Author: Syberian Quest PM
"Of course it is! It's dirt!" "And you want me to lie down on it? Intentionally?"Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Humor - Amy C. & Ian K. - Words: 4,483 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 55 - Follows: 5 - Published: 06-12-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7076681
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Some things in life are predictable. The sky is blue, the grass is green, and perfect moments always come to an end.
But that doesn't mean she can't enjoy it while it lasts.
It is a day worth savoring - leaves tremor slightly as a light summer breeze dances an unpredictable pattern across their branches; sunlight seeps through the thick treetops, casting a heavenly glow on the luscious green grass below. Warblers' songs echo in the silence, and wild flowers paint the forest floor. It is one of those summer days that you wish could last forever.
A warm beam of sunlight strikes her face, casting a warm glow of yellow upon it. Her eyelids flutter shut, and the soft green grass tickles her arms and legs. Her hands rest under her cheekbone like a pillow as light willow branches dangle delicately overhead. Her blue flip-flops lie discarded at her side, and the fuzzy tingling caused by the sun's rays numb her mind. Every care, every thought has drifted from her thoughts like the puffy, white clouds floating along the baby-blue skies.
She blinks, her eyelids succumbing to the drowsiness descending upon her. It is one of those moments, one she wishes could last for all of eternity, where her cares are so far from her mind and she can –
The tingling in her limbs suddenly vanishes, and a coolness overtakes the warmth.
A cloud must be blocking the sun, her drowsy mind muses, and her heavy eyelids flutter, her long lashes framing her emerald eyes. Her vision blurs, but it faintly traces the outline of something looming above her, something that is most definitely not a cloud.
She blinks again, not quite believing her eyes. A tall figure overshadows her, one that is dark and contrasts with the bright beauty of the summer's day.
"Ian? What are you doing here?"
His dark eyes meet hers. "Escaping from a group of absolute lunatics."
"Well, you're blocking my sun."
Ian glances up, as though suddenly realizing that the sun is hitting him directly in the back, and steps to the side. "Better?"
They fall into silence, Amy ignoring Ian's presence entirely, as she once again drifts into her happy land of sunshine and bird songs.
"So, why are you here?"
Amy sighs. "Same reason as you."
She can almost feel his stare. "But why here?"
"Because it's peaceful."
"But it's nature!"
She whips her head towards him and gives him an unsettling glare. "Yes, and nature's peaceful." She raises an eyebrow. "I'm assuming you know what that is, right?"
Ian frowns, appearing slightly offended by her question. "Of course I do. It's that feeling I have whenever I'm counting my money."
She stares incredulously. "And that's peaceful?"
Ian nods his head. "Absolutely. Except for the numerous paper cuts… Those aren't quite so pleasant."
She harrumphs and rolls onto her side. "So why are you here then, if you hate nature so much?"
"Well," Ian responds, "I saw you wander off, and so I-"
"Followed me?" she finishes.
He narrows his eyes. "It was either you or Natalie." He flashes Amy a wry smile. "You were obviously the better choice. I'm almost positive she locked herself in one of the bathrooms, anyway."
Ian rolls his eyes. "Who else? They were trying to start a rugby game before I left."
"You're lucky you escaped."
"Tell me about it."
A sudden burst of song interrupts their conversation, and Ian lifts his head to listen. Music resonates through the treetops, reawakening her previous drowsiness. She rolls onto her back and closes her eyes, inwardly hoping that Ian will take the hint and return to wherever it is that he finds his "peace."
But he doesn't leave. The bird's song continues, reverberating through the meadows, and he listens, enchanted by their melody. She can sense him surveying her haven, studying it with the unequaled eye of a deeply perceptive Lucian. Despite her closed eyes, she can almost sense his gaze wandering over the stream, the trees, the flowers, and even onto her. It rests on her for a while, probably taking note of every strand of hair out of place, before he finally speaks up.
"You like it here?" he asks curiously.
Amy opens one eye and glances at him. And to her surprise, his features seem softer somehow, as though the song of the birds is capable of soothing even his stony soul. Maybe there's hope for him yet.
"I do," she responds airily as she pushes herself onto her elbows, "and since I have a feeling you're not going to leave me alone anyway, you're welcome to join me." She pats the soft patch of grass beside her invitingly.
He glances at the spot skeptically, as though he can't believe what she has just implied. "You mean, on the grass?"
"Yes, on the grass," she responds through gritted teeth. "Where else?"
He glances at her, his face displaying something akin to terror. "But it's dirty."
"Well, of course it is!" she exclaims impatiently. "It's dirt."
"And you want me to lie down on it? Intentionally?"
She buries her face in her hands as she sinks back onto the ground. "Yes, that's what I was thinking. But obviously it was a stupid idea."
He stands there awkwardly, a sheepish look spreading across his face, until she finally gets sick of it. "Just go sit on that tree trunk over there," she orders, rolling her head back and pointing straight behind her.
Deciding not to provoke her any further, Ian makes his way to the trunk without complaint. As a result of a powerful storm, the trunk has been left as the perfect spot for any weary travelers – or mysphobiacs.
He approaches it and for a moment peers doubtfully at its flat surface.
"I can't sit here."
He gives her a disgusted glance. "Because there's, ah… There's bird fecal matter on it."
"You mean bird poop?"
"And that's worse than dirt, huh?"
From her upside-down position, she glances up at him, noticing his expectant expression, as though he is waiting for another one of her suggestions. "Look," she says with a frustrated sigh as she rolls onto her side, "either you stand there awkwardly, or you lie down on the grass. Put down your jacket if you have to. It's warm enough without it, anyway."
He simply stares. "It's suede."
She sighs. "With you, they all are."
He takes a step towards her. "So, I suppose I'll just have to stand here awkwardly then?" he ventures, as though hoping she will propose another solution.
"I guess so," is her only response.
And for what seems like an excruciatingly long time, that's exactly what he does. In his suede jacket and matching black loafers, he stands out like a thorn on a rose, seemingly out of place in such a sea of colors and beauty. But even this doesn't last.
"Fine," he grumbles begrudgingly through gritted teeth, pulling his jacket from his shoulders. "Have it your way."
One eye opens as she enjoys the scene playing out before her. For once, with every wonderful thing about the place wearing him down, she finally wins their battle of the wills.
He tentatively lays his jacket on the ground, stretching out as carefully as possible on the soft grass. And tensely, as though every moment is excruciatingly painful, he seats himself beside her, his hands clutching the folds of his jacket as though his very life depends on it.
"You can relax, you know," she says, a small smile playing at the corners of her mouth at his obvious discomfort.
He glances at her briefly before slowly releasing hold of his jacket, gradually leaning on its black, leathery surface. Stiffly, he leans his head all the way back, finally submitting himself to this so called "relaxation." She notices the muscles in his arms gradually begin to loosen, although it is obvious this is extremely difficult for him.
He is silent for another few moments, adjusting to the prospect of lying on the ground for pleasure, as he soaks in all the sounds and sights of the seemingly-enchanted forest surrounding their little meadow. But it only takes a minute for him to make a startling observation.
"The sky is so blue."
"And you just noticed that?"
He gives her an offended glance. "In case you haven't noticed, I don't usually sit on the grass and stare at the sky."
She meets his gaze, her jade eyes locking with his amber ones. "You should, then."
He allows a small smile to light up his eyes, and the magnetic lock of their gaze does not waver. "It's… peaceful here," he remarks wistfully. "I think I almost like it."
"See?" Amy responds. "Counting money isn't the only way to find peace."
"Who would have thought?"
She rolls her eyes. "I have no idea!"
"Do I detect a hint of sarcasm?"
She props herself on one elbow and risks a peek at his face, noting the tranquil expression that has softened his usually so serious features. He laces his fingers behind his head, his eyelids delicately shutting, and she smiles to herself. It is intriguing to watch him this way, oh-so-very different from the Ian she is all too well acquainted with. His usually in-place hair is slightly tussled, but in a way that is natural, flattering even. His features, so often cold and solemn, are sun-kissed and serene, even more handsome than usual, if that's possible. His snow-white shirt with the stiff-necked collar and beige slacks are out of place, but everything else feels so natural. Surprisingly natural.
One of his eyelids flutters open, and he glances in her direction. A tint of red touches her cheeks as she quickly looks away. It is not her place to stare at him, no matter how fascinating this Ian Kabra look-alike is.
"Were you staring at me?"
The light pink in her cheeks magnifies to a bright scarlet. "N-no," she stutters. "I was just…"
"You were staring."
"Fine," she grumbles. "But don't let it get to your head."
He grins, flashing her the familiar smile of a charismatic charmer, and she scowls.
"So," he begins, effortlessly changing the subject as he attempts to sit up, "you come here often?"
"When I can," she replies, relieved to be rid of her previous embarrassment.
He gazes out at the sea of pink and yellow flowers and the small stream trickling through the lush greenery. "How did you find it?"
Her gaze follows his, and she smiles wistfully as the bitter-sweet memories of that first day reemerge. "Grace. She brought me here after my parents died. I come back whenever I get the chance."
"Oh. I see."
She glances at his face and sees that some of his familiar severity has returned. Resisting the urge to force that fleeting peacefulness to return, she allows herself to fall back onto the soft bed of grass.
"Thank you for letting me stay here, then." His voice is soft, a mere whisper that could all-too easily be swept away in the breeze.
"You're welcome," she responds without opening her eyes. And for a moment, everything is completely soundless; the songs of birds and trickling water the only things to once again fill the quiet. A light breeze tickles her senses, and a loose piece of reddish-brown hair blows into her face. She grabs at it, but the wind causes it to dance mischievously across her features, just out of reach. Frustratedly she shakes herself out of her half-slumber, opening her eyes and determined to catch the renegade strand.
But a strange sight awaits her. The willow tree's branches stare directly down at her, their long, willowy arms reaching out to her as they always have. Their leaves, however, billow violently, and the branches shake from side to side - far beyond what the forces of the wind are capable of conjuring. She glances at the tree's trunk, catching sight of a figure perched high in one of the branches while shaking it from side to side.
Something lands on her nose, and she crosses her eyes to get a better look. Another falls on her arm and then another and another. Instantly she wipes her skin, flicking their small, black bodies away. She covers her head, vainly attempting to prevent the shower of beetles and other miscellaneous insects from raining down on her.
"Dan!" she cries furiously. "Get out of here!"
The shaking immediately ceases, but only for a moment before resuming more violently than ever.
"Dan!" she shrieks again, pushing herself off the ground and heading towards the figure menacingly. "Stop it!"
A myriad of critters cascades upon her head and shoulders as she rushes towards her younger brother, ducking to protecting herself as she goes.
The swaying suddenly ceases, and a loud thud is heard, followed by a crashing through the bushes. She lunges towards the sound but only in time to catch a glimpse of a bright red t-shirt disappearing amongst the shrubbery. Rolling her eyes, she turns away, shaking insects off her as she goes. A shiver runs involuntarily down her spine as she flicks a baby spider off her arm. This is disgusting – no one deserves to suffer this kind of monstrosity.
She lets out a sigh, freeing an unidentifiable bug from her hair. Most in her situation would panic, freak out at the slightest sign of a creepy-crawly, but when one has a brother like hers, they get used to all kinds of gross forms of torture.
Her bare feet sink into the soft earth beneath her, and she relishes the feeling as she returns to her previous position – next to Ian. The bugs have mostly disappeared, although she finds herself occasionally swatting at a stray insect every now and then. But to her surprise, only a rumpled jacket marks the spot where Ian once lay. He has seemingly vanished, disappeared, although it is completely unlike him to leave his jacket behind.
Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, she rests an arm against the tree's trunk as she scans the meadow, the ends of her white capris flapping lightly against her legs. A splash catches her ear, and she automatically directs her head towards the brook. Unable to keep it back, she grins at the sight unfolding before her. The oh-so-proud Ian is on his knees, splashing frigid stream water - and common water, no less – on his face and over his head. She watches with mild amusement as he scrubs himself clean in the woods, patting down his hair and wiping at his now-splotchy silk shirt. This is truly a sight she never expected she'd live to see.
She leans against the tree's bark, her head resting on one arm as she enjoys the irony of the situation. He takes much longer than necessary, drenching every inch of visible skin and even most of his upper clothing, too. Bemusedly she rolls her eyes at his obsessive compulsiveness. But of course the saying is true – once a Kabra, always a Kabra.
At last, when every inch of his body has been purified from that wretched filth, otherwise known as nature, he slowly gets to his feet. Wiping back his wet hair, he begins to make the short journey towards Amy.
She doesn't move as he approaches but stands silently, grinning mischievously from her position against the willow tree.
He glares at her from beneath his sopping locks. "I swear, nature is out to get me."
She bites her lip in an attempt to hold back a laugh. Shifting from her position against the tree, she takes a step forward and flashes an infuriating smile. "Nature too much for poor little Ian to handle?"
His jaw hardens, and he narrows his eyes. "Absolutely not. I just don't do bugs. At all." An involuntary shudder convulses through his body.
Amy lifts her chin defiantly, a small twinkle in her eyes as she meets his gaze. "You mean you can handle devious businessmen and snakes alike, but not a few teensy-weensy bugs?"
His mouth draws into a thin line of annoyance as he ignores her teasing. "You enjoy mocking me, don't you?"
"It's what I live for," she confirms, that same twinkle still lighting up her eyes.
"Well, I –" He stops suddenly, and his nose wrinkles in distaste. He reaches out a finger and swiftly flicks something from her shoulder.
She raises an eyebrow and glances at the spot he touched.
"There was an ant," he explains.
She looks back at him. "Umm, thanks… I guess."
He shrugs, and she rubs the back of her neck awkwardly, suddenly feeling uncomfortable in his presence. He opens his mouth as though he is about to say something, but his gaze suddenly shifts to his right. His eyes widen, and he takes an erratic step backwards.
"What?" Amy asks in alarm, glancing from side to side in search of whatever has unnerved him.
He waves his arms violently in front of his face. "Another… wretched bug," he answers, his gaze never wavering from his mortal enemy.
She watches pitifully as he makes an utter fool of himself, waving his hands and arms about like an absolute lunatic. Catching sight of his adversary, she rolls her eyes and extends an arm out as it buzzes towards her, landing delicately on her skin.
"It's just a ladybug."
He narrows his eyes and stares at the spotted creature climbing up her arm. "But it's still a bug," he points out as he brushes off his jacket. "And I think it touched me."
"Oh, horror of horrors."
"I'm going to need to clean myself again."
"Come to think of it, I'm going to need an entire bucket of holy water to cleanse me of all this filth."
She gives him a dubious look. "But you're not Catholic."
"I might convert."
Shaking her head, she lets out a small chuckle. "Come on, you. I think it's time we get going."
"I suppose so."
She smirks. "I was talking to the ladybug."
"Oh, so now I'm not even up to par with a stupid bug?"
Her face conveys a look of mock horror. "Stupid bug? Don't you dare talk about Fifi that way!"
"Fifi? You named the bug?"
"Fifi's not just a bug. She's-"
"I get it, I get it. No need to mock me any longer." He glances at the surrounding willow trees. "I just want to get out of here before they can regroup."
She laughs and lifts her arm to let the ladybug float away as it catches the drift. "You mean you don't want to stay?" she asks as she reaches over to retrieve her abandoned flip-flops from the ground.
"I think I've broken my duck for the day."
She straightens up abruptly and gives him a questioning look. "Broken your duck?"
He grins. "British idiom. I suppose you being American and all, you wouldn't understand it."
"Well, of course I don't get it. Breaking your duck? What kind of idiomatic expression is that?"
"It means trying something new. And might I remind you that your American idioms don't make a lick of sense, either."
She closes the distance between them as they begin to meander back down the small trail leading into the forest. "Like?"
He thinks for a moment. "Like 'I feel like a million dollars.' How can anyone feel like a million dollars? And it makes even less sense if they don't even have the money."
She rolls her eyes. "Well, in any case, I'm glad you could 'break your duck.'"
His eyes meet hers, and he flashes a pearly-white smile. "And I am, too. Mostly."
She raises an eyebrow.
"Okay, I admit it was downright miserable after the bugs, but everything before that was pleasant."
Her laughter penetrates the cool, afternoon air as they tread through the underbrush of the overgrown trail. She easily passes him as he stops to carefully step over every fallen twig and branch, making sure not to leave any marks on his carefully-polished shoes. Several times, she is forced to wait for him as he painfully forces his way through the dense foliage.
"Someone ought to take a machete to this trail," he complains when he finally catches up to her.
"I think the overgrowth gives it a rustic charm," she responds neutrally, trying to hide her amused expression.
He gives her a skeptical look. "Differences in opinion, I suppose." He pauses, suddenly catching sight of something behind her. "Don't look now, but there's a bee right behind your head."
She glances back. "Oh, I'm not worried." She gives him a sharp look. "But what about you?"
He shrugs nonchalantly. "Bees don't bother me. Just leave them alone, and they won't touch you."
She gawks. "You mean you're afraid of ladybugs, but not bees?"
"Bees aren't bugs now, are they?"
"And what does that- Oh, never mind," she says, giving up trying to understand his convoluted mind.
"I beg your pa…" His voice trails off as his vision focuses on something beyond her. "Oh, no. Not again."
"The ladybug is following us." He whirls around and snaps a twig from a tree. "But it's not getting away this time."
He swings the stick violently in the air, mere inches from knocking the poor bug straight out of the sky.
"Ian, don't!" Amy cries, grabbing his arm to keep him from attacking the poor creature any more.
"Just… one… minute," he responds, aiming for another swing, but accidently knocking Amy backwards. The force of his blow sends her spiraling off the trail straight into the underbrush. For a moment, she teeters at the edge before falling flat into a patch of blackberry bushes.
She groans, but Ian doesn't notice, too engrossed in attacking his minute rival. Small thorns tear into her skin, but as she attempts to stand, she falls back again, unable to keep her balance. And so she is forced to wait in a patch of prickles until her knight in shining armor finds the decency to save her from the very mess he has gotten her into.
The ladybug eventually finds the sense to disappear, leaving Ian standing victoriously in its absence. He turns, hoping to share his good fortune with Amy, before suddenly realizing where she is. Her arms are folded across her chest in impatience and disgust. But fortunately, he has the grace to look shamefacedly at the ground.
Timidly, he offers her his hand as she glares up at him, her eyes all but shooting daggers. Reluctantly, she takes his hand and gives a magnificent yank, causing him to temporarily lose his balance and take an unexpected step forward. And with as much dignity as she can muster, she pulls herself to her feet.
He clears his throat awkwardly. "That was my fault entirely."
She glances up from brushing off her capris and gives him a disconcerting glare. "Yes. It was."
"And I apologize. I, ah, overreacted."
Keeping her seething emotions in check, she gives him a forced smile. "Thank you for your apology. I'm sure I'll get rid of the thorns and scratches and bruises – eventually."
He grimaces and stares at the ground uneasily as she finishes brushing off her once-white pant legs. Straightening up, she flashes him an overly-cheery smile. "Let's continue, shall we? I'm sure they're all wondering where we are by now."
He nods silently and sets out, sending nervous looks over his shoulder every so often. Her face remains an impassive mask of forced cheeriness as they continue, but as the unbearable strain continues, Ian caves.
"Look, Amy – I apologize for pushing you into the blackberry bushes. I know I ruined your perfect little moment out in the woods, and I'm sorry for intruding like that, all right?"
She gives him a blank look.
"You can stop with the silent treatment now, Amy. I apologized."
Ignoring him, she turns her head and gazes up at a bird singing high above in the dense trees.
"Oh, come on, Amy! You know I can't stand the cold shoulder."
Without slowing her pace, she reaches over and plucks a small dandelion from the ground, blowing at its seeds and watching as they disappear magically into the forest.
"Okay, then, Amy. Keep ignoring me."
She smiles to herself over his obvious frustration and continues to take his advice. He deserves to suffer a little. By tomorrow, she's sure to be covered in a few nasty bruises along with an assortment of stinging cuts and scratches. And who knows if those stains will ever come out of her capris.
Clutching her flip-flops in one hand, an idea suddenly strikes her. Keeping her face expressionless, she raises one arm in the air, poising it precariously above Ian's head.
A grin escapes as the satisfying melody wafts over her ears but is quickly smothered as he shoots her a piercing look. He clutches his head protectively, but despite his pain, he keeps silent, knowing full well that he deserves it. Blinking innocently, she gives him an angelic smile.
"There was a bug."
He narrows his eyes as she meanders ahead, leaving him in the dust. But after a few steps, she pauses, taking the time to shoot a triumphant look over her shoulder.
Turning back, she smiles to herself, knowing that they were both wrong. Her perfect moment never ended. It has only just begun.
My first Amian. I hope I didn't annihilate it.
I've been told Amy is OOC (a bit too confident), but of course, me being who I am, I would probably jump off a cliff if I ever did that to Amy. So, yes, I had my reasons for doing what I did.
In my mind, this takes place after the Vesper fight where Ian and Amy are obviously less hostile to each other. Not "madly in love," but not giving each other death stares, either.
So. My goal for this story was something light, fluffy, non-OOC and to perfectly capture a beautiful summer day. I hope I succeeded. : )