Title: The Last Page Closes
Series: FE9 AU
Character/Pairing: Ike & Neko!Soren.
Rating: PG-ish at most
Word count: 1,626
A/N: Final entry ho! The ending is similar to the first chapter's for a reason – for a looped beginning-is-the-end-is-the-beginning effect. This was a fun enough endeavor and my first finished 'official' chapterwork, but I'm working on other things now and it's time to close up shop.

Funny, I figured Every Happy End would be finished first.... Anyways! As always, for r-amythest.

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1. Ike couldn't climb trees very well. Soren would crawl up the bark with ease and stare down curiously at his boy as Ike fought to

He tilted his head and gave a little mew, but his boy could never seem to get the hang of climbing. Soren preferred heights as felines were wont to do, but he rose and jumped gracefully down to the ground with Ike.

He'd rather be on the ground with his boy then in the trees alone.

2.

The next morning they were awoken to furious swearing by Shinon. Soren came out in his shift and Mist in her pink ribboned nightie. Ike refused to wear a dress to bed and thus was relegated to an pair of worn older clothes to sleep in. A few other people had gathered and rubbed sleepily at their eyes.

"Somebody ruined my boots," Shinon said. "There've been pis–"

"Not in front of the children," Titania cut in. She stared him down, her own surrogate motherhood brutal and insurmountable.

"Peed on," Shinon amended sulkily.

Shinon looked pointedly at Soren as he said every word, but Soren didn't back down. He didn't even flinch. His ears were pushed back and he growled low in the back of his throat.

"Soren couldn't have done it, he was sleeping on my bed all night," Ike said.

"You were asleep, brat. You couldn't watch his every move. Stop trying to be a witness when you're useless, whelp."

"But he would've woken me up if he'd gotten up. The covers were over him too."

"Are you sure it wasn't your own?" Titania said. "You were pretty drunk last night. You might have...missed."

That shut Shinon right up and he took to muttering and stormed out, slamming the door behind him.

So the day went on. Everyone went to their quarter. In his own, Soren looked as smug as the cat who ate the canary and stole some milk to boot. Cats were particularly passive-aggressive creatures. They never forgot and could wage wars that would last as long as they drew breath.

Next time Shinon got drunk his bowstrings might be cut, or his quiver put in the refuse pile – or even the latrine. The possibilities were endless.

3. There had been an increase of the amount of dead creatures left at Ike's door. Being as that Ike was a young boy, he was overjoyed to have voles and frogs and birds to poke and prod and study just as young boys do. When they rotted and stank and made his sister scream, which made it more fun. Really, he was a good big brother. It wasn't like he showed dead things down her dresses. Usually, at least. Still, that didn't mean it wasn't funny when she shrieked at the mere sight of a dead thing.

He did not suspect the source, but Soren couldn't help be look triumphant as Ike inspected and poked with sticks over every prize he brought home. He was a good provider and his boy was happy. All was well.

4.

Ike, Mist and Soren all held hands as they went for a bit of candy – and a bit of fish for Soren. Soren was a notoriously picky eater. He refused all sweet things and would dine on meat alone if he had the chance. He turned his nose up to vegetables and grains and preferred his meat raw.

Titania said that was just how cats were. Ike wished he could be a cat sometimes. His dad never made Soreneat all his vegetables.

Rock candy was an odd thing, but it was tasty. It didn't look anything like rocks, and didn't taste like them either.

After the candy stands they made their way over to the smellier fish stands at the opposite end.
Ike paid his pence and handed a small fish to Soren. Soren looked about and took it, but grudgingly. Soren hated being handfed, and Ike was the only one he would tolerate it from. Even then, he didn't like it.

Soren skipped to an alley to devour his prize and Mist and Ike laughed. The day was bright. Together it seemed fine that Oscar and Titania and Father weren't anywhere near. At least until the glint of silver came to light.

It was two stands down beyond the fishery, but the fight came to blows before the fishwives. A tall man with unremarkable clothing. He could've been anyone. He pointed the knife in the direction of the fishwife who squawked and with some prodding of sharp objects, was persuaded to let up her purse.

But that wasn't enough. As Ike and Mist watched in numb silence, he turned the blade on them too. Another joined the man. A cohort just as anonymous as himself. These weren't brigands, and any of the other mercenaries would have been able to take on the thief with ease. But these were children, and Ike hadn't earned his sword yet. He couldn't protect anyone like this.

The thief grabbed Mist by the forearm. She kicked and clawed and even scored a bite on his arm which caused a bout of swearing and a swift knock to her head.

His cohort grabbed Ike and pressed a knife to his throat. He pressed it so close that a thin trail of blood oozed at the trail of it.

They did not notice the cat who had gone to the shadows to eat his food. Cats sometime dislike the confines of bowls, and Soren was no exception. They did not see the unearthly light which began, a greenish shade that flickered about a cat in the shadows of an alley. Ike looked to the source and found the book open and Soren reading from it. His black hair whipped in the wind he was creating. Whorls of it came and assailed the two, just missing Ike and Mist. The winds rushed all about them, miniture tornadoes and wind shears to be called at whim.

"Wow, Soren! You're a magic cat!" Mist exclaimed.

Ike just watched in wonder. He didn't know what Soren was, and suspected that Soren didn't know either. It was just one of those things.

"You saved my life," Ike said.

Soren nodded and put his own special book away. Ike finally knew its mysteries but there was a thousand more questions that came with that answer. Who had taught a cat magic? Was Soren a wizard's cat? How could he be that good at his age? Soren was Ike's age, or maybe a little younger. It didn't make sense for him to have the skills of an adult already. But Ike was not prone to deep thoughts and contemplations of the world around him. He simply accepted Soren. Ike didn't wait. He acted. He threw his arms around Soren. Mist joined him in her own impromptu way. Oscar finally came to the scene where the thief's body lay, they were still hugging close. Ike and Mist petted Soren's soft, soft ears and Soren gave his own begrudging purring.

He was an aloof cat, one that only liked his boy and best friend. Showing the least bit of affection in public was a rare affair, but he had apparently begrudgingly begun to tolerate Mist. She was Ike's blood, thus tolerable. That didn't mean he liked anyone else, though. More often than not, cats would gravitate to one person and snub the rest of the group, even if offered treats and toys and loving pats. Cats were a picky kind of creature in more than just dietary measures.

5. Soren was a strange enough cat. He protected his master like a dog and walked on two feet like a human. He also read and wrote like a human – even better than some humans, Ike especially. He was intelligent and cynical, yet he still cared enough to save their lives. He was weak to catnip and fish, and he knew strange, untold arts that Ike could only dream off.

Ike sometimes wondered what it was life for Soren, to be half animal and half human. Wasn't that what Soren was? Ike never asked. Titania had once said that Soren didn't look like a Laguz. (which when Ike asked what that was, Shinion replied with 'a big hairy beast that'd eat you, whelp')

Did Soren hear better? Did he have better eyesight? Ike wondered and wondered, but when he asked Soren didn't seem to understand the question.

Soren's ears were silky soft, his tail darted around and as much as Soren liked to pretend he didn't, he liked playing with it as much as Ike did.

Yeah, they were different and Soren was strange with all his catlike ways but Ike never really cared. Soren was Soren, nothing else mattered. Ike let him crawl into bed with him every night, and he'd fight off the nightmares if they ever came back. If anyone called Soren cursed or a half-breed, Ike would fight them too. Soren slept easily now. When he twitched and mewed in his sleep, it wasn't in terror, but some far off good dream. Some happy place.

Soren was his friend, and nothing else could change that. Nothing else mattered in the face of that.