I've been wanting to write this story for a while now, so here it is! Once again, this is a MeliaxDunban fictional piece. Although I really like Shulk and Fiora as a couple from the game, I still feel the need to make these two work! I also feel like I'm one of the few people that worshiped Dunban...out of all of the main characters, he was definitely my favourite XD.
This fic takes place after the defeat of Zanza, and there will be spoilers throughout, so read at your discretion! Also, I've rated the story "T" for now, but it will get graphic further on into the chapters, just a fair warning! :P I'm planning on making this story a good 10-14 chapters, and it may be a while before I finish. Anyway, hereeeeee's the first chapter, hope you like! :D
Longing as an Intoxication - Chapter 1
She felt him standing close by, how close she couldn't be sure. She could feel sweat accumulating on her body, but she knew it was only partially due to the humid air that surrounded them within the forest. She heard him approach silently, his hands gently resting on her shoulders.
The way he stated her name made her sigh quietly. Slowly, she turned to face him. His eyes gently searched hers.
The name escaped her lips softly as she pressed them against his.
Melia's eyes snapped open. Blinking a few times, she gazed around looking for the source of the voice that had awoken her. Sea green eyes were smiling down upon her and immediately she knew who it was. "Fiora!"
"Morning! I thought I'd get you up early, Shulk and I made some extra special plans for the group of us today. I wouldn't want you to miss out!" Fiora stated warmly, opening the bedroom curtains. Sunlight gently poured into the room as a reminder of the morning. Melia sat up, gazing around. Remembering that she was a guest at Fiora's house, she hastened to get up.
"I should be ready soon, count me in! Where are we going exactly?" Melia asked, trying to sound optimistic.
Fiora grinned as she straightened from fixing the bedside table. "It's a surprise. You'll find out soon! Meet us outside when you're ready, alright? Breakfast is all ready for you here."
Melia looked at her gratefully. "Thanks Fiora."
Fiora smiled at her as she descended the staircase of the house. As she did, Melia felt her smile slowly fade into a frown...something that seemed to happen frequently since she'd been visiting at Colony 9.
Melia's thoughts strayed back to her dream. Ever since the night that herself and Dunban had exchanged feelings for one another after falling from Galahad Fortress, almost every night afterwards she had dreamt of him. After trying to analyze her feelings and understand what exactly had happened between them, every night had been one of contemplation and heartache, making it difficult for her to stay on task at any given time. After the defeat of Zanza, the group had started to rebuild their lives - Colony 9 was still existent and Melia had been only too happy to see where Shulk and the others had spent their childhood days.
There were many things that Melia had decided to accept from her previous journey, one of them being that she no longer had a place within Dunban's life - at least, not in a romantic way. Ever since the incident where she had expressed her feelings for him, Dunban had never reciprocated after that time. Although they would talk as friends did, never had he approached her the way he had once done. He had remained the unofficial guide and powerhouse of the group, and Melia had come to accept that Dunban had made it clear that he did not want anything to do with her. After making this assumption, Melia had rarely talked to him.
Even so, Melia hadn't seen him in a while. After the defeat of Zanza, Dunban had left with a group of Machina soldiers in order to rebuild the Machina Hideout (now called headquarters). She had been left alone with Shulk and the others. Time had dragged, for it seemed, an eternity. Her longing for him never seemed to diminish, although she told herself that the feelings she held for him would be a deadly consequence. For how could she remain attached to him if he was not to her? Most of the time she would keep up a brave face, but secretly, she always felt alone and hardly happy at all. She knew that Fiora and Shulk had tactically caught onto her depressed notions. Fiora's actions of the morning only proved this assumption to be true. Why else would Fiora invite her along with Shulk? Sighing, Melia stripped off her pajamas and pulled on clothes that had been provided by Fiora. Thoughts still swarmed her mind as she ate her breakfast quietly. The main question that seemed to keep coming back to her was always the same.
When would Dunban return?
"How is she?" Shulk asked Fiora as both of them sat on a bench near the house, waiting for Melia to finish her breakfast.
Fiora's bright smile seemed to fade a little, her hair cast aloft by a gentle breeze. "Not good. "
Shulk bent his head in acknowledgement. The two had made assumptions about Melia's recent actions, not fully understanding why it was that she was unmotivated and hardly talked with them for the time that she'd been at Colony 9.
"Have any leads as to why she's been acting so reclusive?" Shulk asked, with a tone of concern.
Fiora was quiet for a moment. "I don't think you're going to believe what I'm going to suggest, but I'm gonna throw it out there anyway."
Shulk looked at her with anticipation. "No, by all means, I'm interested to hear anything. I'd rather not see Melia act this way, especially since she's visiting. She has had a rough time...especially since her father and Kallian passed away. Perhaps it may be because of that…" he trailed off, wanting to know what Fiora had in mind.
Fiora held his gaze, then stood. "That could be true. But this morning, when I went in to wake her up...Melia was talking in her sleep."
Shulk looked at her curiously. "What does that have to do with this?"
"She was talking about...Dunban."
Shulk looked confused. "Why would she be..." Suddenly, his eyes widened and the realization hit him. "Fiora...are you serious? Melia and Dunban?" he asked, rather surprised by the whole idea.
Fiora looked as though she was in deep thought. "It's not as bad as it sounds if you think about it. Melia is considered an adult in High Entian years, a relationship between the two could be possible…"
Shulk stroked his non-existant facial hair. Then his eyes lit up, as if coming to a final conclusion. "Wait... Fiora, I think you've hit the head of the nail! Dunban has been gone for a while now, and all this time Melia's been acting strange. Perhaps you are right. The only thing is...I've never really seen them with one another. I mean...at least, not at all before we defeated Zanza. Naturally, Dunban wouldn't show any telltale signs of liking anyone, and Melia hasn't either."
Fiora giggled at Shulk's last remark. "I haven't noticed anything either. Perhaps Dunban has no idea about how Melia feels, if she does have feelings for him. Or vice versa."
Shulk smiled at her giggling. "You know, I'm actually surprised at you. The fact that someone could like your brother, I thought you'd resent something like that."
Fiora chuckled. "Oh Shulk, so quick to assume. You don't know everything about me!" She playfully punched his arm." I'm not that harsh when it comes to Dunban - he's older than me, and he's allowed to do whatever he wants.'
Looking towards the horizon, Fiora paused before continuing.
"...I do think Dunban needs someone in his life though. He's never really been in a committed relationship before, let alone dating anyone. After his accident he spent all his time trying to recuperate and support us. After all he's done for us...for me...I feel like he deserves to spend his life with someone special. If he did have feelings for Melia, then I would be happy for him...for both of them."
Shulk said nothing after her statement, signaling the fact that Melia herself was approaching.
Fiora quickly turned to greet her. "All set? Reyn and Sharla are meeting with us later, but we can head off without them!"
"Very well." Melia nodded, and the three set out towards the inner grounds, Shulk and Fiora exchanging glances after realizing Melia had almost caught them talking about her.
"So the anticipation is killing me." Melia teased and they headed into the general shopping area of the colony. "Are you going to tell me what you are all up to for this afternoon?"
Fiora grinned. "Shulk and I were going to spend the day by the lake, he said he was going to teach me how to fish properly." She nudged Shulk in the ribs.
Shulk smiled. "Yeah, we thought it would be a good day to make plans. We just have to buy some supplies before we head out. We were also thinking about going for a swim later on...Melia, what are you looking at..?"
Shulk noticed Melia's concentration was fixated on a group of people in the distance. Fiora, without verbalizing, noticed the same. It was a group of Machina soldiers, chatting amongst themselves. However, as Shulk looked closer he noticed one of them was a Hom.
"Speak of the devil…" he murmured under his breath, glancing at Fiora, but she was already running towards the small group, her hands outstretched to welcome her brother back to the Colony.
Dunban stood, leaning against some stacked wooden crates. Surrounding him were some familiar faces, including Vanea - Egil's sister, who had helped Shulk and Co. on their previous journey. Dunban found Fiora in his arms a few seconds after he'd seen her running towards him.
"Dunban! We've all missed you! Why didn't you tell us you were back?" Fiora had her head buried within his shirt.
Dunban chuckled, gently embracing her. "I'm glad to see you too, Fiora. We all just made it back a few moments ago, we've been unpacking supplies for trading."
Shulk and Melia finally caught up to the group. Noticing Fiora in Dunban's arms, Melia secretly wished that herself and Fiora could swap places. "What a silly thought." she mentally kicked herself, knowing that greeting Dunban might prove difficult after so long.
Shulk too, gave Dunban a quick hug. "It's great to see you, Dunban! Reyn and I miss your training sessions."
Dunban grinned. "I knew you two must be slacking without me. Don't worry, we'll start your training again tomorrow - bright and early. "
"Bright and early? Shulk sleeps in almost everyday...good luck trying to get him up for training." Fiora laughed, as Shulk raised an eyebrow and Dunban chuckled.
Melia knew she was next in line. "Hello Dunban, it has been quite a while." she stated in a matter-of-fact way, while Shulk and Fiora secretly exchanged glances.
Melia gazed into Dunban's eyes. They were the same dark, crystalline blue that she remembered, calm and focused.
"It's great to see you too, Melia." Dunban extended his arms to her, initiating the hug. Surprised, Melia gently locked her arms into his, only for a few seconds. His arms held her protectively, and she could feel his abs pressing into her. He released her faster than she anticipated, and she quickly drew away not wanting to make anything awkward. Trying to focus on the ground she took a step back, secretly wishing the hug could have lasted longer.
"So, how are you liking Colony 9?"
Melia looked up, realizing the question was addressed to her. "It has been a pleasant experience so far, I have been around to much of the area thanks to Fiora and Shulk." she answered, gazing at him.
"Sounds like you've all been up to a lot without me here to interrupt." Dunban chuckled, his eyes smiling. "Were you all planning to go somewhere, is that why you're in town?"
Fiora nodded. "Shulk promised to take us fishing, and we were planning to go for a swim later. Aaaaand since you're here, you're coming with us!"
At this suggestion, Dunban looked thoughtful. "I'll be busy with the supplies be brought over from the Machina headquarters; I might catch up with you all later. But don't be disappointed if I can't make it, I'm going to give you the heads up now."
Fiora made a pouty face. "Fine, be that way! Well, I'll still be expecting you, whether you're late or not!" She grinned devilishly, and Dunban gave an exasperated sigh. Melia wondered if Dunban had made and excuse just to avoid them...or better yet, her. Then she decided to be a little more optimistic and pushed her previous thoughts aside. Dunban was finally here, after all - for that, she would be grateful.
Vanea then stepped forward, everyone exchanging hugs with her. "It's wonderful to see you all again. Colony 9 is more beautiful than I remember."
"How's everything back at the Machina headquarters?" Shulk asked.
Vanea was about to respond when there were shouts from the bargaining carts. "Looks like they need us over there." she stated, looking at Dunban.
"Right. Looks like we've got some work ahead of us." Dunban acknowledged.
"Could you use some help?" Shulk looked at Dunban, but Dunban shook his head.
"It's alright, you three go and enjoy the weather while it lasts. I'll catch up later."
"You better!" Fiora grinned, as they three parted from the group of soldiers. As Melia walked away from the group, she couldn't help but turn to look back a few minutes later. Her heart sank when she noticed Vanea link arms with Dunban jokingly, Dunban responding to this with a laugh.
As the two conversed from a distance, Melia looked forward, trailing Fiora and Shulk, feeling slightly miserable. She knew she felt this way for one reason. Her longing for Dunban would forever remain her intoxication.
Author's Note: Yayyyyy the first chapter is complete! :D The next chapter will be much more interesting, I promise - this is just the beginning! Melia seems to be getting a little jealous of Vanea - let's hope that won't escalate...or will it? Suggestions? Comments? Let me knowww! :)
******PLEASE READ: (SPOILERS AHEAD!) Just to clarify (b/c I've been getting many questions about this from other readers/reviewers) my interpretation of the ending of the game was that Shulk chose a world without gods (both Bionis and Mechonis ceasing to exist and earth was created), but everything else was restored to its former nature and each city is separated in some manner from the other (including Colony 9, Colony 6, Alcamoth, etc). This interpretation was what I had originally used to write out the whole plot of this story, and it wouldn't make sense otherwise. For those of you who pointed out my errors about using the Bionis/Mechonis in the story before - thanks for catching that! Also, Shulk still owns the original Monado (as mentioned in Chapter 4). Hope that clears things up a bit, and I apologize for the confusion! Stay classy people - thanks for keepin' me sharp! :)