Author's Notes: Here is the sequel to Fighting Revelations. I hope I'm still keeping Ike relatively IC! I'm very much not used to writing him. I have only Wiki, game scripts and pure intuition going for me.
Right now, the chapter is pretty K/T-rated, but next chapter is M. So...M-rating it is. Enjoy you guys!
I adore a good build-up before the good stuff, don't you?
There was no obligation to go back after losing in the tournament. Losing contestants, in fact, were allowed and even encouraged to stay behind and compete in lesser activities, to cheer on their new companions and keep in the spirit of the Brawl.
Ike, however, did a bit more training than he did cheering. Some of the competitors were allotted such training time in the Brawl Stadium's specialized practice stage. Along with Link, Mario, Zelda (or Sheik, depending on the day), and some others, between training and meditating, Ike didn't socialize all that much. He watched the rest of the competitors continue through the tournament, when he wasn't relaxing the stress out of his systems or duking it out in the training stage. He could tell that there were some old rivalries about, particularly with Mario and Bowser and Link and Ganondorf. Every time Ike saw those fights, he was glad he wasn't caught in the middle of it. They got fierce. He'd seen both sides of those scuffles walk away with a number of injuries that made Ike mentally cringe.
During one of his moments socializing with the other contestants, Zelda touched him with an odd bit of information. "Peach tells me Mario is going to throw a party after the tournament is over."
Ike lifted his head, having been busy staring into his teacup. He was currently in this discussion with Zelda and Peach, the latter of whom twirled her cotton-candy parasol with a sweet smile, hair pulled into a ponytail as she sipped daintily at her Darjeeling.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I said, Peach tells me Mario is going to throw a party." Zelda repeated, touching her lips to her tea, "After a winner has been declared in the Brawl." She crossed her ankles underneath her long, intricately patterned dress. Her feet were bare for once against the grass beneath them, toes peeking out from under the hem. Her brown combat boots sat beside the boulder she had chosen for a seat. Ike blinked at her from across the space, sitting a bit rigidly on the picnic blanket Peach had laid out for them.
"I see. It sounds…interesting," he concluded. "What sort of party?"
"Oh, I'm sure Mario will think of something." Peach giggled, "He always does. There's usually some sort of sport involved. Golf, tennis, go-kart racing…I've lost count of how many. Even Bowser has joined us a few times!"
Ike knit his brow, not sure how Peach could sound so elated at this, but thought it best not to question. He'd dealt with enough strange things already. To keep from letting a slip of the tongue, Ike sipped at his drink.
"Everyone is invited," added the Mushroom Princess, with a twinkle in her eye. "Open invitation. I think it would be lovely if you were to join us, Ike."
The blue-haired warrior smirked, nodding curtly to his hostess. "Unfortunately, Princess, there is much to be done when I return to my world. I'm afraid there won't be much time for partying on my part. Besides, I have someone waiting for me."
"Oh," sighed Peach. Her round, tulip-shaped lips stuck out in a pout as she set her parasol and teacup down for a moment on the picnic blanket, sitting to Ike's left. "Someone waiting for you? Who would that be?"
"A good friend of mine," Ike replied, looking up at the clouds. "His name is Soren. I've known him since my childhood, but up until recently, I didn't remember most of it."
"That's dreadful!" gasped Zelda. Peach seemed equally stunned. "But you appear to remember him now. That's the most important part, isn't it? It would be terrible if you had never regained your memory of him."
Ike smiled wistfully. "Yes, I guess that's true." He closed his eyes, reflecting for a moment. An image of Soren's face flickered through his mind, and for a moment, the sun seemed a little bit warmer. "Things certainly would have turned out differently between us…"
The two princesses exchanged glances with each other, smiling enigmatically while Ike wasn't looking, like they were in on some sort of secret. Eventually, Peach sighed again. "What a shame—I was so looking forward to a new face during Mario's extravaganzas." She picked up the light-pink, flowery teapot nestled safely into the blanket, which matched the teacups they were currently drinking from. Her expression picked up a bit as she extended it to Ike, noticing his cup was almost empty. "More tea…?"
"Please," Ike agreed politely, lowering his cup for Peach to pour him a second round. As she served her guest, Peach turned to the second princess among them. "What about you, Zelda?" she asked. "Will you be able to come?"
But Princess Zelda shook her head in slight dismay. "I would love to, Peach—it sounds very exciting—but Hyrule needs me as much as the Mushroom Kingdom needs you." She locked eyes with the pink-dressed young woman, who was already back to pouting. "There will be another chance, I'm sure."
"I should hope so!" Peach huffed, taking the teapot from Ike's cup so that the man could blow away the curls of steam. "I haven't made any progress. I had hoped to broaden the number of invitations this year. Busy, busy, busy…everyone seems to have something to do."
"Have you tried asking Daisy?" Zelda inquired.
Peach's eyes lit up. "I have not—but she always loves to pitch in! I think I will do that. How could I forget?" She giggled, "Silly me!"
Zelda flashed a wide, kind smile, sipping her tea again while Peach went on with her ramblings about Mario's many wild get-togethers. She and Ike glanced briefly at each other, both only half-listening, practically nodding in unison as they humored her. It worked for a time until Peach hit Ike lightly on the arm. "You're not even listening!" she cried.
"Some nerve!" Ike protested. "My ears have been open this entire time."
"Don't lie, Ike, your eyes were glazing over!" Ike reddened a nice shade of pink while Zelda chuckled and Peach pouted at her. "And you were encouraging him!"
"Peach, if you'll forgive me for saying…I'm afraid you've shared just about every story about Mario's parties that you could possibly have to share. You can't expect us to listen to them every single time."
Peach's cheeks warmed and she straightened, twisting her parasol in her hands. "Are you calling me dull?" she challenged.
"No, not at all," replied Zelda smoothly. "But perhaps we could change the subject to something we can all contribute to?"
Still moping, Peach conceded at length, "Very well. What shall we talk about?" All of them paused to reflect on potential subject matters. At last, it was Peach who gained the insight. "What do you two think about the Smash contestants this year? Quite a strange and colorful new crowd, wouldn't you say?"
Ike couldn't help himself. "If you ask me, everything here is strange."
"Of course, Ike," Zelda grinned at him, "This is your first Smash competition. Peach and I are used to this by now—we've been competitors once or twice now, haven't we, Peach?" She turned to meet the Mushroom Princess' gaze for confirmation, and was answered with a sweet smile and a nod.
"Fox has grown," continued Zelda. "Not just as a fighter, but as a person, as well. I remember when he first entered the premiere Smash tournament—he was so young and energetic. He's much wiser now."
"What about that 'Solid Snake' character?" Peach wondered. "He's an odd one. Have you seen that cardboard box he carries around?"
"Yes!" Zelda exclaimed. "I've been meaning to ask why in the world he hides under such a conspicuous little thing, hoping to trick everybody. I've been meaning to," she stressed, emphasizing the importance of the word. "But I'm not sure I ever will. I dare say he frightens me almost as much as Ganondorf."
Peach nodded in unanimous agreement. "And it isn't so much that he's scary is it? Just…intimidating, in a way. He's…creepy." The girls shivered in unison and sipped their tea. After a pause, Zelda's eyes sparkled. "Ah!" she cried. "And Samus…! Peach, did you see? She's finally begun to show herself from under that awful, bulky armor."
"I've noticed!" Peach nodded her head. Her cheeks turned colors a bit. "But I must admit…and don't tell her I said this…but until recently, I had no idea there was a woman under there."
"Oh, don't worry," sighed Zelda, "neither did I. Imagine my surprise when I saw her emerging in that blue suit! She's a beautiful woman, that Samus. It's too bad she doesn't show her face more often."
"Her entire body, more like!" laughed Peach.
This went on between the two of them for a while, while Ike sat quietly and listened, drinking his tea slowly so as not to burn his tongue. Peach and Zelda's chatter filled the air between them while Ike wrapped himself in relative silence, gazing down at the ripples in his teacup, thinking of home. Soren—how was Soren doing—? And what of the others he looked after? Were they holding their own without him? Ike pondered the thought if time was even passing at all. He didn't know how this Smash tournament equated in terms of time flow; he had heard of places before where one may go and spend months away at a time, and when one returned, it was as if none of it ever happened. Like it was all just a very long and vivid dream…
He was interrupted by a nudge of Peach's parasol. Ike lifted his gaze, blinking. "Hm…? Sorry, I was…lost in thought."
"Ah," hummed Zelda. "What do you think, though—about the Smash contestants? Are there any in particular that have caught your attention?"
At first, Ike was tempted to repeat that everything about this place was getting his attention, but it was a fleeting thought and he quickly grew serious upon his response. He paused, lips touching his tea as he considered everyone he'd fought against thus far. But, in his mind, there was really no contest.
"There is, actually," he said. "That one boy…Pit. He's pretty remarkable."
"I believe this is Pit's first Smash tournament, as well," murmured Peach aloud. She smiled wide, sighing. "He is interesting! I've never seen a real angel before. I didn't know they could fight so well!"
Neither did I, thought Ike to himself. And that was exactly why Pit caught his attention. The cherub looked young enough to be only a boy, but he fought like a seasoned General—did angels age at all, Ike wondered? And just what could Pit have gone through that would have made him into such an experienced fighter? To be that young and yet have so many years on him…Ike knew he was missing something.
"He is a Captain, I believe," Zelda mentioned, sipping her tea. "A Captain of…Palutena's army…? Yes, the Goddess Palutena. I only know what I've heard from rumors, but that appears to be the story."
Ike's attention was piqued again. He looked up at Princess Zelda, brow knit together slightly down the middle. "He works directly beneath a Goddess?" he asked incredulously. Zelda hummed, nodding her head; Ike's shoulders turned a little. "I'm…not surprised. He must be her best soldier, with the way he fights."
Ike didn't quite catch the way Zelda and Peach turned their eyes skyward for a moment, nor did he pay any mind to the slight change of direction in the wind. The two princesses smiled between each other, while the blue-haired warrior continued. "I'm wondering how he became such an impressive match, though. He surprised me. I'll admit I took him to be just a boy…that was probably my biggest mistake." Ike nodded, confirming his own statement. "That, and the fact that I hadn't counted on our stage to crumble under my feet…" he lifted the teacup to his lips, sipping its contents.
"Are you still so sore about that, Ike?"
Ike sucked down half the cup by mistake and gulped hard, eyes widening. He turned, coughing when some of the Darjeeling got stuck in his throat. A white-dressed youthful figure, arms locked behind him, carrying an intricate gold-and-azure weapon, smiled down at him, soft dove-like wings folding against his shoulders. Ike swallowed again.
Pit smiled amiably. "Did I startle you?"
"…Yes, you did," murmured Ike, frowning at Peach and Zelda, who were still exchanging looks and tittering. He hadn't found the matter quite so funny. Turning back to Pit, "I'm sorry…I'm not used to people…flying down…from the sky."
"That's alright! I was just stretching my wings a little and saw you three down here; decided I would drop in for a visit." Upon seeing Ike's company, the Greco-Roman angel quickly folded his arm over his chest and gave a swift bow. "Nice day today, isn't it, Your Highnesses?"
"A lovely day!" agreed Peach.
"Were you talking about me just now?" Pit asked, tilting his head curiously.
Zelda smirked, sipping her tea. "We weren't—but Ike was."
"Really…?" Pit's wings fluttered a little and his shoulders squared, making his chest thrust out proudly. He looked down at Ike expectantly, feet turned inward in a childish manner. "What was he saying?"
"I was just admiring your tactics in battle," said Ike, speaking quickly to catch the opportunity to recover his blunder. "Zelda tells me you're the Captain of a heavenly army. Is this true?" This is a perfect chance to learn more about him as a character, Ike thought.
Pit's head bobbed up and down in a fervent nod and grinned proudly. "I am, to the Goddess Palutena! She is the one who rules the Palace in the Sky, bringing light and order to my world." He brought out the triple-changing weapon he'd been holding behind his back, extending it horizontally before himself. "This weapon is a gift from Palutena herself. I am the only one who may carry it, since I am the commander of her forces."
Ike lifted his eyes to admire the intricate weapon, absently reaching to his right to stroke the hilt of his sword. "I've never seen a weapon like yours before. Ragnell is quite powerful in its own right, but it can't exactly split in half or shoot arrows."
The cherub's head turned quizzically. "Ragnell…?"
"My sword," Ike clarified. Smirking, he added, "It was also blessed by a Goddess of my own world."
"Ah, I thought it might!" cried Pit, the feathers rippling on his wings as he bent to inspect Ike's weapon of choice. "Everyone seems to have some blessed power of their own. There are so many different auras! It's interesting, to see the lot of them."
Ike clasped Ragnell's hilt a little more tightly as Pit leant to examine it, more out of habit than anything else. "It looks heavy," Pit remarked. "It's a two-handed blade isn't it? But when we fought, you only swung it with one…"
"It is heavy, but if handled well it is a good weapon." Ike beamed a little at mentioning its proper handling, as he took some good deal of pride in the fact that he could wield Ragnell single-handedly. Now tilting his head, Ike took the plunge to inquire: "By the way, Pit, how did you manage to become Captain under a Goddess?"
At this, the angel lifted his sapphire eyes, staring at Ike curiously for a moment. Then, after stretching his wings out, he smiled. Strangely enough, seeing Pit smile like that made Ike feel a little warmer; he wondered if Soren would ever smile for him the same way.
"I'd love to share, but it's a very long story. Still, I assume you want to hear the full of it, so…" the angel retreated a few steps, locking his arms childishly behind his back while his wings fluttered happily. "Shall we walk?"
Without missing a beat, Ike quickly downed the last of his tea and took up Ragnell by the hilt, nuzzling the tip of the blade into the grass, giving himself leverage by which to pull himself up. Once standing, he shouldered the weapon and nodded briefly to the two princesses. "Thank you for the tea," he said. "Now, if you'll excuse us."
"Have fun!" Peach waved, twirling her parasol, while Zelda turned her head up in a curt nod as the two walked—Pit leading by a couple of steps as he began his story. (Well, it all started when…)
Once the two girls were alone, Zelda lifted herself from the boulder and walked across the grass before sitting down beside Peach on the pink picnic blanket, still sipping her Darjeeling. She stretched her long legs out with a sigh, letting her bare feet brush against the grass. Peach shifted her gaze, following the length of Zelda's legs before resting on her perfectly manicured feet, eyes glistening.
"Find something of interest, Peach?" Zelda drawled lazily.
"Your toenails are very trim," replied the Mushroom Princess.
The Hylian frowned. "I may be a tomboy, but a Princess still has to keep herself looking feminine. I find no appeal in letting my toenails grow too long."
"But you have such pretty feet!" Peach sighed, twisting her parasol and gazing wantonly at the body part in question. "And you hide them under those…" she gestured to Zelda's combat apparel by the rock, "…horrible old boots."
"I am delighted, Peach, that you can tackle your enemies soundly in those adorable pink heels of yours. But not all of us can stand on a pair of sticks without breaking an ankle."
Peach huffed. "It comes with practice!" she insisted. "We should go shopping. We'll find you a nice, cute pair of heels. What do you think, Zelda?"
Zelda didn't appear amused. She hummed lightly, sipping her tea.
"Come on! It'll be fun!"
The Hylian continued to frown, and Peach continued to pout. Zelda's gaze shifted as Peach leaned in, sticking out her tulip-shaped lips. "Pleeeease?" she pleaded.
"Oh, alright!" sighed Zelda finally, causing Peach to squeal. Zelda shook her head. "The things I do for you…"