Title: A Sorta Fairytale (1 of 2 or 1/3)
Series: FE9/10
Character/Pairing: Ike/Soren, Ranulf/Kyza/Lyre, ensemble
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 2382
Summary: College AU. On the first party of the semester, Ike is kissed by an anti-social Science major. The rest, as you would say, is history. Ike/Soren.
Author's note: something I started randomly over last Nano. Well, technically it's a mix of 09's nano snippets as well. I had scrapped the whole college verse I had going, but kept two scenes I liked a lot in this one.

It's also the one that started the whole TFLN fic revolution between Ammy and I~

Happy birthday, Planet Janet~


(315): he saw my "I like bacon" magnet on the fridge and I told him how much I love meat, then we started making out
(607): what a beautiful fairy tale

Ike had only left for an hour to get pizza, only to come back to find that a party had broken out at his place. Ranulf was involved in a very flexible game of Twister. Ike supposed he should be glad that it wasn't drunk naked Twister this time, like what had happened last time. Ike was just glad that he no longer tried to do "wingman" things. Ike had agreed at first when he thought it would be pilot lessons, but it was just more boring parties.

"Great. If anybody pukes, I'm making Ranulf clean it up," Ike said. It was lost in the crowd cheering as Ranulf made his Twister fall look like a breakdance. Cats always landed on their feet, after all.

It was Saturday night, so the game wasn't on, so technically he wasn't missing anything. Ike passed a few drunk guys who thought they were dancing, and made his way towards the fridge. He was pretty sure there was still some cheesy bacon bread in there, if Ranulf hadn't gotten to the last piece, that was. If Ranulf had, there would issues between them, because he'd called dibs and the guys around were always going on about the absoluteness of dibs and the Bro Code, which was supposed to be about dating, but it only really came into play when it came to the last piece of Shepherd's pie.

Ike barely paid attention to all that. Dating, dibs, wingmen. It was all gibberish. But bacon? That was important.

On the fridge was a note in Ranulf's handwriting: Don't eat the bacon stuff if you want to live.

It was the best thing I'd had seen all night―other than the pizza, that was.

He saw another refugee from the drunken masses stalk in. A guy in glasses, a black long-sleeved shirt under a black t-shirt with you read my t-shirt, that's enough social interaction for today printed on it, ripped jeans and sneakers. He was a bit on the small side, enough that Ike wasn't sure the guy could last the windy season without worries of losing his balance. He focused on the I love bacon magnet on their slightly dirty fridge. (Ranulf preferred to call it 'rustic.' Ike knew it was just rusty.)

He held a large book with a knight on the front under one arm. The text was obscured, and though Ike could barely see the smudged corners of his silvery armor. He pushed his glasses up, and started to move closer, in the way Ike imagined a rabbit would move towards a fox.

"Relax, I don't dunk people in toilets," Ike said.

"I know," he said softly.

Ike remembered something someone on the second floor had said in passing: I saw this guy with eyes so red, he had to have smoked the whole farm! Ike had assumed it meant he had a side-job in crop dusting, but knowing that floor, it probably meant something other than work.

"Yeah, that's my magnet. My sister got it for me," Ike said. He took a bite out of his delicious bacon bread, and savored every cheese-filled, crispy bite. Usually, dibs were absolute, especially the bacon kind, but the guy sort of looked like he might keel over from hunger in the next five minutes if he didn't have some protein, and he didn't want anyone fainting on his watch. Ike held a piece out, and the guy considered it. Ike thought the guy sort of looked like he might bite Ike's hand, or curl up in a corner and snarf it down while sort of looking like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, but he did neither.

"Go on, sit down. The floor isn't lava, I promise," Ike said. He took another bite and the guy sighed. Was it the first meal he'd had all day?

Ike wasn't sure if he was like those students, the hardcore ones who barely remembered to eat through all their law and medical stuff. Ike could barely imagine studying that hard.

"Haven't seen you around," Ike said. He never was good at small talk.

"We have different majors. The kinds that don't cross paths often."


"I'm a science major, and you seem to be majoring in football," the guy said. He frowned then, though Ike couldn't tell if it was a thinking frown, or his default state.

"Some of Ranulf's friends said they were going to major in beer pong and being awesome, so anything's possible," Ike said.

"I don't think those are official majors," the boy muttered.

The guy finally took a bite from his, and it was little bird bites. Kinda cute, actually.. Like some starving kitten who growled as it ate. Ike held out more, and he had this thought that if Ranulf ever saw this, he'd never live this down.

The guy took a sip of his beer, then another. He considered his beer, and then shotgunned the entire thing, until he started to cough. Ike reached out to pat him on the back. Ike almost expected him to crush the can against his head with the way he was going, but he just set it aside.

"This is good..." He said.

Ike nodded. They were up against the fridge, and some drunk guy was going WOOOO in the other room. Ike never really got parties. He'd been elected toga lord for some reason, but he'd thrown away his title and toga long ago. As far as Ike was concerned, beer was only good with pizza, and only on occasion. And that occasion was when he was alone, and nobody else making a mess of his apartment, and eating out the entire fridge.

Though tiny Science majors didn't apply.

"I didn't expect to see you here," Soren said. His gaze was intense and unwavering.

"It's my apartment; I live here," Ike said

"Not here―of course you'd be here–In this college. I'd heard the news, but I couldn't quite believe it was...you. But the minute I saw your face, I knew. ...I knew."

For a moment, the guy looked almost wistful. His wary, hard expression softened to something tender. Ike couldn't tell if it was the alcohol, the food, or if he really was finally starting to relax.

"Ike..." he said.

Before Ike could respond, the guy leaned up and kissed him. His hand stroked Ike's cheek and stayed there, resting against his skin. Ike could only blink as his mind caught up with what had happened. His body tingled in a way he hadn't expected.

Ike didn't have a good history of kisses. There were the kisses from an older shop girl who was a little too obsessed that were sloppy, messy and had a bitter and waxy aftertaste and resulted in him finding out how a restraining order worked; kisses from drunken party girls that got body glitter over him and left him feeling irritated and pushing them away; kisses from girls who thought they were dating or almost in love when he was just trying to avoid the next party, and who he'd thought of as nothing but friends. He'd never kissed a guy before, but the feeling was oddly pleasant. It left a warm feeling in the pit of his stomach, and unlike the girls, there was no unpleasant lipstick to wipe off or body glitter stuck to him and he wasn't gagging on the scent of some perfume that smelled like bug spray when it got too hot.

And unlike the girls, he didn't pull back, and try and figure out a way to push them away politely.

"Uh, thanks," Ike said.

He wanted to touch his, testing out this new feeling. For a moment the guy got this deer in the headlights look. It only lasted a second before he was pushing himself up off the floor, and muttering a I-I have to go. Before Ike could even protest that it was fine, really-more than fine-the guy was gone. Ike got up, and tried to find him through the crowd, but three drunk girls doing the hula wearing nothing but beads got in the way. He pushed his way through the crowd until he was in the hallway, but it was empty. He stood there for a while, looking from side to side, and feeling this strange tightness in his chest he'd never felt before.

Ike barely caught the alarm for his morning classes. He could never figure out what was going through those college dean's heads anyways. Who the hell made classes in the morning anyways? If the teacher didn't want him sleeping in her class, she shouldn't have made the class at seven AM.

He stumbled out of bed and pulled on the clothes from last night. He was more than a little glad that no one had vomited on them during the night, because he hadn't exactly gotten to laundry duty recently. Or at all. Ranulf was passed out on the floor with a birthday hat on his head. Ike pulled a blanket to cover Ranulf up, and put a pillow under his head.

Then he grabbed his books and was out the door. Breakfast would have to wait until he napped through his morning classes. Ike figured he'd at least get credit for being there. That had to count for something.

Ike wandered in from his last class, lugging some books. He was a little more awake after he hit the local coffee joint, but that didn't mean any of his last classes made any damn sense. He dropped his bag near the door. Two of Ranulf's friends were holding up shirts from their latest haul while Ranulf watched.
Considering the party last night, and that Ranulf more than likely slept through his morning classes, Ike couldn't help but be surprised at how livable the apartment looked. Maybe Kyza and Lyre had cleaned it up when he came back with the notes for the classes Ranulf missed. He couldn't see body glitter anywhere, and there was no trash and crushed beer cans across the floor. Fabric swatches were laid over the rough plaid couch; apparently Kyza had finally won a battle in his war against the rough plaid thrift shop couches.

Before Ike even had a chance to close the door all the way, Boyd came in behind him. He wore a jersey about two sizes too big for him with the names of his favorite team, the Pegasus Knights, and carpenter's jeans. His green hair was slicked back in a way that Ranulf referred to as nineties boy band nostalgia. He always had a slightly more apologetic air now that he was dating Ike's sister. Once he'd wanted to take Ike's spot on the team, now he seemed grateful that Ike didn't keep to some shotgun toting family member stereotype. Mist could wield her own shotgun just fine, as far as Ike was concerned.

"Oh, hey, Ike. Took your sister out to somewhere classy yesterday. Then I took her home and only kissed her on the cheek," Boyd said.

His smile froze as he saw Ike's face.

"I mean, I didn't make any moves or anything. Totally respecting a friend's sister." Boyd cleared his throat.

"Don't worry, he just has a bitchy resting face, just like my sister," Lyre said.

Ranulf stretched, and laid back on the couch. His orange tank top said Cats do it better, thought whatever it was, wasn't specified. His cargo pants offered more hint to the clue, with everything in big black letters down the side of his left leg.

"Lethe and I dated in high school; it isn't just her resting face," Ranulf said.

"Well, not all of it. She smiles a lot more now that she's dating Jill," she said.

Ranulf languidly pushed himself up, and pointed towards Boyd's collar.

"Nice hickey," Ranulf said.

Boyd tugged his jersey up. "That's―a bug bite. Yeah, they were awful at practice. Mosquitoes, you know."

"Mist is an adult. As long as you don't mess up and run, or break her heart. I don't care what you do. You're acting like we haven't even known each other all our lives," Ike said.

"Even Ike figured you and Mist were going to date," Ranulf said. "I talked about putting on a betting pool, but he said we shouldn't even bother, everyone would just vote in the 'it's going to happen' side."

"Oh, yeah," Boyd said. He chuckled.

"He probably watched too many movies with the whole 'shotgun talk,'" Ranulf said.

Boyd slowly began to relax. He disappeared into the kitchen and pulled out a beer. After a few sips, his earlier apologetic nature had settled back into his usual cocky ways.

"Oh, hey! Did you hear the news? We are going to the beer pong Olympics," Boyd said.

"You should be with us," Ranulf said. "With you, Tibarn, and Skrimir, we'll have the gold before you know it."

"The Olympics covers that now?" Ike said.

"Unofficial Olympics. It even says in fine print 'no copyright infringement intended.' You missed the announcement the other day," Ranulf said. He made finger quotes around the word 'copyright.'

"I was occupied," Ike said.

"I know," Ranulf said. His multi-colored eyes lit up with eagerness. "I saw you go into the kitchen. Did you meet someone nice?"

Hooking up always sounded so bizarre, like someone was going fishing. Considering the closest thing Ike had to 'hooking up' ended up getting him stalked by an older shop girl, Ike would've preferred the fishing.

The word didn't begin to explain what they had happened, or how he had woken up and felt different, like something had fallen into place. Something that he hadn't even known he'd been missing all this time.

"Something like that," he said.

"Wait, what? I've got to hear this one," Ranulf said.

"Ten gald is going on this," Lyre said. She reached down for her purse, to pull out the necessary coins.

"Make it twenty," Kyza said. He'd set aside his new sensible, yet very expensive and stylish striped shirts and suits, for when he inevitably got hired by some big firm back in Gallia.

"You never bet, you say it's 'frivolous,'" Lyre said.

"We're in my territory now," Kyza said.

Betting on his love life, or complete lack of had become such a tradition at their college that Ike didn't even blink at this.

"I need to find someone," Ike said, cutting Ranulf off.

"Let me look through my little black book," Ranulf said. "You know, I never thought I'd see the day..."

Ranulf seemed to have everyone in there. He was personal friends with not just the crown Prince of Gallia―and the high lord of keg stands―Skrimir, but he also spent time with Prince Reyson, and Tibarn, the crowned king of flight, and keggers himself.

"Oh, that reminds me! There's this new place, it sounds like the food is really good. But somebody's going to have to wear poodle skirts. That's the rule: no poodle skirts, no service," Ranulf said.

"Hey, I'm going too. It'll have to be a triple date. And I'll be wearing the poodle skirts and looking adorable in them, thank you very much," Lyre said.

"Then Ranulf and I will have to both be the greasers. We could wear matching leather jackets," Kyza said.

Lyre giggled. "Just think, a workaholic like you in a leather jacket."

"I can pretend," Kyza said. He smoothed down his already perfectly smooth silver hair.

"I don't think he'd go. He's not really the type," Ike said.

Ranulf steepled his fingers. "Tell me more."

"There was this guy I saw last party. Some science major. Long hair that seems black at first, it's sort of greenish, though, like a bird's feathers. He's kind of anti-social. Likes bacon. That's who I was with last night."

"Soren Nevassa? Really? Him?" Ranulf said. "And I'm pretty sure he hates bacon, as well as everything else."

Ike frowned. "How can you hate bacon? Is that even possible?"

"I know! I hung out with this girl once, and she thought bacon was the epitome of evil. But that's another story."

"Yeah, tell me the horror story later. Where would I find him?" Ike asked.

"Now? Probably in the library, I swear he loves that library like you love meat. As much as Kyza loves productivity and sales at Men's Warehouse," Ranulf said. He then grinned, and snapped his fingers. "I totally get it now. You love meat get it? That's why you don't date girls." He elbowed Ike in the ribs.

Ike just looked blankly at him.

"Geez, my humor is wasted on you," Ranulf said.

"I'll be rooting you on. And by 'rooting you on' I mean 'drinking beer," Kyza said. It was said in a perfectly prim way, without a hint of fratboy wildness.

Lyre rolled her eyes. "Everyone knows you'll just be studying. Your ironic party-boy thing is really annoying. You don't even do the 'wooos' right. You're like an old man stuck in the body of a college student."

"Now, now, Lyre, he personally ensured we passed last year," Ranulf said.

Kyza puffed his chest out at the praise. But he didn't linger in praise long. An alarm came on his phone. "Thirty minutes until the next class. Have you had your protein yet?"

"No, but I'm sure you're going to feed us some," Ranulf said.

"Of course," Kyza said. "I have this new recipe. Rare, just like you like it."

"I'm going to check the library," Ike said.

Ike opened the door partway and gave Ranulf a nod before he left.

"Save some for me," Ike said.

Then the door closed behind him. Ranulf began to make his way to the mini-fridge. The door opened back up.

"Forget something?" Ranulf asked.

"Dibs on the sandwich in the fridge," Ike said.

"Gotcha," Ranulf said.

Then Ike really was gone.

Soren was, in fact, in the library just as Ranulf predicted. Ike wondered if he should start asking Ranulf for lottery numbers, or maybe his knowledge only applied to cranky science majors.

He had on a black your =/= you're shirt on pulled over another longer black shirt, which had been faded in the wash so many times that it looked gray. Beneath the large letters was a description of how each word was used. When he turned, Ike noted a pirate flag stitched onto his duffel bag, and a cloth What Would Pirates Do?bracelet over his left wrist. He'd never seen such small wrists, and he'd met Reyson and Leanne, whose wrists were personally guarded by Tibarn, in case someone sneezed on them and broke every bone in their body. He looked even more fragile than them, and somehow it only made him more...interesting? Or to say, it only brought out a latent protective instinct and made him want to personally start guarding Soren's wrist. Also, the rest of him.

Soren noticed his gaze, and made a derisive sound, sort of like a hiss.

"No, it's not a new fashion statement, I just get cold easily," Soren said. "It's a family trait. So I layer."

"Oh no, that wasn't it at all," Ike said. He cleared his throat. Despite being half his size, Soren could glare with the same force as their resident lion king.

"Then state your business," Soren said.

"So, about last night-"

Soren turned from him, making his expression unreadable. "I was drunk. People do foolish things while drunk. That is all," Soren said.

"I only saw you drink one beer," Ike said.

Soren turned back to face him and glowered.

"Oh, right. Lightweight and stuff," Ike said.

"It seems no college student can avoid getting drunk and doing stupid things at one point or another," Soren said with a sigh.

"According to Ranulf, you're not a true college student until you do," Ike said. "But really, it's no big deal."

"Of course it isn't," Soren said. His expression turned stony. "If you'll excuse me, I have to go to class."

He pushed by him, and Ike had the feeling that wasn't the answer Soren had wanted, even though he'd only said it to comfort him, and assure him everything was okay between them...even if they'd only met once.

Suddenly, he was more confused than ever.

When Ike returned back to his dorm room, Ranulf threw him an ice cold beer. "Meat's in the back. You'll love it. Kyza really outdid himself this time."

"I can cook, too," Lyre piped up.

"Of course you can. Those fish sticks you put in the oven were killer," Ranulf said.

He turned back to Ike. "Considering you aren't covered in hickies and looking triumphant, I'm going to guess it didn't go well," Ranulf said.

"You could say that," Ike said. He popped open the can and took a long chug. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve only to remember that he wasn't actually wearing sleeves. With a shrug he wiped his arm on his pants.

"It's weird," Ike said.

"So, you did kinky stuff?" Ranulf said. "I never would've guessed. It's always the ones you least expect have a furry mask and like to be called Big Daddy Kitty."

"I don't think 'talking in the library' counts as kinky," Ike said.

Ranulf laughed. "For you that is kinky."

"Also, you're a cat," Ike said. "Just in case you forgot."

"All the more reason to laugh at anyone who puts on a fake tail and tries to hit on me by screaming 'nya' and trying to pounce on me, huh?"

Ike couldn't argue with that. He took another sip of his beer. His life had been busy. Not that he had really ever cared before. There was this pressing feeling, though, like he knew this person despite it all.

"I think he has to know me. Some of the things he said didn't make sense. But, I'd remember someone like him. I guess I'll just have to find out by asking him..." Ike said.

"Whoa, you're really going Sherlock on this," Ranulf said. He gave Ike a thumbs up.

"Is that your new name for Watson?" Ike said.

"You be Holmes, I'll be Watson, and we'll solve the case of the missing beer," Ranulf said. He tipped back his can and took a long swig.

"I think Soren would probably be Holmes, and I'd be Watson. Also, you drank it," Ike said.

"Another case solved by hard work and shotgunning beer. And if you're Holmes, who would I be?" Ranulf said.

"The drunk guy in a rainbow beanie following them around and going 'woo!'" a voice behind them said.

Ranulf broke into a grin when he saw Skrimir come into the room.

"Big guy! You always have the last word―usually because you ripped the other guy's throat out. Yet another case of literature being improved with beer and rainbow beanies. Now all we need are zombies and we're set to have a publishing deal," Ranulf said.

"C'mon, brofist," Ranulf said, lifting his fist. Skrimir's massive paw was twice the size of Ranulf's.

"Ike's going to run off with a guy, and I'm going to lose my wingman," Ranulf said.

"Never fear, Ranulf. We will slaughter all the competition, and conquer the bars!" Skrimir lifted up his head and let out a truly impressive roar.

"Free and wild," Ranulf said.

"You have a boyfriend and a girlfriend," Ike said.

"It's the principle of the matter," Ranulf said.

Ike stared at his book like it might dispense some great wisdom. He picked it up and shook it, but the book wasn't any clearer, and now the pages were all weird. Not for the first time, Ike was glad that he came in on a sports scholarship. He couldn't imagine the sorts of shifts the med students talked about when they wandered, zombie-like into the food court. Fourteen hours a day of studying sounded like some hellish landscape, where dystopian books beat down poor college students who just wanted a nap.

Ranulf sat down across from him, with a feline smirk. "Well, look what the cat dragged in," Ranulf said.

"Isn't that what other people say to you?" Ike said.

"You never use enough cat puns. I have to make up for it, and use double the amount. Plus, I've got the dirt. I have some genuine information from a cute science major that Soren is captain of the debate team, and regularly makes people run from the room crying. Apparently he's really hardcore," Ranulf said. He got up and went over to the mini-fridge and pulled out a beer and popped the top. Ike couldn't help but wonder how many Ranulf had today, and how he wasn't passed out in the gutter already. Ike filed it away as just another one of life's mysteries.

"So, when's the next debate team meeting?" Ike said.

Ranulf smiled. "Tonight. You and I are going to watch this new crush of yours tear the celibacy club to pieces. I hear his debates are like watching Skrimir cut through his enemies, but with words. Why don't we go and 'cheer him on,'" Ranulf said. He added finger quotes around 'cheer.'

"Celibacy club, huh?" Ike said. He wasn't even as sex crazed as the rest of the population, and he still couldn't see the point of advocating against other people's sex lives. This would be a whole other side of Soren. Ike craned his neck to check the clock in the kitchen. Just a few more hours, and then he'd know, and maybe figure out everything which had happened in the past few days.