Title: A Sorta Fairytale (2/3 or maybe some higher number)
Series: FE9/10
Character/Pairing: Ike/Soren, Ranulf/drunk girls and boys and Kyza and Lyre and everyone else, Soren/science.
Rating: PG-13
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.

Edward forty hands is a How I Met Your Mother reference, and it won't be the last you see of it.

Happy winter holidays, TheOnlyPrincess. One of em, anyways.

Currently unbetaed and written when extremely sleepy to boot, (though there's been some minor edits since the first posting) If you see a syntax error or such, feel free to point it out. As it is, like the rest of the larger WIPs, there's going to be a "final version" once I finish and do the last edits...as soon as my beta(s) and I get more time to devote to it.

Thanks goes out to appendorange tumblr, who inspired me with pretty, pretty art, and Thumana who because of bribing with her awesome reviews, got me to actually post it up here, and not you know, leave it on my journal like all the other FE stuff I've done lately.

.

It started out poorly for the group already. They were citing divine plans and promise rings and Soren was looking offended on the behalf of science, and maybe sex, but probably science. They all wore sweater vests and looked vaguely cloneish.

So far, Soren was winning, probably by a lot. It wasn't like basketball or football where there was, you know, actual scores with cheerleaders doing handstands and stuff with each score. Though cheerleaders were more Ranulf's thing than his.

Soren slammed his hands down on the debating table like he was a parody of the Japanese law system.

"Are you trying to make a mockery of this establishment, and of science? Because if you are, then you're succeeding."

He said it in this low, cold voice which made Ike get distracted from his other arguments and just focus on him. The fire and fury and steel of him. Soren was in fact, downright vicious when it came to debating. He had an air of condescension that implied that all those opposing him had about the I.Q. of an amoeba. Though with this group, it wasn't hard, mostly because Ranulf could've probably out debated them armed with nothing but 'your argument is invalid' cat macros. Even the girls were taller than him, and yet with his chin lifted defiantly, he made up in force for what he lacked in stature.

"Soren totally intimidates them," Ranulf said, leaning over to whisper. "The guys think he's going to be a pushover because he's so tiny, and the girls are blinded by jealousy as he's got prettier hair and slimmer hips than them, and they're thinking he'll steal their boyfriends."

Ike just stared at Ranulf.

"I'm just sayin'," Ranulf said. He was looking pretty pointedly at Ike. Okay, maybe he won that one, Ike had to admit.

He was striking when he was angry. Pretty, even. No, what was it? Handsome? Beautiful? These were odd thoughts for Ike. Beautiful or handsome weren't terms he exactly used, let alone on a regular basis. It was usually 'pretty nice' that escaped his lips, as in that's a pretty nice car or that was a pretty nice meal. He'd never had a moment where he looked at someone and thought them breathtaking. At least, not until now.

He caught Soren's gaze as Soren was leaving the stage. His face was unreadable. He was struck by how familiar it all seemed. But no, that wasn't right. It was just a strange, unexplainable feeling. One that even trying to push away as something weird didn't completely erase.

.

The Uni library was pretty compact, all bookshelves and computers and a few tables for studying and stuff with really ugly green carpet. Ranulf and Kyza refused to even go in the place, just because of the ugly carpet. In their more drunk moments, they talked about sneaking into the library at night and redecorating like a pair of fabulous bosses.

He caught site of Soren the next day, though he still hadn't quite figured out what he was going to say to him. Hey, I remember that time you kissed me and it's kind of made things weird, but not the bad sort of weird, well, maybe sort of the bad kind of weird–– didn't exactly seem like a great icebreaker.

Ranulf had tried to do the wingman or wingbro thing, but Ike couldn't remember most of the bro code. Except the part about knowing your target's interests and sticking there in hopes of an accidental meeting, which sort of sounded like stalking to Ike, but apparently it was a thing.

Which is why he was in the library. Trying to act chill and like he actually spent time in here. Doing library things. He tried to pick up a book and look like he belonged, but the words sort of blurred. Then when they didn't blur, he realized that he'd accidentally picked up Your Period And You and now looked like a pervert, or someone who really failed sex ed. He cleared his throat and put the book back on the shelf and decided to just pick up a newspaper or something.

Except that's when he noticed he hadn't been alone at all.

"You've been standing there a while...What do you want?" Soren said.

He hadn't seen him come in. And from the looks of it, Soren had been there awhile, hidden in some corner with a book.

Ike sucked at being subtle. He always stumbled in, crashing and breaking things when it came to friendships. People who were personally offended by this just had to deal, because he was not up with pleasantries.

"I want to get to know you," he said.

Soren flicked his gaze to him. He looked wary, and dismissive all at once.

"To reiterate: what do you want?"

"Uh, what?" Ike said.

"Everyone wants something. There's no such thing as true charity. The closest this human race can get to giving is to assuage their own selfish desires and pat themselves on the back for being virtuous," Soren said.

Generally Ike was the king of putting his foot in his mouth, but for once he had an inkling that it might be bad to say that he only understood about half of that. Maybe even less. But Ike didn't beat around the bush or play social games like Ranulf. So he did what he did best, and just laid it all out.

"Okay then. I want to get to know you better because I want to," Ike said.

"Ah...Humiliation, then," Soren said.

"Not really into that sort of thing," Ike said.

Soren rolled his eyes. "You want to use and humiliate me, like every other jock out there. To take my notes and then publicly tell me how weak I am," Soren said. His gaze was intense now, burning with anger.

"Er, no," Ike said. "Not really, or at all."

Soren stared at him a long while. Then he just shook his head. "I have to get to class," he said. He picked up his books and brushed past Ike.

"Well, that went well," Ike said to no one in particular.

.

There was one thing Ike did know about Soren, that being the local lore of his notes. Soren took the most detailed notes anyone had ever seen. Soren's notes were prized like magic items through school, it was said that whoever possessed the fabled notes would pass the class for sure with the highest score possible.

The very fact that Soren refused under any circumstances to share only made the legends about those notes potency all the stronger. Some said that those who passed the quest to obtain Soren's notes might even find the meaning of life hidden in-between Advanced Calculus and Molecular Biology.

Ike wasn't taking Advanced Calculus or Molecular Biology. He'd in fact, heard that Soren had taken extra math classes for fun, a concept which eluded him. Soren was a pretty strange guy like that.

Ranulf thought him bizarre, with his usual aversion for parties and beer pong. Apparently Soren usually spent his weekends reading, which managed to baffle both Ike and Ranulf, who spent their weekends playing Edward forty hands.

So it was a week after the meeting in the library that he saw Soren again. It wasn't so much that he was trying to see Soren, though if he came across him, he'd try and say hi or something. Mostly, he was trying not to fail the quarter, and staying in his dorm would inevitably end up with Ranulf and him playing video games, or Ranulf and him consuming lots of beer and then playing video games.

So, he was trying the studying thing. Sometime–he couldn't really tell how long he'd been there, trying the studying thing–he heard papers slap down on the table in the library.

Soren wasn't looking at him as he put the papers down.

"Uh," Ike said, bringing one of the papers into view.

"I saw your GPA today," Soren said. "I feel personally offended on behalf of your teachers."

"I only got one F," Ike protested. "Well, and a couple D-'s."

Soren's lip curled in disgust. "These are photocopied. Don't think that it's anything but distaste at your GPA."

"Thanks, I guess?" Ike said.

Soren nodded and left before it all quite sunk in.

.

"I cannot believe he gave you his notes," Ranulf said, shaking his head.

There was cheetos and beer, which according to Ranulf was the official food of bros.

"Yeah, it's still, sinking in," Ike said.

"We could be millionaires selling it on the black market," Ranulf said.

"No can do," Ike said, reaching into the bag.

Ranulf sighed dramatically. "I knew you'd say that."

"But still," Ike said between bites. "He gives me his notes and then he keeps avoiding me. I don't get it."

"What I don't get, bro, is why you are focusing on one bitchy science major when there are tons of girls just begging you to sleep with them. I mean, if gender is an issue, we could hit the gay bars. You know I'm cool with gay dudes. I made out with one last Thursday," Ranulf said.

"I just can't help but think I'm missing something here," Ike said, like Ranulf hadn't even gone on a tangent. This happened a lot, largely because what Ranulf said made no sense half the time, and that wasn't even counting the times he was drunk.

Ranulf rolled his eyes. "Since you can't get over this guy, I'll make it all better. Just come to the party–I'll make sure he's there."

Ike looked a bit surprised. "You're so powerful that you can even get Soren to a party again?"

"Like you have to ask? I have connections, bro," Ranulf said. "You'll owe me one."

Not for the first time, Ike was glad that Ranulf was on his side.

.

"Mia, my man!" Ranulf and her did some sort of complicated handshake to fistpump. Soren stood behind her, looking as if he hated everyone and everything. Ike smiled at him, but Soren just looked away.

"I see you brought the famous Soren Nevassa with you," Ranulf said. He was grinning like the cat who ate the canary.

"Yeah, he was locked up and brooding over his textbooks as usual. I had to practically pry them out of his hands and threaten to use them as sword practice to get him out of there," Mia said. She threw her arm over his shoulder and Soren looked like he hated life a little more.

"I was wondering how you did it," Ranulf said. "But violence, that's a classic method."

"That's my mantra!" Mia said. "There's nothing that can't be solved with violence."

"Truly, that is a mantra to live by," Ranulf said. "Though, don't forget the beer."

"Drunken violence! Even better!" Mia said.

After getting settled, Ike pulled out a proper keg and got them arranged in a circle. As usual, Ranulf had enough alcohol to make even Skrimir, kegger champ and kegstand king of the university, fall over. Kyza, Heather, Lyre and a few others Ike didn't quite know were there. Presumably Makalov had come for the free beer, but he'd apparently already gotten into someone else's cooler and was passed out on the couch.

"Heather, I'll let you start with the honors," Ranulf said with an elaborate bow.

She considered the red cup put before her. "Never have I ever kissed a guy," she said. "Thank God."

One by one, the group downed their drinks. Soren glared at them. Ike downed his without trouble.

"Are you sure that you shouldn't be taking a drink?" Ranulf said, with a wide grin. "I got prime info that says you locked lips with a certain quarterback on the eve of the last party."

Soren made an irritated sound in the back of his throat.

"Seriously?" Mia said. "You didn't tell me!"

"For a reason," Soren muttered. He glowered down at his drink and downed it, entirely too fast. He began to cough, and Ike patted him on the back.

"Easy, there," Ike said.

Soren made another strangled noise and broke out coughing again.. He muttered something, and looked up sharply to Ranulf's stupid grin.

Ranulf cupped his hand at his ear. "What'd you say? I didn't quite hear you."

"He said he hates you and wishes you'd die," Ike said.

Soren looked to Ike, looking more than a little surprised. The group was quiet, but Ranulf was quite nonplussed.

"Didn't realize you guys had such a hivemind going. Will you finish each other's sentences next?"

Ike shrugged. "I was just guessing, but I got it right."

He smiled at Soren, and Soren looked a mite bit less homicidal, so it was something.

But then, Ranulf had to do the moment cockblock with a grin. "Never have I had a thing for Ike."

Heather downed it, and she was about it. Ranulf looked around, and muttered a seriously? Kyza shrugged.

"He has really nice shoulders, okay," Kyza said.

"And abs," Lyre cut in.

"Hey, you guys are my fan club," Ranulf said.

"Well, we expanded a bit," Lyre and Kyza said, looking to each other and for once, agreeing on something.

"This is ridiculous," Soren said. His face was flushed with a mix of embarrassment and hurt and rage. He pushed himself up and out of the circle and made his way to the door.

"Hey, wait—"

But Soren had already made his way for the door. Ike followed after him, leaving the party behind. He covered the distance in just a few strides and caught up.

"Soren, wait a second," Ike said. But Soren just kept walking. Ike reached out and just touched him, held onto his shoulder, and they stood there in the hallway, catching their breath.

"I didn't know he was going to do it," Ike said. "He just...does stuff."

Soren didn't look at him, but he didn't shrug off Ike's hand, or tell him off either. If anything beyond the shame and humiliation, he seemed sort of...sad.

"I just wanted to spend more time with you, I didn't know that he'd turn it into some sort of truth game."

"Why?" Soren said. His voice sounded very quiet and small, even hoarse. "Why would you want to know me?"

Ike shrugged. "I just do."

Soren let out a long shaky breath. "If I'd not been so foolish and drunk that night...would you have even noticed I exist?"

"I..."

But Ike couldn't answer that one. Would he have? Grabbing someone and randomly making out with them under a bacon magnet was a pretty memorable meeting.

"I don't know. I'd like to think so," Ike said finally.

"We don't run in the same crowds, or take the same classes, we don't even like the same things," Soren said.

And he remembered once standing out in a hallway, looking for someone who had already gone. He didn't want to it to happen again.

"Yeah, but that doesn't really matter...I just want to see you again," Ike said. "So...can I? Probably without Ranulf this time."

Soren finally turned around to look at him. Not for the first time, Ike just had to boggle at how tiny he was. His hair had started to come out of his ponytail, and he was looking suspicious and yet...hopeful.

"Maybe," Soren said.

"All right," Ike said.

He leaned against the wall and watched as Soren walked on down the hall towards his own dorm. He could live with maybe. After all, he always hoped and believed in the best.