AN: Hello, ADashOfInsanity here with the beginning of my second multi-chapter Fire Emblem story!
Whilst "Crystal Clarity" (my other story) contains IkexSoren, this one will mostly keep them just as close friends with no romantic implications involved. This story is also my first attempt at Fire Emblem AU and is set in a Modern context yet keeps all the magic and races from the canon setting.
Please tell me what you think! Feedback is always appreciated, so please enjoy the chapter and please review!
Chapter One: The Children's Section.
Ike wasn't one for books. Books were long and unnecessarily boring however many pictures you put in them and why would you want to sit inside when you could run round the back garden hitting things with a stick? Besides, he didn't need to read books, his mother read them to him and Mist every evening before they went to sleep. He liked the stories but he didn't have to touch the book itself and he had decided he never really needed to. However that didn't stop his mother dragging him on trips to the local library. She called it a trip but Ike didn't think it really was one. Trips meant long journeys in cars or on trains to visit his father's strange friends in the city. Walking down the road and turning the corner to the library wasn't a trip, it was a walk, however its name didn't change the fact they always went on them.
Mist loved the library. She would get incredibly excited as their mother led them into the brightly coloured children's section and Mist would immediately point out the biggest and most colourful book she could find and she would sit on the squashy children's chairs and demand that she could read with her mother. Their mother always agreed and Ike, who said that as a six year old he was a big boy and could cope on his own, was allowed to wander about the children's section as long as he stayed in his mother's line of sight at all times. They went at least twice a week and by now Ike knew where all the best hiding spots in the children's section were. He knew which shelves were climbable, and where the play bricks, that were meant for the children's reading club, were secretly kept. In fact there was little he didn't know about the children's section (apart from the contents of most of the books.) Or at least he thought he did.
One afternoon, they went to the library later than usual. Their mother had been very busy that day and their father had been working late so they had to wait longer for their walk out. It was already cold and dark when they got to the library and their mother pointed out that they only had a little time today because it was five thirty and the library closed in half an hour. They didn't seem to do anything different though, so Ike continued with his usual wandering. However this time he wasn't satisfied with just remaining within the children's section.
He crept round the shelves and found himself greeted with lines upon lines of dull brown shelves full of equally dull looking books, none of which were as colourful as any in the children's section. The shelves were much taller and the chairs weren't shaped like animals and didn't look nearly as comfortable. Ike noticed that there was a set of strangely arranged chairs beside one of the radiators on the wall. Whilst most were in lines or at tables, these three chairs had made a sort of square with the radiator with each of the seats facing outwards from the square formed by their backs. Excited by the fact that this could be great little hidey-hole to explore Ike hurried over to the chairs and climbed on top of the front most chairs. He peered over the tall backs…
Only to find his new hiding spot was already taken.
There was a boy in there. Ike was pretty sure it was a boy though he did have really long hair that Ike did think was pretty girly. He stared at the child who was incredibly small and didn't look like he was very well at all. He was incredibly pale and his clothes were incredibly dirty, and they didn't look like they matched at all. The boy was wearing a very long grey jumper that would best fit an adult. It fell down to his knees and was ripped and torn in places. Ike was very surprised to see that the boy had no shoes and only one sock, which had been worn through so he could see the boy's toes.
"Hello," Ike said to the boy, wondering whether he had found a new person to play with. Exploring the library with someone else would be much more fun than doing it on his own! However the boy didn't reply to him. All he did was curl into a little ball and stare up at Ike with huge round scarlet eyes.
"Wow," Ike exclaimed, "Your eyes are so cool! They're red like a monster's!" The child amidst the chairs didn't seem think that was praise however, for his simple stare turned into a glare that clearly meant get away from me. However Ike was not going to give up on coaxing his new potential-friend into talking to him that easily. The hidden boy's stomach gave an unnaturally loud gurgle and suddenly Ike had an idea. He had a sandwich left in the pocket of his trousers from lunch time. He had decided to save it for later because he thought he might get hungry during the afternoon, however he hadn't eaten it and now it was collecting fluff in his pocket.
He took the sandwich out, trying to pick off all the noticeable bits of fluff and pencil-shavings and tried to hand it to the boy. However the red-eyed stranger continued to do nothing but stare at him, though his eyes did flicker back and forth from the proffered sandwich every once in a while.
"You can have it!" Ike exclaimed, excited at the fact the boy obviously wanted the sandwich, "Here take it!" He moved his hand closer and the boy flinched away. However after a few minutes of contemplating the food the boy shocked Ike by suddenly darting forwards, snatching the sandwich, before curling back into his little ball again. Ike wondered if the boy was trying to pretend to be a hedgehog, he did spend a lot of time in a ball. However he was sure hedgehogs didn't eat ham and cheese sandwiches and the boy was eating the fluffy sandwich with great gusto. He was stuffing the food into his mouth at an almost inhuman speed, exactly the type of eating that Ike always got told off for attempting! Why wasn't this boy's mum telling him off? Where was this boy's mum? Ike looked about. There wasn't anyone else in this little area, and Ike didn't think he'd seen anyone in the last area he'd been in either. How odd.
"Where's your mum and dad?" He asked the boy. However the stranger focussed more on trying to swallow the large amount of sandwich he had in his small mouth. Even when he had swallowed it though, he didn't answer Ike. Ike tried a new tact. He thought the boy wouldn't talk to strangers. It was a thing his mother always said to him, and no doubt this boy's mum would have said it too. Ike extended a small hand down the gap in the chairs. If he introduced himself, he wouldn't be stranger anymore and therefore they could talk!
"My name is Ike!" he said confidently, "I'm here with my mum and my sister. She's called Mist. My mum is called Elena and my dad is called Greil though he's not here in this place with us. We have a rabbit and two budgies!" He knelt on the chair, confident that finally he would get a response from the boy. However he was only disappointed when the boy simply finished the sandwich and continued to stare back at him. His stomach gave a loud gurgle again and Ike frowned. This boy must be really hungry!
"I don't have any more food," he said, as if apologising, "But if you come back with me to my mum she might have some! Come on, I'll take you to her, she's really nice!" He tried to give the boy his hand once more, to help him climb out of the chairs. The boy refused him and just continued to stare. His stomach gurgled even louder and he winced. Ike started to wonder whether this boy's stomach was hurting him every time it made that noise.
"You need food," Ike told him, "Come with me! We have lots and lots of food at home! I'm sure your mum and dad won't mind! You can come round for dinner!" Finally he got a response. The red-eyed boy shook his head at him and inched closer to the radiator.
"Why not?" Ike asked, "It's not that far! We live down the road!" The boy shook his head once more but now he was shaking a lot more than that one negative gesture. Ike thought he looked scared, like Mist after a nightmare, and that only made Ike want to help him even more.
"Don't be scared of me!" He protested, but all he got was a glare in return. Ok, so the boy wasn't scared, and didn't like it when Ike said he was… This was so confusing! If the boy was so hungry why didn't he come and get food? It didn't make sense! He was being perfectly friendly, why wasn't the boy talking back? It just didn't make sense, so he had to come up with another way of making friends with the boy.
"I'll come back in a few days with more food!" he said, thinking of the next time his mother would take him to the library, "I'll bring you food and you get to stay here! Then can we be friends?" The boy seemed to consider him for a few minutes before he nodded. Ike beamed.
"I'll bring you lots of sandwiches! Just you wait!" He exclaimed, before clambering off the chair. He heard his mother call from the children's section and gave the cluster of chairs a little wave.
"I'll see you soon!" The boy didn't reply but Ike took his silence for ascent.
Three days later, Elena took her children to the library once more. At first the large brick building looked the same as it ever was. The brick walls were still as orange, and the windows were still full of the same posters for reading groups and notices about new books in stock. The sun was incredibly bright that day and the café beside the library had its colourful umbrellas out and the smell of chocolate ice cream was enough to send any child into a fit of wild excitement. They did not get ice cream that day, though they had been promised that if they were good they would have some next time. Mist was already saying she wanted a book about horses, Ike was jumping over the cracks in the pavement, and everything was as it had always been.
Until they spotted the blood on the sliding doors.
The entrance to the library had two automatic doors which slid apart when it sensed that someone wanted to enter. However the doors were fixed in an open position and many plastic signs had been placed on the pavement around them. The signs said that cleaning was in progress here, but what they were cleaning up? Elena tried to distract her children but Ike had already spotted the splatters of red before she could tempt him away. There was more blood on the pavement than the doors and as Ike tried to peer around the large signs he was sure he saw one of the cleaners pick up a single torn black sock.
"Let's come here tomorrow instead," said their mother. She had read a notice on the library door that was too high for her children to peer at, and she now looked distinctly uncomfortable. She ushered for Ike to turn round and walk back the other way but Ike's eyes were still on the library door. His pockets were full of sandwiches, four in all, and he wanted to give them to the strange red-eyed boy. Could he wait one more day? Ike wandered after his mother feeling worried, had the boy lost his sock? And why was it near the blood? Maybe he'd find out tomorrow.
The trip tomorrow never came. They were a few paces from the library when the first gun shots fired. There was screaming, people started running up the street towards them, there were yells for the police, yells of murder. Elena managed to get the attention of one of the panicked people and ask them what was going on. The man gabbled that Greil had gone mad. He was striding up the road, fully armed, and killing anyone that got near him. The man screamed and sprinted away saying that the respected man had been possessed by demons. Elena turned to her children and told them to go and hide in the library, to go in there and not come out until she came looking for them. They nodded and she sprinted down the road, battling against the tide of terrified people.
Ike and Mist found themselves getting pushed and shoved aside, tripping over and being tripped over in equal measure. They didn't know what to do. They couldn't get to the library, there were so many people in the way, people who could trample them! They were confused and clueless.
"We'll go and ask Mum what to do!" Ike said, grabbing his sister by the arm and together they ran as fast as their little legs would carry them, going in the road if necessary to avoid the rush of people. The Saturday Farmers' Market was held near the top of their road which explained the vast number of people that were running, and then falling, around them. They met their parents half way down the road. The pavement was covered in people, lying there, not running anymore and not making a single noise. Ike stared at them and wondered what the matter was… then he heard one more gunshot.
It looked like his mother and father were hugging. His father had his arms round her and a gun in one of his hands which was against his mother's back. His mother had her arms round his father, she had one of her necklaces in her hand and her other hand was on his father's shoulder. Ike approached them curiously as his father suddenly started to sob.
"Dad?" His mother's head fell onto his father's shoulder.
"Mum?" Ike felt a hand on his shoulder and he turned to see a tall thin man with long shiny black hair. Behind him was another man, a larger man in police uniform. He looked at them then at his sobbing father.
It was then that he forgot everything. He never remembered the funeral in the sunshine. He never thought anything of the fact his whole world was being packed into boxes to be put into a brand new home. The little figure in black that tried to run after their removal van meant nothing to him. He wouldn't remember travelling to his new home in Crimea, or settling in and meeting his new neighbours. As far as Ike was aware he had lived in the little country hamlet in Crimea all his life. Ten years went by before he had to even consider any gap in his memory. Ten years where he never even thought of what had happened at such a young age. However, in the end the past will always rear its discontented head and the time for Ike had come to think back. Strangely this realisation of thought came in the least thought provoking location possible…
The lunch queue at high school was where he first glimpsed the familiar, yet unfamiliar, sight of wide scarlet eyes.