A/N: This is something that popped into my head about a week ago after waking up in the middle of the night with a muse whacking me in the head with a metal baseball bat. It refused to leave for the whole week, preferring to enact all sorts of terrible and annoying tortures until I finished it.
Disclaimer: I would love to lay claim to them, but, alas, I will never have the talent one must possess to hold onto Van. Namely, the power to see the future.
Van was enjoying one of those rare, blissful nights in which there were no obscenely loud roommates, party-going neighbors, or bored brothers to keep him up to ungodly hours of the night. He had changed into his most comfortable boxers, as the cool fall nights were quickly waning into icy winter ones, and he had thrown on an extra blanket just in case. This considering that if his roommate returned before dawn the blond Casanova would usually steal a blanket instead of bothering to grab one from the closet in his common half drunken haze.
His alarm was set for nine, the windows curtains lifting slightly in the breeze created by the furnace's waves of warmth as they wafted over his jet black locks, gently teasing them back from his forehead. The perfect conditions for a good night's rest.
Van was dozing, thoughts of his schoolwork, latest conversations with his family, and his roommate flickering across his mind at a rapid fire pace until they immediately halted as he saw an image of his best friend lingered behind his eyelids.
He grinned lightly in the dark. This particular image of her was barely a week old, when she and her roommate were conditioning for the upcoming track season, and Van had made a rather irrational decision. A decision that consisted of scaring her half to death on her next pass around the block.
Such a prank was not uncommon for the dark haired man, but her reaction could most definitely be categorized as extremely unusual. Most of the time, she would shriek and then proceed to either yell at him or beat him senseless, which he considered quite worth the pain.
After all, anger always brought out the emerald fire in her eyes.
This time, after screaming a high-pitched wail that left his ears ringing, she lunged at him. Van flinched in defense of whatever punishment he was to receive, but instead, he suddenly found himself enveloped by a very warm and very female body. Mahogany eyes widened in shock as his form stiffened.
She was hugging him. Quite enthusiastically, he might add.
She was also screaming at him, though it was a muffled because her head was buried in his neck, and it took him a moment to process her ranting, "You jerk! You scared me half to death! Don't you ever do that again!" Each sentence was emphasized by a light smack to his chest, half-hearted and not life threatening.
He really shouldn't have enjoyed it. Unfortunately, rational thought seemed to fly out of his mind as she pressed herself closer to him. Perhaps she was still yelling; he couldn't be sure, as her honey brown locks were tickling his chin.
And in hindsight, he should have been suspicious. But, alas, he was a man in l-
Err, he was her best friend, and she was not known for her skills in the art of deception. After this incident, he surmised that she should be.
He felt her hyperventilating turn to something else, something he didn't recognize until it was too late.
Was she chuckling?
In an instant, he found himself sprawled on the sidewalk, the red mark from her slap quickly spreading across his cheek. She stood above him, seething and rubbing her palm. He doubted the slap had hurt her as much as it had damaged him; he reached up and massaged his jaw. It snapped back into place seconds later.
Yet even now, as he lay under his covers in his comfortable bed with the lightest of breezing floating over him, Van couldn't erase the feeling of her arms wrapped around his neck in a vice grip one wouldn't expect from a girl her size. His grin widened.
Unfortunately, as everyone knows, blissful nights such as these were never meant to last the whole night long. That would be too perfect.
He heard the door slam open before his closed eyes registered the light streaming into his room.
Jolting up from the bed and squinting as his crimson eyes tried to adjust to the harsh light from the hall, Van saw an angel standing in his doorway, the details of her face shadowed, but he knew who it was.
"Sorry, were you sleeping?" she asked, not sounding very sorry to his tired ears.
"No. Why would I be sleeping? I mean, it's not like my lights are off, or I'm in my bed, or anything." He replied sarcastically, running a hand through his unruly hair grumpily.
As usual, she ignored him and flopped onto his bed. She was dressed in a tank top and loose fitting sleep pants that revealed the slightest trace of her stomach, and he could not stop his eyes from lingering on her pale skin.
"Yukari brought Amano over and I didn't feel like watching them make out to Bohemian Rhapsody two feet from my bed. Where's Allen? Did he go to Millerna's sorority again? I swear that man must have enough bastards to populate China by now…" noticing her friend's faraway look, the short haired woman snapped her fingers in front of his face to capture his attention.
"Van? You okay?"
He forced himself to focus on her face, not her eyes or her mouth, for fear of becoming hypnotized again. He nodded slowly.
"So," sighed the man, the action lifting his jet black bangs, "how, exactly, do you plan to entertain yourself while you're here? Because I'm going back to sleep. Keep it down or I'll be forced to kick you out." Van fall back on his pillows and rolled over, pulling his covers with him. Or so he had hoped.
Suddenly, he was really, really cold. "Hitomi! Give it back!" he whined, grabbing blindly for the blanket she'd so rudely pulled from his body.
"…Uh, Van, what are you wearing?" her shoulders jumped with stifled mirth.
Oh. Crap. Van groaned, vaguely remembering changing into his most comfortable boxers, a pair given to him by the green eyed girl for his birthday the year before as a prank gift. They were red, his favorite color (though more recently he'd opted to tell people it was a specific shade of emerald, but she didn't need to know that), and had a distinct and agreeably un-manly design embroidered in several places around the edges and one the back: angel wings.
Hitomi fell over on his bed, holding her stomach as her body was racked with giggles.
Her best friend blushed and tugged the blanket from her fingers, wrapping it securing around him. Burrowing back under the covers, Van choked out, "They're comfortable!"
"Of course." This was followed by an undignified snort, which she found humiliating and reflexively covered her mouth, and he absolutely adored.
A tan head appeared from under the blankets, an ear-splitting grin widening on the face. A pale hand aimed true and a pillow smacked the head.
Hours later found Hitomi sprawled on Van's bed, snoring quietly into his pillow. She wasn't used to sharing a bed, he knew; her body took up almost three quarters of the mattress.
Van recalled a summer night during their high school years, when her parents had gone to pick up her brother from camp two states away and she had slept over. It was a similar situation, and he acted as he had then.
Hitomi awoke to a feeling of warmth and a nice, firm pillow, the sun shining gently in her eyes. She yawned, snuggling deeper into her pillow – which sighed deeply and appeared…tan?
Blurry jade eyes slowly focused on the form of her black haired best friend, and she instinctively tensed in preparation for giving him a good thrashing.
Her brain caught up to her reflexes just before the initiation of the aforementioned beating. She studied his tousled, black locks, the way his lashes rested on his cheeks, the peaceful look he gained while asleep.
Brow furrowing, Hitomi felt a memory surfacing in her mind's eye of another sleep over with her friend, the summer after junior year in high school. She had awoken to the same scene, and soundly slapped his smug, boyish face so hard that he fell out of bed and hit the floor.
The corners of her mouth twitched upward, her smile secretive and elated.
Her eyes glanced over at his alarm clock, which read 7:14 AM, Saturday. No classes, no plans, no need to get up before ten.
Hitomi's emerald orbs fluttered shut, a sleepy, happy sigh escaping her mouth.
A mahogany eye peeked out from under an eyelid, then retreated back into darkness.
Allen Shezar surreptitiously closed his dorm room door behind him, carefully watching the bodies snuggling in his roommate's bed for signs of movement. He contemplated jolting them awake and praying they'd be too embarrassed to even consider telling anyone about the event, but his romantic side refused to allow him the pleasure.
Of course, that didn't mean he couldn't tell Merle, or Yukari, or Millerna…
But uttering those dreadful words would mean the end of the betting, and the necessity of giving up the pot, which no one wanted (except the winner, perhaps).
Who was it that had bet Saturday, again?
Sitting at a booth at the local café, Folken Fanel gleefully counted his winnings as he stared at Hitomi as she attempted to coerce Van into running a couple of laps around the park with her. Across the street he spied Merle also watching the couple, and Millerna in her car. And was that Dryden, hiding up in that tree?
An inconspicuous slip of paper sat ominously on Folken's table, next to his laptop but no where near his coffee. It was scrawled in Allen's hurried hand, "Folken won pot – new bet: first kiss. Bet on days and times."
Similar words were typed into the laptop, complete with a chart of days and times, and Folken grinned as he pressed the send button.
Across the street, the signature tune of Merle's cell phone went off, just as Millerna's did, and Dryden's as well.
Folken heard Yukari and Amano's ring tones, even Allen's kitty corner to the café, and he raised an eyebrow in surprise.
They were getting good at spying. He'd have to up his game.