A little something for the Slapshipping fans out there.
Disclaimer: I don't own Yugioh GX. Lia Shanner, however, is all mine.
Lia's hair has just as much personality as the rest of her, as far as Aster's concerned. From the way it frizzes up and reminds him of her little tiffs at nothing, to the way it softens when she lets him touch it and sags against his hands like her whole body does against his, Aster's just as smitten with it as he is with the rest of her.
Aster likes hotdogs best when he needs a quick meal; Lia chalks it up to him being an American, and tries very hard not to be flattered when he buys one for her too. (She ends up hitting him when he offers to buy them a foot-long next time, and have them each start at one end until they meet in the middle.)
Aster knows the exact time Lia was born, the hour her father died, and the day her mother met Gauvin. He's gleaned this all from conversations he's had with her, and it isn't until he talks to Syrus and Jaden (who've been with her since the beginning) that he finds out that it took them almost a year to find out what Lia's told him after about two months of knowing him.
Aster makes a pass at Lia at every given opportunity. His favourite thing to do is call her 'babe', because she goes completely pink in the face and sputters like she's never heard that word before in her life. Aster wonders if no one's realized just how pretty she is, but grins when he realizes that it just means less competition for him, and hits on her again. She usually scoffs and calls him some cruel name, but he relishes in the redness of her cheeks, and lets himself be content with her blushes until she realizes he's serious.
Lia doesn't like depending on people too much- there's too much of a chance for them to let you down. So she's very surprised that when her mother tells her that Gauvin proposed and Lia'll be calling him 'stepfather' before the summer's out, it's Aster (not Jaden, not Alexis, not Bastian) that she goes to so that she can rave and rant.
Lia doesn't care how much he protests; it is so his fault, because if he hadn't leaned over to see what she was reading and breathed on her neck like that (lately, a lot of things that Aster does come out being described as 'like that'), she wouldn't have thrown the book at him, now would she?
Lia is one of the few people at Duel Academy that knows that Aster's favourite breed of dog is a German shepherd; but she's the only one that knows this is because it was a German shepherd who found his father's body after the killer dumped it in the river.
There are certain things that Aster does, certain actions and certain words he uses, with a certain look in his eyes (something warm and powerful and just a little bit dangerous) that throw Lia's routine off so violently that she's left gasping in the wake of his disruption (she refuses to admit that it's his very presence, the way he stands and the way he walks and most of all the way he looks at her, like nobody has ever looked at her before, that leaves her breathless and immobile.).
Aster has had dreams before, of course. He's fifteen and he's a boy, and he's been assured that it's completely normal; but being fifteen and a boy doesn't quite explain away the feeling of intense satisfaction he gets when he dreams of Lia wearing a white dress, roses in hand, and smiling at him like he's promised her the moon.
Aster, more often than not, places his jacket over her shoulders, whether she's cold or not. Lia supposes this is an action ingrained into his mind by an overzealous Sarina, and decides that for a gaudy American with too much ego and too cocky a smirk, Aster can be quite the gentleman. The fact that she always snuggles into the jacket is something she'd rather not over think, or else she might just have to admit something she isn't ready to admit yet.
Aster, unlike most people his age, has an ultimate plan of where he wants to go in life. He already has his degrees and he's gotten pretty damn far in the duelling world, but he knows what it is he eventually wants; Aster's, above and beyond all else, a very family oriented person, and a wife and kids are pretty high up on the list of what he wants in life. The fact that he meets the perfect girl (well, not perfect by any stretch, but definitely his type and a cute face to boot) at fifteen just makes checking the points off all the more easy.
Lia envies Aster in one aspect and one aspect only. He got to say goodbye. Lia's father died in Africa while she was in France, and no doctor, not even a specialist, was able to keep him alive long enough or preserved long enough for Lia to see him again. He was buried in Africa, on the reserve where he worked, and Lia was told she was far too young to fly all the way out for the funeral. She doesn't know why she tells Aster this, but she does, and tries very hard not to be impressed as he listens to her screaming at him with a calm face and understanding eyes.
She smiles at him after he gives her a towel and lends her his jacket. It's a small, half formed little smile, and it only lasts for a minute, but she's never smiled at him before, and his heart speeds up and he forgets to breathe when she tells him with that smile that he might not such a bad guy after all. It's the first time he realizes he might be in trouble.
The most amount of skin Lia is really comfortable with showing is her neck and her face. Aster finds that, despite his raging hormones and his less than innocent thoughts about girls and this girl in particular, he doesn't mind too much. His fantasies just involved kissing her neck and leaving marks by her pulse more than they might have.
Lia is always the observant one in the group. Jaden is too sporadic and Alexis gets distracted by her anger and don't even get her started on Syrus and Hassleberry. It falls to Lia to see everything that slips by everybody else, and that's why she notices that Aster stares longingly at the rain, won't read murder mysteries, and depends on the older men in his life too much.
Poco a poco:
It starts when he mocks a beaten Jaden, and she smacks him as hard as she can, cussing him out in front of all of her friends. It escalates when he keeps coming back, for one reason or another, and always has an excuse ready so that he can talk to her. It gets stronger when he drags her around Domino City with him, treating her to lunch, and sharing the rain with her, even taking her into his trailer and offering her a towel and shower as an apology for getting her soaked. It nudges at her when she realizes on the plane ride home that she still has his jacket. It comes to a head when she receives a small package on her birthday with his signature on the card. When he calls her babe on the first day back of her third year and she hits him on the back of the head, blushing and trying to pretend that she isn't, Lia acknowledges that she just might be a goner where Aster Phoenix is concerned (but don't tell anyone).
Jasmine knows that Lia has it bad, even if the girl herself doesn't. After all, every time Aster Phoenix is brought up in the conversation, Lia tries very hard to change the topic before the questions can turn to her relationship with the pro-star.
The last day in Domino, it pours fat drops of cold rain, and Aster stands under it, soaking it all in. Lia watches, and eventually tries to drag him out, only to get dragged into the downpour herself, and gets drenched with rain that is made heavier by the sadness in Aster's eyes. After that, Lia is the one who always finds him in the rain, and drags him back to his room for a shower and a change of clothes. They never speak, but the both feel that words would just cheapen it all.
Aster knows that Lia has a little trouble believing that a guy like him (or any guy, really) is actually interested in her as not only a person (because she's got tons of friends who like her just the way she is) but as a girl as well (because he may be all about higher thinking, and he appreciates that Lia's got a good head on her shoulders, but damn, her legs make him forget how to think and give him a crick in his neck from leaning over to catch a glimpse). Aster also knows this is partially because Bastian (whom Lia was still trailing after like a lost puppy when Aster showed up in her second year) never even looked at her like a girl, and Aster always has a line on his lips when he sees her to remind her that he, at least, finds her sexy.
Aster's biggest fear is that time will advance without him, that the world will go on as if he does exist, and he'll be left behind in the lurch, watching his friends and loved ones go off and live their lives as if he was never there. This fear hits him hardest in the rain, because it was raining the day his father left him behind forever; and because Lia is always with him when it rains, he snuggles just a little bit closer to her and whispers stupid things (Did I ever tell you that you're beautiful? You have such pretty eyes. Stay with me, okay? Just for now, stay with me. You can leave after the rain stops. No, wait, don't leave. I don't want you to leave, ever. I'm scared, don't leave. Let me hold you a little bit longer, okay? I love your hair.) in her ear until the urge to run out and get soaked (drown in the rain) passes. If Lia ever hears his more desperate whispers (I love you, don't leave me.) she never lets on, and lets him have that.
Lia sees Aster, for the most part, as a cocky, flirty jerk who comes to annoy her (he comes to annoy all of them, but she feels that after almost a year of enduring him, she has the right to claim his attentions) off and on again throughout the year, disrupting her work and setting her on edge (he has this thing about getting close and personal with her. He's very touchy-feely, and Lia knows she shouldn't like it but she does and that makes her nervous). But there are times, in the middle of a rain storm or when her nerves are frayed to their last end, where flashes of a smart, sad young man peek out, and Lia finds that his eyes look into hers just a little too well, as if he knows and understands everything that goes on inside of her. (Then, of course, he makes some stupid comment and she scoffs at him, and they fall back into that comfortable routine again.)
Aster believes that his trips to Duel Academy are like his vacations from the Pro League. He can relax and enjoy the weather and duel with his...friends, he supposes he can call them...without the stress of work looming over him. Best of all, Duel Academy is a school, meaning that while he can come and go as he pleases, the people and places he visits there are stuck there ten out of twelve months of the year, and he can leave knowing that the next time he comes, they will be right where he left them. And if he uses his vacation to flirt with the brunette Academic with hazel eyes and a considerable resistance to his charms, well, that's time well-spent, now isn't it?
It isn't that Aster is paranoid. It's just that he's had so little to call his own growing up that he gets a little...protective of the things he has now. Even if they don't seem to realize that he is serious. So when Lia answers her cell phone and exclaims with a squeal, " Claude!", Aster doesn't see what's so wrong about excusing himself and listening in on the conversation through the walls of her bedroom. (Claude, Lia explains after she's beaten him round the head for spying on her, is the only one of her new step siblings - all of whom are years younger than her - that she actually likes, and if he listened to her more often, he would know that, the jealous idiot. She says it with a flattered look on her face, though, so Aster doesn't count it as a setback.)
Aster's favourite place for cornering her, Lia finds, is the copying machine on the third floor of the library. It's tucked away in a darker, reclusive little alley between two bookshelves, and Lia likes it because no one really uses it. She suspects it's because no one really knows about it, and that's why Aster likes it so much. He leans over her shoulder to sneak a peek at whatever she's making a copy of, and deliberately (deliberately because at this point, Lia's noticed one too many coincidences about how his body happens to brush along hers) breathes on the sensitive hairs on the back of her neck. Sometimes, she can't control her trembling, and he 'steadies' her with an arm about her waist, and whispers in her ear, using a voice that tells her he knows exactly what he's doing to her, and he's enjoying every minute of it. Her only compensation is that, after she catches him looking at her like a hungry wolf for the third time later on, she realizes she does the exact same thing to him without even trying.
The most romantic thing Lia can think of anyone saying to her is: " I'm yours." Lia has never had anybody, let alone a boy, who is exclusively hers. Her father belonged to his work and her grandfather belonged to his books and Jaden belongs to some great, terrible destiny that will take him places Lia is almost certain they can't follow, so while he always feels so close to her, Lia knows the Powers That Be have first dibs on him. She has her friends, of course, but they belong to each other too, and none of them are just her friend and her friend alone. Sometimes Lia wonders if she's stupid for wanting someone that is totally hers, if only for a little bit, but brushes it off because she has to help save the world any way she can; she hangs out with Jaden Yuki and it comes with the territory. Alexis suggests that they split up, and tells Aster to go with her, and Lia wonders if she should protest, but Aster throws an arm over her shoulders and grins. " Babe, take me, I'm yours." And Lia swears her heart actually stops for a second before restarting, and she tromps on his foot as she stalks off.
His hair reminds her of some metal she can't remember the name of. It's gray, and it resists time and corrosion, she knows. Aster, Lia decides early on, is a show-off and a jerk, but he's had it hard, so maybe that's his defence mechanism. He has a sadness to him, a kind of well hidden melancholy that Lia only sees because she looks in her mirror every morning and sees it there too. But he's made a name for himself, and gotten back up when he was pushed down, and despite the fact that he's a show-off and a jerk, Lia decides that he deserves at least some respect for making it in such a harsh, cold world.
I hope you enjoyed it.