bonnefois: ghost_factory @ LJ (Default)
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Title: The Soul Revealed
Series: FE9/10 with a fusion of The Dark Materials
Character/pairing: Ike/Soren, ensemble, daemons.
Rating: PG
Word count: 1536
Author's note: Veers slightly from some of the general fanon and canon of The Dark Materials intentionally because of characterization and gay reasons. Purists, please forgive me. the gay reasons were very important and very gay.

Happy Birthday, Kiu!!



It was said that only the laguz didn't have daemons, because they carried their beast nature within them. (Or some people said, because they didn't have souls) but to the beorc of Tellius, they were graced by the Goddess with a soul outside their bodies in animal form.

Soren had once read him a passage like that. There'd been more, but the day had been sunny, and he'd been itching to start practice, so he must have not entirely been paying attention. It certainly wouldn't have been the first time it happened.

Ike saw it in less complicated terms. Daemons were like rulers for someone's personality. His father's daemon was a large, grizzled wolfhound, as imposing as it was gentle, while Titania's was a strong white draft horse stallion. Mist's was a small dove that often perched on her shoulders. Sometimes it would shift to a butterfly, or a bee, but it always was in flight.

Boyd's was a small dog, none too bright, of indeterminable origin. It had settled at a surprisingly young age. It always was willing for a fight, and yipped at Ike's daemon whenever he passed.

A raven perched on Shinon's shoulder. Its caws always sounded like laughter. Often, Shinon would dole out some of his alcohol to share. Surely, the first words learned to hurl at the passing crowds was a series of incredibly vile swear words. Gatrie's was an ox. Strong, durable, and about as bright as a rock. It let out moos at all passing cows, and while it could haul strong things, it was hardly dependable; the mere scent of a possible mate would send it running.

For many years, Rolf's had been a mouse which hid away in his pockets and rarely spoke. But as it grew older, it turned into a sparrow. Rhys was a frail moth that fluttered about his head; he never drew too close to candles, while Oscar's was a rat that he often left pieces of cheese, and other scraps for as he cooked.

Ike's daemon had a common theme. When he was younger, it was a clumsy pup with wiry fur and too-big feet. It left muddy paw prints over the floors that caused Titania and Mist more than a few headaches. Its attempts with bird forms was a disaster, as the hawks botched flights and scraped up his shoulders, so it always returned to the dog form it felt most comfortable with. As he grew, it settled into a large guard shepherd, with thick golden-brown fur and a fierce expression. But despite that seeming roughness, Valere rarely fought with the other daemons. Like Ike, it seemed his face was simply like that.

His daemon was male, which was something of a rarity. He'd never really thought about it, or what that might mean.

Soren's daemon spoke even less than he did. She tended towards quiet, dark things. A small owl, a raven as silent as if its tongue had been cut out, a small black snake. Every form the daemon turned into was considered vermin and unwanted. To this day, Ike had never heard her name. The daemon was usually curled up at the corner of Soren's desk, glaring out suspiciously with golden eyes. She did not interact with the other daemons, save Ike's own.

The final form, a thin and wiry black cat, had settled when Soren was seventeen and a half, the war almost won and that painful secret spilled.

(Fitting, Soren had said, with a trace of bitterness, as his daemon followed behind at a far distance. A creature a lot of people considered a bad omen, a familiar of the dark sages and a branded child, abandoned to starve. )

*

That night while Ike took off his armor, a little black form stole into his tent. He felt a cat rub up against his legs. It said nothing, and for a moment he thought it really was just a cat. But there was a familiar wary look in those eyes he recognized right away.

He absently stroked it, before he remembered that it simply wasn't done. For a moment he paused, his hand still on the daemon's back. It didn't draw away. Valere nudged his hand away with his cold, wet nose. He licked the side of the daemon's face.

The cat took a few steps forward and rubbed its chin over Ike's boot, before curling up near Valere's hind legs.
That night after he climbed up into bed, a little weight settled on his blanket and purred the whole night through.

*

It was dark when Ike broached the subject. The last ledgers of the day had been settled. Dinner had been hours ago, and the wooden bowls were already scrubbed and left to dry.

"Your daemon came to see me last night," Ike said. "Did you send it?"

"No," Soren said.

"It just came, and..." He shook his head. The daemon had reminded him so much of the time when they'd first brought Soren into the mercenary group. How wary, and yet desperate and vulnerable it was.

Soren didn't say anything more. He busied his hands with the book, despite that the figures were already calculated. Whenever something bothered Soren, he could never keep still. He'd find some task to complete simply to keep himself busy.

"Come to think of it, I don't know what its name is," Ike said. Soren rarely even looked his daemon, let alone spoke with it. They were so separate that it was often mistaken for a stray, and not a daemon.

"It doesn't have a name," Soren said. He busied himself with his affairs, setting things to order. It was hardly needed, as the desk was already pristine with everything right where it should be.

"What? Everyone's daemons have names," Ike said.

"Mine doesn't," Soren replied.

"But...." Ike said.

"I didn't have a name," Soren said quietly. His daemon paced by him, its tail twitching in agitation, "In the end I called myself something because 'boy' couldn't work forever....because I couldn't sign into a mercenary group as a nothing."

Valere stood up, and gave a low warning woof. Though she could usually be calmed merely by Valere's presence, now she hunched her back. Her tail was puffed out and black, like a chimney sweeper's brush.

Valere took several slow steps near, until he stood in front of Soren's daemon.

"Logically, it shouldn't even exist, considered what I am," Soren said softly.

"But Stefan had a daemon, and he's branded. Maybe it has a name and you never asked," Ike said. He'd never heard it speak before, not even to Soren. If anything, they seemed to barely tolerate each other at best. Most of the time Soren wouldn't even look at his daemon. He bent down before the daemon. Valere had her between his paws. She still looked agitated, but she slightly calmed as he bent down to her level.

"Well, do you?" Ike said.

"Tenebrae," it said. It had a quiet, raspy voice.

"See?" Ike said. "She had one all along."

Ike reached down and stroked Tenebrae's back. She slowly began to purr.

"Ike, that--That isn't--"

But Ike opened his arms up, and lifted Tenebrae into his arms. It was a shock through his system. Tenebrae looked on, with something of a smirk in her golden eyes. Ike had touched his daemon, unflinchingly knowing he was a halfbreed. A branded.

Valere nosed Ike, until Tenebrae hopped down and ran between his paws. Ike's daemon never talked much, but it always watched over Tenebrae, even in battle.

"Now it's your turn. Get on over here," Ike said.

"Ike--"

"You heard me," Ike said.

He wrapped Soren up in an embrace. Ike stroked his dark hair softly, and whispered soft words to him, until his shoulders finally began to relax.

"You're always going to have a name; I'll always remember you. Whatever you're carrying, you don't have to carry it alone," Ike said.

Tenebrae slowly took wary steps towards Soren, and let out a little mew. It sounded like a question.

"We starved together, didn't we? For food, for him," Soren murmured. As hard as it was to leave Ike's arms, he bent down and hesitantly reached. He drew back, and finally touched Tenebrae. The cat slowly began to purr. Valere's tail thumped.

Ike sat on the ground with him. In the candlelight, as the day drew to a close, something had begun. A black cat lay asleep near his feet. No longer nameless or unlucky, Tenebrae purred through some dreams Soren did not see.

Ike's hand hadn't left him. Splayed across his back, a comfort, a support. Another new beginning.
--

Valere is Latin for 'be strong'. It's the root word for Valor.
Tenebrae is Latin for "shadow; darkness', which you'd probably know if you played TOS2.

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