Crashes and Moisturizer


As he awoke, Gino Gambino gradually became aware of two things. First, that the sky was exceptionally beautiful and clear today, a welcome relief from the almost week-long succession of thunderstorms. Second, that he wasn't nestled in the warmth and downy-soft comfort of his bed, but was instead awkwardly splayed on top of a cute girl. Although the second point featured prominently in many of his dreams, he was most certainly not dreaming the aches and pains all over his body.

What happened? Gino groaned and tried to lift himself up, only to be hit by a falling plank. He let out a peculiar sound, somewhere between a "damn" and an undignified squeak, -not that a Gambino, even Gino, would ever squeak- and, defeated by wood, sank back down. This situation, however, was not altogether pleasing to the hapless girl currently trapped under the young Gambino. In fact, it was distinctly unpleasant.

Kanoko had been adjusting the ruffles on the latest design exactly as Brennivin wanted -though to be honest, since Kanoko and Brennivin communicated mostly through vague hand gestures, it was equally likely that he wanted her to dust the unicorn statues- when the ship crashed through the ceiling of Dernier*Cri. Kanoko, fearing what would happen if Radio Jack caught word that she'd let a strange ship crush the multimillion gold prototype, dove towards the dress, safely pushing it out of harm's way. Alas, she couldn't savor her victory, because at that very moment, Gino Gambino fell out of the wreck and landed directly onto her back. That was about ten seconds ago and Kanoko didn't enjoy it now any more than she did then. He had exceptionally sharp elbows.

"Um, hey," she began timidly. As a matter of principle, she didn't make it a habit out of being trapped under heirs, and so she felt quite unsure about the proper etiquette regarding their removal.

"You're on top of me."

"Sorry about that."

"Could you maybe not be on top of me anymore?"

"Oh, uh, yeah!"

With a sheepish grin, Gino rose to his feet and offered a hand to the fallen Kanoko. She stared at it for a moment, then took it after she realized that even if nature blessed this boy with stunningly red eyes, it didn't necessarily mean that he'd explode into an arm-eating dragon at a single touch. His skin was oddly soft and warm for a person who apparently spent a great deal of his time sailing above the clouds and sea, which meant he must adhere to a strict regimen to counteract the harsh winds. Kanoko blushed: she most certainly approved of men who moisturized.

"Um, well…"

Kanoko really didn't know what one should say after a ship crash. She thought that exchanging insurance papers and perhaps phone numbers was what one should do, but since Brennivin usually responded to people asking for his insurance paperwork by wiping their recent memories and sending them to another corner of the globe, she doubted there were even papers to give.

"Well, uh…"

Gino never crashed into someone's ship before. Not that he, mind you, actually crashed The Triumph. That "honor" belonged to The Overseer, who Gino intended to instruct on the importance of avoiding large objects while at air. Then again, if ship crashes meant colliding with brown-eyed girls, perhaps the demigod's steering was just fine.

"Sorry about all of that," he said with a very self-conscious laugh as he waved his free hand in the general direction of the mess of wood. He never quite mastered the art of looking suave and sophisticated while talking to girls, and most certainly not while talking to girls whose roof he'd just crashed through. "I can pay for the damages. I'm really sorry. Did I hurt you?

"Oh no, I'm fine!" Kanoko said, her voice every bit as chirpy as a songbird in spring. As a matter of fact, the back of her head ached like nothing else, but she didn't mind much. Between an all girls school and the hectic nature of work at Dernier*Cri, she never managed to hold many boys' hands or, in fact, many hands at all. Helping customers try on the latest fancy gloves didn't really count.

"Well, I guess that's great! So…this is a really fancy place you have here, isn't it? It's even better than my dad's house."

Even with the ceilings in ruins and Sentinel yelling at the Overseer in the background, Gino thought he must have crashed into some sort of artistic paradise. Glittering mosaics of golden dragons and maidens covered the walls, covered in some parts by drapes of intricately patterned fabric. Blueprints, beads, and dazzling dresses, each more fantastic than the next, covered almost every inch of the floor that wasn't presently occupied by airships and confused ex-demigods.

"Oh, this isn't a house! I mean, I live here with my friend, Brennivin, but he's not my boyfriend or anything, since I don't think he has a sex drive, not that you have to do, um, that to be boyfriends and girlfriends, but he's too old for me anyway, not that being old is bad, it's just that we're at different stages in our psychosocial development and would benefit from interacting with people our own age. We're covering psychosocial development in my psychology class! It's about the psychological changes you undergo as you develop socially, hence the name. Psychology's fascinating and I'm probably going to major in it when I go to college in the fall, but I don't like studying the sad baby monkeys."

Another plank fell from the wreckage and Kanoko became aware of footsteps, probably Brennivin's, approaching.

"What I meant to say is that this is a shop, but I stay here when I'm not at school. It's called Dernier*Cri -it has the star in the name, but you're not supposed to pronounce it- and we specialize in high-end avant-garde fashion. Brennivin's the main designer and owner, because he's a wizard. You'd think a wizard would use his magic to conquer the peasants or something like that, but just uses it to turn lighting fixtures into dresses. He also does hair."

"Lighting fixtures?"

Gino didn't know much about fashion other than the fact that he hated whatever Liam liked, but he was pretty sure turning lamps into clothing wasn't par the course.

"That's our Chandelier Gown! I told him that we should sell a dress that would illuminate the lady wearing it, but he's not very good with metaphor. It's pretty cool though."

Gino couldn't suppress an amused smile. He'd have to come back here sometime and see it, especially if the girl in front of him would model it. Speaking of the girl, he didn't know her name.

"Oh, well, that's good then, miss…?"

"Kanoko! And you're Gino Gambino, aren't you? I remember your name because I saw your picture on the news once and thought you had really, really nice hair."

"Well, thank you. You have really nice hair too."

How strange. Gino couldn't remember being on television except for when he was very young and still living with his father. He decided that he should catch up on the news, but promptly forgot that thought when Kanoko flashed him the sort of brilliant smile that can liquefy a young man.

"So, Kanoko, do you-"

But Gino's words were cut off when the door slammed open and a rather panicked wizard, whose hair defied the laws of gravity, dashed into the room. He looked as if he might burst into horrified tears at the sight of a few less valuable and now dirty dresses littering the ground or hex Gino into a hedgehog at any moment, possibly both.

"Mitä helvettiä? This ship is being in my ship. Ko! Stay away from pirate girl. She is not good."

"You've got me wrong! I'm not a pi-"

"Piglet!" Came a far too familiar voice as Sentinel, with her ex-mollusk and very embarrassed companion in tow, climbed out of the wreckage. Gino's eyebrows twitched ever so slightly and his face turned a remarkable red. He thought she tired of that nickname ages ago, but apparently not. "Are you going to help me fix the ship or are you just going to blush like the virgin you are?"

Instantly, Brennivin's demeanor changed from shocked and angry back to his usual overexcited self.

"Oh, little godlings! You are not pirates and ooh, your clothings are very, how do you say it, hobo chic. I like, I like! Please, do not toil over ship. I will fix. Ko, I am in need of my wand for this. Please, you will go and get it?"

"Sure thing. I'll be back in a second."

Pouting all the while, she dropped Gino's hand at last and raced towards the hall. The faster she found the wand Brennivin only used in emergencies, the faster she could come back and talk with the cute boy who fell from the summer sky. She searched through stacks of papers, mounds of fabrics, boxes of magazines, and finally found the wand under a sleeping Radio Jack.

"Got it!" She exclaimed breathlessly upon returning, trying to ignore the pain in her side from running much too fast. "You should keep it in a…oh."

Brennivin, it turns out, didn't need the wand at all. Kanoko stared at the now fixed ceiling and clean floors and rubbed her now cold hand, tears welling up in the corner of her eyes. She never got to ask his phone number or, at very least, what he used to keep his hands so silky soft.


This fluff thing is sort of new for me! This was written for a contest at Gambino Addicts, a DA group. Go there and look at magical things! I like it when people point out errors and such.