Author's Note: Well, now is the time that all (four or is it five?) of you get your ultimate wish. At last, we have a DennyxShea one-shot! Huzzah!

Sorry it took so long, but since I kept coming up with material that I actually wanted to use for HLS or other projects, I had to keep going back to the writing board all over again. It happened six times! DX

Even so, please enjoy.


One True Contender

Stalking one's prey is never an easy task, and yet... it was absolutely thrilling. The sound of his hot blood rhythmically pumping in his ears, the dirty sweat trickling down his brow, the slightly cheesy taste in his mouth from dehydration after spending hours in the hot, summer sun just waiting... Oh, how he loved every single moment of it!

However, even the greatest of hunters have limits, and he was certain that he was reaching his at that very moment. His vision was becoming blurry after spending the past five hours staring intently at the same exact spot just below an unusual purple, not to mention metal, roof, and his muscles were becoming increasingly tense and more cramped with each passing second. He wasn't sure how much longer he could bear the stain, but he was certain he was nearing his breaking point. He could only hope his victim would make an appearance before he...

With that thought, it seemed his prayer would finally be answered as a door opened from below him, and he positioned himself at the ready for an all out attack. Just when he'd managed to find his footing, he caught sight of a hint of purple that was in motion, and he made an almost desperate lunge for it with a fierce battle cry at the very last instant.

Unfortunately, he hadn't planned on having a black mass of feathers come flying at him out of no where as it made a god-awful screech and the two fierce warriors collided in midair.

There wasn't even a chance for him to land on his feet, and soon enough his face made impact with the ground which also earned him a mouthful of sand. As if to add insult to injury, he could hear his prey laughing at his folly as well. He was used to the mockery of the sound, though, since he'd dealt with it on numerous occasions in the past, but he knew it would take some time to nurse his wounded pride following this most recent defeat. Of course, he still had no intensions of giving in just yet.

"You cheat!" the young man cried out, rolling over on his back to face his opponent. The other stood towering over him garbed in nothing more than a loose-fitting, purple bandanna and a pair of matching shorts, but when compared to the loincloth that he was sporting, the sailor looked as though he might be overdressed.

"How?" the man replied with a shrug. "You have your spear, and I have Kuu." Upon hearing the cretin's name, the very one who'd foiled his plans, the warrior glared up at the damned creature that had perched itself on its master's shoulder with a wicked grin on its bright orange beak. Its beady, black eyes seemed to almost laugh at him and his misfortune as well, and it only served to fuel his desire to see the bird on a split over an open fire in the near future.

"No have spear today," the wild boy reminded him crossly. Then, gazing up at the other, he added, "Denny, why no eat bird?"

"Because he's my friend," his rival explained with a heavy sigh. "And I don't know about you, but I don't eat my friends." He offered a hand to help him up, but the young man's pride would not allow him to accept such a selfless gesture. Instead of taking it, he slapped it away in disgust.

"Stupid. Shea no eat humans," he growled while he tried to stand. However, a sharp pain shot up from one of his legs, and he crumpled back down to earth. Even with his injury, though, he refused to cry out which caused the other to simply raise an eyebrow quizzically.

"Well, Kuu is like a human to me," Denny explained, patting his shipmate affectionately on the head. Trying to get a man who ate almost anything that moved to understand such things was often frustrating, but he somehow managed to deal with the obstacles with relative ease. After all, he'd dealt with the natives in other places before coming here, so while his friend was a bit more stubborn than most, he was patient with him all the same. "Sure you don't need any help?" he asked as his companion tried to stand once more.

Just as Shea was about to snap at him that he was more than capable of handing himself, he collapsed again, and although he bit his lip to keep from making any sound to alert the man of the pain he was in from his fall, he still couldn't stop himself from wincing.

"Did you land on it wrong?" the fisherman asked gently, crouching down to his level. He didn't bother waiting for a reply before gingerly lifting the man's injured leg. When his companion seethed between gritted teeth, he nodded in understanding, and he immediately went to try and lift him in his arms.

"Put Shea down!" his would-be attacker snapped, striking the sailor on the head with his fist. However, even though he seriously considered it, Denny didn't drop the struggling young man, and while he continued to bear the brunt of what was a rather savage beating, he just had to smile once he saw the hint of a blush on his friend's tanned cheeks. So he's embarrassed, is he? the man mused which didn't really surprise him by any means. After all...

What could be more embarrassing than for the almighty hunter to be carried, bridal style no less, by the very prey he had been stalking only moments before?

"Quit squirming you," he scolded in a half-hearted manner. "Otherwise..." he purred, all but nuzzling into his companion's neck, "I might just have to tie you up." Kuu simply shook his head in dismay, but he knew better than to impart judgement on his captain's habits. Even if they did involve horribly cheesy lines... and a certain someone who thought he was a meal.

"You make no sense," Shea moaned although he still stopped his frantic thrashing. What was the use? Yes, it was true that he hated the mere thought of lowering himself to the point of being carried, yet even that may have been for the best. If he was able, he easily would've avoided this great humiliation, but as it was... every time he tried to kick his unwanted escort in the head, the same jarring pain threatened to paralyzed him. All he could hope for was the reassurance that soon enough he'd be back in his hut, out of sight from all these wide eyes that studied them as they passed by.

He never really cared for outsiders all that much, to be perfectly honest. Their ways were so strange to him, and all they seemed to be able to do was stare when he passed through the revitalized parts of the island. Even with his limited vocabulary, he sometimes felt as if he did most of the talking as they were usually too busy gawking at him to be bothered to open their mouths to speak.

Denny never seemed to be troubled by him, though.

Upon first meeting him, Shea hadn't been sure what to expect. After all, the only clues he had as to who the man was or could ever be to him had been the scent of fish and the sea, and although it certainly peeked his interest, he wasn't all that concerned with getting to know him any further. However, Denny had been strangely persistent about the two speaking to one another which surprised him greatly. Even now, he wanted to ask just what it was about him of all the people on the island that drew so much interest.

Before he could even begin to ask the fisherman that very question, he found that he'd already been brought to the jungle, and he began fussing once again. "Put Shea down?" he all but begged, imploring with softened amber eyes. When his companion raised an eyebrow, he only sighed and muttered a few, choice curses (to the complete surprise of the other being as he didn't think the native even knew that kind of language). "No want Wada to see," he explained with another sigh and a faint brush of scarlet across his youthful face.

"Okay," Denny agreed wistfully, offering him a reassuring smile. However, as soon as he rested the young man's feet on the ground, Shea all but collapsed. "Tch, I don't think that's going to work any time soon, buddy..." the sailor muttered while trying to support his friend. "Just lean on my shoulder, I guess, and try not to step on it."

Although it was a rather daunting task at best, the pair still managed to hobble their way through the undergrowth and towards the small hut which was overshadowed by the enormous tower that loomed in the distance. The summer heat only intensified with the humidity of the jungle, and yet neither of the men complained. While one was more than accustomed to the climate here, the other had always be the sort to adapt to any situation. Like a couple of chameleons, they just seemed to blend into their surroundings.

However, once they'd arrived at the open doorway of the shack, Shea seemed to collapse under his own weight, and though his companion tried to catch him, the young man still managed to slide onto the ground. Luckily for Denny, though, he just so happened to faint on a hog skin which meant he could easily be dragged inside if need be...

"Um... Wada?" the fisherman began with an unexpected air of confidence in the older man's presence. "Shea's been injured," he explained simply although the elder did not turn to face him.

Wada, a rather foul-smelling yet wise individual, didn't concern himself with facing either his adopted son who lay out cold on the dirt floor nor the guest in his home. Instead, he simply continued to concentrate on nibbling on the tail of a sun-dried lizard as he was accustomed to, and every so often, he would stir the curious brew that rested in the pot over an open fire. However, upon hearing Denny drag the boy into the place, he glanced over with his good eye to see what all the commotion was about.

"Shea... hurt?" he asked, his grating voice relaying no sign of any surprise or concern.

"'Fraid so," his visitor agreed with the same indifferent, leaving his friend to rest by the wall on the far side of the space and away from the flames of the cooking fire. "I have a feeling it's his ankle although he can't move his leg much either... He can bent it, so at least we know it's not broken. If need be, the doctor from Mineral Town should be coming here soon for his vacation, but-" Finally realizing that his host had stopped listening long ago, the fisherman fell silent once more. However, that could only last for so long before he had to open his mouth again. "Making some stew?" he asked, motioning towards the kettle.

"No..." Wada replied, bowing his head slightly. Indeed, the liquid boiling in the pot was unlike anything the sailor had ever seen, let alone smelled, before on his travels. However, if the leaves and various animal parts that bubbled to the surface were any indication, he knew he'd have a hard time choking it down. "Sacred drink... for Denny..." he wild man explained as he scratched the fur draped across his chest.

"Why me?" his guest pressed gently, careful not to offended the elder who'd offered him such an honor. Although he got along well enough with both of the natives, he couldn't understand the purpose behind it. Of course, from the things he'd gathered on his many travels around the world, he had an inkling that by drinking this... whatever it was, he would be brought into the tribe, but he was unsure of why he had been chosen for the privilege.

"Because... Denny... love Shea..." Wada replied quietly, stirring the concoction again. "Wada know... Denny... no like... women..." It was more of a statement than anything, almost as if the man were discussing the weather or what was for dinner, and yet... his guest couldn't keep his face from warming.

"Yes," the fisherman agreed with a slight chuckle, "that's very true." Upon hearing his captain's reluctant tone in his confession, Kuu, who'd been more than happy to remain unnoticed by these savages, reassuringly nuzzled into the young man's cheek. After all, he may not have understood his owner's trouble in accepting his preference for other men since members of his species were known to look to other males for affection, but he knew that it was his job to comfort him whenever it was needed. It was something he took pride in, too.

"Tell Wada... Denny... want Shea?"

The fisherman didn't reply at first, yet his brown eyes immediately shifted towards the tanned figure that still lay on the floor. Shea's finely sculpted chest rose and fell with agonized breaths from the pain that occasionally rippled through him, but he made no sound as he slept, despite his obvious discomfort. Although it was then that the man wiped the sweat from his brow, he made no further advantages towards his injured warrior.

When was the first time he realized he had taken more than a 'liking' to Shea? Was it when the two had come to realize that they shared an unusual love for the sport of fishing, or had what was now the all too familiar sensations that coursed through him, even at this very moment, been there all along? He couldn't honestly remember, but that didn't really matter to him all that much

He'd never really been one to dwell on the past, after all.

As he lowered his head, Kuu hopped down from his perch and onto the floor. He'd watched enough of those horribly clich├ęd chic flicks during his captain's year long stint trying to convince himself he was straight to know what direction things were going, and he had no interest in taking any part of it. Since it was a moment clearly only meant for two, he knew it was not his place to be there whether he went unnoticed or not.

Choosing instead to sit beside the aged warrior, the unlikely pair of bird and man merely glanced at one another in understanding before gazing over towards the place where they'd left their wards. To neither one's surprise, the young men were lost in a soft, uncertain kiss. Even though the hunter had stiffened upon waking to find his lips were pressed against another's, he remained absolutely still as he had upon stalking what was once his prey, and at last, he allowed his body to relax. Of course, their guardians had expected this as well, but it still warmed their hearts to witness such things come into being.

"Wada... happy..." the old hunter murmured to his companion who had perched himself on his knee. "Shea... and Denny... be happy... too..." The small bird nodded in agreement, and though he gave a little sigh, he still couldn't help but smile.


Author's Note: If this didn't quite fit your expectations, don't worry too much about it because... I'm going to be writing a ten chapter DennyxShea story in the not too distant future, so be sure to a keep a look-out for it in the coming weeks! ;D

Finally, here's a fun fact: There are many species of birds, most notably penguins, that will ultimately chose a 'mate' of the same gender if there aren't enough males or females to go around during the breeding season. Male emperor penguins were the first to display such behavior. And now you know~