A/N: Fourth and final in the (ad): series, this one was supposed to have been posted last, but I suddenly struck gold inspiration last night and just had to write it. This is sometime after the events of Shade's Children, after the surviving kids get their world working again, and before Gold-eye's vision about his future with Ninde and their two children - they're both about 18. I really enjoyed writing this little piece - hope you will too. Reviews are love.
He never locks the doors when he leaves the apartment. When Ninde chides him about it, all he says is, "I don't understand. Why should they have to be?" They would then proceed to have a rather circular argument in which all the sense Ninde tried to talk into him would filter out before they even reached his ears, and the only outcome achieved was a headache on her part and a confused smile on his.
He's still not used to the working televisions, and forgets how to use the remote to change the channels sometimes. The top half of the toilet seat being put back down after his use is only done occasionally, random cookie crumbs litter the floor in the morning because of his midnight hunger, and while his speech is visibly improving to the point where he only slightly hesitates before speaking, he still doesn't like to talk much. He doesn't like vegetables and will push them around his plate with a slight frown until she practically has to force-feed them to him, he has no idea how to tie ties—the one time they had to sit in at a wedding she had to scrounge around the 3rd floor getting grapevine directions from neighboring boys so she could do it for him—and he disappears for hours at a time, almost giving Ninde a heart attack the first three incidents until she knew to look for him up on the roof—no bets on how he scaled the walls in the first place.
The other girls in their building think he's endearing, with all his flaws turning into goofy-cute qualities that adds to his boy-next-door persona. The fact that he has no idea what 'flirting' is, and willingly responds to the girls' coy touches only makes them crush harder and Ninde secretly angrier. They should try living with him, she thinks every morning when she locks up and finds him in the halls with his arm innocently slung across the shoulders of the single blonde in room 3A; then, maybe they wouldn't find him so cute anymore.
In fact, lately everything about Gold-eye has been nothing short of annoying. One would think that living through the destruction of the Earth and being saviors of the post-apocalyptic world would bring them closer together; on the contrary, every time he bounces into the apartment after soccer practice and leaves his muddy shorts and knee guards on the rug—again—she thinks that she just might want to kill him. Maybe we dove into this relationship thing a bit early, she thinks. And anyway, Kari from her biology lessons seems much more manly.
Ninde is even formulating strategies on how to break up with Gold-eye one morning—based on the lessons she's learned from the romance movies she's seen, of course—as she slides into her video booth at literature lessons and drops her book-bag down beside her desk. Lira, perched on the booth next to hers, smiles.
"Hey," Ninde responds tiredly. She had spent all morning organizing Gold-eye's binders and notebooks, and he didn't even remember to say thank you on his way out.
"How's Gold-eye?" Lira says slyly, and Ninde remembers she's one of Gold-eye's unofficial fan club members, always hawking him in the hallways between lessons. Ninde specifically set requirements for him to stay away from her, so Gold-eye thankfully has remembered to ignore Lira most of the time.
Ninde knows one of the fan club goals is to become the object(s?) of Gold-eye's affection—and she fakes a smile. "He's great," she says, and just as slyly adds, "or, he was great last night." She feels a grin uncurl on her lips. She isn't even sure that Gold-eye knows how to have sex, but Lira doesn't know that—that being confirmed as her eyes widen. Gold-eye may not amount to much by himself right now, Ninde thinks, but his namesake is certainly keeping her reputation soaring among the school. Without another glance at the now silently fuming girl beside her, Ninde selects a video entitled "LITERATURE LEVEL 4, SEMESTER 1", pushes it into the slot, and starts her lesson, laughing silently behind the cover of her booth.
Despite admiration—and jealousy—from both the boys and girls alike throughout the day, that laugh certainly doesn't sustain her for long. It completely melts off her face when, while cleaning out the dishwasher, he drops a dish and it smashes on the floor. He unusually drops to his knees and begins sweeping the pieces up without being told.
Surprised at his action, Ninde numbly keeps putting dishes away until Gold-eye hisses. Looking up, she sees a steady stream of red flowing from Gold-eye's finger, and he's sitting amidst the shards of glass looking like a shamefaced little boy, holding up his war wound to her.
Sighing, she gets the first-aid kit from the bathroom, and automatically sits down by him and gently takes his hand in hers. As she works, she's aware that he's watching her.
"Mm-hmm?" She responds absentmindedly, concentrating on the Q-tip and his finger, still a bit annoyed with him.
Again, she's surprised for the second time in ten minutes. It makes her stop mid-Q-tip-motion until she jerks out of the trance and starts up again. "It's okay."
Finally sticking the band-aid shut, she lets go of his hand—but he takes hers in his again. She looks up at him, catching his intense golden gaze rimmed with smoky lashes she's always been jealous of, and almost forgets to breathe. He hasn't really looked at her like that in a while.
"I'm sorry, Ninde. Really."
"I…I said it was fine." She stutters, struggles to get a grip on herself and only becoming more and more flustered as his hand now travels to the side of her face, brushing some of her red-brown hair out of her eyes. "I'm all right, Gold-eye."
"Not this. For everything." He's leaning closer, and Ninde can smell a trace of whatever cologne she prompted him to buy a few weeks ago at the mall they visited. This is what the girls must want to kill her for, she thinks as she breathes him in. This.
"Are you mad at me?" He murmurs, lips grazing the side of her face, and Ninde wonders where he learned such brazen techniques; usually, she was the tease, and he followed her lead, stumbling along with sloppy kisses.
"N-n-no." How could she be, really? How could she ever have been? Then he draws away for a little, and her head clears. "Yes. I mean—Gold-eye, are you trying to seduce me into forgetting how I have to clean up after you, and remind you to change the bed sheets every week? Because it's not going to work on me. Yes, I am mad at you." Her little spiel about toilet seats have already ruined the mood; she can see it in the way his eyes dim a little bit, and she pushes him away, ready to clean up the broken plate.
Instead, he laces his fingers in her hair and pulls her to him. "Can I make it up to you, then?" he whispers, and doesn't wait for an answer, enveloping her in a deep kiss. This is temporary bliss, Ninde knows, even as his tongue smoothly pushes into her mouth—but it could go on forever. When they're like this, perfect, together, it feels like infinity. It's hardly romantic, sitting among a first-aid kit, an open, humming dishwasher, and a broken plate, of which could pierce them anywhere at any sign of movement. Her arms wrap around him, and he goes to nibble her ear, trail kisses down her neck, and her breath catches in her throat. Who the hell is Kari, anyway?
They'll have to deal with the broken dish after this; Gold-eye will probably break many more in their lifetime as well as countless other household objects. He'll still forget to hang his washcloth on the rack at night, she'll still have to tie his ties for him and staple his math homework together. He'll burn his toast in the morning, forget to come to bed because of a T.V. program he can't stop watching, and the girls in their building will still hit on him. But as he whispers 'I love you' into Ninde's ear, those three words last for an infinite amount of time and Ninde is the one who this time forgets—forgets why she was mad, what blunder he made this morning, how tired she is—forgets everything.