"Is something burning?"
Kururugi Suzaku, Knight of Seven, blinked once and sniffed the air again, stopping in the middle of a corridor inside of Prince Schneizel El Brittania's personal flagship, the Avalon.
Yes, something was definitely on fire somewhere.
What's more, he recognized this smell, both the particular item that was burning and the fact that it had the distinct acrid scent of smoke mixed in.
Sighing, he made his way down the corridor, and without any preamble, opened the next door on the right and said tiredly, "Gino, what are you doing?"
Despite the fact that he was wearing a decidedly un-knightly pink apron and currently in the middle of wielding a fire extinguisher against whatever it was he had been attempting to cook in a pan, the Knight of Three grinned cheerily and waved with his free hand. "Oi, Suzaku! Just in time- you can help me finish up!"
"Finish what, exactly?" Suzaku pressed the question again, rubbing his eyelids tiredly. "It's been a long day, Gino- first that wedding fiasco between his Highness Prince Odysseus and Tianzi-sama, and then that battle with the Black Knights. Aren't you tired?"
"Ah, a bit, but I'll get to sleep after this, promise!" the blonde replied sunnily, now arranging the blackening remains of... whatever it was he had been making.
The Knight of Seven crossed his arms, giving him a pointed look. "You still haven't explained exactly what it is you're doing."
"Oh right!" Gino tilted his head to the side as if surprised by his lapse. "Well, Anya hasn't been feeling well ever since that battle, so I thought I'd whip up a nice English breakfast to cheer her up!" he stated perkily, gesturing towards a plate that was already holding what looked like badly burnt tomatoes, freakishly shaped black pudding, and overcooked eggs. He dumped the contents of the pan onto the plate, which seemed to be a large quantity of what was once bacon but now was little more than cinders.
He leaned in close, as if confessing some dark secret, and murmured into Suzaku's ear, "She's really fond of breakfast. Just doesn't let it show too often."
Suzaku paused at this, rubbing the back of his end, as always unsure as to how to deal with the energetic noble. "Um... Gino... you do know it's almost midnight, right?" he said slowly, as if trying to explain something to a very small child.
"Yeah, so?" the Knight of Three stared back blankly, before a loud ping was heard in the background, causing him to yelp excitedly, "Oooh! The toast is ready!"
For his part, Suzaku merely sighed yet again. At this point, he figured he might as well follow Gino and try to keep him from annoying Anya too much, especially if she was actually not feeling well.
If he got lucky, he might still get an hour or two of sleep before this was all over.
A smile like a flash of lightning, hair that was raven dark like the night before battle-
A violent shiver ran through her like the thrust of white hot needles, sending an unpleasant feeling through her stomach. Sweat matted her hair and made the white silk sheets cling to her petite frame, as if trapping her. Her throat felt unbearably dry, and she raised a shaking hand toward the glass of water on the night stand (placed there kindly by Cecile an hour ago), before her hand paused as yet another convulsion ran through her body.
"What's happening to me?" Anya Earlstreim, Knight of Six, whispered through a voice wracked with pain.
Ever since her Mordred had accidentally collided with that enemy Knightmare, the visions kept returning, like waves crashing against the coast, an ebb and flow of images and sounds that she had never known.
Yet they were as real to her as the pictures she kept within her video diary, remembered as clearly as the last entry she left on her blog.
More disturbing than that... they felt... oddly familiar to her. Almost right, in a sense.
Another convulsion ran through her body, and she curled reflexively to dampen the effect. She no longer felt like herself, felt like she was slowly losing herself to these visions... like she was no longer-
Though she did not show any outward sign of surprise, Anya was shaken from her thoughts abruptly by the sound of a familiar voice. Without changing her placid expression, she turned over to face the doorway.
Gino marched into the room cheerily, holding what looked vaguely like a tray of bacon, eggs, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, toast, and black pudding, complete with a pot of tea and three porcelain cups. Behind him, Suzaku idled at the doorway, clearly there more for Anya's support than anything else.
"A full English breakfast?" she questioned, sitting up in her bed.
"That's right!" the Knight of Three confirmed with almost insane cheerfulness as he placed the tray atop her lap. "I know how much you like it, so I thought I'd bring you some to cheer you up!"
"It's a quarter to midnight," Anya noted tonelessly.
"Yup! So eat up quickly, 'cuz I think Suzaku wants to go to bed soon!" Gino added the last part in a stage whisper, leaning in close but still pointedly loud enough for the Knight of Seven to hear him.
Suzaku, for his part, seemed to ignore the ramblings of the blonde and stepped over towards her bedside, taking the pot of tea with a slight smile. "Let me pour it for you," he said gently, and Anya nodded passively.
"Oi, oi, try the tomatoes first!" Gino cut in urgently. "I found some kind of weird herbs in the kitchen, so I cooked 'em with that!"
"Not poison?" Anya questioned, staring blankly and using her fork to pick at what was supposed to be fried tomatoes.
"No, not poison!" the blonde gave her a wounded look. "I would never try to poison you! Now come on, just try it!"
The Knight of Six dipped her head slightly, and speared a tomato before placing it delicately inside of her mouth, chewing thoughtfully.
"See? Good, right?" Gino grinned confidently. "I knew that herb looked tasty!"
Anya tilted her head to the side, swallowing the last of the tomato. "Needs pepper."
"Ha! She likes it! I told you she would, Suzaku!" the Knight of Three all but crowed to the darker haired boy. Seemingly ecstatic at her somewhat positive response, he flung himself onto the bed next to her and clasped her arm, his large hands easily enveloping her slim shoulders. "She's already feeling a lot better!"
Unfortunately, the impact of his large frame hitting the bed disturbed the balance of the tray, causing the tea Suzaku had been pouring to suddenly spill out across the sheets, neatly scalding Gino in the process.
As Suzaku scolded the Knight of Three for his unthinking action while helping him clean off the drops of tea from his uniform, Anya looked on with the vaguest hint of amusement, her shoulder still tingling with the warmth left of Gino's hand, all thoughts of the perception-altering visions she had been suffering forgotten.
Her lips curled into the barest, faintest of smiles.
This was her moment, her memories, and would not be forgotten easily.
This was real.