Title: Time Flies Until Winter Reigns the Land

Rating: K+? I fail at ratings miserably.

Pairing(s): Nothing really, just your slightly altered canonical relationship between Soren and Ike.

Summary: Logic dictated that no one would help a branded child like him. Then again, logic often has its shortcomings. Ike and Soren's meeting scene. Slight AU.

Notes: Aish, have been busy with so much schoolwork lately. And really, I couldn't think of a title for the life of me. This is what school does to your creative outlet.

This is actually what I'm going to submit for my English homework tomorrow, which may explain why I don't explicitly state any names and take a more ambiguous stance to the whole scene. The assignment was to write something using symbolism in some way. Having never actually purposely put in symbolism into my writing, I can probably say that I kind of failed at it, but at least I have a sortofkinda piece of fanfiction for Fire Emblem in return.

I did change the details of the meeting a little to suit my purposes, though I'm not quite sure how that worked out either. (Yes, I know Ike returns, at most, two times before the...incident occurred and he moved to Crimea).

Very unbeta'd piece of writing, so feel free to point out any glaring errors! Actually, all my fanfiction is pretty much going to appear unbeta'd, since all my friends seriously need to start playing video games! Or get a Gamecube/Wii and start playing PoR/RD!

I don't own Fire Emblem or its amazing characters, unfortunately.

The spring breeze played with the child's long, unkempt hair, tossing it over his shoulders and caking his worn tunic with grime. He couldn't have been older than seven, the boy, yet his features bespoke the cynicism of a world-weary adult.

The child knelt in the grass and weakly cupped his hands, too skinny, under a forlorn patch of winter snow, one of the last remnants of the unforgiving season that had finally passed him by. For other children, snow was a diversion, something pretty to pass the time by making snow angels and snowmen with. For him, it was a necessity, something to abate the aching thirst that haunted his waking moments. Something to prolong the life he was desperately clinging to.

He had always prided himself for being pragmatic, for not denying reality. The truth was clear in his mind: he was dying. The boy knew there was no place in this world for a child caught between two definitive races. A taboo existence like his should have never conceived as far as everyone was concerned. No one would help him. He was dying; it was irrefutable.

Light footsteps graced the forest's edge, barely detectable. The child's eyes widened as a young boy, lively eyes a watery blue and clad in a tunic as white as pure snow, entered the clearing. So very unlike himself, whose eyes had long grown weary and suspicious of the world. His tunic must have also had a color at one point, but it was far too old and filthy for him to recall. Giving the newcomer a wary stare, the child slowly shuffled backwards, though it taxed his strength immensely to do so.

The boy with the blue eyes moved forward with a fluid stride, the childish innocence on his face mellowing into curious sympathy. He reached inside the bad he was carrying and pulled out a sandwich as a rapid stream of words left his mouth. The smaller boy could not recall the last time someone addressed him without harsh words, and it took him a moment to understand.

The sickly child shied away from the proffered sandwich with an uneasy eye. The food couldn't have been offered to him in good faith. It was a trick. It had to be. He shook his head.

The blue-eyed boy insisted, louder this time, practically shoving the sandwich into his face, until the slighter boy was convinced that the stranger would force feed him in a childish fit should he continue to refuse. Snatching the sandwich away in a brief display of strength, he crammed it into his mouth and wolfed it down, suspiciously watching the other boy all the while. The other did nothing, simply watched, watched with a worried eye and offered to give him more if he would come to his house.

No, a refusal clearly portrayed with a determined shake of the head. No, the villagers would only chase him out, call him a demon. Then finally, a slight nod was given in response as the boy with the blue eyes relented and offered to bring him more food the following day.

The blue-eyed boy came the next day and the next, always with an ample amount of food for his newfound friend. The world-weary child found himself looking forward to these meetings, as irrational as they may have been. Something to pass the time, something he needed more and more as the days wore on.

Then came the inevitable day when the blue-eyed boy did not come. He waited, for patience was a virtue he had learned to entertain. Nothing. Nothing stirred the quiet of the forest that day, no laughter, no excited one-sided conversations. The forest stayed quiet for a week.

Finally convinced that the blue with the blue eyes was not returning, the waiflike child found himself walking toward the nearby village. He found himself not caring about their cruel jeers, their sticks and stones, if only to see what had befallen his friend, the only one that ever cared. He reached the forest's edge.

It was only then that he realized that he was surrounded by the returning frost of winter.