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Something New

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The statement caught her off guard, nearly enough to unseat her from her spot on the Nautilus’ deck. Refia turned her head towards the direction of the speaker, surprised further still when it turned out to be Luneth. She found herself staring at him for a second more before her mouth began working, coherent thought not quite caught up with her yet.

“You know how to call something beautiful, Luneth?”

His sheepish expression turned sour for a moment as he slowly came further out onto the deck, his blanket wrapped around his shoulders. He held onto it loosely, she noticed, just as she had when she’d first come up to look at the stars.

Her own remained over her lap because the night wasn’t really that cold here on the surface world.

“Of course I know how to call a person beautiful.” He huffed, plopping down beside her in a mess of limbs and thick, slightly scratchy blanket. Luneth didn’t look at her as she stared at his profile, silver hair hiding some of his expression.

Refia had the urge to push his hair back, have him look at her, because Luneth turned away from nothing - not a person, a monster, or an adventure. Seeing him turn his face away was… well, she didn’t like it.

“I thought I was just the one to egg you on when you got scared, Luneth.” Lifting her voice just a little, turning the words into a tease, Refia smiled when the other’s head whipped around. He narrowed his purple eyes, ponytail awkwardly caught between the blanket and his shoulder.

“I don’t get scared.” He protested, losing some of his ire when she reached out and untrapped his ponytail for him.

Rolling her eyes as silver strands slid over her fingers, Refia sat back with a grin. He was flushing, she could see.

“Of course you do. All of us do. You’re just the one that leads us through it, ‘cause you’re Luneth.” She pushed him, lightly, on the shoulder. He moved with it, either to humor her or because he couldn’t come up with anything to say at the moment.

It didn’t change the tiny flutter in her chest, the words ‘beautiful’ dancing around in her mind like a firefly. No one had ever called her that before.

Maybe she could grow to like it. Maybe, so long as he didn’t forget that she was just as strong as him.

Stronger, in the case of being a Black or White Mage for the party.

“Well you do egg us on, Refia.” Luneth muttered, shifting so that they faced the same stretch of ocean. He sounded… happy. Or close enough to it. “Especially when you’re being bossy.” He added, like an afterthought.

“See if I heal you next time.” She shot back, grinning softly as she pushed him with her shoulder. He returned it almost immediately, bigger and broader than her by a margin but she held her ground.

They eased off with a shared laugh, quieter than usual so as not to wake Ingus and Arc.

Moonlight played over the surface of the ocean, so much larger than she’d thought it could ever be. She thought that, if she squinted just enough, she might get a glimpse of Saronia’s borders ahead of them.

The kingdom was still a day or so away though, but Refia liked being able to dream.

“I meant it though.” Luneth’s voice suddenly cut through her thoughts, making her turn to look at him again. This time he was looking at her, face shadowed from the moon by the angle of his head and his hair. “You are beautiful.”

“Only in the moonlight?” She joked, feeling her cheeks grow warm. The firefly thought was dancing in her head again and she felt a little giddy.

Luneth shook his head, silver flashing bright and nearly white as he did. It reminded her of mythril in that second, funnily enough.

He opened his mouth, maybe to say something else, something nice or silly or… something, but whatever the words were going to be didn’t manage to find their way out. He turned away after a second, lips thinning as he closed them tight like Ingus did when he disapproved of something.

Refia hesitated, watching him - watching Luneth, her friend and fellow Warrior, leader, jokester, all in one.

She moved first, leaning carefully against him in case he decided to pull away. When he didn’t, she put her head on his shoulder, feeling the crystal of her earring press against her skin.

“You’re kinda handsome in the moonlight too, you know.” She said it softly, not a trace of a jest in her voice.

He let out a short, embarrassed sort of laugh at that. Refia smiled, closing her eyes for a second to better adjust to this new feeling.