Okay, let me just get something straight. Ness and Paula is my favorite pairing, but for some inexplicable reason, I'm really okay with Jeff x Paula and Poo x Paula too. (laughs sheepishly) She's just one of those shippable characters, I guess.

Poo x Paula isn't something I'd ordinarily write for, but my sister pressured me to (well, not really LOL, but she encouraged me, anyway xD), and since it doesn't seem like there's any other writings for them, I wanted to try it out. So... yeah.

Read this with a grain of salt... it's kinda (read: very) cheesy. xD I-I'll try to write some non-cheesy EB fanfiction sometime soon...

And yes, I'm planning on finishing Vollstandige. I just hit a snag in the plot.

How can your smile hurt me this much?

Originally, I was meditating in an old oak tree, but the sound of her and Ness laughing together tore my mind away from peaceful thoughts. Ness seems to say something to her, wearing his carefree grin.

Once again, a chorus of laughter erupts. She holds her petite sides, bending over, trying to hold in her giggles. Her golden locks bounce back and forth as her head shakes. The sunlight almost seems to favor her hair over everyone else's, as it is reflecting much more brilliantly on her. Or maybe it is only my imagination?

I can not hear what the conversation is, but whatever it may be, it is deserving of Paula's melodic laughter. That makes me feel sick.

What is wrong with me?

I have never felt this way about another person before. I can not comprehend these strange and unwanted feelings. In my years of careful mental training, never have I been this rash and unruly. Of late, my mind is wandering. Despite my best efforts to flush away all images of her, she somehow pries her way back into my thoughts. It is not as though I am thinking anything in particular about her... My thoughts turn into meaningless observations, such as the shimmer of her hair or how uneasy the reflected image of myself in her eyes makes me. Or, like now, how comforting her laughter is.

Out of confusion over these peculiar musings, I consulted Jeff one night, when Paula and Ness were already asleep. I do not know what drove me to ask him, of all people, but I knew that Jeff was more familiar with the dealings of emotional weaknesses. I do recall him mentioning a very close friend back at his boarding school. Maybe this was something like that?

"No, that's totally different..." Jeff had told me, with a serious and calculating expression. "Poo, could it be that you like Paula?"

I had scoffed at that. Of course I like her. It is natural for me to like a girl as kind as she is. As a matter of fact, I like all of my companions. Though I did not intend to become bonded to these people, who I initially saw as only fellow warriors in the war against Evil, it seems that my heart is now tied to theirs in the bondage that is called "Friendship".

But Jeff shook his head. He said that he meant it differently.

What do you mean, differently? Do you mean to tell me that there are different kinds of "like"? How flimsy. One should either like something, or not. I am not so weak as to create different levels of "like".

But Jeff shook his head. He said that I did not understand.

That's ridiculous. What do you mean, I do not understand? Was he mocking my avid training? Do not toy with me!

...I had said this, and Jeff only sighed and went to bed. He told me that perhaps I would grow to understand it.

And so now I sit here, allowing my legs to dangle from the tree's thick branch. Even if I try to take a deep, cleansing breath, my thoughts are still clouded and dark. How frustrating this situation is. My master never trained me for something like this. What an utterly horrendous feeling I have settling in my stomach!

What is wrong with me?!

"Poo, are you okay?" I snap out of my reverie with a startled jolt. My black eyes immediately lock onto Paula, who is looking up at me with a concerned expression.

"I... I am fine. My meditation was just a little bit... scattered." Even I do not understand what I am saying right now. Words are just coming out.

"Ohh, I see... I hope I wasn't being too loud?" The corners of her mouth curl down, and she folds her hands together like a child. I am paying too much attention to these subtle gestures, and as a result, my reply is slightly delayed.

"No... it is not... not your fault." Well, inadvertently, it was, but I can not bring myself to say that.

"That's good! Um, anyway, Ness and I are gonna go pick up some hamburgers for lunch. Do you want us to bring you anything?"

I inwardly cringe at the mention of that greasy, slimy, layered fat that these people call 'hamburgers'. How anyone could consume that kind of... thing... for nutrition is beyond my understanding.

"No, just bring me a water bottle, please."

"Okay! See you and Jeff later, then!" She waves a small hand. When it returns to her side, Ness takes it into his own hand. They walk away, side by side, and I can hear her laugh again.

How can a sound so pleasant make my stomach churn this way?
How can someone I "like" so much make me feel this miserable?!