Title: The Fall And Rise Of Expectations
Series: FE10
Character/Pairing: Sothe, Micaiah. Mentions of Ike, Soren.
Rating: PG
A/N: comment_fic: Radiant Dawn, Sothe/Micaiah, not what she'd expected. It turned into pure gen, though. I must be spending too much time with Myaru. Post That One Base Scene Where Ike And Micaiah Talk.

.

When she returned to camp, Sothe sat alone by the campfire, in his usual brooding pose. His eyes drew to her, magnetic, and watched her intently. He had been waiting all this time.

He didn't have to ask the question, for she'd already sensed it. It almost made her want to roll her eyes all over again. She did that a lot when the topic of Sothe's former commander came up.

"I talked to him," she said. She sat across from him and put her hands in her lap.

"And?" Sothe said.

Micaiah pursed her lips. "With the way you paint him, you think he'd be some sort of god walking the Earth that graces us with his mere presence, and not simply a male beorc mercenary."

Sothe frowned. "A male beorc mercenary who saved us all and we owe our gratitude to–"

Micaiah cleared her throat. "From what he says, Soren owes a great deal of that honor as well. He's not a god, Sothe. Or the god's gift to womankind. Not that he seems to think so—"

She paused a moment, thoughtful, as if she felt a moment longer was needed to craft the words she would say. Sothe made as if to make some biting remark, but she lifted her hand, and he held his peace.

"I suppose...he isn't quite as bad as I imagined him to be. With the way you went on, I assumed him to be a pompous ass who did nothing but talk about himself and his own greatness. Instead I'm greeted with a coarse mercenary who gave up his title as a Lord to go back to his common roots."

Sothe nodded, and smiled fondly in reminiscence. "That's just like him."

He shifted, in thought, in another time. When the memory had passed farther, he looked back to her, leaning forward to meet her gaze.

What did you talk about?"

"You...his companion, the war.... many things... I don't envision him becoming my fondest friend, but I think tolerating him for your sake will be that much easier."

Sothe said nothing, still, the resonance, his frequency had calmed quite a bit. She knew he was pleased with this final peace between them.

She shook her head fondly, in the end, as much as he had grown, there was still a boyish part of him, deep down there somewhere. A boyish part who had ideals and held heroes to high, even impossible regards. It wasn't a bad thing to have hope in someone, but she'd had a niggling worry of that hope being betrayed. Now, the worry had been settled. She knew Ike wouldn't let Sothe's hopes down. Maybe he wasn't quite the amazing person Sothe thought him to be, but he was loyal and strong, and courageous enough to see this war through to its bitter end.

She had little complaint, now.

The campfire had burned down to mere embers. The little light the fire had left flickered over the dun tents and Sothe's face. He'd left a child and returned to her a man. Even still, there were childish ways in him. Through it all, he was still the same Sothe she'd known, for the differences were superfluous in the end.

She knew not the hour of the night, only that it was late. Most of the rest of the camp was already asleep. Sothe was on the point of nodding off, she knew. His eyes would flutter shut at first, and then his head would nod. He would start awake, as if there had been no sudden trace of weakness, as if sleep showed some crack in his manliness.

When he finally gave into sleep, admitted that it was a battle he would lose, he rose and muttered a night in her direction.

"And Sothe, one more thing..."

"Hmm?" He turned back to her, dulled with sleep.

"Please, keep it down with the inner paeans of Ike's glory. His companion would not be pleased to have more competition."

Sothe snorted. He said nothing, but she heard it all loud and clear.

She laugh to herself, in spite of herself.

And everything felt so serene now, the late hour, the release of a long held bitterness.

She supposed if Sothe had that much faith in Ike, then she'd just have to reconsider her earlier stance. She always trusted Sothe's hunches, for they were always inevitably right.