Summary: Soren knew this was what Ike had meant to do from the start; it was a silent agreement never confided to each other. Post RD. Soren-centric. IkeSoren friendship.

At the moment of parting

Strolling through the poorly lit corridors of the mercenary fort, he tried not to be engulfed by the festive mood of the group throwing a party on their first day back. It wasn't a difficult feat for him, Soren mused distractedly to himself, since he wasn't one to indulge in such boastful, (most infuriating) loud activities. He breathed in the scent of dusk with a heavy heart as he reached his doorway, his hand working the key in the lock with familiar ease.

Everything had been left as he had last seen them, only a layer of thick dust (and some pests' droppings) betrayed the solitary months that the room had spent without its owner. Waving a hand, Soren unleashed a small wind to wipe clean the mattress, and promptly dropped onto it, his back colliding with a pleasant thump. Not even bothering to discard the unneeded garments, he rolled over to his side, breathing in the (nonexistent) scent of home.

He waited most impatiently for sleep to placate his whirling mind; he did not want to feel anymore. He longed for not being the observant person he was, he wished to be oblivious to the most subtle change in behavior from him, he wanted to be able to forget the slight trembling of his smile as the unplanned celebration broke out in front of him, the nearly unnoticeable drop of his shoulders.

Soren didn't need more signs to tell that Ike was leaving that night. Slipping out of the festivity among the most common excuses and a simple apology (lies) was something he must've picked up from certain companion. He supposed that the mercenaries would be far too occupied with their celebration (and drinks) to notice their commander's absence until it was too late. Ike had packed lightly, he could tell by the barely audible footfalls and ease of his walk.

He did not show any sign of surprise (or understanding) when a shadow cut through the diming sunlight that had slipped into his room. Soren didn't acknowledge his awareness as Ike's voice called out for him. He kept his eyes tightly closed, concentrating on keeping his breathing stable against his frenzied (aching) heart. He allowed his mind to register the vibrations of the air stirred by Ike's voice; the warmth of his presence, the strength that radiated from his being. It would be the very last time Soren would experience it.

His entire life he'd swore to be always by his side, to be the same comfort Ike was to him. Ironic, really, that he had never achieved such goals and instead had been the one to be reassured by Ike. Soren had always backed off when it came to feelings; so many times he thought Ike didn't need him (comforting), the times Soren deemed it best to leave him alone at it since it was one's right (and obligation) to build one's strength.

Soren had put his best hopes on Ike coping up on his own, rather than consider Ike's innermost desire for a comforting presence, a change from being the reassuring one. But giving something that had not been asked for was a lesson Soren had never learned (ever practiced). The times he'd received as much as a contemptuous look when he'd timidly offered a flower to his first caretaker, the indifference the old sage had showed him when Soren exceeded the expectations for any child his age in his studies.

For his entire life, he'd been left alone, and in return, Soren too left things at it, never searching for that he knew he was missing; he grew up without it, he didn't need it at all. Everyone was the same too; as he started contact with society, he noticed how everything you give (loneliness) was returned in kind, but it always left you with the same cold sensation in your chest. He'd learned that when exposed to it in frequent intervals, he would become used to the coldness too; embrace it, become one with it.

This had been his world (hell) until Ike came along. The moment he'd stepped in Soren's story, he knew he was different (otherworldly). It was the very first anomaly to come into view. For once, Soren was offered something he had not asked for; he no longer knew how to react –all his life, he had to work to satisfy his needs, and even so, there were times when he was not granted them. He had been fearful; they had lied to him so many times he could hardly distinguish between truth and lies (reality and dreams). Was kind people part of the world in which he existed?

This kindness… it was warm. It was such a wonderful new sensation to Soren. But unlike anything he'd experienced until then, its feeling did not fade away one bit no matter how many times he was exposed to it. Soon, he found himself enchanted by it; it was something he couldn't get enough of. He searched for that warmth for many years, no longer able to feel the cold stares, the harsh words nor the indifference showered upon him by beorc and laguz alike. When he found the source of that warmth again, he could no longer part from it. He'd finally found his life's beacon.

As the years went by, he realized that someday, they'd walk on different roads. Soren knew this was what Ike had meant to do from the start; it was a silent agreement never confided to each other. Time was a feeble awareness to Soren, the blood he considered tainted in him had created such reality for him, yet now he could almost feel it slipping away from between his fingers.

He knew that in a few moments (broken fragments of his life), Ike would depart to never return, and Soren would be left to cling onto the end of his world for many years to pass, far longer than any of his 'family' would live. Long after any trace of warmth (comfort) had disappeared.

"I know you're awake," came Ike's voice, accompanied by a sigh as he settled on the bed's side, his back to Soren, who in turn, wasn't facing Ike. "It's almost too easy to just slip away from here now… Why are you doing this?"

Do you even need to ask? It's to make it easier to you… and to me. It's to never live this moment of parting and never have the memories to regret upon…, to never remember your remorseful expression over your bright smile.

Soren kept the silence. He didn't give any signs he was actually conscious; conscious of the pleasant weight against his back, of Ike's steady breathing… of the sorrow enveloping him. He just lay there, lying (reassuring) to himself. It was only right. It was Ike's right to leave and forget.

It's my obligation.

(Lies. Lies. Lies.)

The weight lifted. The warmth fled, only a few fragments clinging desperately onto Soren's very soul. His light steps, and finally, the words Soren daren't speak: "Thank you…, and good-bye."

Good-bye. Farewell… to my old life.


… And it's up to you to decide whether Soren leaves with Ike or not.

I had to get this story out of my head since it was starting to depress me. It's been a long, long while since I wrote something, and I didn't intend to put so many overused… passages in this story! They just come to attack you, even if you don't want them there. Accursed muse.