Title: A Winter's Night
Character/Pairing: Ike/Soren, Boyd/Mist
Author's note: Pointless fluff of the winter variety which takes its inspiration from "Song For A Winter's Night" by Sarah Mclachlan (A cover, mind you) It was a Christmas gift for Guety.
Days before the winter solstice, there was a very heavy snowstorm, said to be the worst they'd seen in years. Soren, at twenty-three could only cite textbook examples wherein whole villages were buried in snow taller than a man's, or even a Laguz's head. They had to burrow through, like ants in their tunneling. Other, more original types took to skiing from upper windows to get about. Thankfully, the storm was not quite to that level, and yet it did come up to Ike's waist, which was saying something, given his height.
Lacking in upper stories, readied skiis, (as asking Shinon to sacrifice some of his bows for the greater good of the company was akin to begging him to feather you), and perhaps, originality in their leader, they set to work at digging their way out, and to check on the nearby villages.
Soren, having about the physical fortitude of a brittle twig, of course, opted to stay home. (There were mentions of Elfire clearings, but there were too many possible hitches in that plan for Soren not to gape, sputter, and call Boyd an idiot).
So he did as he always did, with some help to Mist in the kitchens, and when that had finished, he settled down to research the history of Lehran and Altina. Sentimental stuff, with a tragic ending. Still, it was good to know history, as history had a way of repeating itself.
Soren on chance happened to peer out the window when he was resting his eyes. There was a plume of grey smoke, rising to the sky, over the obscured, frosted over lower parts of the window. There was something else too – a shape? Soren squinted and saw the shape coming closer.
It eventually manifested as Boyd. Soren felt a twinge of irritation, and disappointment, but this was his default reaction to Boyd, especially when Boyd appeared instead of Ike.
"Phew, that was a workout!" Boyd said. "I thought my arms were going to fall off at one point."
Soren looked up from his tomes, and steeping second cup of tea. There was another cup by him, waiting.
"Ike's on the way. He's just putting the shovels away. He sent me in when I accidentally knocked them all over."
"Hmm," Soren said.
"Ooh, tea!" Boyd said, advancing on him. Soren grimaced. He looked down at the tea, Ike's tea, brewed just as he liked it, made just so it would be the perfect temperature when he got there. Soren had a thought, a pleasant thought of throwing his tea in Boyd's face. That'd teach him to mess with his (and Ike's things.)
Mist's voice from the kitchen stopped that disaster before it started.
"Boooyd! Come on, I've got stew in here! Beef stew."
A dreamy expression came over Boyd.
"Beef stew..." he said lovingly. "I have the best girl in the entire world."
He moved much like an enchanted man would, with bold strides, yet irregular towards the kitchen.
"Boots," Soren said pointedly.
"What?" Boyd said, stopping midstep.
"Your boots. You need to take them off or you'll track water inside."
Not to mention that Mist would skin him alive.
"Oh. Yeah," Boyd said, sheepish. He stepped backwards, with bits of dirty snow falling with each step. A few laces later and it was just his striped socks with a need of darning (courtesy of Mist).
Soren shook his head in slow irritation and returned to his books among the annoyance of the sounds of their chatter. Stupid lovers and their adulation. Oh well. At least they weren't consummating their love. That would go beyond mere annoyance. He sipped at his tea and returned to the tome which by now, he could barely pay attention to. It was ten minutes – Soren counted down to the second – when he heard someone at the door. His gaze flitted up, expectant to see exactly who he was waiting for.
Ike shook the snow from his hair. Ike was damp with accumulated sweat and melting snow, and where his cheeks had been exposed, he was ruddy to the point of wind burn. Soren shut the tome, and took his hands in his. He peeled the gloves and examined them this way and that, and when he had finally proven that there was no frostbite to worry about, he let go.
"I've made some tea and Mist prepared some beef stew," Soren said. "You should change out of your things and eat. I'll draw a bath for you afterwards."
"Right now I just want to sit down by the fire a minute," Ike sighed.
It'd been a long day. Or at least, it had seemed so to those with shovel duty. In fact, it'd been a very short day, only made long by tedium and worry.
He bent to stoke the fire. The small bit of wood crackled and blackened as the flames rose higher.
"I'll bring in a chair from the kitchen," Soren said.
"No need," Ike said. "I'll just sit down on the floor."
Ike sat with his back to the hearth. He patted the floor beside him, and Soren sat down beside him. He leaned against Ike's chest, damp as it was, and felt Ike's hand at his back.
Any discomfort was worth it in the end.
"The villagers were alright, I presume?" Soren said.
Otherwise, the tiredness would have been accompanied by a deeper weariness, the kind that only came with uncovering horrors and meeting death firsthand.
"Some livestock, a vagrant or two. We were able to get to most of them in time. The last one was this woman..she came out in this outfit which was ridiculously open for this weather. Then she said something about paying me, but that it was in her bedroom and that I needed to follow her in there."
Soren froze. "And...did you?"
"Shinon and Gatrie said they'd get this one. The woman was as crazy as Aimee, I swear," Ike said, shaking his head in incredulity.
Well that'd explain their absence. Even they had their uses, if only to keep Ike from being properly 'thanked' by appreciative women. Soren made a note to send them to all appreciative and crazy women in future endeavors. It would only do good, as the act would improve their temperament, and of course, keep Ike away from his adoring masses a little longer.
He nestled closer against Ike. The fire was warm and comforting. Was Ike that weary, or did he really have nothing to say? Soren mulled this over
"The year's almost done. Do you think there will be war this year again?"
"It does seem there's insurrection in the air. There's a number of royalty in Crimea who have taken sides against the queen in politics. Of course there's always Laguz and Beorc issues, though they've seen especially bad as of yet."
Ike sighed. "War again. Great. Well, we better enjoy the peace while it lasts. Be careful out there if the brigands get worse. They always do around the time wars start."
"...I will endeavor to stay alive and hope you do the same, Ike," Soren said. "I...this company would be lost without you."
Ike rubbed at Soren's back, a quick , affectionate pat, and rose up. His cape was dripping wet from the melted snow, and where his boots had been, there was a muddy puddle.
"I think I'm thawed out enough to get some stew if Boyd's left any. You should get some too. You aren't subsisting on nothing but tea again, are you?"
"Subsisting?" Soren said, with a raised brow.
"I hang around with you. I pick up things."
"I see. I was waiting for you to return to eat," Soren said
"Well then," Ike said. "Here I am."
When they came into the kitchen, Mist was on the ledge used as a counter, kicking up her heels as Boyd ate standing up.
"Hey, why is he allowed to keep his boots on?" Boyd said.
"Because he's Ike," Soren said.
"Commander's privileges," Ike said.