|From Me to You
Author: Freida Right PM
Edge had never expected Palom, of all people, to turn our so much like him. But, as long as the kid's outlook on girls is forever changing, the ninja has plenty of advice to pass along. By special request from mythweaver1. ;DRated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Edge & Palom - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,468 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 04-17-12 - Published: 04-04-12 - id: 7991015
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Tip #1: Love is like a viral epidemic, and the only known cures are death and marriage. Sometimes, death is preferable…
I hadn't gotten to know the kids much during the war, and then pretty much forgot about them after I went home. Even when we had reunited for the wedding, I hardly noticed them. Now that I was chilling out with Palom, I couldn't believe that I had missed him so easily. He had been six and seven years old then; now, he and his twin were less than a month shy of turning eight. Maybe his presence had gotten bigger since then? He was still just a kid, but he acted like he dominated the room.
"So," he said to me, "I guess you've missed everyone, huh?"
"I have, a little."
"I'll bet you missed me the most."
That sounded like something I would say.
"I'll bet you missed me the most," I counted coolly.
"Nah. It's Cecil I've missed the most. Or maybe it's Rydia—she's nice… Nope, it's definitely Cecil."
I rolled my eyes. What could I have expected?
"I've missed her a lot, too."
Palom looked up at me with a quizzical expression. "Why do you like her so much? She's just a girl. They aren't that great." He looked off across the room, where Porom and Luca were chatting it up as if they were sisters, and he snorted petulantly.
"All they do is sit around and talk about dresses and dolls and stuff. They never want to go off on adventures and do cool stuff or anything. Girls are so boring!"
"How do you know that? You never bothered asking them."
"I hung around with them for a while, and that's all they did. They didn't even notice when I left. Me! They should feel honored that I even tried!"
"I know that feeling. Don't you give your sister any credit? She went off adventuring with you, back then… And you were only six."
"She doesn't do much now."
I considered this and sighed. "I guess you're right. Still, many of the ladies in this room went through a lot of adventuring. Even Luca helped, a little."
"Who's side are you on? I thought we agreed that girls are icky!"
"I'm on my side, kid."
Palom looked kind of disappointed. "You're sure different from how I remember you. You used to be all cool and stuff."
"Watch it. I'm still cool. I've just had a lot more to do than you have."
"I had to sit still and learn all the –Ja level spells this year. What the heck did you have to do?"
"I have a whole kingdom to rebuild, and—wait a minute. Did you say –Ja level?"
"…Well alright, then. So, no grand adventures for you, recently?"
"No. I'll bet you go off on adventures all the time."
"Not anymore. I've had to sit still for a while, myself."
Maybe we understood each other a little better, after that moment of confusion. A silence passed while he thought of another question.
"So, what is it about girls that you don't find so icky?"
"After a while, they stop seeming so icky, I guess. Actually, there comes a point in every guy's life where they start seeming pretty great."
"How's that?" Palom asked, unable to fathom such a thing.
"It's difficult to explain. It's still kind of far off for you."
"That's a relief. You're so cool and awesome until Rydia shows up. Then you always start acting stupid and try to make her like you, too."
"Do I really look stupid?"
"Have you ever seen yourself? I hope that doesn't happen to me for the rest of my life."
Such brutal honesty. I wasn't sure if I appreciated it or was offended. I decided to counter by also being brutally honest. I reached over the table and tousled his hair.
"Are you kidding? A good-looking guy like you? I'll bet the ladies love you!"
"Ew! Gross! Stop it!" he cried in alarm, pushing me away.
"You're half-way there, you lucky kid."
"I said stop it! How do I fix it?"
"You can't fix it. It always happens to girls first."
"What does?" he asked nervously.
"The dreaded crush!" I teased.
"There isn't a cure?"
As if it were some sort of lethal epidemic. Which I supposed it could very well be. This would be an excellent way to explain it to a stubborn six-year-old like Palom.
"Let me put it this way: have you ever caught a cold?"
"It stinks," he agreed, nodding his head with a rueful scowl.
"You know it. You can try all you want to avoid it, but it's a virus. It's always out there, waiting to sneak up on you when you're least expecting it. Sometimes, there's no stopping it. You can stay healthy and strong, and do everything you can to keep from catching it… But sometimes, you don't catch a cold—it catches you."
"I hate it when that happens."
"Well, crushes are just like that," I said with a grand gesture. "They're always out there, waiting to hit you in the face, and then you're infected. And then, there's nothing you can do but wait for it to run its course. Sometimes it goes by faster than other times, but there is no cure. Well, there are two."
"What are they? Tell me!" he demanded, desparate .
"Death is one of them. Usually by ripping your own heart out of your chest."
Palom looked at me blankly, mildly horrified, and said, "Tell me the other one."
"The other cure can be worse—marriage."
"What so much worse about that? Cecil and Rosa are married, and they seem pretty happy. Yang and Cid are married, too. And you had parents, so they must have been married. Nah, ripping your own heart out sounds way worse."
I laughed shortly. "Can't someone's parents not be married to each other?"
"Um, no," he answered, as if I had said something ridiculous and insane.
I should probably save that discussion for when he turned 16, at least, I decided.
"Yeah, well, that's what crushes are like," I concluded. "They are everywhere, they will always catch you when you are trying the hardest not to catch them, and it sucks."
"Well, you've caught a pretty nasty one, ninja. Just don't let me catch it from you, or I'll zap you with Thundara."
"It is a pretty bad crush, yeah," I admitted sullenly, not sure why I was confiding in a child, but amused that he was listening and grasping the concept.
"Think it's bad enough to rip your heart out over?"
"It feels like it right now. Alas, I have a kingdom to return to, and no one to pick up where I left it, if I die."
"So go for plan B. Ask Rydia to marry you, and get it over with. If she says yes, you'll be cured! If she says no, you can still kill yourself, I guess."
"That's the hard part. It's not always that easy."
Palom shrugged. "Sounds easy enough to me. Look, I'll show you." He jumped out of his chair and ran up to where Porom and Luca were still chatting. As he walked away, I felt someone lurking behind me. I turned around to see Cecil hovering over me.
"Enjoying yourself, Edge?" he asked with a teasing grin.
"It's not like a paladin to lurk behind people, or eavesdrop on their conversations," I answered. "And for humanity's sake, cut your hair!"
He shook his snowy hair off his shoulders like a lion shakes its mane. "I like it this way. And, anyway, it pleases my queen," he countered suavely.
"Whatever," I growled, never approving. I looked back to what Palom was doing, and saw him talking to Luca. Oh, I knew what he was doing…
"So, I see you've made a new friend," Cecil noted. "The twins are something, huh?"
"I wouldn't know about Porom; I haven't spoken to her before. But I guess I kind of like Palom. He's a lot like me."
"Oh dear god in heaven…"
"The Blue Planet can only handle one Edge at a time."
"With any luck, he'll turn out serious and smart, just like me. And he sure won't let his hair get wild like yours."
"You're insane. And here we all were, wondering if your mission to rebuild Eblan had grown you up at all."
"You still seem like the Edge Geraldine we all know and love."
"Well, you're still the Cecil Harvey we all know and love. You've barely changed either; but then, you were probably born this dignified."
"Lunarian blood. You can't top that," he answered with a shrug.
Meanwhile, Luca was now laughing so hard that she nearly doubled over. Porom gave her brother a disbelieving look, and smacked him for good measure. Palom shrugged and trotted back over.
"See? She said no. It's that easy," he explained, rubbing his head where Porom had smacked him. "Oh, hi, Cecil. When did you get here?"
The paladin chuckled and regarded him for a moment. "I don't know what Edge is telling you, but you should probably just ignore him."
"But we were talking about girls and how icky they are!" Palom whined.
Cecil looked back at me with one eyebrow raised. "Is that so? You didn't seem to think so when you got wine thrown in your face."
I couldn't help the humiliated blush that crept into my face, and was glad that my cowl hid it so well. I would never live this down…
"You've really got to make up your mind," he continued, taking his leave. "If you don't hurry, someone else will get her while you're at war with yourself."
Palom and I watched him walk off for a moment. How did he do that? He was so mature and responsible and manly. I was a confident guy, but Cecil was confident, as well, and so effortlessly. He still had that way of making me feel like a petty little boy, foiled again by my whimsy and flightiness. But not Cecil Harvey, the king—he had mastered that long before I had even been aware of it in myself.
Palom looked back up at me and said, "I don't know why you think she's so great like that and all; but if you really like Rydia so much, you should go for it."
"You think so?"
"I don't get it, but you really, really like her. If you want her so bad, I don't' know why a cool, smart ninja like you doesn't just go get her."
"Palom, you know the most frightening thing about catching a crush?"
"Oh… What is it?"
"You know how a cold feels terrible and you can't wait for it to end? Crushes are different. Having a crush feels amazing, and you hope that it never ends. When it does eventually pass, you just feel depressed."
"That sounds really freaky."
"It is. Just thinking about some people fills you up, and makes you all warm inside. It makes you feel, just… happy. Thinking about her, looking at her—it makes me so happy. Like, I always think I know how to be happy; but then there she is, and I realize that I don't know a thing about what happiness is."
I barely realized I was speaking anymore, and I had definitely lost Palom somewhere along the line.
"Now you're just acting stupid again," he commented. "But if it's true and she makes you feel so happy, then marry her, already. You'll never have to be away from her again, and you'll always feel happy, and you won't babble like a little girl to me about it."
I gave him a small smirk that I knew he couldn't see, but hoped he could get a hint of. "Everything is for your sole benefit, huh?"
"If I can get it. If no one's going to help me, I should help myself."
I couldn't help but laugh out loud, amused to my very core. "You're going to be just fine, kid. Actually, I think you'll turn out a lot like me."
In spite of how stupid I sounded before, Palom gave me a big smile. "You can't go wrong with that! I always hoped I could grow up to be like you!"
That spirit was inspiring. Maybe there was only room for one Edge at a time. Now, I supposed it was Palom's turn; because I had something very important and very grown up to do.
That night, after the children were in bed, I went for a walk in the castle gardens, knowing that Rydia would be there, somewhere. She had mentioned in our travels, that of all the things she had missed in the Feymarch, she had missed real nature the most. The unnatural plane could artificially simulate the Overworld, and very well; but she always said that it wasn't the same, and something she had never gotten used to.
Which must have been very frustrating for her, because she had a natural affinity for nature. Her gentle, nurturing spirit, and her very appearance was like that of a wood nymph—her very element was wood, after all. I had never known her to miss a chance to soak up the world around her. I had seen her stroll through fields behind the rest of us, wander through forests while we stuck to marked paths, string flowers into her thick hair until it looked like a blossoming meadow.
Just thinking about it—images I remembered of her from our adventure—made my heart thump uncomfortably in my chest, and I considered forgetting the whole thing. Nothing was worth this sort of needless comfort… Right?
But my brain kept me moving forward through the garden, looking for her. Maybe the fact that my brain was egging me on, shushing my fleeting feelings, was a sign that I was on the right track this time.
At last, I spied her ahead of me, her green locks a dead giveaway. She had abandoned her mage's robes in exchange for a light, plain dress of white linen—an unusual sight, for I had only ever seen her in shades of green and gold. She looked alarmingly normal, almost attainable. She stood quietly by herself before a little rose bush, one of the right red blossoms in hand, inhaling the strong fragrance as if she drew some sort of ethereal power from it.
She smiled benevolently on the rose, fully appreciating all that it was. She was completely at home.
So when she sensed me coming behind her and faced me, she didn't look very pleased.
"Why do you always have to sneak up on me?" she demanded.
"I wanted to apologize for earlier," I answered, ignoring her question. "I phrased that poorly. I was trying to ask if you would come to Eblan, to help me rebuild my kingdom. I could use the help of a good friend."
She kept up her poker face and asked, "Is that all? Nothing else you'd like from me?"
Oh, there was plenty more I wanted from her. But saying so out loud would have been idiotic. Next, I'd end up with a face full of briar thorns, for sure. One step at a time…
"Yes, that is all," I agreed, holding my hands professionally behind my back.
She regarded me silently for a moment, and then sighed.
"I suppose I haven't been to Eblan yet; few people have. That is… quite an invitation. How could I pass it up?" she mused, stroking the rose's soft petals.
Well, how about that. It really had been that simple. Palom would be so proud of me, and so disappointed…
Growing up? Nah… Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to take a break from fic and work on my homework. :P