Most people get better at writing as they go along. Me? Probably not.

000

The orange glow of Solar slowly made its way across the room, edging more and more light through the bedroom window as GreatFox cleared the far side of Sauria. The line ran across the floor and to the foot of the room's only bed which still hosted its newest guest. Within seconds the light had made its way up the sheets and over the closed eyes of its occupant, causing two blue paws to instinctively reach down and pull the cover over her head.

Ugh morning already? It seems like I went to bed just a few minutes ago.

Sudden realization hit the vixen and she let out a sigh of annoyance. She was on his ship now and out in space. Here there was no night or day, only endless galaxies full of planets and stars that would block out the sun. This would definitely take some getting used to. She had been with the team for almost three months now after the adventure on Sauria and was doing her best to learn everything she needed to in order to fit in and help out. But that wouldn't be the easiest of tasks if she couldn't get any rest.

Well I'm awake now, I guess I should make the best of it.

She threw the covers off and looked over at her bed table at the clock. 5:50 am. Not necessarily the latest time she preferred, but at least she could get a head start on the day. Letting out a yawn she sat up on the side of the bed, allowing her body to wake up for a few seconds before standing, stretching, and making her way over to door.

I'm probably the only one stupid enough to be up this early. Yet another reason for the team to think I'm weird.

While the thoughts hadn't been open she had picked up on them when they hadn't known she was there. It was usually Falco, Slippy, or Peppy who let a stray hurtful thought escape their mind. Fox and Katt however were still showing her nothing but kindness and the best of intentions, something that she definitely hadn't expected from the pink feline. In fact she hadn't expected to get along with mercenary at all. But her first night on the ship she had sat down in the lounge, just her and Katt, and the two ended up hitting it off extremely well. As it turned out Katt had an extremely soft side to her that very few knew about.

"But in this line of work you cant let stuff like that show," she had muttered, "It's get tough or die."

"Why don't you quit then?" the vixen asked, easily feeling pity for her. "Just stop being a mercenary and settle down with Falco."

The pink cat's face somehow managed to grow a darker shade of red as she looked away and scoffed before replying, "Like that bird brain would ever realize..." she trailed off, looking off into the distance and adding in a soft tone, "Besides, I enjoy flying and fighting. It's a thrill."

She decided not to push the subject of relationships any further, at least not until they were closer. Instead they talked about Cerenia and then Katt's home planet, and before long they were back at it and chatting the night away.

I'd like to think we're pretty good friends.

The sapphire fox smiled to herself before stepping out of her room, making her way to the ship's main bathroom at the end of the hall. It was one thing that she wished they would add to the ship; more bathrooms. But GreatFox was in pitiful shape as it was and she knew that with the six of them aboard it now they should just be grateful they had plenty of food to eat. Tricky had made sure of that before they had disembarked and the team had been eating the plants, vegetables, and various different animals (she preferred not knowing) for the past few days.

She made her way past Fox's room, then Katt's, before reaching the door. She knew it wouldn't be occupied, not at this hour. The team had been on recovery for the past week, and would continue to be for the next ten days. Luckily Pepper had seen fit to pay them generously for their efforts on Sauria and they would more than likely have enough to make it the next few weeks. Still, the vixen couldn't help but hold back on her portions at meal time. She had yet to do anything to deserve the hospitality she was receiving, yet another reason for those few rare thoughts she had intercepted, so she tried to cut back on everything she could.

She turned the lock behind her and slid out of her red jogging pants and t-shirt, also another free service that she had received since moving aboard the ship. She reached down and picked them up, pausing for a second as she caught the all too familiar scent that hung on them. She smiled and brought the shirt up to her muzzle, breathing in his scent and letting its musk settle in her memory.

He was the reason why she was still here, in more ways that one. She owed the vulpine her life, yet all he asked was for her to stay with them aboard his ship. It was no challenge to pick his mind and she had easily caught his thoughts about her while she was within his view but acting as if she wasn't paying any attention.

She's so beautiful...so skilled...so...perfect.

A laugh escaped her as she thought about the blush he had been sporting when she turned and walked up to him, whispering, "Thanks for the compliment Fox." before brushing the side of his face with her paw and walking away. She had turned back and giggle at the frozen statue behind her, the vulpine realizing his mental admiration had been eavesdropped on.

He's so shy and caring. But at the same time he's brave and heroic. It's hard to believe someone as nice as him could be a mercenary.

Her black bra and panties hit the floor and she tossed them down the laundry chute with the rest of her clothes before stepping into the running water, adjusting it to the right temperature before finally introducing the rest of her body to the warm liquid. She closed her eyes and let it run down around her, picturing the muscular physique of the vulpine holding her arms against her chest as he embraced her from behind. She knew it was silly to daydream about something as far fetched as her and Fox, but she also knew it wasn't impossible. She had read his thoughts, seen the signs, the look in his eyes when their gazes locked for that brief second before he looked away in embarrassment...and she had caught it.

I've only known him a few months but...I've never felt this way towards anyone else. Maybe I do love him. Maybe he loves me.

She sighed and reached to her right, grabbing a bottle of shampoo and pouring a pool into her paw before adding it to her hair. She then grabbed the body wash and proceeded to lather her body in the green gel, making sure to get herself exceptionally clean just because she wanted to look nice for him. Just in case.

I mean, its not like he hasn't been showing something as well. Anyone with eyes could tell that he's as bad with words around me as a kit. If he's that nervous then that must mean something, right?

Her head fell forward against the wall as she now let the water run down her neck and backside. It was thoughts and questions like these that had been on her mind ever since she had locked eyes with him on Sauria that day, and she couldn't help but think that meaning behind them was what she thought it was. No. She couldn't help but 'hope' they were. The past few weeks with him and Katt had been some of the best of her life. She had learned so much more, saw sights she would've never seen before, made friends with complete strangers. All thanks to him.

Her mind fell back to the first night on the ship, following the vulpine into her room as he showed her around the dreadnought one last time.

"And this is your new room." he said, nervousness still obvious in his tone. "I'm sorry its not that big...and I know its lacking a few things...and...well...I know your probably used to something much better and...you know, my room is much bigger than this... let me go get my stuff and I'll move into this room and...

He turned back towards the door, starting back to his own room as planned but stopping as she reached out and took grabbed his paw, pulling him back around and pressing her index finger across his lips before and smiling.

"Fox," she said softly, enjoying the electricity that sparked between them, "This is perfect."

His eyes slowly went from a look of surprise to one of concern and nervousness as he cleared his throat and slowly nodded. "A-Are you sure?" he stammered, "Because its no trouble...

She slowly leaned forward and softly kissed the vulpine's cheek before stepping back through the door and softly whispering, "Good night Fox."

Now, even in the shower, she could feel the heat coming from her face as a blush worked its way across. Why did I do that? God that was so risky! But knowing it had worked, knowing that he had loved every second, it had made it worth the while. The next few days they exchanged endless smiles and blushes as they met the others gaze, not talking as much as either had hoped but letting their emotions set the dialogue instead.

The look in his eyes said all she needed to hear, and it was hard to believe the strength of the bond between them that had developed after a mere three months with the vulpine...the same fox who had been a complete stranger just before.

But he's just so...right.

She reached forward and turned off the water, closing her eyes once more and envisioning the vulpine's arms wrapped around her and holding her tight as he slowly kissed the back of her neck.This is so immature, I shouldn't be thinking like this. He's just a friend, he just has a hard time talking to girls. There's nothing special about me.

Of course she knew that wasn't true in the least. She had only been with the team for a few months but in that time she had witnessed numerous occasions in which the vulpine talked as easily with Katt as he did any other member of the team. It was only around the sapphire vixen that he was at a loss for words. It was only in her presence that she could sense his heart racing, feel his thoughts desperately searching for the perfect thing to say to her. He'd throw his arm behind his neck and look away whenever their eyes got remotely close to meeting.

"I don't need to be a telepath to see what's going on between you two," Katt had finally said one night, "You've got Fox falling head over heels."

Krystal had blushed and looked away, not sure if she should be flattered or embarrassed over the comment. "I don't know what you're talking about." she replied with a red face.

Katt scoffed and sat up, her legs crossed as she faced the vixen, "Now I know you're lying," she pressed, a smirk on her face, "You can read minds, you know what he's thinking even when you're nowhere near him. And its as clear as day that he's fallen for you."

At this point the Cerenian began wishing Katt would act more like her usual self, tough and uncaring, tomboyish if you will. Anything that would get the topic of conversation off her and Fox. But Katt had struck gold and an amused twinkle shown in her eyes as she pressed even further.

"So why don't you drop a few hints?" she asked, her eyes now sparkling with the same enthusiasm seen in that of a teenager, "You know, bend over in front of him to pick something up, or sit down next to him in the lounge at night when its just you two, or, or maybe...

"It's not that easy Katt."

The pink feline's eyes didn't waver, and she only sat back against her seat before adding, "Yeah I know, but the way he looks at you...that look in his eyes...I've never saw it in Fox before."

Krystal looked out towards the hallway and rested her gaze on the vulpine's door, trying to picture that same look on his face in her imagination. Do I have that same look in mine?

"Tell you what," she finally replied, looking back over at her best friend, "I'll do some of that stuff if...you and Falco hook up."

"Mmm...ok...Deal." the pink cat answered, holding out her hand and shaking the vixen's paw. "But you cant go back on this okay?"

"Right."

The two of them sat back in silence, allowing the realization of what they had just done sink in. The vixen knew how stupid this little bet was, but at the same time she couldn't help but hope it would work. There. Now its a win-win situation. If this works then I'll have a reason to show Fox how I feel, plus Katt will finally get what she's always wanted as well.

"I feel like a kid again," Katt spoke up, causing the both of them to laugh.

"Yeah. But when you think about it, we kinda still are."

Krystal opened her eyes and was back in the shower once more, the water still dripping from her fur. She pulled back the curtain and stepped out, grabbing a towel from the closet and doing her best to dry off her blue coat. Once done she slid back into a pair of shorts and began looking around for her top.

Where is it? I brought it all in here with me earlier.

She checked under everything in the room before finally accepting that she had left it back in her own room. She sighed and looked around for her towel, letting out a groan of annoyance as she realized it was laying in the tub, now completely soaked and unusable. Guess I'll have to use another. I'll make sure to help whoever gets stuck with laundry duty this week because I'm going to be their biggest contributor.

She picked up the soaked towel and tossed it down the laundry chute that was hidden inside the closet before looking for another. But as inevitable fate would have it there were none, and it was with an even more annoyed groan that she realized today was laundry day and the only remaining towel left had just been tossed down the chute.

"Really?" she asked herself, looking around for anything else, "Is my luck that bad?"

Her eyes finally rested on the sink and the small hand towel on the rail next to it that they used to dry their hands. She held it up in front of her and sighed, figuring that this would be the case.Well, its better than nothing. Plus, its early. I doubt anyone is awake right now. And if they are what's the chances of them coming out of their room between the 15 seconds it takes me to get to my own?

She opened the door part of the way and looked down the hall to find it empty. Without hesitating she stepped out and silently, yet quickly, padded down the hallway to her room, doing her best to hold the small rag in front of her exposed upper torso. She had gotten more than halfway there when she heard a noise from behind her, seemingly from the kitchen. She turned around and checked, still walking backwards down the hall.

Nothing. Just the ship itself. As bad a shape as its in I can understand why it...

Her thoughts where interrupted as she collided with something while turning back around. The small hand towel fell to the floor, immediately followed by the vixen as she figured she had ran into a door or something just as strong. Slowly she looked up and took in what it had been, instantly understanding why it felt like she had ran into a brick wall as a pair of stunned green eyes looked back at her.

"Oh Krystal I'm..." the vulpine's apology was immediately cut off as he looked down at her, arm extended to help her to her feet. She didn't have to look into his thoughts to see that he thought he sight before him was the most amazing thing he'd ever witnessed, and that while his brain was screaming at him to look away his heart wouldn't allow it.

She finally found the sense to wrap her arms around her in an attempt to conceal her nakedness, but his gaze was no longer on her torso, but rather locked onto her own. She timidly stuck out an arm and allowed him to pull her to her feet where she turned away and tried to fight the massive blush that had taken over her face.

"I'm sorry Fox," she said, embarrassment clearly evident in her tone, "It's just...there wasn't any towels left and...the laundry chute...I didn't think anyone would be awake..."

He gulped and looked away, allowing a small chuckle to escape his throat before replying, "Yeah, I was on my way to do the laundry right now. Sorry about that."

For another few seconds the two foxes stood in the hall, facing away from each other and trying to force the redness from their faces. Eventually she stepped by him, her tail brushing along his back as she made her way to her bedroom door. He hadn't looked in her direction, or moved at all much less, but as she opened her door she heard the vulpine clear his throat.

"You look beautiful today Krystal."

She froze in her tracks and allowed the words to sink in before smiling to herself and finally entering her room and closing the door behind her. She looked down at her hand, still tightly clenching the hand towel, before throwing it across the room and falling down on her bed, an aggravated sigh escaping her as she fought to comprehend all that had just happened.

"I'm so unlucky."

Then, with a hopeful realization she changed her thoughts.

Or maybe I'm luckier than ever.

000