Okay, so let me just say that ffNet is being really weird with formatting, so if the story looks all strange and blocky, I'll try to fix it.

Aaaaanyway...I've started writing like, seven IkexSoren oneshots, but this is the first one I've ever finished. I'm proud of myself. XD This is part of a series of oneshots I'll be writing for this pairing, and most will be this like, slightly awkward trek into romance. Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: I don't own Fire Emblem. Poo. D:

ooo

"Ike, did you hear what I said?"

"Huh? Oh, sorry, Soren. Say that again?"

The tactician let out a mildly aggravated sigh, but repeated himself nonetheless. "Our rations are running low, and it'll still be a while before we can restock. We'll have to cut down our portions at meal time."

Ike's stomach growled in ire at the thought.

"Also, we're running low on axes because Boyd and Kieran keep breaking them. I'd have to advise against them fighting in our next battle, unless Kieran feels comfortable using swords." Soren made a few marks on his parchment before locking eyes with his commander.

"Yeah, we can't afford to not have Kieran on the battlefield," Ike thought aloud. "He and Oscar hold up our defense together."

"Right, " Soren agreed, gathering his papers together in a neat stack. "Is there anything else you need before I retire to my tent?"

The bluenette gazed long and hard at his best friend before finally shaking his head. "No, I think that's it for now, Soren. See you at dinner?"

The raven-haired mage paused for a moment, hugging his belongings to his chest. "Actually, I have some things to take care of tonight. Paperwork and the like. No time for supper."

Ike frowned. "…You sure? You're thin as a twig as it is. Can't it wait 'til morning?"

"No," Soren answered flatly, nearly cutting off the bluenette's question. "If I put it off, it'll never get done. It's my job to keep everything in order; otherwise, this entire army would fall apart. It's necessity, Ike. I'm sure you understand."

Ike nodded slowly, biting his tongue. He would try to argue, but Soren was undeniably stubborn. There was no way he'd be able to persuade the tactician to rethink his plans for the evening. "Yeah, I understand," he said finally, dejectedly. "Thank you, Soren."

The mage gave a curt nod before exiting the tent.

ooo

Blue irises, clouded with sleep, peeked out as Ike flipped his tent flap open. It was still relatively dark outside, the sun just barely flooding over the horizon to greet the day. H e was up earlier than usual due to not having eaten as much the previous night as he was used to. The gnarling in his stomach had brought him into consciousness, and it was pointless to try and go back to sleep. He noticed, as he left his tent, that not many people were up and about yet. He'd passed a few of his early-rising comrades on his way to the fire pit, where Oscar was preparing breakfast amidst teasing a blushing Kieran.

"Good morning, Ike," Oscar greeted cheerfully, averting his attention from the axe wielder. "You're up early."

"Yeah," the bluenette shrugged. "My hungry stomach woke me up." As if on cue, Ike's tummy let loose a gurgling noise. His green-haired friend chuckled.

"I have some stew cooking…almost done, in fact," Oscar said as his commander took a seat on the log next to him. "Soren couldn't find enough ingredients to make it normally, so it may be thin on the potatoes and such."

Ike's ears perked up at the sound of his best friend's name. "Soren? He's up?" he asked.

"Your tactician headed off to the supply tent a few minutes ago," Kieran informed him in the middle of a long yawn. Ike and Oscar were amazed the loudmouth had stayed quiet for so long-a sure sign that he was exhausted.

"Thanks, Kieran," Ike said, rising to his feet.

"Don't forget this, Ike," Oscar added as he ladled some stew into a owl and handed it to the bluenette.

"Fank you, Offcah," Ike said through a mouthful of stew. He swallowed and prepared for another spoonful. "Make sure everyone gets something to eat, all right?" Receiving a nod from Oscar, Ike turned on his heel and made his way toward the supply tent, slurping up his breakfast.

As he approached the large canvas dwelling, he heard a crash from the inside. Following the loud noise was a string of muttered curses. Ike picked up the pace, shoving the fabric aside and peeking into the dimly-lit tent. "Soren?"

The mage seemed alarmed at the bluenette's presence, nearly tripping over a Steel Lance. He was staggering and struggling to pick up a Poleax that had fallen along with a few other weapons. "Ike," he grunted in greeting.

"Here, let me help you with that!" Ike said, setting his half-empty bowl on a conveniently-placed table and dashing to help Soren. He grabbed the Poleax and lifted it with much greater ease than his lean friend.

"Thank you," Soren said breathlessly, dusting himself off.

"Not a problem," Ike replied. A slight frown tugged at the corners of his lips. Soren looked awful. He looked visibly shaken, and not just from his physical exertion in picking up that axe. His hair was messy and knotted; clearly, he hadn't brushed it since the day before. The bags under his eyes were so thick and dark, it looked like Shinon had decked him in the face. His movements were slow and sluggish, like he hadn't slept in weeks.

"Soren," Ike said, grabbing the attention of his tactician. "Why are you up so early?"

Soren grit his teeth. "Somehow Tormod set fire to some of my weapon logs, so I had to recount our inventory. Thankfully, the equipment and other reports were spared…" He pressed the heel of his hand to his forehead, rubbing gently. He'd had a bothersome headache all morning, and it was starting to get worse. "I've been up all night filing my reports and, in my clumsiness, I knocked down all this equipment." He leaned down to pick up an Iron Sword, which was much lighter than that blasted Poleax.

"Have you eaten yet today?"

"No, I haven't. I've been too bus-"

Ike thrust his bowl into Soren's face, cutting him off completely.

"Here. Eat," the bluenette said simply.

The mage let out a sigh. "Ike, I've no time. There's still work to be done, and-"

Soren hushed as Ike pressed a finger to his chapped lips.

"You always talk about necessities, right? Taking care of yourself is a necessity, too," the commander said softly. "I'll clean all this up for you. Just take a break and eat. That's an order."

Soren nodded silently and took the bowl of stew from Ike, unwilling to fight the matter. After all, Ike was right…though Soren wouldn't say it out loud. He hoisted himself up on the table and sipped quietly at the broth.

Ike stacked the swords neatly in a pile, and tilted the bows in a group. There was an Iron Lance out of place, so he put that back where it belonged. By the time he was done, he came to find his tactician asleep sitting up, his chin perched on his palm, his elbow on his knee. The bluenette couldn't help but let a small smile grace his lips. How the heck could Soren sleep like that? Maybe he was just that exhausted.

"Take care of yourself, Soren," Ike whispered, so as not to stir his best friend. "You're my greatest necessity."

Letting out a nervous laugh, Ike slapped his palm against the worn cloth on his forehead. He was fully aware of how dumb he just sounded, even if what he said was true.

He needed Soren…more than he needed oxygen.

And, as much as he wanted to let Soren sleep, he decided it would be best to wake him up. Otherwise, his poor tactician would have a terrible stiff neck in a few hours. He'd just make Soren sleep later.

ooo

Hey, you've made it to the end of the first oneshot! Yay. I'd be delighted to get some reviews, but I'll continue writing regardless. Keep an eye out for part 2: Out of Pity. :D

Until next time,

Chibi