Authorramble: I'm on a roll, I guess. Thanks to Amethyst Bubble for the nouns, all of them this time. XD; Since Riykon was busy with school and all that. (Too busy to talk to me, -sniff-)

Additionally, my characterization of Mist is ever-so-slightly my brother's fault. (You know you started it, bro. -noogies-)

Oh yeah, and uh. Happy Ides of March, and angst a little for Caesar's sake. :P

But Maybe...

Bravery was different before. He could claim that he had a lot of it, back then. Bravery was doing those awkward brotherly things. Picking up Mist when she was crying, frightened of a large stray dog. Being able to pull up that large, impressive flower for her. Letting her cling to him when she was scared of a particularly large thunderstorm. Because the thunderstorm, the world, was so large to them – everything was when they were barely five feet tall and scarcely wandered outside their home.

Ike couldn't say he was brave this time.

Mist couldn't speak; she was too young to form complete sentences, but still she could mourn. She went on, "Mommy, where's mommy?" as she clung to Ike. Ike wanted to be brave for her. He wanted to tell her that it was all right, that maybe he could even be mommy for them if he really tried.

Maybe it even would've worked, if he didn't feel like crying.

When Mist was asleep, her young body far too worked out, Ike couldn't move her head off of him, too tired, and wanting to keep her close, besides. She was comfortably warm, and her body felt ever-so-slightly like their mother. He was falling asleep when she was lifted up, slowly, and he saw his father.

Greil silently took Mist to her room, Ike tracing his movement with his eyes. He returned shortly afterwards, bending down from his large height. His face was serious, sad, maybe even guilty, for reasons Ike couldn't figure out. "Ike? Can you stand?"

Ike pushed himself off the ground and nodded.

Greil gestured for him to follow, Ike jogged after him to catch up. They walked down a hall, dimly lit by a few candles. He opened a door, and Ike had to squint at the sudden burst of light.

Ike recognized this as the room that his father met their employers in. Titania was seated at the round, cracked table, as well as Soren, ready with a pen and scroll to take notes.

"Go ahead and sit down."

Ike pulled up a chair closer to Soren and sat down silently, feeling too lost to speak.

Griel slowly sat at the chair closest to the door, forming a temple with his hands and resting his forehead onto it. He closed his eyes and seemed to think for a moment, face entirely serious, every wrinkle present with a contribution to his aging appearance. "I'm certain we all know what we're present here for."

There was a silence. No one had any reason to speak.

A steady downpour of rain could be heard outside. Ike wondered inanely if he would be able to comfort Mist this time.

"Mist, we're leaving."

Mist stared at him blankly, face scrunched up in thought, blue eyes darting around. "Leaf... ing?"

"Leaving," Ike explained. "We're taking all our stuff and going somewhere else."

"... Leaf... ing?"

"Yes, Mist, we're leaving."

Mist looked at him before her confused face started to turn into an irritated one. "Mist doesn't like... leafing."

"I don't like leaving either," Ike admitted, trying not to cry. "But we are. Daddy said so."

"Why are we leafing?"

"I... don't know, really. Daddy used all these big words and told me that it was okay, I'd understand later. But... I think he wants us to be safe or something."

Mist crossed her arms. "Mist is safe!"

Ike shook his head, burying his eyes in his sleeves. When his face reappeared, it was neutral. "Mist, daddy loves us very much, and I'm sure he knows something special."

"... Mist is special."

"No, no," Ike cried in frustration. "It's a different special. Yes, Mist is special, but... but..." Ike looked at Mist, saw Elena, and couldn't help but turn away from her, walking off.

"Ike! Ike!"

He ignored her pleading and continued to storm off, giving up on explaining to his younger sister.

"Ike! Brother, come back! I-- I can't go fast!"

He heard a small thump, followed by the sound of sniffling, and he stopped and turned around, still rather angry at Mist. Mist looked at him from the ground, teary-eyed, making no movement to lift herself.

He rolled his eyes at her and walked back, lifting her up and attempting to carry her in his strong arms. She squealed and began to struggle, and he was forced to set her down at this sudden, unexpected addition of weight. "Ike, Ike, wait, down, I want down, there's a really pretty leaf--"

Ike was further annoyed by this, wondering why his sister was marveling over the plants at a time such as this.

Mist squatted down and picked a leaf out of the puddle, oblong and curled near the edges, so that it could be perceived as a miniature boat if one's imagination was strong enough. "It's green!"

"I can see that, Mist," he said, attempting to be patient.

"But it's fall!" she insisted.

"Put the leaf back, Mist, we have enough of those in the house."

She shook her head stubbornly. "No. Mist like leaf. Mist like green leaf. Mist no like leafing."

He went to her and leaned down, admitting that it was a rather unique leaf. "Can I see?"

Mist looked at him suspiciously for a moment before placing it in his hand. It was wet and thick, and, Ike noted, surprisingly green. Above all, it was a Gallian leaf. He looked at Mist and wondered if his baby sister could even begin to understand leaving.

"We could ask Soren for one of his old books so we could keep it for a long time," he suggested.

Mist looked at him. "Why book?"

"I don't know. I heard someone say you can 'press' flowers in books," he explained, "and that then they'd last for a long time and won't go away. Maybe we can keep this leaf that way."

Mist nodded in approval, but then her expression suddenly changed. "Can Mist take leaf out and look?"

"I... I don't think you can for awhile," he admitted. "But when we're all grown up, we can look at it and remember Gallia and puddles and sunshine! Wouldn't... wouldn't that be nice?"

Mist looked clueless.

"I think it'd be nice," Ike pouted, and began to return to the fort. Mist followed, and aired no complaints.

Ike picked at an iris in the ground. The back yard of the fort was immense, more than enough to satisfy the average seven-year-old-boy. But Ike didn't want to frolic or play as Mist did so easily. He envied her and her childishness. He was frustrated that she didn't understand how valuable their place had been to him, but all the same, he wished that he could be happy as she was.

The iris was the same color as his mother's hair. Frustrated, he pulled it out of the ground and threw it. It only went a few inches before falling softly into the grass.

He stood and leaned against the wall of the fort. His home. This home that was so different, made out of a different stone, a different color, with a different room. They had passed through a village, and the beings here were different. The trees, the leaves on those trees, the flowers... everything was so different here, and he felt incredibly alienated, and perhaps, alone.

He spotted a puddle. The same thundercloud had passed by in Crimea. He squatted down to peer at it, watching drops continuing to add to it as they dripped off the roof. It looked like the puddle in Gallia.

He thought for a moment, then ran inside, running into Soren's room without warning. The boy looked at him, puzzled at his energy, but Ike had already run out with the book. Ike then shook the book, without concern for the text, until a single leaf fell out – Mist's leaf.

He moved it into the puddle, where it floated on the surface. It was dry from its mode of transport, and lost its curl around the edges, but nonetheless, it floated like a leaf in Gallia.

Ike sat down and watched the leaf float, wondering if maybe, Crimea was the same as Gallia.

If it were the same, maybe there would be a mother here.

He tried to be brave, but a tear fell from his face anyway, sending a ripple through that puddle and rocking the leaf upon tiny waves. Maybe, hoping was brave, too.