Summary; A short ficlet in which Ike and Soren discuss "home."
They say "home is where the heart is." I say I don't believe in such sentimentality. Home is merely a place in which to rest your head for the night—and even then, that place is constantly given to change. At least, during the course of my life, it has.
I contemplated this as I stood on a grassy knoll, soft breeze rifling through my dark hair. I reached up to pull stray locks from my eyes.
"Out here, the world is limitless, isn't it?" A voice came from behind me. I peered over my shoulder, though I didn't need to see with my own eyes to confirm who it was. There was no other in the world whose voice had the ability to still my heartbeat and then cause it to race like fire chased it. No other.
"Yes, well," I said, tucking the hair behind my ear and suppressing a strong urge to smile. "It's good to finally taste freedom."
After a lifetime in servitude to the country of Crimea in one way or another, I thought we both deserved a break. Ike looked down at me with warmth in his eyes, a smile playing on his lips. I wanted to touch him but I feared my own inability to restrain myself should I even break that wall. Instead, I turned back to the beautiful landscape ahead of me. Long stalks of grass in yellow and green swayed with the breeze, like waves of the ocean. The sky above was an unmarred blue, as far as the eye could see.
"Do you miss your home?" I asked. Ike was all I had—I didn't really miss a thing as long as he was beside me. But how did Ike feel, leaving behind all of his life, family, friends…?
"What do you mean, Soren?"
"To clarify, all that you've left behind; don't you miss it? Don't you ever wish to go back?"
"You think too much."
I sensed the affection in his voice, drawing my heart closer to the flame of his soul. Emotions in that vein disturbed me. I didn't like growing emotional, whether I was alone, with Ike, or in public. I didn't like letting my feelings cloud my logic, my judgment. So many others allowed it to be their downfall. I didn't want it being mine. I took a step forward, away from Ike, up further up the hill.
"It was tiring, carrying the country on my shoulders. This…" Ike flung an arm wide, indicating the lands around us. "This is true freedom from all that responsibility. Traveling, experiencing new places, meeting new people…"
"But what of your little sister—"
"She's in good hands. Soren…" Ike came round and cocked his head at me. He reached out and rapped me on the forehead. I briefly closed one eye. "What are you dwelling on?"
"There was a sign in the last place we stayed. A quaint little thing made of wood and painted crudely, as if a child had finger painted all over it. It said, 'Home is where the heart is.' It's a common enough phrase. It denotes the belief that it matters not where one lays their head, but only that there is love and comfort derived there."
"Your family. Your friends. The lands your father and mother loved and raised you in… You don't long for them?"
Ike didn't answer at first, instead, he let out a laugh and threw himself on the ground. He tugged on the sleeve of my robes; a playful glint graced his blue eyes.
"Come on. Sit, sit." After a moment of resistance, I finally gave in and complied. I smoothed my robes before I set my rump on the grass. Ike smirked at my fussy actions.
"There are so many different kinds of homes. You've known me… most of my life. Do you honestly think I'd be happy there? Lying around on some parcel of land, tending to fat farm animals, and taking care of my nieces and nephews when they visit? Or being called on to attend long, boring royal advisory meetings—not because I need to be there, but because of diplomatic protocol? I love those people and I love that land, but I know they're living their lives the way they want to. Just like you and me."
Ike placed one hand in the grass beside me and leaned forward. I went to brush another unruly strand of hair from my eyes and he brought his other hand up. I watched as he touched his fingers to mine and then entwined those fingers with mine. My eyes widened as they met his warm gaze. He smiled and his eyes could have lit the sun.
"Home is with you, Soren. Wherever that may be."
My lips curved upwards and I stared up at the sky. I turned back to him with a shyness that belied my deepest well of feelings.
"And my home is with you, Ike."