It was a strange building, with walls of cloth and a roof without sharp angles. There were flaps that could be lifted up, acting as windows letting in the sunlight. Pale hands stretch out to touch the rays of light, marveling at the warmth infused within them. The same pair of hands then felt the soft material that wrapped about his body; it was softer than any blanket he had ever felt.
Bolting into a sitting position the boy's crimson eyes darted about the room in panic, their color flashing as realization hit him. This place was unknown to him! Quickly throwing off the soft covers he slid onto his feet, ignoring the sudden dizziness that spun his vision and mind.
"Ug.." a quite grunt escaped his grimace, causing his throat to ache and burn for moisture. The dryness made the boy cough, shaking his thin body with its force. He caught the frame of the bed to stabilize his footing.
Spying a bowl filled with water on the ground beside the bed, he dropped to his knees to grab it. Ignoring the folded cloth laying upon the rim, the child lifted the bowl's edge to his chapped lips and quickly drained the contents.
To his relief the water wasn't stagnant, delivering relief by soothing the dryness of his throat. With his coughs subsiding, clarity returned to his mind. A sharp wit could be seen in the glint of his large eyes.
Carefully, he returned the bowl to its original resting place. Gazing down he found the floor covered with a rug woven with many bright colors. The fibers were dyed such vibrant hues that his fingers itched to inspect them closer, to study them.
The boy shook his head, reprimanding himself for such behavior. Glancing around at his surroundings a second time, he found it sparsely furnished. Apart from the cot where he had previously lain, there were a couple of chests, one table with three tall stools around it, and a makeshift bed which rested upon the ground.
From the pieces of furniture, the dark haired child surmised that this was a living quarters of some sort. This conclusion caused him to wonder where the room's occupant was at the moment.
Locating what he assumed was the doorway of the cloth building; he exited as quietly as he could. The sudden brightness of the sunlight surprised him, causing him to bow his head to shield his sensitive vision. However this action drew his attention elsewhere, for with his head bowed, fine strands of dark hair fell into view. Confused the boy ran small fingers through the wispy ebony locks. Never before had his hair been so groomed… So clean!
Jerking his head up, the boy violently brushed the hair away from his face. Crimson eyes glanced down to find that he was dressed in a night shirt that was only just big enough for his finger tips to barely stick out of the sleeves. Its cloth clung to the sweaty places on his pale skin; logically he had been wearing it for quite some time. Observing his surroundings with wide eyes, he wondered just how long he had been asleep.
His surroundings consisted of cloth buildings like the one he had awoken in, though their color, shape and size varied. Nervously the boy glanced about again, straining to see if anyone was near. When his search came up empty, the dark haired boy began to quietly make his way through the myriad of tents.
The noon sun beat down harshly upon his dark head, making the dizziness return as he searched for a way out. Stumbling, his hands latched onto the fabric of the tent beside him. "Mm…" he suppressed a groan as the lightheadedness passed, leaving his limbs shaky.
"Commander.. are you positive…" his ears picked up a voice through the cloth wall. Leaning closer he closed his eyes to focus on the conversation inside.
"Do you find my judgment so lacking." this voice was deeper, more authoritative, "Titania?"
"Of course not, sir." the first voice replied, "It is only… I am concerned. How will the children react, so soon to your loss…"
There was a long pause, the boy shifting uncomfortably as he waited for the conversation to continue. Finally a sigh broke the silence, "I have thought of that… I believe it will be good for them to have a companion, someone their own age to play with." Solid footsteps were headed away from the position where the boy ease dropped.
"Should I retrieve the black haired boy, Commander Greil?" At that question crimson eyes shot open in dread. With goal of escape, the small boy quickly backed away from the tent's wall and ran the opposite direction that the footsteps had been headed.
The pale boy ran, not knowing where he was headed, until he felt faint from the lack of breath. Coming to a wobbly halt he braced his hands on his legs while he caught his breath. The sound of amused giggles was the only warning he got before something knocked him over onto his backside. "Ah!" Alarmed he looked down to find the tiniest person he had ever seen, clinging to his nightshirt.
The little girl was swathed in a bright shade of pink, with brunette locks curling wildly on her head. A pair of big, blue eyes gazed back at him as a smile spread over her chubby face. "Tee hee hee!" more giggles bubbled from her as she abruptly hugged the boy's waist, spouting gibberish excitedly.
Shocked by this bizarre behavior, crimson eyes darted back and forth while he tried to think of a solution for this strange predicament. "Mist!" a young voice called, "I told you not to run away!" Suddenly a boy appeared from behind a tent, skidding to a stop when his cobalt eyes spotted the mismatched pair.
The boy possessed a shock of dark blue hair, styled just as wildly as the girl's curly locks. "Oh.." his voice trailed off as he stared at the smaller dark haired boy, whom his sister was currently embracing. "It's good to see you up!" a smile broke out over his scuffed face. The blue haired boy quickly made his way over to their side, much to the other boy's discomfort.
Once there he offered his hand, "My name's Ike, by the way!" The crimson eyed boy only stared at it with distrust. "Er.. Sorry if Mist attacked you." He said, noticing the way the smaller boy fidgeted under his overfriendly sister, "She just gets excited when she meets new people."
The dark haired boy only stared at him with a furrowed brow, uncomfortable and confused by the turn of events as well as the pleasant strangers. He decided to nod, so that the odd boy might give him more information. Ike scratched his head at the response, unsure of what he was nodding at, "Well we found you-"
"On the road." The gruff voice from earlier finished the boy's sentence. The children turned to see the large man and the woman with hair the color of flame.
"Father!" Ike straightened, resembling a saluting soldier.
"Daddy!" the little girl released the boy to dash over to the man, who swept the giggling girl up in his arms easily.
The man then stooped to look the small boy in the eye, "Do you remember? A caravan was passing you by, but we stopped to help you." The crimson eyed boy nodded slowly, memories returning to his confused mind.
He had been half-starved and delirious when the caravan had appeared on the road he had been stumbling on for what seemed days. These people had been the only ones who had stopped. He swallowed as he remembered draining a canteen before finally allowing himself to black out from exhaustion. The boy shakily stood, looking the man directly in the eye. He feared what they would decide to do with him next.
"Don't worry. Commander Greil won't hurt you." The fiery haired woman assured in a comforting tone. The dark haired boy eyed them both warily, but nodded.
"Well then you'll need a name won't you?" Greil suddenly announced, "How does Soren sound?"
"S.. S-soren…" the boy tested the name, and nodded, satisfied.
"Don't worry, Soren!" Ike clapped the boy lightly on the back, "We always take care of family."
Soren glanced around at the mismatched group, wondering what sort of family they could possibly be?
This story is AR in that it follows a different first meeting for Soren and Ike. I wrote this before I knew the actually canon backstory, but eh, family feels.