My first venture into the Magi world! How exciting! It's my first time writing in this perspective too, so if there are any mistakes (or if any of the characters are ridiculously OOC) please be sure to inform me. :)

Please enjoy this little ficlet!

Warnings: Fem!Sharrkan

-x-

a thousand first impressions

Your first meeting could have definitely gone better.

You don't know why you're thinking about this now when your first meeting with the loud, obnoxious, irritating, dark-skinned girl (woman now, your brain supplied unhelpfully) had happened well over a decade ago, but with all the problems your delicate relationship with her keeps throwing at you, you can't help but think Maybe it's because our first impressions of each other were so bad that nothing seems work for us anymore.

You almost snort at how you're making it sound as if you guys were romantically-involved (no matter how, how, how much you want it) even though you're not because maintaining a friendship with The Loud One was already trouble enough.

Your latest meeting with her had ended up with her stomping away while loudly proclaiming I'm gonna make you regret saying that! One day! and You should learn how to respect your elders! and I don't even know why I'm still friends with you!

You hate to say it, but the last one stung. A lot.

Of course, you think along those lines as well, every now and then, but you never actually utter them aloud because even though you enjoy teasing her for all you're worth (her puffed up cheeks are so amusing), you never ever want to actually hurt her.

She means too, too much now, aghast as you are to admit it, and your first priority somehow shifted through the years from wanting to find a quiet place where she can't find you to blab your ear off to her happiness her happiness her happiness. You didn't even know you could be so cliché and cheesy, but there it was.

And now your thoughts went another full circle because you're pondering on your first meeting and if it went differently how different would your relationship with her be?

(You never knew yourself to be so superstitious.)

Even though it had been years when you first met, you remember everything with startling clarity. It's ridiculous, because you can't even remember what you had for dinner the night before, but you remember every single interaction you've had with her and maybe, just maybe, she's always had this hold on you even if you never noticed until you were both grown and she was starting to tire of your complicated and grating companionship (even though you're thinking pleasepleaseplease don't ever get tired of me because I sure as hell won't be able to deal with your rejection).

It happened fifteen years ago, on a Tuesday. Sinbad had mentioned briefly the day before that he would start babysitting a new kid, a girl, the very next day and so Please remember your manners! You had let the words fly right over your head because really? Who cares? There had been nothing more important to your eight year old mind at that moment than perfecting your Lego fortress. That had been a bad move on your part, you think now with a sigh of conceding defeat, because you were even more socially-inept back then than you were now, and practicing your "Hellos" and working on your lack of facial expressions wouldn't have hurt anyone.

And so when Sinbad had led a cowering, white-haired, dark-skinned girl towards you and she squeaked out a quick, nervous, "Hello! My n-name's Sharrkan!" you could only reply with: "Your hair's really white. Like an old lady."

Needless to say, due to the fact that Sharrkan used to have this immense fear of human interaction in general, your words which were blunt but free of malice, seemed rather vindictive to her, and it was with a wobbly lower lip and glassy green eyes that Sharrkan bolted out of the room, wails erupting from her throat.

And as Sinbad tried to get Sharrkan out of the bathroom (which lasted a good two hours, you remembered dimly), Ja'far had reprimanded you with soft tones of Please try to be more delicate, would you Masrur? You had shrugged and apologized though you weren't quite sure what you were apologizing to.

Try as you might to be delicate, your next nine interactions with the (overly-sensitive) girl had concluded in the same manner.

Ja'far ended up teaching you about social niceties for the next two weeks. Two weeks which could have been spent doing the finishing touches on your Lego masterpiece.

(You didn't even really learn anything in the end.)

Needless to say, while Sharrkan may have cowered in your presence for the next year and a half (until she decided to grow a backbone via by copying Sinbad), you weren't exactly fond of the white-haired crybaby either.

-x-

"Hey! Hold up the elevator!"

Her voice rang out, clear as daylight, and even though your mind is screaming Close it! Close it! I don't want to deal with this crap right now. you end up holding the metal doors anyways. You're acutely aware, yet again, of how she's got you wrapped around her dainty pinky, even when it comes to the most menial of things, and you breathe a sigh of relief at how oblivious she is to such matters because if she knew oh God you'd be doing the most ridiculous things at her beck and call.

While Sharrkan is lovely and graceful (sometimes), she can also be mischievous and sly and you seriously just don't want to risk it.

She comes bustling through the doors in a mad flurry of fluttering papers and messy, loose wisps of white hair and clattering golden chains and flashes of colourful cloth. "Thanks mate." She pants as she leans down to grasp the escaped documents. Your eyes follow the smooth column of her neck (without your permission) and you give out a noncommittal grunt in response. Her head pops up faster than you could blink, and she shoots you a glance from the corner of her eye. Her emerald orbs dull a bit and her lips twist down into a childish pout (and you're thinking She's angry did I do that oh I really don't wanna deal with this so early in the morning).

"Masrur." She says sharply, straightening up properly and busying herself by shuffling her documents back into their proper folders.

You don't deem it worthy of a response and she decides to forgo small talk and you ride the elevator together in silence.

It's a matter of pride, you had realized some odd years ago, that makes you two clash heads so disastrously. You're really trying hard to tone down your manly dignity and just lay it down and let her win every now and then, but when it's so obvious how hard she tries to make a fool out of you, you can't help but turn the tables around and make her into the butt of the joke.

You and her have been playing this game for so, so, so long now that it's become habitual. However, watching her tense back as she stands ram-rod straight with her lips clasped tightly together in a mad attempt to not talk to you, you realize how meaningless your pride is when faced with the possibility of her silence, and just as you're about to open your mouth to blurt out a quick but meaningful apology, the elevator doors open up once again and Sharrkan bolts out of the enclosed space without looking back even once.

The metal doors close and you realize just how annoying this is going to be.

-x-

Once, when you were thirteen and a mess of gangly limbs and disproportionate hands and feet, Sharrkan had dragged you out to go shopping with her for her grade eight graduation dress.

"I'm graduating, Mas! I'm graduating," she had gushed, stressing out the last word as if it were something of great importance (and you suppose it was, at the time, until proms and dances and high school and university graduations came around and you realized how tiny of an event graduating middle school really was). "I need to find a really nice dress, and…oh I dunno! But you better hold all my bags for me, got it?"

You had clucked your tongue in annoyance but that was the only protest you gave.

So Sharrkan had dragged you around for hours and hours, rushing into every store and leaving most of them empty-handed. You dutifully followed even as you constantly rolled your eyes and fidgeted your feet because you were tired but she looked so cheerful that you just decided to let her have this one day, only this one, to act as ridiculous as she wanted.

You were sitting on a chair in the changing room of the fiftieth, sixtieth, millionth store that you had ventured into today, when Sharrkan poked her head out from behind the thick red curtain that separated the changing cubicles from the rest of the store. While she looked extremely gleeful, she also looked immensely shy, and you were reminded of the scared crybaby you met when you were eight and you couldn't decide which version you liked more; the one who constantly cried or the one who constantly chattered.

None, if you were being honest, but Sharrkan stepping out to showcase her dress had effectively cut down your thoughts.

The dress was a dark green colour with a petticoat and gold sash around the middle and it looked really, really good on the dark-skinned girl. She did a small twirl and smirked triumphantly because she knows you and she knows that you think it's the best dress you've seen her in all day. The fabric of the dress rustled around her knees and for some reason your palms began sweating and your mouth ran dry and this is all so stupid and uncomfortable and damn those hormones.

"What do you think?" She asked even though her smirk told you she damn well knew what you thought but the verbal compliments never hurt anyone and this was a matter of pride so you said:

"You have knobbly knees and your shins are too skinny and you don't have much of a chest to properly support this dress."

Her eyes flashed angrily at you and she scowled before stomping back into the changing room.

"You're such a jerk, asshole!"

She ended up getting a grey dress without a petticoat cut through by a nice white sash. It was pretty, but it wasn't that dress and you found yourself regretting opening your stupid mouth, more so when she refused to talk to you.

Your pride was important, you realized at the age of thirteen, but it wasn't worth receiving a weeklong silent treatment from Sharrkan.

And so you went to her house the day before graduation holding a few crushed daisies that you picked from Ja'far's front yard.

"Sorry," you mumbled the moment she opened the door, holding out the dying flowers as some sort of peace offering. You remember her eyes softening just a tiny bit and her lips twisting up into a tiny, shy smile.

"Stupid," she replied, grabbing the flowers quickly as if she was scared that you'd change your mind and take back the ugly, wilting things. "I'm not even mad anymore."

You were surprised at how quickly she forgave you, but you realized later on in your life when you entered the real world and began receiving job interviews and started having to pay your own bills, that it was because she values you as a friend and she doesn't want to lose you.

However, no matter how easily forgiven, she never did ask you to go shopping with her again, and you find yourself regretting your words that day every now and then when given the spare time to reminiscence.

-x-

"Sorry," you say quickly the moment you arrive at her cubicle. She looked up slowly as if she already expected your arrival (she probably did), and gives you a tired, battered grin (which is still beautiful, beautiful, beautiful).

"Stupid," she replies, and they've done this so many times by now, that even this has become habitual. "I'm not even mad anymore." You can't help but realize how much duller her eyes become the more times you do this, but that thought is wiped clean out of your mind (for now) when Sharrkan perks up and grins cheekily at you. "However, I'd feel even better if you bought lunch for me."

And since you don't have any daisies on hand as some sort of peace offering, you reluctantly nod.

On the way down the elevator and during the whole walk to her favourite sandwich shop, Sharrkan prattles your ear off with the most random and meaningless things. And even though you would never admit it and you'd like to say that everything Sharrkan spouts off goes in one ear and out the other, you actually pay close attention to every word that spills from her lips, disappointed as you are to say it, because for some bizarre reason, even listening to Sharrkan talk about socks of all things sound important and special to you.

She's still chattering away even after ordering the most expensive sandwich the store had to offer (your wallet groaned loudly in protest but you deftly ignored its anguish) and you decide that it would probably be a good idea to contribute at least a little to this very one-sided conversation.

"—and then Yamuraiha, the stupid witch, thinks that it would be a grand idea to—"

"Are you going to the dinner tomorrow?" You manage to slice through Sharrkan's voice in a clean, bloodless manner by spouting out the first nonsensical words to pop into your mind. Sinbad had invited all of you in your department out for dinner last week via email and you were still debating whether or not you should go because it's a fancy restaurant which means it'll be a black-tie event and you hate black-tie events but since it's Sinbad asking you know you're going to say yes anyways so why even ponder anymore?

Sharrkan blinks a bit stupidly at you over her lunch and you suppose that she's suffering from whiplash due to your interruption. You take the time to contemplate her messy ponytail and rumpled dress shirt and glittering golden chain peeking just underneath her half-buttoned collar and her eyes (which you can drown in) and the little bit of sauce on the corner of her mouth. You're so caught up in Sharrkan that you barely notice (a first) when she answers your question.

"Nah, Talib got us dinner reservations tomorrow evening."

Your stomach knots together uncomfortably, and you stuff the last bits of your sandwich inside your mouth to distract yourself, but when Sharrkan beams so widely at you from across the table, you feel lightheaded and your insides twists painfully even though it shouldn't because her happiness her happiness her happiness is your priority.

"Hey, Mas," she hisses to you from across the table, leaning forward and motions for you to do the same. You swallow your sandwich painfully and allow your eyes to roll in annoyance, but you humour her anyways. "I think," She continues in her ridiculous stage whisper even after your face is only a few centimeters away from her own, and her scent wafts towards your sensitive nose and you take a deep breath in. "I think…he's gonna propose to me."

Then she pops up straight again and she waggles her eyebrows with a wild grin on her face and your stomach plummets and plummets and plummets.

"Oh," is all you can say and it shouldn't hurt so much because it's just a stupid crush you have on her even though crushes aren't suppose to last for years and years and even though it shouldn't even matter if she gets married because you get over crushes. She's talking again and you can't bring yourself to listen so you only catch little snippets of We've been together for three years now and I never thought about getting married before but if he asks I'm definitely going to say yes and Holy crap, Mas…marriage! and you do your upmost best to ignore the sound of your heart breaking because it's just a crush and her happiness is the most important thing.

-x-

When you first started University, Sharrkan had invited you to move in with her in her tiny two-bedroom apartment off campus saying, "It's so much cheaper cuz we can split the bill this way! Besides, why would you wanna bunk with a total stranger when you can live with your amazing senpai?"

You protested a tiny bit, but ended up moving your boxes of random shit into her small abode anyways. And it was nice, you had decided, even if Sharrkan left her clothes everywhere (her t-shirt over there, her panties over here) and she constantly woke you up every morning by clanging around in the kitchen with pots and pans when you can easily sleep in for another hour before you had to wake up. The only real problem, you decided three weeks after moving in, was when Sharrkan would get slightly tipsy and invite a random boy from her year to her room and you seriously do not need to see or hear.

The first time it happened, it was a Sunday and only because your alarm clock was flashing an angry, red half past one but it still felt like Saturday to you. You had blearily opened your eyes just a little bit and wondered where the hell that noise was coming from before you decided it wasn't worth it and burrowed yourself under your pillow again. However, a few seconds later, the noise came again but louder this time and is that Sharrkan?

You decide after another minute of banging and hushed moaning (it was almost as if Sharrkan was being considerate and didn't want to wake you up, ha) that you concluded Yes. It's Sharrkan getting her groove on in the room next to you. However, your head was pounding with exhaustion and your bones creaked wearily and you just didn't want to deal with it at that moment, so you just grabbed your headphones on the nightstand and began blasting music in your ears. You didn't get to sleep that night until three o' clock because Sharrkan and her guest obviously exhausted themselves at that point and blissful silence fell upon you.

You didn't bring up the topic the next morning even as a stranger sat at the kitchen table sipping from your coffee cup and Sharrkan refused to look you in the eye for the next three days.

The second time it happened, however, you weren't as tired as the first time, and you could feel the jealousy pounding through your veins with an angry hum. You growled and rolled out of bed, your hair had been sticking up in every which direction but who cares, and you remember grabbing your pants thinking I don't want to fight some random guy in the middle of the living room at midnight, buck-naked. Everything had been a random blur, and you just remember bursting into Sharrkan's room (the door had been unlocked…or maybe it was locked but you broke the doorknob) and prying some blonde off Sharrkan and she was screaming, "Masrur, you psycho!" and he was screaming and she was doing her best to cover her bellybutton of all things that should've been covered and you threw the blonde out and locked the door before locking yourself in your bedroom and thinking I did not just do that What the hell I'm not jealous God I'm hungry and I'm not jealous.

You walked out of your bedroom the next day and Sharrkan wasn't banging around in the kitchen but a plate of pancakes still sat on the counter like some sort of peace offering. You dig in and Sharrkan stands across from you and offers a sheepish, "Sorry, Masrur. It won't happen again."

You hum and raise a curious brow at the random pair of jeans Sharrkan was fiddling around with. She grinned wolfishly and her eyes twinkled merrily.

"You threw him out naked Mas. Good job you."

You remember feeling distinctively pleased at yourself.

-x-

"You look distracted, is everything alright?"

"Fine," you reply, and Ja'far frowns but doesn't press you for any more information. The restaurant you're at is lovely and nice and wonderful and other colourful words such as that, but you feel very uncomfortable in your suit and tie and you've been here for what felt like hours and it's a five course meal and there's still another two courses left to go. It is nice though, you have to admit, meeting up with everyone outside a work setting, however, these environments just make you feel like an awkward, gangly teenager all over again.

Ja'far is sat to your right and Spartos is in the seat to your left. You're eating silently while Ja'far is caught between shooting you concerned glances and telling off Sinbad who's already halfway to drunken oblivion while Spartos is doing his best to disentangle himself from Pisti who's flushed and clinging to the man's arm like some sort of koala bear. Yamuraiha, across from you, is also rather red-faces and spewing out random quotes from Harry Potter and Drakon and Hinahoho are shooting each other exasperated looks.

You hardly notice your phone vibrating in your pocket, distracted as you are with thoughts and that fish you were chewing and Sinbad attempting to lick Ja'far's cheek and failing miserably. You languidly pull out the device, but when Sharrkan's name blinks at you, you spit out the fish bone in your mouth and quickly answer.

(You dutifully ignore how you're quite sure there's still a bone lodged in your throat and if you weren't you, your eyes would be watering but Sharrkan always comes first.)

"Mas?" Is the first thing you hear when the line connects and she sounds tired and angry and just so sad but also a little bit tipsy and you start thinking I'm gonna kill him I'm gonna kill him I'm gonna kill him.

"Where are you?" You ignore the curious looks every one shoots at you and just wait for Sharrkan to (pleasepleaseplease) answer.

"I 'unno," she hics and you frown at how unhelpful that is before she continues, "I'm outside some convenience store. 's a McDonald's across the street."

"I'll be right there," you reply and before you've even properly disconnected, you're already making some excuse and leaving the table and you're sure Ja'far was about to run after you but Sinbad grabs him and makes him sit down and outside the restaurant is a bit chilly and I hope she's got a jacket.

You see her before she spots your car so you can't really blame her for jumping back from the shock when your vehicle skids to a stop right in front of her. She's not wearing a jacket and you feel a flash of worry and irritation strike through your body even as you're shrugging off your dinner jacket while hopping out.

Sharrkan stands up on shaky legs and offers you a wobbly grin. "Yo, Mas." You don't reply and as you're wrapping your black covering over her shoulders as some protection against the evening chill, you feel strangely reminiscent and bitter because Sharrkan's wearing a dark green dress with a petticoat and a thin golden belt and it looks so much like that dress but she's not wearing it for you, she's wearing it for Talib who you're quite certain is the biggest asshole to walk the world even though you don't even know why Sharrkan's not cozying up with him and is instead tipsy and sitting outside in the middle of the night without a jacket and you don't think you've ever been so angry in your whole life.

You open the passenger side door for Sharrkan and help her get even as she tries to latch onto any part of your body she could get her hands on. The ride back to your place is quiet only broken by the occasional, "Hey…Mas?" even though she never finished her sentence.

Once you reach your (total bachelor) pad, you push her inside and hand her a t-shirt and a pair of much-too-large sweatpants but that's all you have right now so she'll have to deal. Once she's finished changing, you give her a glass of water; make sure she downs the whole thing, before pushing her down onto your bed and tucking her in.

"Hey, no Mas," she grabs your arm and you do your best to ignore the jolt of electricity that courses through your body just by that small contact. "Stay." You want to decline the offer but damnit she's so manipulative even if she doesn't know she is and you end up lying under the blankets with her and her scent enveloping you and her arm pressed snugly against yours.

"So Talib was cheating on me," she says offhandedly after a good thirty minutes and you would swear that she had been asleep because of her even breathing and how the hell did she last thirty minutes without talking? "Jus'…came out and admitted it. Apparently he's been cheating on me for a good four months and he didn't understa'nd why 'm pissed. I kicked 'im in the nuts."

You turn your body to face her and find yourself staring into liquid green eyes. "Good job you." You murmur into the darkness because everything is just so quiet and tranquil and you don't want to break that. She smiles half-heartedly at the familiar words and you add "He doesn't deserve you."

Her smile turns all that more genuine and she snipes back playfully, "No one deserves my awesomeness."

You hum in agreement because really, no one does, and she pulls at your cheek lightly before closing her eyes.

You watch the moonlight play with her hair and decide that the past will stay in the past but you control your decisions now and the words and actions of say and perform presently will affect the way your future will turn out and so, without even really thinking about it, you whisper in a rush, "That dress you were wearing looked nice on you."

You're not even sure if she remembers that dress she tried on so long ago because even though you remember it, Sharrkan's always had that hold on you and you remember everything about and you're quite sure you don't have that same pull on her. But then she opens her eyes (which are glistening slightly, but you won't point that out because you know her and you know she wants to keep the tattered remains of her pride) and gives you a grin so big and so bright and just so Sharrkan that you know for sure that she remembers that dress very, very clearly.

"What, you don't think my knees are too knobbly and my shins too thin anymore?" She teases you without malice. You reach over, fingers tingling with a need to touch her which is so great that you almost do, but then you remember your place and you remember Sharrkan's just got her heart broken by her asshole of an ex-boyfriend and you're just her friend and just stop. So you draw you hand back and allow it to lie awkwardly at your side again.

"Your knobbly knees and skinny shins aren't too bad, though your chest is still as tiny as ever." You offer instead, and Sharrkan lets loose a (much too) loud guffaw before yanking your pillow from under your head and stuffing it in your face. You grab her pillow and for this night, just this night, you allow yourself to let go and to just enjoy being around Sharrkan because she's still here with you, laughing and playing and having fun and she still holds you in some regard and you're just so, so glad that she's comfortable around you.

And when she lets out a wild shriek because her oversized shirt flapped upward and showcased her stomach and underside of her chest, of course she would cover her bellybutton and that move is just so her and you allow your lips to curve up into a tiny, minuscule smile.

-x-

The next morning, you wake up much too early for a Saturday morning by the clanging and banging of pots and pans coming from your kitchen and you never really realized how much you missed waking up to Sharrkan's unnecessary noisiness and you just sit there on your bed which still smells a bit like her, languidly blinking at how right everything seems right now.

The smell of frying bacon finally manages to get you up and you drag your feet towards the kitchen. Sharrkan's standing above your stove, ivory hair a jumbled mess gathered at the base of her neck in a messy ponytail, with your shirt continuously sliding down her left shoulder and your sweatpants practically lying on her knees and you're not sure if all those oil stains and raw egg splatters would ever wash properly off your sweatshirt but you just can't bring yourself to care. She's humming the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' rather loudly and very off-tune and when she's done, you give a slow, dry clap. She spins around in shock and more oil splatters onto your pants and shirt and you frown lightly at Sharrkan in a mock imitation of annoyance.

She just smiles sheepishly at you and you do your best to ignore how puffy her eyes are and how splotchy her face is and She must have been crying this morning. "Mas, morning," she offers and you plop down at the kitchen table in response. "Oh gee, wow thanks, man, but noooo…I don't need any help in here, thanks for asking."

"No problem," you reply dryly and gracefully dodge a sugar packet that she throws at your head.

"Learn to respect your elders, would you?"

"Once you start acting like an actual, proper senpai, senpai." You reply and as she brings two plates to the table, she blows you a raspberry.

The two of you fall into a familiar routine of "This bacon's too burnt" and "Shut up and eat what's in front of you" and "Pass the salt" and "Here you go". Sharrkan's a bit more subdued than usual but she still manages to sound partially chipper and she still gives out cries of how rude and mean you are and you think She's not broken she's not broken she can still be fixed.

And with those positive thoughts circulating through your head, you allow Sharrkan to pound on your back furiously without a single complaint because your pride is nothing compared to Sharrkan.

(You're beginning to think that nothing is more important than Sharrkan.)

-x-

When you were twenty, Sharrkan had gleefully announced to you (and Sinbad and Ja'far and Yamuraiha and Spartos and anyone else in the vicinity) that she got herself a new boyfriend, Talib. And because she's Sharrkan, she couldn't help but prod at you and loudly proclaim Oh Talib is so much nicer than you and He's just so fun to be around and Not to mention in bed~ and if you didn't know better you would have thought that she was trying to make you jealous but that's so absurd because it's Sharrkan and to her you're just a close childhood friend.

You allowed her taunts about her new boyfriend to fly right over your head because knowing the white-haired hellion, this Talib fellow would be gone within a month's time. However, weeks and months and years passed and Talib was still around and Sharrkan was still prattling on about him though as more genuine affection continued to trickle into her voice as the days dragged on, your stomach continued to twist and turn and protest loudly.

"Do you want to go watch a movie this week?" You hardly ever ask but Sharrkan was always too busy with Talib nowadays and not having her around, latching onto your arm and attempting to tease you and just being there was slowly eating away at you and you realized, rather belatedly, just how lonely and wrong a life without Sharrkan would be.

However, Sharrkan had just looked up with an apologetic grin (apologetic to have to refuse you, not because of the reason for such a refusal) and replied easily, "Can't. We're going out for dinner, but if you want you could come—?"

She had always extended the invitations to you as well, and deep, deep, deep inside you had hoped it was because she had missed you too even as the logical part of your mind chimed in She's just being polite and a good sempai and even though you want to say yes (if just to be around her) you couldn't bring yourself to because going with her meant having to watch her interact with Talib and hearing about their romance was one thing but having to watch it firsthand would be a totally different thing altogether.

Her shoulders slumped a bit from your rejection, and you remember her smiling and saying, "Maybe next time then!"

But there wasn't a next time (at least not for the next three years), and sometimes, late at night, you would lie outside in the nearest park and stare up to the sky and think bitterly I lost my chance.

(You couldn't decide whether you lost your chance when Talib came into the picture, or if it extended all the way to when you first met and you said her hair resembled that of an old lady's.

The only thing you really knew was the hurt.)

-x-

"Do you think anyone would actually pay money for this?" Sharrkan asks you curiously while stuffing a mass of cotton and brown fabric into your face. Your nose scrunches up and you back away in order to see the monstrosity that is a brown, stuffed bear with a tearing arm and missing a button eye, properly. You shake your head before continuing to shuffle through Sharrkan's closet and tossing the most random and ridiculous things from the depths of the black hole.

You hear Sharrkan click her tongue in annoyance and the sound of a rustling garbage bag before she loudly proclaimed, "You're right. I wouldn't pay for that shit either." She sighs and looks over your shoulder as you pull out scarves and necklaces and any other tiny trinkets that Talib had graced Sharrkan with before. "Maybe I should just toss all this junk."

You glance up at her from the corner of your eye, and she stared back before offering you a lovely grin, one that causes her entire face to scrunch up and she says rather self-deprecatingly, "Three years of my life. Wasted."

You stare a bit more until you reach up and even before you know what you're doing, you're pulling Sharrkan's face towards your own and you kiss her like it's the last thing you'll ever do. And even though your head is tilted at a strange angle and there's a knot somewhere between your shoulder blades and Sharrkan's blunt nails are driving in a bit too painfully into your arms, it's perfect, perfect, perfect because you've waited three years (probably more) for this moment too and maybe it will be three wasted years depending on how the hellion in your arms will react (though the way she pulls you in deeper tells you that your patience has gifted you with good results) however it was three years wasted on her so even if she kicks you in the groin after this piece of heaven, it would've still been worth it, worth it, worth it.

She pulls away first, and it's through muddled thoughts of That was the sweetest thing in the whole world that you register the small smile on her (wonderful, beautiful, perfect, lovely) face. Her eyes twinkle in the same fashion as yours do, weaving a story and love and affection and frustration at how long it takes the two of you to reach this point and Sweet Merciful Crap we could've been making out like that sooner had you grown the balls to confess.

"Not that I'm complaining or anything," she states, a bit too loudly and a bit too obnoxiously but that's just so Sharrkan that there's not even a speck of irritation anymore but then her voice changes and she whispers next, "but why now?"

And as you look at her, you could've said a million different things. You could have apologized for making her cry those first ten times and told her that her hair, which is like woven ivory, is gorgeous and enhances her youth rather than age her. You could have told her what you really thought of that dress and how you wish so desperately that it's still sitting in that store, waiting for her to buy it, and how even though her knees are knobbly and her shins are much too thin and her chest will never be as full as Yamuraiha's, she's still the most lovely thing to walk this earth (or maybe it's just because you're so in love with her that all her imperfections somehow become endearing to you) and maybe, just maybe, you would like to shop with her again. Or you could have even mentioned how you wish you threw out that first guy too, buck-naked like the second one, because then maybe she would have noticed how much you care and how much better she was than one-night-stands and why would she have ever wanted a fling to begin with when she had you, someone who would love and cherish her forever? Or you could have just stated with that monotonous voice and stoic face of yours I always knew Talib was an asshole.

But all those things would've taken too much effort and all those words were so out-of-character for you and so, instead, you just allow your hands to rest on her waist, and you let yourself pull her in that much closer. And as you stare upon Sharrkan's features and think I'm so happy, you smile lightly and ask cheekily, "Why not?"

fin.