Pointless fluff. -ducks head- I am ashamed. Though I haven't written fluff of this magnitude for a while and the temptation of Eggy was too great to resist. Don't resist! ;)
Disclaimer: So not mine.
Summary: Ella glared at him. "You're making fun of me!" Iggy only smirked and leaned in closer. "Actually, it's called flirting." Iggy, Ella, and sleepless nights. Eggy, obviously.
Twenty-three sheep, twenty-four, twenty-five…
Ella groaned and pushed her face into her pillow. She'd been trying to fall asleep for nearly an hour now, and nothing, not even smoothing out her breathing or counting sheep, was working. She could feel the leftover excitement from the day pounding through her veins, keeping her grasping fingers just short of sleep's finest threads.
It wasn't her body's fault, she guessed. It was her head's—it still couldn't get over the fact that the flock was spending the night.
Ella felt another thrill pass through her and barely restrained a silly smile. The flock was spending the night! Max and Fang and Gazzy, and Nudge and Angel…a new family, just for her. Ella had never had a single sibling before, let alone six. Even if the flock was only staying over for a night, it was as if her family had expanded from two to eight in the space of a day.
She was still jittery from all the emotions and excitement of having the flock visit. No wonder her brain couldn't stop to rest.
And, well, then there was Iggy…
Ella blushed and pulled the pillow away to look guiltily at Max's sleeping form. She, Max, Nudge and Angel had opted to share a room, while the boys had taken the guest room right downstairs. Sharing the same space made her feel closer to the older girl, almost like the sister she was to Max…which was why she felt embarrassed just thinking things like that about Iggy. Iggy was like Max's brother—well, not technically, but still—which made the whole crush factor kind of…awkward.
Oooh! Ella knocked a hand against the side of her head. What was she doing, thinking about things like that? It wasn't as if he noticed how much she admired him, or how she sometimes had to restrain herself from enveloping him in an affectionate hug.
She wallowed in her own dejection for a moment before realizing how pathetic it made her feel. Suddenly frustrated with herself, she adjusted her bedcovers and snuggled down into them.
That's it. I'm strong, I can take this. Twenty-six sheep, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine…!
She reached thirty-five before she snapped and hurled her blankets away.
I give up—I can't sleep. Maybe some milk and a cookie will help…I think there are still some left over from before…
Making sure to be as quiet as she could, she slipped out of bed and snuck across the floor to the door. Before she'd even put her hand on the handle, Max was up and groggily asking her, "What'sa matter? Erasers?"
Ella gave her a sheepish smile. "No, no—sorry, Max. I can't sleep. I'm just going to get something to eat."
"Oh." Max wrinkled her forehead. "Okay."
And with that, she flopped back down onto her futon and was dead to the world.
It was a miracle that Ella was able to slink past the other rooms, tiptoe downstairs, and not be discovered, and she basked in this small success…until she noticed that the light in the kitchen was already on.
Ella frowned and glanced at the living room clock. It was later than she thought, half-past midnight already. Who could that be?
"I heard you coming down, you know."
Ella jumped at the decidedly male voice that spoke up from the kitchen. Holding a hand to her painfully thumping heart, she abandoned all stealth and crept around the corner.
Iggy was perched on the kitchen counter, bumping a heel against a cabinet and holding a cookie in one long-fingered hand. He met her eyes the instant she came around the corner. Most people would have been unnerved by how, despite his blindness, he was staring right at her when she entered the kitchen, but Ella just thought it made him even more interesting.
Oh, I'm a lost cause, aren't I? She thought wearily to herself.
"Hey." Iggy flashed her a crooked smile that made her go weak at the knees. "Sorry if I startled you. I can hear a mouse crawling across the room, if it's really quiet."
Ella gave him a timid smile. "That's…that's really amazing."
She knew she wasn't acting her usual brave, outgoing self, but there was just something about him that made her feel awkward and clumsy. When he smiled at her, her heart pounded and her cheeks flushed. Around other guys, she wasn't as shy, but with Iggy…she felt completely and utterly out of her league.
"How did you know it was me?" she asked.
"Everyone walks a certain way," he replied flippantly. "With Max, it's kind of a steady clomp-clomp, you know? Like a lumberjack. Uh...but don't tell her I said that! Fang is so quiet I can barely hear him, Nudge has this little skip in her step, Gazzy just shuffles around, and Angel…well, it's hard to describe. It's a little-girl walk, like she's always pretending she's a ballerina."
He looked back up at her and grinned. "You…you walk like a normal person."
"Oh." Ella blinked uncertainly. "Thanks…I think."
Iggy forced out a dry laugh. "Believe me, coming from a mutant freak, being called normal's a compliment."
Instantly, before she could avoid embarrassing herself, she was defending him. "You're not a freak. You're—"
She stopped herself from saying wonderful at the very last second. Iggy was staring at her in open, obvious surprise.
Ella raised her shoulders in a shrug before remembering that he couldn't see the gesture. "You're a good person," she said squeakily.
Iggy smiled. "Thanks. But…what are you doing down here, anyway?"
Inwardly, Ella breathed a sigh of relief. Got away from that potential disaster. Great way to make small talk, Ella. Make him call himself a freak. "Same thing as you, I guess. Couldn't sleep, thought a cookie might help."
"I'm just hungry, actually." Iggy slipped off the counter and reached for the plate of cookies Ella's mother had left out. Only a few had survived the hunger of six hungry, winged mutants. "And your mom's cookies are great. Roasted squirrel couldn't compare to them in a million years."
Ella winced. "Roasted…?"
"Oh." Iggy looked like he wanted to hit himself over the head with the plate he was holding out to her. "Sorry, forgot that's not a normal thing to say around here. It's just…when you're on the run, you really don't have a choice about what you eat. You have to survive off whatever you can find. Even if it's roasted squirrel."
"I'm sorry," Ella said, and took a cookie. "I mean…I'm sorry you guys had such a hard life. I wish I could have helped you somehow."
Iggy shook his head in amusement. "Are you only this nice to us, or are you just like that with everyone?"
Ella smiled and bit into her cookie. "I don't know. Would you want me to be mean to you?"
Iggy laughed, leaning against the counter. "I don't think you could be if you tried."
"Really." Ella set aside the cookie and folded her arms. "Alright, Iggy. You've got no sense of humor and I think your food tastes like cardboard." She unfolded her arms, giving him a haughty expression, even though she knew that he couldn't see it. "How was that?"
"Um..." Iggy closed his gaping mouth. "If I didn't know better - as in, my cooking and sense of humor are awesome, thanks a lot - I'd say you actually meant that."
Ella's lips curled into a full smile. She barely noticed that she'd been drawing closer to the tall, strawberry-blond boy, or that he had noticed her approach and wasn't running away. "Well, what if I did?"
"Yeah, right," Iggy said cockily. "You don't have what it takes."
She glared at him. "You're making fun of me!" she accused.
Iggy only smirked and leaned in closer. She could feel the soft puff of his exhalations on her cheeks. His eyes had never been bluer.
"Actually," he said smoothly, "it's called flirting."
Ella's brain stopped working. The world constricted into a tiny pinprick of focus, in which he was the center. She opened her mouth and closed it again, and then tried opening it another time. Come on, Ella! She cajoled herself. Say something!
"F-flirting?" she repeated dumbly. Her heart hammered in her throat. "As in...you-like-me flirting?"
His lips twitched up, eyes glimmering with amusement. "Yep."
Then he did the thing she'd been wishing he would do since the minute she met him. He did the thing that she'd only dreamed would happen in a million years, the thing that set her face aflame and her heart racing.
He kissed her.
Ella's eyes flew wide open. Iggy drew away after a second and took a step back, looking like he was out of his element for the first time that night.
"Sorry," he said, looking down as red settled down over his pale cheeks. "That was kinda uncalled for."
"Not really," Ella surprised herself by saying. She smiled at his startled expression and took a step forward. Now, she felt she was back to her usual self. Maybe a little shy and a bit uncertain about what he would do, but that was all. Steeling herself, she pushed herself onto her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his. Her heart leapt when he didn't pull away, but pulled her closer.
"Well," he said when they broke apart. "Maybe you didn't get the whole flirting thing, but I think I know what that meant."
Ella smiled at him, but all she could think was that she was glad the sheep-counting hadn't worked.
A/N: Urgh, the cheesiness. I could dip chips in this and call 'em nachos. :/
Reviews - you know I loves them. =]