It's All Okay
By: Koorino Megumi
This ficlet was written for the wonderful Jade-chan for her birthday! It's a bit late, but I hope you enjoy it, Jade.
And special thanks to my lovely friend Squeak for her help with inspiration and betaing. As usual, she is awesome beyond words!
"...17...18...19...20! Ready or not, here I come!"
Iraki tried to stifle a giggle, crouching down more tightly behind the cliff face, tangles of hair falling into her green eyes as she leaned her head down.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are," Aros taunted. By the sound of his voice, he was walking across the rocks above her. Gasping, Iraki buried her face against the cliff, wishing she weren't wearing such bright purple and blue. Would he see her?
Iraki let out a squeak, slowly tilting her head up in fear, to find that all that was visible above her was Aros's blue-clad back and oversized shoes.
"Yeah, you got me..." There was obvious disappointment in Kiru's voice. Iraki heard his feet hit the ledge as he jumped down from the tree house. Aros must have spotted him from afar.
The blond boy made a noise of victory, and Iraki could just picture him pumping his fist as a defeated Kiru trudged over to him.
But the image was interrupted as Aros called, "Iraki! It's over. You can come out now!"
Iraki giggled, knowing from those words that Aros definitely hadn't seen her at all. She jumped back cheerfully from her hiding place, gazing up the cliff with a bright smile on her face and her hands clasped behind her. "I'm right here!"
Aros turned, frowning, and his eyes widened as he spotted the girl. "You were there?"
"Yep!" she chirped, "And I still won." The girl beamed. "Can we play again?"
Aros smiled warmly, shaking his head at her, though she knew he wasn't saying no. "Sure, but you won, so you have to be It this time!"
Iraki giggled again. "I know!" And she immediately put her face against the cliff. "1...2...3... Better hurry up and hide, you guys!"
"Not so fast!" Aros complained.
"4...5...6...7..." Iraki counted loudly.
Aros must have taken the hint because after that, Iraki could hear very little over her counting. All that was audible was the pounding footsteps and scraping of bodies as the boys hid.
"...17...18...19...20! Ready or not, here I come!" She opened her eyes, pulling back from the cliff face and giving a slow look around her. She hadn't heard any movements close by while she was counting, but the boys were very good at hide and seek, so she could never be quite sure.
Seeing nothing in the vicinity, Iraki moved to climb up to where she had a better view. She kept her own movements quiet, listening hard for the softest rustle, the faintest laugh, or the most suppressed sound of breathing.
"I'll find you soon!" she promised loudly as she headed across the island at a moderate pace, looking all around her and still listening carefully.
She was near the tree house when she heard the sudden sound of wood cracking, matched with a boy's yell. She gasped, unable to do anything from that distance but watch as a blond figure wearing blue suddenly came crashing through the upper level of the tree house, landing below in a mess of wood fragments. "Aros!" She ran toward him as fast as she could, game forgotten. "Are you okay? Aros!"
Kiru was there in an instant, appearing out of seemingly nowhere to kneel beside his friend. "Aros?" He shook the boy gently, turning him over and taking a look at his head.
"Ice!" Iraki cried on reflex as she saw the beginnings of a bump coming up on her unconscious friend's temple. Without another word, she pulled herself to her feet and broke into a run, going to the shack to get the little cooler that they had brought with their picnic lunch.
It only took a minute for her to return with the ice, wrapped in paper towels to make it more bearable against Aros's skin, even though Aros wasn't likely to feel it at all. "How is he?" she asked with concern, "Should we get someone?"
Kiru shook his head. "We'll see how he is when he wakes up. But I think he just hit his head a little..."
"But that could be dangerous!" Iraki protested, "An adult should-"
Kiru put a hand on her arm, and Iraki looked into his sky blue eyes. "Just relax, okay?" he said, smiling for her, "I promise he'll be fine. And..." He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "If we tell the adults, they might not let us come play anymore."
Iraki chewed her lip for a moment, considering those words. She was still very worried about her friend, but she couldn't argue with that logic, so she finally nodded reluctantly.
And as if on cue, Aros let out a groan.
"Aros? Are you okay? How do you feel?"
The boy blinked open his eyes and immediately put a hand to his head, fingers grazing the ice. "I fink somefing hid me," he mumbled, his words garbled. He looked confused for a moment at the feeling of the ice, but then seemed to realize what it was and held it in place.
"More like you took a chunk out of the tree house!" Kiru declared.
"I did?" Aros blinked, confused, and turned toward the aforementioned structure, his eyes widening in surprise. "I did fad?"
"Do you need a doctor, Aros?" Iraki interrupted, chewing her lip again in concern, "Does it hurt really bad?"
The boy shook his head, pulling himself to a sitting position, keeping the ice carefully over the rising bump. Kiru put a hand on his shoulder just in case. "'m okay. Id jus hurds a lil."
"But you're talking funny!" Iraki protested.
Aros worked his mouth a few times. "I fink I bid my dongue." He put his other hand to his head in a sheepish manner, but then winced at the contact. "Owwie..."
"It still hurts, doesn't it? Maybe we should tell the adults..." Iraki was literally wringing her hands in worry.
Kiru sighed, patting her on the shoulder to calm her down before he stood. "I have an idea. I'll be right back!" And without another word, he ran off across the island.
Iraki's eyes widened. "Kiru!" she cried, "Don't leave us! What if Aros is hurt? What do I do?" She clasped her hands before her, frantic now, but the older boy was already gone.
"Iragi, don'd worry so mus!" Aros reached over to her, taking her hand in his. He pouted slightly in his own worry over her. "'m fine. Id doesn'd hurd mus. Ogay?"
She stared at him for a moment, then broke out in tears. "But you sound like it hurts!"
"Iragi!" He let go of her hand and waved his in a wild attempt to placate her. "'m fine, 'm fine!"
"Not just yet you aren't!"
At the voice, the two turned from each other to find that Kiru had reappeared beside them, holding something behind his back and looking oddly proud of himself.
"I feel fine!" Aros protested, crossing one arm over his chest and pouting at the other boy, obviously annoyed that they both seemed to be teaming up against him.
"Well, Iraki thinks you should see a doctor..." Kiru started, and Aros's eyes widened.
"No dogdor! No dogdor!"
"Calm down, calm down! You don't gotta see a doctor, okay?" A smile began to tug at Kiru's lips. "I got this instead!" And he brought his hands forward in a flourish, proudly holding out their contents for all to see.
For a moment, Aros and Iraki could only stare at the large leaf that the older boy was holding out like it was some kind of treasure.
"You broud me...a leaf?" Aros finally choked out, looking incredulously at his friend.
Kiru was crestfallen. "Well, yeah... I mean, doctors put bandages on, right? And that makes everything better. So I thought, we could put a bandage on Aros, and then he'd be all better, and Iraki wouldn't have to worry any more!"
There was a bit more staring, but then Iraki's face lit up. "That's a great idea!" She surged to her feet, gently taking the leaf from Kiru and holding it as reverently as he had been. Then she reached over and carefully, slowly, placed it over the makeshift ice pack on Aros's head. But she stopped, hands still on the leaf as the boy tried not to wince beneath the touch, and frowned. "But how do we make it not fall off?"
Aros sighed, expression softening a bit. "Here." He shifted the hand holding the ice to place it over hers, holding the leaf to his own head and fighting back a hiss of pain. "Now id's jus fine. No more worrying...ogay?"
Iraki carefully pulled her hand back, sizing him up before she smiled brightly. "Yes! You'll get better for sure now."
Kiru smiled, proud that his idea had worked so well. "So we can play some more?" he asked hopefully, "Um...away from the tree house?"
"Yeah!" Aros cheered immediately, breaking out in a grin that was obviously meant to further placate Iraki. "So who's Id?"
Kiru snickered. "I am, of course!"
"Wha...? Why not me?"
"Because she found you first!" He was positively smirking, and Aros felt competitiveness welling up inside him.
"Found me? Da dree house fell abard!"
"She still saw you before me."
"Of course it does."
Iraki sighed, her worry dissipating as the boys began to act like their usual selves. She sat down to watch the action, digging her toes into the sand and watching the grains fall when she wiggled them. Oblivious, the boys continued with their argument.
"You're nod Id!"
"Yeah I am."
Laughter. "You sound really funny."
A red face. "Nod funny!"
And Iraki put a hand to her mouth, suppressing her own laugh. She knew that, despite the injuries and the arguing, when all their righteous anger had been spent, the three would go home with a smile.
And that was what really made everything okay again.