this is me and everything i've dreamed
time and time again, i'll pray you're looking back.
gaiaonline | kanoko/brennivin ( onesided ) | wordcount: 1581

i feel so weird writing for this fandom, haha. this was inspired by the brennivin fanthread and all the talk about doujinshi ... bren's babelfished icelandic weirdness is hard to write. :I the two words in this fic, by the way, are rough approximations of the words 'elegant' and 'shine'. keeping up with the good-bad translation tradition.

( characters belong to gaia, not me. )

――

Prioritizing was never really Kanoko's strong point, but there comes a time when even the most scatterbrained of young teenage girls must refocus their energies; for her, as she sat beside one of Dernier*Cri's towering gothic windows sorting out fabric scraps by color, that time was now.

Back home, many other girls her age had been long swept up in whatever current trend was being spoon-fed to them – decked out in hiked-up uniform skirts, lipgloss and cutesy barrettes, they had since gone on to experience their first boyfriends, first kisses, and sweet sixteens; and of course, they made absolutely sure everyone in their grade knew about it via emoticon-peppered blurbs on social networking sites everywhere. Despite transferring out less than a year ago, Kanoko had desperately struggled to keep up ... and had gotten absolutely nowhere, as a result.

She sighed, pulling a length of silvery pashmina from the pile in front of her. Ever since transferring to school in Gaia, she had been through all sorts of crazy moments that would certainly be better suited for some off-the-wall manga ( who was going to believe her when she said she'd been through a parallel dimension contained within a mirror, or made friends with two former demigods? ) ... and yet, she still hadn't even gone so far as to hold the hand of a boy she fancied.

Probably best not to think about all this now, she thought. It's not good for my job performance ... mm, at least Brennivin is a lot cooler about things here than that prickly GRS guy would've been. She stopped momentarily, holding the bolt of pashmina in her hands. ... He's so weird, though. I can never seem to make out just what he's saying with that strange language of his, I'm always wondering if he's complimenting me when he talks or something else. I wonder if I could ask him, one of these days ...

Kanoko shook her head and went back to the task before her – if she didn't, Radio Jack would probably swing by and chew her out again, the little snot. Naaahh. He'd be too swept up with designing the latest thing to care~

――

The holiday break had come and gone, and Kanoko once again found herself having to juggle the newest batch of schoolwork with her duties at the shop; fortunately, Brennivin had mentioned that they'd be stationed in Gaia for a little while longer, but she was still worried about catching up on assignments and the like as they travelled around while out of commission. The second the bell rang, she was out like a shot, racing towards Dernier*Cri with her overloaded bag in tow.

After carefully meandering around the lobbies of wealthy Gaians who had stopped by to window-shop, she pushed the large, ornate door open and was greeted by the echoing silence within. No sign of Brennivin anywhere, but Radio Jack had made himself present, sipping on a petite cup of tea as he lounged on the windowsill.

"Oi," he greeted her, not looking up from his drink, "you're late."

"S-Sorry," Kanoko replied, bowing her head slightly and dropping her bookbag to the floor with a loud thud. "Physics kind of ran over today, and I didn't understand the problem on the worksheet, so –"

Jack rolled his eyes ( well, the one not covered by his eyepatch, anyway. ) "I didn't ask for your life story, kid! Oh yeah, and Brennivin went out to the Isle de Gambino to look for some gemstones for his latest vision," he remarked, emphasizing the last word with some dripping sarcasm. "He won't be back until sundown, he says."

For some reason, Kanoko felt a small, tugging feeling in her chest, like someone had just struck her through the heart. "... oh. Okay."

"... Eh? What, what's the matter all of a sudden? Were you that excited to see the guy today, or something?" Taking one last long slurp, Jack set the teacup aside and floated lazily to Kanoko's side on tiny bat wings. "Don't make me smack the sense outta you until I can wring the answer out!"

She rolled her eyes slightly at his threat, knowing that at his size he probably wouldn't be able to carry it out – Jack had always been all bark, no bite, as evidenced from his many defeats during that crazy mixup over the summer. "I dunno, maybe? I've just been thinking about some things, is all. About my life back at home and all the stuff I've gotten myself into here. I went from being a relatively normal girl to a ... a weirdness magnet, I guess you could call it."

Great, a talk about feelings, Jack thought grumpily. "Everyone in Gaia's got that. Hell, look at that blonde kid – least you didn't get possessed by some freaky fish guy and parade around naked in front of everyone." He paused, then shuddered at the mental image he'd just given himself.

"But the thing is, I just haven't been able to go out and do things like any other normal girl," Kanoko said sadly, sitting down by the window. "Everyone else I knew already had a boyfriend before I transferred, and they'd already gone on their first dates and gotten their first kisses ... meanwhile, I got my first 'nearly get eaten by a goat in the middle of space' moment instead. That's not normal! Even by Gaian standards!"

"... goat in the middle of space...?" Jack repeated.

Kanoko waved her hand at him, as if trying to dismiss some awful memory. "But anyway ... when I first met Brennivin, I thought that maybe, just maybe, that if he liked me back I'd be one step closer to actually having somewhat of a 'normal girl' life again. He's nice to me, he's not much older than me, he's creative ... but his head's practically stuck in cloudcuckooland all day, and he's so hard to understand in all aspects, that I wonder if this means I'm just getting myself nowhere."

She paused, looking over at Jack to make sure he hadn't fallen asleep out of sheer apathy. "But I guess a creature like yourself doesn't know much about the way a girl's mind works, huh~"

"Nope, nothing at all."

"Figured as much."

Jack shook his head, disbelieving the fact that he'd wasted his teatime listening to her going off about some silly puppy crush. There wasn't even a large workload or many customers to attend to, so he couldn't berate her for not doing her job, either. "Hm ... oh yeah, I forgot to mention before you turned into Miss Emotional there, Brennivin left a note before he went out. It's over there by the dressform, he forgot to put it in the right spot when he took off."

Kanoko's eyes widened. "A note?" Racing past Jack ( who barely had time to cough out 'did I stutter?' before she knocked him over ) she found the dressform that Brennivin kept guarded from the two of them – and upon discovering it, she gasped in delight.

It was a dress, much like the dress they'd been currently selling but nowhere near as humongous; it was crafted from a sugary pink chiffon, with hints of glittering white tulle and silk peeking from the asymmetrical hem. The edges were finished off with a delicately woven white lace, from the skirt to the small, off-the-shoulder sleeves to the empire-waisted bodice – the only thing appearing to be missing, it seemed, was a selection of jewels, as Kanoko discovered upon looking at the patterns strewn about the sewing table and floor. He'd even fixed up a matching pink choker to complete the ensemble, as well.

She was in awe of the newly-created design, it was almost princess-like in its execution – "wow, the customers are going to be swarming the place once they see this!" she exclaimed – but where was the note Jack mentioned? Rustling through the patterns and soft pink scraps on the floor, she found a small scrap of yellow lined paper, hastily scribbled on. After squinting a bit to decipher it, she read it silently to herself:

Ko--
Found design in back of manual, very myndarlegur! Considered to sell, but ... would be happier if it were for Ko to wear. She makes it look ladylike and cute, ja?

Went to Gambino, for it needs some more ljóma before it is truly done! Be back soon~

"..." Kanoko had to reread it to make sure she got that right. He made the dress ... for her? Especially for her? Did that mean that all her wondering about him wasn't for naught after all? Whatever the reason, the smile on her face came easily, spreading until she burst into a fit of excited, girlish giggles. She had a chance! And now she couldn't wait for Brennivin to return, so she could try on her new prize to show him how ladylike and cute she could be.

She took a few more minutes to reread the note once more, sighing dreamily as she did so, then stole another glance at the near-finished dress. Kanoko could almost imagine the bejewelled choker resting at her throat already, the swish of the chiffon as she walked ...

"Hey, you done in there yet? We've got a customer! Hey! Kanoko–!"

Jack's shrill voice cut through her thoughts before they fully unwound, but Kanoko didn't mind. Placing the note lovingly back onto the sewing table, she cheerily bounced out of the back room, with a spring in her step and a new hope to hold onto.