title: boameria tricuspis
theme/day: June 25 - boameria tricuspis, I always knew you'd be this beautiful! (late)
fandom: FE 9/10
summary: Even Ike couldn't be oblivious forever Ike/Soren
a/n: I honestly have no clue what the title means, except that it's from a musical. (Seriously, whenever I google, I just get the entry itself) I started calling it that because of the theme as a default title, but the only other title that came up was 'noticed'. Maybe keeping the title will help me finally figure out its meaning (hopefully a good one!)
So, this was basically conceived between a thoughts tangent of 'man, RD!Soren is so pretty, even Ike would notice it.' and this happened. Writing unoblivious!Ike was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Not sure how much I like this one, s' definitely not my best, but the majority of it it was written on notebook while I was sick.
Timeline is somewhat post POR and pre RD, probably about two and a half years, aka just a short time before RD.
Oh yeah, and Happy Sweetest's day, people.
It took half a year before they could return. The reconstruction, the leftover affairs of rebuilding, Ike took them all in stride, but deep down he felt antsy. Ivy and mold grew over their once-home, a place he planned to return to one day and reclaim.
So much had changed and grown, least of all himself. In another year and a half they would mend the broken ground and sow seeds where it had been trampled.
But for now, it was the task of simply learning to live in the quiet absence of battle again.
Unpacking took some days and Mist danced through half of it. She breathed in the fresh air with the same smells they had always known.
Ike felt a sort of comfort slip over him, like a warm cloak. They were finally home.
They reconnected with the local populace, who were glad for their return. Findings and protection, all sorts of menial work awaited their return. They did not pay half as well as royalty, but Ike had finally understood why his father had picked this place. The toil and lack of fame, he didn't mind it. He'd had his taste grandeur, it was not for him.
It had grown late, the light faded to dusk as the cool embrace of night settled over the countryside. Their had been no work today, so everyone found their own chores to finish. Soren had finished his early and left citing a thing he needed to look into.
Ike found Soren beneath a tree; his a book laid beside him, the gentle breeze catching the pages ever so slightly. He lay curled on his left side, wisps of dark hair falling over his face.
Soren murmured something indiscernible in his sleep, and Ike bent down beside him.
The golden light fell on Soren's face. The sharp angles had softened as of late, once he'd been perpetually frowning, but time had calmed him and stilled the rushing storm that had lain within him.
The realization had been long in coming for Ike, years in the making, but he understood now.
It had never really sunk in before how much Soren affected him. How many day-to-day things would be impossible without him? Beyond tactics and war, the thought of turning around and finding Soren not there, silently following seemed absurd.
But beyond realizing what part of his life would be missing if Soren should ever be stolen away, Ike realized how the years had changed them both. The wars, the blood spilled on their behalf. But he couldn't remain oblivious forever.
Even Ike could see it now; Soren had become beautiful.
This train of thought took him by surprise, because this was Soren. Soren, the boy who he'd grown up with, Soren who was too skinny and too pale and too full of bitterness, Soren who Ike held when he had nightmares and steadied his trembling body as he told of his mixed blood.
Yet, the thought caused him no shame, no anxiety. Ike, like so many other times, accepted it, with no thought of the consequences.
"Soren," he said
"It's late," Ike said.
"I was reading..." Soren trailed off. He stretched, yawned and rubbed his eyes to clear the sleep from them.
"You fell asleep," Ike said.
"So it seems," Soren said, and yawned again. He shivered and rubbed his arms. "It's grown colder," he said.
"Yeah. You should come in," Ike replied.
Soren looked up at him sleepily. There were leaves and bits of grass in his hair. Without thought, Ike reached to brush them away.
Soren blinked in confusion.
"Leaves," Ike explained, and Soren nodded slowly.
Soren turned his face away, but not before Ike caught the hint of a smile.
Ike saw Soren differently now, but nothing had changed. He still felt most comfortable around Soren, there wasn't an anxious feeling building in him; no butterflies, like in the fairy stories Mist used to devour when she was younger. It was still just Soren, his friend, confidant and tactician. But lately, he didn't want to pull his eyes away.
Ike noticed so many little things that he'd never seen before,. Soren's hair was long and dark and it looked so sleek; it caught the light and he wanted to touch it, run his fingers through to see if it really was as soft as it looked.
These weren't thoughts, per se, they were more akin to impulses; electrical pulses and wishes of skin to touch skin. It felt magnetic, like if he wasn't more aware, his fingers would automatically find their way to touch Soren's skin. It was a unfamiliar feeling, one he'd never expected to find..
Nothing has changed, but everything has changed.
The days spanned on. They were a mix of languidness and hard work; Ike trained during his moments off, and still it left too much time for thinking.
A sentiment Ike never thought he'd ever find himself even considering.
There had been two small jobs for the day. Routing bandits and saving cats from trees was hardly glorious, but he wouldn't trade it for all the titles or nobility in the world. He would rather be a common mercenary than the queen's man, a simple worker than a lord.
He rested against the wall, the ragged mismatched rug Mist had made was a poor cushion for the cold, hard floor. Ike hardly noticed, he lay back and let his muscles slow relax from the day's work. A small strain in his back complained, he ignored it as his head rested against the cold stone.
His rest was interrupted by the sound of Soren's voice.
"Ike, Mist has finished. Dinner is ready."
Soren's eyes scanned over the situation, face darkened, veiled and hidden a for a brief instant.
"Were you hurt today?" Soren asked, a sense of irritation and worry rising in his voice.
"Nothing major," Ike replied.
Soren pursed his lips in displeasure. Something that was so very him, Ike almost smiled. It was the same Soren he knew and had always known. The same kind of nervous watchfulness that had kept Soren following him everywhere, from when they were mere children playing in the woods to adults on the battlefield, learning the language of violence war and the cruelty of mankind.
"...would you prefer I bring the food to you?" Soren said,
"Yeah, if you could," Ike replied.
"Understood. It'll only take a moment."
When Soren said a measure of time, he meant it quite literally. It seemed only the moment Ike closed his eyes, he heard Soren's footsteps resounding through the halls towards him.
He held a tray much as servants would, gracefully wielding it as each plate was balanced accordingly.
"I explained to Mist. It took some convincing for her not to leave immediately with a Mend staff. She said she might 'hit you in the head' with it if you refused," Soren said.
Ike chuckled despite himself.
"This is nothing to worry about. I'll be fine."
"Hmm," was all Soren said in response.
"Mist also said to say that she that she made seconds, but you have to come to the kitchen for these," Soren said.
"Mm. Thanks, Soren."
Soren placed the tray down and sat next to him. He had included his own meal alongside Ike's, a small bowl of mixed rice and vegetables with an appropriate amount of meat.
"You're staying?" Ike said.
"Of course," Soren replied.
And it hung between them, the unsaid words Do you think I'd ever leave you alone?
And Ike knew the answer all too well. No. You wouldn't.
Ike's knee rested against the side of Soren's leg. Soren tensed, but didn't seek to move away. His shoulder was pressed against Ike's side. Ike noticed that Soren's breathing quickened – he had started to notice the little things now, things that had once been overlooked, hidden. It wasn't long before Soren was relaxing into him as they ate in silence.
Soren smelled clean, like soap and with a faint hint of spices. Ike remembered that Soren had spent most of the day stocking.
Soren ate his bowl of rice carefully, his legs tucked underneath him. Neat, concise, everything was in order. Ike had always liked Soren's facets, his no-nonsense attitude and intelligence, his methodicalness. It was only now that Ike realized just how deep that appreciation had grown.
Not many days had passed since then, but it felt like longer. Each day held a sort of beautiful monotony. Like the days of summer, the days were long and uneventful. The weight of the peace seemed heavy, almost a burden.
To Ike, it was a welcome respite. One he knew that could not last forever.
Even now, dark shapes gathered in the horizon, like clouds floating over a sea of sky.
Peace was a fragile thing that must be battled for. It could hardly last forever.
Trips outside the fort where they kept up residence were rare at best. All too uncommon, in fact. Oscar had gone on ahead to purchase supplies which had lead Mist to declare it a 'town day' which everyone gladly participated.
Everyone had scattered to separate sides of the town. Shopping or merely enjoying the sights (or wines, in Shinion's case) Even Soren couldn't complain as they definitely needed enough things to warrant a day out.
Soren was ahead bartering with a merchant. He always managed to get the best prices, his skill at bartering was quite an impressive sight. Behind him was a tall man in a dark brown tunic, seemingly ordinary.
Ike had almost gone on, having his own needs (new boots, the one thing Mist could hardly mend and belts and undershirts) but out of the corner of his eye he saw a movement. One man gripped Soren's wrist and wrenched him out of the way from the merchant. He saw Soren crumple to the ground as the man ignored him, a poor choice on his part.
Ike drew his sword, but not before he saw the bright green light of Elwind surrounding the man, the vicious magical winds burning and chafing him, his cries swallowed up in the force of the storm. Ike could see Soren already preparing for his next attack, the pages fluttering with the wind conjured up. His hair was teased by the edges of each wind shear, and it was a beautiful sight.
In light of this, the would-be robber rethought his plans. His life for a few coins seemed a poor bargain indeed.
That didn't stop his partners, however. Other men in similar, ordinary garb drew their own swords, knives and daggers. He saw some brigands lumbering from the shadows, their large axes glimmering in the light.
And now, Ike took his turn. One swipe of his sword left the thieves' clothes torn, deep red bleeding through.
Another of the robbers swiped at him, the knife left an angry red gash over his left arm. Before the thief could hit another time, he was cut off by another blast of Elwind, much harder this time, the air crackled with the force of it.
He heard an arrow whistle through the air as it lodged itself in a brigand's neck. The brigand fell, blood pouring through the wound.
"Don't get any ideas, that was for Commander Greil!" Shinion said over the rush of battle around them.
Ike could hear the sounds of hooves in the distance, he took another strike at the bandits, a pair of ax users with scarred faces and even more scarred bodies.
They'd have even more scars if they somehow managed to survive the day.
Their first strike glanced off of him, the second, however, hit deeper. Ike swung back, the blade always felt lightest in battle.
Memories of a war past came to him as he heard these two bandits fall, their blood splattered over his face, their death cries cut short mid breath.
They were the last of the group Ike could see. The rest had been cut down by other members of the mercenary group or limped off in retreat.
Lately the attacks had been getting worse. Storm clouds seemed to linger about their tiny side of world, peace eroding in its wake.
Ike wiped off his face and looked about him. Soren was close, surveying the field for more enemies. Upon a thorough check, he deemed it passable and turned to face him.
"Ike, you're all right—?"
That's when Ike saw the one last brigand who had been slinking in the shadows. He came upon Soren who with his back turned, was a prime target.
"Soren, behind you—!"
Soren turned, but not fast enough to miss the ax thundering down upon him. Ike heard a cry of pain, a muted one
The brigand was already wounded, red blood stained his shirt like a sash. Ike crossed the distance and stepped before Soren's broken body. He hadn't time to check just yet.
The blood ran through Ike's veins like war drums. The sword was as light as paper under his grip as he thrust it deep into the brigand's chest. The bandit gave a hoarse cry, a gurgle as blood dripped from his lips. He fell back, the ax clattering to the ground from his lifeless hands.
Ike had never had such a distinct pleasure of killing a man before, not since fighting the Black Knight had he desired one man's death so much.
He turned to Soren who had pulled himself up somewhat. The cut was deep, but not life threatening. He could survive the trip to Mist or Rhys at the very least.
Soren had already pulled himself up from the ground and was inspecting his wounds. Ike caught him up on instinct, his arms closed around Soren protectively.
Soren fit so well in his arms. And yet his body was thin and bony and so tiny, it was as if he hadn't grown at all in these years, and Ike had long ago surpassed him in height; once they were almost the exact size, but now Soren had to stand on tiptoe to reach him.
"Are you ok?" Ike asked.
"I'm fine, Ike," Soren said. His voice was soft, a breathy whisper amongst the chaos of the aftermath. "Were you injured as well?"
"It's just a scratch," Ike replied.
The moment passed. It was far beyond touches that lasted too long, past decorum and simple friendly gestures. And somehow, Ike didn't want to let go.
Soren shifted somewhat, turning to check around them. Most of the shopkeepers had their own affairs to tend to, overturned wagons and spilled, bruised and ruined fruit. But some, a mere few were staring at the embrace, which had long passed the point of merely catching a friend from falling.
"Ike...people are staring," Soren said.
Ike dropped his arms and moved away, albeit with reluctance. It had seemed such a natural thing to do, letting go seemed to feel so wrong in comparison.
"We should find the others," Ike said finally. Soren nodded, his gaze turned downwards.
On the walk home Soren was quiet, as if he was lost in his thoughts.
Soren had been acting oddly the past few days. Ike figured it was just a bout of moping, the kind of sickness Soren often came down with. He'd always stop eventually and question Soren on it, but often Soren would work through whatever bothered him on his own.
Besides, the littlest things could bother Soren and send him deep into his own troubled thoughts. The presence of village women, an old memory, any of these things could draw a shadow over him that could last for hours.
But this time the sadness had stayed, drawn against him the night seemed to remain even when the sun was shining. It had been three days since the attack, and whatever scant wounds there had been, now were long healed.
Finally, he caught Soren in the main office, shuffling and reshuffling papers, the ink beside him ignored.
"Soren, what is it? Tell me." Ike said.
Soren was quiet a long while. His gaze fixated on the papers below, but not seeing them. He sighed and pushed them aside as he rose from the chair.
"You've been acting different lately," Soren said quietly. "As if something's on your mind."
So many things had coalesced. Life and the ebbing flow of peace and Soren. Soren had been on his mind so much that he never had to recall for the whisper of his presence was always there. Stolen glimpses of skin and so many little things he couldn't really put it into words, because it wasn't really deep thinking. It was a constant knowledge skimming over the surface of his mind, it was his senses awakening to Soren's presence. It wasn't something he could explain verbally.
"...What is it? What's troubling you?" Soren's face was turned up towards him, worry lines creasing, his lips slightly parted... And Ike stopped thinking altogether.
The kiss had been rougher than intended, but then, Ike hadn't the faintest idea how to go about these things. It had merely been an instinct that he had acted on. Soren tensed and tightly gripped Ike's arms, as if to steady himself, to keep from falling. He never fully relaxed or responded to the kiss. He took deep gulps of air and gasped when they finally parted.
Ike touched Soren's shoulder, a gentle touch, a comforting one.
"...That's what was on your mind?" Soren asked. Despite his attempt at composure, his voice was shaking slightly.
"Yeah," Ike said.
"It's ok," Ike said.
Soren murmured his acquiescence. He touched up over Ike's neck and up his face, tracing his jaw in a searching gesture. There was something wary about him, an untamed animal that feared being harmed.
He then stood on tiptoe and kissed Ike this time.
There was still something desperate about Soren, his hand clung tight to Ike, as if Ike would vanish into thin air should he ever let go. Even as Soren had initiated this kiss, his responses were restrained and slow.
"It's ok," Soren said this time, almost testing the words on his mouth for their veracity.
"Yeah, it's fine," Ike replied.
Soren's skin was very pale, blue twisting vines of veins easily showed through. All his bones seemed so small and fragile compared to Ike's own; his clavicle was ridiculously small, birdlike even. Ike kissed there, up his neck and Soren bent back, urging him further.
He was no stranger to Soren's body, there'd been shared changing rooms and swimming holes ever since he was young, yet, somehow it was all new to him. He brushed fingers over Soren's chest, feeling the grooves of each rib under his fingers. Soren was still too skinny, so tiny.
Ike frowned at the scars, too many for his liking. He felt Soren's fingertips against him, soft, dreamlike. They traced over his own, far more numerous scars. Soren's brow was furrowed, the same expression as his. Ike half-smiled then, despite himself. It was ironic all their differences and shared moments, how they fit together . This road they'd taken so long side by side had converged; Ike knew wherever he'd go, Soren would follow. To the farthest reaches, the very depths of the land, past seas and deserts. Soren would follow him anywhere, regardless of the personal danger involved.
And in that sense, nothing had changed at all.