This was my attempt at writing Celestine and Argo... Well, you can see it in there, but it's mostly some kind of one-sided Juto/Crocell. The title might give you a clue why. At least it isn't actual slash, so my friend can... sort of rest easier.
I don't own Magna Carta or anything related.
Celestine was mad like never before!
Okay… there was that time that Kiloty had "accidentally" spilled the incense that she'd spent the whole day working on, but this was close!
Cubes aren't for sending love letters.
Hmph, Crocell was just jealous, so he had to act even more obnoxious! He didn't know what it was like to be so in love as she was… Oh well, she sighed, such was the life of a big sister. She checked the recipient of her current letter for the third time: Argo. All clear! She giggled quietly while her Cube made a small ding to tell her the message had been sent. Across their little camp site, Argo's Cube made a similar sound. She grinned happily and settled into her sleeping roll, all anger forgotten as she closed her eyes.
It was then that she realized something, like a little Cube in her head had just gone and dinged. She sat up and looked around the camp. Crocell wasn't there, she thought, he was off somewhere else watching for bandits or nocturnal monsters or some such things. Then he would come back and wake up Argo so that he could get some sleep.
An idea formed in her head and she could hardly keep the smile off her face. Crocell probably wouldn't be back for another couple of hours, so if she hurried, she'd have just enough time!
There was a weight on him when he woke up. His first thought was that he'd slept in again and Crocell was being rude about it by piling everything on top of him, but then he remembered that Crocell usually would have kicked him instead. He also realized that whatever was on top of him was breathing. He opened his eyes and immediately met a pair of gold eyes just inches away.
"Um, Crocell?" Juto blinked. His first clue that something was wrong here was that not only was Crocell lying on top of him in the first place, but he also had a sort of serene look on his face. Serene was not a word that he would use to describe Crocell under normal circumstances. "Is… something wrong?"
"No," Crocell's voice sounded strange as well. "Why?"
"I don't know," Juto said, becoming more uncomfortable. "It's just that you're lying on me… because?"
"I never realized how cute you looked when you're sleeping," Crocell said as if that was an everyday thing for him.
Okay, Juto thought, something is really wrong here. Maybe he was sick. He tried to ease himself out from underneath Crocell, but the wizard had a grip on his shoulders. "Crocell, are you feeling all right?"
"Are you sure?" Juto tried rolling away, but that didn't work either. He wondered why no one was intervening and looked over Crocell's shoulder. The camp was empty. "Where's everyone else?"
Crocell shrugged. "I don't know. I think Zephie and Celestine went off to get water, and I'm not sure where Argo went." He leaned forward with a smile that was very… un-Crocell. "It's just us."
"Um – yeah, that's – okay," Juto sat up and pried Crocell hands off his arms and stood up. Crocell seemed confused for a few seconds before he rose with a playful smile.
"Juto, are you blushing?"
For some reason, that made his face heat up even more. "No – I'm just-"
"You're adorable, you know that?"
And Juto really didn't know what to do now. Crocell was obviously very, very delirious, otherwise, he wouldn't even have dreamed of saying that to Juto. To anybody, really, but especially not to him. Fever? No, he was a fire wizard… Serious cold? Pneumonia? Did they make people delirious? "Uh – okay, Crocell," he took the wizard by the shoulders and led him to a more shady area. "Just sit still there, okay?"
He spun around and scrambled to Zephie's medicine bag. He didn't know what was wrong with Crocell, but there had to be something here that could cure it. He chanced a look behind him and immediately regretted it, because Crocell was still standing there with that serene look on his face, but as soon as he realized that Juto was looking, he winked and blew a kiss. Juto's eye twitched as he returned to fumbling with all the bottles and capsules in the pouch until he found a cure-all. He ran back to Crocell and put it in his hand. "Drink that."
"Why?" Crocell inspected the vial with an apprehensive look. "I'm not sick."
"I think you are," Juto said.
Crocell just smiled up at him. "Even when there's no sign of illness, you still care so much," he clasped his hands together and the vial fell to the ground. "Ah, I'm in love!"
Juto was ready to crawl under a rock at this point (and the day had barely even started!), but this was not a problem that could be solved by such methods, because Crocell was probably more likely to follow him under the rock in his current condition. "You mean that figuratively, right?"
Crocell shook his head. "Of course not! I don't go around professing my love to everybody, you know!"
"I don't think you really mean that."
"Yes, I do!" Crocell stepped forward and Juto stepped back. "Why don't you believe me?"
"Because yesterday you were complaining about how much of an idiot I was!"
"What?" Crocell seemed to be aghast at the very idea of insulting Juto.
"And you said that you'd rather burn me to a crisp than anything!" Okay, he hadn't actually said that, but he was probably thinking about it at some point. The look on Crocell's face now suggested that he thought that Juto was the one with the illness.
"I'm sorry, Juto," he said. "If I ever said that to you, I didn't mean-" his face suddenly brightened. "Let me make it up to you!"
Juto paused. Crocell had just apologized to him and was now offering to make it up to him. Nothing wrong with that, right? Since he was insisting that he wasn't ill and completely in his right mind, right? The wizard in question was now rummaging through their store of rations. Juto watched him for a moment before he heard rustling in the bushes behind him and then Zephie's voice calling his name. He turned and saw Zephie and Celestine walking toward him with canteens of water in their hands. Argo was a little ways behind them.
"We have water!" Celestine announced in a bubbly voice… overly bubbly, if Juto had anything to say about it.
Crocell looked up and he paused in his humming to reply in an equally bubbly tone. "Great! Do you know if we have raspberries, or anything of the sort?"
"Raspberries?" Celestine looked up in thought. "I don't know. Why?"
Juto didn't hear what Crocell said after that. Celestine was acting far too merry towards Crocell and they were both getting along too well for something not to be suspicious. Or maybe he was just imagining things, but Juto wasn't taking chances. "Celestine? Could I ask you something? Over here?" he pulled the Mare away from the others.
"What did you do to him?"
Celestine gasped, like she was actually taken aback. Juto doubted this. "What are you talking about? I didn't do anything!"
"Oh yeah, because Crocell makes me breakfast every morning," he pointed to where Crocell was currently mixing something in a bowl, chatting away with Zephie and by the way that the princess kept looking over at him, he was the topic. Really, he should have figured out what was happening from minute one. "And calls me cute and professes his 'love' for me. Now you tell me that something isn't up."
The Mare opened and closed her mouth for a few seconds, trying to find an answer. Finally she huffed and crossed her arms. "Why do you have to ruin my fun? Crocell's so mean all the time and he's always in the way of my romantic time with Argo!"
Juto sputtered. He barely managed to keep his voice down. "So you think testing your love potions on him is going to make things better?"
"I didn't mean for him to fall in love with you!" She said quickly. "I thought he'd wake up and see Zephie or something… Besides, since he's so busy with you, he won't have time to bother me and Argo!"
"You think I'm happy about this? Do you think he'll be happy about this? You have to find a way to reverse this or something!"
"What's the problem? He's not insulting you or anything now, why are you so mad?"
"One, I don't love him and you know he doesn't love me and two, I'd rather have him insulting me than… this!" Juto waved his arm back in Crocell's direction. "Next he's probably going to try and kiss me or something! And he's really scaring me."
Celestine giggled. "Oh, stop worrying! It wears off!"
"After how long?" he hoped the time was short.
"A few days, at least."
At least? No. An hour hadn't even passed and he could barely stand it now. "You have to reverse this today. I am not walking into Abazet with him like this and I don't think Zephie wants to, either." As if on cue, Crocell let out a laugh that was so uncharacteristic of him that even Celestine had to hold back a small shudder.
"Okay, fine," she gave in, though she didn't seem particularly happy about it. "I just need to go get ingredients and then it'll take a couple hours to make."
"Good," Juto walked back to Zephie and Crocell. He put his hands over Crocell's ears to block out what he was about to say. "Celestine's going to make an antidote for… this," he nodded down at Crocell. Zephie seemed relieved. "Do you think we could wait another day before returning to Abazet?"
"I think that would be best." The princess sighed. "I doubt that he'll be happy when he learns that he was under the influence of a love potion…"
"I think it'll be fine, assuming that he won't remember it, so long as we pretend that it didn't happen. Otherwise he'd probably burn us all to cinders." Zephie laughed and he let go of Crocell's head.
"What was that for?" Crocell craned his neck back to see him.
"Oh, sorry about that," Juto scrambled for an answer in his mind. "We were just, er…"
"It's a surprise," Zephie cut in.
:Oh, really? For me?"
"Yes," Juto nodded, mentally thanking the princess' quick thinking. "That's why you couldn't hear it. After Celestine gets back," he checked to make sure that she had gone, and she did, with Argo by the looks of it. "It'll take a couple hours to make and then we'll give it to you."
"You have a surprise for me," Crocell smiled. "You're so sweet! Oh, that reminds me," he held up a bowl of what appeared to be porridge with something red mixed in. "I made you breakfast."
Juto stared at it. His first thought was that it was some kind of blood-porridge, but he remembered that Crocell had asked for raspberries earlier. "You didn't have to…"
"But you said I hurt you, so I have to make up for it! Go on, try it!"
He was going to keep trying? There were so many things that Juto could say, but all that came out was, "I didn't know you cooked…"
"I don't, usually," Crocell shrugged. Zephie looked like she was trying to hold something in. "But I did, just for you!"
That didn't really make the situation better. "Oh, well, thanks," he didn't have any choice now but to sit down and hope that this impromptu porridge didn't kill him in any way. He was probably exaggerating a bit. It couldn't be that bad.
Crocell watched him with hawk eyes while he ate. It tasted… maybe "unique" was that word he was looking for? Considering it was a bunch of rations and raspberries mixed together and he didn't even know where the raspberries came from.
"Do you like it?" Crocell asked when he set the bowl down.
"Uh, yeah, it was good."
Crocell giggled. "That's so great!"
Zephie was really trying to hold in a laugh or something now, because Crocell was giggling. She stood up and Juto would have loved to have pulled her back down, but Crocell had wrapped his arms around him.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to check on Celestine and Argo,"
"Wait!" Juto reached up with his free arm. "Don't leave me alone with him!"
The princess looked over her shoulder. Her face was serious, but her tone was amused. "Juto, are you giving orders to your superior officer?" Juto knew he was defeated then and his arm fell. "Don't worry, I won't be long. You two can stay safe on your own, right?" And then she was gone in the direction Celestine and Argo had gone in. The camp was silent.
"Er, Crocell, could you let go of me now?"
"Why?" Crocell asked, nuzzling his neck. It made him shiver. "I won't bite, you know," his tone suggested otherwise.
Juto tried to pry Crocell off, but just like this morning, the smaller boy had a strong grip. "Please?"
"Hmm…" Crocell didn't loosen his grip as he thought. If anything, it got tighter. "Only if you give me a kiss."
"Oh no," that gave Juto the strength to escape Crocell's hold. He moved away as fast as he could and Crocell fell back.
"Ow," he sat up, though he didn't seem to be hurt in any way. "Why are you running away?"
"Crocell, listen to me," Juto said as Crocell started to crawl toward him. "You don't love me."
"Yes I do, Juto!" The fire wizard insisted as he came closer. "I really do."
Juto's back met a tree and he rolled away before Crocell could reach him. "No, you only think you do, but really you don't, trust me!"
"I do trust you," Crocell stood up and crossed his arms. "But how would you know what a person has on their mind?"
"Because I know you, and – whoa!" Someone should really do something about these blankets, Juto thought, because one was now wrapped around his foot and they were all impeding his ability to escape from Crocell's potion-induced "love."
"Oh, Juto," Crocell said with a smile that was anything but innocent. "You're moving rather fast, aren't you? You haven't even kissed me yet," he came closer and before Juto could say anything in protest, Celestine's voice cut through the air.
"Stop right there, mister!"
Crocell looked slightly annoyed, but he did stop. Celestine stood a few feet away from them, a pouch in one hand and the other pointed at Crocell. Zephie and Argo were just behind her.
"What?" he sounded annoyed, too, almost like the real Crocell.
"You need to go away," Celestine announced.
"Why? I don't want to."
"But we can't make your surprise if you're here!" she exclaimed. "Go exploring or something, this'll only take a couple hours!"
Crocell's mood changed almost immediately. "Oh, I forgot about that! Come on, Juto!" he stood up, pulling Juto with him.
"Because, I don't want to go alone, I could get attacked!"
Juto seriously doubted that anything would have happened if he'd actually gotten attacked, but he was already being dragged away. Celestine waved as they left. She was having great fun with this, it seemed.
For the time that they were away from the camp, Juto had managed to distract Crocell (quite easily, really) with an offer that he would later learn to regret.
Crocell had continued to try and prove his "love" for him, so Juto figured he might as well make the best of it, which was why Crocell would spend the better part of the day trying o catch ten phongs. His prize would be a kiss. Phongs were usually avoided because they were so fast and almost impossible to catch, so Juto thought that there was a good chance of Crocell not finishing the challenge. He wasn't sure how much time had passed, but Crocell now had a reasonable amount of dirt on him and had only managed to catch two of the little creatures.
"Are you sure you don't want to go back to the others now?" Juto asked. Crocell was crouched near a bush, trying to catch the phong that was hiding in it, "There's always tomorrow," there wasn't really, not that it mattered.
"Nonsense!" Was Crocell's reply. "We still have to go back to Abazet and what are the chances of a phong wandering around the city?"
"You have a point, but Celestine's probably done by now," or at least he hoped she was. "Don't you want your surprise?"
"Hm… All right then!" Crocell stood up and dusted himself off. The phong in the bush took its chance to bolt. "What is it?"
"I can't tell you,"
"Can't you at least give me a clue?"
"Afraid not, you'll have to see for yourself."
"There you are!" Celestine jumped onto the path in front of them. There was a bottle in her hand that Juto recognized to be one that the Mare stored incense. Crocell eyes it with curiosity. Celestine pointed to his dirty outfit, "What were you doing?"
"Catching phongs," he said simply. "What's that?"
"It's for you!" She thrust it in his hands quickly, "Open the lid!"
Crocell lifted the lid and a pale pink smoke started to rise from the bottle. He held it closer to his face and sniffed it. "What kind of incense is this? It smells nice…" With that, he set his nose on the rim and his face relaxed into that strange, serene look. After a moment of that he held it up to Juto, "Here, smell it!"
"Oh, no thanks, we made that for you, it's all yours!" Juto forced out a chuckle and Crocell started giggling again. He stepped away and brought Celestine with him. "Why isn't it wearing off?"
"Well, you have to wait a few minutes for it to take effect!" she said indignantly. Then she seemed to realize something and she smiled sheepishly.
"Well, I made the potion a little stronger," she explained. "And since Crocell is small, it probably acted even stronger…"
"So how much longer is it going to take?"
"I'd say another few hours, at most," Celestine scratched the back of her head and turned to looked at Crocell, who still had his nose in the bottle. "Then again, the way he's taking it in…"
"That's not going to do anything bad, is it?" Juto asked, though he hoped that it would at least turn his nose pink or something.
"Maybe you should take it away," she said. "I had to make the antidote stronger, too, and if he keeps that up it might not actually do anything except make the effects of the potion stronger."
That was the last thing Juto wanted. Crocell didn't even complain when he took the bottle away.
"That smells really nice," he said, a little slow. He swayed a bit on the spot. "You should try it."
"No, that's okay. Listen, why don't we go back and-"
"But I still have to catch eight more phongs!" Crocell exclaimed, still swaying slightly but otherwise full of energy again.
"Okay," Celestine laughed. "I'll go back and tell Zephie what you're doing."
And then she was gone. Juto sighed and turned back to Crocell… who wasn't there. "What? Crocell!" he looked around, but there was no response to his call and Crocell was nowhere in sight. "Great."
Juto found him again on the ground, staring down a phong that was trying to escape his grasp. "I got another one!" he said, just before the monster managed to jump away.
"That's nice," Not really, "Only seven more to go." Juto glanced around the area. He had the feeling that he was being watched. Or maybe it was this incense. Crocell was now sneaking into a clearing where three more phongs bounced their merry way. He really wants that kiss, he thought.
The phons all scattered as he approached and Crocell stood up with a whine. "These things are so hard to catch…"
"Hey, you were doing pretty well there," Juto tried to encourage him in case he decided to switch tactics.
"Why do I have to get ten of them?" Crocell asked. "Are you scared of me or something?"
"No," Just of what'll happen afterward if you remember it, he thought. "I'm only…"
"You're stalling," Crocell said, hand on his hips.
"No, I'm not."
"Yes, you're-" and then Crocell leaped at him with a cry of "Look out!"
They both hit the ground and the incense bottle smashed and Juto was about to ask why he'd done that, but then he saw the werewolf that had probably just tried to cut his head off. They both sprang to their feet before it could take another swing at them.
"You need to pay closer attention to your surroundings," Crocell scolded.
More and more like his old self every minute, Juto thought wryly, taking his chance to strike while the werewolf was distracted by Crocell's fireball. It growled as it turned to him and brought down both of its heavy blades on his shield, staggering him. Then it raised one again and Juto prepared himself for a hit before Crocell suddenly jumped in front of him. The werewolf brought its sword down, but it never touched him. Instead it dropped to the ground as the werewold screamed and fell back, very charred and very dead. Juto felt relieved for about two seconds before he felt angry.
"Are you stupid?"
Crocell frowned. 'What?"
"Why did you do that?"
"What do you mean? That werewolf could have-"
"Given me a nasty cut on the arm or a broken bone that Zephie could have healed, but you could have gotten killed!"
"But neither of us are hurt," Crocell retorted, backing up.
"But that doesn't mean that you jump in front of a werewolf when it's about to strike," Jut stepped closer. "I would have thought that you of all people would know that!"
"I knew what I was doing!"
"Are you sure about that?" Juto had backed him up against a tree now. He grabbed his shoulders. "Do you know how close you were to being dead?"
"Yes! Since we're both fine and it's dead and I think I deserve a little more than you yelling at me!"
And then Crocell kissed him and Juto decided to close his eyes and get it over with, because, all things considered, Crocell did kind of deserve it.
He regretted that decision too.
Crocell tensed suddenly and broke the kiss, though his face remained close. "Juto," he said quietly. Juto didn't want to open his eyes because it was quite obvious just from his tone of voice that this was not the same Crocell who's kissed him ten seconds ago. "What. Are. You. Doing?"
Juto opened his eyes with great reluctance and saw Crocell staring at him with wide eyes that might have been embarrassed if they weren't so angry. There wasn't anything he could reply with other than stammering out random pieces of gibberish. Crocell clearly didn't recall what he was doing all day and trying to explain that Celestine had given him a love potion would only make things worse.
"Get off me!" Crocell pushed him away roughly, wiping his mouth.
"I'm really sorry!" Juto tried to think of a good explanation as to why they were kissing. He couldn't. So he ran, because that flame in Crocell's hand looked hotter than usual.
Celestine was mad again. Juto and Crocell were both gone, but Argo didn't want to leave Zephie alone, so there was no way that she could get any alone time with him! And she'd tried so hard! She huffed in annoyance and crossed her arms.
"Was that you, Celestine?" Zehie asked, a small frown on her face.
"Was what me?"
"I don't know, I thought I heard – there it is again!"
Celestine listened. A few seconds passed and a cry echoed through the tree. "No, I think that's Juto."
"Juto?" The princess stood. "Something might be wrong, maybe we should-"
Celestine jumped up. "Wait! Zephie, I don't think…"
Juto's shouts were getting louder and they could hear Crocell as well and then Juto burst into the camp. He was quite out of breath and there were several singed spots on his clothes. He ran out of sight with a few fireballs on his tail.
"Celestine, this is your fault!" he called as Crocell appeared and disappeared after him, promising that Juto would be nothing but a cinder when he was through with him.
Celestine chuckled nervously. Zephie sighed and returned to what she was doing and Argo looked like he was debating on going after them but thought better of it. They'll run out of stamina eventually, he thought.