Chapter Five

By Sniffles

"Hey, Kid Wonder, I think it'd be best if we avoid the T-Rexes. I mean I'm not really up to par here. I don't think we-" He's staring at me with this really intense expression. "Wh-what?"

"Kid Wonder?" He arches his eyebrows, looking none too amused.

"Er.. Ahem..." What do I say to that? Me and my big mouth. "It's uh..... Sorry."

He stares at me, unblinkingly for a moment, then turns away. He's holding his sword out by his side, he shifts it in his hands, "The T-rexes are in the eastern region. If we stay on the west side we'll just run into bugs."

"All right. Sounds good." He stalks away, not once looking back to make sure I'm following. Either he's confident I will follow or he just doesn't care. "Bugs aren't a big deal. I remember killing bugs as a job once. Heh. Didn't take much really, but I got paid pretty well."

He ignores me. He isn't exactly the best person I could have picked to be a training partner, but his ass more than.. I mean, his uh, fighting skills more than make up for his lack of personality. In a strange way he reminds me a lot of Squall. Quiet. Short when he talks. Straight to the point about everything. Those two should get together. I bet they'd make a good pair.

"So uh..." I'm not sure what to say but I really, really hate this silence. It's driving me insane.

Kid Wonder sighs and turns to me, his brows slanted in a disapproving frown, "Are you always so noisey?" He demands sharply.

"Are you always so damn quiet?!" I respond quickly.

He shakes his head with a tiny sigh. "We're here to train, not to chit chat."

"So what? Haven't you ever chit-chatted while you train? Or is this something that would be too hard for you?"

With another irritated sigh he turns away. "Just shut up."

"Meowr." I hiss softly under my breath at his back. His shoulder's tense, so I know he heard, but he doesn't comment. Oh well. Probably for the best. No reason to start a fight with him. Damn, what is it with these super-kids? They don't like talking. The whole lot of them are so intense it makes my stomach ache, and each one is more beautiful than the next. It's enough to drive a guy like me insane.

"All right. You had enough?" Kid Wonder turns to me and arches his eyebrows.

"Y-yeah." Like he can't tell. I can hardly catch my breath after that last little fight. I mean, what's my problem! Sure I haven't been fighting much lately, from what Kiros told me, but surely that's no excuse for me being so damn weak. My arm aches from using the machine gun and my legs, Man! They're killing me. I'm surprised the cramps in my right leg haven't started yet. It's strange really. Come to think of it the cramps should be killing me by now. But there's nothing. Just general, all around, muscle aches.

"We'll call it a day then." He swings his sword and sheaths it in one smooth move. Impressive.

Everything about him is just damn- "Well?" He demands, looking irritated.

"Huh?" What? What's he talking about?

"I asked if getting a drink at the cafeteria sounds good." He says shortly, looking uncomfortable.

Wait... drink.. as in he and I together at a table.. almost like a... "Date?"

"No!" He snaps, "Not a date you idiot. I.." His voice trails off. He closes his mouth with a audible snap. "Never mind. Just forget it."

"No, no, no! Wait! I uh, let's go get a drink. We could both use one after that workout, ne?" I smile my most winning smile at him, or at least I try. I'm not sure if I succeeded or not.

He shrugs, "All right."

I don't know why exactly, but suddenly I feel happy. Very, very happy. But wait! I'm in love with Kiros. Why should I be so happy about this small breakthrough with Kid Wonder? He's walking away so I tuck the thoughts safely in the back of my brain. I'll worry about it later.

Wow. Am I drooling? I can't help it. He's beautiful. No, wait. Correct that. He's not beautiful. He's handsome. And yes, there is a difference. Beautiful is breathtaking. Beautiful makes your heart stop and your jaw drop. Handsome on the other hand is attractive. I mean, handsome won't make you do the stupid things beautiful will. Let's put this simply: Beautiful will turn your brain off. Handsome will not.

Yeesh. My thoughts wander too much. He's saying something to me and I can't even really hear it. I have to focus to catch the end of his sentence. And believe me, focusing at this moment is not easy.

"-he never seems to get any." He lifts his cup to his lips, but strangely enough he doesn't drink. He just stares into the cup.

"Sex?" The word pops out of my mouth before I can stop it. His eyebrows lift and he looks at me, his eyes hard. I feel heat blushing my cheeks.

He lowers the cup, eyes darting away. "No. Hotdogs. Were you listening to me?" He sounds pissy. Er, that is he sounds irritated.

"Um... no. Sorry. My thoughts kind of wandered off to another dimension." I admitted sheepishly, "I uh, didn't mean to. It's just sometimes my thoughts bounce around so much I can't really-"

"I noticed." He interrupted me shortly.

"You're not going to be offended are you? I don't do it because I find people boring. I mean, I've even wandered off on Kiros before. Man, it bugs the hell out of him." I laugh, trying not to sound too nervous. I really don't want him to stop talking. It would be a tragedy. "And if I adore anyone it's Kiros." Wow. I am such an idiot. "I mean, uh, I adore his opinion that is."

His lips tilt in a small smirk, "You adore him." He snorts, "Everyone knows it but you."

"WHAT?!" I know my mouth is hanging open but damn! I can't believe what he just said.

He rolls his eye with a long-suffering sigh. "Listen, we've all seen you panting after him. Everybody in the damn garden thinks it's adorable. I, on the other hand, think it's just annoying."

Wow. He's just full of surprises. "Everybody?" I repeat softly. I find my eyes darting around the cafeteria. There are quite a few people looking at us.

"Everybody with brains and eyeballs." That smirk tilts his lips again, "Chicken-wuss doesn't know." He snickers.

"Shit." I bury my face in my hands, "And Kiros? Does he know?"

"He'd have to be stupid not to."

"Kiros is not stupid!" Immediately I jump to Kiros' defence. His smirk grows into a full-out smile. It's the first real smile I've seen on those lovely lips. I would drool, if I wasn't so worried he was insulting Kiros.

"Of course not." He shrugs, "So everybody knows how you feel, except you."

"I know how I feel... I... I just.." Never imagined everybody else knew. Shit. I should have known. I can't hide anything. I've always been miserable when it comes to hiding my emotions from people. Come to think of it, I wasn't really trying to hid my feelings.. was I? I didn't think there was any need to. I really, honestly, didn't imagine anyone would ever recognize.. my feelings for Kiros.

"Are afraid to say anything?" He stares into his cup again, wrapping his fingers around it. "Nobody thinks badly of you, if that helps. The girls think it's sweet and most of the boys would rather not think anything."

"I don't care about everyone else." Well.. not really. I mean, here at the garden it doesn't matter. But what about back at Esthar? The President of Esthar is in love with a man. Wouldn't that be a great headline? How would the country respond to that? There are strick rules in Esthar... I don't know them yet, but I'm sure Kiros or Ward will know. "All I care about is Kiros... do you think... do you...?"

"I don't know. From what I've seen he respects you greatly as a friend, as for anything beyond that," he shrugged, "I have no idea."

"Damn." I drop my head onto the table and close my eyes. "I didn't want to deal with this now."

"Deal with this? You think love is such a great chore?" He sounds more than a little disapproving.

His tone surprises me. Since when does Kid Wonder care about love? I rest my chin on my arms and tilt my head so I can see him. His face is carefully guarded. "I wish I could read you as well as everyone seems to be able to read me." I'm surprised to hear my own voice. I hadn't meant to speak aloud. Shit, me and my big mouth. Come to think of it isn't my mouth that's to blame. It's my stupid head. If only I could not think so much. Maybe I wouldn't get confused and accidentally think aloud so much.

He raises his eyebrows, "You wish you could read me? Do I look like a book?" He says sarcastically.

"No... Love isn't a chore. Losing my best friend, on the other hand, would be horrible. What if I tell him how I feel and.. he can't stand to be around me anymore?"

"He knows how you feel. Why do you think you voicing these feelings would make such a difference?"

"But what if he doesn't know?" I sit up, leaning back in my chair and wrapping my arms tightly around my waist.

"He knows! We all aren't as dense as you are."

Ouch. That was harsh. "Yeah..." Man, my stomach is aching. I feel ill. Like, really ill. "I.. I guess not." I gotta' get out of here, before I do something stupid like pass out or woof my cookies all over his lap. I get to my feet, wavering unsteadily. Damn, my knees feel like jelly.

"I.. I didn't mean-" He gets to his feet also. I don't look at his face. I can't. 'We all aren't as dense as you.' Wow... I just.. I know it's true but.. no one has ever said it to my face.

"Thanks for training with me." I interrupt him before he can continue, "I.. think I'd better.."

Quite suddenly the world is tilting. I feel so strange. My head is tingling. My ears are buzzing. Black spots fill my vision and for one brief moment I can't feel my body. When the black spots clear I'm lying on my back. Kid Wonder if leaning over me, his face contorted. He looks worried? Why would he be worried? For that matter, why am I on the floor? How did I get here?

Voices are buzzing around the room. They're so loud, and so fast I can't understand what anyone is saying. Kid Wonder is speaking to me, or at least.. I think he is. I can't hear a word he's saying so.. maybe he's just moving his lips? Or maybe he's talking to someone else.

Oh, what does it matter? I'm so tired. My stomach hurts so much. My skin feels as if it's burning. I'm so hot. I can feel the heady grips of sleep playing at the back of my brain. I have two options. I can stay awake in this confusion, or I can succomb to sleep.


what would you choose?

I close my eyes. Within seconds I feel myself drifting away.. into dreams... into oblivion? Who cares anymore...

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