Title: The World Is A Blur Except Where You're Standing
Series: FE 9/10
Author's note: Any, any, you can stand under my umbrella. Set after Upside Down several years later, because apparently I couldn't leave this universe alone until Ike and Soren were together.
The title and inspiration comes from Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros. There's a fanmix that goes with it, but I can't post it here, so you can find it hosted at AO3 or on my journal.
More for Kiu.
The downpour had been off and on for days. Soren always kept a coat and umbrella on hand. He was never left unprepared. Work was slow, his fellow workers lingered too much about the coffeepot. Technically, they were always slow, and not just compared to him, but on rainy days, it got even worse.
For once, he wasn't even exempt. The sound of raindrops distracted him from work, calling back a day long ago with super hero bandages and shared baths. Many other days had been like that, chasing cars from the sidewalk, feeling the wind in their hair. Little distracted him from work, but it was always one thing, one person.
Ike's shirt was damp, clinging to him. He leaned against the wall, watching out. Did his expression soften when he saw Soren, or was that wishful thinking on his part? When it came to Ike, Soren always questioned the obvious.
"You forgot your umbrella again?"
Ike shrugged. "I tried to remember, but I overslept and it wasn't raining then."
"I bought you two, including one at work," Soren said. He pulled out his umbrella. It unfurled, black, uniform and large enough to easily fit two people. Soren always made his choices just enough to accommodate Ike.
"I'll hold it, your arms must be tired," Ike said.
""Yes, I'm so tired from typing all day," Soren said.
"Are your wrists acting up again?"
"No, Ike. I'm fine," Soren said.
"Let's walk, it's not that far," Ike said.
"You want to walk...in the rain? Wait...did you give all your money away to a homeless person again?"
"Yeah. That's where the other umbrella went, too," Ike said.
Soren let out a sigh. This was a battle he knew he wouldn't win. The best he could do was ensure that his paycheck would cover what Ike gave away freely for the month. Even with a large umbrella, Ike had to come close to stay beyond the flow of rain. Their bodies would touch as they walked, each time drawing his attention back to Ike.
Ike had been quiet, but suddenly as they came to a street corner, just below a street lamp, he stopped.
"Do you ever miss how it was when we were younger?" Ike said.
"I don't waste time with sentimental nostalgia," Soren replied.
"Everything seemed easier then," Ike said. "We could just jump in puddles and not have to worry about wars."
It was for you, because you believed. I already knew better.
Ike stopped and looked up at the sky. Soren looked to him, questioning and silent.
"It doesn't have to be, though," Ike said.
Ike put the umbrella over his shoulder. Two shakes and it closed.
"Ike, what are you—"
"Come on, Soren. Here's some good puddles, let's jump."
"What's gotten into you? That water is dirty," Soren said.
"It'll wash off in the end," Ike replied. His flannel shirt was rolled up to reveal his forearms, his blue shirt already wet against his chest. "Come on, Soren. When was the last time we did something reckless together?"
"When we were young enough that we didn't know better," Soren said. "And to think, you once hated bath time."
Still, he took Ike's hand and stepped into the puddle. Whatever draw a puddle may have had as a child was entirely gone. His feet were cold and wet, and sloshed uncomfortably. Ike, however, was jumping through, splashing water across the pavement and Soren's pants.
"Truth be told, I'm more a shower kind of a guy. Though, I didn't hate it that much, not with you around," Ike said.
He tried to get Soren to spin with him, but it was more clumsy and wet and cold than joyful. Still, the smile on Ike's face made it tolerable. They were making complete fools of themselves, and Ike didn't care. It wasn't really dancing, more a synchronized spinning as the water splashed and drenched him a little more.
"And you don't find this even a little fun?" Ike said.
Truth was, he never did. All Ike's attempts to teach him the joys of 'fun' from poking things with sticks to making puddles never really worked. He'd stayed for Ike and for that reason alone. In that sense, little had changed.
"If this makes you happy, then it makes me happy."
Soren's hair was plastered to his face. Ike reached out and brushed it back. His hand stayed there, warm against his cheek. Soren barely noticed the world around him, the sudden sound of thunder above, the passing cars.
"You know... I can never hate anything entirely when you're around," Ike said.
"Even parties?" Soren said.
"Even parties. I can always sneak out to a balcony and eat with you."
Soren chuckled softly. Ike's hand remained there, his thumb to Soren's cheek, his fingers below his lips.
"In the end, I don't want to be anywhere without you for the rest of my life."
"I will always stay by your side, Ike. There's never been a question," Soren said.
Ike closed his eyes. "You did, didn't you? You always say that, but I don't think I was listening."
Ike suddenly pulled him close. His grip was strong as they were close together, forehead to forehead drenched skin and wet hair.
"What does it take for you to be happy?"
"You," Soren replied quietly.
"I thought so...it's the same for me. So stay around, okay?"
"There was never a question of whether I wouldn't," Soren said.
Ike leaned closer, his gaze on Soren's lips when a sudden crack of thunder made him look away. He shook his head and turned back, pushing their lips together for one quick moment. Unskilled and harder than intended, and yet the touch left Soren stunned.
"Come on, if we run, we can make it before the storm gets worse."
"You might skin your knee again," Soren said.
"That's okay, you'll just bandage it up again," Ike said.
He took Soren's hand, and together they ran as the rain poured down.