Title: A Stranger in A Strange Land
Summary: [Sariyah / Miku] She's not sure when she's dreaming anymore.
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: Need moar Garnet Cradle fandom...

. o . o . o . o . o . o .

"You look sleepy." Bright and cheery as ever, Nono-chan leaned over from her desk to prod Miku lightly in the ribs with the butt of a pencil.

"I am sleepy."

"Oh? Late night? …A hot, midnight rendezvous perhaps?"

"Wha-?" Head shooting up, Miku gave a garbled shriek before remembering herself. Sinking low in her seat as the other students paused in their conversations, peering over curiously to see what the fuss was about, before returning back to the noisy chatter that was their self study period, Miku mumbled softly under her breath. "No! It's not like that. Just dreams. Weird dreams."

Dreams of princes and foreign lands and the crushing weight of responsibility that came in knowing that with a single name she could either save or doom them all.

'Weird dreams' was probably as close to the truth as Miku could get without sounding crazy.

"Weird dreams... with hot guys in them?" The other girl pressed with a mischievous grin.

"Nono-chan!" Miku flushed, hissing softly.

"Ah... Okay, okay, I'll stop bugging you about it." Drawing back to her own seat, Nono-chan gave her pencil a bored spin, and began tapping out an abstract rhythm against the surface of her desk. She glanced towards Miku. "Still, if you're that tired you might consider going down to the clinic for a bit..."

"Hmm?" Already cuddled back down on her desk, Miku yawned, blinking. "Why?"

It was hard to focus when she was just so sleepy.

"Just in case, you know?" Nono-chan was talking again. Her expression concerned. "Tsubaki hasn't wanted to say anything, but lately you've looked sorta–"

"Wake up, you foolish woman."

Miku's eyes snapped open. Jerking upright in her seat, her veil fluttered around her with a musical tinkle as the gems littering her headdress were set in motion. The cheerful chimes a sharp contrast to the way she gasped, panicky. Then slipped. And would have fallen from her seat atop on one of the palace garden's gilded marble benches were it not for the tan hand that quickly moved to hold her in place.

This, this was not her school.

"Sa-" Miku bit her lip, staring up at the prince in confusion. "Sariyah-ouji?"

Waiting with poorly concealed impatience for the girl to steady herself, the prince gave a low irritated sigh.

"Out of all the places to sleep, surely you could have found someplace more appropriate than here. Please remember your position, Himemiko-sama." Sariyah told her curtly, twisting the title unpleasantly as he prepared to berate her further. "You have a sacred duty to preform. You're not someone who can simply wander around and ..."

He trailed off slowly, taking a look – a good look – at the girl on the bench and frowned.

"Oi, what's with you? Your color looks off."

Miku blinked.

"Sariyah-ouji?" Still feeling half-asleep, Miku glanced slowly around. Taking in her location in with a wide eyed look of realization, she quickly ducked her head in embarrassment. One hand moved to rub her aching temple. "Ah...I'm sorry, I must have nodded off..."

She had just been in school, hadn't she? Did she fall asleep? Or had it only been a dream? No, it couldn't be, because this was the dre–

A firm touch to her chin interrupted her.

"Hmm." Turning her face back up towards him, Sariyah examined her. Mismatched eyes narrowing as his frown deepened. "A cold? You don't look flushed enough for heatstroke..."

She would be plenty flushed if he didn't release her soon.

"N-no, I'm not sick." Miku said hastily. Trying to will her blush away as the prince leaned in closer, she pulled away with a stutter. Her eyes looking everywhere but towards him, she smoothed her hands anxiously over her skirts and stood. Intent on making her retreat. "I'm just feeling a little bit tired. So if you'll excuse-"

"Wait."

She flinched, freezing automatically at the command. And, slowly, risked a glance in his direction. "Ouji?"

She should have left when she'd had the chance.

Without waiting to hear anymore of her excuses, Sariyah stepped forward. Regarding her carefully a moment before he moved, bending down to catch her behind her knees and lifting up her up easily into his arms. Pivoting on his heel as he turned to carry her back towards Castle Amira.

"Sariyah?" Too panicked to remember the honorific, Miku squeaked. Pushing against his chest in protest, she kicked her feet uselessly. "What are you doing? Let me down!"

"Enough. Stop fussing. And stop squirming about." He ordered the girl in his arms sternly. "If you move too much I'll drop you."

He would too.

"Let me down." More subdued this time, she contented herself with glaring. "I don't need to be carried."

"Perhaps not. But it wouldn't do for the Azura Sayaraan to faint within walking distance of her own palace now, would it?"

"I'm not going to faint either." Muttering contrarily, Miku gave one last token look towards the ground before slumping back against Sariyah's chest. Her head throbbed in a dull counterpoint to his footsteps.

Slowly, hesitantly, she wrapped her arms around his neck. Burrowing her face against the soft cotton of his tunic, she breathed in the warm aroma of sandalwood and musk and shivered. A long, tired sigh left her lips.

Her eyes fluttered closed. "...Hey, Sariyah?"

"Hmm?"

"This is still just a dream, isn't it?"

He gave a low laugh, chest rumbling under her cheek. "If you have to rely on me for an answer, Princess, then you ought to start asking yourself if your world is really as real as you think it is."

Already too far gone in a haze of books and school bells to respond, Miku merely mumbled, gripping the prince like a lifeline as she fell prey to her dreams once more.