A/N: My first Lost in Blue fic for the LJ community tamingthemuse. Expect more to come! Reviews welcome and loved. I'm not very far in the game, so no spoilers in the comments please! Also, because I am not far in the game, my characterization may not be perfect, but this is how I see the characters right now. ♦Ree♦
He never really got along well with shy girls. While Deichi was a chivalrous young man to every woman he met- and this was still unerring even deserted on an island with one- he had never been taken with a girl who meekly agreed to every little word he uttered and needed to hold his hand just to go to the river to drink. Climbing over a large log, he sighed. That was unfair. Aoi was a sliver away from totally blind without her glasses, and he had broken them. Who was he to complain?
It had grown dark hours ago, the moon slicing mercilessly through the sky's diamonds like an arcing guillotine. Keith felt the light ruffle of his clothes as the wind carried hints of a crisp storm advancing from the west of the island. Exhaustion was creeping up on him, the weight of his backpack sagging his shoulders and his tired muscles leaning on his empty stomach. He was nearly there; just a single cross of the river and he was back in the warm cave with Aoi cooking a spicy stir fry with the spices he had gathered and carp he had caught.
And she would sit there, smiling politely as he chattered about his explorations of the day, her quiet laugh echoing at all the right times and handing over all the baskets and ropes Keith had asked her to make. Right on time. Occasionally she would offer up the perfect, trailing thought or question, leading and guiding him into another story. She would sit there cross-legged, as if guarding the borders of polite distance and familiarity, her tone that of a shy girl not used to being with people. A shy girl with no brain of her own. A shy girl who acted as if it were her job to waste away in their cave and cook him food and make useful things Keith could use when he went out. A shy girl who clutched his hand when they traveled to the river for water...
He made the final jump across the river bank onto the slippery stones at precisely 3:15 in the morning on their thirteenth day since washing up onshore like unwanted garbage. Managing a half-hearted trudge up the slight incline to the cave felt like it may be Keith's last living movement. The fire was still burning strong as he entered, having stacked the woodpile thoroughly before heading off that morning. He crept in silently, unloading a filled water bottle into the tin basin at the cave entrance. Turning, he slipped his backpack off his shoulders, ready to fall into bed and restock the shelves when he woke up. Keith froze.
Where a gently sleeping Aoi should have been was a demon. A demon with bedraggled brown hair and wide brown eyes that would look somehow less pretty behind glasses. This demon was frigid, unmoving, scarcely breathing, and staring at him with such an expression that he expected hellfire and brimstone to rain down any moment. The moon continued it's lethal arc outside, and he suddenly thought perhaps that guillotine was a better fate than what was bound to come at any moment.
The air shuffled around them impolitely as their gaze was locked and silence stretched out, impaling Keith through the torso. Finally, fortunately, thankfully Aoi turned her head away from him, inspecting a dank corner of the cave out of the fire's warm touch. "Have a good day?"
Keith sat down opposite her from the fire, the bottoms of his pant legs beginning to dry off the dew drops that had collected there. Her tone was that perfect, shy pitch as always. But as she turned back to face him, there was no polite smile. There was something foreign in those dark eyes.
"I caught some carp, if you want to cook it later for breakfast. Also, I got some raspberries and coconuts for that really tasty fruit salad you make." He said casually, eyeing his companion warily. Shy girl? Not anymore. This intensity was something he had never seen before in Aoi- but then again, he hadn't known her very long. This occurance was... intriguing. Maybe he needed to take back his judgment of "shy girl" and watch what happened.
"You look tired." She noted with that same cool calculation as he lazily reached out and grabbed his backpack strap with his fingertips, tugging it over onto his lap so he could find a carrot or two to tide him over for the night.
He rolled over right into her trap. "Well, it's pretty late."
Her eyes snapped, sparked with something resembling anger as he realized she was upset with him for something. And it was dawning on him exactly what it was.
"It is pretty late," Aoi continued, nibbling her fingernail casually, as if everything were the same as normal. "Didn't you tell me this morning you'd be back early?"
All the color drained from his face and the carrot fell to his lap, forgotten. Keith has never seen his friend so... well, so angry with him. The vulnerable fury in her eyes somehow began to mesmerize him, charm him. He rushed to the defensive, explaining in a teasing fashion, "Well, you see, my fishing rod broke on the way up the waterfall and I had to collect materials for a new one and I figured you'd understand-"
Her interruption only served to widen his grin. "You said you were going to the jungle and the grasslands today! You said you'd be back earlier than usual so we could have a proper dinner for the first time in three days! And now you come in at some hour of the morning all smiles and apologies?! I was worried some vicious animal had attacked you, or you had fallen off one of the cliffs, or fallen into the river, or tripped and broke your leg-"
"You were worried about me?" Keith asked, a kind grin replacing the teasing one innocently.
This stopped her in her tracks and she floundered a brief moment, mouth gaping open like the carp had gasped for air surfacing with his fish hook in its mouth. The demon was suddenly gone a cold blast of wind, her voice the prefect, shy pitch. Her hands, which had been placed firmly on her hips, retreated to being calmly folded in her lap. Aoi sidestepped the question.
"Next time just say you'll be gone for a few days or that you'll be out late." She held out her hand around the fire. "Here. I'll cook us a midnight snack quickly and then let's get some rest."
He smiled and begrudgingly handed over the backpack, like some army trading over supplies for Prisoners of War they didn't want or have any particular use for. She retreated to her corner to prepare a quick fruit salad and onion-turnip stir fry, her back facing him with that straight spine and small, shy shoulders. Keith relaxed by the fire, his exhausted muscles deeply creasing into that position so that when the food was done he could hardly move.
They ate in tired silence, and Keith decided he'd just have to come home even later tomorrow.