Disclaimer: I don't own Fire Emblem.

Watch Your Back

The golden rays of the autumn sun fell across Soren's desk as he sat reading something on a piece of paper. The Greil Mercenaries were very busy those days, as after the Mad King's War, their reputation had increased considerably, and every person all across Tellius, having any kind of problem, wanted the Mercenaries working for them. Some of the requests for help were genuine, but there were also several others (mostly from the rich lords and nobles) who wanted the Greil Mercenaries only so that they could boast to their friends about how the famous Ike was working for them.

Of course, Ike accepted some of these requests, knowing that they needed the money. But he insisted on taking these jobs up only when there were no really needy people needing their help. And so Soren had to spend his time sorting out through the myriad of requests, in addition to which he had to keep the weapons and food stock up to date, payments of the mercenaries, and plan up strategies for their current jobs, and do a whole lot of other things that a strategist is expected to do.

However, Soren did not mind this. In fact, he rather liked his work. With a contented sigh, he bent over his papers, writing something down, putting some notes in order. There was a bandit group in the area which the Greil Mercenaries had been asked to fight, and he was working on some strategies which could help them win.

Unbeknown to him, a pair of bright green eyes were watching him through a crack in the door. Mia always viewed Soren with something akin to amazement. She had never known such a young boy with such a passion for paperwork. He could sit in his cramped little room for hours, working on documents and statements and goodness knows what.

Mia didn't know how old Soren was. Everyone treated him like a grown-up, yet to her he seemed like a young boy, even younger than her.

'All this sitting around can't be good for him,' she thought. 'I should take him outside for a spar.'

With this partially altruistic thought in mind, she opened the door and ran into the room. "Hey Soren!" she exclaimed. Soren jumped and looked around at her.

"Mia-! What are you doing? What do you want?" he demanded, giving her an irritated look.

"I'm here to take you outside," Mia said. "You need some fresh air, and a spar with me would be just the thing!"

"No," said Soren sharply. "I'm very busy right now. I have no time for this."

"What? You're just going over documents and stuff! You can do that any time!" Mia said.

"I am in the process of figuring out a strategy to help us fight," Soren told her. "Now get out!"

Mia made a face. "Aw, c'mon Soren," she said. "You're always buried in those books of yours. Have a little fun for a change!"

Soren got up and pointed towards the door. "Out. Now," he said, empathetically.

Mia hmphed. But realizing that Soren wasn't going to change his mind, she left.

It was later on in the day. Having exhausted her supply of training partners, Mia was training by herself, when she heard the Mercenaries' bell ringing. It was used to call all the Greil Mercenaries together, for meetings and such.

'The boss must have some job for us!' she thought, as she sheathed her sword and ran inside.

Ike, Titania and Soren were waiting for them, in the strategy room. A map was open in front of them. When all of the Greil Mercenaries had arrived, Ike began: "As you all know, a bandit group has appeared in the area, terrorizing the villages and looting from them. Today, Shinon and Gatrie have managed to discover their hideout, and so, we will attack them tonight."

Soren took over at this point, and started telling them about their attack strategy.

"The bandit hideout is at the base of the hills south of here," he said, indicating a spot on the map in front of him. "According to Shinon and Gatrie's report, they're present in some caves in the hills. They have sentries and snipers posted all around their main entrance. They also have at least one other route of escape, around here," he tapped at another spot, then continued: "We'll divide into two teams, one led by Ike and the other by Titania. Ike'll lead the attack at the main gate. Shinon and Rolf go with him, take out their watchmen. Mia, Boyd, you'll go too. I'll be in your team. We take out as many of the bandits as we can. Titania and the rest of you wait at the second entrance. When they come out, you take them out. Now…"

As Soren started to go into the details of their plans, Mia tapped her scabbard impatiently. She felt excited. It had been some time since they'd had a big job like this, and she was eager to pit her blade against bandit scum.

They went to the hideout at night. It was a huge fortress, guarded heavily against attack. The mercenaries weren't afraid, though. They'd survived far bigger fights.

They advanced slowly and cautiously, Shinon and Rolf quickly and silently taking down the sentries. Mia moved along behind Ike, waiting for the signal for them to attack. Then, finally, Ike gave the word, and the mercenaries charged.

The fight was easy enough for the mercenaries. Though being greater in numbers, the ill-trained bandits were no match for any of them, and it soon became obvious who was going to win.

Soren found the battle ridiculously easy. Elthunder tome in hand, he fried the bandits in his path, taking down one bandit after another. 'Pathetic,' he thought, dodging a bandit's sword. He raised his hand to cast a spell, he heard someone yell out: "Soren!"

Just as Soren started to turn, a bandit, coming up from behind him, stabbed him in the chest.

Soren gasped, his tome falling from his hands. 'This… isn't…happening,' he thought, falling to his knees.

The bandit looked down at him, grinning. He raised his sword, ready to strike the finishing blow, when there was a flash of red. The man's head rolled off from his shoulders, and his limp body collapsed. Another flash, and another bandit behind Soren fell as well.

Soren bent over, breathing heavily. White hot pain was radiating from the wound, and he could feel his blood under his hand. His rescuer knelt next to him. "Soren! You're hurt!"

Slowly, Soren looked up. It was Mia.

"Come on," she said. Soren felt her put an arm around him. Gently, she dragged him to the side, away from the fighting.

"Here," she said. "Take this." She pulled a vulnerary out of her pouch, and poured some of it on to the wound. Soren took a deep breath as he felt the wound heal somewhat. Mia looked at the wound. "You should use all of it, your wound hasn't healed completely yet," she said.

There were sudden yells behind them. Mia turned and looked around; a couple of bandits were coming towards them.

"Go," Soren said. "I'll be fine."

Mia turned to him and nodded briefly, before running off to fend off the bandits. Soren poured the rest of the vulnerary on his wound. It healed immediately, leaving a large, bloody hole in his robe.

'Well,' he thought, getting up. 'Time to get back to work.'

It was after the fight. The bandits had been defeated. Ike had forced them to return all the treasure they had stolen from the villages, and had made it clear to them that if they came back, it would be the end of them. The relieved villagers had thanked the mercenaries and had rewarded them. Now, when all the mercenaries were relaxing, Soren was in his room, calculating the expenditure of the venture, the damages taken, and the amount of money to be given to each mercenaries, when there was a knock on his door.

"Come in," he called, assuming it was Ike, who always came to check up after a fight.

There was the sound of the door opening. Then a female voice said: "You're okay?"

Soren turned. Mia was standing in the doorway.

"What are you doing here?" Soren asked, surprised.

"I came to check up on you," Mia said, moving towards him. "You took a pretty bad hit in battle today."

Soren looked at her suspiciously. Why was she doing this? Was she insulting him? Saying his battle skills weren't good enough?

"I'm fine," he said, carefully. "Thank you."

"That's good," Mia said, bouncing on her heels. "You need to watch your back in battle, you know. Can't afford to let the enemy come up on you unawares, specially a little guy like you!"

"I am aware of that," Soren said, sharply. "Today I made a mistake. I will not make it again. And- and I am not little!"

"Sure you are," Mia said, patting his shoulder. "But it's alright. I'll look after you in battle!"

"Mia, I can take care of myself," Soren said. "And I have Ike. I don't need you."

Mia's smile dimmed slightly. "Alright, alright," she said. "Just take care of yourself, okay?"

With a final tap on his shoulder, she turned to leave. Soren watched her go, feeling slightly strange. As she opened the door, he suddenly called to her: "Mia!"

She turned. "Yeah?"

"I... thank you," Soren said. "For saving my life."

Mia smiled brightly. "It's okay," she said. "You're my friend too, right?"

Soren bit his lip, then nodded slightly, not sure what to say.

"Well, then," Mia said. "Good night!"

"…good night," Soren answered. 'She called me her friend,' he thought. 'She thought me her friend.'

Suddenly he felt very strange, confused. He bent his head over his work, trying to straighten out his thoughts. Perhaps she had meant what she said. In all probability, she hadn't. But, if she had, then maybe, he had another person in the Greil Mercenaries, who cared for him.

The ending was abrupt, I know :( But still, please review!