A Lifetime of Memories
Chapter 5: Not Yet (When)
There were things in life that Setsuna was good at. Swordsmanship, training, fighting strategy... but math wasn't one of these things.
"I've got to find the volume of the top part... to get the length of that side... and use that to find the surface area..." Setsuna mumbled to herself as she chewed on her lower lip. Her right hand tapped a mechanical pencil rhythmically against her desk while she labored to make sense of what she had just mumbled. It took her more than 20 minutes to figure out how to solve the problem, but doing the actual solving seemed like it would be even more of an uphill battle.
"Let's just pretend that it's done," she muttered in disgust, throwing down her pencil and going over to her bed. The swordsman flopped onto her comforter just as her dorm room door opened. There was only one person in the world who would barge into her room without so much as a knock, so she continued to lie on her bed as light footsteps approached her.
"It's done," Setsuna mumbled, preemptively responding to Konoka's unanswered question. She opened a single eye in time to catch a disbelieving smile on the mage's lips.
"Done, huh...?" Konoka playfully attacked her with a pillow and Setsuna allowed it to hit her in the stomach. "So if I were to check over this allegedly completed homework, would I find a correct answer for every question?" Setsuna picked up the pillow and used it to cover her face. "Would I find any kind of answer for every question?" The swordsman decided not to respond and continued to hide behind her shield.
Konoka heaved an exasperated yet amused sigh and flopped down on the bed next to Setsuna. "Do you need help with your homework?"
"Perhaps," Setsuna admitted slowly, emerging from behind the pillow to face the other girl.
Konoka winked in response and held the expression for a moment before closing her eyes. "I'll help you, but in a little while..."
The fatigue was evident in the mage's voice as she said this. Setsuna murmured her thanks, but did not question why Konoka sounded tired. This sequence of events was more or less a nightly ritual between them. Setsuna spent her early evenings training or helping Asuna to train and then tried to finish her homework before going to bed. Konoka spent her early evenings completing her homework before being trained to exhaustion by Evangeline.
On nights where the training wasn't too taxing, she would visit Setsuna to help her out with her homework or to at least say goodnight before returning to the room she shared with Asuna to sleep. Setsuna knew how worn-out the training could leave the other girl, which was why she was always reluctant to ask for help or to let on that she needed help with her homework.
"Hey," Setsuna whispered, gently tapping the pillow against the mage's head. "Lift your head." Eyes still closed, Konoka did as she was told and rolled onto the pillow that was offered to her. She wrapped her arms around its softness and buried her face into it with muffled sounds of approval. "You're welcome," the swordsman murmured, not actually hearing the thanks, but knowing that it was implied.
"Secchan," Konoka mumbled into the pillow, her eyes still closed, "when are you going to activate your pactio card?"
The swordsman held her breath, frozen by the familiar question. In the five days since coming to possess the card, she had been asked that question just as many times by Konoka. And it was always the same question, always "when?" Setsuna almost hoped that she would ask "why?", because they "why?" was easy, though a little embarassing.
Activating a pactio card could be a very intimate experience. Every time Setsuna held the card, ready to activated it and see what kind of power it possessed, she trembled to think how it would feel to have Konoka's magic course through her body. She wondered if Konoka, who was fairly new to the magic world and had only ever activated a card created with someone she thought of as a young brother, knew that pactios were formed between lovers as often as they were formed between teammates. Setsuna certainly knew, and that knowledge created the response to "why?
"Not yet..." Setsuna answered, giving the same response she had used for the past few days.
"You know, I should start not accepting that answer," the mage responded, opening a weary eye. "But I guess it'll have to do for now."
"It'll happen, just..."
"'Not yet', I know," finished Konoka, closing her eyes with the hint of a smile dancing on her lips. "I just wonder when 'not yet' will become 'now...'" Her breathing slowly evened out, letting Setsuna know that she had fallen asleep.
"I wonder that too," Setsuna thought to herself. She watched Konoka's sleeping face until she became too tired to keep her own eyes open. Her homework lay unfinished and forgotten on her desk, but she could complete tomorrow. There would be time... they would have time.