I just finished Atelier Iris 3 a bit ago, after doing Mana Khemia 2, and Winna and that game's version of Pamela may be my Atelier series OTP, even over Klein/Veola (I also like Felt/Fee), because they are just so freaking adorable. I wanted to do fic with them. And I had too much nervours energy to sleep, and Nemi suggested I try to write something. So I started trying to do 'just a couple sentences.' And stayed up till 2.

Also, Vayne responds to wishes, wants, desires, and when his power goes out of control it's while he's asleep, perhaps dreaming. That would make sense, as that's when the mind goes wild. So if someone Vayne wanted to make happy wanted Vayne to do something strongly enough while Vayne was in a receptive stateā€¦

I can justify the following. Well, enough for jazz.

Disclaimer: I don't own Mana Khemia 1, Atelier Iris 3, or anything else referenced in this. Gust & the other rightful owners do. No money made or infringement intended.

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He hated those dreams. Or rather, he didn't, that was the issue. They were perfectly normal for young men, after all. There was nothing to be ashamed about.

The part that mortified him was that there were certain dreams that he especially didn't hate. It had gotten to the point that he could almost tell he'd had one before he blinked himself awake enough to actually recall the details. There was a kind of mellow feeling, as though the rough edge had been smoothed off the world, and even his groan wasn't really heartfelt. He generally couldn't get properly angry at the world until noon at least. Or angry at a certain... impossible workshopmate until dinner.

The fact that he would look at him now and recall biting at that neck should either mortify him or inspire, no, reinforce the desire to grab it and throttle him.

What made it worse was that Vayne was the one to notice the change, to pick up that there might be something wrong from how Roxis was acting oddly. And then he'd be concerned in that way of his, and glancing at him trying to find if he'd hurt him without offending him, and it would make him think of Vayne leaning over him and wondering if he'd hurt him in a different way, only he was better at snapping at him to go back to what he was doing in the blasted dreams than the next day.

If he were the sappy poetic type he would say that Vayne had sort of an aura to him on those days, or the whole world did, some rot about sunlight that was all a metaphor for afterglow. No, when Vayne glowed it was because Roxis' mana was spotlighting him in order to drive Roxis even further insane, and Vayne was always beautiful, and grew even more so the more disheveled he got, unlike Roxis who actually had to work to look presentable.

That head of his was always an unkempt mess, and part of him thought about how nice it would be for Vayne's hair to be messy not because he had thought combs were things to be used on cats, not people, until Jess had explained things to him (and he still didn't use his except on Sulpher), but because Roxis had dug his claws, nails, into that scalp to pull him down, or kiss him to make him shut up, or...

When Vayne was trying to broadcast 'is there anything I can do for you,' he wanted to shove him into a broom closet, or pin him to the workbench. Tying him down with his own damn perfect fibers, that had been a nice one. It was trying to hear Vayne plea for Roxis to let him help in real life, but in the dreams that utter lack of dignity and willingness to beg was just simply perfect.

Submissive people had always irritated him, like those who gave up on their dreams or curried favor instead of working for it. They still did, or rather Vayne irritated him, but maybe only because it was getting hard to get irritated with him these days.

Well, it was easier when he couldn't get his mind on his work because of Vayne standing there bending down to carefully place each ingredient in the cauldron. Much easier when he also had to ignore certain physical reactions. He was certainly not interested in men, whatever his mana said.

And Vayne didn't even qualify as a man; he was a stunningly ignorant boy.

Who let people take advantage of him, and if he kept being so trustful and helping he was going to go to the house of some stranger with candy one of these days, for heaven's sake.

He'd wanted to beat Vayne up, slam him against the wall, and save him in battle before, but generally for the thrill of victory. And that was still there, but if someone else defeated Vayne shamefully (or worse, broke that trusting soul) then he wouldn't be able to, not properly.

From the beginning he'd known that people like that couldn't really exist. At first he'd thought the generosity and so on was all an act, because people didn't act like that in real life. But Vayne hadn't grown up in real life, he'd grown up in the woods taking orders from the Mana of Cats. People like that didn't exist because they wouldn't last five seconds in the real world, and Roxis had wanted to believe that Vayne was pretending. First because it let him maintain some shred of superiority in the face of that overwhelming... goody-two-shoeness, and then because the instant Vayne graduated he was doomed.

A naive, extremely attractive boy with the power of alchemy. Hopefully Roxis would be able to show him what people were really like once Flay stopped scaring all the vultures off.

Vayne was something fragile and precious, like a stained glass window, really. As an alchemist, he should cultivate an understanding of the value of beauty to the world, he told himself. It was purely objective.

True, Vayne had Sulpher to protect him, but even so...

If anyone was going to defeat Vayne, it would be him. And then Vayne would look up at him admiringly. And if anyone was going to push him down and take through advantage of him, it should be someone who wouldn't break him.

But it was even hard to get properly worried on days like these, and he wondered if this was how the rest of them felt all the time, brainless idiots without a care in the world that they were.

In fact, the person who was the most worried right now was Vayne... No, there went Anna. It was probably his fault for wondering aloud if Flay's... Flayness was catching yesterday, but he wasn't going to try to get between them.

Still, Vayne was more worried than Roxis for once. He supposed there wasn't anything wrong with keeping him guessing with a slight smirk. Perhaps he'd think Roxis was happy because he had some plan to defeat him?

No: that only seemed to reassure Vayne, who returned the smirk with a fond smile as Anna went through the window after Flay. Roxis had no idea how he'd gotten there, but that was Flay for you. Attempting to apply logic to him was a good way to lose it.

Just a typical day in the workshop, and there was no reason at all to consider it a nice day.

Really no reason once Pamela floated in and cheerfully informed them that her parents were going to be visiting tomorrow.

It really didn't say anything good about his remaining optimism that he really couldn't muster up the necessary surprise and horror at the idea of meeting two more ghosts, the ones who had spawned Pamela. And apparently her mother was named Pamela too.

He really should be sinking into the depths of despair, especially at the idea that some fool of a long-dead (fortunately for her, or he'd kill her) alchemist had created a synthesis that enabled ghosts to breed. He really should be fainting from the horror, or going to find a monster to bang his head against the ground for him until he got it out of his system.

He shouldn't be wishing he was back in his nice warm bed with his covers over his head, but dreams (even ones with irritating childlike rivals in them) were far preferable to living nightmares.

Maybe he should invite Vayne to go looking for ingredients with him. Then he could watch the monsters rub Vayne's too-pretty face into the dirt. Maybe they'd spend the night out there and have to spend tomorrow recovering in the infirmary.

Maybe his mana would have mercy on him.

That nice comfortable insulation from bleak reality was finally starting to wear off, and he shouldn't be wanting it back so badly. He shouldn't want another dream at all, let alone be eager enough that a portion of his mind that he wanted to disown was remembering the time Vayne had been a beastman and how his hair had been even softer and he'd purred or yowled instead of more pedestrian sounds.

"Well, I didn't remember until I got Dad's letter, silly!" Pamela was giggling.

"Your father?" Vayne prompted obligingly, playing straight man as usual.

"He looks a lot like Roxis, but with pink hair."

"Really? How much like Roxis?" Nikki asked, looking him over.

Now that almost gave him a heart attack. Weren't women supposed to want men like their fathers? Had people gotten the idea he liked Pamela because she liked him? Was nearly giving him heart attacks how she showed her affection? Was she going to poison him one night and hide his body at the depths of the resource center so he'd be doomed to eternity haunting the school?

Now he was sounding like Anna.

"Roxis, do you know how to write poetry?"

Maybe he wasn't too paranoid. "Well, I had to learn a great deal about obscure language to interpret texts, and the best way to study that was through poetry," came from his mouth before he could think to lie.

"Dad was a scholar too!" Pamela clapped her hands with delight.

"How did they meet?" Jess wondered, hands clasped and leaning forward with avid interest.

Pamela being distracted allowed him to breathe again. As much as he sympathized with his body's desire to be unconscious rather than have to deal with this, fainting was embarrassing. This was not happening, this was not allowed to be happening, "We're in need of more lead for that assignment."

"What assignment?"

"Honestly, Jess, you need to stop falling asleep in class, and Nikki keeps talking with her fan club: it is not my job to take notes for all of you." No, it was Vayne's notes they copied. They were always neat, well-organized, and Vayne-levels of perfectly through. Roxis would have refused to let them copy his notes if they'd asked, but was a bit miffed that they'd never asked. "We should go before it gets dark."

"But our workshop is too drab! I want to decorate it before they get here, make it cuter!"

"We'll help, won't we Nikki?"

"I guess," Nikki agreed with Jess, although it was clear that she and Vayne had both picked up on Roxis' need to get away from Pamela and were humoring him.

If it weren't an emergency he would have been humiliated.

In the end it was just the two of them. Flay had crossed their path on the way off campus, but it hadn't seemed like a good idea to distract him, given that Anna was this close to giving him a haircut.

Vayne was the one to suggest they camp for the night, which ruined Roxis' plan to keep fighting until they ran out of soup and ended up in the infirmary. It would have proved Vayne right if that had happened after Vayne had said to stop.

He fell asleep almost as soon as the blanket was spread and the dream was exactly what he wanted, utterly perfect and reality wasn't going to compare (his father was a gambler, he'd grown up in taverns, he'd heard complaints about bad sex before) until reality intruded.

Monsters appearing in dreams was one thing. Monsters appearing in this sort of dream? And while it was surprising what you could dream you had felt, the battle seemed a little too real.

What clinched it was when he called on his mana and she heard. And it was her. A dream was a figment of his own mind, and couldn't reach into another's, couldn't replicate the feel of something so foreign to it no matter how familiar with it became. It felt like ice water to his veins, and he tried to figure out when he had woken up and gotten dressed. His clothes just appearing him had made sense as long as he thought dream logic applied, but now?

"I," didn't molest you in your sleep or anything? Because Vayne would have gone along with it. Probably with no idea what he was getting into except that it felt good. Better than good.

Vayne was acting altogether too Vaynelike for his peace of mind. "Sorry about that, I should have kept a better eye out."

Roxis snorted almost reflexively: he'd had Vayne so distracted he hadn't even been able to get his eyes to focus. And he wanted to do it again, right now, because he needed some actual sleep and he was going to have enough to deal with in the morning anyway.

Vayne met his lips in a way that was altogether too familiar, too practiced, and if he'd been thinking he would have angrily wondered if Vayne had wandered into his room at night, but he'd been the one to finish off the monster and Vayne certainly wasn't acting as though he didn't understand what was going on and he wanted this.

Vayne wanted this, wanted him.

In the morning he thought that having a fight in the dream was perhaps even better than tying Vayne up, and was far too relaxed to care that his mana was snickering. That was another nice thing about these mornings. She seemed to find watching him as his body, well, and letting him know he'd been watched amusing enough she didn't need to do anything else to torment him for the rest of the day.

It was a lovely morning, and he should have stayed long enough to find out when Pamela's parents were leaving so they could get back just a little before then. Ah well, maybe they'd distract Pamela instead of ganging up on him.

He sighed, realizing that was another example of how irrationally optimistic he was on these mornings.

As he glanced over at the bedroll that had somehow ended up right next to his in the night he had to blink, because if Vayne was attractive when he did syntheses that was nothing to how he looked all messily sprawled out and vulnerable.

Just begging for someone to take advantage of him.

Roxis wasn't going to do that.

He even felt nice enough to kick Vayne awake so he could collect his gear a full five minutes before he used the Wings of Icarus instead of the normal five seconds.