Traveling Comfort

Tsubaki was looking out the window on her right side at the beautiful meadows and vast expanses of country land the train she was riding on was passing by for the past half an hour. It was a peaceful scenery which made a very stark contrast to the loud compartment she was situated in.

Of course, it was Black Star making the most noise, and Soul spoiling him further by going along with his whims and idiocy. Maka had somehow found the strength to concentrate enough in this hullabaloo and was currently reading a book. (But not for long if the pulsing vein on the side of her temple was any proof of her waning patience with the loudness of her compartment mates.)

It was impossible to tell with an idyllic picture like theirs that their world was coming apart at its seams; it was just about impossible to tell that there was a war currently going on—the reason they were even traveling in the first place.

They were being evacuated to a safer base where Sid-sensei and Azusa-san would brief them on the latest plan to destroy Arachnophobia and do something against the Kishin. They'd almost grown used to traveling all over the country because it had been like that for quite a while now—going back and forth, back and forth, suffering the damage of Arachnophobia's striking back at them, celebrating tiny victories that they'd had over their enemies…

How long would this continue? Tsubaki couldn't help but wonder. How long until the frail balance of their world was completely broken and all of them lost their minds to the intensifying with each day insanity wave of that accursed creature that should've stayed sealed for eternity? How long until she could no longer take the pressure of this kind of job? This wasn't what either of them signed up for when they became Shibusen students. This was too much responsibility for a bunch of sixteen-year-olds to take.

"Tsubaki-chan?" It took her a moment to realize that it had been Maka's voice that had pulled her out of her daydream. It took her another to plaster her trade mark polite smile on her face again as well and Maka—ever the observant one—noticed this abnormality in her behaviour. "Are you alright? You looked really out of it for a second there."

The older girl redoubled her efforts, hoping she'd made a more convincing smile this time. Reassuring others when you're not at all reassured yourself was a very tough thing to do.

"Yes, I'm fine—just thinking too much, I guess." She laughed sheepishly and the other girl gave her a shaky unconvinced smile in return before thankfully leaving her be.

It was an unspoken agreement really—the people capable of thinking (which would be everyone but Black Star and Patty in their friend group) would not press one another for their issues that arose every now and then because they knew the conversation wouldn't be pretty and both parties would end up in a sour mood afterwards. It was even a miracle that they weren't all in despair the whole time because things weren't looking very bright for the good guys lately.

Tsubaki let out a sigh through her nose and pinned her eyes to the window again. This was great. She wished she could stay in this moment forever—there was no war in their train, no pain, no anguish; just Black Star's boisterous voice to her left, making her feel more at peace with the world by simply being there, everyone getting along great and the beautiful scenery out lulling her into a sense of security she was perfectly aware would vanish the moment she stepped out of the vehicle but she'd decided to make most of it and enjoy it while it lasted.

She watched as the large trees zoomed by at a mind-boggling speed, one after another, after another, after another… Pretty lush green trees, ample with fruit, full of life. Just looking at them calmed her fried nerves, stayed her mind and soothed her heart.

Her partner's voice had raised a pitch since Maka had berated him a second ago but Tsubaki couldn't focus on their squabble at all. All she could keep her attention on was the sound of his voice and the trees outside, zooming by at a mind-boggling speed, one after another, after another, after another…

She relaxed back against her seat, her head tilting lightly to the side without her realizing it, her eyes drooping tiredly. If she could only stay in this moment forever…

"Can't you keep it down, already? I can barely hear myself think over here!" Death Scythe's daughter snapped at her partner's yell-buddy, her teeth grinding together in annoyance.

"I told you to get a bigger compartment—this one is too small for an existence as huge as mine! It stifles my greatness and keeps it from the world!" Black Star retorted with a lot of melodrama and hand gesturing.

Maka and Soul rolled their eyes. Not that tune again…

"I wish someone would pay me for every time I heard that one. I'd be so damn rich by now…" Maka complained ill-temperedly, making her loud companion cross his arms over his chest and laugh vociferously much to her chagrin.

"Do not fear, small one, for you know the man who shall surpass God! There is no greater treasure in the world than this!" He laughed some more while the scythe technician glared death at him and Soul knew that it was time for damage control before it got out of hand.

"So you were telling me about this new training schedule of yours?" he said in an attempt to divert the raucous boy's attention from the previous topic (if it could be called that) before his meister could jump the guy and tear him limb from limb.

To his surprise, Black Star did not react at once. In fact, he looked a bit lost for a second there before he recovered.

"Huh? Oh, yeah—I rearranged my training schedule so that I can emphasize on straining the right groups of muscles so that I can be even more effective when using the Dark Blade mode. Not that I really need any more fortifying of it though – if I get any better at it, I won't be able to find any worthy adversaries." It was really amazing how he managed to always spin things around so that he always ended up bragging about himself.

But what was even more amazing was the fact that there was no gesturing or yelling in that mini-rant of his, just a merry little chortle while he slackened his right arm after putting his left hand on his left thigh. It took Soul a while to realize what had changed in the picture but when he did, he only smirked to himself and did not comment on it.

They continued their conversation in much calmer volume than before and Maka noticed the change. She looked up warily from her book towards the main offender against the peace within the compartment, wondering why he'd changed his mind about pissing the daylights out of her with that grating annoying voice of his.

She saw Tsubaki, leaning against his slightly taller frame, her head resting on his shoulder that he seemed to make a point of not moving at all if possible for fear of waking his partner, who had a look of perfect calm on her features. Maka smiled secretly as she buried her face in her book again, happy that her friend had been alleviated of her troubling thoughts earlier, whatever they might have been, although she herself couldn't quite understand what about Black Star, of all people, could possibly be soothing.

As for Tsubaki, that nap on her meister's shoulder in the small train compartment had been the best sleep she'd had in months.

After all, there's nothing better than having a pillow that takes your comfort as its greatest priority.

A/R: Please note that I've thrown in "sixteen-year-olds" in there, thus everyone is currently sixteen in this story, thus why Black Star is Tsubaki's height. :3 Just a note in case you were wondering.

I've been meaning to write something ever since I saw the "Reader Traffic" update but I've been really stumped for ideas. But I had this amazing artist draw me a fanart for "Resonating Souls" and I've been so happy I just had to come up with a fic idea for today, to celebrate the occasion. :3 This ficlet is something I've had in the thought oven for a while so I decided to write it out in the end. I hope you liked it—just a drabble, to put some fluff in your life. :3 Don't forget to tell me what you thought! xD Feedback inspires me. :D