A little thing because this fandom needs more love. Did anyone else find it rather interesting how one of the first things Jio said in his first private conversation with Ruby in years was that the tapping of the bead was annoying? This is done during the time-skip, if you can't tell.

FANfiction means that I don't own it. Duh.


Dat.

The sound made Jio flinch, as it had every time before. Such a small, innocuous sound, a single tap, and yet it held the power to drive one of the strongest OTPs to his knees. With dull eyes, he stared at the small stone embedded in his palm. It didn't look like much, just a tiny bead, but to him, it was everything that he'd ever gained and lost.

Dat.

It was Ruby; the girl who'd taken him out of himself and shown him the world as she saw it. He'd thought that he was world-wise because he distrusted people and expected the worst. She's shown him that that wasn't wisdom but fear. She'd felt the same painful lonliness as him, but unlike him, she wasn't afraid to reach out.

Dat.

She smiled and talked to people, and somehow, she'd gotten more smiles than frowns. It was something he wasn't used to, having people smile at him. But, when shopkeepers would smile at her, inevitably, Ruby would then turn to him and smile even brighter.

Dat.

More than that, she'd honestly seemed to want him to smile back, another thing he wasn't used to. Ruby, for whatever reason, had wanted him to be happy. No matter how much he thought about it, Jio couldn't figure out why. He did his best to retain his stoic/grouchy warrior façade, but the more she smiled at him, the more difficult it became not to smile back.

Dat.

He knew that she wasn't strong, that she couldn't fight. Yet, she had no problems finding her way into dangerous situations, always expecting something to work out. Somehow, something always did, and then she'd turn and smile at him. When that happened, he couldn't help but think that maybe she was stronger than he was, even if he'd been the one to defeat their attackers.

Dat.

And then she'd gone and gotten them into more trouble than ever in that floating city. Her and her obsession with O-parts had sent them on that wild goose chase, and the things they'd seen had…The things he'd done…And then, she…

Dat.

Jio looked at his hand, stared hard at the little stone that was the only physical proof that she'd existed at all. They'd never given each other presents, never gotten souvenirs. They'd never had to, because they were together, and that was enough. But now, he couldn't tell if they were more together than ever, or if they were as far away from each other as they could possibly be.

Dat.

But either way, there was no way he could bring her back, no way to raise the dead or disembodied or whatever. And so, even if she was always with him, he'd never see that smile again, never have the chance to tell her how much it had meant to him that she'd kept smiling.

Dat.

He flinched with each and every tap, wondering if this new-found patience came from his injuries, the medication, or from her. If she'd been here physically, he would have argued with her, claimed to be fine just so that she'd yell and fight with him. Just so she'd show--in one more little way--that she was worried about him, that she cared. But she couldn't do that anymore.

Dat.

So, he'd let the bead speak for her. He'd lay here, facedown in this dark room in a place he'd never even heard of, and he'd tap his hand on the floor. With every tap, he would flinch, remembering her sacrifice. With every tap he'd smile, imagining hers.

Dat.

With every tap, every flinch and smile, he'd remember what it felt like to be loved.