Title: Bruises
Day/Theme: 22. my most precious person
Series: FE10.
Character/Pairing: Ike/Soren
Rating: PG
Summary: It was the sweetest, most idiotic thing Ike had done for him. Ike/Soren and manly fisticuffs done for the sake of honor.
Author's notes: I was talking to Ammy about MANLY FISTICUFFS and then she encouraged it and this happened. And it's for Kiu22'a birthday. Set post FE9, but pre 10 timeline. It feels like it's connected to The Birds And The Bees and Idiot Heart, which weren't originally intended to be connected. This means I may have inadvertently created a canonverse where Ike and Soren are stupid about each other?

A final thanks to In Rain for cheerleading me in the final her I probably wouldn't have finished.


Another day, another job. They usually met clients together, as Soren could note little things like heritage, whether they were new wealth, or were lying. Ike didn't get how Soren could see through lies, but Soren said it was something about body language and Ike just trusted him at that.

It was some noble guy this time. He smelled so thickly of rose water, it was like he bathed in the stuff. Honestly, the guy reeked. Ike's eyes were honestly watering just from how strong the stench of roses was surrounding the guy. He had on fine leather boots, several gold necklaces, a tunic made of some finely embroidered material which probably cost more than they made all year.

Which Ike could've dealt with. Noble people tended to be frivolous and petty, making Ike have less patience for their bosom-grasping and fainting spells, but he'd certainly taken plenty of richer clients on before. In fact, his first client had been the Queen–well, she'd been a princess then, but that was neither here nor there.

No, that wasn't the problem, really, though it helped cement Ike's dislike of their potential client.

The guy was looking at Soren the way Shinon looked at whores when he was a little drunk. Greil had instilled in Ike that if someone looked at Mist like that, he should be on alert, and be ready to draw his sword if need be.

Ike glanced at Soren. He was looking over the records, seemingly oblivious. He could practically just see the gears working in Soren as he mentally added up the bill. They could buy a whole lot of supplies with this paycheck, and they were really low on supplies with winter only a few months away.

"I'm sure you'll be entirely satisfactory," the noble said smoothly. Ike hadn't bothered to remember his name.

"For this price, I should hope so," Soren said absently.

"–Wait, you want to contract just Soren?" Ike asked. "Not all of us?"

"I have lots of filing to be done. Lots and lots of filing," he said. His lips curled at the word filingas if it was a euphemism for something entirely else. "Besides, I have no use for all of you." He gave a once over glance, his ever-present smug expression twisting into scorn.

Ike was not impressed; the feeling was mutual.

Ike was still a little confused as to when Soren had become attractive to other people. It was bad enough having Skrimir dedicate his pile of enemy bodies and slaughtered animals to Soren and try and call him over to sit on his lap, now inobles/I were starting to notice Soren. Who next? People in the village? Shop girls? Even other members of the mercenary group?

And Ike did not like it one bit. He hadn't really thought about what would happen if someone else came and courted Soren away to their mercenary group, court or whatever else with promises of way more than money than Ike could ever provide. He'd given up all the glory he could've had, given up his peerage and returned to his roots, so to speak. He preferred their state of near poverty to all the dinners and state balls Melior could ever offer.

There was only a few times he'd doubted that Soren might not stay in his life. Back when his father had died, he doubted that he could keep anyone around, or lead any group, let alone lead a princess to take back her throne. Soren had reassured him then, and times before when he'd been younger, more insecure and a green new recruit just barely allowed into battle.

But now, he was wondering if even Soren could resist the power and money he'd never be able to give him. He tried to imagine what a life without Soren being there, working beside him and taking care of things would be like. All he could see was a really messy and dusty library, and him wandering through an unorganized pantry trying to figure out what the difference was between Cardamom and Oregano and finding nothing but empty air when he called out to ask.

He'd always relied on Soren, maybe even taken for granted that when he looked back, Soren would be there supporting him and offering tactical plans. Soren had always believed in him, and sworn he'd stay by his side, and Ike believed him, he trusted Soren.

But that didn't stop him from wanting to punch this guy in the face.

"I've outlined all the possible extra charges should a case of force majeure occur," Soren said. The noble glanced over Soren like he was undressing him with his eyes. The noble reached out to touch Soren's arm. "Yes, my dear, it's settled–"

The thing was, Ike didn't think things through. He'd gotten better over the years, but he still had to get chided for putting his foot in his mouth all over again. Now was another of those times where he wasn't big on thinking things through, and little things like consequences of his actions.

Ike reached out and grabbed the noble's wrist and wrenched it away.

"He isn't your dear," Ike said.

The noble's lip curled.

"Get your filthy hand off of me," he said. With his other hand, he reached for a knife at his belt. Before Ike could strike, there was a red gash in his arm. He drew back, but not without doing exactly what he'd wanted to: namely, giving the guy a shiner. The noble stumbled back, nearly falling into the table. Ike raised his fist, ready to strike again and mess up that pasty pretty-boy face, but Soren had moved across the room in a flash. Ike caught sight of him behind the noble, a dark shadow and the shining of a blade pressed against his throat.

"I'd advise you let go of him if you wish to live, Lord Vexen," Soren said. His voice was cold, firm and with a deadly seriousness that wasn't to be trifled with.

There wasn't exactly body armor in that fancy tunic of his. And maybe Soren wasn't strong or skilled with a blade, but his voice conveyed the general idea that he was not opposed to slicing his throat and burying the body in the back woods.

"Unbelievable..." The noble said. He winced, and reached to touch his hurt eye, but Soren pressed the blade harder.

"You'd risk putting me at bad terms with you?" Lord Vexen said incredulously. "Me who is in court with the queen, who could ruin your entire pathetic little peasant lives."

"I think not. Remember, Ike is in favor in the court. He personally helped the Queen Elincia rise to the throne and it is not something she is likely to forget," Soren said.

"But he abandoned her," The noble hissed. "Left her wanting. Do you think she'll look kindly on the one who broke her heart?"

"She's not one to forget her allies over petty reasons," Soren said.

"And what of my revenge?" Lord Vexen asked. It was like he was becoming more smug and arch by the moment.

"If it's anything like your manner, it'd be pompous, poorly plotted and easily overturned," Soren said.

Lord Vexen grimaced at this, unable to find a comeback.

"It's your call, Ike," Soren said. "Shall we give him mercy?"

"He doesn't deserve it, but I don't want his blood on my hands," Ike said. "And he's right, we don't need anymore enemies."

"As you wish," Soren said. Soren pulled back, still keeping his hands tightly enclosed on the blade. Ike stepped back too. Lord Vexen spat on the ground, and made his way past them. But just as he was leaving, he whirled about in a quick motion and brought his fist to Ike's face, connecting at his left side.

Ike was pushed back a bit from the blow, and a quick jolt of pain ran through him. He was just far enough to avoid the blast of wind which came up between them, green and focused straight on the noble. Lord Vexen was thrown out the door, presumably to the Spring muck of outside. The door fell off its hinges and into a heap, and papers had scattered around the room. But Soren had no eyes for the mess, and only for him.

"Ike—Are you all right?" Soren asked. There was desperation in his voice as he looked over Ike's wounds.

"Yeah, I'll live," Ike said. He rubbed at his eye. "I didn't expect a rich boy like him could fight, I guess."

"You should never underestimate the enemy," Soren admonished. "Honestly, what were you thinking?"

Mostly, that he wanted to punch the guy in the face. But Ike wasn't about to say that. Instead, he just shrugged.

Soren shook his head. "That is without a doubt one of the dumbest things you've ever done."

"Probably," Ike said. "My father did point out I was especially prone to dumb things. Shinion often agreed on that point."

"Quite," Soren said.

He pulled out his staff, and began the enchantment. Light began to form at the tip, as Soren held it over Ike's injuries.

"It's just some scratches and bruises," Ike said in protest.

"That doesn't mean it should be ignored," Soren said.

The enchantment came over him, warm and tingly. The light faded, and Ike looked now at his arm. He had a new scar to join all the others.

"Does it still hurt?" Soren asked. He studied Ike, checking his arms and face for missed injuries.

"Just a bit," Ike said. "I've felt way worse."

Soren clucked his tongue. "Stay here. I'll be right back."

He was only gone a moment, for he could be quite fast when he wanted to even if he wasn't one for physical excursion or races. When he came back, Ike could see that he'd pulled a small piece of ice from the ice box and wrapped it up in one of the kitchen rags.

"Hold this to your eye. It'll make the swelling go down the rest of the way," Soren said.

Ike did so, and the coolness did make it feel better. Soren's hands were still gripping his arm as he felt for broken bones and to be honest it felt really good to be fussed over like this.

"You know, I'd do it all again, right?" Ike said.

"There's a reason the tactics are left to me, Ike," Soren said dryly.

Ike chuckled. "Yeah, true."

"...but," Soren began in a quieter, more tremulous undertone.

"But?" Ike asked.

"It's one of the sweetest—albeit ill-advised—things anyone has ever done for me," Soren said.

Ike gave him a lopsided grin. "Anytime."

"I certainly hope not," Sore said in exasperation. "We can't go around alienating every noble in Melior. The House of Lindsor still refuses to talk to you after that muddy boots on the prized coffee table incident."

"I'll try not to, at least," Ike relented. "But if they're looking at you like that, there's no guarantee that I won't punch them in the face."

Soren's face took on a faint rosy tinge. He didn't meet Ike's eyes, but kept his gaze focused down fiddling at cleaning the remainders of the blood up, even though the wound had been closed.

"I hardly think that you'll find many other people paying such attentions to me," Soren said quietly.

"Well, good. I'm not sure I'm up to anymore weird creeps going after you," Ike said. "I mean, your place is here, right? I don't know what I'd do without you."

There was an awkward moment where Soren got this expression like a deer frozen and staring at the hunter, somewhere between panicked and unbelieving. But in a moment he had turned, his back to Ike.

"It's, it's nothing––The room is a mess and I need to get to things as I've fallen behind and there's things to do—"

"Yeah," Ike said. "It's a disaster here."

Soren took several deep breaths. "I should be getting right to it, then," Soren said.

"All right," Ike said. He got up, recognizing the signs. He could tell that Soren was in one of those times where he just wanted to be alone. Frankly, Ike was still figuring out these things too. Ike knew Soren would probably have to mull over and properly mope over today. So later on he'd come check on him and maybe tell him to stop freaking out over nothing.

And maybe even...

His mind stopped there. Maybe even what? He still wasn't even sure what this was, though there was no real apprehension to this space between friendship and whatever else he had discovered.

"...thank you for protecting me," Soren said finally. He didn't even add a 'even though it was a really stupid thing to do."

"Like I said, anytime," Ike said.

"And Ike..." Soren began in a quiet voice.

"Yeah?" Ike asked.

"...no, it's nothing," Soren said. "Forget I said anything."

"Well, you can talk to me later if you want. You know I'm always here, right?" Ike said.

Soren nodded. "Yes, Ike. I know..."

"Well, good," Ike said. "Catch you at mess later. Don't forget to break for lunch."

Soren nodded and returned to his task. Ike walked out, and wondered if the world was supposed to feel different, if he'd changed or if he'd finally just woken up and realized what was right in front of him all the while.