A Melting of a Heart Chapter 18
By Key Mima
The one word surprised her, and Lucca turned quickly, her violet hair brushing her pinkening cheek.
"Yeah..?" she asked uncertainly, but he could tell she knew.
"What was that... that holding me thing?" Red eyes followed her as she took a sip of her honey-water.
"Nothing. I just wanted to know.. you know. If you were okay."
"Yeah, I was fine." Magus adjusted a glove nonchalantly, but in truth he was slightly abhorred by the level of affection she seemed to display that bleak, rainy afternoon.
"I know, I was just being nice-"
Magus took a deep breath. "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry for not recognizing these things. I'm not good with people. It's just- the stress. There's too much. One day I'm just not going to wake up, I swear."
He surprised himself by this outburst of sentiment. Lucca was a bit shocked as well, and she didn't reply for a while.
"You shouldn't worry so much. We'll get her back somehow. We've beaten Dalton before, we can do it again."
"I know that, but the spell.. If she comes back and she's under that spell, we'll just have to keep her chained up for the rest of our lives."
A long silence followed, and Magus shifted uncomfortably on his stool. Lucca was twiddling her thumbs. What was this girl...?
"Magus, I think I have an inkling as to how to break the spell."
"You what?" He dropped his glass, spilling his water. Alfador quickly closed in on the drink, and lapped it up happily. Lucca cracked an egotistical smile.
"It was so simple!"
"So simple no one could see it?" he asked, eyeing her suspisciously.
"Precisely. Everyone but me." She winked.
"What is it?" His voice was laced with anxiety, but he was actually very relieved.
"You and I need to become a couple."
"A couple of what?"
Lucca stared at him slackjawed in disbelief.
"You don't even..?" she whispered under her breath. "I meant that you and I need to pretend to be in love."
"What?" This caught Magus off guard. Pretending to be in love was just something he couldn't... With Lucca? He studied her skeptically, but she seemed serious.
"That's why I was being so close to you yesterday. When I would approach you, she would stop. Even if it was just for a second, it's a hint. I've seen things like this happen with robots. Programmed to do one thing, but not able to handle it when something unexpected happens. It throws them all out of whack."
He sighed, biting the tip of his finger thoughtfully. Could he pretend to love Lucca? He had only ever loved his sister - Sunev was a companion.. - and he wasn't sure he knew how to do it. "Are there any other conditions?" he asked finally.
"Yes.. I don't think anyone else can know that we know. It needs to be genuine or she'll find out, and she'll just get more mad. She's not stupid, not an animal. She has sense. She's just.. crude. So she'd be able to tell the true from the false."
Magus bit his lip, annoyed. "I thought it would be something to further embarrass me.. Seems I was right."
"Only until she comes back again."
He muttered something under his breath. The sudden sizzling of eggs on a pan startled him, and he looked to see Lucca grinning mischeivously to herself.
Oh, please, he thought to himself. She's just going to use this as an opportunity to drive me crazy. But... How far would I go to get Sunev back..?
"So, is it a deal?"
Alfador looked up to his master, rubbing his leg with his small head; he seemed to nod. How could I not trust my best friend? he thought with a mental smile.
"I'll do it. Just, please.. Don't have too much fun."
This elicited a long held giggle from the girl, and she loosely promised not to totally mortify him.
Over breakfast they agreed that their gradual attraction would begin later that day, while the others were around. The cogs in the machine began to move.
Crono nearly jumped up when he saw them, stealing Frog's attention away from that pretty Enlightened girl he seemed to like.
"Lucca! Magus.. Have you figured anything out?" Crono's eyes were eager, his face truly concerned.
"Not yet," Lucca replied. "We've been together all morning, trying to come up with new ideas. Frankly, I think we're going to have to wait until we can get her alone for a long period of time, right Magus?"
Magus nodded woodenly, barely able to look at her. The charade hadn't even begun yet and it seemed as though he already couldn't cope. She grinned at him.
"Ya know, Magus is actually a cool guy once you get him alone." She nodded at Frog.
"I.." he said, unable to finish, or even begin.
"Yeah.." Crono said, glancing at Magus. "So, we were thinking of roast beast for dinner. Your opinion?"
"Have we had anything else to eat since Zeal fell?" Magus muttered, looking behind him anxiously.
"Just a barrel of laughs, really..." Lucca mumbled. The others went ahead, but Lucca and Magus fell back from the party. "Magus, can you loosen up? You're killing our act," she begged, as soon as they were out of hearing range. He looked tired. Apparently, acting wasn't really his forte. He rubbed his right eye, giving a long, audible sigh.
"I'm trying, I really am," he complained.
"Okay.. Just, do the things you do with Sunev. You know? I even kind of look like her, huh? Just, say whatever you'd say if she were me."
Lucca latched onto his arm and broke into a run, pulling him with her.
"Can I braid your hair, Magus?" she randomly interjected during dinner. Frog's eyes darted to her face, startled. Crono dropped a bit of his roast beef on the ground.
"Sure," he replied.
He had nice hair. The blue hair of the Englightened Ones was so soft and fine, not to mention that gorgeous color. She wondered how evolution could have produced such a wonderful hue, when people like herself were stuck with plain, dull colors. She decided to mention his beautiful hair to him. Another piece of food lost for Crono.
"Well, thanks. Your hair is nice too, might I add. It's like the color of the sweetest wine. Its texture is strong and resilient, like your character." He turned to reach out and take a lock in his hand,
Lucca paused a moment, and blushed. "Well, thanks..." Maybe her hair color wasn't so bad, after all.
"And shall I mention your lovely eyes?" He smiled suavely.
"Well, yeah.. If you want.." she grinned goofily and self-consciously fixed her hair. Maybe he was better at acting than she thought.
"Your eyes are like pure water, that reflect the light of your soul-"
"Oh, couldst thou refrain from using such romantic comparisons during dinner?" Frog asked, his voice disgusted but his chin high and aloof. He scraped his fork against his plate angrily.
"I could, but would Lucca want me to stop?"
Lucca giggled, and shook her head. "Naw.." Her face was hot, and she covered her cheeks with her hands, which were cold from the condensation on her glass.
"That's what I thought. But I'll stop for you, Glenn, since I really need to catch some fish this afternoon. I forgot to do it yesterday, and Alfador is a hungry little beast now.."
"Catch you later, Magus," Lucca cried, a little too loudly, a little too early. His flattery had turned her into a mushy mess of a person! He must have planned it, to get revenge on her for creating such a self-depreciating mission.
As he walked away, he turned back to her and grinned. She would get him for this one, she thought to herself, as she shook her head and waited for her face to cool down. She'd get him, if she could manage to even think straight again..
His dreams were of an unpleasant nature; torturous, really, as always. They always began with his childhood: his mother's metamorphosis, his sister's disappearance. Then, to his rise to the head of an army full of creatures he didn't care to command. Then, his loss of Sunev, and again to another, more painful loss. The most recent addition to this damaging lineup was darkness, and the soft whimpering of a scared girl.
He would awake with tears in his eyes, and curse his mother, the gods, and himself for that last image. If Dalton even considered hurting Sunev.. And yet who was he kidding? Of course he was hurting Sunev. He had full control over the actions of the woman he wanted most. He shuddered convulsively, and pulled his quilt around his shoulders.
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