A.N. This story was inspired by the fact that I wanted to write another Riven/Musa one shot and I saw a picture of the two of them lying under a bush and while I have no idea what episode it came from (other than it was in the second series) or what they were doing (completely innocent, I swear), it inspired me to write this. Some of the things that are referred to come from the game based on the first series, considering I don't actually get to watch the show, I get all my inspiration and information from the game which isn't completely correct considering how much the names are changed in all the various forms.

So this is pretty much AU but set after the first series but some months into the second year at Alfea. Riven never apologized to Musa and so they never had that weird moment after the final battle.

Anyway, enough of me. Read on:

Black Mud Swamp - Part One

By: Zadien

Musa slumped against the railings that bordered the steps into Alfea's main entrance and tilted her head towards the sky, soaking up the sunshine while she and her friends awaited the boys. As part of a class/mission (for the boys never did class projects, they did missions... not for the first time did Musa wish she could be a boy) they were to be paired up and sent into the Black Mud Swamp to practice stealth work. Well that's what Griselda had been droning on about, though Musa couldn't really remember the details –it was hard to concentrate on much when there was drool sliding down your arm. Mental note, don't sit next to Stella during morning classes.

"It'll be nice to get away from the school for a while, won't it?" Ever the optimist, Flora stretched her arms over her head and smiled warmly as she rolled back onto the heels.

"You do realize the real reason we're doing this has nothing to do with grades, right?" Aisha, everyone's favorite feminist, stated grimly, sparing the girls all a pointed look.

"It's not? Then why am I out here getting sunburned which will eventually lead to freckles and skin debilitating diseases when I should be inside?!" Stella demanded, fisting a hand against her hip. Musa figured she probably thought that washing her hair or painting her nails was more worthwhile, Stella was vain like that. Nevertheless, she was still one of her best friends... just a vain best friend who was obsessed with fashion and platform sandals... yeah.

"Stella, this is important." Bloom reminded her gently. "We're not just studying to be good with our powers; we're studying to be great fairies, warriors even."

Aisha nodded approvingly. "Exactly, why should guys be the ones to save everyone? Do you want to be a fairy godmother, helping make the dreams and wishes of silly airheaded humans –no offence Bloom- come true?"

"Um... no? But I'm not going to be a warrior; I'm a princess. We Princesses do not fight."

"Actually, it's officially been noted that many princesses have been involved or have led armies against the creatures of darkness that have threatened their worlds. I have the statistics right here-"

"Ah, no thanks, Tecna." Stella chirped cheerfully, turning her attention to her nails while the magenta haired computer genius continued to observe her figures.

"So we're going to the Black Mud Swamp, the Shadow Haunt and the Downlands to search for any suspicious goings on or hints that the Trix have been staying there, right?" Musa queried, trying to get the facts of the mission clear in her head. Really, that drool had such a serious side affect on her concentration.

"Yep, that's the basics of it." Bloom explained cheerfully. "We go in and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary; if you find something, stay back and observe, no going in by yourself to handle it and if you think it's serious enough, call for back up, wait for back up and do not engage the enemy on your own."

"Can I be paired with Brandon?"


Musa wrinkled her nose, a habit she'd developed over the past month or so. "That might not be such a good idea. You two have to keep an eye on your surroundings, not each other. Same for you and Sky, Bloom."

"What about you and Riven?"

"Getting him to look at me would actually be a huge achievement. Trust me, there's nothing to worry about there. The guy's so not into me, but his loss."

"Damn straight it is; besides you don't need a guy. Half the time I think we're better off without them. Misogynistic, controlling, overbearing-"

"You're not talking about us, are you Aisha?" Sky joked, skipping up the steps to place a tender kiss on Bloom's cheek as he slowly turned to regard the dark skinned girl with amusement.

"Actually, I wasn't talking about you; I was talking about your sex as a whole."

"Does she ever stop?" Riven muttered, propping his boot on the steps and regarding Musa with a dry look.

She rolled her eyes. "Well, having met you, I'm beginning to agree with her. Some guys are misogynistic and controlling and overbearing... and just general assholes."

"Oh great, she's got a convert." Riven muttered. Musa sneered at him. Really, the guy thought he was the Dragons' gift.

"You don't really hate guys, right Aisha?" Flora queried, her brow furrowed in confused bewilderment. All the guys she'd met were quite nice. Sky, Brandon, Timmy...Helia. She flushed and ducked her head, playing with a flower she'd plucked from a nearby shrub.

"Not all guys, some are ok. I just really hate assholes who agree to arranged marriages."

Bloom nodded emphatically to that while Stella added her agreement vocally. "Arranged marriages are the pits."

Brandon sighed heavily. "They make political sense, honey."

"Uh, hello, they're stupid and only cause problems. I mean look at Sky and Diaspro, talk about a match made in the Shadowhaunt."

Riven rolled his eyes. He had come here to become a hero, not to indulge in teenage melodrama. "Ugh, whatever, let's go."

Bloom smiled, taking her spot at the centre of the group. "Right, let's choose the pairs, Stella-"

"Who died and made you the boss?" Riven interrupted indignantly. "Look I have the training, I'll make the decisions and Musa's coming with me."

"Say what?" The musical fairy gaped at him before looking to her friends for some kind of emotional backup. The dark skinned fairy took a step forward but Riven opened his mouth once more, offering up logic rather than fairy friendship nostalgia.

"Look, I need you to filter out sounds and since we're going to the Black Mud swamp which is teeming with insects, it makes sense that you should come."

"Great so you just want me for my powers." Musa muttered, folding her arms tightly against her chest and glowering down at him through dark eyes.

"Why else would I want you? Your sparkling wit and repartee? Don't think so." He waved at hand at Bloom but looked at Sky. "You can decide the rest; let's get going jinx."

Musa sent a sweeping look around the black mud swamp and wrinkled her nose. It didn't matter how often she came to this place, it still smelt like something rotten had died and was now slowly decomposing into liquid ooze permuting the air with its stench. Gross. Shoving her hands into the pockets of her khaki shorts, she cocked her hips and studied Riven's crouched form.

"Find anything?"

Riven continued to prod the ground but didn't reply, the only hint that he had heard her came from the way his body tensed momentarily, as though he'd forgotten she was there. Jerk. She didn't know why his headmaster insisted on sticking him with her group of friends when anyone could see he would prefer to fly solo or deal with another group of fairies completely.

"I'll take that as a no." She moved to the edge of the cliff and looked down at the Black mud swamp spreading beneath her. The swamp was the most interesting place, filled with lakes of thick, bubbling slime and scattered with clumps of rushes, dead trees, overturned logs and odd cement tunnels that linked each path to another area. Yet despite the dreariness of the area, there were strange pockets of beauty such as the fire flowers, which unfurled their petals as people approached and sent sparks of ember like pollen into the air to attract their prey.

Her eyes locked onto a spider scuttling back and forth over its territory in search for any intruders but it was far enough away as to not cause any worries to her. She didn't like spiders on a whole but the spiders of the black mud swamp tended to be larger than any she'd ever encountered in the Harmonic Nebula. Even the ones in Cloud Tower were smaller; granted there were bigger things in Cloud Tower to worry about other than spiders; like Centaurs and worse, the Trix.

Closing her fist, she opened it, igniting a small ball of witchfire. For a moment, she watched it dance and glow within her palm; then she snapped her hand back and flung it into the closest tree, watching the bark splinter and split under the impact. A grin curved her lips, growing when she caught the glare Riven sent her.

"Do you want to just tell the enemy we're here?"

"Riven, I've been through this swamp several times since I came to Alfea, trust me, I could stage a full blown concert here and no one in the heart of Black Mud Swamp would know I was here. It's laced with sound barriers and magic. Fairies from generations back placed them here so that nature could thrive without being frightened off by loud noises from civilization."

He quirked a brow in surprise and she sighed. Wow, he really didn't have much respect for her as a person. Just because she didn't talk as smartly as Tecna didn't mean she wasn't as smart. Heck, according to her grades, she was better. After all, magic came from the heart and emotions were something she understood; it was the gift of the Harmonic Nebula.

"Look, there's nothing in this section; let's move onto the next."

He shot her a dark look, obviously not liking the fact that she was making the decisions and ventured further into the swamp, his phantom blade activated to slash through the brittle, thorny briars. Her gaze drifted thoughtfully to her bare legs and she glowered at his back, hovered by the pale blue cloak that was an integral part of the Red fountain uniform. She didn't quite understand the need for it since to her it made very little sense. What happened if their cloak happened to catch on something or the enemy seized it? To her the cloak symbolized a big weakness in the hero's makeup.

Despite what comments the Red Fountain guys made about their costumes, the minimum effect made it easy to maneuver, especially when they were flying; it was aerodynamic and made them look hot, which caused a great distraction when fighting male enemies. Flash a little bit of leg, and watch the guys' eyes cross, or so Stella said –but only to draw a reaction from Aisha.

Of course, Riven wouldn't notice that the path he cut wouldn't be easy on her legs because to notice that, he would have had to notice her legs. She scowled darkly.

"Oi, what's taking you so long?" He hissed, phantom blade dangling uselessly at his side.

Her glower darkened and when she was sure he was far enough away from her, she squeezed her fists at her side, summoned the furious heat within her and when she felt herself almost vibrating with the gathering power, she released it in a fearsome ring of fire that expanded outward from her body, incinerating everything in its path. Riven cursed and leapt backwards, sending her a black look.

"Watch it!"

"If you showed me a little consideration, I'd show you some too." She muttered, stepping through the path she'd cleared, viciously satisfied with how little remained of the thorny plants.

"What are you whining about now?"

Oh, he was so frustrating. The guy never apologized for anything. Well he never did to her. "Look, I am not wearing trousers so those briar- oh never mind." She stormed past him and wished she could just enter her winx mode but considering the fact that, a) using up that power would leave so little for later and she couldn't remain in winx mode indefinitely yet and b) she was supposed to complete the task as inconspicuously as possible, meant that she couldn't just fly away from him. Unfortunately. She wished she had been paired with someone else, anyone else other than Riven who cared for no one.

"Why are you wearing shorts anyway?" He demanded, giving her outfit a disdainful look. "You're in a swamp and you think showing skin is a good idea?"

"Because moron, this is the official Alfea School outing uniform. These clothes have waterproofing spells, dirt-proof spells and they conceal your natural scent so animals can't track you! Duh!"

Riven plucked the sleeve of her shirt thoughtfully and rubbed it between his fingers before picking up the edge of his cloak and comparing them. "Same kind of idea," he mused. "But why is there so little of it? You could be eaten alive by half the insects in this place."

"Not really, considering there's insect repellent integrated within the material too." She told him archly before striding further into the swamp, head held high and cheeks burning hotly. Stupid boy. He never noticed anything.

So far, nothing had come up on their search, and they were already half way through the swamp. However, one place seemed utterly familiar and Musa smirked, sending the purple haired Specialist a smug look. "So Riven, crash anymore ships lately?"

He sent her a vile look. "That ship was tampered with and you know it."

"Oh that's right, I remember Tecna saying something like that... then again how do we know it wasn't you who tampered with it? It wouldn't surprise me, knowing-" She broke off at the flinch that tightened his expression and she swallowed her words. So maybe he wasn't as cool as he made himself seem. Could he actually feel remorse for what he did? She always assumed that he was just upset that Darcy had played him; after all, he had never showed any hint of not wanting the witch beforehand. Who was to say he wouldn't have stuck with the witch if she had simply included him in the plan? But maybe she was wrong. Maybe Riven did feel guilty.

If she had expected him to explain himself, to apologize for what he had done to her, she'd be waiting a long time since Riven simply continued further into the swamp at a faster pace, hacking everything in front of him.

"Typical." She sighed heavily and jumped when her phone beeped quietly. Picking it out of her pocket, she slid it open and watched as Stella's face popped up, looking rather irate. "Hey Stell, good to see a friendly face. How's the hunt going?"

"It's not. I swear to Great Dragon, we got the most boring place on all the planets to look." Stella made a face and flipped her hair.

"Come on Stella, it's not that bad." Musa laughed as she heard Sky trying to remain upbeat and cheerful. He was probably just as bored as Stella was, but he had the good sense not to broadcast that, not to mention the fact that he had probably envisioned spending the time with Bloom. Well Riven and Aisha sure put an end to that idea. Maybe Aisha and Riven should have been together... no scratch that. She'd kill him and then ask them to bury his body; not a pretty thought.

"It's worse. I wanted to be with Brandon!" The blonde whined. "Stupid Riven, YOU HEAR THAT RIVEN! IT'S YOUR FAULT I'M BORED!"

"That idiot's going to get them in trouble." Riven replied, with bored glance at the phone before he traipsed onwards, his feet sloshing through the damp ground.

"Look, Stella I gotta go."

"Oh fine, I was just calling to let Captain Stick-in-the-mud-without-hormones know that we've found nothing!"

Musa simply quirked her lips in a wane attempt to placate her friend before closing down her phone and shaking her head at Riven. "You could have at least let them pair up with their boyfriends. They get to spend so little time with each other; it seems unfair to separate them."

"This is a mission, not a date."

"I think we're all mature enough to go on missions and not make out with our partners. After all, I haven't jumped you yet; then again, I'm more likely to kiss a spear-tongued toad."

He gave her a cool, pointed look that made her squirm uneasily. Sometimes she got the idea that he could see exactly what was going through her mind. He seemed to very easily notice how she had liked him way back when she'd first come to Alfea. But, that was only because he wasn't like the other guys she'd met; the ones who stuttered and gushed over how pretty all the fairies were. It wasn't as if that was bad but it was, for lack of a better word, annoying. She didn't need to be told she was pretty; she didn't really care much about her looks. She would much rather be respected for her music or her ability to defend herself. She was a modern fairy and pretty gowns just didn't speak for her.

"Get your head in the game, Fairy."

"Musa, my name is Musa." She muttered under her breath as she eased her foot into the sludgy stream, grimacing at the feeling of mud soaking into her socks and shoes. She wasn't sure if she felt it, so much as imagined she'd felt it that was the problem with spells. She knew in the end, she'd walk out and the mud and water would stream off her and she'd be as clean as she was when she picked the outfit from the closet back in her room but still... that didn't remove the ick-factor. Nevertheless, she wasn't going to complain or squirm because that would just give Riven more ammo to use against her and in turn, all of fairy kind. He could be such a jerk sometimes.

Stepping back onto dry land again, she stood for a moment to let the mud slide away from her skin before she ventured forward, tilting her head back to look at the sky. Dark clouds were gathering overhead but she didn't think there was any rain due. Then again, since she wasn't Flora, she couldn't really listen to nature. However, if there were thunder, she'd notice it eventually.

She walked forward and straight into Riven who'd suddenly stopped. With a scowl, she peeked over his shoulder and bit her lip. Ah, the fork in the path. One road led to a dead end, the other to the heart of the Black Mud Swamp. The only problem was that to get to the heart, you had to walk through the forest of Carnivorous plants that thrived on Silence. Personally, Musa hated them and she was betting that Riven didn't exactly have warm fuzzies for them either. Could be the fact that they'd tried to give him a nice, hard, constricting hug, which could have potentially crushed his ribs if Flora hadn't stepped in to the rescue.

"Come on." She murmured softly, stepping quietly past him and scanning the host of quietus carnivorous. Flora had one in her dorm and so Musa had learnt a little about them. "Just don't make any noise and keep in the middle, they sense noise through vibrations that travel up the root to their vines which lash out to wound and captu-"

"Yeah I know about the vines."

Her lips quivered and she pressed them tightly together. It wouldn't do to laugh. The image of Riven hanging upside down wrapped up tightly in vines was an image burned permanently in her mind. Highlight of her year, she thought covering her smile with a hand.

"Just follow me and-"

A sharp slap echoed through the swamp and Musa whipped round to catch Riven removing a hand from his neck, making a face at the mess on his fingers.

"What? There was a bug."

She shook her head with a quiet sigh. Her attention returned to the plants and her brow furrowed, already the nearest one was quivering from the sound vibrations of Riven's action. Idiot. After everything she had told him he still didn't listen. Having snuck through this maze with Bloom and the other girls, she knew how hard the task was. It required a lot of dexterity and trust. Something she and Riven certainly didn't have in abundance. Technically, she reminded herself, she could just fly over the plants to avoid the vines completely and leave Riven to deal with them himself... but he'd probably just hack the plants to pieces and Flora would kill him. After all, the plants were rare and near extinction and she wasn't the sort of person who abandoned a comrade -that was what Riven did.

A slight movement caught her eye and she tilted her head, squinting to zero in on what was bugging her. Her hand reached back automatically and grabbed for Riven's sleeve. Their fingers brushed accidentally and she bit back her initial urge to flinch at the touch and instead concentrated on her problem.

"What?" Riven whispered, his breath tickling her ear as he leaned close.

She glowered over her shoulder at him. Hadn't he ever heard of personal space? He motioned to the plants and arched a brow in that smug, arrogant manner of his. Her glower intensified but it turned inward. Why was she just so hyper-aware of him today?

"Those plants at the other side are shaking."


She turned and swallowed hard, still unused to his body being so closely pressed to hers and yet still far enough away to be proper. "They shake when they feel vibrations. They can't feel us, so..."

"You think something came through here."

"I could be wrong, but Professor Paladium told us that no creatures in the black mud swamp come through here. Well apart from those giant flies, that could have caused one of them to shake and shiver but not three of them. They don't make enough noise."

"Why do no other creatures come through?"

"Self preservation, I guess. Most of the other animals would be easy pickings to the plants. Flies can sometimes get in and out without much trouble, if they're fast enough. You know, I could be completely wrong...except see there, that one in the middle?"

He leaned forward, his arm brushing hers as he sought to get a better look. "That's either a dead snake floating in the water or-?"

"No, it's a tendril, one's that been chopped off. See, there are a few more coming to the surface. Something's been through here Riven and it's come through with a blade."

"Good. Looks like this mission wasn't a total waste after all." With a smirk, he activated his phantom-blade and Musa scowled as once again, the nearest plant began to shiver.

"Put that out!" She whispered harshly, wrapping her fingers around his wrist, noting how fast his pulse was beating. Did the thought of battle excite him that much? "Look, you can't hack at these plants. They're endangered."

"They're dangerous." Riven bit out, prying her fingers from his wrist even as he deactivated his blade with a sneer.

"It's perfectly natural for it to have a defense mechanism." Wasn't that what Riven did? Snapping at anyone and anything that came too close? Wow, that was deep.

She shook her head and took a step forward, her foot sinking into the calm, murky water that nurtured the plants. Riven's hand clamped over her shoulder and she hissed out a breath, rounding on him but making sure her feet were light.


He didn't reply, just shouldered his way in front of her. If he were anyone else, such as Sky or Brandon, she might have thought he was being gallant, but she figured the truth was that if they did run in to trouble, he wanted to draw first blood and claim the glory for himself.

"After you, lord arrogance."

He glared at her coolly before venturing into the maze of plants. Even as she watched, a shiver of dread ran up her spine. She really hated this part of the forest; ever since her first time when she and the girls had decided to go and seek out the lost ogre, she'd hated it.

It took roughly twenty minutes of tense silence to navigate their way around the six-foot high plants without being snared by their thorny tendrils. When they finally broke out on the other side, Musa stretched and felt her back crack from being hunched over for so long.

Riven shot her one dark look and she rolled her eyes at him. "I'm a fairy, when I want to get somewhere, I fly. So don't give me that look."

He turned his back to her and stalked over to the entrance to the next area of the forest while Musa sent a quick look back at the maze they had just walked through, feeling her heart rate returning to normal. She always felt such immense relief after moving through the plants, having seen what the baby one that Flora was raising, was capable of doing, she just didn't want to go up against a big one. They were relentless with their vines, flailing and lashing at their prey. Though part of her knew that had they gotten into trouble, Riven would have been quick to use his sword.

"What's through here?" He suddenly asked, running his hands over the cement tube that cut through the trees providing an easier path.

"The Mud merry-go-round and then a pit of mud and then we're in the heart of the Black Mud Swamp." She told him quietly, her teeth beginning to tingle. She ran her tongue over them and felt her stomach squirm. Damn, her addiction was kicking in. She needed 

to listen to something other than Riven's voice and the chirping and buzzing of insects. Her fingers loosely trailed over the cord of her earphones and she felt Riven's eyes narrow on them. Well he didn't understand; she grew up in a world where music was as much a part of the world as the sound of people talking. She needed music the same way she needed air to breathe. It was the reason she could often be found in a quiet corner of Alfea, feeding her addiction by pumping music full blast through her earphones and directly into her ears. Even when studying for class or going somewhere she had music playing, either from her phone, PMP (Portable Music Player), or a nearby music player.

"You can't be serious." Riven muttered. "I'm not waiting here while you get your fix, Fairy."

Ok, so maybe he understood more than she believed. "Just one song. It's a really good song."


"Do you even listen to music? Have hobbies? Read?" She demanded, slipping one ear bud into her ear and raising a brow challengingly at him. Music filtered into her auditory channel and settled over her mind like a soothing mist, flooding through her body sending a shudder of pleasure through her. Music was her lifeblood. Without it, she felt withered up and dead inside.

Riven shook his head in disbelief while almost made her smile. "I have hobbies."

"Like? All I've ever seen you do is order people around and fight people."

"Hobbies are things you like to do to relieve stress right? Well then, those are my hobbies."

Now it was her turn to shake her head in disbelief. "Right. You're unbelievably dull as a person."

"You're not exactly a sparking personality either." He snapped back, turning on his heel and striding into the concrete tunnel.

She scowled, fisting her hands and letting her magic flow to the tips of her fingers, causing them to tingle incessantly. Should she be attacked, she would be ready for it and then Riven wouldn't be able to say anything to her. She followed him into the concrete tunnel, admiring the glacial glow from the shimmering blue crystals that grew out from the concrete and leant their light to illuminate the path. She could see why Flora was so enamored by Nature. There were some lovely things and then some not, she muttered as she watched Riven's blade flare as a spider scuttled forward spitting its silken web at them.

As Riven darted to the left, Musa sidled to the right hands raised in defense.

"I hate bugs." She grumbled as the Spider slowed its approach and looked between them with its eerie eyes. What was life like looking through that many eyes, she wondered.

"I'll draw-"

"I'll draw its attention, you attack it from behind. A sword is going to do more damage to this creature than a light orb, trust me." She added emphatically. She knew. She'd fought them before. Light orbs always bounced off them and their vulnerable point was on their stomach, and getting them onto their backs wasn't exactly easy. "Try to get its stomach. It's not as protected." She snapped moving to her left and instantly the spider made its decision and raced for her, its bended legs eating up the ground fast. She back flipped a few times to get away from it and conjured a few light orbs when she was back on her feet, throwing them into its face to disorientate it. Riven was on it in an instant, leaping up and driving his phantom blade down through the hard exoskeleton and into the fleshy thorax causing the beast to scream out in furious agony. Musa grimaced and looked away. Ooh, not a pretty way to die.

As the spider crumpled to the ground, Musa plucked her ear bud from her ear and looped it around her neck. Maybe keeping her ears open would be a better idea. She ran a hand over one her left pigtail and fingered it idly as Riven checked the body of the spider.

"Should we get rid of the body or something?"

The Specialist shook his head. "The other animals will eat it."

"That's disgusting." She muttered as she gave the body a wide berth and continued down the bay, towards the circling whirlpool of mud or what she liked call the Mud merry-go-round. "So far there haven't been any signs of anything suspicious." She pointed out.

"We're not in the heart of the Swamp yet. If I were hiding out, the heart would be where I'd figure most would go. It's quiet and there's plenty of cover, food, shelter and clean fresh water... somewhere. Though I'd have chosen the valley of the luminaire plants, it would provide a great disguise if you were to set up a fire and with two exits, and plenty of trees to prevent a sky attack, it's probably the safest place in the swamp."

Personally, Musa agreed with him. She liked that clearing filled with deep red flowers that unfurled and sent glowing ember-like sparks into the air. It was warm, pretty, and full of light. The heart of the Black mud swamp was black, dreary, and dead. "For someone normal but we're hunting the Trix. They'd like the heart; it's cold and dark, just like them."

"It's secluded, not many people venture in there because of that distinctive feeling," He rolled his broad shoulders as if he could feel the icy fingers of death creeping over them. She watched fascinated by the muscles that rippled along his chest and shivered too, as she quickly looked away into the murky depths of the slime before her. It made sucking and popping noises as the pieces of rock floating upon it sunk and rose unpredictably.

"So if the Trix are hiding in Magix, it's probably a safe bet that they'd be here."

Riven nodded silently, studying the forest of trees before him. "It's familiar to them and it's the closest place to Alfea. While the bitches are probably powerless, Icy would still want to be close enough to the school in case she gets a chance to attack Bloom again. She's fixated on the Dragon Fire."

Musa stared at him, stunned by his insight. She was actually somewhat proud of him. Then she smiled and shook her head. Like he'd care what she thought about him. "Icy needs to get a life. She couldn't beat Bloom before; she'll never be able to now. Bloom's only just coming to terms with the Dragon Fire and she's learning each and every day. Icy's had years to come to grips with her powers and she still couldn't take Bloom down."

"Icy was stupid. She showed no strategy in the final battle." He stated, waving his sword before him idly.

"What do mean?"

"You can't fight fire with Ice. It's idiotic to even think you can. Power is one thing, but the elements are something completely different. Then, she sent Stormy up against you and Flora? And Darcy against Stella? Was she high at the time?"

"Again, what do you mean? That was a tough battle."

Riven waved off her indignation. "Only because they've got more experience and are willing to play dirty and you were all tired due to defending Alfea for days straight. In a fair fight, you would have knocked them out of the sky easily."

Musa still didn't get what he was saying. All she could remember was the terrifying wind and dodging lightning; oh and how dark it was. It had been one of the scariest moments of her life. Couple that with not having a clue about where Bloom had been or how she was doing. Yeah it had been terrifying but now Riven was acting as though the battle had been tougher than it was supposed to be.

Riven sighed heavily as though it were too troublesome to even give an explanation. "Look, you're a music fairy right. You can do all that stuff with sound waves, right?"

He knew what she could do; it wasn't as if he hadn't seen her fight before. "Right."

"And sound waves travel through the air, right?"

"Yes." Would he stop treating her like a child?!

"So theoretically, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that by manipulating sound waves you could manipulate the air around you."

"I guess... I've never really thought about it."

"Well sound waves travel through air so if you could manipulate them it would be, I imagine, somewhat like manipulating the air but don't quote me on that. I don't exactly understand your powers. But if that were the case, which I think it is," Arrogant, he was so arrogant, "then you should have been able to divert Stormy's air tunnels by counter spinning them, even directing them back at her."

"What about her lightning, smart ass?" She demanded, cocking her hip, even as her mind whirled with the possibilities. It really was something she should take into consideration, maybe even ask Professor Whizgiz.

"Flora is a flower fairy, right? I've seen her use her vines. Vines are part of the earth. Earth neutralizes lighting." Now his tone was being insulting. "All Flora needed to do was set up vines from the ground to act as conductors and you guys would have been fine. In fact, the vines would have helped break up the strong winds. I don't know why none of you thought of that. And as for Darcy versus Stella, Stella wins hands down. She's got a staff that produces light, Darcy has nothing against that."

"Except that she could distort time and dimensions." Musa said softly but she was beginning to see the truth behind his words. They hadn't approached that battle logically at all. In fact, it was insane that they were even fighting the Trix when there were plenty of more experienced fairies there. She palmed her forehead and groaned. "We were so stupid!"

Riven grinned. "Sure you were. You're fairies."

"Riven, there's a nice muddy pond behind you and you think I can manipulate the air... I'd watch what you say right now."

He shrugged carelessly. "It's over now anyway. Just think in future."

"So what should Tecna have been doing at the time?"

"What she usually does. Checking the stats and providing support. She might have been able to manipulate the electricity but on that I'm not too certain."

"You've really given this a lot of thought haven't you?"

"A good strategist always reviews battles in preparation for the next one."

"You really take this stuff seriously, don't you?" When he pinned her with that inscrutable look, her heart leapt startlingly and she bit her lip hard. Sucking in a deep breath, she let it out slowly. "I mean, you take it more seriously than Sky or Brandon."

He snorted derisively. "Of course. I don't have a kingdom to run back to or a nice cushy job as a knight in my best friends' castle."

"Wouldn't Sky want you with him? Sure you two fight but, you always seem like you get along."

"Sky's my biggest rival."

"So, that's pretty much the guy way of saying best friend."

"I'd consider myself closer to Brandon actually or even Helia. He may be a pansy with all that poetry crap but he's easy to be around, he doesn't pester me about feelings and all that."

"Who asks you about feelings?"

"Brandon, wouldn't you know." Riven smirked wryly. "He spends too much time with his girlfriend."

"Not according to Stella." Musa quipped with a half smile. "So-"

"We should move on." Riven cut her off, turning his attention to the muddy whirlpool, ignoring her furious stance. "I'll go first. If I have trouble, you can fly over."

Then with deft movements, Musa watched as he skipped and hopped over the circling pieces of rock with excellent timing and grace. He reached one of the middle two that never sunk, and he turned to her with a salute before back flipping onto another rock without looking and landing in a defensive crouch. Rising to a standing position as the rock continued to circle, he gave her a roguish bow.

"Stop showing off!" She yelled, but still a smile tugged at the corner of her lips. She had to admit, he might have been a jerk but he had a certain something.

Another leap backwards into the air coupled with a midair twist and he aced his landing on the other side of the pool. "Come along, Princess."

"I'm not a princess." She called back, studying the whirling pieces of rock. The two outer rings, while large, constantly seemed to take turns sinking beneath the surface only to remerge a minute or so later in another spot. Only the two in the inner circle never submerged.

Oh, she was never going to be able to do this to the same extent as Riven. She could manage the odd flip here and there but she'd probably mess up her landing and end up waist deep in the thick gooey muck. The heck she was doing that in front of Riven, but still... after that challenge could she really back out?

"Sometime today."

She glared at him then focused on the task ahead of her. If something did go wrong, she could probably change into her winx form in time and just fly over but still, she hated the idea that she had to rely on her winx form to do things he could do without extra help. There was no way she was giving him another reason to look down upon fairies.

"Man, this would be so much easier with Brandon or Sky." She whined under her breath. "Ok, let's do this Musa."

Taking a deep breath, she leapt onto the nearest rotating platform standing absolutely still as it circled around and when she felt that suction beneath her, she skipped over to the next one, pirouetting and easily skipping onto the centre ring of platforms. Safe for the moment, she began to study the rocks spinning lazily around her. Somewhere in the distance, a spear-tongued toad croaked mournfully.

"You're going to at least try something cool, aren't you? At least to uphold your 'fairy honor', right?"

Could he be anymore smug? She wondered, her lips firming and her eyes narrowing. She'd show him. She was a fairy, fairies kicked Specialist butt. But what could she do? She'd taken the odd class of gymnastics when she had been younger but more often than not, she had wandered off on her own to listen to music and write some stuff. Sports just hadn't been that big of an interest to her. If Aisha were here, she'd be able to show him something really cool. As it was… there wasn't enough room to have a run up or anything.

She could do loads of moves in the air, but that would be cheating and resorting to her winx, two things she wouldn't permit herself to do.

"Why am I even rising to his bait? We're supposed to be on a recognizance mission, not playing a game of 'who's better'." She mumbled to herself: then she slowly walked to the edge of her platform on the tips of her toes, using them to give herself a boost as she threw herself into a back flip. Even as she moved through the air, she knew she wouldn't get the landing right. She was too tense and the distance was too tight. Growling, because she knew she had failed, she summoned her winx and with a burst of light, the power inside her rolled over her body and exploded outwards in a flash of light. It dispersed in an instant and left her hovering mid air.

With a disgusted sneer, she dropped down gently on to the other shore beside Riven. She didn't look at him, keeping her gaze firmly on the path before her because she didn't want to see his smug look but after a moment, when he continued to remain silent, she turned her head. And frowned. Why was he staring at her like that?! She shifted uncomfortably, feeling the inexplicable urge to just detransform back into her Alfea uniform once more. She suddenly felt woefully underdressed and uncomfortably naked in front of him and her fingers itched to tug her skirt a little lower at the look in his eyes. They were suddenly so… hot. And dark and, was he angry because she transformed?!

Her back stiffened as she bristled and squared up to him. "Look, I wasn't going to land properly. Would you rather I fell and broke my ankle? How would that have helped our mission, huh? I made an educated decision; I'm sorry I couldn't play by your rules. I'm just a weak, little-"

"What are you wearing?!" The absolute revulsion in his tone scalded her.

"My winx, surely you've seen it all before. We go into our winx form, get wings and a power boost. It's a fairy thing, I'm sure you'd understand!" She snarled, poking him in the chest. He was such a jerk. Besides, she happened to think she looked cute in this uniform!

"Where's the rest of it?!"

Her expression black, she lowered her gaze to her outfit before lifting her almost black eyes to glower at him. "It's all there."

"You didn't wear that in the final battle."

"This is my Enchantix, moron!"

"Your what?" He stepped back and ran his eyes down her again with an expression of complete exasperation mixed with something else. Then he scowled. "Change back!"

"No, we're almost at the heart. It would be a waste of power to change back again."

"Who cares? You won't need that form."

"Riven, that's just stupid. I was going to use my winx form in there anyway. You never know what surprises could be in there and it's better to be in winx form beforehand. Otherwise I might not get a chance to change." She shook her head and spun away from him with every intention of just marching in there herself. She had no idea what his problem was. One minute she was actually thinking that maybe, just maybe, he might not be such a bad guy and then he went and ruined it.

Something heavy and warm landed on her shoulders and she almost jumped out of her skin before she realized that it was… Riven's cloak? "What's this for?"

"You look cold."

"I'm not cold." The swamp was quite humid, which was natural for a swamp. She frowned at his profile and shrugged off his cloak. "Take it. I don't need it."

"Wear it!"

"I'm not wearing it. I'll trip over it. You're too tall."

"Maybe you're too small."

She palmed her forehead once more. This was stupid. This was such a stupid, stupid fight so why was she indulging in it. "Fine, it can stay here then." She stated, dangling the cloak from her fingertips as she held it out from her body over a small muddy puddle.

Riven seethed and ripped it from her grasp. "You're so annoying." He hissed, sweeping it over his shoulders and fixing it tightly to the magenta gem on the left of his chest.

She dismissed his comment with a wave of her hand. Yeah, yeah, she'd heard it all before.

"You stand out like a sore thumb." Riven pointed out.

She frowned; then glanced over her shoulders with a grimace. Her wings were quite… shimmery. All that silver dusting on the edges and the small drops that caught the light from the tips of each segment of the wings. Not to mention how colorful her outfit was, a mix of pinks and yellows, which was quite the change from the red, she had been used to. On saying that, she did like the new version of her outfit. It was more feminine and since she so rarely got to indulge that side of herself; the side that said 'hey I'm a kick ass, tomboy but I can still look pretty'. However, the wispy bits were kind of annoying. She'd tried taking the scissors to them but they'd only grown back the next time she transformed, much to Aisha's amusement. But what did Aisha have to laugh about; at least her hair didn't change color!

Maybe it was a little too short and it definitely bared more skin than she was completely comfortable with, especially going up against enemies or Amaryl, she was always afraid she'd fall out of the top which was ironic considering she was hardly the most endowed of the fairies.

"Why's your hair longer?"

She twisted her head and caught glimpses of the long strands of violet tendrils cascading down past her shoulders. She'd started growing out her hair over the summer since her first year in Alfea and while it was certainly longer –reaching just above her elbow- it was nothing compared to her transformed length, which almost kissed her knees. The first time she had transformed, she had almost scared herself to death when her hair had tickled her legs.

"I guess it's a fairy thing; it's part of our charm to look pretty."

"And long hair equals prettiness?!" Riven scoffed before muttering something under her breath that she didn't quite catch.

She felt a great desire to hit him for that comment. Just because she wasn't as vain as Stella or some of the other fairies didn't mean it didn't hurt when he insulted her looks. She was well aware that she could never be as beautiful as Stella or Flora or even Aisha, but that didn't mean that she didn't shouldn't still be considered pretty in her own way.

She folded her arms and began to follow the path winding around a cluster of deadened trees, senses alert for any kind of predator that may happen upon them.

Up ahead of her, the light turned dark and the trees became denser, blocking out the light with their deadened boughs. The heart of the black mud swamp, she mused, which was less swampy than the rest of the swamp, surprisingly enough. She turned to Riven as the approached the sudden drop in the path.

"You go first; if you get in trouble I'll help you."

He quirked a brow, then nodded silently before approaching the pit and staring down into the thick sludgy substance beneath him. "This log steady?" He wondered, pushing at it with the toe of his boot.

"It won't be if you keep pushing it." She muttered as she stepped over to him. "If you want, I can hold it."

"If you say it's steady then I'll believe you." He muttered, probably not wanting to suffer the indignity of having a fairy help him. Why did he even ask her to tag along with him? He hadn't even asked her to use her powers yet. She was nothing but dead weight on this mission.

"Gee, I'm chuffed." She murmured, moving back so he could take his first step onto the log. He paused for a moment to gain his balance and work out whether she'd been telling the truth or not. Once he was half way over, she took to the skies.

"Alright," he stated jumping off the log and turning, "Come- gah! Don't do that! That's why I hate flying people!"

She clasped her hands innocently behind her and tried to repress a smile. Who would have thought that Riven could be so jumpy? She'd remember that for the next time he annoyed her, just that expression when he spun and found her standing there, priceless.

"Well get used to it. Us fairies, we like to fly. So much easier to get around and we don't crash half as much as you specialists." She chuckled to herself and skipped on ahead, suddenly feeling curiously lighthearted but that feeling melted away under the shiver of dread that passed over her as she saw what was up ahead. The heart of Black Mud Swamp, the heart of decay and endless darkness. She'd read that somewhere in the Alfea library.

"I didn't crash." Riven muttered before stumbling to a stop beside her. "Man, I really hate this place."

Musa nodded her head quickly but didn't say anything. Her mouth was dry and she felt so unbelievably cold. It rather made her wish she'd accepted Riven's cloak.

"Stop acting so scared, Muse, if anything's in there, we can handle it."

She looked at him sharply. Muse? What was with this boy? Anything to not say her name, she mentally groaned. Although, she supposed he was trying to be comforting, in his own special way.

They stepped through the awning that provided the gateway into the centre of the swamp, a cold, desolate area filled with numerous paths and very little undergrowth. There was food there, if you knew where to look for it but she never really ventured in here unless she really had to. Like that time they had been hunting the ogre. She hadn't really been in there since.

"Come on." Riven growled, striding down to the end of the path where it broke into two routes and looked both ways. "Left or Right?"


"You sure?"

"No. But left is evil," when he narrowed his eyes at her, she sighed. "It's a home thing."

"Well if we're looking for the Trix then we should go left."

She motioned for him to lead while she pondered over the way he spat out the Trix, almost as though the idea of them left a foul taste in his mouth. Did he truly despise them? And if so, why? What had they done to him personally that made him so angry towards them? Was it what happened between him and Darcy? Was he... bitter about their break up? The idea left an acrid taste in her own mouth.

She shook her head quickly. It was none of her business if he liked Darcy, just as long as he didn't join the dark side again and put them all in danger; then he could do what he wanted.

A.N. Alright so this was supposed to be a one-shot but it was looking kind of long, so I decided to break it into two parts. And before anyone comes running to me saying that Musa didn't have the enchantix in the second season, I know. I know she got it in the third season helping the princess of Melody/Harmonic Nebula. Personally, I think Musa looks much prettier in the 3 season and her enchantix is very cute so I wanted to use that and moreover, I wanted to write Riven's response to it. I mean look at the difference, she looks almost like a different person. So she got it in this story in her second year. The Charmix didn't seem like such a big deal to me anyway.

I also added a few things in from the game but you all know that anyway and I mentioned a few things you might remember from Unattainable. In case, you hadn't realized, I love the Black Mud Swamp. I also hate those 6ft Quietus Carnivorous plants, they scare the crap out of me and the games aimed at 3 year olds upwards. That's kind of the reason I bought it... I can't beat games that are for 12 upwards. I'm a dreadful gamer.

In case anyone's wondering what this story is supposed to be about... it's about character development between Riven and Musa where they actually have a conversation, discover insights into each other and have a battle. I just felt their characters were kind of underdeveloped in the series and were I to write for it, I'd do things a little different... which is possibly why I just write fanfiction. Lol.

Please review and I should have the second piece updated soon as well as a piece for the Memory Box.