EDIT: This story has been put on indefinite hiatus. I feel truly awful for never having finished it, but I lost inspiration and simply too much time has passed for me to be able to recapture it. I'm leaving this up here as a sort of reminder to myself not to make promises I can't keep, but please be warned if you read it that it is very unfinished. I really do apologize to those I let down.

Author's Note: This is a story I've been meaning to write. I know the intro is short, but it's basically just giving the setting. The later chapters will be longer.

It occurred to me that, due to her personality and upbringing, Tear probably wouldn't make a very good noble. I decided there should be a fic about it. I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this, but please tell me what you think.

Since this story is post-game it'll have spoilers from different points throughout the game.

Tear was a soldier.

She was raised by a soldier. She was taught by a soldier at a young age. The world of a soldier was the world she knew; she understood it, accepted it, lived it. And she was pretty damn good at it.

So how, in the name of Yulia and Lorelei, had she ended up here, standing in a room filled with nothing but the most pompous members of high society, adorned in the excessively lavish and completely impractical attire of a noble?

Tear glanced over at the man standing next to her. His clothing was equally extravagant, but he looked much more at home. That made sense; after all, this was the world Luke had been raised it.

Noticing her glance, Luke briefly turned to face her, flashing her a comforting smile. Tear smiled back, feeling an odd sense of pride as she noted the deep look of affection in his eyes.

Oh yeah, she thought wryly, that's how I ended up here.

Not that she could really have forgotten. She just had to marvel at how drastically her life had changed over the past few years. She had practically spent the first twenty-two years of her life as a member of the Oracle Knights before she quietly resigned. Teodoro was disappointed to lose her services, but he was aware of her situation and would not stop her from pursuing the happiness she so desperately desired. Besides, members of the Order were required to be neutral in all matters concerning Kimlasca and Malkuth, and she could hardly be expected to be neutral after she was married to a Kimlascan noble.

A marriage, she recalled, that was not easily obtained. Duke Fabre had been furious when he learned that his only (living) son and heir wanted to wed a lowly soldier. Never mind that she had helped save all of Auldrant from destruction. Never mind that she was the only living descendant of Yulia herself. She lacked a title of nobility, and therefore was clearly inferior.

Luke was ready to throw away his heirdom and run away with Tear to Malkuth (at the enthusiastic encouragement of Guy) before his father realized how serious he was. He grudgingly relented, though he made no secret of his persisting negative view on the matter.

Susanne had been much more supportive. She was far more concerned with her son's happiness than the standard rules of marriage for a noble. She welcomed Tear into the family and assured her that the Duke would eventually come to accept her. Tear was not so certain, but she appreciated the encouragement.

It had occurred to Tear that being married to Luke would make her a noble, but she did not realize exactly what the position entailed. She was expected to attend all manner of social gatherings, making small talk with other "prestigious" individuals and pretending to care when they told her stories about their mundane lives. Tear had never been very good with people, and her nature to be painfully honest made it exceptionally difficult to feign interest in matters she could not care less about.

It was well-known that Tear had not been a member of the upper-class before she was married. This, combined with her awkward disposition when it came to social encounters, made her the subject of quite a bit of less-than-pleasant gossip. As it turned out, Luke was also relatively popular among the female nobles, and they were not above making scathing remarks out of jealously. Not that any of this was said to Tear's face. In her presence, all of the women acted like perfect ladies, smiling and talking politely. But even as they complimented her dress and spoke of the lovely weather Baticul had been having lately, Tear could sense their disapproval and dislike.

Tear hated it all. She hated the fa├žades, she hated the suffocating clothing, she hated being around so many people, and she hated feeling like an intruder. She wanted to go find someplace quiet and away from this mess.

Sensing Tear's discomfort, Luke took her arm in his and leaned down to whisper that soon it would be late enough for them to be able to leave without being considered rude. Before moving his head away he gently kissed her on the cheek, knowing anything more would be considered indecent in such a public setting. She smiled in appreciation of the gesture and leaned against him, more for mental support than anything.

It was worth it.