For Two

"Four Applecots?"

Ein swore the whole roof shook. "That's all I could find" he repeated tiredly.

Rose was louder than he remembered her to be, despite their quality time together in the Asgard Library looking up the war a thousand years ago.

"Well, Gateaux I'm sure we can make a wonderful cake with these Applecots anyway, right Ein?" Cierra practically shone with optimism. "Now, I think I know a spell to make these Applecots bigger, let's see…"

"Hey everyone, Lina's done the batter!" Lina charged into the room, knocking Cierra over in the process. "Oh my!" her spell misfired, causing Fia's sewing to swell up three sizes.

Just then Fia walked out of the kitchen, a bowl of batter in her hands. Taking in the mess, she took a step back, hands firmly on the mixing bowl to prevent further addition to the growing chaos.

"Everybody stop moving!" Fia commanded in a very unFia-like way. "Don't touch anything, just let me…"

Cierra froze in the midst of getting up, teetering dangerously on her left foot. "Oh my!" she toppled over onto Lina. Fia drew in a breath and counted to ten. She was in charge of their reunion party, besides the cake she still had to set up the village square, cater to the other invitees, and repair a stitch in a dress that was now three times too big for her. There was only one thing left to do.

"Cierra, take everyone outside, I left the banners in the backroom, go get it and decorate the village. Serene go and get some firewood for the cooking festival, Lina could you-"

"Aw… Lina wants to do the cake!"

"But-"Fia interjected.

"It's fine I'll do it." Ein cut her off before the ruckus woke up the entire village.

"But, it's your party, you should-"

"It's fine, really" Ein said reassuringly. "I'll go with Serene and pick firewood."

"Hey I never asked you to-" Serene protested, turning the same colour as the applecot.

"Well, you can bring it up again when my legs give way." He joked.

"F-Alright," she consented relucantly.

"Fia seems to want us gone a little to eagerly don't you think?"

Serene grunted in response.

In the shadow of the Grove of Repose Ein crouched on his haunches scouring the ground for anything remotely woody. Serene was high amongst the branches, shaking every other tree for loose limbs. She sighed, and dropped to the ground, walking over to survey his progress.

"These aren't dry enough, and this," she lifted a strange knobbed stick out of the heap, "isn't a branch." She threw the stick aside. It sprang to life and wiggled away, causing both of them to jump. " Other than that, good job so far."

Ein got up and stretched his aching back. "You're really good at this, surviving I mean."

Serene smiled faintly before dropping back into her gloomy state.

"Here," Ein passed her the flask of nectar Fia had given them before chasing them out of the house. He waited until she took a swig from the flask before pressing on. "What happened this morning?"

She nearly choked on the nectar. "It's okay if you don't want to say" he added. "I guess I should respect your boundaries. I'm sorry."

Serene burst out laughing, she moved over to a mossy log and beckoned to him. "What was that? I thought we all agreed you wouldn't be so" she struggled to think of a word, "courtly. Did reading all that history take you back in time or something?" tears of laughter still came rolling down her cheeks. Ein felt a little defensive. "Well, I just thought that-"

"Don't worry about that. It's been a while after all, since we could talk like this in peace. Fine, I'll say it."

Ein raised an eyebrow, but did not stop her.

"This morning, I had, a nightmare" her face grew hot. "about the time when my village, on Rosalina Island was destroyed. Only, even when I thought I wasn't dreaming anymore I couldn't wake up, it's as if that thing that destroyed my home that night had found me, it was really dark, those eyes."

Ein remained silent "You've never talked about this have you?"

The sadness and grief wrought by the creature caught up with her. Her tears of laughter soon melted away and a wrangled scream escaped her throat. "That thing tore my brother in half! He was all I had left. And it just-" Ein put a steady arm around her, "I know."

"How can you? No one is knows about this. Everyone who does is dead!" Serene wailed louder.

"I don't know, I just do."

Serene clung on to his shirt until the last of the sobs died away.

"It was just like tonight, we were having the Festival of the Moon, I had to collect firewood with my brother early in the morning, just after the dew had disappeared."

Serene let go, leaving a relatively large mark on his threadbare shirt. "I'm sorry."

"It's alright," Ein passed her his scarf to clean her face with. "I didn't expect to stay long, or else I would have gotten a new shirt made. The material is meant to withstand the battlefield afterall."

"What's it like up there?" Serene wondered, turning to the sky. The tears and bawling seemed to lighten her heart, but she was never displaying herself like that again.

"Oh, it's about the same." Ein shrugged, turning to her "Just much lonelier."