Oil on Water by Dinky

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Sakura
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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by Sakura » February 27th, 2009, 10:30 am

Mreeeow? :pat:
What do you call a dinosaur with an extended vocabulary? A thesaurus.

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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by Dinky » February 27th, 2009, 3:32 pm

I'll be Watching You!

AN: Finally... another chapter. Sorry about the once again long delay. Good excuses, though: Sick, work, sister hospitalized, and I just became an aunt for the 14th time today! Yep, you saw that right. Fourteenth! Anyway, this is kind of a filler chapter- you'll see. It's short, but I hope you like it anyway! Please forgive spelling/grammer errors as I'm once again too sick to be able to proofread well, and I have no working spellchecker. Thanks!

Every single day
And every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I'll be watching you...
(I'll be watching you: Sting and the Police)

Eries drummed her fingers on the highly polished wood of the small writing desk she was currently occupying. Outside the window that overlooked the courtyard, she could see servants and soldiers frantically going to and fro to make everything ready for the Princesses' journey to Fanelia. They would be leaving at first light tomorrow morning, and Eries smiled wryly at the thought that perhaps this outcome was Annie's intention in the first place. If so, she'd have to concede this battle to her.

Despite the official announcement over dinner last evening that Lady Annie had been taken ill by a serious affliction of the lungs, the wild rumors were running rampant. She'd caught more than one group of maids twittering behind their hands, and the court ladies were even worse. For once in her life, Eries felt completely helpless to even take her anger out on anyone. Her first inclination was to chastise and somehow repay Annie for being part of such a humiliating spectacle- not to mention for having such bad taste as to do it with Allen Shezar of all people. Unfortunately, that desire completely evaporated the moment she set eyes on the whey-faced girl trying valiantly to smile and act healthy, normal, and strong, despite the fact that Allen was more than half-carrying her into the palace.

Her second, and stronger, inclination to berate and tear Allen into pieces with her bare hands didn't go so very well, either. She drummed her fingers on the desktop harder with a heavy frown just remembering it.

Oh, it had started out just fine. She'd laid into him in an low voice laced with icy fury about the indecency of his actions, and as expected, he withstood it all with a politely bowed head and an unreadable expression. And then suddenly, without warning, he'd snapped! She wasn't even sure what she'd said to him before he'd suddenly pinned her with a powerful glare, volcanic fury in his piercingly blue eyes.

She scowled at her desk in absolute mortification just remembering how he'd tore into her- respectfully, of course- about her cruel idiocity in strapping Annie into what he deemed an 'inhumane torture device'. For Jichia's sake, how was she supposed to know the girl had some kind of breathing problem? And it had been Allen's idea in the first place to get Annie dressed up like that.

The poor handmaiden that interrupted Eries' angry train of thought by bringing her tea tray was unfairly treated to an icy glare of death. Terrified, she backed hastily to the door and nearly ran out of the room. Eries gave an irritated huff of annoyance as she poured herself a much-needed cup of the soothing liquid and took a sip through tightly pursed lips.

The problem was, even when she'd pointed those obvious facts out to Allen, he'd instantly and heartily agreed, willingly taking on more of the guilt than she knew he actually deserved. After all, what did a man, even such a man as Allen Shezar, truly know about the uncomfortable side of women's undergarments?

But something beyond Allen's tongue lashing and the tiny finger of guilt niggling at her consience was bothering Eries. Austuria's middle princess was certainly no fool, nor was she blind or deaf. There was something going on between Allen and Annie, or at the very least, something going on on Allen's end of the relationship. She had never seen him lose his calm, never even heard him raise is voice, over any woman that wasn't his precious sister. Not Marlene, not Hitomi, not anyone. And yet, all Annie had to do was smirk at him a certain way and he flared up. And the way he looked at her...

It was a confusing, surprising, and not altogether welcome mystery, and Eries made a silent, adamant vow to dig her way to the bottom of it, whether the two of them liked it or not. She'd be watching.

Two miles away on the bridge of the Crusade, Allen felt a distinct chill crawl over his spine.

Merle rubbed her tired, sleep-fogged eyes as she made her way to Hitomi's room in the semi-dark of early dawn. There was still too much to do, so much to plan, outfits to be fitted, food preparation to oversee, ceremony schedules to make out, not to mention the impossible task of preparing the bride herself for her imminent wedding. That just might be the most daunting task of all that the cat-girl had to somehow pull off.

Ugh! Hitomi and Van weren't exactly helping with that at all, either. The two of them couldn't stop thinking with their hormones for one day to help her out, could they? Nooooo, they just had to waste her time with whining and moaning, 'Please Merle, just give us five miets to make out like horny adolescents, and then fall into the pond just to make things more complicated for you!'. Why she ever gave in to Van's pleading last night was beyond her.

Merle groused unhappily under her breath as she came to Hitomi's door and charged through it loudly without a polite knock or ceremony. Hitomi sat straight up in bed, her hair in wild tangles around her face as she blinked the sleep out of her eyes blearily. Ignoring her, Merle marched over to the wall and pulled on the maid's bell with three sharp tugs. That ought to send a passel of them running like mad for the room!

“Rise and shine, your majesty,” Merle said with a bright smirk. “You've got a lot on your schedule for today.”

Groaning, Hitomi flopped back down and covered her head with a pillow. Heaving a sigh, Merle dug her sharp claws into the covers and whipped them off of the girl, then proceeded to do the same with the pillow. Baleful green eyes stared accusingly up at her.

“Merle, are you trying to kill me off before I even make it to your precious wedding ceremonies?” Hitomi demanded angrily.

“No. That would be Van's department, seeing as he's the one who dumped you into a freezing pond last night so you could catch your death. By the way, if you so much as sniffle today, you'll regret ever being born,” Merle replied cheerfully.

Three of Hitomi's personal maids bustled in then, completely out of breath from trying to run as dignified a manner as possible through the halls from the servants' quarters. In no time at all, they had their almost-queen plucked out of bed, undressed, washed, re-dressed, and primped under Merle's ever present hawk-like gaze. It was the least she owed her Lord Van, after all, and her country. His famed bride would be nothing less than stunning, or at the very least, perfectly pretty. Honestly, would it have killed Hitomi to grow her hair out a little longer?

“Breakfast,” Merle announced when Hitomi's primping was deemed sufficient- for now. The cat couldn't stop herself from rolling her eyes at the way the girl's face lit up in anticipation of seeing Van, even if it was only going to be for a few short minutes. It was ridiculous the way she floated down the hallway toward the breakfast room, although Merle was generous enough to admit that it was sweet in a sappily romantic way. She wouldn't have allowed anyone who loved her Lord Van less to marry him, after all.

Heck, that's why she was doing all this work for their wedding in the first place! Why couldn't either of them understand that? Growling, Merle flung open the heavy wooden door with a good deal more force than necessary and scowled fiercely at the confused, apprehensive look on Van's face. Her tail whipped back and forth furiously when she saw that he'd moved his chair closer to Hitomi's- again. Hitomi literally beamed when she saw him.

Those two were completely hopeless.

“Half an hour,” Merle hissed at them before stomping back out of the room. It wasn't like she was trying to make things miserable for them! This gargatuan wedding wasn't going to plan itself, and so help her, if it wasn't going to be perfect, then it wasn't going to happen at all.

Merle's breakfast consisted of a few bites snuck in between puruesing the day's schedule, the guest room layouts, and most importantly, selecting fabrics for one of Hitomi's ceremonial outfits. Someday, when things calmed down again, she was going to splurge and have an enormous breakfast brought to her in bed. And then stay there under the covers all day long.

Twenty-five meits later, she dispatched a few maids to drag the unwilling bride in for her first fitting of the day, having no desire to have to withstand Van's pleading eyes any more than was necessary. And unwilling certainly seemed to fit Hitomi's mood this morning; her expression looked like she was dangerously close to mutiny. Ah, well. Nothing Merle couldn't cope with in a few well-chosen words about Fanelia's honor and the like. Honestly, Hitomi was a lot more easy to manipulate than Van had ever been.

The day moved forward like clockwork. That is, until Hitomi gave a very tiny, very discreet sneeze. The entire room froze as Merle turned slowly on her heel to give her a dark, glowering glare.

“Was that... a sneeze I just heard?” she demanded in a deceptively quiet voice. Hitomi gave a tiny little 'eep!' noise and shook her head violently in denial.

“No! No, of course not. It was just a... it was nothing!” she insisted unconvincingly. Merle stared at her with narrowed eyes, and she swallowed hard. Her nose twitched slightly, and her pink lips puckered up. She blinked furiously in a futile attempt to hide her watering eyes as she wrinkled up her nose. Nobody moved, except for Merle, who put her hands on her hips and waited.

“Achoo!”

Merle threw up her hands in exasperation. “I knew it!” she groaned loudly.

“It's just a sneeze, Merle. It's not a big deal,” Hitomi reassured her awkwardly.

“Just a sneeze? Just a sneeze?” Merle shrieked. “That sneeze is going to cost me a whole day's work! Let's move, ladies! Get her out of this dress. You there, go send for the Healers!”

“What the- Merle, what's going on?” Hitomi exclaimed as the maids swarmed her in one anxious mass, multiple hands fumbling with the intricate layers of cloth wrapped around her body. Merle rubbed her temples in an attempt to stave off the massive headache that she could already feel building behind her forehead.

“What do you think? We're getting you into bed before your 'just a sneeze' turns into some full-blown disease.”

Hitomi blinked in stupified shock. “You've got to be kidding me. Two sneezes, and suddenly I'm on my death bed?”

“You better hope you're not, or I'll put Lord Van on his,” Merle hissed at her as they hustled her out of the fitting rooms and down the hall to her own apartments. Ignoring Hitomi's protests, the maids quickly got her into a thick, comfortable nightgown and popped her into bed. If Merle wasn't so annoyed, she might have laughed at the outright bewildered look on the poor girl's face as she was propped up on her freshly fluffed pillows, buried under a veritable mountain of blankets, and plied with cool drinks by the anxious servants.

The Healers entered the room, and as if on cue, Hitomi sneezed again. Her face turned a mortified scarlett, and she looked about to dive for cover under the blankets.

“It's nothing! Just a tickle in my nose!” she insisted in a squeak as the group descended on her.

An hour later, the Healers finally left after leaving behind a small mound of instructions for the future queen's care. She was not to leave her bed that day, except for a steam bath that evening, she was to drink this concoction and that concoction, above all she was supposed to rest, and on and on and on. Merle's head ached worse than ever by the time she finally left Hitomi under the competent, and occassionally overbearing, care of her small army of maids.

Unfortunately, she'd barely closed the door behind her when Lord Van barreled down the hallway much faster than what could be considered dignified for a King. Great. Just what she needed.

“Merle! What's going on? Is Hitomi okay? What's wrong with her? What-” he fired off at the weary cat-girl, and she held her hands up in feeble protest.

“Hitomi's fine, Lord Van, I swear. She has a slight cold- thanks to your little swimming adventure- and we're taking every precaution to keep it from getting any worse.”

“Oh,” he breathed out, and his shoulders slumped with profound relief. “Is she awake? May I see her?”

“Absolutely not! In her bedchambers- have you lost your senses completely?” Merle shrieked in a whisper. “Besides, there's no way I'm going to risk you catching that cold, too.”
Van gave her the closest approximation to a pout that he could force his chiseled face into. “But, Merle...”

“No buts, Van. I'm not giving in to you again!” Merle interrupted him fiercely. “Look what happened because of the last time you two were together!”

Van had the grace to look sheepish and a little guilty, but even still, she watched him narrowly until he backed off and headed around the corner of the hallway. Ugh! As if she didn't have enough to do! She didn't need to have to work to keep the two of them apart, too!

Shaking her aching head as she stalked off down the hallway, she muttered darkly to herself under her breath. “Stupid wedding's going to be the death of me yet...”

And I've been saving all the letters that I wrote to you
Each one a line or two:
I'm fine, Baby, how are you?
Well, I would send them but I know that it's just not enough
My words were cold and flat-
And you deserve more... than that
(Home: version by Micheal Buble)

The constant, background hum of the levi-ship soothed Dryden's impatient nerves as he stared out at the passing clouds. A messenger from Palas- one paltry minion in his enormous network of spies- had just left his cramped 'office' after delivering one hell of an insteresting report. And not five seconds after the door had shut behind the messenger had Dryden ordered his enormous levi-ship to make a giant U-turn and head for Fanelia at top speed.

So, it seemed little miss Hitomi had made herself a fiesty best friend on that Moon of hers. So fiesty, in fact, that she'd managed to scandalize the entire Asturian court in just under two days. Dryden chuckled to himself mightily. This Annie person was definitely something he had to see!

Only... she wasn't the only person he was hoping to see.

He sighed heavily, an uncharacteristically pensive look on his face as he stared listlessly at the overflowing chest behind his desk. It had been some months since he'd been able get the lid to close over the plethora of sealed letters that spilled over the top and onto the floor in a great, white mound of folded paper. He nudged a few of them with the toe of his boot now as he sighed again. How many had he written since he'd left Palas in the upheaval at the end of the War? And every single one of them sealed and stamped with his personal ensigna, but no name or direction written on the outside.

He should really just burn them all. It was so stupid; there was no way he was ever going to send even one of them. That had never been his intention, not really. But handing Millerna Sara Aston, third Princess of Austuria, his wedding ring and walking away from their arranged political marriage had been the most difficult thing he'd ever done. Truthfully, he just couldn't let her go. So he wrote to her, words spilling from his pen onto the clean paper in copious, often unintelligable scribbles to ease the ache of longing that had settled into his bones about thirty seconds after walking away from her.

Because underneath the swagger, the calm certainty in the way he assured her that he'd make her fall for him, was a terrified man who found himself irrevocably in love and completely unsure just what he was supposed to do about it. Not to mention that pesky bit about Millerna actually believing she might be in love with that ghastly, pompous, ridiculous, pretty, playboy Allen Shezar complicating things to no end.

And now he was racing toward Fanelia instead of Austuria because that's where she was headed. Six years. It had been over six years since he'd last seen her innocent, beguiling face under the flimsy pretense of 'becoming the man she deserved'. That had been true, in some ways, but when he allowed himself to be honest, he knew that mostly he'd been looking for a way to run. What he and their fathers were doing to her wasn't fair, and he couldn't stand being a part of it any longer. If Millerna Sara Aston was going to be his wife, then he wanted her to do it under her own free will and because she wanted it as badly as he did. Only now, after six long years without her, his only contact with her the paltry rumors and reports from his minions and the idiotically sappy letters he wrote but never sent, Dryden was beginning to think he'd take whatever he could get.

Going to see her in Fanelia was a fool-hardy, stupid idea. Because this time, he wasn't altogether certain that he would be able to walk away again. Sighing, he nudged the letters with his foot once more. He really should burn them.

Someday.

Tomorrow. They were leaving for Fanelia tomorrow.

Millerna couldn't stop the nervous, fluttering butterflies from dancing around her stomach at the very thought. If ever there was a time, if ever there was an occasion, Van and Hitomi's wedding had to be the one thing that brought him back from wherever he was.

Him. Dryden Fassa. Her enstranged husband of six and a half long years. Millerna didn't even know what she felt at the thought of seeing him again. Dread? Anticipation? Longing? Anger? He'd never come back, even though she'd sub-consciously waited for him to do just that. She'd waited, however foolishly, for him to swagger back into her life and sweep her off her feet just like he'd promised he would.

That's what he'd said, hadn't he? That he would make her fall for him, because he loved her? And yet, the years passed, and she'd never even had so much as a rumor about him. Even Meiden Fassa was close-lipped about his son's whereabouts, though Millerna could hardly ask him directly about it. No, that would make it look like she actually cared where her errant husband was and what he was doing, and that simply wouldn't do. What if it got back to Dryden somehow?

She didn't care. She didn't! At least, that's what she told herself over and over in a futile attempt to stop the treacherous path of questions her mind wandered down every night. He'd lied to her, after all. He'd said he loved her, but then he'd just walked away! Walked away and never even bothered to send her one letter, one note, one anything. Six years of silence.

She'd written him a letter. Just one, on their one year anniversary. She'd begged him to come home. She'd told him she missed him, that she wanted to see him again. She'd told him...

But it didn't matter. He'd never seen that letter. She'd tucked it safely away in the bottom drawer of her personal desk and had never pulled it out again since. Her pride wouldn't allow it.

Millerna straightened her spine and lifted her head to it's highest height as she watched the gathering dusk darkening the sky. If Dryden was going to make an appearance at the marriage ceremonies of their mutual friends, then she would deal with it. She would be calm, cool, collected, every inch an Austurian Princess, and she would never let him see that he affected her in any way.

She would show him just how much she didn't need him. And that letter would stay locked away in her drawer where it belonged.
.....sometimes you have to lose your mind to find it......

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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by oldwrench » March 1st, 2009, 11:08 pm

Short chapter?

Dinky, if you use firefox browser, it has a built in spell check, you should be able to check the spelling when you paste a chapter in the forum.
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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by Sakura » March 2nd, 2009, 8:00 pm

I really think it's fine as it is.
Although the english language is very simple (i.e. you don't have honorifics) I like the original meaning more. No need to install spelling thingy on my page. Really. Meow!
What do you call a dinosaur with an extended vocabulary? A thesaurus.

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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by Dinky » March 23rd, 2009, 9:36 pm

She Drives Me Crazy

AN: Hello! This is a short chapter, which I meant to make longer, but it just felt like a natural place to stop. Okay, anyway, there's a bit of VxH touchy-feely in this one, so enjoy!

***************

She drives me crazy
Like no one else
She drives me crazy
And I can't help myself...
(She Drives Me Crazy: Fine Young Cannibals)

*******************

Allen massaged his throbbing temples and thanked every known god that the trip to Fanelia was almost over. Escorting Austuria's treasured princesses was no small task, and the fact that he now had his sister along to worry about- no thanks to Annie- wasn't making his job any easier.

He'd had everything worked out so perfectly a week ago. Celena was going to remain at his estate with her governess while he was away in Fanelia, therefore eliminating any possible triggers or trauma that country might present. After all, Celena's alter-ego Dilandau had razed it to the ground the one and only time she (or he, really) had been there. It seemed only logical to Allen that Celena would be better off far away from anything that might upset her fragile equilibrium.

Annie, however, disagreed loudly, repeatedly, and whole-heartedly when she found out. Once she'd gotten Celena to admit that she wanted to go along to Fanelia, she had waged a one-woman war against him. Allen reflected that it really shouldn't have surprised him in the least (since she generally considered logic and common sense to be optional accessories) that she found all his rational reasons to be downright ridiculous. Allen still wasn't altogether sure how she'd managed to back him into a verbal corner until his only option was to let Celena come along or look like an overbearing, cruel, controlling older brother. His crew was still snickering about it whenever his back was turned.

And now the crazy girl had dragged his sister off of the princesses' comfortably luxurious leviship onto his Crusade, and had somehow managed to get each and every member of his crew doting on the two of them. Allen had escaped into the hold with the excuse of a last-minute inspection of Scherazade's armor for a few precious minutes to collect the tattered remnants of his sanity.

Just a few more short hours, and they'd be landing in Fanelia. Van and Hitomi would send Annie back to the Mystic Moon, and his life could go back to normal.

The only problem was, he wasn't sure if he was looking forward to it or dreading it. It frightened him how badly a part of him wanted her to stay, how he was literally counting down every minute in the knowledge that soon she'd disappear. That he'd never hear her laugh again, or argue with her, or see her wrinkle up her nose in the way that only she could.

But then again, he'd never have to worry about what she was going to do next, or what outrageous words were going to pop out of her mouth. He'd never have to put up with her teasing taunts about his hair, his clothes, or his chivarly ever again.

Strange how those thoughts brought him very little comfort.

Which was, after all, the reason he was skulking around Scherezade instead of being up on the bridge where he belonged. This whole trip had been infinitely easier when he couldn't see her. Now that she was on his ship and under his feet, the inexplicable part of him that didn't want her to leave was getting louder by the second, and he'd had to fight a wild urge to order Gaddes to turn his ship around. He told himself firmly that it was all because of the unbelievable improvement in his damaged sister whenever she was with Annie. Her ghost-like smiles had become real, honest-to-goodness grins, and she followed the smaller woman around like a baby chick following it's mother.

Jichia only knew how Celena would handle Annie's departure.

Allen heaved another sigh at that thought, wondering just how bad of a spell she was going to have when the time came.

Suddenly, the floor of the Crusade lurched horrifically beneath his feet, and he was forced to clutch Scherezade's armor to keep upright. The ship straightened out as quickly as it had tipped, and Allen cautiously loosened his grip on the guymelef. Unfortunately, the Crusade tilted wildly in the opposite direction, and he toppled head over heels to slam into the far wall in an unceremonious heap. What in the seven hells was Gaddes doing to his ship??

Allen climbed carefully to his feet and manuevred his way toward the bridge as quickly as he could, every possible reason for the sudden lurching of his ship racing through his mind, each more horrific than the last. Was it dragons? Did some unknown country launch a sneak attack against them? Dear gods, the princesses' leviship was infinitely slower and less agile than the Crusade, how could he...

His frantic train of thought was derailed as he stumbled onto the bridge and realized the situation was far worse than any he'd imagined. There stood Annie at the helm, an enormous smile plastered on her face, while Gaddes clung to the railing beside her with a shell-shocked, terrified grimace. He seemed to by trying to cajole her into letting him take control of the ship again, while the rest of the crew hung on to anything they could for dear life. Celena gripped the bench she was seated on tightly, but her eyes shone with delight every time the ship careened wildly one way or the other.

Annie straightened the Crusade out, and Allen took advantage of the momentary stability to rush over and grab the railing next to Gaddes. The glare he directed toward his first officer could have lit a his hair on fire, and Gaddes quailed visibly.

“What in the name of all Gaea were you thinking, letting Annie fly my ship?” he roared in a decidedly un-Allen-like fashion. His sister and his entire crew stared at him in astonishment, but Annie just laughed.

“She wanted to try it... I didn't think-” Gaddes spluttered out, and Allen cut him off furiously.

“Jichia's sake, are you trying to kill us all?”

Annie snorted in amusement. “Good grief, Al. Calm down before you give yourself an anuerysm. I let you drive my car. Oh- and remember how you broke that mirror off?”

“This is entirely a different matter. Gaddes, take the helm,” he snarled mightily as he yanked her away from the controls.

“Yes, sir,” Gaddes replied, moving swiftly to reclaim his place. He gave a sideways glance at Annie, who seemed to be seriously contemplating kicking Allen in the shin, and couldn't stop himself from adding, “What was that about a broken mirror?”

“The one and only time I let him drive my car, he ran into a light post. A light post. A stationary object. And he broke off my passanger side mirror,” Annie informed him with vindictive cheerfulness before Allen could stop her. Gaddes bit back a smile at the dark look on his boss's face, but Annie surveyed the knight with a quirked eyebrow and a growing smirk.

“What the hell happened to you, Al?”

He blinked at her, confused, before he looked down and realized what she was smirking about. His normally immaculate uniform was covered in streaks of dust, and his shining boots were scuffed. He didn't even want to think about what kind of a disheveled picture he presented, evidence of his headlong tumble across the cargo bay. What the hell had he been thinking before? He couldn't wait to get her off his ship and back on the Mystic Moon where she belonged.

“How much farther is Fanelia's capital?” he demanded Gaddes harshly.

*************
Merle was not having a good morning. Hitomi was finally declared well enough to leave her rooms after two long days of bedrest and confinement, but instead of cheerfully helping to make up for the lost days of wedding preparations, all the girl could think about was seeing Van. She practically dragged the cat behind her at breakneck speeds when they and their small entourage headed towards the breakfast room.

“Jeez, Hitomi. You went six years without seeing him. I think you can manage to wait another two miets,” Merle complained as she sped along beside her. “Besides, you've got more important things to be thinking about today, like learning some traditional Fanelian dances.”

“Dances?” Hitomi asked in astonishment. “Are you saying.... Van actually dances?”

Her tone was incredulous and more than a little amused, and she actually stopped in her tracks to grin at the thought. The mental picture of Van doing a waltz- with her, of course- was so totally out of character that she almost laughed out loud. The boy had absolutely no rhythm, which she'd experienced firsthand at the dance club on Earth. Although, at the time, it hadn't mattered, since they were basically just making out on the dance floor, anyway. Her cheeks stained a brilliant crimson at the thought, and she took off down the hallway again.

“Wha- wait! Gods, Hitomi. You just get weirder and weirder,” Merle muttered as she hurried after her.

Despite her eagerness, Van was already there and waiting in the breakfast room. He'd moved his chair next to hers again, and she was hard-pressed not to fling her arms around his neck and tackle him to the ground with a hug right there. The way his deep, mahogany eyes lit up when he caught sight of her, despite his nonchalant manner, made her toes tingle in the most delicious way. He started to rise, gave his lap a lightening quick glance, and sat back down with glowing red ears. Hitomi wasn't sure what to make of that, but she was too happy to see him to care.

“Are you feeling better?” he asked with a funny, tightly controlled squeak on the last word when she beamed at him.

“I'm fine, really. It was just a little cold. Somebody overreacted,” she replied, turning to give Merle a dirty look. The cat shrugged, but before she could reply, a messenger burst through doors.

“My lord Van! Lady Hitomi,” he panted, bowing deeply to the startled couple seated at the table. “I have urgent news! The leviships of the Austurian Princesses Eries and Millerna have been spotted! They will be landing in our capital in less than two hours!”

“What?” Merle shrieked in absolute horror. “But they're not scheduled to arrive for another four days!”

The poor cat squeezed her head between her hands, mumbling away to herself about rearranging rooms and schedules, throwing in a few choice words about the rudeness of early guests. The messenger eyed her nervously before turning back to his king.

“Uh... I'm afraid that's not all, my lord,” he stuttered, flashing another wary look at Merle. “Lord Dryden's leviship has been spotted from the south. He should be arriving sometime this afternoon.”

“Dragon's teeth! Why are they doing this to me?” Merle moaned, throwing her hands up in wild despair. Van nodded hastily to the messenger and dismissed him before the cat got it in her head to take out her wrath on the poor man. Hitomi was the only one who didn't seem in the least perturbed by the news.

“That's great! I can't wait to see everyone again!” she exclaimed, oblivious to the scorching glare of death a bristling Merle was giving the back of her head. She bared her claws, and Van decided he'd better jump in before she drew blood.

“Merle, everything will work out fine. They're friends- they won't interfere with your plans,” he reassured her quickly. She turned her deadly glare on him, and he swallowed hard. “Look, I'll go and greet them myself and... and take them on a tour of the city or something. You just focus on whatever it is that needs doing here, okay?”

“I'll come along, too,” Hitomi put in eagerly. Merle started to protest, but she cut her off. “You'll need to be doing the technical stuff like rooms today, right? I'd just be in the way here. Besides, I'm sure Millerna will want to help with all the preparations. She'd be so upset if all my dresses were done already, right?”

She looked imploringly at Van, and he shifted awkwardly. “Uh... sure?” he replied, more a question than an affirmative. Merle seemed to be having a battle with herself.

“Fine. Go along with Lord Van this morning. But later, you're having those dancing lessons,” she hissed before sprinting out of the room in a whirlwind of flustered fury. Hitomi swallowed a squeal of pure glee. She was going to escape Merle's obsessive clutches for a whole day! Well, at least part of a day. And to make it even more perfect, she'd be spending the time with Van!! Her grin stretched from ear to ear, but he pushed his food around his plate with a thoughtful frown.

“Is... is something wrong? Do you want me to stay here instead of coming with you?” she asked, her grin faltering. He looked up at her with startled eyes, his surprise that she would even think that evident on his face.

“No, of course not. I just-” he cut off in mid-sentence, frowning again. Hitomi frowned, too, worried about what he wasn't telling her, worried that she'd done something wrong.

“Just what, Van?”

He looked up at her again, like he was debating answering her, and her breath hitched in her throat. Was he getting cold feet? Was the reality of the two of them getting married giving him second thoughts?

“I was just... wondering why they are all arriving early. Wondering if something's wrong,” he finally answered slowly. Hitomi let out her pent up breath in a rush, completely relieved.

“Oooh. I see. You're thinking the worst again,” she said, nodding. “Maybe it's not something bad, Van. Maybe they're just excited to get everyone together again.”

Van stared at her as she cheerfully started eating her breakfast. It was pretty obvious he was wondering if she was being determinedly optimistic or just incredibly naïve, but Hitomi wasn't going to let that spoil her wonderful mood.

“I didn't know you could dance,” she piped up in an attempt to change the subject, and nearly laughed at the instant blush blooming on his cheeks.

“I don't. Not well, anyway. I mean, I know how. Technically,” he stuttered in embarrassment. Now Hitomi couldn't stop herself from laughing out loud.

“Then I guess I won't have to worry about how bad I'm going to be, huh?”

“I'm sure you can't be worse than me,” Van replied casually, concentrating on his breakfast. Suddenly, his fork froze halfway to his mouth, and he stared at her with wild, wide eyes. “Wait. Merle's going to make us dance?”

“Sounds like it,” Hitomi informed him seriously. She patted his arm sympathetically when he cursed quietly under his breath and scowled at his food.

“What was that thing you said we should do? Elope?”

“Merle would find us and kill us,” Hitomi reminded him matter-of-factly. He nodded glumly, and the two of them finished their breakfast in silence.

Freed of Merle and her accompaning hordes of maids, Hitomi tagged happily along with Van as he dealt with all the technical difficulties of meeting the Austurians' leviships. She wanted desperately to grab onto his hand like they'd done wandering around carefree on Earth, but she firmly resisted the urge. There was probably some rule against blatant PDA, and she got the sinking feeling that Van would never even consider doing that in front of his people.

In reality, Van was trying as hard as he could to get things organized as quickly as possible just so he and Hitomi could have a few scant moments of freedom- though he doubted they'd be allowed any privacy. The mere thought of spending the day with her made him feel giddy, but, unfortunately, it presented its own complications. His need to touch her, feel her, kiss her, was growing exponentially by the minute, and he was terrified that if he even did so much as take her hand, he'd yank her into the nearest linen closet and do things only a lawfully married couple ought to know about. Damn that Kama Sutra and the ideas it was giving him!

He'd barely gotten the number of carriages and servants needed for the trip sorted out when another messenger barreled up to him with a frantic look on his face.

“Lord Van! The leviships are making better time than we anticipated! They're nearing the landing docks now!”

Van cursed spectacularily under his breath. All his ideas about sneaking into a secluded corner of one of the gardens with Hitomi swiftly died as he barked out last minute orders and followed the frantic messenger to a waiting carriage.

Van did his best to ignore the electric current zinging up and down his arm as he gave Hitomi his hand to help her up the two steps. The dim, rocking confines inside of the carriage certainly didn't help his thoughts out any, even though he was acutely aware he had much more important things to be thinking about at the moment. Hitomi wasn't making things easier, either, since she'd scooted as close to him as she could get as soon as he'd shut the door and sealed them in.

Wait a moment. They were alone. In a dim and completely secluded carriage for at least ten miets. What the hell was he wasting time for?

He thought ruefully that Hitomi had realized that fact just a few seconds before him, because she slid onto his lap with just the tiniest hint from him and wound her arms around his neck. Their mouths crushed together, and he nipped impatiently at her bottom lip. She responded immediately, lips parting to allow his tongue to roam inside and tangle with her own. Both of her hands were buried in his wild mane of black hair, and he lifted her just enough so that she could straddle his lap. Without breaking the fevered contact of their lips, Van ripped off his gloves and let his warm, calloused hands slide up the deliciously smooth skin of Hitomi's legs on either side of his thighs. From the way she gasped against his mouth, he figured he wasn't doing anything over the line.

But- oh, gods, how he wanted to! Their hands held a frantic urgency as their fingers roved over the other's skin. This stolen moment of intimacy would be so brief, so painfully brief.

Hitomi shuddered and arched her back as Van's smoldering lips trailed down her neck to her exposed collarbone. His teeth nipped at the sensitive skin, and she raked her nails across his scalp with a hissing intake of breath. She was slightly stunned at Van's aggressiveness when he hiked her skirts up around her waist and gripped her hips with his lean, calloused fingers. The rocking, bumping motion of the carriage made her slide around in his lap in a way that had them both moaning.

Van hadn't meant to get so carried away. All he'd been hoping for was a quick taste of her lips and feel of her skin before they reached the landing docks. Instead, his brain shut down as his surpressed needs reared up and took over. One hand came up from her hip to the smooth curve of her breast, and he massaged it through the annoying layer of fabric separating his fingers from the delicate skin.

The carriage coming to an abrupt stop caught them both off guard, and Van cursed wildly under his breath. Hitomi hastily slid off of his lap, quickly smoothing her skirt into place with hands that trembled slightly, and he ran his hands through his hair in a vain attempt to tame it.

The obvious bulge in his pants presented a completely different problem, however. He couldn't very well step out of the carriage with that very blatant evidence on display. Forcing his eyes away from Hitomi's pink, kiss-swollen lips, he desperately attempted to dredge up bad memories, nightmares, anything to distract his train of thought.

Luckily for him, just thinking about Merle forcing him to dance during one of the wedding ceremonies was an unbelievably quick cure. He took a few desperately needed gulps of air, ran his hands through his hair again, and gave Hitomi a tiny, sheepish grin.

“Ready?” he asked her quietly, relieved and secretly a little proud that she looked about as flustered as he felt. She smoothed her skirt once more, passed a hand over her lips, and gave him a shaky smile.

“Yeah. Sure, ready if you are,” she replied, still blushing.

The bright, hot sun outside the carriage made the entire episode feel like something out of a dream, albiet a very good dream, and Hitomi wished from the bottoms of her feet that the ride to the landing docks had been just a few minutes longer.

Across a great, green expanse of land, the Crusade could be seen sitting near another much more enormous and elaborate leviship. A few of the crew members shouted across the grounds at them, waving, before Gaddes barked at them to show some respect. Hitomi giggled, and even Van cracked a slight smile at how very little things had changed. At either side and behind them, fully uniformed soldiers stood at attention, and several important dignitaries gathered. Their presence made Hitomi shift nervously closer to Van, realizing just how unprepared she really was for the formalities her new position required of her.

The carriage transporting the princesses trundled up to them then, escorted by Allen riding alongside on a dappled mare. He dismounted swiftly, but was thwarted in his attempt at a proper bow by Hitomi throwing her arms around him in a tight hug.

“It's nice to see you again, Allen,” she told him fervently, almost laughing at his shocked face. She hadn't realized until that moment exactly how lonely she felt in a sea of strangers with only Merle and Van to cling to. At that moment, she couldn't have cared less about the surprised, semi-scandalized looks the Fanelian dignitaries were giving her, needing only to feel normal, like she was simply Hitomi Kanzaki again.

“And you, my Lady,” Allen replied formally, managing to incline his head enough to make it look like a bow. Hitomi detached herself from him, stepping back to give him room to open the carriage doors for the princesses. She gave Van a tiny, apologetic smile for breaking protocol, and the warm look he gave her reassured her that he couldn't care less about what the uptight dignitaries thought, anyway.

Millerna appeared first, her eyes fastening on Hitomi with an ecstatic glow as she took Allen's outstretched hand and stepped down. The moment she was on solid ground, the two girls enveloped each other in a tight hug.

“It's so good to see you again, Millerna!” Hitomi exclaimed, and Millerna echoed her as Eries joined them. Her greeting was much more subdued than her sister's, but her smile was genuine and her eyes shone with warmth.

Van did his best to hide his surprise when Allen helped his sister alight from the carriage. She was the last person he'd expected to see in Fanelia- ever. Not that she wasn't welcome there. As far as Van was concerned, Celena and Dilandau were two completely separate people, and as Celena, she had no part of what Dilandau had done to his country. No, he'd just never thought her overprotective brother would have allowed her to be somewhere that might cause her pain. Hitomi, true to form, greeted her as enthusiastically as the princesses, despite the fact that she'd only briefly met her once.

“Not that you aren't welcome, but may I ask why you've arrived early?” Van asked Allen, one of his rare smiles tugging at the corners of his mouth. In reply, the knight merely turned to the carriage door again, holding out his hand to assist the last lady. He might as well not have bothered.

The small, brown-haired lady ignored the proferred help and hopped to the ground lightly. Van and Hitomi stared at her curiously as she shook out her skirts and looked up at them with a sheepish grin. Hitomi paled, her hands flying up to her mouth as she gave a gasping shriek.

“Annie!”
.....sometimes you have to lose your mind to find it......

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oldwrench
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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by oldwrench » March 24th, 2009, 1:58 am

Dinky!! another "ssssssshhhhhoooooorrrrrtttttt" chapter..... Well, what should I expect from the worlds fastest talking girl. Yes, when Dinky was a little girl, there was a commercial for micro machines toys that had the worlds fastest talking man saying the words. After it was on a few times, Dinky could repeat it, word for word....... only faster.
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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by Sakura » March 24th, 2009, 2:47 pm

You mean she *gasp* was a voice actor for Excel Saga? :ho:
What do you call a dinosaur with an extended vocabulary? A thesaurus.

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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by oldwrench » March 24th, 2009, 3:36 pm

No..... They talk to slow in that one....... maybe in Puni Puni Poemi?

By the way, Dinky likes Excel Saga.
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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by Dinky » March 24th, 2009, 5:13 pm

Yes! Go Excel Excel!! Go Lord Ilpalazzo! ^_^
"Terrifyingly CUTE!"
.....sometimes you have to lose your mind to find it......

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Re: Oil on Water by Dinky

Post by Sakura » March 29th, 2009, 4:03 pm

oldwrench wrote:No..... They talk to slow in that one....... maybe in Puni Puni Poemi?
Nah they canceled the series at episode 2 didn't they.
oldwrench wrote:By the way, Dinky likes Excel Saga.
Who doesn't. *goes to have some Menchi food* :thumb:
What do you call a dinosaur with an extended vocabulary? A thesaurus.

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