title: waxy white flowers
fandom: FE9
character/pairing: Ike/Soren
rating: quite G
a/n: Done for the kink meme. Original request: I know this pairing has been requested a lot, but I'd really love some holiday fluff for Ike/Soren. Anon doesn't care which holiday

This is supposed to be a mix of Mayday + other random medieval spring festivals. It's um. A bit too early for Christmas-y!flavor or Halloween. Maybe I'll return later for those kinds of flavors. Hm.

Every spring began the cycle once again. Beyond the rebirth, the pollen and new life, festivals sprung up like weeds for the country people. They used any excuse to celebrate the newness of life.

Mist always looked forward to them, and for weeks before she'd chatter away at the events. She was in a cloud of happiness, but then, Mist rarely wasn't.

Soren, however, found them noisy; It was a waste of money, time and effort – and it certainly didn't help that he was sneezing and suffering sinus headaches as the pollen began to rise. He would be even crankier for the weeks leading to the festivals.

Even when Mist tried to wheedle some help out of Soren, he flat out refused.

He'd have nothing to do with the festivals. No one could change his mind on that.

(Then again...if Ike asked then perhaps he might go. Grudgingly.)

The village was strewn with flowers. Bright streamers cascaded down over the droll buildings, filling everything with color and life.

Soren had been dragged in after all, if only because Greil had commanded that everyone was going, yes, everyone It was for practical reasons, some of the wood within the fort had been attacked by vicious bugs and the method of treating it, coal tar and an alchemist's poisons were noxious to the senses.

So the next three days, they were staying around the town.

Shinion headed to the wine stands while Gatrie admired and unsuccessfully tried to win the glance of the beautiful passing women, flowers, as he called them. Rhys and Oscar had gone to see the minstrel act, Mist had dragged Boyd and Rolf off to the merchant quarter where all kinds of trinkets and pretty things were being sold. Her intentions, were of course, blameless and pure, but no one could deny the mischievous gleam in her eye.

Titania and Greil had talked about visiting the armory and ironworking parts, with the festivals came the superior southern ironwork that often cost a dear price to import. Their stocks had been meager since winter, as money was mostly used for the food and care of animals, both were glad for the respite that spring brought.

And that just left Ike and Soren.

Soren would've preferred to have hidden away in some library, sulking in some corner and occasionally sending glares in the direction of the noisy revelers. However, to his displeasure, he found the local library had closed for the event, leaving him to wander through the event, disinterested and unsatisfied.

A group of girls danced through the circle of town where a large pole decorated in ribbons was placed. Each hand was clasped as they circled the pole in the ancient fertility rite, the ribbons and flowers in their hair dyed just to match those of the decorations in the town. Occasionally, one would break the circle to place flowers in the hair of the man of her choosing, a signal to begin their own dance.

Soren glowered at the amount of girls who stole glances Ike's way. At this rate, there'd be nothing but flowers in his hair. Thankfully, Ike seemed as oblivious to the custom as he was to the girls themselves. And Soren had no plans to inform Ike of the meaning of those flowers and the customs that they held. Ike brushed them off with a frown, an unknowing signal that the dance was rejected. He must've broken a lot of hearts that day, Soren thought smugly.

One girl, a tiny redheaded thing with bright eyes broke rank. She smiled and came their way, and mentally Soren sighed, yet another Ike admirer to deal with.

But when she came close, it was his own hair that she put the flower in his hair.

Soren scowled at her. She just laughed and strung more over him as she danced though the festival. Even at this distance he could catch the scent of those flowers, overwhelmingly sweet, intoxicatingly so.

Another group of girls began descended their way before Ike grabbed his arm and lead him away, down through a side alley to the other side of the merchants corner. All around them there was haggling and buy and selling. Mothers with crying children, young lovers strolling, shelled off from the sights and sounds by their own bliss. A piper strolled by, his tune sharp and catchy, two other musicians, one on the lute and another on the lyre accompanied him.

From the side of the street a young boy, probably less than ten was selling flowers. Slightly different than the rest, the child was more ragged and probably some beggar's child or orphan. The flowers were a different, rarer sort White fragile blossoms that had a saccharine scent. He tugged on Ike's tunic.

"Hey mister, don't you wanna buy a flower?"

"No, he does not," Soren said and glared at the child. It didn't even flinch, probably used to such harshness.

"What's with all these flowers anyway? Girls keep trying to put them in my hair," Ike said.

"Giving a flower means you get to dance with your sweetheart!" The boy said. He gave his most pleading I-am-a-starving-orphan eyes, Soren knew that look well, though he had never employed it.

But Ike, in all his kindness relented and reached for his purse. He overpaid, despite Soren's protests. Three gold coins for one useless flower was outrageous.

The boy took the coins, his eyes wide, likely already thinking of what he could buy with that much, some food at the baker's stand in the poor corner, perhaps even a toy from the beautiful displays on the richer side.

"Remember, mister! It's bad luck to leave the festival without dancing! Don't drop your flower, though you could just buy more!"

"That will be enough," Soren said, his tone barely civil.

They had arrived late, and already it was growing dark. It was several hour's ride to this town, but Greil had deemed it worth it for the ironworking, and, Soren thought, the break as well.

Lanterns had already attached to the sides, pooling in light across the cobblestones. The dusk was as dark and rich as the ladies dresses, ribbons and attire. Many girls flitted about, with loves of their own or single. All of them seemed beautiful to this light, even to Soren's uninterested, uncaring eyes.

Soren could only wonder how they must look to Ike.

With that thought, Soren tried to slip past, fulling intending to return to the residence they'd rented out for the days, as inn fare would be far too expensive for the entire group. He didn't want to see Ike surrounded by giggling girls, or stared at with adoring faces.

Before he could wander far, Ike's voice stopped him.

"Isn't there a rule about dancing?" Ike said.

Soren scoffed. "I'll take the chance of a little bad luck."

Ike place the white flower in Soren's hair, stuck behind one ear. Ike took Soren's hands in his own, their fingers fit together until the differences in size seemed irrelevant, everything fit. His callouses over Soren's more tapered, scholar's hands, their half gloves limited contact.

"Come on," Ike said "I'm getting mobbed for a dance by all these girls."

Soren's jaw tightened as he gave a jealous glance to a brunette who eyed Ike with interest.

"I don't dance," he said, sounding much like a petulant child.

"You're the only one I want to dance with."

Soren relented somewhat, but still frowned. "I know for a fact that you can't dance. I'm making you carry me tomorrow if I wake up with bruises and sore feet."

"It's a deal," Ike said.

As the days of the festival came and went, several flowers were boughten. Different ones this time, for the boy had made quite the business. A blue, red and purple and yellow one made it to Soren's growing collection. They almost matched the growing bruises on his feet.

Ike did carry him as promised for days afterward, even when the soreness had passed.

And the flowers made found themselves pressed in books, history and records and magic books. All of them dried and kept well, their delicate petals turned dry and papery, even then, Soren could almost smell the scent of them. Saccharine and golden, memories he kept close always.