Hello all. For those of you waiting for ToaHaHD, it's currently off to my lovely beat reader, it should be up soon. I thought I'd try to entertain you with this in the meantime. It was supposed to be pure humor in the beginning, but it kind of got away from me and turned into something more. As a result, the title doesn't make as much sense as it would have, but I kept it anyway. This is slightly non-canon seeing as it takes place after Radiant Dawn and Ike is still around, but as you'll see canon wasn't very high on the to-do list. Enjoy.
The cry rang out like a bell across the small archery range. Ike turned from Shinon, who had been lodging a formal complaint about the quality of bowstrings around the Greil Mercenary outfit, and watched as Mia made her way toward the pair.
"Boss, I've got something for ya!" she shouted, waving around a long, slender bag with something rigid inside.
Ike turned back to Shinon, who gave him a glare. He would have liked to think that it was meaningful, that it was over the bowstrings, but Shinon was always glaring.
"Remember," the sniper said, "No more 'discount' bowstrings."
With that he walked off, allowing Ike to divert the whole of his attention to Mia. The scowl left over from his talk with Shinon turned into a full-fledged frown as he turned and saw Mia pulling a sword out of the bag. He loved her to death, but he hoped the spastic little she-devil didn't want another duel; she'd already banged him up enough for one day.
"Here," she said, thrusting the blade into his hands.
"What's this for," he asked. He couldn't help but feel like he was walking into a trap.
"Come on boss, you know what today is!" she said, a bright smile on her face.
"Ah…Friday?" Ike said, taking a stab in the dark.
Peals of lilting laughter filled the air as Mia's smile widened, "It's your birthday! Don't tell me you forgot?"
Ike blinked, it was his birthday? He looked down at the sword in his hand; it had suddenly taken on new meaning.
"Who told you that?" he asked, flummoxed at the unexpected news.
Mia's smile flat lined.
"You gotta be kidding me…" she mumbled, "You really did forget, didn't you? Mist told me you idiot."
Ike sighed, more and more these days he found himself digging his way out of some woman's ire, if not Mia's then Titania's. Sometimes Mist, but sisters didn't count.
"I would have remembered eventually," Ike offered, the excuse sounding much more pathetic when spoken aloud.
"Oh whatever," Mia said, rolling her eyes, her usual smile finding its way back onto her face, "Just tell me you won't use it for our dawn duels. You break way too many swords that way."
"Sure," Ike said, his mouth turning up at one corner, "What, if I may ask, is so special about this though?"
Mia laughed, "Draw it and see!"
Ike grasped the handle, it fit perfectly. He stopped as a sudden recollection hit him like a two ton wyvern.
"Wait a minute…two weeks ago, when I woke up to Mist measuring my hand-"
"Oh just draw it!" Mia said, interrupting his revelation.
Ike's eyes narrowed, but he quickly discarded the thought, it wasn't that important. Although it was nice to finally have an explanation, he and Soren had whiled away an entire afternoon trying to figure out what Mist had been up to that night.
An eyebrow shot up as he removed the sword from its sheath, revealing the beautiful silver sword it had concealed. It wasn't the silver that caught his eye though, but the wicked curvature of the blade.
"Mia…" he said slowly, turned the sword over as he examined it.
"Yup," she said with a grin, "I had Daniel forge it. It's special, I modeled it after the killing edge you broke six months ago. The curve's not as steep, but thanks to the silver it still cuts like something out of Ashnard's wildest dreams."
Ike laughed slightly; testing the sword's edge with his thumb.
"Careful, I did that and it almost cut my thumb off. Rhys thought I did it on purpose," she said.
Ike gave her a true smile, a rarity coming from him, and sheathed the sword, "Thanks Mia. Do I want to know how much this cost?"
"Ha, not as much as you're thinking, Daniel gave it to me half price. He says happy birthday," she answered.
Ike nodded and lashed it to his hip, where it poked out from underneath his cape, "Then tell him thanks, it's been a while since I've seen him."
"You can tell him yourself-"
Mia's sentence came to a violent end as she clapped a hand over her mouth. Ike's smile disappeared; Daniel only came in to make special deliveries, usually custom made weapons.
"You didn't tell anyone else about my birthday, did you?" he asked. This was a nice surprise, but he hated making a big deal out of something so trivial. He was another year older, so what?
"No," Mia said, "I didn't tell anyone. Come on; let's go back before Rolf comes out for his daily target practice and sticks us full of arrows."
Ike followed her, a frown once again adorning his features. He didn't like the way she had said that.
"Shhh, here they come!"
Rolf stifled a laugh as he ducked behind a barrel and looked over at Oscar, who nodded slightly before looking around at the rest of the room's occupants, hidden accordingly. Titania was gone for the day, fulfilling a request from a nearby town, and Shinon had also been taken care of, sent to go buy some new bowstrings. Gatrie was in the stairwell that led to the second floor, the only place big enough to hide him, and Boyd was crouched behind a large, round shield he had removed from the wall. He looked ridiculous, but it would work. Rhys and Mist were both with Oscar, hiding behind the single bed in the base's main quarters. Soren, well he looked about as ridiculous as Boyd, but he had actually picked the best spot, choosing to stand out in the open. When Ike entered the room though, he would end up being hidden behind the door. The mage looked up as Oscar nodded towards him and then ducked behind the bed. He casually pulled a tome from his robes and leaned against the wall as the door swung inward. Ike stood in the door, Mia right behind him as the two stepped inside.
"Surprise!" shouted Boyd, throwing the shield to one side.
He stared happily at Ike and Mia for a moment before he realized no one had joined him.
"You guys are the worst!" he bellowed, turning and pointing at his hidden companions, who were slowing revealing their hiding places with fits of laughter.
Rolf rolled out from behind his barrel, reduced to fits of tearful giggling as he pointed at Boyd, "You looked so-"
He stopped as a fresh wave of mirth washed over him, causing his abdominals to protest the joyous abuse they were taking. Oscar rose from behind the bed, a smile on his face as Mist and Rhys followed suit.
"Sorry Boyd, but that was too good to pass up," Mist said, wiping the tears of laughter from her eyes.
"I should have known you'd do that!" Boyd continued, his face a stunning shade of red.
"Really Boyd, even I could have seen that coming," Gatrie said, stepping out from the stairwell as he tried to suppress the 'tee hee' about to escape his lips.
Ike's eyes narrowed as they began to argue, and he looked over at Mia, who held her hands up in an 'it wasn't me' gesture. He turned his gaze to Mist, whose eyes widened as she hid behind Oscar. Ike shook his head, at least it hadn't been a total wreck, he had been expecting much worse.
He turned as a gale force wind blew through the room, slamming the door shut to reveal Soren, mouthing incantations under his breath.
"Happy birthday Ike," he said, his voice devoid of emotion as he put an Elwind away, "and no, this was not my idea."
"Of course not," Ike said, "You'd congratulate me on making it through another year without getting stabbed in the back and call it good."
The right corner of the mage's mouth turned up as he looked at Mist, "Yes, that was my suggestion, wasn't it?"
"Oh," she cried, stepping out from behind Oscar, "You two are so boring! Come on Ike, lighten up, you could at least pretend to enjoy it."
Ike sighed, "I appreciate it Mist, but-"
"Just leave it at that!" Mist said, cutting him off, "Don't ruin it, that's as good as it's going to get coming from you."
"You know she's right," Oscar said, "And she really did work hard on this. No one else would have known if it wasn't for her."
"Right…" Ike said, assuming Oscar had meant it was a good thing she'd told everyone.
"Here," the knight continued, tossing Ike a tightly bound package as he made his way over to the open kitchen area.
Ike walked over to the table and pulled a chair out, taking a seat. His eyes shifted from one to another as they sat around the table. He looked up as Rolf approached.
"It was supposed to be from all three of us," he said, glaring at Boyd.
"But Boyd thought he could do us one better," Oscar added, a knowing smile on his face as he focused his attention on mincing onions, "Either way, open it."
Ike took the package, feeling more and more awkward by the minute, this was all too weird. For Ashera's sake, there was no way they could celebrate everyone's birthday of all things. Oscar seemed to read his mind as he spoke,
"Just relax for once, Titania is gone for the day, and Shinon's off on a wild goose chase."
Gatrie's brow furrowed, "I thought he was buying bowstrings?"
"Yes, that too," Oscar said, knowing it would do little good to try and explain, "Now will you open it please?"
Ike relented, and tore the strings off before removing the brown wrapping paper. A large bundle of cloth was in his hands, and as he unfurled it he found himself holding a beautiful, wine red cape.
"Oscar…" he said slowly, appraising the simplistic yet impressive needlework around the borders. Capes like this weren't cheap.
"Made it," Oscar said, before Ike could ask how much it had cost. He wondered if the commander knew it was rude to ask the price of a gift.
Ike relaxed, one worry laid to rest. He could believe Oscar made this; the man was a jack-of-all-trades, although he somewhat eschewed the rest the saying seeing as he was a master-of-all.
"Thanks," he said, looking over his shoulder at the tattered cape across his back "I definitely need a new one."
"Yeah, we kinda figured that," Rolf said, "It was my idea though."
Ike half smiled and tousled the archer's hair, it was good to see him in such high spirits even after what the company had been through.
"I got you a pair of boots," Gatrie said, "but they won't be ready for a while. I kind of waited until the last minute...mainly because Shinon was always around and he'd throw a fit if he knew what I was doing."
Ike nodded; Shinon certainly would raise a stink about this if he ever found out. Ike himself thought it was bad enough; he hated to imagine what the peevish sniper would make of it. He looked around, hoping it was finally over. He grew more apprehensive the longer this tarried on. His eyes stopped on Mist, who was hiding something rectangular behind her slim frame. She smiled, and held out what appeared to be a picture frame, face down.
"Here," she said, "but this isn't just for you. It's for me, and dad too."
Wondered what it could possibly be, Ike slowly turned it over, and froze. He was staring at a portrait of his mother. Her blue hair, falling gently over her shoulders, framed her delicate features. She appeared as if she had been caught in the middle of something, for her quiet, knowing smile contained just a hint of mischief. He looked up, and found the same smile on Mist.
"Mist, when did you- I mean how…" he said, trailing off as he looked back down at the picture.
"When Ranulf and Lethe came to visit two months ago, they weren't just here to say hi. They were delivering this to me. After Ashera's War…I asked them if there were any Gallian artisans who remembered when mom and dad first came to Gallia. I wondered if anyone remembered her well enough to paint a portrait. I don't remember her Ike…I've spent the past two months wondering if that's what she really looked like…"
Ike started; he had forgotten that Mist hadn't been old enough to remember their mother when she had died. Even his own memories were a bit foggy, and he examined the picture more carefully.
"… whoever they got must have known her well," he answered.
Mist smiled, rocking back and forth on her heels as she felt relief take hold where apprehension had been. She had been so afraid it would look nothing like their mother. It also helped her feel better about herself; she had so often been likened to her mother, it was a relief to know she had been so beautiful.
"I hoped you would like it, it was the reason I asked everyone to go along with this," she said.
Ike suddenly felt like a monster for being so obstinate. Mist had just made his day, and she'd gotten everyone to join her. He rose from his chair, smiling genuinely for the second time that day. He pulled his sister into an awkward hug, he was never good this.
"I like it…thanks Mist," he said.
Mist laughed, pushing him away after a moment, "If you're wondering, Rhys made the frame."
"Did you Rhys? I didn't know you were any good with woodwork," Ike replied, looking the priest over.
Rhys shrugged slightly, "I've had a lot of free time over the years, being kept inside all the time. Enough about that though, you still have one more present."
Ike looked around before his eyes settled on Boyd.
The fighter grinned, "I don't think I can outdo that, but mine will be sure to blow Mia's away, not to mention an old cape and some boots!"
Ike sighed as Boyd proceeded to do what he did best; ruin the moment.
"So where is it?" he asked.
"Right here!" Boyd shouted, crossing the room in three steps and pulling the door open to reveal Daniel, who was holding a large bag in his arms.
"How long have you been waiting there?" Ike asked, knowing there was no way Boyd timed it that well.
"Oh, not too long," he answered, stepping inside and handing the bag to Boyd before cracking his back, "but you should know, there's an oddly shaped crack in your door. It looks like an upside down wyvern eating a pegasus."
"Right…" Ike said.
After a moment of confused silence, Boyd handed the gift over to Ike, "Open it."
Ike took the bag, feeling its weight as Boyd let go. He unwound the cord that tied the top shut, and reached inside. His hand wrapped around a sword handle, and as he pulled it out he found himself holding an armorslayer. At least, it looked like an armorslayer. He cocked his head to one side to read the engraving on the flat of the blade, which read 'Ike's Armoireslayer'.
"Gee, thanks Boyd...you even labeled it," he said, pausing as his eye did a double take, "Wait a minute. Armoireslayer?"
"Yeah, that's what it is," Boyd said, "an armorslayer. You needed a new one, so I had Daniel forge it."
Oscar looked over Ike's shoulder and suppressed a laugh, "No…this is an armoireslayer Boyd."
"That's what I just said!" Boyd shouted, not understanding what everyone was making such a big fuss over.
"No," Oscar countered, "You said armorslayer, this reads armoireslayer. You're thinking armor like what Gatrie wears. This is…"
"What?" Boyd asked, completely confused.
"It's…" Rolf repeated, looking over Ike's other shoulder, an impish grin on his face.
"It's what?" Boyd yelled, snatching the blade away and examining it.
"You got him a closet killer, okay Boyd? You got him something that kills large, expensive pieces of furniture," Soren said finally, speaking what was on everyone's mind.
"What?! But it's the exact same thing!" Boyd said, the exasperation evident in his voice.
"No, it's not. Armor," Soren said, knocking on Gatrie's chest plate, "is this. An armoire, is that."
He pointed to a large wardrobe in the corner. Boyd looked from Gatrie to the wardrobe before looking down at the sword.
"So what?" he said, "It'll still do the same thing."
His comment went unheard as Rolf burst out laughing, no longer able to hold it in. Mist and Gatrie soon followed, leaving Oscar and Rhys to play mature. Ike and Soren just stared; they didn't see what was so funny.
"Maybe it will do some damage if we ever go back to Duke Tanas'," Rhys said, a quiet smile on his face.
This set Oscar off, "You mean Ike would go around, destroying all of Oliver's furniture?"
Rhys nodded and the two began to laugh in spite of themselves. The pandemonium reached a fever pitch as Boyd entered the fray, held back by Oscar as he tried to strangle Rolf, who was going over a proposal to have all knights officially start wearing wooden armor. Oscar's grip kept loosening whenever he laughed though, and Rhys would step in to try and keep Boyd from killing his younger brother while Oscar tried to regain his composure. The fort was a mess; overturned furniture and armor was everywhere. Then Rolf ran up to the second level as Boyd finally freed himself from Oscar's grasp, and the others followed, cramming into the stairway like one too many arrows shoved into a quiver.
As the shouting increased in volume, followed by a short series of crashes, Ike turned to Soren.
"Please tell me you didn't get me anything," he said.
"Never crossed my mind," Soren answered.
Ike sighed deeply and leaned back in his chair, staring up at the ceiling. He could always count on Soren to be practical.
"Soren," he said, sitting upright, "This is why we don't celebrate birthdays around here."
Soren nodded, but his eyes remained on the book in his hands as he mumbled a reply, "Mmhm…teach Boyd a new word and everything goes to Yune…"
Soren looked up as Ike rose and began to reorganize the room. He had apparently not heard him. The mage shrugged one shoulder and returned his attention to the tome; he wasn't going to repeat himself, and perhaps it was better that way. His eye twitched in annoyance as another loud crash came from the second floor and Ike started yelling up the staircase. Soren sighed, and tried to press himself farther into his chair. Yes, it was definitely better that way.
Well? Not as crazy as my usual oneshots, I know, but hopefully it was entertaining. I seem to have a strange affinity for the armorslayer...it's shown up in two of my titles. As usual, a review would make my day, so if you have the time go ahead and tell me what you thought. And I have the sneaking suspicion that the longer I talk the less likely you are to review, so I'll let it go at that. If I don't hear from you later, then see you next update.