Captain Corny on a Cob: "Okay, first thing's first. If you're a fan of Mudshipping (albeit the angst type), Together Again by Princess Viv is a must. I can't really say it's the inspiration behind this fluff piece, but it sure gave me the motivation I needed to write this.

That said (oh, and I apologise if that was shameless plugging, Viv), I bring you this one-shot offering. I guess it's kinda strange that, contrary to my profile, I'm still writing fanfiction before tackling my fiction project. Well, I couldn't let this go. I need to do some Mudshipping, and Lord help me, I have done just that. It's slightly remorseful at the beginning, but it picks up around the middle. Oh, and if I get enough ideas, I might be able to sprout one-shots on a weekly basis. Well, if I can stomach it.

If anyone's wondering, this really is Lord Cynic – on a fluffy blue moon. Yeah, I get that reaction all the time."

Mini Isaac: "Yay! Mudshipping! Mudshipping! Oh, and Cynic doesn't own Golden Sun." (makes out with Mini Mia in the back)

Everyone else: "Eww, gross! GET A ROOM!"

Night watch

The ship of Lalivero sailed majestically, albeit rather strenuously across the oceans of Weyard. Its passengers, Isaac, Garet, Ivan and Mia, were on their ninth day of cruising, desperate to achieve their goal of preventing the remaining two lighthouses being lit, and rescuing Jenna and Kraden.

They knew time was of the essence, so the slow progress was a definite setback. However, the seas were rich with feral and rowdy water beasts, so they were often halted by the necessity to protect their vessel. Consequently, often only one adept was able to direct the ship towards its intended destination, while the remaining three stood on the deck to fend off unwelcome stowaways. Only at night did the mayhem subside slightly, so everyone was able to relax, and hopefully sleep comfortably for a few hours.

On that particular night, the cycle of night watch had come full-circle again, meaning that Isaac was the evening guard once more. He'd become accustomed to the daily and nightly routines, and relished the opportunity to reflect in peace. Due to the ruckus of the afternoons, there was never enough time for some private thinking. Even at night, when someone besides Garet was keeping guard, he would be kept awake by the redheaded teenager's booming snores. At those times, he wondered how anyone in the Mars adept's family managed to sleep, but knew that they'd gotten used to it long prior to the lighthouse journey having begun. Lucky them, he'd often think enviously.

However, now he was alone on the deck, left to his own private musings with much gratitude. The gentle rocking of the boat along the waters helped him collect his thoughts, and for the third consecutive night watch, they fell initially on his mother back home. It had been almost a year since he'd embarked on his quest with Garet, met Ivan and Mia, and reached his current situation. He knew his mother was worried sick about him – and to his horror when he briefly returned to Vale, literally so – and it pained him to witness her a wretched, frail shell of her former sturdy self. To behold the woman, who raised him to be a strong and warm person, like his late father, feeble and unable to even arise out of her own bed ate away inside of him relentlessly.

But as much as it pained him, it infuriated him that he was the cause for her debilitating condition. To know that his being away from home caused her so much grief tore him apart, and he wondered why he even accepted the Wise One's request to venture out and save the world in the first place. Pfft, save the world. So far, he was unsuccessful in his attempts to prevent the lighthouses being lit, and on top of that, his mother had been declining before his very eyes. Some hero he was turning out to be.

And yet, he knew his mother (and his father, had he still been alive) would admonish him severely for even contemplating such horrid thoughts. None of what was occurring was his fault. Saturos and Menardi had been the ones hell-bent on destroying the world – and he (along with Garet, Ivan and Mia) had destroyed them both, regardless of their forms. Now the baton was being passed to Felix, who he long considered a traitor, since that fateful day in the Sol Sanctum. It was the same for the capture of Jenna and Kraden. How could he have known that they'd be ambushed and forced to abide to the rotten villains' demands if he and Garet wanted their friends alive? Not only Saturos, Menardi and Felix, but also some creep called Alex, whom obviously Mia had a former acquaintance with, was in on the whole deal. In fact, as Isaac looked back on that incident, Garet appeared more shattered at Jenna's capture than him.

A rare smile spread across the blonde Venus adept's lips. He'd suspected it long before the adventure had commenced, but he was more certain now than ever that the male Mars adept had a tender spot for his female counterpart. They often argued a lot together, and despite their protests, he was convinced that they were flirting on the inside. Jenna often rolled her eyes at Garet's antics, but Isaac always saw a discreet smile play on the girl's lips. Likewise, Garet would pout whenever criticised by Jenna, but he was never deterred by her comments. It was clear that they shared a relationship supposedly kept secret from Isaac. Well, he'd let them think so, until everything was said and done. Besides, Ivan always filled him in on the less-than-pure thoughts circulating through the tall-haired boy's mind, so he was more than satisfied. However, he ensured that the shorter blonde boy's mind-reading abilities remained as far away from him as possible, lest there be more fuel on the fire to the allegations that there was something brewing between the blue-eyed Venus adept and a certain blue-eyed Mercury adept.

For the third consecutive watch, pink tinges stained Isaac's cheeks as his thoughts rested on the sole female member of their group. It was strange how little time they'd spent together compared to himself and Garet, and yet how much they seemed to know about one another. He could swear he was just protecting her during gruelling battles with oversized monsters, but it was often suggested (by the other two boys, no less) that he had other motives for staying close. Granted, they often sat close to each other while they ate, or when only two rooms were available, they deliberately paired themselves up. But that's just coincidence, right? It wasn't as if he lo –

His body and his mind went rigid almost immediately. Did he just admit what he thought he did? That he had… more than companion-like feelings… for the girl from Imil? Hah, that was amusing. It wasn't true, surely. And even if he did, she was too good for him. Her beauty, her grace, her compassion, she was too pure, too grand for words. Besides, what was he? Just a simple boy from Vale, too soft-spoken for his own good and yet so savage in battle. No, it would be a lost cause, to… love… someone who should (and probably did) no more than glance at him…

"Isaac! Watch out!"

An alarmed voice aroused Isaac from his mental stupor, and before he knew it, he was tugged back towards the middle of the deck. He barely recognised his situation, but he did recognise the blue-eyed, blue-haired girl standing in front of him, a frustrated yet anxious expression on her face. For a moment, her splendour captivated and entranced him, and he was rendered unable to speak or move. He knew he looked absolutely ridiculous standing in front of her like an idiot, but he couldn't help it. He just wanted to bask in her magnificence as long as possible.

Suddenly, he felt delicate contact on his forehead, and he refocused to discover that the girl was tapping him with her knuckles. Also, did his eyes deceive him, or did he detect a light blush across her cheeks?

"Oh, uh, it's you, Mia," he uttered finally, and stupidly at that. He mentally kicked himself for the obvious remark. However, the girl giggled at his response, further enveloping him in embarrassment, but a blissful one at that.

"Who did you think it was?" Mia replied frivolously. She placed her hands on her hips. "What were you doing just now? You looked like you were going to fall off the side of the boat."

"W-Was I?" Isaac stammered incredulously. Now that he thought about it, he had been leaning a bit too far over the rails. "I guess I was distracted."

"Distracted? With what?" Mia asked, eyes furrowing with concern again. Oh, how he loved how that made her look in the moonlight, innocent and caring.

"I was thinking… about stuff," Isaac responded lamely. "I've had a lot on my mind, so I guess I got carried away."

"It's just," Mia began hesitantly, her eyes drooping forlornly, and Isaac mentally kicked himself again, "you looked so miserable when I watched you (She was watching me? Isaac thought in disbelief), so I thought something was wrong."

"Oh, it's nothing," Isaac finally managed to say. "I wouldn't want to trouble you."

"Not at all!" Mia objected. She quickly realised the unusually high tone in her voice and blushed abashedly. "I mean, it's no trouble. I'd like to know what you're thinking, because despite everything we've been through, you always seem so distant. It's like you're in your own private world most of the time, and, well… I get lonely."

Isaac's eyed widened. Did she just… but…

"Lonely? Why would you feel lonely?" he asked, with massive interest.

"Well… you've always been so nice to me," Mia replied, although she was unable to keep eye contact (then again, he wasn't looking at her either). "Ever since we met, you've gone out of your way to assist a stranger, even though you've had your own mission to complete. I know our paths were intertwined when Saturos and Menardi kidnapped Jenna (Isaac noted the somewhat envious tone in her voice when she uttered the girl's name) and Kraden, and Alex betrayed me, but I don't feel as if it's an inconvenience to you. At least, I hope it's not -"

"Of course it isn't!" Isaac demurred hastily. "Um, I mean, it never has been."

Mia smiled appreciatively, and Isaac could've sworn he was hovering without the aid of the young Jupiter adept in the group.

"Thank you," Mia said. "Ever since Alex turned his back on my clan, I felt as if I was carrying the burden of the world on my shoulders, as well as tremendous pain. For someone so close to you to abandon your beliefs… it was as if the world, too, had turned its back on me. But then, you reached out your hand -" Mia giggled, and Isaac raised an eyebrow. "Well, a psynergetic hand at first, but then you really did reach out your hand to me. I feel so grateful for that moment, because now I'm together… with everyone here," she added hastily. "The hole in my heart has been filled, and now I know I couldn't be happier."

"I see," Isaac said understandingly. He took a deep breath, and decided to explain everything to the Mercury adept in front of him. "My mom… she… if she were to get better, and we were able to return safely… I think she'd like to meet you. She'd…" Another deep breath, and Isaac braced himself. "She'd like to… meet the girl who's made this journey worthwhile, and filled the void I've been carrying for so long."

Mia's eyes widened considerably, and Isaac turned away, unable to tolerate seeing the possible outraged expressions he thought she was inevitably going to make. However, if ever there was a time to spill his guts, without filthy sea urchins and psychotic seagulls getting in the way, this was it. He would tell her everything, and live with the consequences of his actions.

"I didn't know it at first, I didn't understand it," he began hesitantly. "When I first met you, I only saw the person who'd help us enter the Mercury lighthouse, like she was some sort of tool. I know it was selfish of me, but in my heart, I had no room in my heart for anyone since my father was swept away by the storm nearly 4 years ago. And yet, when I saw the dread in your eyes as you dashed out the door, something told me that I had to help you, no matter what. At first, I was surprised at your amusement when we revealed our powers, but strangely refreshed and uplifted. As our journey continued, I found myself unusually drawn to you. Your serene air, your compassionate nature, your resolve to do what was right for everyone was intoxicating to me. Unknowingly, I wanted to remain by your side. Garet and Ivan laugh at me now, but maybe it's because they couldn't believe it'd taken so long for me to realise what I was feeling." A cheeky smile flittered across his face as he remembered something amusing. "I remember, in Kolima Forest, you were terrified of spiders. You nearly fainted when Tret told us to return there when we obtained Hermes' Water, didn't you?"

"I… uh…" Mia was lost for words, and Isaac was sure her cheeks were bright red.

"You held my arm, didn't you? You thought spiders were going to jump on your head, didn't you."

"I-It's not funny!" Mia protested. Isaac sighed.

"No, it's not," he replied. "Neither was the final fight with the Fusion Dragon. I… I was furious when they struck you down when you weren't looking. Something boiled inside me… anger… vengeance… anything that would help destroy them once and for all. Anything that would make them pay for ever touching you."


"Even after the fight, I was certain that you were down for the count. Even though, as a Venus Adept, I had reviving powers, I rarely had a need to use them. So, to have to use them to bring you back… it was a first, and definitely a devastating experience. I didn't know if it would even work. I was… scared… for the first time on the journey."

"Y-You were?" Mia's voice was barely inaudible, but Isaac could still detect her gratitude, and it spurred him on.

"It took fifteen minutes… fifteen long minutes… I was so glad you were okay…"


"I can't keep it a secret anymore. I just can't." Isaac turned around; his eyes were shut, and he was bracing himself again for the worst. "I love you, Mia. With every fibre in my being. Regardless of how you might feel, even if you still care for Alex, my feelings will never chance. I love you, and if Venus allows me, I always will."

Isaac was expecting a vicious slap, and the infuriated, fading taps of Mia's footsteps, but he received neither. Instead, he was astonished to feel her arms around him, and tears soak his shirt. He opened his eyes, and felt a dagger through his heart as he discovered Mia crying on his chest. He'd done it; he'd said the one thing that would destroy their relationship. He'd ruined what had been a close bond for something so foolish and irresponsible. He'd –

"I love you, too," Mia whispered, just loud enough for him to hear. "Oh, Isaac, I never thought… is this a dream? Am I imagining it?"

Isaac finally found his voice, and he chuckled.

"Not unless I am too." He raised her chin up so he could meet her tear-sparkled eyes. "But just in case…"

He brought his face closer to hers, capturing her lips with his in a passionate kiss. The emotions and downright love flowed through them, and he could feel himself literally floating. The words he'd wanted to say for so long had been said, and the best possible reality had come true. Their love was mutual, and the burden on his heart was eradicated. If only it didn't have to end, but the biological urge for oxygen was a decided flaw.

"Can I," Mia began coyly, once they released, "can I keep watch with you tonight?"

Isaac smiled warmly. "Of course."

They spent the rest of the evening on watch, even though they kept their eyes more on each other than the vessel they were supposedly guarding. The best news was it would be Mia's turn the following night, and at long last, she would have something better than the moon to gaze at.

The End

Captain Corny on a Cob: "… Yeah, cheesy closing lines are sorta my specialty. Damn, I'm a wuss!

Oh, on a side note, I achieved continuity with the flashabacks from Babysitter Mia, I hope. At least, I mentioned the same things..."