Title: Catharsis 4/4
Series: FE9 AU
Character/Pairing: Ike/Soren , there's minor mentioned BoydMist and TitaniaRhys (with a brief mention to GreilTitania that never was, but that's canon anyways) and Ranulf/his fanclub
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU Trust stemmed the bleeding, comfort dulled the pain.
A/N: lj user=30_ways #30 - Love / The Gauntlet: 18) We all are in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars.

Well, that's all folks! Thanks to Myaru, Saaski and Searains for offering support, suggestions and corrections. Depending on how lazy/distracted you may see an epic edit/compress/rewritething from R_amythest. IS SHE A BAD ENOUGH DUDE TO EDIT 13,000+ WORDS? WE'LL SEE. (And I'll link it if it does happen.) And yes it did hit 13,000 in the end as I reworked a part. Alas, I wanted to avoid the unlucky numbers. Drat.



Spring melded into summer all too fast.

Soren was a staple at their house now. In fact, if Soren didn't show up, Mist and Titania would be asking after him. He fit there with them, it was now his place as much as theirs.

For a short period, there would be no books, but that didn't mean Soren would be leaving Ike's side anytime soon.

Soren sat, legs crossed and peered out at the scene in the window. Earlier, Boyd had been spraying Mist with a hose. Their laughter and her shrieks had carried into his ears. Now it had grown far dark and clouds covered the stars, much like that rainy night months ago. How much had changed since that first cigarette taste? So much that looking back felt like looking at another person, a written story told, perhaps fictional.

"Mist and Boyd went off to some Basketball game."

Ike's derision of the sport was innocent, and yet blunt as always. Ike never lied and tried to pretend he was fine with things he didn't care for. It was one of Ike's many idiosyncrasies, one of the many facets Soren had learned through the short time of knowing him.

There would be time to learn more, surely there would.

Ike sat beside him on the bed. His hand was coarse and in contrast of Soren's sharp, angular face. The heat of the contact was a surprise, the sheer gesture of it more so.

"Mist says that I'm horrible at these kinds of things."

"...'t-these kinds of things'?" Soren stuttered out. The words stuck to his throat as he said them. His pulse raised to a frenetic pace from the contact.

"This is the part where I go 'I love you', I think," Ike said.

Soren's breath caught. "I-Ike...."

This was all the things building inside him that he again couldn't bring into coherence or tell. Had Ike known all along? Or perhaps every time he'd accepted or reached for Soren simply been a step towards this moment.

"And this is the part where I kiss you."

"...yes, that's the par—"

His words disappeared into the kiss, dissolving into the crushing softness of lip on lip. It wasn't earth shattering. It was clumsy and slopping, their mouths met at odd angles. It was not the kind of kisses of movies or novels, but it was a step forward. It was a a change to them and their boundaries, and most of all, the sameness. This was the last stage to be broken, and Soren accepted this. Whatever it was, he would take it. Even if the fear came, oppressive and suffocating, they'd find a way out of it together.

His hands were beneath Ike's shirt, determinedly pushing it up to reveal more skin. Ike returned the favor likewise, his hands up the curve of Soren's back.

There was a long scar on the palm of his hand, from a shard of glass that had broken apart when dropped. He had been a mere child grasping at something bright. She had slapped him over the face for that. Before she could clean it up, he had taken the piece of glass himself, and she had done nothing. It had grown infected and she had crossed her fingers and hoped that this little useless devil child would rot away so he could be thrown out just like any common refuse.

Ike touched over these unspoken histories of pain, his fingertips and his callouses to Soren's scars. It was like telling secrets without ever moving his lips to make a sound. I had to touch the strings until my fingers were bloody. and there I walked barefoot until my feet were bloodied and filled with gravel and grass.

Soren traced over where the bullet wound had been. I watched my father die.

There was a large scar across Ike's chest. (training accident.) and one on his leg, downwards (broken leg from attempting to fly at age five.)

And there was a mutual understanding, one that needed no spoken language to convey. They kissed, they touched, and their bodies learned a language of comfort; of possible happiness held together by hands clasped.


Soren woke. His hair had tangled in the night (not surprising, give how he'd been pushed into the sheets.) He ached all over. He twisted slightly and felt the touch of Ike's skin all over again. Warm and smooth, the feel of his hands skimming over the line of Ike's thighs was a treatise of why to sleep in.

Mist looked in. She giggled softly for a moment I called it! I called it from the beginning!

Soren inwardly sighed and buried his face against the sheets. They wouldn't be secret for long.
They only had graduation to go, and that was only weeks away. Soren kept Ike to his studies to ensure he passed.

Mist's interruption had broken the spell of sleepy intimacy. Soren disentangled himself and padded to the floor. His clothes were in shambles. He grimaced at them. Still, there was no choice. He pulled his pants on, and was just about to pull his black t-shirt over his head when he heard a groan.

"Good morning," Soren said. He couldn't quite keep the smugness out of his voices. He'd gotten Ike into this groggy, drowned in sex look, after all.

"Mmn," Ike said.

Soren guessed Ike never had been a morning person.

"Mist came in. I'm sure you'll be dealing with her fangirlish glee for weeks afterwards," Soren said, quite flatly.

Ike groaned into the pillow.

"I'm sure she's made breakfast by now. Perhaps it will be a special variety in 'celebration'."

Ike perked up at the mention of this.

"With bacon and eggs and pancakes?"

"Perhaps," Soren said.

This was the magic word to rouse Ike from his bed. He leaned up, far more clear-eyed than before.

"Are you staying for breakfast?"

Soren shook his head. "No. I should head back. I've some things to take care of."

"Ah. ...Soren. Come by later, will you? I've got something to show you."

"Yes, Ike," Soren said.


"Consummated your true love, I take it?" Stefan said wryly when Soren opened the door.

He looked over Soren appraisingly, taking in the wrinkled clothes that had spent the night on the floor in a heap (something only impromptu sex could've caused, as no matter how tired, Soren would've folded his things.) to his unbrushed hair.


"My life is none of your concern."

Stefan sighed. "You never change. Here I thought finding someone would make you at least a little more pleasant."

Soren simply gave a long scathing look before turning on his heel. He could hear still hear the sound of Stefan chuckling at his expense.

At least this time Mordecai wasn't there trying to be the father figure he never had and giving him bone-crushing hugs. There were some things to be appreciative of, after all.


Soren hadn't expected the drive, nor had he packed for it. He knew the highways before Ike even said where they were going. This time, Gallia was a far gentler locale to spend time in.

The place they stopped off at wasn't the jungle fort, but a kinder field. There was a fort that lacked the malevolence of the first. It seemed merely between owners. Its rusted doors and bent panes seemed nostalgic, and quaint in their own, bucolic way.

Soren swatted at a mosquito, and Ike handed over some spray. It put a damper on the place, but that was life. Nothing was truly idyllic in the end.

"Did you even tell Stefan you'd be gone?"

"No. I doubt he'd notice my absence," Soren said.

"You know he probably cares about you in his own way," Ike said. His hand sought Soren's shoulder and Soren didn't shrug him off.

"...Don't just assume things," he said.

"He was the one who told me to go after you. I was going to let you be for a few days so you'd cool off. He even mentioned something about how if I 'broke your heart'..."

Soren snorted. "He probably did it for his own amusement."

The grass was wet with dew. They weren't close to the ponds, but Soren could still hear the chreep chreeping. It was a cloudless night with the universe on display. There, Orion, and there, Cassopia. Whole religions had been formed of this backdrop, many lives had been spent looking up. Soren's interest was only mild and scholarly. He was far more interested in the person beside him.

Soren heard the sound of a pack being shuffled, and saw the light of a flame to ember. After Ike took a drag, Soren held out his hand for his turn.

The only light save for the stars was the embers of a cigarette passed from mouth to mouth, compressed by two different sets of lips from each turn. Somewhere, the frogs droned their mating calls on. Perhaps it was music to other's ears, but certainly it wasn't to his. He found no inspiration in them.

"An infernal racket..." Soren muttered.

Ike chuckled. "I don't mind them as much. I guess because I was raised out here even if I don't remember it. It must be in my blood."

More like subconscious memories.

"I should quit," Ike said. His fingers were tobacco stained, his clothes still reeked of the caustic scent.

"I can order materials when we return," Soren said.

"Nah, I'd go cold turkey."

Soren knew that Ike would succeed. He would fight and he would overcome the addiction. That was just the kind of person Ike was.

"Hey, where are you going to college?"

"Hmmm. I haven't picked yet," Soren said.

"Let me know when you do," Ike said. "I'm probably going to go to the community college if at all. You could come live with us if you go around here. I really don't think you'd like dorm life."

You could share my home, share my bed, share my life.

Soren said nothing. His thoughts overflowed into thousands of oceanic pooled pockets of different worries. Ike could tire of him, throw him out, find that he preferred women– But Ike filled the silence instinctively, and he said exactly the right words without ever truly saying them.

"Living happily, huh," Ike said. "I could try that."

He lifted Soren's chin and stole a quick kiss, a faint brush of lips that was slightly moist and warm and electrifying. Soren stared up, not quite surprised, yet not quite used to the attention as Ike smiled down at him.

Love was not a heal all, a balm to cure the rest. It would not erase the past or bring back Ike's father, but it was a bandage. Trust stemmed the bleeding, comfort dulled the pain. This would not change them entirely, but Soren thought that maybe he could learn to live happily too.