Title: Idiot Heart
Character/pairing: Ike/Soren, possible Skrimr Soren, Ranulf+Tibarn bromance
Author's note: kink meme prompt: jealous!Ike who is oblivious to the fact that Soren adores him.
I believe the world needs more Ranulf+Tibarn bromance. The title comes from a Sunset Rubdown song. It seemed fitting.
It all started shortly after the Black Knight beat Skrimir, and he started reassessing his life, after a very long period of what was either moping or mourning (sides differed on which) Skrimir was back. And that was when the whole 'little Tactician' mess started. Just that day, Skrimir had called Soren over (Soren had refused, and sat by Ike instead which left Ike feeling strangely smug); he had offered to fight together (Soren had refused, and it had been pretty much a mirror of the strategy room scene, right down to Ike's weird fit of smugness); later on Skrimir even offered to share his meal (Soren had refused, but Ike had ended up eating some).
Ike was never one for deep introspective self-analysis, which was probably why he had no freaking clue what was going on. They were at mess, and there were a lot of tangent conversations going on around him, but there was only one which interested him, and that was Soren and Skrimir's. They were halfway across the room, but with Skrimir's booming voice, he could hear everything he was saying.
And everything he was saying and doing made Ike sort of wanted to punch him in the face. Ike knew this was not a particularly good idea. Skrimir was an important ally, and Ike usually didn't want to resort to physical violence towards his allies–except Shinon, but with his pleasant personality, that was a given. The thing was, Skrimir wasn't technically doing anything wrong. He wasn't being an asshole in the conventional sense. Sure, Skrimir could be forward and blunt, but then so could Ike himself. Ike had never really held them against Skrimir. He was surely doing nothing which would warrant being punched in the face, especially by an ally of a very tenuous sort, for the laguz tribes still (rightly) distrusted the beorc. But at the moment he was being so touchy. Soren was saying things, too far off for Ike to tell the exact words, but he knew it was strategy-ese. Skrimir was giving him this...puppy dog look of adoration, which seemed out of place on his feline features, and it was pissing Ike off. Skrimir didn't get Soren. He didn't know what made him tick, or comfort him when he was unhappy again. Ike wasn't even sure that Skrimir knew Soren was a guy, for that matter. Heather certainly hadn't, and there'd been quite a scene over it recently. And if someone with attuned senses like Heather could make a mistake, there was no telling if Skrimir would.
Skrimir didn't know how damaged Soren was, how long it had taken to get him to open up and trust. All Skrimir saw was a smart guy with long, pretty, touchable hair that he wanted to run his fingers through—Wait, did he just think that?
Yes, yes he did.
Ike figured he needed some air before he did or said something stupid, so he left his barely touched bowl of spicy meat stew and walked out into the cold night air.
The last time he had done that, Mist had been cooking and put so much spice and garlic, gallons of water had to be drunk with each bite. Even then, Ike had eaten half his bowl before he gave up.
He sat by the fire. Here he was, feeling irritated because someone else had finally noticed that Soren was talented. It was bound to happen eventually. Really. Soren had grown up from the twitchy, paranoid and cynical best friend and tactician to a calm and collected strategist and mage. Ike knew he almost single-handedly helped that transformation, but it didn't seem to add up why this sort of loyalty would turn into him wanting to punch Skrimir in the face.
Maybe he just needed more sleep. He certainly hadn't gotten a lot of that lately with the assault on Begnion looming ever closer every day.
He heard a door open, and he didn't have to look around to know it was Soren. Who else would be following him out here, noticing his every shift in mood?
Soren sat down beside him at the fire.
"Is something the matter?" Soren said. "I saw you storm out, and you haven't even eaten..."
"I just needed some air," Ike said. Ike ran his hands through his hair, a thing he always did when he was anxious about something, as Soren had often told him. It was colder than he thought it would be, but that only made him more aware of his surroundings.
"Skrimir is really touchy, huh?" He said, trying to sound casual. Ike failed at forced casualness, though. His feelings always were always visible, which was a large part of why he couldn't stand to be in royal places where people lied about everything and had their own secret code.
"Touchiness seems a Gallian trait," Soren said dryly. "As Ranulf displays the same attributes around you."
"Really? I guess I never noticed, or it just seemed...different with him," Ike said. Ranulf didn't seem likely to be proposing marriage anytime soon. Ike wasn't so sure about Skrimir.
"I noticed," Soren said sharply. He grimaced, and turned aside. Ike looked to Soren, fairly certain that Soren had the same expression he did about five minutes ago.
He had no clue what this meant, but it was something.
"You should come in. I've sent Skrimir on some superficial building morale mission with his troops, so you need not be bothered, anymore."
"My head has cleared a bit," Ike said. "I'll be right in."
Soren nodded. "All right. And Ike... don't overwork yourself."
"Got it," Ike said. "No taking down the Begnion army singlehandedly before breakfast for me."
"You know what I mean," Soren said. He turned towards the door, his hands pausing at the knob.
"...besides, you'd never take them down singlehandedly. I'd be there, of course," Soren said.
"Of course," Ike said. The tension and rage in his head was being soothed by Soren's voice. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Several of the army had retired, but Ranulf and Tibarn were there in the mess hall alone, trading drinks and banter to the dying firelight.
"So, ok, my man, then they went outside and Ike didn't get it!" Ranulf was laughing so hard, tears were streaming down his cheeks.
Tibarn slapped his hand on the table. It made a groaning sound, and little cracks formed under the pressure. "Oh man, Ike...you would make an excellent drinking game."
"Take one drink for every time a woman shoves their breasts in his face, two for every time he cluelessly walks out on her professing her love–Only one if it's Aimee doing the confessing–one for every time Soren looks lovingly at him and Ike doesn't notice, one for the rest of it too, practical confessions of 'loyalty'," Ranulf said.
"Now there's a drinking game I could get into," Tibarn said. Much more than the one that had involved Naesala, at least.
"I bet you a keg that before the war is over, they're going to just eventually go crazy from lack of sex and just jump each other. Possibly in the middle of the mess hall."
"I'll accept that bet," Tibarn said and raised his glass.
Three months later, Tibarn bought Ranulf that keg.