General: Croix/Prier fluff.
Series: La Pucelle
Notes: Just random fic while I deal with plot bunnies for my other LP series. One muse jumped on me, dug in my brain and REFUSED to leave until I feed it. (strangles Croixmuse) Takes part in the middle of the game, Prier is still dumb, Croix is still hot and Culotte is still clueless. (grinning) The idea bit me when I was wading through my collection of Fake. This little piece is for a certain friend who kept demanding for the other fic to update.
Summary: Croix gets ideas…
She really hadn't known. Sure, she did spend the last few months running around forests and caves having her fun with random creatures of the day and night, but she never encountered any Love Shrooms, only hearing bits about it from Alouette. She ran into one in the forests and reflexes kicked in - until she saw how adorably huge the eyes were and how its lips were pouting, despite its ridiculous shape of a mushroom. It tugged at the strings in her heart and, finding herself helpless at its innocent gaze, was wondering if maybe she could bring it home as a pet. Yeah, right. Like she could waltz back to church and Sister Alouette would nod dumbly.
Then the thing just leapt at her, mouth opening wide to reveal nasty yellow fangs that she didn't even imagine capable on a sweet little thing like that. Prier didn't notice she had screamed until she found her throat hoarse, but no, she was just startled. Face red with fury, she had thrown the Shroom on the ground and stomped on it as hard as her little foot could. Each time she stomped, the Shroom exuded a strange, greenish gas, although she didn't notice, too busy in her little mission to feel the air that suddenly turned stale around her.
And that she had breathed some of it in. It was a while before her brain got wind of it, and, her nose highly sensitive, she wheezed and coughed - the smell was just awful, it sent unpleasant shivers down her spine and her eyes watered, but she took it like the brave person she was. One final look at the flat Shroom was enough to know that it deserved what it got. There was also a little tug inside her head, something Alouette said in regards to the Love Shrooms, which Prier can't exactly pinpoint. Oh well. If she can't remember, then it must've been unimportant.
But it was strange, how that tree over there looked almost… appealing to her. Like a woman possessed, Prier half-unconsciously took a step towards it, her fingers itching, for some reason. Almost like she wanted to touch it, stroke it. There was something about the tree that beckoned Prier to it, its lush green leaves, the firm way the roots were buried in the ground… Then Prier realized her mind had officially shut down, that she was thinking about a tree in that way. She reminded herself blue was not her best color and managed to get her lungs working again. The air around her was still thick and misty but at least her eyes didn't hurt anymore.
Then it hit her.
Love Shrooms got their names for a reason.
She jumped ten feet into the air when a hand touched her shoulder, her eyebrows still twitching. Looking behind her shoulder, her shoulders visibly relaxed when she saw who was standing behind her. It was just Croix, and not Culotte, although she didn't think he wouldn't notice the fact that she was trying very hard not to look at the tree. Culotte would notice in an instant, but Croix had Oblivious stamped on his forehead at times, and she feverishly hoped it would stay that way.
"Croix, uh, hey," she greeted, inwardly wincing as even she could hear how fake her tone was. If there was a Love Shroom out there, surely there must be another Shroom that could make one blissfully clueless, because Croix just took one look at her expression and raised an eyebrow. He had his shades on, but Prier had been around with him long enough to spot little telltales his body language might have emitted. In normal cases, Croix raising an eyebrow would either mean 'Are you serious?' or 'You're not worth my time' or even 'Now that's interesting.' Right now, looking at him, she supposed the more accurate description was to say 'What have we got here?' which was not helping. Damned if she didn't notice the little tug on his lips, almost like he was trying not to smirk.
"Our job's done. Better hurry back," he said when Prier just stood there and gawked at him. He raised an eyebrow again, cocking his head quizzically and locked his gaze on something on the ground near her feet.
Prier blinked, and scanned her gaze around the forest. It seemed quiet now, not like when they set foot into the forest and heard mysterious noises, just like the reports had indicated. No vile bats to attack wanderers in the forests, no drifting spirits to suck life out of the trees, no possessed demons free to terrorize whenever they want. She was still not looking at the tree, though.
"Yeah, we should get going, I-" She broke off, alarmed, when Croix began to remove his shades.
"Croix!" she wheezed out. "NO. SHROOM."
Croix's hand stilled in mid-air, still holding his shades, but his eyes had locked into Prier's. That eyebrow was now suggesting 'Well, you got my interest now.' She bemoaned her fate when she began to feel the familiar stirrings as she did earlier when she saw the tree.
"Yeah, you killed it, all right." He looked down sympathetically at the thing, a poor flat mess. "What a shame."
"No, Croix!" He walked over to hear and took her arm, leading her towards the entrance of the forests. Her eyes were glazed, and her head was spinning, but by keeping her eyes off him, something she had suddenly found very hard to do, she could at least salvage what was left of her dignity until they got back. Then, she would lock herself in her room and curse all Love Shrooms until her system drove out the notorious gas in her body. She would then keep her head high the next day and nobody would ever know. Prier shook her head. Contaminated by a Love Shroom. She would've never lived it down.
"Croix, can I ask you for a favor?" Prier's voice came out very tiny. In this kind of situation, and a man like Croix thrown into the mix, it was probably best to get straight to the point rather than staying silent and idling, which was basically throwing fuel into the fire of the man's notorious curiosity. "Whatever you do, do not turn around." She emphasized each word with each jab on his shoulder.
She hadn't counted on Croix stopping on his tracks. "And why not?" There was no mistaking it, he was amused now. And his tone was unusually low, lower than Prier had ever heard it, his fingers lightly caressing the skin of her knuckles.
Prier had to remember to get her lungs working again, because, well, Croix sounded innocent. Croix was never innocent. She had been with him long enough to know that the man only sounded that innocent when he was up to something.
"It will do us more good than you will never know" was what she wanted to say out, but her tongue didn't seem to work at the moment, so what came out was basically a string of rambles and gibberish.
Croix didn't seem to notice. He actually turned around, much to her dismay, but at least he made sure not to make eye contact with her. His head was bowed down but he was smiling. Prier blinked, as Croix raised a hand high in the air. Maybe he was swearing some oath to her or something.
"Look up," was all he said.
And it was exactly what Prier did – she tilted her head up at an angle and stared at his hand, trying not to squint at the bright sunlight. "What-"
And she was interrupted when Croix bowed his head down to kiss her. It went on forever, but that was mostly due to Prier's feet frozen in the spot, and that it was a while before she finally noticed how odd everything was, like the fact that Croix did not go around kissing women, Prier's reflexes did not come automatically kicking in, and that it worsened that strange nausea in her stomach that was caused by the gas.
Then, for Prier, it was a hard ride back to reality, and the forests seem to shake by the tremendous impact of her outraged howl.
If anyone took any notice of what was peculiar about Croix and the splendid color of his eye the next day, they politely chose not to touch on the subject. Culotte, however, did know that Croix and his sister were on a mission the day before, and had a moment to choose between his manners and curiosity. It was no large feat. He managed to catch up to the freelance hunter, and asked worriedly," What happened to your eye? Did my sister sock you one?"
Croix paused by the doorway, and, before he left, the last thing Culotte saw was a bright, satisfied grin.