An Early-Late Beach Story

Hi. This is the next story in the shoujo-ai chain that's owned by Xenolord and I. In this story, it's back to the original timeline. That means its seven years back, so Rayne, Trip, and Lizzie are 13, and Maria Despair is back to 18. Rayne and Lizzie got together when they were 13, but not in this story. This is probably where Lizzie realizes she's got feelings for Rayne. Well, let the story begin!

Disclaimer – I own Rayne, Lizzie, Trip, and Felix. Xenolord owns Maria and Natalya Despair, and Serras Nerra. Other than the former, neither he nor I own any of these characters.

The silence in the cave was broken by the sound of two people panting for air. She opened her eyes to share a look with the other girl. They had managed to outrun all of the monsters, but they didn't know how long that would last. Their companions had been separated from them during the escape. Words were being exchanged, and something suddenly caught her eye. She turned to look at it. It was bright, and shining with a dazzling light. Something told her to take it. She reached out, and-

Lizzie woke from her sleep suddenly. She put a hand to her forehead and closed her eyes. 'It's that dream, again!' She had been having that same dream again and again for the past few weeks. 'Why does it keep happening? I'm pretty sure the other girl with me is Rayne…but where are we supposed to be?'

All these questions flittered through Lizzie's head. She replayed the dream in her head, her eyes screwed tight, but no answers came. She opened her eyes and sighed. She picked up her pillow, turned it over, and fell back onto it.

"Might as well go back to sleep." She mumbled, turning onto her side. Not five minutes later, the pillow was pulled from her head. "What in-" Her sentence was cut short as she was flipped off from her bed. She landed on the floor with a loud. A soft chuckling filled the room, and Lizzie turned her head upwards to stare into the chocolate-amethyst eyes of her commander.

"Good morning Lizzie. Have a nice sleep?" Rayne asked, a teasing smirk on her face. Lizzie groaned, and glared at her. "I was, until YOU woke me up."

Rayne laughed, and kneeled down so that she was on the same eye level as Lizzie. She looked into Lizzie's eyes, and said teasingly "But Lizzie, you asked me to wake you up yesterday. Remember what today is?" Realization dawned upon Lizzie's face. Rayne laughed as she watched the knight jump to her feet and sprint towards the washrooms. Her whooping and cheering could be heard throughout the castle: "BEACH DAY!"

The summer heat penetrated towns all across Lore. It was so hot, that none of the classes could train that day. Not even the famed Pria Knights, who were known for the diligent training. Tathlin had told the knights that there would be no training or missions on that day, (thanks to the unbearable heat) the night before. The knights had gotten a much-deserved day off. They could spend it however they liked too, whether it was sleeping in, or going out; it was their choice.

But the commander and her friend had something a little more interesting planned for them that day; they were going to the beach with Trip, Aria, Maria, Natalya, and Serras. Blaze would've come, but he had come down with a cold, and couldn't make it. Currently, the knights were waiting at Aria's shop for their friends. Trip wasn't there yet, to Aria's disappointment.

Aria came out of the kitchen in the store, holding plates. "Here's some breakfast." She said cheerfully, and sat herself down at the table where the knights were currently seated. "Thanks Aria. I'm starving" Rayne grinned and pulled her plate quickly towards herself. Lizzie, who was already tearing through the food, stopped momentarily to look at her, confused. "Didn't you eat before?"

Rayne, eating more civilized than Lizzie, turned to her, and propped her head up on her arm. "I was going to, but then a certain redhead dragged me out of the castle before I could." She gave Lizzie a cool look, and then turned back to her food. Lizzie rolled her eyes, leaned over, and smacked the back of Rayne's head, causing her to nearly choke, before she resumed devouring her food.

Aria, eating her own breakfast, shook her head and giggled quietly at the two girls.

"Wonder when they'll get here?" Aria pondered (A/N: Pondered!), coming in from the stables with a thoughtful look on her face.

A dark blur suddenly came out of nowhere, and tackled Aria, knocking her to the ground. "Speak of the devil." Rayne and Lizzie smirked. Trip was nuzzling her face into a blushing Aria's neck. Serras Nerra and the two Despair siblings were standing in the door, rolling their eyes.

"And you suggested that they be more affectionate." Serras muttered darkly to Maria, who shrugged and sweatdropped, grinning sheepishly. Serras rolled her eyes at her, sighed, and looked back to Trip and Aria.

"Comon you two, get a room!" She yelled at them. Trip finally let go of Aria, stood up, and grinned. "Why should we Serras? We can cuddle out in the open. You, I'm not so sure about though… heck, I'm not even sure if you have anybody to cuddle with! " Serras' face blanched. "Let's see if you can cuddle after this!" She screamed out, and started chasing the snickering Trip around the shop. Aria quickly stood up off the ground as she saw them disappear into another room. "No! Don't go in there! That's where-" Hundreds vampragons suddenly came flying out of the room, whizzing around, twitching their ears. "I keep the vampragons." Aria finished lamely, wincing at the site. Everyone covered their faces with a hand, and sighed. "Here we go again." Maria mumbled as she massaged the bridge of her nose.

After they had managed to get all the vampragons back in the room, Rayne had opened up a portal, and they had all made it safely to the beach. After quickly setting up their things, everyone either went off on their own or with a group. Prior to coming to the beach, they had all agreed that they would do this, before meeting back at their spot during lunchtime. When they met back up for lunch, they all apparently had some odd run-inns. (Rayne's run in was basically everything in The Misadventures, so Felix joined them for lunch. Trip, Lizzie, and Maria basically got on the wrong side of a large group of aquatic beasts.)

"Alright everyone, time for lunch!" Aria yelled out to the rest of her friends. They immediately stopped their (rather dangerous) game of beach volleyball, and sprinted back to their spot. After shuffling over some to make sure everyone had room, they lined up in single file to get their food. Everyone (for some unknown reason) hadn't looked at the food until they had all sat down again.

Trip poked at the contents of her plate. "Aria, love?" Aria turned to look at her.

"Yes Trip?"

"What's this?"

"Crab meat."

"…Crab meat?"

"Crab Meat."

"Where'd you get the crab from?"

"Let's just say that a certain crab had to go somewhere." Aria said coolly, as she looked at Serras, who promptly began choking. Natalya leaned over and started thumping her on the back, hard.

Maria looked at Aria. "Hmm…something happen while we were gone?" Aria popped a piece of crab meat into her mouth, and nodded solemnly. "There's a story behind this, isn't there?" Once again, Aria nodded. "Do tell." Aria finally swallowed, and cleared her throat. "Alright then…"

Natalya yawned, and stretched out on her blanket lazily. Maria, Trip, Lizzie, and Rayne had gone off, leaving her with Serras and Aria. She rolled over onto her back, and covered her eyes. Aria seemed to be intently making a sand castle. 'So; if Aria's there, where's Serras?'

As soon as she thought that, a swirl of multi-coloured sparks flew over her head. She bolted up into a sitting position, and stared behind her. Serras was sitting cross-legged, rubbing her hands together, and staring at a book in her lap. After she recovered from her shock, Natalya crawled behind her, and rested her chin on Serras' shoulder. "What're you doing?"

Serras kept scanning her eyes over the print of the book. "I'm seeing if I can find a spell."

"What kind of spell?" Natalya moved off of her to get a better look at the book. The thought of wanting Natalya's weight back on her flitted across Serras' mind before she shook herself slightly, and answered Natalya. "Ice cream spells."

Aria looked up from her castle, and raised an eyebrow. "Ice cream spells?"

"Yup." Serras said simply, still somewhat distracted with her previous thought.

"As in spells to make ice cream?" Natalya asked incredulously. Serras nodded vigorously, and turned a page in her tome. "Yeah. See, here's one!" All 3 women's eyes brightened at the thought of the cool treat. Aria brushed herself off, and leaned over to get a good look at what was to happen, whilst Natalya rested herself on Serras again.

Serras began to chant in another language, and before long, a white light flashed in front of them.

After pausing for a minute, they sighed. "Nothing happened." Serras mumbled disappointedly. "Well; if first you don't succeed, try, try again!" Aria and Natalya stated proudly.

Serras grinned, and began to turn through the book once more. Suddenly, the ground began to shake, and something burrowed out of the ground.

"W-what the hell is that?" Natalya yelled out as they all jumped to their feet. The thing moved forward, and they finally saw that it was a gigantic crab.

"I am Leviathan!" A voice boomed out. It can talk!?" Serras jaw fell as she stared at it. "Yes, I can talk! And I now declare myself the ruler of all you pathetic mortals!" The crab roared, before scuttling away, to cause rampant destruction and what not.

Everyone at that point (except for Serras) had burst out laughing. "You actually summoned a giant crab?" Felix laughed out, swishing her tail merrily. Serras growled at her lowly; Felix 'eeped' and hid behind Rayne.

"Yes, I did. But hey, I was just trying to get ice cream for us!" She protested, holding up her hands. The group laughed again. "So, what happened at the end?" Rayne asked, giving the Beastmaster a questioning glance.

"We managed to catch up to it. I coaxed it, while Natalya restrained it. With a simple Burn spell from Serras, we managed to finish it off. We couldn't just leave it there, so yeah, that's why we have insane amounts of freshly cooked crab meat with us."

Aria gave a tired sigh, and got another plate of crab meat for herself.

Before they left for Battleon, they had decided to do some beach-combing. Felix had had a VERY violent reaction to the word, and had declined, while muttering something about pirates, before running through a portal back to Aria's shop.

"What's her problem?" Maria stared at the young cat-demon's retreating form. "It looks like she's got serious issues with that word, eh?" She asked jokingly, while turning back to stare at her friends. When she saw that they weren't there, she whirled around fast, before spotting them heading into a cave.

"Hey guys wait up!"

"It's so dark." Trip commented as they wandered through the cave.

"What did you expect; torches and lights?" Rayne snorted. The minute she said that, the cave lit up, to show to them a large stone cavern. "I didn't do that." She said quickly, as they all turned back to look at her.

"Well, if it wasn't you, who was it?" Lizzie asked her best friend, who shrugged her shoulders and looked around once more.

"Maybe…just maybe…" Trip muttered out quietly. "Maybe what Trip?" Maria asked her curiously.

"Maybe, it was the spirit of the crab that Serras summoned! Maybe it's coming back to get us for eating its yummy meat! Maybe we're all going to die!" Trip wailed out. "I'M TOO YOUNG TO GO!" Rayne leaned over, and clamped a hand over her mouth.

"Trip, shut it. The crab is not going to get us. And keep your voice down! We don't know what's in this ca-" For the second time that day, the ground started shaking. Suddenly, a horde of zards appeared, teeth gnashing, clearly irritated from it's disturbance in it's sleep.

"Run." Was the single word that was heard, before the zards started to rampage.

Natalya and Serras stopped to catch their breath as they finally stopped running. "Looks like we lost them." Serras breathed out. Natalya just nodded her head.

"Looks like we lost the rest of the group too." Natalya said, as she managed to speak normally again.

"Yeah. We'd better go find them." The two guardians smiled at each other, nodded, and took a step forward… only to walk smack dab into a cluster of undeads. The undeads stared at them, before going back into a fighting stance, picking up their weapons.

"Jesus…" Serras sighed out, and ran a hand through her hair. Quickly, Natalya turned around, so that they were back to back.

"Up for a challenge?" She commented off-handedly, as more and more undeads began to surround them.

"Fuck yeah." Serras replied.

With a toss of the head and a confident smirk, both guardians leapt into battle.

"Holy crap! Keep running!" The younger desair sibling yelled out to the pair in front of her. Maria, Trip, and Aria were still being pursued by the zards.

"We're trying, we're trying!" Trip yelled out as she increased her pace.

'Perfect' she thought as she spied a giant rock in front of her. She quickly ran ahead, and waited by the stone. As soon as Maria passed her, she rammed herself into it. The stone was supporting many others, and as soon as it moved, it had a chain reaction, causing the rest of them to fall.

They all sighed, relieved, as they managed to narrowly escape their death once again.

"Good thinking Trip." Maria complimented her.

"Thanks." She panted out, brushing her hair out of her eyes. "You alright Aria?"

Aria just launched herself at her girlfriend, knocking her to the floor.

"Gawd, you two, stop that! I'm still here!" Maria yelled out at them, as she cringed and covered her eyes.

The silence in the cave was broken by the sound of two people panting for air. Lizzie panted for breath, as she met eyes with Rayne.

"We lost them." She said tiredly, as she massaged her temples. "Looks like we got separated from the rest of the group too." Lizzie sighed, and nodded.

She held her hands to her head and sighed. "Lizzie, your bleeding!" Rayne exclaimed suddenly. Lizzie pulled her hands into what little light they had to examine them. The blood was running down from her palm, and all the way down her arms.

"I must have scraped them against a wall when we were running." Lizzie muttered as she examined it thoroughly. Rayne took her hands, and gave Lizzie a concerned look.

"Scrapes don't bleed like that." Rayne said, as her eyebrows furrowed and her tone softened only as it did for Lizzie.

"Here." She pulled out a healing potion. Lizzie reached out to take it, but the commander pushed her hands away gently. "Just open your mouth." Rayne mumbled gently. The redhead opened her mouth in protest, but Rayne just put a finger to her lips, and shushed her. Lizzie finally opened her mouth, and Rayne un-corked the vial, pulled Lizzie's head into her lap, and tilted the liquid gently into her mouth.

The wound's slowly disappeared, yet on one hand, it was still bleeding, albeit being little. The brunette laughed softly, and ran a hand through the other girl's hair.

"Looks like Warlic's famed heal-all potions don't heal all." Lizzie laughed along with her, and held up her hand again. "I'm going to need to cover this somehow. If we don't, it'll get infected, and…well…" She shivered at the thought, picturing it in her mind.

A ripping sound brought her out of her reverie. Lizzie looked up, as she saw Rayne ripping off a piece of her shirt. "Rayne? What are you doing?" Rayne bit off the stretch of fabric, and wrapped it around Lizzie bleeding hand. "We need to fix that." She bandaged her hand carefully.

"Rayne…" Lizzie trailed off, staring at her best friend. "You don't have to do all this." Rayne ripped off more of her shirt quickly. "I know I don't have to, but I want to." She answered.

"But why?"

Rayne tied a knot firmly onto the black makeshift bandage, and stared at Lizzie. Deep green met amethyst-brown, and it was silent for a while, before Rayne spoke.

"Lizzie, we're best friends. We have been for a few years now. And I don't intend for us to stop being friends, ever." Lizzie took in the Knight's words seriously.

"As best friends, were there for each other, through thick and thin, no matter how hard it gets. And also, you, as my best friend, are what's the most important to me. And that…"

Rayne leaned in slightly closer, so that the injured woman could see the rare smile on her face.

"…will never…" Lizzie pulled herself out of Rayne's lap. If you looked closely, a smile was also upon her own face.

"…ever…" Rayne switched over, so she herself was kneeling on the ground. She moved over, so that her forehead was pressing against the other girl's.

"Change." Rayne said quietly, before tightly hugging Lizzie. Lizzie smiled happily in the embrace, and closed her eyes, savouring the blissful feeling of the warmth surrounding her.

'I really do love her.' Lizzie realized suddenly 'I, Elizabeth Miura, am in love with Rayne Anasi.'. That thought made her happier than she ever had been in her whole life.

Suddenly, a soft white glow filled the cavern, the pair broke away from each other to stare at it in amazement.

In front of them, were two weapons, half-way embedded in stone. One being a finely-made fighting staff, the other a matching blade. Something tugged at Lizzie to take the staff.

"Rayne… do you feel that?" She whispered quietly to the other. Rayne nodded slowly. "It feels like something is telling me to take that sword…" She whispered back, her eyes fixated on the items.

'Take it…' A soft voice said in Lizzie's head. 'It belongs to you… you are the true master of the sacred staff… only them who are pure of heart can wield it…the staff has chosen you to be it's wielder.'

'You must take it…' The same voice said to Rayne quietly 'you are the true master of the holy blade…it had been waiting eons for you... it has chosen you to own it…only you shall be able to use it… protect that who you love with it…'

Rayne and Lizzie got up quickly, and looked at each other. They nodded in a silent agreement as their eyes met yet again. Reaching forward, Rayne laid her hand upon the hilt of the sword. Lizzie did the same, only to reach for the middle of the staff.

They nodded at each other once more, and drew it out of the stone. A blinding light appeared and enveloped the entire cave with it.

Suddenly, everyone was blinking in the afternoon twilight. "How did we get back out?" Aria asked Maria, who shrugged, and scratched her head.

"I think…that we were transported out, as soon as we got these." Rayne commented thoughtfully.

"Got what?" Natalya blinked, and cocked her head at them. Rayne met eyes with Lizzie, and they pulled out their new weapons behind them. A gasp came from everyone as they saw the weapons.

"What are those?" Trip asked the two. "This is the Holy Blade." Rayne said as she unsheathed the weapon before them. "This is the Sacred Staff." Lizzie explained as the length of the staff shrunk and grew before them.

"Whoa…" Maria uttered out. She reached forward to lay a hand onto the Blade. The minute she touched it, an electric jolt was seen briefly, and Maria was flung back onto the sand. She jumped back onto her feet after a few minutes. "W-What the hell!?"

Natalya snapped her fingers together. "Now I remember! The Holy Blade and the Sacred Staff are two of Lore's legendary weapons! Apparently, only their one, true wielder can touch them!" Maria rubbed her head, and glared darkly at her sister,

"Oh, NOW you tell me!" Maria then turned her sights back onto Rayne.

"Well then Rayne… as soon as we get back to Battleon, lets say that we see hoe good your Holy Blade is compared to my Blade of Awe, hmm?" Rayne looked at her for a moment, before a competitive grin worked its way onto her face.

"You're on!" Maria grinned back at her, and Rayne opened up a portal back to the tower. Everyone laughed and ran after the two.

Lizzie watched them all go by, smiling as usual.

"I love you Rayne…" Lizzie said quietly. Her eyes trailed to the already healing wound covered by the bandage on her arm. "and I'll tell you…but not now."

"Lizzie! Hurry up!" Rayne called back to her. She shook her head, and smiled.


The end

Well, here's the end of another story. Sorry I started skimping out on details near the ned, I finished this at 11:30 last night. Review, don't review, your choice. Ja Ne! – DA