A/N: Hey, guys. Wrote this for English last week and am awaiting my oh-so-fabulous mark. :)


Shortly after the war, we left.

It wasn't entirely unexpected. Ike had been growing more and more restless over the last few weeks of battle, seeming to be somewhat taken with the idea of so much more out there—past the supposed borders of Tellius, I mean. He had spent much time with the Queen of Hatari—the land north of Daein—and Queen Nailah had been glad to tell him of her people. The people who weren't supposed to exist.

Ike had come to me on countless occasions, him sitting on the cot in my tent, or at my desk beside me, and going on about what could be past the borders of our continent. Most nights we would both end up asleep, ink spilled and our weapons count completely ruined.

Then the war had ended.

We stayed long enough for Mist and Boyd's wedding—Mist was Ike's sister, after all, and leaving before her wedding would have been nothing short of cruel to the poor girl—but two mornings later we were awake before dawn and saying goodbye to the early risers of the mercenary company. By the time the rest woke up a few hours later, we were already nearing the border of Crimea.

-()-

"Three weeks."

I blinked, wiping the sweat from my eyes. "Pardon?"

"Three weeks," he repeated, pulling off his cape and tearing off a strip. "Tie it around your head; it'll keep the sweat out of your eyes."

I nodded. "Yes, sir," and after a moments' silence, "it's been three weeks and two days, actually."

Ike smiled, shaking his head slightly. "Alright."

"What, no argument?" I teased, smacking his arm lightly with the tome I always carried. He shook his head.

"None whatsoever."

Another silence followed, then he nudged me. Blue eyes met my crimson ones, and immediately I recognized the look on his face.

"Where are we?" he asked, excitement in his voice.

"We entered Hatari yesterday. We're about a day's walk from the palace," I replied. "We'll stay in town for the next few days and see if we can't land a steady job. If not, then we'll move on and find somewhere else to go."

Ike nodded, flicking the sweat out of his dark hair.

"Let's go, then."

I smiled.

"As you wish, commander."

-()-

There was little work for us when we reached Hatari, despite our attempts. We managed to scrape up just enough gold to buy ourselves food that would just barely last us a week—if we didn't find a settlement, or at the very least some vegetation across the desert—we would die. Queen Nailah had claimed that there was a settlement northeast of Hatari's border; maybe we'd have work there…assuming it existed.

"Soren?"

I perked up slightly, and felt his hand settle on my shoulder. "Yes?"

He was silent for a moment. "Do…do you think we'll find anything?""

For a moment he just looked at me, and then I smiled.

"Even if we don't…I'm having a good time."

"What if we don't find anything, though?"

I sighed; he'd never been the type to worry before.

"Then we'll do our best to survive."

"What if we—"

"Hush." I pressed a hand to his mouth. "We're in this together. You're my best friend, Ike. Even if we die, I'm glad we had our time together."

He nodded at that, looking mildly worried, and then left my room without saying a word.

-()-

"Sorry. No work."

Ike looked ready to unleash the fires of hell on the merchant standing in front of us. I stepped on his foot just hard enough to get his attention, and he pulled in a deep breath.

"But the sign says you're hiring," Ike said through gritted teeth.

The merchant immediately flicked a match and held it up to the sign. Ike's fists clenched as he watched it burn.

"What sign?" the merchant asked.

Ike's hand flew to the hilt of his sword. Instantly I placed my hand over his, digging my nails in.

"Stop. We'll find somewhere else," I murmured to him.

Eleven refusals and one thrown shoe later, I was ready to admit that I might have been wrong.

-()-

"Do you think we'll ever get hired?" Ike asked me later that night as we set up our tent.

I shrugged. "We should. There's always something to be done. And besides, we're mercenaries. They can't keep us out of work forever."

He nodded, looking somewhat troubled. "I hope so."


A/N: So yes! Tada! There we have it! Merry Christmas! Wish me luck for mah Engrish! :P