Author's Note: It was only a matter of time before I wrote another one-shot for Kai, and this is the result! However, this pairing is a bit of a surprise for even me... Please enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing of HM or its characters although I wouldn't mind having a guy like Kai on my arm! XP
Charmed, I'm Sure
I couldn't really say what drew me to her in the first place. It was more an act of fate that we happened to meet one another at all, yet I couldn't help feeling smug about the way I handled the situation in the beginning. The summer's evening couldn't have been better suited for a setting of budding romance as the pale face of the moon shone down upon the cobbled streets. Though the air was still heavy, I felt comfortable enough on my way back to the inn without the sun's harsh rays beating down on me. However, I stopped short when I saw her there, just outside the front door.
She was a petite, young woman with hair darker than the night sky, and from the way her delicate hands wiped away at her eyes, I could easily tell she'd been crying for some time. I suppose it was because she had taken glasses that she couldn't see me, but I didn't expect her to jump in surprise like she did once she put them back on. Her obsidian orbs were instantly upon me after she realized I'd witnessed her pitiful scene.
"Oh, I-I didn't see you there," she whispered bashfully, smoothing her pleated skirt. She wouldn't look at me directly, and I figured she was just embarrassed to be caught crying, by a rather handsome young man no less.
"That's alright," I assured her while untying my bandanna. "Besides, I prefer to help distressed maidens from the shadows." I offered her the purple cloth to her, and as she went to take it from me, I added, "To dry you tears, miss."
Although she paused for a moment, I heard her begin to giggle softly. I held her spectacles for her, and she dabbed at her damp cheeks with a faint smile. "You're just as charming as they say, Kai." I returned her smile, yet I knew she couldn't see it. The night was too dark, and even without knowing her at all, I could tell she was practically blind to begin with. She really did look cute with or without her lenses, though...
"It would seem my reputation precedes me once again," I teased with a half-hearted sigh. "So who was it that told you about me?" In my own mind, I secretly hoped it wasn't Rick because he had a bad habit of putting me in a negative light. He thought of me as a predator of some kind around women, but I hadn't harmed anyone by doing what came naturally to me. I hadn't tried to be a ladies' man that I knew of. Nearly everyone of those women had realized it was all meaningless flirtation on my part, except for Popuri who had chosen to take it as something more.
Well, maybe that was Rick's problem with me...
"Um... Gray spoke of you once or twice before," she confessed. I had to grin at the simple idea of him having much to say about anything, let alone little ol' me, but my smile soon faded when I noticed how her voice cracked to say my roomie's name. I raised an eyebrow as I tried to recall if there'd even been a girl with a heart to break in his life. After all, the other young man wasn't exactly... approachable, let alone the dating sort. Then, of course, it hit me square on. It was-
"Mary," I slipped suddenly, more of a statement than a question. She brought her head up like she was surprised to hear her own name, and if I was completely full of myself, I might've thought it was a result of never hearing it spoken so melodically. "Did something happen between you two?" I pressed gently. It wasn't hard to imagine them having some sort of falling out, especially with Gray's temper. I was only grateful there wasn't a hammer around whenever it happened to flare up during one of our less friendly moments. As a blacksmith's apprentice, who knew what damage he could do to me?
"N-not really. It's more like... nothing happened between us," she explained with some uncertainty. I nodded in understanding, but I was really completely confused. I'd been Gray's roommate for the past five years, and he was almost always talking about the librarian. Well... whenever he did talk, anyway... Still, it was obvious she was the only thing on his mind, or at least, I had been led to believe that's how it was. I could've been wrong, though, which was rare concerning me and my understanding of matters of the heart.
"He has Claire now..." she mumbled, shuffling her feet at gazing down at them. Then she cast a longing glance towards the bar entrance, and I noticed a young woman's laughter was mixed with a deeper tone that I instantly recognized. I frowned to hear this revelation from both her and the mirth going on behind closed doors. So she got to him, too? I wondered as I considered the peculiar possibility that the new farmer could have this much of an impact on Gray in such a short time. I had only been gone for three seasons for Goddess's sake, and everything had already turned upside down...
"Come on then," I urged, taking her hand in mine, "I can't think straight about these things when I'm standing still." Mary blushed while her eyes trailed from me to our laced fingers, and I chuckled at her innocence. "Forgive me, my lady, but please allow me the honors of escorting you home," I offered more politely. Even so, I didn't give her much of a chance to reply before I started strolling towards the tower I could see over the top of the local vineyard. I only guessed it was her home simply because I'd seen Gray returning to the inn from that direction nearly every day.
Besides, what better home for a fairy tale princess than a tower?
"Kai, this isn't necessary," she protested weakly. Her expression was clearly troubled, yet it only made her appear all the more deserving of someone special. Who the hell would turn her away? Certainly no one with any common sense.
Yeah, sure, Claire was beautiful enough, but she was too much like myself for my taste. She was a charmer in her own right, and I could tell she was the sort of girl that would keep a few men on her string at one time. She'd just let them fall where they will after she got bored with them. Not that there was anything sinister behind her behavior or anything since I doubted even she realized how she was acting. To me, the other young woman was just a girl to mess around with.
Mary, on the other hand, was worth more consideration than that. She may have been quiet and reserved, and the fact I never saw her at the summer festivals was enough proof that she was modest at best. I knew every woman in town, both blossoming and long since flowered, but I hadn't remembered her name until a moment ago. Although it may not come across as a compliment, I found it to be an endearing quality. It meant that there was still so much I could learn about her.
A bit of mystery was always appealing as well...
"Of course it is," I assured her, brushing her braid behind her narrow shoulder. Her cheeks were tinged with crimson once again, and I smiled knowingly while coming slightly closer to her. She scooted away nervously. I left her alone afterwards since I felt she'd made it clear enough she was uncomfortable in my company, and I thought it was in my favor not to tarnish my gentlemanly status. "A young woman shouldn't be left to walk home alone in the dark."
"Do you always talk like that, or are you just hiding from me behind pretty words?" Mary asked softly with a light giggle, and I felt myself relax a little to hear it. Although I masked it well enough, I usually liked to put up a good show in front of girls. My reasoning was simple; they made me nervous. Women may consider me to be charming, but it's just a thin wall I've carefully built around myself over time. I'd admit it to it, too, if people had questioned me on it before. However, the thing was that no one bothered to ask while they simply assumed what was the truth.
"You caught me," I confessed, shaking my head. My gentle hold on her hand tightened slightly as we rounded the corner together. The moonlight fell upon us, and I caught the shy sliver of a smile that crossed her satin lips. "But how'd you know?"
"It's a matter of body language," she began, glancing away for an instant. "You see... I've noticed that when you talk to the guys, you're shoulders are rolled back, but around girls... you tend to slouch forward. It reveals your lack of confidence around the members of the opposite gender." I felt my cheeks warm slightly to have her put it that way... "Not only that," she continued mercilessly, "but you also have a habit of rubbing the back of your neck and talking faster around them as well."
"Heh, you sure know a lot..." I mumbled, rubbing the back of my neck without realizing it at first. When I did, I instantly shoved my open hand deep into the pocket of my jeans, and I heard her laugh quietly. She apologized, but she knew she was right about me and my nervous tendencies.
"Working in a library usually helps," Mary replied. My mouth fell open a little to hear her crack a little sarcastic joke, but then I smiled as well.
"True," I agreed simply. I glanced up to see the warm light shining from the upper floor of what I guessed was her home. I tried not to, but I couldn't hide the regretful sigh when we arrived. Though we hadn't said much to one another, I had been enjoying our brief time together that evening. She'd been the only one to call me out on the truth behind my seemingly flawless behavior, and I wasn't sure if I could just go back and play the eternal playboy after being found out.
As we neared her front door, I could feel my palms starting to sweat. What was it about the raven-haired woman that made me feel this way? It was unlike anything else I had ever experienced... Still, that may have very well been a good thing because she certainly wasn't your average, run-of-the-mill blossoms to be plucked. She was a single daisy in a bed of roses. A simple flower that kept me guessing with every petal.
She seemed to understand my reluctance to let her go, for she gave me a reassuring smile and turned to me, her hand still in mine. "Don't let it bother you okay?" I advised her, referring to the strange turn of events concerning my roommate and the young farmer down the way. The librarian nodded shyly before lifting her eyes up to meet my own. My cheeks warmed under her steady gaze, and I wondered if she wanted me to say more. "I just hope that I'm not being too much trouble. I mean, I know I can be really obnoxious at times, but it was still nice meeting you... And-"
Just when I was about to say more, she stood on her tip-toes and kissed me on the cheek. My hand reached and rested there instinctively like I was questioning whether it had really happened or not. However, Mary only replied sweetly, "Charmed, I'm sure."
I stood there stunned while she opened her front door and slipped inside. Once the door was closed behind her, I tore my eyes away from in front of me, and I looking longingly up at her bedroom window in pure wonder. At first it remained empty, but soon enough, she was there. She caught me staring up at her and waved playfully before turning out the lights. I asked myself if it was only my imagination, but I swore to the Goddess that she had winked at me. In that moment, I decided something about women...
You never can tell with the quiet ones.
Final Author's Note: Alright, I know it was a weak attempt, but I just had to write a Kairy because it's pretty darn cute! X3
Although Mary probably wouldn't be this forward, I wanted someone to one up Kai in the sweet talking department. Besides, I like the idea of him actually feeling nervous around women... and to have a quiet girl like her bring that out in him was too tempting.