There were times when having a house all to herself was a very good thing, Aika decided as she bolted the door behind her as fast as she could. No one was there to ask questions, and sometimes when she was questioned things got rather... well, they got awkward.
She'd just gotten back from Vyse's house, which wasn't that unusual; he was her best friend, after all, and his parents let her come over all the time. But when you considered that neither Vyse nor his mother and father had been there when she'd arrived at their house, and that Aika had in fact had to "borrow" a key from Vyse's room some time ago to get in, it got a little bit weirder. Then there was the fact that she'd gone to Vyse's house empty-handed, and was now clutching a bundle of cloth that she'd rolled under her arm.
She'd return the key later, of course - Vyse was her friend, and Blue Rogues didn't steal from friends. She would put it right back when she was done, hide it back under a loose board in his closet so that Vyse could keep on forgetting it was there. Heck, she would've put it back while she was there, except that she did have the presence of mind to realize that she still needed to get back into his house to return the other things she'd borrowed.
Grinning foolishly - she'd gotten away with it, why shouldn't she be happy? - she shook out the bundle of blue fabric and laid it out on the bed. She examined her prizes: first, a vivid red scarf, more than long enough to tie and toss back over her shoulder. Then there was a long blue tunic with gold buttons on the front, slightly worn and patched, with the sleeves slashed off. She'd snitched them from Vyse's room just that morning.
She wasn't going to keep them, of course. It wasn't like she could just go around dressed like Vyse and no one would notice. She'd just always wondered how comfortable his clothes were; it was a pity that the ship had had come back before she could get the entire outfit. She'd had to run downstairs and lock the door behind her again, pretend that she'd just arrived and was waiting to welcome them back. A bold move, but she had gotten away with it - and had been given a cup of tea and some chocolates from Sailor's Isle in the bargain. She'd had to hide the cloth outside of their house; nobody had noticed it, tucked back behind the house, and she'd grabbed it when nobody was looking with no problem at all.
She hummed to herself as she loosened her belt and threw it onto the bed, then shimmied out of her yellow dress. Then she loosened and then undid her braids, letting her twisted hair fall down her bare back. All she was wearing was her black shorts and her favorite boots, the ones that went all the way up over her knees. Grinning and still humming out loud, she grabbed the tunic and pulled it on over her head, then loosely knotted the scarf around her neck.
She struck a pose, admiring herself in the mirror. The tunic was long enough to almost completely hide her shorts, and the scarf trailed down almost to the ground on her - she must not have knotted it properly. And on top of that, the front of the tunic gaped open on her more than it ever had on Vyse, revealing a little bit more cleavage than she was entirely comfortable displaying in front of anyone. Well, just about anyone, she amended.
They were comfortable, though, just as she'd suspected - they were soft and well-worn, carefully stitched and patched together. And they smelled good, in a way that Aika couldn't describe - they smelled like home, like eating fresh-baked cookies and wrestling with Pow and playing on the deck of the Albatross when she had just been a little girl. But most of all they smelled like Vyse, in some way that she also couldn't describe... and that realization made her feel warm and comfortable, like she was in the middle of a big hug. Or something.
She threw herself back on the bed, wrapping her arms around herself and breathing in the strange new scent. She'd never noticed it before, somehow... which was weird, since she'd been friends with Vyse for so many years. As many times as she'd hugged him over the years. She had really thought that she knew everything about him by then. They'd played together for such a long time, exploring the island, roughhousing in the village square - or they'd used to do that, anyway. For some reason Vyse's mother had asked her if she would please stop that sort of thing, because she was really afraid that Vyse would get the wrong idea. The thought of it - of Vyse getting the wrong idea because of her - made her tingle, right from her head to the tips of her toes -
Someone knocked loudly on her door. Aika sucked in a breath, then forced herself to relax. "Don't come in!" she called. "I'm... I'm not dressed properly!" That was mostly true, anyway.
She heard Vyse's familiar laugh outside, and felt herself start to blush. "Don't worry, I won't come in," he said. "Mom just wanted me to let you know that we were gonna have dinner here tonight, if you wanna come."
"If I want to? Are you kidding? I'm not gonna miss any of your mom's cooking if I don't have to." Aika forced a laugh. "So, I'll see you tonight, okay?"
"Sounds good to me. Later, Aika."
"Later! And, um... thanks, Vyse!"
Aika held her breath for a few minutes, then finally heaved a sigh of relief. He hadn't tried to come in... that was a good thing, at least. Still, she knew Vyse too well; the Moons only knew what he might try to do later. So she pulled off her borrowed clothes and slipped back into her tunic and boots, and sat down in front of the mirror to braid her hair again. She'd just have to try them on again later, she thought.
When she started to head out for dinner, though, she was surprised by a scrap of paper that fell out of the door frame, settling down on the floor in front of her feet. It was dirty and torn, obviously something that had once been a part of something important... but now the text on one side was so faded as to be illegible, and the other had a scrawled message on it that Aika read and re-read.
Next time you want to borrow my clothes, you could just ask, the note read. They look better on you than they do on me anyway.
It wasn't signed, but it didn't have to be. Aika knew who it was from, and she knew what it meant; it meant that Vyse was up to his lousy Peeping Tom ways again. She should've had someone fix that hole in her wall, instead of just covering it up.
Ah, well, she thought as she folded the paper and shoved it into a pocket. She would just have to get back at him later.
She ran all the way to Vyse's house, singing the whole time. She didn't carry his clothes with her, though; she figured she'd return them later, when things might be less... awkward.