Summary: Of taxes, evergreens, parasitic plants, too much snow and all the other wonders that winter brings. IkeSoren
Rating: PG at most. It's tame
A/N: For the link meme. second response to the IkeSoren holiday fluff (and yes, I filled the first) A few people may recognize this similar to an unfinished Christmas fic which I had attempted last year. This is in essence, a rewritten version of it -- or at least an alternate take on the theme. (The original might be put on the drafts filter if anyone is particularly curious).
Anyways, happy holidays everyone! Whether it be Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Winter solstice or Saturnalia, have a good one.
Soren pulled on an extra set of leggings and his fur-lined thick cloak. These boots were thicker and fur-lined themselves, it felt like they were weighed down in lead. Soren hated the waste that came with buying a such an expensive winter wardrobe, but he did not withstand cold well. It was either constant misery and shivering or lugging around these thick clothing. There was no other option.
White snowflakes ambled down, but the chill was not so gentle. It was vicious, merciless and would cut through even the thickest of layerings. Soren pulled his cloak tighter around himself and pressed on into the full force of the blast. Cold assaulted his face, and he could already feel ice forming across his eyebrows.
The temperatures had reached record-breaking lows this year. It had been over a hundred years since there'd been a winter this bad. Some claimed this a sign of things to come but Soren brushed off such superstitious ramblings. Peasants would believe the sky was falling if a drop of rain fell on them.
Inside the fort was illuminated by candles and torches at every window. Mist had cut some boughs to hold with the traditions of the times. She had wrapped them in red ribbons and hung them on doors. She always took to every last festival or feast, there wasn't a celebration that would go by that she wouldn't enjoy to the very fullest. While the boughs may have brought some freshness to the stale air, the needles fell out at an astounding rate.
Mead and feasting was sure to occur within days, often to excess. Soren withdrew within these times for the lights, the crowds and sounds. He never partook in these exchanges of baked goods and affection, or at least to one extent. He always ensured that every last mark was tallied and that the taxes were complete far before the taxers would be arriving at their door. That was his gift to Ike, the same gift he gave every day of his service, his time and every moment of his time.
Midway through the tallying he found the third quarter's archive to have been left in the spare shed used for his own purposes. It had once housed rusty tools, but as Ike expanded and built larger sheds and outbuildings, this smaller one was relegated to his own needs. Soren mentally cursed himself for not extracting that needed volume before the storm had hit. He trudged on through the unkempt dunes of white and kept his eyes on the shed that would house the needed volume. Several steps through weather like this was tiring, but Soren pressed on. Even when the snow reached above his knees and it became a chore to even move, he pushed on.
He had heard the crunch of broken snow behind him, but hadn't looked back for once as he assumed it to be some drunken teammate off for some air (or Boyd off on an errand.) It wasn't until he heard it closer that he realized the person in question was near him.
And by then he was already halfway off the ground. Soren felt him being lifted him up, heavy cloak and all and swung up into someone's strong arms. Someone familiar, someone beloved, someone—
"Ike–! What are you doing?" He sputtered.
"Rescuing you, looks like," Ike said.
"I was doing fine," Soren said.
"That's why you were floundering about in waist-deep snow?"
"I have tasks to preform," Soren said.
"Still? Shouldn't you be enjoying the feast? I gave everyone the week off," Ike said wryly.
"Need you even ask? Saturnalia has never been my festival of choice. Besides, you know I don't take holidays," Soren said.
"Do you even have a festival of choice?"
"No, but this certainly does not rank high amongst them," Soren replied.
"Huh," Ike said.
"...You can put me down now," Soren said.
"Not a chance. What was it you were looking for out here, anyways?"
Soren sighed. "A book I needed to complete some things. I'm perfectly capable of finding it myself–"
"And I'm perfectly capable of carrying you," Ike said. "Wouldn't you keep records in the library, though?"
"I keep these records separate."
For Ike it only took a few long steps to make it to the shed. He didn't even set Soren down in the drafty, small shed for there lacked room. However, it didn't take much to point out the thick book of records which Ike extracted with ease.
The return trip went fast, a far simpler trip than the expedition that had been Soren's attempt to reach the shed. Winter proved no match for Ike's prowess, it seemed.
When they finally reached the door, Ike finally let Soren down. The door itself already had a green bough attached to it and turned to a circular wreath. A spray of small white blossoms (or were they berries?) surrounded by bundles of long, rounded leaves hug above the door. It was tied in length of deep crimson ribbon and blew forlornly with each gust, unprotected by the eaves and walls from the chilling wind.
"I keep seeing these around. What are they?"
"It's Mistletoe, a parasitic plant that resides in trees. There's quite a bit of unwarranted mythos surrounding it and to my knowledge it contains no medicinal properties and contains highly potent poisonous compounds." Soren said.
"That's it? Why would people hang it up if it's a parasite?"
Soren shrugged. "Traditions and superstitions. People kiss under it."
He bent down until their lips met. The place where Ike's lips met his was the only warm place, perhaps in the entire world at large. Even as the wind beat down upon and around him, and the swirling snow blew that point of contact remained warm. He felt Ike's cloak wrapping around him and him being drawn closer and everything was warm and comfortable and wonderful. They stayed that way for a long time even after their lips had parted.
And Soren did have to admit that the season seemed brighter after that, even if some certain members of their group and associated Gallian emissaries had taken to singing I Saw Ike Kissing His Tactician Underneath The Mistletoe Last Night at the top of their lungs after a bit too much ale.