That Bittersweet Kind of Way

x o x o x o x

A/N: An Isaac x Ivan! Yay! Given as a sort of thank-you return gift to Cytrink Dareth, who continues to be good to me. . And, concerning Hama/Hamma's name -- it was Hama in the first game, Hamma in the second. Yeah, personally, I don't know how game editors came up with that -- you'd think they'd check the first game for any potential slip-ups, but hey... I'll be using Hamma, so I hope none of you have qualms with that name, okay?

Story's set in Contigo, at Hamma's new home. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Go to Contigo and then into the place where you met up with Isaac and Co. I randomly went in there to refresh my memory of Contigo, and there was this cut scene concerning elements... She mentions it's her new home, so, yep.)

Warnings: Shonen-ai in the form of IsaacxIvan -- but it's kind of... pre-slash. But, eh, the undertones are strong enough. Mild references to Piers/PicardxFelix (Because I just HAD to). And... um... mild OOC?

minor edit: Sorry, I forgot to use QuickEdit on this before I uploaded! Many apologies if you read the hot-off-the-press version.

x . o . x

x . o . x

Now, Ivan was normally a reasonable guy. During the time he'd traveled with Isaac, Garet and Mia, and later Felix and company, he had been the voice of (Though somewhat cynical) reason and the person who found ways around things when they had to get from Point A to Point B when there was a large obstruction in their path. He was booksmart and to an extent, streetsmart -- he was good at blackmailing, after all. So this sixteen-year-old Jupiter Adept, long-lost brother of Hamma, then, had no reason to be very close to burning his small home down, with which he shared with said long lost-sister.

You see, the problem Ivan was having at the moment which made him very close to burning his small home down was actually a small gift. A gift placed in a purple-colored paper box, probably purchased from Xian now that he thought about it, and wrapped in a white silk handkerchief. It was all very pleasing to the eyes, there was nothing particularly cringe-able or eyebrow-raise-able about it; there were no bloodstains on that white handkerchief, and the box was not dented or had a "THIS WAY UP" label on the side. All in all, anybody else would have been at least remotely pleased with such a nice gift.

But Ivan was not. Why, you ask? This gift was actually the third Ivan had received in the span of approximately five days, and he was starting to get edgy. At that point in time, he had not expressed a feeling of great affection toward anyone in particular, except in the sibling-sense to his sister, who doted on him but never gave him gifts in such an elaborate, mysterious manner. (She lived with him, after all, she could just as easily hand it to him.) These gifts, which had suddenly appeared in varying places in the house, led him to believe he had a stalker. A stalker intending to get on his good side (That good side, he was assuming) by giving these gifts.

Unfortunately for this stalker-of-sorts, Ivan was not about to let these gifts get to him. He'd opened the first one very carefully, finding some expensive Kalay chocolates he hadn't tasted in ages, but had been craving recently. He'd been suspicious of those, however, and had put them on his bookshelf, the red and gold box closed up tightly, as though he were afraid the things would explode. (He just had to stuff his cravings away in a separate box altogether, mind.)

The second he had found on his windowsill, the breeze coming in from the window fluttering the summery drapes his sister had insisted to put up. This in itself was strange, as he didn't leave his window open when he went out to run a few errands, which he had been doing at the time. Ivan, fearing somewhat for his life, had pulled the knot out from the blue handkerchief that was tied around the gift with shaky fingers. The handkerchief fell away to reveal a small, but very beautiful wooden statue of Atalanta, who was incidentally his favorite goddess. He'd put that up next to the diabetes-inducing chocolates on his bookshelf's fourth shelf, and hadn't touched it since, though he did look at it from time to time, expecting the figuring to be doing some kind of tango or rumba whenever he did.

And this was the third, placed on the kitchen counter. Ivan had paled the instant he had walked in and seen it, running back out, breathing in and out deeply, then walking back in. Still the little package was there. Ivan, fearing he was hallucinating still, had run out a second time, took three deep breaths and exhales, then had walked calmly back inside. Seeing that the box was still there, he flung back his hand, intending to send a good plasma bolt at it and turning it into little charred bits, when a little squeak stopped him before he could yell out a spell.

[Ivan!] A Jupiter Djinni scolded, appearing next to him in the air. Ivan gave it a sidelong glare, not bothering to try and identify it. He was incapable of telling Gust apart from Wheeze, and personally, he didn't really care much about them, considering he rarely used them, but times when they ate his peppermint candies from Imil or his sister's famous cinnamon cookies were times when he seriously cared about them. In, you know, the really angry, I-will-blot-you-off-the-face-of-the-earth sort of way. [If you do that, you'll destroy your gift!]

"That's what I WANT to do." Ivan replied tersely, turning his eyes back onto the little gift, so simple and innocent looking to everyone else, but at the moment, it looked like a raving terrorist with a five foot machete to the Jupiter Adept. "Some creepy person's sending these gifts, and I wish they'd stop! One of these days they'll poison me or something..."

[...] Replied the Jupiter Djinni, continuing to wave its small arm-wing things as it hovered in the air. [Are you really that paranoid?]

Ivan turned again to it, glaring at the small sprite, then opened his mouth to call down a rain of plasma bolts. "Spark -- "

[Hey! Hey!] The Jupiter Djinni squealed, and Ivan felt some pulses of power not his own from within his body. [You'll burn up the house if you do that, idiot!]

The Djinn had set themselves to him, effectively stopping him from using any of the more advanced plasma attacks in his repertoire. Well, that was fine, a simple plasma would still be enough --

[Hamma will seriously kill you if you burn down her house!]

Ivan's outstretched hand twitched a little, and faltered a bit. "Yeah, well, this person's getting on my nerves..."

[That's a lame excuse.] The Djinni seemed to sigh, wobbling slightly in the air. [How d'you know this person isn't seriously trying to win you over with some nice things now and then?]

"It's creepy, you know. Especially since most of the girls here are way older than me or are really young..."

[Whoever said it was a girl, Ivan?]

That made him do a double take, and he lowered his arm, staring at the small, three-inches-high-at-most wind Djinni still flapping away beside him. "A... a boy?"

The Djinni nodded sagely as best it could. [Yes, Ivan. I'm glad you can see there are two genders -- one of which are known as females, girls, or women, the other being known as males, boys, or men...]

"Shut up!" Ivan knew offending spirits was generally a not-very-good-idea, but then, this was three inches high. (Now, taunting a headless suit of armor is pretty darn stupid. He'd learned first-hand, thanks to Garet.) "You've never had a stalker, have you?"

The Djinni stared at him for a while. [...Nope, don't think so. But I'd be flattered if somebody left gifts for me, especially things like nice chocolate!]

"...Don't tell me you ate those."

[I didn't.] The Djinni said innocently. [But I can't speak for my fellows, you know...]

Well, if they died, at least he'd be able to burn and explode things freely, he mused. But murdering little purple spirits with wings would come later. Right now, he still had a suspicious gift to blow up. "Plas -- "

"Oh, Ivaaan!" His sister's sing-song voice made him stop in his tracks. The Djinni made a noise resembling that of a raspberry at him, and as he turned to it, intending to make a nasty comment pertaining to tropical bird hybrids and lavender Djinni, but it disappeared back into the depths of wherever Djinn frolicked when they weren't being used. "Ivan, look at what I picked up at the market -- oh, you got another gift! How lovely."

"Lovely?" He then turned to his sister, mouth agape. "Lovely? Hamma, I have a stalker!"

"At least they're a nice stalker." Hamma said, shrugging one shoulder. "Look, Ivan, I've been meaning to get a nice small basket to put flowers in when we have guests, and the little shop at the corner was selling these! Aren't they adorable?"

Ivan stifled a sigh. Hamma was wise beyond her years and possessed great Jupitarian powers, but she was also the average older sister that squealed over cutesy, flowery little things now and then. "It's great, Hammy. But what do I do with this... thing?" He gestured vaguely at the present, still unwrapped, on the counter.

Hamma frowned. "Don't call me Hammy."

"Makes you feel like you've gained weight?" Ivan asked, looking serious but his tone one that of extreme sarcasm.

"...No, it's what your friend, Garet, calls bacon." Hamma rolled her eyes, and her younger brother blinked. "Don't ask how I know that. Why don't you open the gift?"

Ignoring the fact he was about to blow it to smithereens before she waltzed in the front door, Ivan mumbled, "You sure it won't explode?"

"They've given you chocolate and a statue of your favorite goddess, Ivan. Why give you a gift that explodes when they've spoiled you?"

"To put me off guard?" He raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms. "I'm paranoid, sis, you know that. Tramping around Weyard for over a year can do that to you."

"So you think one of those Proxians have returned?" Hamma set the bag of food she'd bought at the market down beside the gift, the small basket being put up in a cabinet.

"They're all dead, and besides, we did 'em a favor by lighting the lighthouses. I don't think any of them will be coming to assassinate me now, you know...Besides, they'd go after Felix and Isaac first. They're the leaders and all."

"You're saying that only Felix and Isaac count? Just leaders won't do it, Ivan dearest. You have to take out everyone else as well -- the supporters count just as much."

Her sagely side was coming. Ivan sighed impatiently. "Hammaaaaa..."

"Just open it, Ivan. I'm sure it's another nice present." She smiled reassuringly at him. "Nothing explosive."

Cursing the fact that Reveal only worked with showing hidden objects and not granting him stalker-safe powers, he hesitantly went over to the counter, where the handkerchief gift still sat, waiting for him patiently. He could feel his sister's eyes on him as he slowly untied the knot, trying valiantly to stop his hands from trembling slightly.

The white silk handkerchief (Which Ivan knew his sister was bound to steal from him sooner or later, but he didn't really mind, he didn't want anything to do with the creepy gifts) had been tied around a small, rectangular tin box with no special markings, except for a purple blob of color on the lid, which, when expected, turned out to be a Jupiter Djinni. Squashing his awed, touched feelings aside, Ivan pried the lid off and peered inside.


"Cookies? What kind?" Hamma asked, leaning on the counter.

"Chocolate-dipped shortbread." This was starting to get downright eerie. This stalker of his knew his cravings, his favorite goddess, and now his favorite kind of cookie. He knew he wouldn't get any sleep that night.

"Your favorite! Why don't you try one, Ivan?" Though spoken as a question, Ivan knew that tone of voice -- the special tone that was more of a command than a request.

"What if they're -- "

"They're NOT." His sister cut him off, voice bridging on ask-me-again-and-I'll-cut-your-tongue-out-with-a-meat-cleaver.

"Okay." Ivan squeaked, pulling one out and staring at it fearfully until Hamma cleared her throat noisily and reminded him he still had to eat it. He took a small bite out of it and chewed. Hamma watched him carefully as he did so, eyes narrowed and lips set in a straight, no-nonsense line.

"How are they?" Hamma said this in one of those very threatening drawls that made Ivan shiver. At least he wasn't related to Jenna, otherwise he'd resemble what is known today as a beanbag chair. Hamma was all bark and no bite -- just don't ever tell her that.

"...Good." He said grudgingly, then proceeded to slowly eat the rest of the cookie.

Hamma's expression resembled that of utter and absolute joy. "Really?"

Ivan quirked an eyebrow at her as he ate, managing to keep his legs from making a valiant dash towards the bathroom where he could wash out his mouth.

Truth be told, the cookies were horrible, and although Hamma only acted threatening but never was actually violent, Ivan still wanted to keep his limbs intact with the rest of his body. Saying they tasted worse than Sheba's last attempt at spaghetti would have had him sprawled out on the floor, thinking Weyard had decided to spontaneously start dancing really fast without telling him. "...Did you make them?"

"Of course not. But I've been thinking, Ivan -- you've never had a significant other before, have you? It's unhealthy to just be a recluse, you know, just reading and studying all day."

His eyes widened. "Are you saying finding someone to be romantically interested in would make me... ahem... more active?"

"Yes!" Hamma paused abruptly, eyebrow furrowed, apparently thinking over her last statement. "Um, I mean, not in that way, of course. But you should get out more often, you know?"

"I keep the house clean, sis. If I were to 'get out more,' this place would probably become infested with rats and cockroaches..."

"It would not, Ivan. I've kept this house clean before you started living here!" Giving him a glare, Hamma continued, "Haven't all of your friends found someone to settle down with?"

"Well..." It was pretty obvious Garet had a crush on Jenna, but he had parted ways with the Valeans before he could see anything happen between the two (Other than arguing, of course). Sheba seemed to have no interest in anyone other than herself, and heavens knew if Felix and Picard had decided to give up being bachelors for life. (Or had they become interested in each other?) Mia had returned to Imil, and Isaac was probably dating a girl from someplace by now -- all the girls fell for the blonde-haired, blue-eyed heroes. That made his heart twinge a little. "I doubt it."

"Still all jittery from your escapade?" Hamma began moving around the kitchen, grabbing things to make some tea. "Hmm, they must have lots of options, being famous and all..."

"Famous?" Ivan repeated blankly. Not really. They had connections in every town known to Weyard, yeah, but other than that... "Uh..."

Before Ivan could correct her, though, his stomach did a sort of weird flop and he inhaled sharply, feeling acid crawl up his throat. When Hamma turned around to see what was wrong, her brother had already sprinted off to the bathroom. She sighed. "He should have improved his recipe..."

A few days later yielded no more spontaneous presents. This relieved Ivan, and he actually slept a few more hours than usual. (He had a paranoia that this stalker of his crept in through his window somehow during the night to drop off these gifts, and so, this led him to staying up a majority of the night, staring at the innocent window.) However, Ivan's fears bubbled up anew when his sister came in from buying some flowers to 'freshen up the house' some (Another sisterly habit, he thought).

"Ivan, have you seen this?"

He looked up from his book-reading on his bed. "What?"

Hamma held out a light green envelope to him, with "Ivan" written across the center of it in a strange scrawl. But a pretty scrawl. He put his book down without marking it and took it from her, staring at the curving letters of his name with unhidden fear on his face. "My guess is that he or she wants to meet you."

"Meet me?" Ivan blinked, looking up from the letters he had been mentally tracing. "What for?"

"To reveal themselves, silly. What else would they want to meet you for?"

To kill me? Ivan's ever-paranoid mind muttered. Ivan himself blinked some more. It obviously wasn't setting in with his brain.

"Open it, Ivan. I'm curious as of what it says." Hamma ordered, hands on her hips. With a deflated sigh, Ivan turned the letter over and found that it wasn't sealed. He reached inside, finding a creme colored card.

"'Anemos Inner Sanctum. Eight o' clock.'" He read, then turned it over. It was blank. "The Inner Sanctum...?"

"Probably the ruins to the east... Not everybody can access the portal in the center of town, after all." Hamma commented, tapping her chin thoughtfully. She glanced down at her younger brother when she heard him emit a whimper. "You little chicken, you aren't afraid of going, are you?" She asked playfully, giving him a gentle poke on the nose.

He heard the challenge in her voice, but instead of rising to the occasion like he normally did, he settled for looking glum. "Well..."

"You haveto go, Ivan, or you'll break their heart."

He made a face at that. "Break their heart? You're such a romantic, Hamma... Don't you need to get a significant other more than I do?"

Hamma blushed brightly at that. "H-hey! This is you we're talking about, not me."

"If you say so, Hamma dearest." Ivan said, not in his usual snarky tone, but a rather world-weary one. He sighed deeply, tossing the card onto his desk. "I'll go, then..." Hamma could hear the "Even though I don't really want to..." in his voice.

"Good! I want to see who this person is..." She began to walk out the door, and Ivan could hear her saying to herself, "In love with my brother... Imagine!"

"I heard that, Hamma." Ivan grumbled, flopping onto his bed.

He was only met with laughter.

x . o . x

At seven forty-five, Hamma pushed Ivan out the door, the only thing said to him being a "Have fun!" before the door closed on him. Have fun? Fun? Did Hamma expect him to -- to... Ewww. Older sisters were really desperate to be aunts, weren't they?

Or maybe it was just his teenage hormones making him jump to (sexually related) conclusions. Ivan realized then he was still standing on the doorstep, then with a slow exhale of breath, he marched off to the Anemoshave to Sanctum to the east.

What was he getting himself into? Was this suicide? Would this stalker try to jump him? Try to feel him up? Throw chocolate at him? Rocks?

[Sheesh, you really have issues.]

"Hello, Gust." Ivan said in a very bland tone as he walked, hands in his pockets.

[I'm not Gust, you dolt. I'm Breeze!] The purple Djinni floating next to his ear paused for a moment, head cocked. [No, wait, I'm Zephyr.]

"You don't know your own name?" Ivan really wasn't surprised.

[I'm positive I'm Zephyr!] The Djinni snapped. [We all have our off days!]

Ivan rolled his eyes at that. Forgetting your name wasn't an off day; it was an I'm-dead-to-the-world-day. The Djinni didn't need to know that, though. "So, then, come to offer me sagely advice or to warn me to return to my house while I still have the chance?"

[Nope, neither!] When Zephyr didn't go on, Ivan glanced at it. The Djinni blinked owlishly at him. [I just came to give you company on your walk, duh.]

Ivan nearly tripped over an ancient stump's roots before he caught himself. "Company? That's it?"

[Umm... Well...] Zephyr tilted its head back, apparently thinking. [If this person gives you chocolate, I can help carry stuff!]

"And eat it along the way home, doubtless..." Ivan muttered, carefully picking up his feet while he walked. "You seriously didn't come to tell me anything imporant?"

[...No...] Zephyr said after a moment. [Unless saying that it's a nice evening to go meet with your obsessor counts?]

Some company Djinn-who-don't-know-their-names make. Ivan chewed on the inside of his lip as he climbed the hill at the eastern side of town. The ruins were in sight. "No, I don't think it does."

[Oh, okay.] The Jupiter Djinni didn't say anything after that, merely floating alongside him, leisurely flapping its wings. When Ivan reached the old sketches of the flying ship, faded and worn away into the ground, Zephyr said a goodbye and then disappeared back to Djinn-Frolickland, leaving Ivan by his lonesome outside Anemos Sanctum.

Well, here he was. Ivan took a deep breath, exhaled, then marched himself towards the left-most sanctum, where one of the doors was open a crack.

Ivan pushed open the door a bit, then stuck his head inside. Nobody was there. Well, none of the other sanctum doors were open, and they were always closed during the evening... Ivan slipped inside, walking towards the four dragon statues at the far end, when he heard the door creak shut in a very, very ominous fashion.

He whirled around.

A figure draped in a dark cloak jumped down from one of the dark corners of the ceiling, the hood of the cloak covering his or her face well, showing only the bottom half of their face. They said in a masculine, deep voice, "I've been waiting for you, Ivan."

Ivan couldn't resist asking. "How did do you do that?"

"I'm rather flexible." The lips curved upwards in a grin, and Ivan felt heat rush to his face. Stupid questions only got you stupid (Or rather lewd) answers... "That's a... good thing, isn't it?"

"It can be..." Ivan squeaked in an octave higher than usual.

The Bendy-Man chuckled. "Oh, it is, trust me, dear Ivan."

"W...what's your name?"

"I'm not going to tell you."

Ivan shifted his weight to his other foot, hoping he wasn't looking extremely girlish, like he sometimes did in situations that made him nervous. However, Ivan's rational mind was still working, and he devised an easy way to find out the man's identity. "I know who you are!" He cried, pointing towards him with a flourish. "So just tell me what you were planning to and let me go home!"

And it all went to plan. Sort of. The man gasped, but didn't throw back his hood, as Ivan had expected. The deep-creepy-stalker voice was gone. "How did you know it was me?"

"Isaac?" Ivan blinked, very surprised and confused. Then he caught himself. "Y-you forget that I'm a Jupiter Adept! Not only that, I've... um... I've traveled with you for nearly two years! I can recognize your voice anywhere!"

Isaac shook back his hood, his blue eyes twinkling as he smiled at Ivan. "Really? You've always been on the observant side, Ivan."

Ivan blushed again, and dropped his pointing hand. "So, um... You're the one who's been sending me all those gifts?"

"Yep." Isaac nodded, unclasping the Cloak of All Mystery and tossing it aside. "I bet you want to know how, huh?"

Ivan narrowed his eyes slightly, nodding. "Yes, do tell me the reason why I've been losing sleep because of you."

Isaac's eyes widened. "You've been losing sleep?" Ivan felt a bit touched by his concern, but what he said next ruined the moment. "You're really that paranoid?"

"Hey!" Was the entire world out to get him or something? "Just tell me how you've been getting those gifts to me without me noticing you!"

"It's your sister, really." Isaac's smile returned, and he brushed a spiky strand of hair out of his face. "She's known all along how I... um... feel about you, so she offered to help." He chuckled nervously seeing Ivan's "OMIGAWD" look. "So she'd plant the gifts -- I'd get ahold of them first, though, I wouldn't make her buy anything, of course... You got the cookies, right?"

Ivan was jolted out of his stunned thoughts revolved around the fact Hamma had been helping his creepy stalker when he mentioned the foul, toxic things. "Um, yes."

"They tasted okay, I hope?"

Ivan couldn't crush Isaac's hopes, not even after discovering he was the stalker that was making him ever-so-paranoid. "They were... sweet."

"Were they? Oh, thank goodness! I thought they'd come out bad when I decided to add a few extra ingredients to the recipe... They tasted fine to me..."

Ivan hope he hadn't blanched as noticeable as he thought he did. Isaac was too busy reveling in the fact Ivan had called his cookies 'sweet' to notice, thankfully enough. "So you... deviated from the standard?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah." Isaac looked perky. Ivan edged backwards a bit. "And the results were good! I should always take your advice, Ivan."

It was well known between Isaac, Garet and Mia that Ivan was full of odd little world wisdoms -- one of his favorites to tell Isaac (The Conformist, as Ivan had labeled him some time ago) was to 'deviate from the standard.' Good grief. Maybe he was better being 'very normal,' as Ivan had thought him the day they'd met...

Ah, the day they had met... He'd managed to creep both Isaac and Garet out all within the span of five minutes. Then he got to read Garet's mind -- dear Mars, that boy needed to sit down and talk with a specialist about his hormones. And then he read Isaac's mind -- pretty devoid of anything catastrophic or mind-corrosive, thankfully. They'd agreed to help him find his master's rod (Which, now that he thought back on, he was very glad Garet hadn't made any cracks about that), which had proved to make his day a whole lot better.

Now he wondered, had he made Isaac's day a whole lot better way back then?

"No, well, um, that's okay! I mean, you don't always have to break away from the norm... Some people might think you're crazy, you know? I mean, you're already breaking out of the world's shell as it is, and..." Ivan realized he was rambling out of nervousness, and stopped short. "...Sorry..."

"It's fine." Isaac smiled at him reassuringly. "Are you bothered at all by the fact I'm... um..."

Trying to seduce me? "Courting me?"

"Er... Yeah." Isaac mumbled, embarrassed.

"I thought you liked girls." Ivan said plainly, sitting down on the head of a dragon statue and hoped the dragon didn't mind. Seeing Isaac look so embarrassed like that was embarrassing in itself... He pat the head of the dragon next to him as an invitation to sit down, and Isaac scurried over quickly.

"Well..." Isaac started slowly, staring at his lap. "I did. You know, when we first met Mia at Imil, I thought she was pretty, and... I thought I liked her. But after a while -- and after we experienced her first... um.... monthly -- I decided I actually didn't. She's nice and all, when she's not swinging a mace at you, but..."

"She'd make a nice sister." Ivan said wistfully. He wasn't sure who was worse, though -- Hamma or Mia. They both had their pros and cons...

"Yeah, she would. It stinks being an only child." Isaac sighed, looking up at the ceiling. Then he blinked and turned to Ivan. "I had to ask sooner or later... What about you? Do you like girls or boys? Or... both?"

"That's not a question I can easily answer..." Ivan mumbled, blushing bright red again. What was he supposed to say? 'I'm sorry, I like girls, but to make you feel better, I like boys too'? No, that would definitely offend him. 'I'm sorry, I like girls, can we just be friends'? No, not when Isaac was trying to court him...

"Then... Do you... like me?" Ivan raised his eyes from the ground and saw that Isaac was staring at him, big blue eyes blinking at him. He blushed harder. "Like... that?"

"Er..." Several days ago, when he had thought to himself that Isaac probably had a girl by his side by then, he had felt a small twinge in his heart... What was that? Had he been jealous? No, he wouldn't have been jealous, he didn't really care much for girls anyway. Wait, so if he didn't like girls, did that mean he liked boys? Ivan was getting very confused, and it was normally very hard to confuse Ivan. (Ivan being Ivan, after all.) "...I don't know..."

Upon seeing Isaac's downcast look, Ivan panicked.

"That doesn't mean I don't like you, though! I'm not sure if... if..." Ivan trailed off, fidgeting with his hands. He sighed, blowing his bangs out of his face. "I think I do."

"You think you do?" Ivan looked up, fearing what Isaac's emotion would be. But the boy was beaming. "Well, that's good enough for me!"

Wonderful. That meant he would be getting more cookies. "So you'll... continue courting me, then?"

"Isn't that what courting's all about? Trying to make the person like you?" Isaac leaned forward suddenly, his face right next to Ivan's. "...Right?"

"Er." Ivan said, sounding very intelligent.

The doors to the sanctum flew open, and a very unhappy looking monk tramped inside, holding a lantern. "What are you two boys doing in here?"

The moment was ruined, and Isaac scrambled away from Ivan, jumping to his feet. "Ah, sir, we..."

"Never mind. We're very sorry, sir. It won't happen again!" Ivan got up, grabbed Isaac's wrist, and forcefully dragged past the healer and out of the sanctum, then all the way to the hill at the edge of town before he let go. "I forgot about the rounds the monks made... Sorry about that."

"No, it's perfectly fine! At least we didn't get punished or anything." Isaac looked briefly amused for a moment. "I'm not sure what the monks do to trespassers, though."

"I'm pretty sure you don't want to know..." Ivan smiled slightly, scuffing his feet in the dirt. "So, um..."

"Where were we? Oh yes." Isaac took on a serious expression, taking Ivan's hands in his own. Ivan blushed as Isaac stared at him, eyes partly narrowed. "Ivan, I swear that I will court you until you can accept my affections and return them wholeheartedly. Do you understand?"

"Y-yes... I do." No more cookies, please, please, please...!

Isaac smiled again, leaning down to kiss his forehead lightly. "That's good. I'll let you go now, it's getting pretty dark."

They parted ways then, Ivan still blushing faintly as he waved to the other blond as he walked down the hill, nearly tripping over his feet and making a bigger fool of himself than usual when Isaac blew him a kiss. He was at the bottom of the hill when he heard, "I'll make you some more cookies!" Then he did trip and fall, and Isaac ran down to help him.

It would have all been so sweet, had it not been for the cookies... One of these days, Ivan would have to develop either an allergic reaction toward those cookies in particular or a stomach made of steel. One or the other. Because he wouldn't dare to break Isaac's heart like that... So it wasn't entirely sweet. More like... bittersweet. But Ivan had a feeling -- being a Jupiter Adept -- that everything would turn out sweet enough in the end.

Sometime before, the monk was about to leave, when the light of his lantern fell on the Cloak of All Mystery Isaac had tossed away carelessly. He bent down and picked it up, inspecting it. Then, with a joyful expression at seeing what it was, he said to himself, "I've always wanted one of these!" And then he left, closing the sanctum doors securely behind him. Silly boys, what were they doing in the sanctum anyways?

x end! x

x o x o x o x

Wow. I got that DONE. Hot damn.

Anyways, that joke made about the Shaman's Rod and Garet's perverted sense of humor is mainly Empress Dots's fault -- she had a rant on her LJ about lewd weapon-humor like that, and I had to parody it. Me being Azu, and Azu has to parody all things considered outrageous and/or problematic. Ahaha. I agree with her, when they say 'lance' or 'rod,' they probably mean the weapons and not the male organ. But parodies are good, right?

That was long, and it wasn't even really shonen-ai! ARGH. ::Feels very guilty:: Sorry... Maybe I'll have a sequel? (Now that I've said that, I'll have to write one. Bah.)

Hope you liked -- please review and say so, if you did!

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