title: Markedly. (Or "How Ike finds the wonderful uses of accessarizing with scarves")

Summary: Ike couldn't figure out why everyone was acting so strange towards him that morning... IkeSoren, TibarnReyson.

a/n: I had this idea clonking around my head for a long time. Yeah, Ike's even more oblivious than usual, but it's morning, and Ike hasn't had any coffee yet. Uh, yeah. It didn't quite turn out like I wanted it to. I fail at humorfic.

A belated birthday gift for amethystbubble (and it was supposed to be a cute little drabble, too, sorry it took so long!)

rating: PG-13, def. For sexual humor, mentions of sexual situations and Tibarn. Yes, he gets his own warning here.

When Ike woke up the next morning, the bed was already smoothed out and made on the other side. He blinked blearily into sunlight falling from already opened drapes. His clothes were folded neatly on the chair, armor leaned against the chair, cleaned and ready to be donned, a note of things that needed attending to in Soren's neat handwriting lay on top of the clothes. (Where he'd surely not forget)

Ike groaned and pulled himself out of bed, it seemed that much colder, emptier without the small form curled up beside him.

The note informed him that Soren, due to certain reasons, had errands to run and would be absent the entire morning.. Below was listed the chores Ike was to do in his absence.

I. Notify Oscar that the food rations need to be restocked as soon as possible.

All three brothers were in the kitchen, Oscar was stirring large pot of oatmeal, Rolf was cutting apples, careful not to cut his fingers this time, Boyd was staring at a boiling pot of coffee and pretending to be productive.

Ike mumbled a greeting, and all three brothers looked up from their tasks. Oscar stared, wide-eyed for a moment, before returning to his usual laid-back smile which was, albeit, somewhat shakier than usual.

"You really got bitten up, General Ike! You need to make sure to close your windows at night!" Rolf chirped. Ike blinked.

Oscar was politely not-staring , while Boyd, however, gaped open mouthed at Ike.

Ike blinked again.

"Soren wanted me to deliver this – We're running low on supplies, uh, food stocks mostly. He said you'd know what to do."

"Ah. Thanks. I'd forgotten. I'll get to that."

Oscar was still not-looking , Rolf had already returned to peeling apples and hummed along as he cut, and Boyd was still staring.

"Right. I'll be off now."

Feeling rather confused, Ike left. On the way out of the kitchen, he took a turn, and ran into Ranulf and Janaff who were conversing in the hallway. Janaff was leaning in, whispering something, likely a joke and from the expression on his and Ranulf's face, had to be a dirty joke.

"G'morning, General Ike I see you slept well," Ranulf purred.

"Uh. I suppose."

" Very well from the looks of it" Janaff added.

"Er, yes."

"Have a good day!"

"A very good day, commander"

When Ike was out of earshot, Ranulf turned to his companion.

"I believe, my friend, that you owe me some gold."

"I could've sworn that with Ike's obliviousness it'd be at least six more months" Janaff grumbled..

II. Check on weapons, see what needs replacing before next job.

Shinion lazed in the hangar, re-stringing his bow, while Gatrie cleaned his spear.

"Did either of you need any new equipment? I'm taking stock inventory, Soren's out right now," Ike said.

Shinion twitched. "Does it look like I need a new bow, Ikey-boy? Just because you're suddenly a man now doesn't mean you get to be the boss of me. What next General? Are you going to give me permission to go to the latrine? Do I have to take inventory of what I do in there as well?"

"..no, not really."

Shinion stalked off to somewhere, possibly the latrine, and Gatrie set his spear aside.

Gatrie looked somewhat envious, but still clapped Ike on the shoulder "You're all grown up now!" then, softer, under his breath muttered. "And even experiencing what some of us only wish for"

"I guess I can cross this off my list then," Ike muttered to himself.

III. Buy new Heal staffs for both Rhys and Mist.

"So, I need two heal staves, and.. probably a vulnerary.or two, and that should be it. What do I owe you?"

"Oh...we can talk about it...back in the tent."

"I don't think so."

"Even if you stray, I'll still love you forever, hero-mine!" she cried, and clung to his hand.

She had a vice-like grip, nails digging into the back of his hand. It was a conundrum, yanking away his hand might hurt her, if he didn't, she might just kidnap him and tie him to her bed.

It was times like these that made him wish Soren was there to save him.

IV. Tell Reyson to inform Tibarn of the upcoming meeting with Gallian officials

Ike knocked on the Heron prince's door, there was a sound of movement, another whisper of window, window

When Reyson answered the door, his hair was askew, and his clothes looked as if they had been put on in a hurry.

"Am I interrupting something?" Ike said.

"Nothing." Reyson said, smoothing out his clothes and hair. "I'm the only one here."

"But, I heard voices–"

"I was trying to remember something. It works better if I talk aloud."

Reyson cleared his throat. "Was there something you needed, Ike?"

"There's a meeting coming up with Gallian officials. Soren told me to tell you to tell Tibarn."

"I'll inform him, as soon as I see him again."

Ike could've sworn her heard a laugh, but Reyson cleared his throat loudly, so he guessed it was just the wind.

"Everyone has been treating me strangely today. I guess I'm really not cut out for Soren's work?" Ike said.

"I'd advise you augment your clothes and make them with far higher collars."

"Collars?" Ike asked.

"Here." With that, Reyson passed him a small silver mirror. It took a moment, but soon he saw what everyone had gaped at. Circular bruises covered his neck, all proof of Soren's meticulousness. There were so many marks that Ike was almost surprised they didn't connect to spell out "property of Soren, all trespassers will be blown to oblivion" – he might as well have been wearing a giant sign that said "why yes, I did have some fantastic sex last night, thanks for asking" tied to his neck.

"He didn't want to tell everyone, I didn't care, but he insisted it would be bad for morale–" It slipped out without thought, Soren had repeatedly drilled into his head that if there was any explaining to do, Ike was to refer to him as she or her.

"I mean–"

"Ah, but Soren is a clever boy, he's laid claim to you without telling a single soul."

"But I didn't – Oh, yeah, you can read minds"

"Ike," Reyson said pointedly, "A blind man could've seen how devoted he was to you. I simply put two and two together."

"I guess I should go ask Mist for a scarf of some kind."

"It'd probably be best," Reyson replied.

Reyson watched the door close behind Ike, perhaps a little too eager to see him leave.

A swoosh of wings and Tibarn returned from his perch outside.

"I told you, hands off until night time."

"Mm," Tibarn slipped his arms around Reyson's waist. "I remember when you used to much lower collars, collars that left your neck completely exposed."

"That didn't last very long, it only took a few days of Janaff snickering whenever he saw me to fix that."

"A shame, there's not a hint of skin anywhere here." Tibarn slid his hand under Reyson's shirt. "–which means, it'll have to come off"

Resistance fast sinking away, Reyson leaned into him, biting back moans as Tibarn began peeling off his shirt. – and the door opened. If there had ever been a time for the phrase 'caught red handed' it was now.

"Uh...I forgot to return your mirror." Ike said. He placed the mirror on a shelve nearby the door, and quickly left.

"..we've got to talk to one of the locksmiths. Or mages. Someone." Reyson sighed.

"Hmm," Tibarn said, and went back to creatively peeling off Reyson's clothes.

"You'd think being walked in on by our commander would cool your ardor a bit," Reyson said.

"You'd think wrong then," Tibarn said.

Tibarn's hands slipped past the band of Reyson's pants, and suddenly, protesting became the last thing on his mind.

V. Get a scarf from Mist (added by Ike)

"Brother! What happened to you?" Mist said.

"...Bug bites," Ike said.

"Those must've been some huge bugs."

"Actually, much smaller than you'd think–" at Mist's look of confusion, he amended "I'll explain when you're older– Do you have a scarf I can borrow?"

Mist ran off to search through her things, and finally returned holding a scarf. It was pink and white, with soft fringe at the ends and a flower pattern interwoven throughout.

"...are you sure this is the only scarf you have?"

"All the others are packed up! Or too small."

The scarf felt soft, downy even in his hands, and he wrapped it around his neck until all the marks that Soren had worked so hard last night to make were covered.

"This will do. I guess."

Ike just hoped that he didn't meet Shinion again on the way, this is one thing the bowman would never let him live down.

V. Inform Princess Elincia of the upcoming meeting with Gallian officials

"My lord Ike... are you cold?"

Ike blinked in confusion. "What?"

"It's just, this seems odd weather to be wearing a scarf..."

"Oh. That. Er, Mist made it. She wanted me to wear it."

"I see." She smiled

The air seemed to get much colder then. Both of the twins were seated on the chaise beside the princess, each were smiling, but it was a brittle sort of smile that twitched at the edges whenever Elincia's hand brushed his when she offered yet another cup of tea.

"Ahh, what tangled reeds of love we weave," Bastian mused

VI. Meet With General Skrimir

"...is this some strange beorc custom?" Skrimir said.

Ike grimaced. "It's a gift. From Mist– my sister."

Skrimir still looked somewhat confused as to why pink fluffy sweaters were apparently Ike's favorite new fashion accessary. It would've made a lot more sense if Elincia wasn't the one wearing her brand new battle suit with pants and mannish boots and Ike wearing a girly scarf.

However, Skrimir forgot all about scarves when Soren entered the room.

"Ah, the little tactician. He's so very good at tactics and reports, gives some of the best advice I've seen!"

Ike did have to admit Soren was very good at... briefing.

VII. Meet me for final report and briefing

Soren was waiting for him in the mission room.

"Did you know about Tibarn and Reyson are together?" Ike asked.

"Of course. Why did you think I told you to ask Reyson?" Soren replied.

"Because they're friends?"

" Ike ."

"...Looking back, I'm not really that surprised," Ike said.

"It's my job to know everyone's business. That way, Shinion isn't put near any laguz, Gatrie isn't put near any women, and Ilyana is far, far away from the food supplies." Ike smiled and Soren added dryly, "Should I add their personal affairs to the report? "

"Nah...just warn me when I really should knock first."

"Will do," Soren said.

"Hnn, well, I'm thankful. I guess I never realized just how much you do."

"..It's not a problem. I'm always happy to be of service to you... Ike," Soren breathed..

"As for the report, we'll be fine on food supplies, just as soon as we stock up, and— Ike, what are you — mnn.– "

Ike leaned forward and kissed him, forgoing anymore time waiting in a day that had been all too bizarre and severely lacking in Soren's actual presence. Soren seemed to instantly relax into his grip. Their tongues met and Ike pushed Soren against the desk, kissing further down Soren's neck.

When they broke apart, Soren still clung to him, fingers caught in his hair.

"Ike, I– "

"Payback." he said, just for a moment before claiming Soren's lips again.

And payback was very sweet indeed.