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It all started off perfectly fine, honestly. The crouch on bended knee, arms spread far apart--tense, but not too tense--the energy he gathered in his legs and released in a perfect burst of kinetic action...every piece of the puzzle was laid to perfection, just the way his father taught him. It should have gone fine, just as the previous four times.

However, it didn't, and Kain found himself crashing into the lumpy mattress like a drunken albatross.

Perhaps it was the last second glance before takeoff, the fleeting glimpse he took of the wide-eyed face of his best friend watching intently from the edge of the training grounds. Kain hadn't expected Cecil to be there already; he should have still been at his own training. They never met this early.

Surely it was those cobalt blue eyes he felt upon him as he sailed through the air that took his concentration off the jump. His nerves tensed and he suddenly felt self-conscious. Cecil had yet to see him perform a jump. Everything had to be perfect, Kain thought to himself as he spun a showy little somersault in the air. This had to be the best jump ever. What if he fell, in front of Cecil? No, he couldn't fall. It would be too embarrassing for words. He couldn't look stupid in front of his best friend.

Naturally, it was precisely during that time that Kain's backside hit straw, his head hit the back of his helmet, and blood trickled out of his nose. Lying flat on his back, Kain found himself dizzy and drifting into a rather delirious state of detachment as one of the white mages on duty raced to his side. In a moment of self-awareness rare to most fifteen-year-olds, himself included, he laughed at his own stupidity. Of course, he'd over thought it--jumps were about instinct and feeling your energy and the wind and all sorts of weird nonsense his father always went on about. He knew he was showing off for Cecil, and his father probably knew it too, which meant Kain would wish very shortly that he'd landed on his head.

A sensation of warmth filled his aching bones as the healer tended his wounds, and he found his vision returning to normal. Cecil was running to him, as fast as could be expected in that black furnace the king called armor, clanking sort of ridiculously as he moved. Kain wanted to laugh again, but decided against it when he saw the look of concern on his friend's face.

"Are you alright?" Cecil panted, winded from running in his new armor.

"I'm fine now. Just a little sore," Kain said. Cecil suddenly grinned at him.

"Well, I guess you would be. Next time try landing on your feet?"

Kain stuck his tongue out at him and made a rather rude gesture with his hand. Cecil laughed and offered him a gauntleted hand.

"Thanks, jerk," Kain said with a smirk. He took Cecil's hand, and his friend helped him to his feet.

"Hey, what was that flip thing you did? That was neat."

"...Shut up, Cess."