Disclaimer: I don't own it.
A/N: My first Sheelos in a while. R&R(:
"Pyre Seal!" I screamed as I slashed my cards at the huge dragon. It roared in pain, then swung its tail at me. Suddenly my entire right side was on fire, and I gasped, caught by surprise. Stupid. I crumpled to the hard earthen floor and was nearly stomped on by the beast. I dragged myself backwards frantically, ignoring the way my body reacted to the movement. Unwilling tears slid down my cheeks and I closed my eyes in terror.
"Guardian!" someone shouted right in front of me, and I opened my eyes, relieved. There was a green wall flickering around me. The room swam in front of me, but at least I could see. As the spell died, I saw pair of bright yellow shoes right in front of me. Zelos. No one else would wear those shoes. I made myself look up and around. Yes, it was Zelos in front of me. Lloyd was still attacking the dragon from behind, and Genis was on the ground, apparently unconscious. Gritting my teeth, I got to my feet and got into a fighting stance, though the effort made my head spin and my side shriek in protest. Zelos cast a quick glance and saw me standing. There was sweat shining on his face and he looked uncharacteristically pissed. "Get back down, idiot!" he shouted. "You can't fight like -" His words were cut off as he jumped to avoid the tail that again swung. Luckily, its range didn't quite include me.
"I'm fine," I choked out, and I limped as quickly as I could to the dragon. "Pyre - Seal," I forced out between clenched teeth. The attack was weak, I could feel that much. But before I had the chance to try again, Zelos delivered a death blow to the monster's stomach. It crashed to the ground, narrowly missing me. I looked around shakily and saw Lloyd rush to Genis's side. The half-elf was lying face-down in the dirt and didn't look so good. I took a step towards them, then another. That was all I could manage. The last thing I heard before I succumbed to the fire in my side was Zelos yelling my name.
I opened my eyes to the sight of the outside world, a sight for which I was very grateful, despite how much pain I was still in. It was late evening, and I could see the moon, but no stars. There were cliffs surrounding us, a fire crackled merrily near me - providing the only true light - and I could smell miso stew cooking, my favorite. On the other side of the fire, across from me, I saw Genis lying down on his bedroll. Raine was crouching beside him, rubbing gel on his shoulder. Regal was the one making the food. I had no idea where Lloyd, Presea, and Zelos were.
"I'm so sorry, Professor, this is all my fault," Colette said sadly. "I'm the one who suggested we should train against some really hard monsters before we went to Heimdall." The teenager was sitting by the fire, her arms wrapped around her knees. "I should've known better."
"That's enough," Raine snapped irritably. "We all wanted to come back and train, it's no more your fault than anyone else's. Genis should have used a Force Field anyway."
Colette sighed. "You're right, Professor." I could hear how listless her answer was, though. Raine stood and stretched.
"Those four certainly weren't very smart. They should have had at least one accomplished healer with them when attacking such a strong monster."
"They had Zelos. He can do First Aid and Healing Wind," Colette offered. Raine shook her head as she made her way over to me.
"He doesn't have the makings of a healer. He prefers being in the center of the action. It's not his fault, he just forgets. They should have brought either Regal or myself instead of going with just the four of them. I see you're awake. How's your side?" She knelt down beside me as she asked.
I cleared my throat. "It's, um, okay," I lied. She snorted.
"No, it isn't. I shouldn't have even asked, I knew you would say that. I can't apply a lemon gel to it. Zelos told me that it swung its tail at you when he brought you to me. You must have gotten hit with a spike. I already cleaned out the venom. However, this type of wound is difficult to heal. I cast First Aid already, so it's not life-threatening anymore, but it's still going to take at least a week before you're able to do anything strenuous again." She delivered this news calmly and steadily. I gaped, then tried to stand. Pain flamed within my entire right side, and I fell back to my bedroll.
"I can't hold us up for a week!" I said, horrified at the very idea. "We have too much to do!" Raine's mouth thinned as I again tried to stand. Her silver hair was frizzy and she looked exhausted and annoyed, with huge bags under her eyes. I stopped trying to move when I took this in. Arguing with Raine when she was happy and well-rested was hard enough; arguing with her when she was like this was a death wish.
"There's nothing you can do about it. Now, you aren't to try to change the bandaging yourself. I'll change it once every evening. Once it's started to heal somewhat, I'll be able to put lemon gel on it. Probably in two or three days. Until then, you'll just have to take it easy." My measly hope of being of some value to my companions faded.
"And you're sure it'll take a week?" I asked again, already knowing the answer.
"And quite possibly longer, if you don't let it heal. That means no practicing, no training, no cooking. We'll just stay camped here. It would be better if we could get you to an inn, but..." She trailed off, and I knew what the problem was - gald.
"No, I hate people, you know that," I assured her. "I wouldn't be able to relax." We'd had plenty of money when we came to Tethe'alla, but we'd spent the better portion of it on doctors for the numerous injuries we'd sustained. Now, we only stayed at inns or traveling houses when it absolutely necessary, and even then only if it was cheap.
"Hey, my Ultra-Gorgeous Cool Beauty," Zelos shouted, walking up to the fire, followed by Lloyd and Presea. I rolled my eyes - no trace of the anger or concern he'd exhibited during the battle. (I didn't let myself sink into loneliness at the realization.) To my surprise, Raine made no comment at his nickname for her; instead, she just raised her eyebrows at him knowingly. He and Lloyd joined Colette and started talking to her.
"Hey Raine. What did you mean about when Zelos brought me up?" I questioned, considering the strange choice of words.
"I mean when he charged out of the temple carrying you and yelling for me to help," she answered impatiently. "I had to send him away while you slept. He was sitting there watching you and holding your hand, making sure you were alright. I couldn't work properly."
I stared at her. "What?"
"You heard me. If you ask me, that boy's in -"
"And look who woke up! Hey, Demonic Banshee!" Zelos suddenly shouted, striding over to me.
"If I could stand up right now..." I said threateningly, silently pondering what Raine had been going to say about the guy I'd fallen for so long ago, despite our arguments. He grinned.
"Fortunately for me, you can't. So I can tease you to my heart's content." His blue eyes danced, reflecting the firelight. I groaned.
"I'm going to have to put up with this for a week?" I complained. Across the fire, Colette giggled. Zelos immediately jumped on the encouragement.
"Oh, my voluptuous hunny, although it pains me a great deal to see you in such a grievous state, I pray that you are injured yet again! It's the only way I can profess my love for you without being gravely harmed!" he cried out.
"Cut the crap. Talk like a normal person," I huffed. He smirked.
"Dost my proper speech annoyeth thee?" he asked. I frowned.
"Yes, it does annoyeth me," I replied, mimicking his pompous tone. "So shut it!" To my surprise, Colette laughed at this, and I heard Regal let out a quiet snort. Zelos smiled, too.
"You're a funny hunny," he said. I sighed. A week of putting up with this, without being able to hit him and shut him up. Without being able to practice summoning. Without being able to train.
The thought sunk in and I began protesting again. "Raine, I can't go a week without training! I'll be so out of shape! I train every day! I can't not train!" Raine began rubbing her temples.
"Sheena Fujibayashi," she said slowly and clearly. "I am losing my patience. You need to give your body rest and a chance to heal. You'll just have to make up for the lack of training later." She smoothed her hair self-righteously, then accepted a bowl of miso stew from Regal. He handed me one as well.
"Am I allowed to sit up to eat?" I muttered sarcastically under my breath as I pushed myself into a cross-legged position. I drew in a silent breath at the effort. Raine, thankfully, didn't notice. Unfortunately, Zelos did.
"Can't have you in pain, now, can we, hun?" he said softly, sitting down behind me so I was leaning against his very warm chest. I felt my face redden.
"Zelos!" I snapped quietly. "Can't your... your... jokes wait till I'm better? I don't want to make Raine angry!" His chest moved as he chuckled.
"I'm not joking, beautiful." I blushed harder at his words. His knees were bent so that I was completely surrounded by him; his arms were wrapped around my stomach; and his cheek was resting on my head. I was only too aware of how intimate we looked.
"Zelos! This isn't -" I realized my voice was rising and quieted. "You need to stop! I mean - I'm not one of your - your tramps, I don't want - you to, you know -"
"Shh." He lifted his head. "Just eat, Sheena. I'm not going to act like you're one of my tramps, okay? I just don't want you in pain."
"I... well..." It was true that my side didn't hurt as badly while I was leaning against him, and the fact that he'd used my real name had sort of disarmed me. "I mean... Just please don't use this against me," I whispered, my eyes shut tight. Even I could hear how vulnerable I sounded, and it scared me.
"I won't," he answered, and for once I believed him. I settled in against him and began to eat. It was actually very comfortable, and I found myself enjoying the sensation of being so close to the handsome man I'd known for such a long time. As I ate, I watched the others to be sure they didn't notice us. No need for them to think being with Zelos made me blush on a regular basis, or that it sent butterflies to my stomach, or that it made me want to smile for all eternity...
Colette was eating her stew, looking extremely guilty. Lloyd had his arm around her and was comforting the fair-haired girl. The two were completely oblivious to us. Raine was sitting by Genis, picking at her food and looking worried. Regal was standing at the edge of the circle of light the fire provided, brooding. Presea, though, was looking directly at Zelos and I. I got the unnerving feeling that she understood a lot more about the two of us than she let on.
Even though I didn't want the pink-haired girl thinking I was in love with Zelos, I couldn't bring myself to move. I set down my half-empty bowl of stew, unable to eat anymore. Then, I tentatively rested my head against his shoulder. A perfect fit. The words ran through my mind before I could stop them, and I felt the corners of my mouth lift. I shut my eyes, exhausted. It was so warm and comfortable to be there, in the safe circle of his arms.
I was drifting off, and I knew it, and I didn't want to stop it. As I began to lose awareness of the world around me, I thought I felt Zelos press his lips to the top of my head, and I relaxed even more into him.
"Sweet dreams, Sheena Fujibayashi," he murmured, and then I was asleep.