Title: On Display
Series: FE 10
Rating: PG at most.
Summary: Ike isn't without tactics of his own. They just tend to involve things other than war.
Author's note: new!Gauntlet: 10. our hearts were on display for all to see. Marginally inspired by the recent cosplay post in the fe_yaoi lj com. Flufffluff is fluff.
Happy birthday, kiu22
They're currently stationed at Dunkirk Hall, sending aid to the lower reaches of Crimea. Dunkirk has been a den for moths, rats, dust and so-called ghosts for nigh twenty years. Most peasants won't go near it, fearing some curse. Soren shakes his head at such superstitious ways and continues as always. (If he places warding precautions and adds an amulet to Ike's tunic unawares he is merely covering every base. He is always prepared, even when he thinks the possibility is asinine.)
They are as of yet, still the queen's own to send as she pleases. Even if she apologizes one by one, Soren notices a restlessness in Ike's eyes.
He's ready to go home. They all are.
Their hands brush as they walk. Soren doesn't acknowledge the contact even as it reverberates through him. He's opening up, and actually managing to be civil for once and people are noticing despite his better efforts. Love does that to someone. True, though he still scoffs when people say such things. Living beings are all innately hypocritical. He is no exception.
Ike makes a muffled sound. Soren shifts his gaze over to where he has been pointedly not looking. "Is something the matter?"
"'s not quite right," Ike says.
Soren raises a brow. "There's no issue with the strategies, if that's what you mean. Everything's going as planned."
"Not that," Ike says.
Ike plucks Soren right up as if he weighs nothing more than cotton tufts. He sets him on one of the small stone walls that line the dying gardens. It bolsters his height just enough so he doesn't have to bend to make their lips meet. The complaint, the warning and other caustic words die on his tongue as his eyes close and he melts into Ike. He grips at Ike's tunic, the blue material bunching up in his hands.
"Ike...people are watching," Soren murmurs.
"I don't care," Ike says.
Soren is torn for a moment, nuzzling at the corner of Ike's cheek and feeling the rough edge of new stubble. There's little he can do for damage control at the moment. And he thinks, with a tinge of no undue smugness, that it would be good to remind certain persons of who Ike belongs to.
"Then I suppose I don't either. The effect on morale should be fairly negligible. Our connection with the queen should trump any misgivings by potential future clients, and any which are disgusted so much that they can't stand to do business with us are ones best not worked with at all given their tempestuous and unreliable nature, though—"
"Shh..." Ike says gently. He smiles and kisses him again.
"Get a room!" Shinon hollers. He follows up with a crude gesture with his fingers.
"I see he's finally become a man," Gatrie cheers. There's a bottle of beer in one hand and a spear in the other. It's a dangerous combination, but somehow he manages to not gouge Shinon in the process.
"About time!" Mia says, making a great whoop and throwing an arm up. Mist joins her, adding: "Leave it to my brother to be a dorkface and take a decade to realize it."
"You owe me five-hundred gald, my friend," Ranulf said, turning to Tibarn. Tibarn mutters a curse. "I could've sworn he'd go for the shopkeeper eventually. I mean, did you see the body on that girl?"
Tibarn looks behind him, as if Reyson would be there, glaring disapprovingly. However, there's just stone and dried, dead ivy keeping its hold on crumbling rock.
"I know what you mean, my friend. I have to admit she is rather nice on the eyes...for a Beorc girl," Ranulf says.
"...though, admittedly, there are certain benefits associated with privacy," Soren says as he pulls back.
"If I can kiss you anytime I want, it's worth it," Ike replays, casting a cynical glance over the chaos that is his fellow mercenaries.
"You might wish to refrain when Skrimir is visiting. War with Gallia would hardly be a good turn of events," Soren says.
Ike looks to him for a moment, and sees the faint hint of a smile. "Sometimes I forget you have sense of humor. I knew there was a reason why I loved you."
"That's the only reason? And here I thought it the tactics, and...other services provided."
"Like your ordering of the ledgers?" Ike teases.
"Among other things," Soren says.
He puts his hand up when Ike leans in for another round. "We can act like silly teenagers later, after we've taken care of business."
"We are teenagers, Soren," Ike says, with gentle exasperation. "Remember?"
A fact that is easy to forget when one has been to war.
Soren sighs and leans up for one last peck. He doesn't allow it to descend into anything more passionate. When he looks back at the courtyard, it is mostly empty now. Their novelty has already faded, and everyone else has returned to their own interests and chores. Ike takes his hand and helps him down from the wall, and does not let go of it as they walk. Soren doesn't pull away.
They walk like this to the room which has been labeled a war room for the time being with its ancient desk which is stained with rain, and has all too often been a home for mice. Soren leans over it while Ike braves the old chair. Ike's hand rests over Soren's as Soren explains every minute detail of their mission. He's fairly sure Ike hasn't heard a word. The mere way Ike is looking at him is distracting so much that he loses his place in reading aloud once or twice. Finally he stops, and sets the briefings aside for a moment.
"...if you pay attention, I'll show you some of the new knowledge I acquired in the depths of Crimea's libraries," Soren murmurs. He looks at Ike from under his lashes. There's a slight tint to his cheeks that reveals full well that this new bit of knowledge has nothing to do with the Zunama or the flood. Ike's full attention is on him, now His hand squeezes tighter over Soren's own.
They're ridiculous teenagers, at least for a little while longer, whereupon they'll simply be ridiculous. Deep inside, Soren is a bit exasperated with himself (but not Ike, never Ike) but the happiness overwhelms him until it's just the bliss of Ike's coarse fingers running over his skin and testing the feel of him.
And happiness, namely Ike's happiness (and to say nothing of his own), is something he can hardly fight against, no matter what attacks on his dignity result from this silly, teenaged caprice called love.
Soren supposes that if he is destined to look like a fool, at least he will be a happy (and well-satisfied) one.