He didn't want it, he hadn't meant to, but it was all his fault anyway, and he knew it, and the adults had told him, but still, it hurt, and he didn't want this...

this clenching in his chest, this drop of his stomach, bile rising in his throat

he had hurt someone

No...!

how could he have? even if they star-

no, no! He wasn't like that, it didn't matter! He wasn't supposed to hurt people, no matter what! And he had. He had let everyone down, he'd let himself down. A hand at his throat filtered through his murky, blackened thoughts. He wondered if that was to keep his sobs down, or the vomit, or if it was to cho-... no, that would be a waste, too. He had to be useful. But how - how - after he had... sinned. Could he apologize for this?

"Hey, why are you crying?"

Sheza looked up at the voice, hastily wiping a hand across his face. It wasn't that he cared, really, he didn't know who it was and only-

"Oh... it's you."

- only he could see his tears.

"Of course it's me, it's not like you have any other friends."

Sheza flinched at that, but didn't say anything.

"It's because you're too big, yanno? You're scary."

"But-"

"Hey, move over, I need room to sit."

Sheza did, and he felt himself relax a little as the abrasive Louie leaned into his side. The blue-haired boy brushed sand off his legs with frustrated movements. Sheza knew he saw sitting like this on the ground beneath him, that it was undignified, as Louie would put it, and wondered for a moment why he'd done it anyway.

"Everyone else has gone home. Why are you still here?"

Sheza shrugged.

"I know you're weird and like school and all, but the teacher's not even here anymore. Are you really that weird?" Now, Louie leaned around and craned his head up to peer into Sheza's face. His eyes were squinted, and he looked kind of silly to Sheza. But Sheza didn't laugh at him; that was mean. He did smile, though.

Louie stretched his arm, and just managed to touch Sheza's cheek with his fingertips. Sheza paused, surprised. He didn't know why Louie wanted to touch him, but Sheza lowered his face all the same. If it made it easier for Louie, then...

"How long have you been crying?" Louie's face was scrunched into seriousness now. It wasn't funny. He looked old, and Sheza felt a tug in him voicing that it wasn't right, that Louie shouldn't be so worried over him. He wasn't even that important. Louie should be worried about Munto. He was a waste of time. It was true. The adults said so.

Sheza bit at his lip, not wanting to answer, not wanting to say anything. He didn't want to worry Louie more. He didn't want Louie to waste more of his time on him. Really, he had better things to do, better people to spend his time with.

"Was the sun still up when you started crying?" Louie's voice was insistent, and Sheza recognized it as the tone that had to be answered.

He nodded.

"What happened?" He asked this while dragging Sheza down, pulling him with far more strength than what Sheza expected of him, strength that surprised him every time. He pulled until Sheza was laying on the ground, in the sand, his messy brown hair laying across Louie's leg and his head firmly nestled in the space between his crossed legs, in the middle of his lap. The boy gave his chest a shove downwards, as if to ground Sheza further, to make sure he would stay.

Sheza's neck wasn't comfortable like this. Louie's bony ankles were digging directly into his vertebrae. Louie was probably uncomfortable, too, but he didn't say anything, so Sheza didn't. Louie was always one to complain, so if he wasn't... then Sheza had no right to.

He looked up, as it was the only direction he could look. He couldn't move his head; he was too crammed between Louie's legs. So up it was, and up was Louie's face. Sheza thought he probably did that on purpose. A smile crossed his face. Louie was cunning, strategic. He would be a great Advisor. Munto should be thankful. The smile grew as Sheza thought of the red-haired boy ever telling someone sincerely that he was grateful, and Sheza even gave a quiet laugh as he realized that it would be Louie he had to thank. It was such an impossible situation. The two were almost always at odds with each other, yet they still liked each other. It didn't make sense, but not a lot about Louie made sense to Sheza. Or Munto, for that matter.

"What are you laughing about? I swear, you are the weirdest guy."

Sheza shook his head as much as he could. It wasn't important. Louie's question brought him out of his only half-seeing reverie, and he again was aware of Louie's face. His bright blue hair was dimmer in this light, but no less noticeable. It was kind of late, wasn't it? Louie was right, he had been out here for a long time. The sky behind-or above, rather-Louie was dark, and blue. He could just make out the faint discolored marks that were clouds. They almost completely blended in with the nearly-night sky. It was like the sky was made to be that hue, the perfect border for Louie's pale skin and blue hair, and watery, very cold, very blue eyes. No, the sky wasn't perfect. Louie was. The sky only pointed it out.

Sheza smiled again.

"Tell me why you were crying." It was that same tone that demanded an answer. Sheza's smile faded, but he obeyed. He didn't miss Louie's eyes momentarily narrowing as the smile disappeared, and wondered at that, too.

"I... I hurt someone."

"On purpose?"

A gnawing at his lip.

"Sheza, did you hurt them on purpose?" Louie's voice had taken on the intense questioning tone of an adult. He didn't like it. He closed his eyes, tightly, wishing for a moment that Louie hadn't found him.

"Did you?" It was quieter, almost breathless. He opened his eyes. Louie looked worried. Why?

"I didn't mean to," he answered softly.

"What happened?" Still quiet.

"Three boys approached me. They said I shouldn't be in school, that there was no way I was the same age as them, because of my size. They asked if I was stupid, if I'd been kept a year."

"Did they ask if you were or did they say you stupid?" Louie's words cut, and Sheza could see them striking out at the boys just like a blade. Just like he imagined Louie would do had he been there. Had he been old enough to handle a sword.

"They… said."

"Well, I woulda hurt them too! No one calls me stupid!"

Sheza shook his head vehemently, forgetting in his ardent disagreement of his mobility restrictions. Louie chided him; he apologized. After a brief silence and a prod, Sheza continued.

"I didn't say anything back. I tried to get away, but they were around me. They… didn't want me to leave."

He expected Louie to say something about sticking up for himself, but the boy's face had taken on a hard edge. Sheza looked away quickly, not liking…. not liking the thought of what that face meant for whoever it was turned towards. He swallowed.

"And?"

"They pushed me around," Sheza whispered.

"Did they hurt you?"

He met Louie's gaze, biting his lip. Pale eyes like ice. Sheza thought they could freeze someone, sap all their warmth and leave them shivering and teeth-chattering. Or worse. He remembered Louie was looking at him like this, and his mouth fell open a little. Oh, no, he had made Louie mad! What had he done?

"Louie?"

"Did they hurt you?"

"Well, they pushed me around, but it wasn't really-"

"Did they hurt you?"

Sheza had to look away from him, now. Louie was shaking and white. Sheza swallowed again. Staring at a clump of weeds, and very much not at Louie, he nodded. Once. Quickly.

He couldn't lie to Louie. Sometimes, he wished he could. Sometimes. Louie was angry, and he was scary like this. Sheza didn't want anyone to be hurt, and he knew that Louie often hurt people when he was mad. It wasn't right that someone got hurt because Louie felt like he needed to defend Sheza after the fact.

"Don't hurt them."

"You can't tell me what to do."

That made Sheza's head snap around, and he felt a flicker of irritation pull at his mouth. "It's not right!"

"I'll do what I want! And they deserve it!"

"No! No, Louie, please."

He frowned at the boy cradled in his lap. "Why do you want to protect them?"

"Because we're all the same. Because we all deserve a second chance. I am scary because I am big. I didn't really mind… so it's okay. Please, Louie. Don't. Please…."

"It's not your fault you're a massive giant! And they've known you for years; you're not scary! Since when have you been scary?"

"They hurt people because they hurt, too. On the inside."

Louie scowled at him.

"'S'what Lady Ryuley told me."

Louie stared at him for all of ten seconds before his shoulders dropped, and he sighed. Head tilted backwards and up, spine arched, he looked towards the sky. Sheza wondered if he was counting to calm himself or saying a short, silent prayer for an even temperament. That's what the adults told Louie he needed, an even temperament. Sheza wasn't sure where to get one, or he would have given it to Louie as a present already.

"Alright. I won't."

Sheza let out a relieved breath.

"Yanno, if you're so upset about this, maybe you should fix it."

"You mean... heal people?"

"Yeah, I guess. What happened to them anyway?"

Sheza focused on his hands clasped together on his chest. "I broke one of their legs..."

Silence.

"Another, I shattered both bones in his arm. ...Th-the bone came out first, and then it... I..."

"Sheza..." Louie's voice was close, very close, suddenly and Sheza found he couldn't breathe. One of Louie's small, soft hands wiped away tears he hadn't known had formed. Sheza shivered at the cold touch, smiling a little that even Louie's hands were cold.

And then his mouth did not know what to do after that because Louie was kissing him. It was short, but Louie pressed their lips together with a firm force that made Sheza dizzy, that made his face heat in the aftermath of staring at Louie, that made his chest heave as he took breaths quickly.

Louie gave a little laugh, and did it again, this time a bit longer, but softer. Sheza closed his eyes, wanting to remember nothing but how it felt.

When he pulled away, a thin tendril of - saliva? - formed and broke. Sheza blushed even darker, realizing his mouth had watered and he hurriedly wiped away the moisture. That was gross. Louie laughed at him again.

"You should try healing people, Sheza. You've already healed me."

Despite the worm in his stomach, he managed to get out: "H-how?"

Louie's eyes were still bright and cheerful, but somehow pain came into them, creasing the corners of his eyes. Sheza marveled at how he could show sadness but let happiness still exist.

"I was lonely."

A long pause.

"Louie?" Sheza asked, when he felt that the boy had more to say, but needed a prod.

He smiled, a little, and Sheza felt himself smiling back uncertainly. "I was very lonely, Sheza, but you're my friend. And you'll always be my friend, won't you?"

Sheza nodded.

"Promise me," Louie whispered softly, his voice cracking on the request. Sheza shuddered at being shown his vulnerability, but he reached up and touched Louie's cheek.

"I promise. I will always be your friend. I will always protect you, and I will never hurt you, even if you hurt me."

A true smile crossed Louie's face and he twined their hands together on his cheek.

"C'mon, Healer-in-Training. Let's go home."


'The light shines and illuminates our hearts with a deep, penetrating blue' is part of the lyrics to the opening song. - inspiration. It plays while Sheza is on-screen and Louie follows after. Or something like that, it's been a while, I'm not checking.

Written for a friend I miss dearly. These are his favorite characters and his ship. I hope he gets the chance to read it someday.