Title: It's Fate

Fandom: FE10!AU

Day/Theme: November fifteenth | but must I confess how I liked him?

Character/Pairing: Pelleas/Micaiah, Ike/Soren, Sothe/Tormod, mentioned Ranulf/male

Rating: Def. PG-13 for some of the silly implications.

Summary: Pelleas meets the girl of his dreams only to forget to ask her name. It's up to his cranky brother and his brother's rather oblivious shirtless roommate to track her down again. Silly!Modern AU. PelleasMicaiah, IkeSoren. Some Ranulf/? and SotheTormod.

A/N: This is really just a silly thing which was intended to be commentfic but turned out to be much too long. It was done entirely for fun, so before anyone goes UR DOIN' IT RONG-- I know, i know. I jotted down in-between difficult projects as stress relief. That's all this is really, just silly, fluffy stress relief.

It was Ammy who first came up with the idea for 'Pelleas and Soren as the dysfunctional modern au brothers' idea and conversations with her was what inspired this 'verse. Thus she gets entire credit. In fact, she gets the whole thing. Happy birthday!

Oh yeah, and Ranulf is in a slash pairing, but I couldn't choose which one. Thus, it's your decision if it's Kyza or Skrimr (or another male?)

.

Pelleas wandered around the festival like a lost puppy. He never did well in public places as crowded as this, they always made him nervous. It seemed whenever he wasn't at home being fussed over by his mother, he was wandering the college, mournfully checking the academy's library.

Izuka had insisted that he get out and see something instead of sitting around all day reading. This might have had more to do with Izuka wanting his room for some depraved experiment than any kinder reason, but Pelleas still thought the sentiment was a nice one.

So that was how he ended up as this fest, wandering alone through the hordes of people. There were rides but he always had suffered from motion sickness. He was too old for the games of skill (which was really just an excuse to say that he'd never win them. Ever. ) So Pelleas passed the time by perusing the various shops. Everything here was too expensive, he could almost hear Soren tsking about the prices from here. His brother would have enough strength to barter it down to something more reasonable, but Pelleas wouldn't dare to do such a thing. He'd be stuck buying it at full price, but at least he'd have something for Mother's Day.

Midway through looking at thick silver rings with designs of eagles over them, he looked up and saw a girl. She might as well have been glowing for how she stood out from the rest. Her hair was the lightest shade of blonde he'd ever seen, in the sunlight it seemed almost silver. Her eyes were as gold as the jewelry she wore, from bangles to long gold earrings with dangling thin chains and several necklaces.

He saw her come out and greet a customer, a sudden wind caught her skirt and she smoothed it down. The skirt itself was floaty made of many layers, some translucent showing through the intricately patterned material that made the colors blend as she walked back with the lucky client. She was so transcendental, unlike any girl he'd ever seen. All he could think of was how he wanted to know her, just a little more (Oh how he wished he could be that customer right now.)

He turned back to the rings and finally settled on the sole golden colored one with a weaving roped pattern. It was not delicate, but then his mother preferred her jewelry to be the of the sturdier, thicker variety.

When he looked up again, shy and yet eager to see her again, she caught his glance. She smiled at him, as if to beckon him closer.

"I can tell your fortune," she said.

"Oh...yes. I'd like that," he replied. He took one quick glance and crossed the festival street as if it was an actual street. She laughed and he looked down shyly for a moment.

It was a homemade stand, with red curtains that had obviously been gleaned from the local thriftshop. He pushed them aside and saw the inside wasn't much more sophisticated. The same red curtains with gold ties. A card table and two folding chairs. He sat in the folding chair and waited. Above him was a wooden sign that read Dawn Maiden's Fortune Telling in flecked gold lettering. The paint was still wet on one side and drizzled down the side.

There was a certain scent, like incense. Exotic and deep, he breathed it in and felt a little lightheaded. It wasn't until she returned that he realized the fragrance emanated from the girl herself, and not some point in the room. She returned, the clinking of her jewelry foretelling her footsteps, like bells.

He held his hands in his lap, still nervous as she sat in the seat across him.

"You're supposed to give me your hand," she said gently, and he did, albeit a bit clumsily.

Her fingers were soft, they tickled against his palm. Pelleas pulled back, startled at the contact, as if he'd touched a live wire.

"Come now, there's nothing to be afraid of. Or did I tickle you?"

"Just startled," Pelleas said too quickly. He held out his hand again and she took it.

"I see much tragedy in this line..."

His heart sunk. He'd already seen so much failure and sadness in his short life. It stung that it seemed his fate was merely to spiral downwards without end.

"...But a chance for happiness as well."

A burst of hope came through the clouds that had descended. As long as there was a chance, then maybe, maybe any future tragedy could be bearable.

"Ah, love line," she mused. "You'll find a great love soon. You're lucky, it takes most people their whole lives or longer."

"Really?" he said.

"I've never been wrong before. Well, except that once, but he had it coming."

This wasn't particularly comforting, she muttered something about other teams and games that went far too close and something about the father of 'Sothe's' children. Pelleas was thoroughly confused but thought better than to ask.

"And despite the dark times coming, you'll have a ray of hope and light come into your life. And—"

She stopped for a moment and studied him, as if finding something she hadn't seen before. She moved her lips as if to speak again, but was cut off by the arrival of a rather sullen looking boy with green hair. His shirt looked almost like a bustier more than a man's shirt, it laced up the front and left quite a bit of well-toned stomach exposed.

"I'll only be a moment, if you'll excuse me, I must attend to some business."

Pelleas wandered outside, trying not to listen to the murmur of their voices. He waited for them and shuffled his feet. The time drew farther and yet he still waited. His shoes were all covered in dust now, and more than a few people had given him pointed stares.

"I'm waiting for someone–" he said, to no one and everyone in particular.

Finally, worry got the better of him and he pushed aside the curtain.

"Hello, miss–?"

The sign had been partially knocked over and hung halfway down. A chair had been knocked over, but the room was empty. The exotic fragrance still lingered on in the air, even with her absence.

She had vanished.

.

Pelleas searched for three days straight, but she never appeared at the fair again. He questioned all of the staff, but none of them seemed to remember a girl like that. It had been on the outskirts of the fest, and few recalled one tiny stall. The room, if you could call it that, had obviously been homemade. They had packed up without a word, or even a note. No 'out to lunch' sign, no trace that anyone had ever been there at all.

He began to wonder if she hadn't been a spirit, some lost ghost after all. Maybe he had dreamt it all. She had seemed unreal from the start. He had never experienced hallucinations before, but then, insanity did come up often in his family, from both sides of his family. Perhaps genetics had doomed him after all.

However he couldn't simply forget her. The touch of her hand, the scent, it was all burned too deeply to be simply some madman's dream. And then there was the way she had disappeared. That boy, that sudden departure after she'd said she'd only be gone a moment. He'd thought – been isure/I that she'd return. He'd even waited outside the frame for hours until it grew dark again and he finally was forced to leave.

When he returned home he sighed and sifted through the bags of what little he had purchased at the festival What he hadn't noticed in the same small bag as the gift for his mother was a note. He unfolded it, curious to see what he had forgotten.

The stationary depicted a sun rising over snow mountains, and below it writen in neat flowing writting was a message.

You look like you need all the luck you can get, so I enclosed a good luck charm.

It looked almost like a tea bag in shape, though it was embroidered with red thread and made of a rough material. Runes were stitched in and a feather was knotted in with white string.

It had the same exotic aroma of spices and herbs that she had, the exact same scent dispersed any linger doubts he might have had.

The note wasn't signed, but it was something. He folded it again with the charm enclosed within it again and placed it back in his pocket.

The weight of it there reminded him that she was real.

.

Pelleas tried to never trouble his brother, It was just one of the things he'd learnt while growing up. Soren was bitter and scathing and asking him about things, even simple homework problems that would take approximately zero-point-five seconds for Soren to calculate was something he just didn't do. Soren had made it clear that he was not his brother's keeper; Pelleas never had to question whether Soren would care about an issue at hand for he already knew the answer: he wouldn't.

Only when he was at his most desperate state would Pelleas have even thought about asking Soren, and he'd reached it. It'd been a week since then, and every thread had lead nowhere. He'd tracked down the festival in the next county but found that she wasn't among them. Through he had searched for other customers, they only remembered her as the "Dawn Maiden"

Searching more on the "Dawn Maiden" by word of mouth lead to mere rumors. Searches online brought forth charity marches, conspiracy sites and user names, but no silver haired girls.

So the only thing left was to request Soren's help.

Pelleas felt a lump in his throat as he ascended the stairs. When he rapped against the door, it was slightly ajar, he took it as a gift from fate and opened it the rest of the way. Soren never left his doors unlocked, and more likely than not would've not answered the door had he seen that Pelleas was the one doing the knocking.

Soren had done it one more than one occasion. Pelleas wouldn't put it past his brother to do it again.

Pelleas passed by the clean hallway, and made sure to wipe his shoes before going past the beige carpet and into the neutral-colored kitchen. If he left even one spot, Soren would make him pay for cleaning the entire thing.

His brother's back was turned to him as he attended the coffeepot with more love than Pelleas had ever seen him treat a human. And that was about the time he noticed that Soren was not alone.

"Soren I— There's a man in your kitchen, Soren. A naked man!"

"Indeed," Soren said.

"I'm wearing a towel," the man said, and continued eating.

Pelleas felt like fainting. His head felt dizzy, he was sure he was having an asthma attack. He'd always thought that Soren was completely asexual, after all, it seemed fitting for his brother to only turn to his calculations for any affection. The thought of him being gay never crossed his mind. At all. And wasn't homosexuality hereditary? He looked again and noticed just how well kept this man was. He was rather...handsome, Pelleas admitted. Blue hair, that was wet and plastered to his face, he looked like the kind of person who worked out often, as he was quite well built. Actually, he was quite handsome. Pelleas wrenched his gaze away and stared at the wall. A very clean wall indeed.

"You should go put some pants on before he has a panic attack," Soren said. His hand rested on the man's shoulder possessively. He glared at Pelleas as if he had read his errant thoughts. Pelleas wouldn't put such a thing past Soren, honestly.

The man shrugged and left the room, Pelleas forced himself to continue staring at the wall and not his brother's boyfriend's well-toned abs. It was a more difficult feat than he imagined.

"So. Why are you here?" Soren said with more than a trace of annoyance in his voice.

"I met someone," he said.

"Good for you," Soren said sardonically.

Pelleas continued on, ignoring the tone in Soren's voice. Eighteen years had accustomed him to Soren's bitterness.

"But she disappeared – I have to find her! I tried the agency and she only was working there that one time for a friend and that guy quit and I can't get them to tell me her number– I waited outside for hours and she didn't come back— "

That's called 'stalking', Pelleas," Soren said.

"–and I don't know her name. I...forgot to ask her."

Pelleas hung his head. "She– She left very quickly and I'm afraid she might've been in some kind of trouble. She'd said she'd only be a moment and then she just vanished. I'm not sure what to do."

Soren let out a long sigh and turned his eyes heavenward. "I can hardly imagine why anyone would want to disappear on you, Pelleas."

"I...I don't know what to do. I've looked everywhere and I wouldn't have asked if it wasn't an emergency–"

His brother's 'roommate' chose that moment to return. This time in a rather snug pair of jeans and no shirt. Soren raised an eyebrow.

"It's wash day. Everything else is dirty."

Pelleas inspected the floor tiles. They were rather old yet quaint, gold flecks in a cream background. They were a bit scuffed but kept very clean. Soren always was OCD about such things. What he did not focus on was the now-half-naked-man-sitting-in-Soren's-kitchen-who-probably-slept-with-him-last-night. That thought brought an unwelcome visualization with it, and Pelleas swallowed nervously.

"So, this girl," Soren said.

"I have to find her," Pelleas said. Even as he tried to make himself sound stronger, it came out sounding mournful and pleading.

"And you want me to help?" Soren said.

"If you could– I'll never ask again, just this one thing– Please..."

"I know a private detective," the man cut in.

"Him? Are you sure you want to send him there, Ike?" Soren said, inclining his head in Pelleas' direction.

"If he's got the cash, Volke can find her."

"She was....like a dream," Pelleas said, now caught up in a reverie of the memory of her.

"That'll certainly help him find her," Soren muttered.

"I've got his address somewhere, let me check," Ike said.

"It's on the shelf next to the bed," Soren said without looking up.

"Thanks," Ike said.

Soren turned to him, and Pelleas nearly flinched under the fierceness of that glare. "We'll help, but you are under no circumstances to ever tell mother about this, or show up unannounced in my kitchen again. Understood?"

Pelleas nodded. Soren could be positively frightening at times.

.

Soren thought it would be unwise to let Pelleas be alone on his way to Volke's, and even more unwise to leave his brother alone with his boyfriend. They took Soren's car, a economic maroon Ford Prius that got excellent gas mileage. It was a good thing for that bit of foresight, as Ike's truck had no backseat, and Soren wasn't adverse to putting him in the back of the truck or tying him to the bumper.

Soren took the front seat and Pelleas was relegated to the backseat. He clasped his hands in his lap. He felt about as mature as a five year old, and just as courageous. Soren did tend to have that effect on him. It didn't help that Soren was giving him suspicious glares though the rearview mirror. It seemed even though the entire mission was to find the girl of Pelleas' dreams, Soren wasn't taking even the slightest of chances.

The part of town the detective – Volke, he remembered his name as being – was far worse than he had expected The walls were cracked, rust seemed to ooze off of every corner. He'd always been sheltered from this kind of life. Almedha had ensured that he'd been practically carried to his high Ivy League college. She'd have carried him herself if he'd let her.

They approached a bar and stopped, choosing to park in plain sight.

"This better be quick.," Soren said. He surveyed the streets but found nothing suspicious, no imminent danger to be seen.

"I doubt your car will be jacked, it's too dorky. Let's go," Ike replied.

It was dark inside the bar, murky and smelled of scents that Pelleas had never before experienced. The thick burn of alcohol and cigarettes, lust and sex and sweat all hung in the air, like the memories of past sins and past lives all lived to their shortest and fullest in this very room.

Ike approached the bar and leaned on it, and sure enough, it caught the bartender's eye.

"Is the fireman in?" Ike said.

The bartender looked him over once before nodding. He motioned with his shoulder to the room behind the bar.

Ike nodded back. "Thanks."

They pushed aside the bead curtains and ascended the rickety stairway beyond.

Volke was a tall man, dark brown hair and darker eyes. His suit resembled the stereotypical private detective right down to the hat. It was almost jarring how he looked as if he'd stepped directly out of a 1920's movie screen.

"Back from another contract?" Soren said with a sort of sarcastic amusement.

"That's confidential," Volke replied.

"I suppose you need no introductions," Soren said. "My brother wishes to contract you." Soren said.

"I see," Volke said.

A few moments passed and no one said anything. Volke was mostly expressionless, but if he did have any, it was an expectant look.

Soren glared at Pelleas. "I repeat. My brother would like to contract you."

"Oh– That was a cue? Sorry–"

Pelleas cleared his throat and began the tale.

"There's this girl I have to find. I found her at a festival, she was telling fortunes. Halfway through a green haired boy in a woman's shirt came in and pulled her out for something. They seemed to be arguing and then she just.... disappeared."

Volke seemed thoughtful, or at least quiet as he took in the details.

Pelleas babbled on, unable to stop now that he had started. "She left me a note too, see? I didn't realize it until later."

He handed the note over and hoped secretly that he wouldn't be required for Volke to keep it. It was the only thing he had to prove that this wasn't some madness.

Volke looked long and hard over the writing and finally gave it back to him.

"Contract accepted," he said.

Soren stepped forward, now was his turn to shine in all his innate miserly glory "About the contract fees—"

"50,000."

"50,000 for simply finding a girl? That's ludicrous. There's five other investigators who would charge a fraction of that price in this city alone," Soren said.

"Then ask them."

Soren named another price, and Volke responded. They sparred verbally, with Volke holding fast and Soren pushing ever lower.

Finally they settled on a price, far lower than the initial but far from cheap.

"Take this as a starter." Ike laid down an large bill.

"Ike," Soren hissed.

"He's family," Ike said.

And the matter was settled.

.

Volke asked for a steep amount, but Ike had assured that the was worth it. You just didn't find private detectives like Volke these days.

It'd taken over a week before Volke even reported the slightest of hints that he'd found traces of the girl. That week went by with painful slowness, and Pelleas always felt like he was dancing on the verge of anxiety. He couldn't keep it from his mind, even during class he accidentally responded 'fortune teller' to an easy historical question that he knew quite well.

It felt like a sickness, though Pelleas had never caught this kind before. He felt nervous and couldn't sleep. His thoughts keep going back to her — worry, he told himself. Merely worry for her safety.

Pelleas spent what seemed like days pacing the length of Soren's kitchen.

"I think the suspense might kill him," Ike said.

"If I don't get to him first," Soren muttered.

.

Another week and the report had been returned. Her mysterious disappearance had been to a neighboring country, her homeland. Daein. The place he had lived in when he was young, the place where snow fell over the rough ground almost the whole year long.

When they got the news Ike took off work and even brought a friend to help along. Upon hearing this news Soren faked a sick day and came along as well.

Much to Soren's disapproval, the friend had called shotgun before he could and now sat close to Ike. Pelleas spent the entire four hour drive afraid to breathe lest Soren snap at him. He was none too happy at being relegated to the backseat while Ike and his friend exchanged playful banter and laughs together. Once, the friend had even jokingly cuffed Ike on the shoulder. If someone could be glared to death Ranulf would've died ten times already.

When they finally passed the border into Daein Pelleas was surprised at how antique it seemed. It looked like another century with old broken down houses and medieval castles littering the landscape. Everything was dusted in white,

By the time they got to the location specified by Volke it was already past midday and coming into evening. He hoped they hadn't arrived too late.

"What do we do now?" Pelleas said.

"We wait," Ike said.

And wait they did. After a 'supply gathering mission' at the nearest convenience store they at least had some food and drink to tide them until the girl showed. Volke had assured them that she came there every day at precisely this time.

Ike and Ranulf talked away, and Pelleas feared if they didn't find her soon that he would be witness to a murder and have to keep the secret of the body buried in their backyard. He really didn't put it past Soren especially with all the possessive death glares he was sending Ranulf's way. And Pelleas was horrible at keeping those kind of secrets, he'd stutter out that No of course they didn't have a body hidden behind the shed! to the first waitress who asked his order.

Luckily, she showed within the hour, but she wasn't alone.

"Would that be her hugging that green-haired guy?" Soren said.

Pelleas's face fell. His world was crashing down. Of course she would have a boyfriend, that was the way life worked, didn't it? The same boy from before who had spirited her away. Maybe he'd been jealous, or had a Soren moment. Either way, the mystery of her disappearance had been solved.

"He could be her brother for all we know," Ike said.

"Let me see those," Ranulf said and plucked them from Ike's hands. Soren sent a scowl his way.

"Please, I'm taken," Ranulf said.

"So is he," Soren muttered.

He focused on the scene. He squinted and only watched a few more moments before setting the binoculars aside.

"Yeaah. He's gay."

"How can you tell from this distance?" Soren said with some irritation.

"No straight man would ever wear a shirt like that. Notice the amount of belly showing? He might as well be wearing a rainbow sign saying 'I love my boyfriend'"

"He might be an actor, or dancer," Soren said.

"Or maybe he's actually an actor portraying a gay man. Seriously, trust me on this. He's gay."

"Well, I suppose you'd know," Soren said.

"It's my specialty," Ranulf said. "My gaydar is so well honed, I dubbed Ike gay at first sight, and you before I even met you face to face."

"Hmm," was Soren's only reply.

"Yeah, guys, I think she noticed us," Ike cut in.

With her staring curiously at them, there was no way to simply sneak out unseen. The boy looked too, except his was the kind of glare that was nearly Sorenesque in nature.

Ike got out of the car, followed by Ranulf and Soren. Really, there was no choice but to talk to her now. Pelleas withdrew himself from the car. After such a long wait his legs had fallen asleep and he had to cling to the side of the car lest he topple over.

"Ah...Hello," Pelleas said.

"Hello again," she said and smiled up at him. "Funny meeting you here."

"Um, yes. It's quite the coincidence," Pelleas said. He shifted from foot to foot, unsure what else to say to explain his presence.

"We're here with my brother waiting for his boyfriend," she said. She hadn't actually emphasized those words, but in his mind they sounded like a heavenly chorus. Both Ranulf and Ike had been right, the boy wasn't her lover.

She smiled and he smiled back and it was awkward and heavenly and Pelleas thought for just then that he might just have a chance.

Sothe rolled his eyes and then locked eyes on Ike and didn't see anything else. In fact, he dropped his spoon and was gaping in a distinctly adoring way.

"Commander Ike? The Commander Ike? Is that you?"

Pelleas was just close enough to hear the girl mutter oh not this again.

"Sothe!" she hissed. "You're not supposed to be fraternizing with the enemy."

"But– You saw that last pass he caught during the last championship! He was amazing."

"A pass that took away Daein's rightful glory. We were only one game away from the title," she said.

"King Ashnard's training techniques would've gotten us disqualified anyways, so it's null," Sothe shot back.

"My sister really takes really football seriously," Sothe said. She frowned at him but he was too busy staring at Ike to notice.

It was about that time that Soren realized the connotations of this conversation and Sothe's adoration. He frowned. Her brother was looking at Ike. This wasn't good at all.

Pelleas saw the grimace unfold that he'd already begun to recognize. It was the 'someone is threatening my claim on Ike' look. To Soren it didn't matter if the actual threat was logical, for Ike seemed the one point where logic failed when it came to Soren.

Soren stepped in-between Sothe and his lover and gave a searing glare.

"Our work here is done. We have errands, Ike. Very important errands," Soren said through clenched teeth. He gripped Ike's arm and tugged him in the other direction, to a place where the girl's jailbait bellyshirt-wearing brother wasn't staring at his boyfriend. with such obvious awe.

Ike came along with no complaint. He was used to Soren dragging him from adoring women and adoring teenage jailbait alike. Not that he had ever noticed the women or jailbait, but he noticed the being dragged even if he was rather clueless as to the reason why.

Sothe seemed disappointed at the loss, but Pelleas could swear that the girl seemed almost smug about the situation.

Right on time came the sound of a very large boom and a hasty apology before the sound of running. Out from the sidestreet came a red-haired boy who wore a long velvet red cape, red hot pants and...goggles over his eyes. Pelleas blinked several times. Blinking did not manage to make the image any less bizarre.

"Never fear, Tormod is here!" he cried and charged ahead. He jumped at Sothe, a flying hug that nearly knocked him over.

"You idiot!" Sothe said, but with obvious pleasure in his voice.

"My brothers are so weird," she said affectionately.

Pelleas almost did a double take, thinking wait, incest? but thought better of it. She meant something else, surely.

"I brought the good stuff," Tormod said. He pulled out a bulging backpack. Inside fireworks of every kind stuck out, even some large sticks that looked suspiciously like dynamite.

"M-80's! And more!"

Pelleas surmised that their usual dates involved explosives strong enough to demolish small buildings. The smile that spread across Sothe's previously sullen face proved that assumption.

"C'mon, Sothe. Let's go set these beauties off. It's gonna be so BIG and amazing!" With that they left for the backstreet parking lot to test out the explosives.

Pelleas wasn't quite sure what to add after that display. There just was no second act to jailbait brother and the explosive hotpants goggleboy.

"You were saying before we were interrupted?" She prompted.

"Oh– Sorry, I—. You disappeared so suddenly and under those circumstances...I was worried." Pelleas said.

"Sothe had to escape something. Lawmakers just don't understand his art. Or his habit of accidentally destroying property or acquiring it."

"...Oh, I see," Pelleas said. "I just was um, worried."

"Thank you, but I'm fine. Was that all?" She said.

"I.... I wanted to know your name," Pelleas said.

"It's Micaiah. Nice to meet you, Pelleas."

"I'm Pe– wait, you knew who I was? Seriously?"

"I'm a fortune teller, it's my job to know."

"Still, it's amazing, I never had a chance to tell you– You can read minds?"

"I can read IDs. And you dropped yours last time we met."

She held it up. The picture there was a particularly bad one, he looked like a small, sad beaten puppy. To be fair he'd just spent half a day with Soren and was on the verge of a mental breakdown that day, but there was no disclaimer on the jacket that mentioned that.

"Oh, thank you. I was wondering where I misplaced that."

"I'm glad to help," she said.

She squinted at the large ornate clock on the side of the building. Pelleas was suddenly reminded of time, and how much had passed and how likely it was that Soren would drive off without him.

"I have to get back," he said, rather abruptly. "Will I ever see you again?"

"One day soon. It's fate," she said.

Pelleas trekked back the short walk to the car, his head more in the clouds than on earth. She was real, she existed and he'd talked to her. He rode on waves of euphoria. Everything was perfect, everything was right in the world.

Ranulf leaned against a nearby building grinning the kind of lascivious college boy dirty joke kind of grin.

"I wouldn't go back there if I were you," Ranulf said. "If that Prius be a rockin' you really don't wanna be a-knockin'"

"Pardon?" Pelleas said.

"Soren's staking his claim looks like. Or sounds like, I should say. I'm calling a friend to take me back, but I doubt you'll want to risk Soren's wrath right about now," Ranulf said.

"You mean— They're, They're–?"

Ranulf shrugged. "Ike is taking one for the team. Imagine what Soren would be like if he wasn't getting laid. He may have just saved the world from destruction, considering half the time I swear Soren looks like he might flip out and kill people."

"Well, that does sound like Soren... this is very recent-- I didn't even know my brother had a...lover for the longest time," Pelleas said.

"Then you know exactly what I'm talking about. I bet he must've been some brother to live with, eh?"

Pelleas chuckled nervously. Ranulf had no idea.

"I'd advise you ask her for a ride home if you know what I mean."

"..I'm not sure that I do, actually," Pelleas said.

Ranulf's smile was frozen on his face, whether in shock or amused disbelief Pelleas couldn't tell.

"Any chance you're adopted?"

"What?" Pelleas said.

"Just wondering. Anyways, you'd better go catch up with her unless you want to be wandering around the streets of Daein for a while. I wouldn't put it past Soren to ditch you here because you got in the way of his Ike Time."

Pelleas wouldn't put it past him either.

With a hurried goodbye Pelleas rushed out and back to the café only to find it empty. The snow was covered in footprints all leading different ways and there was no way he could discern hers from the rest.

He took a chance. He left it to fate. He made a choice.

Down the left hand side through the stone arch to the courtyard beyond. He hardly noticed the snow dusted cracked fountains and rusted statues. For that moment the buildings were inconsequential, minute, and so far away. For they weren't her.

He cupped his gloveless hands to make the sound carry farther.

"Micaiah!" He called.

"Mi–" he had to bend over to catch his breath. Already his lungs were aching, he coughed as the cold air burned his lungs.

"Pelleas— Are you ok?"

"Micaiah I—" He bent over and coughed and he felt her hand on his back, steadying and comforting him.

"Just take a second and breathe," she said. "Did you forget to tell me something?"

"Um.... Could you take me home? I uh, don't have a ride—"

"He left you here? Some kind of hero he is."

"Um, actually that was Soren's doing–"

But Micaiah didn't hear him. Nothing got in her way of vilifying the man who had stolen the greatest victory in the past twenty years from Daein's clutches.

"Actually, it's far too late to drive you, considering the time. It'd be midnight by the time we got back to Crimea," she said.

"Oh.. Of course. I'm sorry to impose like that. I'll find a place and call my mother to come pick me up."

"–No, I was suggesting you stay overnight at my apartment. Sothe's gone off with Tormod so it'll be quiet."

"Ah, as long as you have an extra room or a couch and it isn't too much trouble..." Pelleas said.

She blinked twice before she took in the full meaning of his response. "You're very...chivalrous, you know that? Or maybe 'innocent' is a better word for it," she said.

"I'm sorry?" Pelleas said.

"No..that's a good thing. You don't see that very often these days." She smiled up at him. "You've got a good heart."

"You know, I wasn't surprised when you came because I had a vision."

"A vision..? Of me?" Pelleas said. He looked so quizzical and helpless that Micaiah couldn't help but laugh.

She brushed a stray snowflake from his hair. "I told you that you'd find a great love soon, didn't I?"

She leaned up and he was entirely unprepared for the warmth of her lips touching his. It was gentle, and yet left a spark of pleasure that burrowed deep within him. It was his first and last kiss, the end of his cold, dark life before and the beginning of a new world opened up to him. She took his hand and he didn't feel cold any longer. All he could feel was the heat from her delicate hands interwoven with his.

"I told you, I'm never wrong about these things," she said.

.

Assorted Final Notes:

Being as it was Pelleas they totally drank hot cocoa and watched Pretty Woman together before he fell asleep on the couch. And had innocent dreams.

I now have the mental image of eventual family bonding of Ike and Micaiah over football. Soren is horribly bored and rather jealous of the TV's hold on Ike's attention. Micaiah always roots for the underdog teams. Both she and Ike yell at the TV at every bad play or mishap and they always root for opposing teams.

This 'verse was far too fun to abandon so will probably have at least one follow up. Probably two as I wanted to give this verse's Ike and Soren a backstory.