disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to Celia, not that she asked for this one. I ship it.
notes: I just ship the hell out of them. seriously. not kidding.

title: a merry and desperate drought
summary: She conveniently forgets the rules. — Vivi/Kohza.

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"It's so hot," Vivi murmured.

The Princess of the Kingdom of Alabasta stood on the balcony outside her room in the palace, waiting for a breeze; sticky with sweat and so, sot hot. It was the worst heat wave they'd had since Crocodile (and that was the only thing Vivi could call it, Crocodile, because calling it Luffy wouldn't have made any sense), and she stayed outside because inside was worse.

"It is the dry season, m'Lady," said a voice from somewhere in the depths of the sahdows behind her, deadpan and without humour.

Vivi turned to glare at him. "Don't call me that."

"Then don't complain," he replied. The sound of fabric moving told her he'd shrugged.

Sometimes, Vivi really hated Kohza.

"You are incredibly annoying. Did you know that?" she asked him.

He moved out of the shadows to stand beside her, and though he was lounging with terrible posture, he was still a whole half-head taller than she was. Had he straightened up, he would have been a whole head taller and Vivi glared up at him because it was not fair. She was older than he was and why was he taller it was so unfair.

"I've been told," Kohza deadpanned. "By you. Several times."

"And yet, I need to tell you again. How does that work?" Vivi sighed. She leaned against the railing and wished for rain, throat parched and so tired but too hot to sleep. The drought clung at the back of her eyes like grit, and she would have scratched it away if she could.

"You should get some sleep."

"Maybe," Vivi replied. She pressed her cheek against the marble. "Feels like the world's burning. Can't sleep."

Kohza sighed. "Come on. We'll go get you some ice."

And he gathered her up, bedraggled hair and all, and cradled her to his chest. And the thing, though, was that she was a princess and he was her best friend and sometimes things got muddled and hard to decipher. She kept forgetting that it wasn't supposed to be like this.

"You're too warm," Vivi grumbled.

"Won't be too long. Calm down."

"'Kay," she murmured.

She closed her eyes. Breathed in. Breathed out.

Vivi didn't push him away.

fin.