Title: Cloud To Tumbling Cloud
Series: FE9
Character/Pairing: Ike/Soren
Rating: G
Author's note: Springkink, Fire Emblem 9, Ike/Soren: introspection - there was something he was missing, and he was determined to remember it Timeline is pre~game, before Soren leaves to study with the mercenaries. It hints at spoilers for the end of RD and Soren's memory scene, but everyone probably knows those by now...right?

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When Ike stares up at the sky, he doesn't try and find philosophical, esoteric meanings in clouds. Ike isn't one for deep ruminations, as Soren does enough of that for the both of them. For him, it's just relaxing. Soren seems to share his opinion, though his is pure scorn at seeing the clouds as anything but chance occurrences in the weather. The tree above them is fairly scraggly, and Mist feels sorry for it. It's just far enough away from the copse to look lonely. Soren has already calculated that it will be firewood within a few years. The next storm might be its last.

This has become 'their' place, though not just Ike and Soren. Mist and Rolf (and sometimes Boyd, when feels like descending to the level of the 'novices') meet there as well. Mist brings water to the tree, and Rolf probably hugs it to feel better. Their paths never seem to cross, though, as Ike is usually training when Mist and Rolf visit. He knows by their chatter at mess hall, little footprints left or noticing that the ground feels moist even when it hasn't rained.

Ike and Soren only bring themselves, at their most restful state to lie under its malnourished leaves. Ike blows the blue fringe of bangs from out of his eyes. It's long past time for a trim. There's been something niggling at him, but he can't tell what. For the past few days – months, even he's been noticing that there's something which he can't name, but can't quite figure out either. Ike never focuses too hard on it, and then he forgets that this – whatever this is even exists until it announces its presence again.

"I think I'm missing something here," Ike says. He chews on his lower lip. Soren looks up from the tome he is flipping through.

"I checked your things before we left. I saw nothing out of order," Soren says. He closes the book, and gives Ike his full attention. He taps his finger against the tome, a nervous habit of his. It distracts Ike to no end. He's always thought it was just the sound, or that he'd be distracted by anything when Rhys is attempting to tutor them in history. Now he's starting to wonder if that's really it.

"No, not that," Ike says. "Not physical...more like I've missed something and I can't remember what it is."

"Perhaps it was the point? You are known for missing that quite often," Soren says. There's a slight, rare smile, so subtle and quick that anyone else might have not noticed.

"Ha ha."

Soren's dark hair falls over his shoulder. Ike wants to reach out and touch it, so he does. That is how he works. There is only a modicum of time before thought will become action, often with disastrous results.

Soren looks surprised at the contact, taken aback but only slightly. He does not ask Ike what he is doing. Ike doesn't even know what he's doing. Soren's hair is thick and sleek beneath his fingertips. He's reminder of horses, of manes and of the color of the night sky.

He thinks to lie and say he was brushing aside a bug, but even the thought confuses him.
He doesn't know why he'd even think of passing off an awkward lie on Soren who could spot a lie from ten miles away and who he's never lied to once.

"It's like a dream you want to remember but can't..except it's not a dream, but a feeling, or a memory."

"...A memory? What...what would you be trying to remember? Is it a childhood one?" Soren says. There's a desperation under his forced casual tone.

A image of that reoccurring dream comes to him, the one with the little dirty hands reaching out to him. But he's never scared. In fact, all the dream makes him want to do is pull the boy – somehow he is sure that it is a boy – out from the darkness which obscures everything but his dirty, scarred hands and briar torn arms.

"I don't remember," he replies.

Soren closes his eyes for a moment. He murmurs an of course, but it seems more to himself than Ike. In a flash, he moves on as if the quietness, or his obvious desire for Ike to remember something was nothing.

"You don't remember what you didn't remember? You're hopeless," Soren says. However, there's no vitriol to his voice. He even sounds faintly affectionate, or at least as affectionate as Soren ever gets.

"So everyone keeps telling me," Ike says. He quirks a half-smile. The returned smile from Soren is wry and rueful.

"Anyways...I need to get back. I have things to attend to." Soren puts the tome under his arm and brushes the dust, seeds and grass from himself. He inspects a hole in his sleeve for a moment before he begins to walk towards home. He watches Soren begin to walk down the trail. He's drawn to how his body moves, the sway of his back, and the sheen of his hair. There's an idle wondering on why Soren who he's known almost all his life has suddenly gained a newness with so many things that Ike finds himself noticing.

Soren pauses, turns. Ike notices the fragile line of his pale neck, the slope of his shoulders, a slight flicker of irritation in his wide eyes. "Are you coming, Ike?"

"Yeah, I'm coming," Ike mutters. He stands up, using the tree for leverage and doesn't bother to pat away the dust that's accumulated on him. It'll fall off eventually while he's walking. Soren waits for him. Ike doesn't worry. Whatever is bothering him, the memory, the new strange thing growing in his chest, he'll figure it out eventually. He lets his mind go to the last training for the day, and the next meal. The images, the spread tautness inside him disappears for the moment, but it's always there. Watching, waiting for him to acknowledge and take those little hands and pull them from the dark.