt to know that his tactician didn't stroll out to the countryside at the behest of someone, but what could be taking so long to be gone for the rest of the morning?
Whatever the case, Chrom was going to see what Alex was looking into. Heading down the passage to the barracks, he looked upon the same structure that the Shepherds had used since he had formed them with a new look being done to it so that it would look terrible in the coming years and a extended space for future Shepherds to take advantage of, heading inside and looking about before speaking up. "Alex, where are you?"

"Oh, Chrom, welcome!" Sure enough, Alex walked out from behind the crates to the left with a smile for his friend. "What brings you here today?"

Chrom cleared his throat and started. "Well, I was curious, you had just sent the short list you had to me with most of the tasks completed except one which you decided to check out for yourself." Chrom rolled a hand as he continued. "What made you decide to leave your office?"

"That would be me, Sir." Tharja came out of the same pile with a remarkably happy look. "I had asked him to meet me here to clear up the air a bit."

"About what?" The Exalt was confused as to what needed to be cleared up, was it something that had happened or was there something that was going on under his nose that need Alex's attention.

"Just a small misunderstanding we had, it was plaguing the atmosphere between us for some time." Alex said as he secretly held Tharja's hand in a gentle squeeze with assurance. "We had some trouble in the past about who was going to be together in the Shepherds."

"Oh!" Chrom started to rub his chin at the thought. "Now that you say it, it did kinda seemed like you two were edgy about it, did it also affect you as well." Both nodded as Chrom went on. "I know that early in the peace, Maribelle was more angry with Gaius for some time before they made up."

"Sure, they had some trouble, but they made it better with their conviction and feelings." Tharja started, feeling more bold in her talking with Alex by her side. "But I am curious as to what had made the wall between them to start with."

"Let's not forget Kellam, Miriel went the extra mile to keep him in sight and always given attention, despite his ghostly disappearance." Alex said with a understanding notion. "Lon'qu had his fear of women, but Olivia somehow managed to crack the nut open for him."

"True, true..." Chrom started to think, with all these relationships, he was feeling that something was off like he was missing something, speaking as Alex and Tharja were sneaking past. "Hold a moment, I haven't heard much from Lissa in a while, she is alright when she went to help you, Alex?"

"Y-yeah, she is just fine, nothing out of the sort with her aid there." Alex sweat dropped as he was now in a corner as he promised Lissa that he wouldn't say a thing about Donnel and a side glance placed Tharja in a likewise position as she indirectly promised the same. "She was quite helpful with her staves and I gave her a short break to relax as she has been working overtime and placed her as a mentor for other healers alongside Libra and Maribelle." This, however, didn't do a thing as both moved closer to the door as Chrom, exerting a murderous aura, looked at them in the dark of the barracks with his sword drawn.

"What happened, Alex?"

"N-nothing, you are being..."

"Alex sir, Lissa and I were wondering if ya can help us with a small..." Donnel walked in at the wrong time as he now took a gander at what was happening, scratching his head under the pot. "Um..., Did something happen, Sirs?"

"Alex..." The tactician gulped as Chrom was simply radiant with fire, anger brimming from his eyes. "Mind telling me what happened while you were in Regna Ferox?"

"...Nope!" With that, Alex lifted Tharja bridal-style and ran toward the door. "DONNEL, FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HAPPY, RUN FOR IT!!!" Donnel looked back to Chrom, now fearful for his life, yelped his own 'No' and booked it with Chrom yelling behind them as he chased them across the small area with Gaius, Gregor, and, in the unexpected chance, Anna as they had set up a wager to see if Alex and Donnel lived, if Chrom got them, or that the Exalt would tire out, all the while Alex and Tharja were laughing it up as this was the start of their insane lives together.
...And this is the end of the Tharja x Avatar supports with my own input of what happened afterwards and just for those that was expecting something more mature, a word of advice...

I DON'T DO THAT KIND OF THING!

I like to keep it as pleasant as I can so if you have a problem with it, take your hate elsewhere.

As always, Fire Emblem doesn't belong to me as I simply put my own input in line with it.

Update:        C-rank Support
                    B-rank Support
                    A-rank Support
                    S-rank Support
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August 28, 2016
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