Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Secret Santa - Round 3


Dear Secret Santa,

I would like to have....

1) Picture of Cat adn Callista

2) Which goes very well with our fan fiction of Cat and Callista :D

The first chapter after the prologue is closely based on the actual comic, I hope you don't mind!  Everything will differ after that.  :3

{_Prologue___}
In another world, another dimension, another planet…

… a 17 year old Callista was looking out of her small bedroom window with sleepy blue eyes.  She stared at the night sky, well-lit by the full moon, and admired how it was decorated with dots of stars.  Not too long ago, she had spotted a shooting star, but was unable to wish in time due to her surprise.  She had been hoping to see yet another one ever since, thus creating her nightly routine of star-watching before bed time.

Today, unfortunately for her, the stars were still remaining in their happy spots, unwilling to drop.  She appreciated the full glow of the moon however…  and decided to wish upon the moon instead.  Not long after she folded her hands together and closed her eyes with a smile, Calliope walked in yawning and called for her to sleep.

'Oh, was I interrupting a prayer?' Lio paused, as Callista jumped at the sudden presence of her sister.

'N-N-No, I just, f-f-inished…' She trailed off and fidgeted with her hands.  As Lio nodded and slid to her side of the bed, Callista closed the window to keep the cold air out, then went to bed too.  Together the sisters tucked themselves in and let their tiredness from a day of chores lull them into yet another sleep…


{_The Capture___}

…  help…  Feetsie, wake up…  Help!…  HELP…!!

'–uh?'  Callista blinked, stirring from her deep snooze.  She rubbed her eyes to clear her vision, only to find it strangely hard to, as her fingers were involuntarily bobbing and getting into her eyes instead.  In fact, now that she's a little more conscious, everything in her sight was bouncing along.  Oh no, am I sleep walking again?… She frowned, only to stop and think again.  … am I sleepwalking backwards?!

'Feetsie!  Feetsie, you're finally awake!  Call for help!!  HELP!'

Callista was jolted awake for real this time by the voice of panic and finally realised that she was too aware to be sleepwalking.  'L-Lio?'  She turned to look at her sister, who was, she now noticed, also being carried by someone they clearly did not know.  Callista could not see who her carrier was, but she sure could see the one holding Lio; or at least, the back of him.  She counted a number of earrings on his– or her?– ears, and had a long dark-haired ponytail, which all the more eluded his/her gender.  What would a lady-man-person want with them?  Unable to fully register what was going on, she decided to do whatever Lio was already doing and began yelling for help too.

What seemed like the whole town was soon chasing after them, and for a moment Callista decided to pause her yelling to get a hold of the situation.  She tried to look at her– kidnapper?– but could only see his dark straight hair, and the bandana around his crown.  She could feel his grip on her– firm, yet gentle, and it was actually quite comfortable despite the frantic movement.  Before she could finally conclude any sensible reasoning though (such as why would anyone want to kidnap them), Callista realised that the lights were growing dimmer; she was now out of the town, and it appeared that almost the rest of her quintuple sisters have also been captured.

The sisters finally ceased to a silence when fear now overcame them and kept their mouths shut.  One by one they were set down, and they huddled to a corner together, surrounded by many men.  Callista felt herself slipped off the arms of the one who had been carrying her, and braced for a hard impact that never came… he, instead, placed her down gently, and through her blonde hair that covered her face, she managed to catch a glimpse of his golden eyes.

Callista, still drowsy from sleep, couldn't pay much attention to whatever was going on.  Constant babbling from male and female voices were muffled to her and her eyes began wandering about instead.  Through the darkness, she was still able to see the woodwork all around her, much thanks to the moon that was still high in the sky.  Am I… on a… ship?  Her eyes widened now, feeling a little more alert from her exciting discovery.  Sweet!  I'm on a ship!  Really?!

Her attention darted to the people around her now– pirates!–, but came to a halt when she spotted a man with golden eyes hidden under the shadows of his bandana.  He was standing beside the lady-man-ponytail-person and seemed to be explaining himself.  He must be the one who held me…  She stared at him a while longer, studying his features and clothes.  Suddenly, his gaze moved and their eyes met; she felt her heart skip a beat from being caught, and quickly turned away from embarrassment, only to come face to face with a masked man whom she now simply looked at from shock.

'Hello,' he said gently, lowered himself before her and placed a finger to her chin.  Callista flushed ever redder from the touch and attention she was suddenly getting and heard him ask for her name.

'F-F-F…' she stuttered, unsure if she should be disclosing it, and finding it hard to speak out with a throat slightly sore from all the yelling before.  'F-F-Feetsie!'  She finally let out at the end after an encouraging hard pat.

'What kind of name is Feetsie?' He eyed her suspiciously, and she struggled to answer, 'It's b-because…  I have… b-big f-feet!'

'Don't you have a cuter name?'

She squeezed her nightgown nervously, but knew that she had to answer. 'Callista!'

The crew began to make a strange rumble of "aww"s that left her feeling awkward.  Still, the atmosphere seemed to have soften, and it relaxed her a little; she was now able to look at the masked-man now, eye-to-eye.  He questioned her now about the number of her siblings.  'There are five of you?'

Silence ensued.  Callista could only just look at him.  That's right…  Castalia isn't here.  I probably shouldn't say anything…  at least Castalia would be able to get away!

Right after her thoughts ended though, the man began to have an outrage that alarmed her and her sisters, shouting only for Castalia.  One thing led to another; Pea trying to talk them into giving them up, to being kicked off the deck, to the sudden appearance of her fifth sister, who was now, being smooched by the stranger.

WHAT WAS GOING ON?!!

Callista took a glance to the night sky and wondered.  Was this… was this what I wished for?

Unsettlement began to sit in her stomach, as Callista now understood the severity of the situation between not just her, but also to the rest of her sisters.  Castalia was now standing in their midst, and together the sisters (except a tied-up and muffled Cassandra) held onto her to warn her.  Yet, the youngest of the five paid no heed…  she made her way to the captain instead, who now revealed himself as the Pirate Balthasar.  Oh no…  what have I done…  However, her worried thoughts dissipated instantly when, much to her unknown delight, the golden-eyed pirate came by to sit by her.  Immediately the cold air seemed to warm up around her as the sisters and the two pirates she recognised began to bet and banter lightheartedly.

After all the fuss for the night, it was decided that Castalia was thus married to the captain of the ship;  Callista & Co. were to remain and sleep in a cabin altogether, for they were too far off the island which they came from now.

'Shall we, m'ladies?'

Callista beheld up to the voice and was met with the warm familiar eyes of glistening gold once more.  She looked to his hand that he offered to her, then back up at him to discern his face, now that it was so close and so…  Wow, he's so…  She blushed and felt a strange tingly sensation fill up from her stomach and spread all over her body.  His smile was soothing, and without a thought of doubt, Callista held his open palm and returned a smile.  'T-Thanks…'  she whispered, lifted herself up to him, and… TRIP!

Warmth enveloped her as Callista tripped over her nightgown and crashed into the arms of her supposed kidnapper; she hastily pushed herself back up and away from him and apologised profusely.  OHNOohnoohnohe'sgonnaeatmeeee

He reasoned with her, gently, as their hands still held each others arms, and she felt his voice and touch soothe her panic away again.  But he does eat them, after all…  she thought, and felt rather mixed about his response.

They were eventually led to the lower deck to reach their cabin.  Callista looked at the stairs uncomfortably and didn't fancied the idea of meeting the wood with her face.

'Callista?'  The bandana pirate called.
'Ah!' She replied in surprise.  H-He said my name!  He remembered…
'Do you need help going down?'  He looked to her with tender eyes.

Callista felt that unusual warmth filling up her body again.  He smirked at her and offered to carry her down the steps.  Pirates, she thought, are they always this…

As he picked her up again, Callista felt her face heat up.  It was the same firm, yet gentle grip that held onto her, as he had been running through town carrying her…  Oh…  This, this is…  nice.

She held onto him with comfort, the feeling like a deja vu, even though it was her first time meeting him, and being carried in such a manner.  Callista shamelessly kept herself close to him as he sauntered down and into their lodging, quietly enjoying the moment.  She felt slightly disappointed as he set her down again, and the other company buzzed around for food.  As the two boys left, she continued to look at him, until the door was shut and locked.

Callista sighed.  Oh well.
Food came and went.  The sisters chatted, two left, out the window, and the remaining three decided to sleep in for the night.  Callista and Calliope shared a bed again, just as always.  At least, the comfort of her closest sister was still there.  Yawning, Calli wondered if whatever had happened so far was but a dream.  She thought of the dark-skinned, dark-haired, yet beautifully glowing eyes of the pirate who held her, wondered what his name was, and from all those pondering, led herself back into sleep.

She was half-woken in the middle of the night from hearing an indistinct shouting, recognising the voice despite its softness, but as she was unable to figure out what he was calling for, Calli easily drifted back to slumber.


{_Sky___}
Callista shuddered.  Why is it so… C-cold…
An annoying flapping noise, coupled with on-off sounds of turbulent winds, was peeving her ears.  She lazily opened her eyes and rubbed them, clenching the blanket closer to her from the cold, but stopped when she failed to recognise the room.

Where am…  Oh!
She got up with a jolt, looked to the fluttering window, jumped out of bed, then pushed the flap up and peeked out of it.  Wind rushed in and blew against her face and hair; she squinted from the sunlight, chill, and harmless impact of the wind, but widened her eyes again when she saw nothing but a span of sky blue and white fluffy clouds before her.

'SKY!!'  She cried aloud, 'WE'RE IN THE SKY!!'

Warmth of delight filled her skin and her shiver was gone as everything from the night before came flooding in.  Now, fully awake and hyper, Calli was able to digest the events thus far.  Her excitement also awoke her sisters, who were now going all sorts of oohs and aahs and snatching the spot to look out of the window.

'Skyship!'  She breathed to herself.  I'm…  I'm really in a Skyship!!

The sounds of hurried voices from outside, accompanied by ruffle of keys and unlocking, eventually had the door slammed open as the cabin was graced with the presence of the two pirates from earlier on.

'What's going on?'  Calli's bandana pirate exclaimed, only to find himself ignored by the other girls that were all just as excited and giggling about their newfound discovery.  They were in the sky!

'This is a Skyship?'  Callista attended to him with big sparkling eyes.
'Yes?'  He replied with a puzzled look.

She beamed at his affirmation and went back to her sisters.

'This is… a Skyship!'


'Alright, alright!  Settle down ladies!'  The masked captain of the Azureins hushed the sisters as they were now back on the upper-deck.  'I would've thought that you'd know what kind of ship this is, knowing who I am,' he muttered.

He introduced himself as Kane, and set upon each sister a chore to do.  Despite their reluctance, they were still all frightfully exhilarated to be flying, although none dared to peek over the deck out of their fear of heights.  They were given new clothes…  not very pretty ones, but fitted them nonetheless.

Callista was to sit put in a place and sew.  The lack of activity was beginning to make her cold again.  Soon enough, she was shivering; even the new set of clothes wasn't enough to keep her warm.  She began to sneeze, which alerted the other pirates around her.

'Hey Callista.'

Calli sneezed another and sniffed, turning her head up at the person now shadowing over her.  He squatted down to keep their eyes on the same level, and opened his palm to her out of habit.  'Cold?'

She blushed and nodded to him, taking his hand into hers and simply held onto it.
Ah.  He glanced at her motion, then smiled at her with an uncontrollably kind and slightly amused expression.

'C'mon,' he said and helped her to stand, although for some unseen reason Calli tripped and crashed into him again.

'Eek!'  She squealed, and allowed him to help regain her composure.  'S-Sorry, a-again…'  Calli faced down abashed.  He's going to think I'm such a klutz…  even though I am one…  oh…

'Hey,' he lifted her chin up and grinned, 'don't worry, Callista.  I'll help you out.'

Calli flushed at the sound of her name, and held onto him just a little tighter.  Together, hand-in-hand, she was lured away by him to the lower deck, slipping and stumbling every now, but always being caught in time by this gentleman of hers.  They were quiet throughout, except for a few "be careful"s and "sorry"s here and there, until they came to the door of a cabin.

'Hmm,' he pondered for a quick moment and slowly let her hand go.  'Stay here for just a moment.  I'll be back out real quick.'

As he slid into what Calli assumed to be his bedroom, with the door only two inches ajar, she tried to peek in but was unable to see much before it swung open again.  That caught her by surprise, and she flipped backwards with a startle and fell back.  'Hnn!'  Callista instinctively closed her eyes and clenched her fists, readying herself for a head impact.

Strong arms caught her instead (not surprisingly), and with her eyes still closed, the physical sensations occurring were now magnified.  She could feel his hand supporting the back of her head, while his other arm carried her lower back.  They were warm and comforting; no one had ever touched her in such a way before, but she was absolutely enjoying the short moment.  'You okay?'  She heard him say, but it was his breath on her face that snapped her eyes open.  Once again, she was peering straight into his very very golden eyes…  this time in a range too close for comfort.  She gasped, not just from the shock of their proximity, but also from how incomprehensibly gorgeous he was, now that she could see every bit of his face in clear sight.

She observed as his tanned cheeks shaded into an obscure pink, pulled himself away from her in speed and placed her back onto her feet.

'Uh,' he mumbled, 'here.'  He half-looked away and handed her a light woollen clothing, 'to keep yourself warm.'

As Callista took it, it was her turn to pink up.  'O-Oh, t-thanks!  M-Mister, um…'

'You can call me Cat,' he said, looking at her again, and flashed a grin that sent Callista's body hot.

SO GORGEOUS the inner fangirl in her screamed, while her outer appearance could only stare at him in a state of bedazzlement.  'Um,' she forced herself to speak, 't-t-thank you, m-mister…  Cat…'

Cat chuckled and grabbed the robe that Callista merely held onto.  'You can just call me Cat, cutie.'  Calli remained speechless as he opened the clothing and draped it over her shoulders, pulled it together around her, then brushed her hair off the robe.

As his hands faintly swept across her neck, Callista was jolted with tender chills and held onto a hand of his before it left her skin.  'Thanks,' she said sweetly, now feeling a little more confident by just being with him, and beamed at her constant saviour with unspoken gratitude.  'Thanks, Cat…'


{_Cat___}
Whoa.  Cat thought.  That one single word had been popping in his mind sporadically ever since the kidnapped sisters arrived here in the Azureins.  More specifically, ever since he got to know of this absolutely pretty and petite creature named Callista.

His most recent "whoa" was triggered by the sight of the loveliest smile he had ever seen from said creature.  She had the purest blue eyes and a face so fair in contrast to his, a rose-tinted blush that would sometimes cover more than just her cheeks, lips so full and deliciously red like the juiciest apples and…

'Cat!'

'Huh…'  He shuffled in his bed and batted his eyes open.

'Cat!  You're still asleep?  Wake up, man!  We need you up there!'

Cat's vision blurred for a moment, but it refocused into a clear sight of Foxy yapping by his door.  'Shit, I overslept?!'  He hurriedly gathered his focus and got into his clothes, wondering how the hell he could've overslept.  Thoughts continue to gather in his mind as he grumpily made his way up to the upper level and was walking to his station up the mast, when a happy voice quickly caught his attention.

'Cat!  Mister Cat!  Good morning, Cat!'

His face instantaneously lit up, his mood in a split second switched from crabby to happy, as Cat stopped in his tracks and swerved around to behold his very pretty Callista.  She was sitting just below the mast, all covered in his woollen robe that he had offered to her yesterday, all cute and starry-eyed and supposedly sewing.

'Just Cat…  Good morning, cutie,' he reciprocated, moved to her, and gave her a pat on her head.  'How are you holding up?'

Callista beamed at him.  Something tingled delight in him from just that smile.  He has been seeing it for a while now, but he could never ever get sick of it.  'Good,' she replied, in the most pleasant voice of an angel.  He smiled back and nodded, gave her another satisfied pat, then returned to his duty by climbing up the riggings.

Right, I was dreaming of her…  that's why I overslept…  wait, dreaming of her, now?  Seriously, Cat??

His face slowly returned to its gloomy state, and by the time he reached the crow's nest, his mind was already occupied with even more disturbed and turbulent thoughts.  What's wrong with me, ugh.  What.

'Mr. Wodehouse,' he heard, but ignored to entertain his inner conversation instead.  He traced back from when he first met her.  Despite the darkness, he recalled seeing Calli's adorable sleeping face and without a second thought picked her up instead of the other sister.  He was convinced, although with a slight sense of dread he didn't understand then, that this was the pretty blonde one Kane had requested for.

'Uh, Mr. Wodehouse?'

He remembered how he felt, that utter flood of relief that overcame him, when it turned out that Kane didn't want the one he kidnapped…  nor the other ones for that matter.  How he felt despair and uncertainty again when they were ordered to have the girls sent to jump jump.  How relief returned again when Kane's Original Castalia appeared and set everything right once more.  How he sat beside Callista, how he got to pick her up, how he got to touch her, see her, speak to her, even smell her…

'Ahem.  Mr. Wodehouse!'

'WHAT is it Jaco– OH–'  Cat scuttled to a side as Kane had appeared in his face instead, and poised himself back to his usual composure.

'Look Cat, I know that things are a little different around here now because of certain distractions…' Kane gestured a thumb downwards and immediately Cat knew who it was pointing to, '…or just A certain distraction, but you can't afford to be distracted by that certain distraction…  at least not up here, when distractions could lead to fatalities.  NOW get back to work!'

Cat nodded did just as he was told, although a sweet-faced someone would invade his thoughts every now and then, but he managed to cope and brush it off before the invasion could happen on a full scale.


When lunch time finally came, Cat dextrously hopped back to the main top boarding area and was surprised to find Callista…  not there.  Not by the mast.  He began searching for her, and soon he was seen busying himself running to and fro.  By now he knew where everyone was…  but her.  Worry began to pang his heart as he looked out beyond the ship and down to the heights below.  Could she have fallen off somehow?!

'Are you serious?'  Said Cassandra in a dull tone of disbelief.

Cat looked to the ribboned sister, who was now looking at him with her usual glint of mischief in her eyes.  He did his best to hide his troubled look, and struggled to stay cool.

'You're looking for Feetsie?'  She grinned, as if she was about to win in something if he admitted a yes.

Cat coughed and tried to answer in the most indirect manner he could pursue.  'Well, everyone's here, but her…  She's usually by the mast, so–'

'Why are you always watching out for her anyway?'  Kes interrupted, 'it's not like you're her guardian, or ward, or caretaker, or…'

'Out of the five of you, she's the clumsiest.  So yes, I believe she does need some looking after,' he grunted.  That's why I'm so concerned of her, right?  Because…  she needs looking after.  Right!  Makes total sense now.

Kes gave him a bored glare and tried to stir up again.  'Well, she might be clumsy, but the rest of us have problems too, so…'

A lightbulb seemed to light up as Cat spotted Westley just about coming towards their direction, and thus the perfect opening to Kes' troublemaking scheme.  'That's why, you, of all the other sisters, have… The Doctor.'

He grinned irrepressibly as Kes turned from pale to a bright red and watched her spun herself around to walk away from her scene of defeat, only to bump straight into her weak spot.  After a moment of her usual freaking out and stomping off in embarrassment, the doc approached the dark-skinned boatswain and patted him on the back.

'She's in the engine room,' Westley informed with a sincere smile.

'What?'  Cat responded in confusion, 'why is she there, of all places?'

'Why don't you do down there, see her, and ask her for yourself?'  The doctor then walked away with another pat on Cat's back and returned to his quarters…  or perhaps went to find Kes instead.


{_Callista___}
A monotonous hum droned on and on ceaselessly, as Cat entered the mid-lowest point of the hull.  The engine room was possibly the most important area of all places in a skyship, for it was here, with all sorts of cogwheels and machinery, was a vital piece of clockwork that kept the ship up in the air.

Fortunately, it wasn't as narrow or cramped here in the Azureins, being a grand ship that it was compared to the other smaller skyships he used to handle before.  Cat manoeuvred comfortably across the room and finally found what he was looking for by the wall where the opening screens were.

There she was, fingers still holding onto a dangerous needle, and cloth draped over her lap.  He cautiously attempted to remove said danger from her gentle fingers, but in his success he also woke up the sleeping Callista.

'Mmh…  oh…  Cat?'  She rubbed her eyes drowsily, and for that Cat was thankful that the needle was already somewhere other than her hands.

'Hi cutie…  why are you here?  You fell asleep while sewing…  that was dangerous.'

'Oh, I-I'm sorry…'  Calli searched for the needle that she believed to have dropped.  Cat revealed it, and she picked it from his fingers and slid it into a pincushion she fished out from her pocket.

'So why are you here?'  Cat asked again.

Callista yawned and smiled at him.  'Um, Kane…  H-He asked me if I wanted to s-see what ran the ship…'  She continued to explain, stuttering every so now and then, how the Balthasar brought her to the engine room, explained a few things about how they functioned to the curious Calli, then told her to do her sewing here so she could "get in touch" with the engines.  The humming eventually made her sleepy, and she was unable to stay awake.

Cat smiled to the innocent Callista while inwardly imagining himself delivering a punch to a certain Balthasar, and felt her hair subconsciously.  He knew that she wouldn't do anything stupid here– too harmless for that– and knew I'd come finding her eventually…  He knew I wouldn't think she'd be down here…  what kind of sick prank is this?

'Cat?'

He snapped him back to attention and responded.  'Huh– yes, cutie?'

'Are you here to pick me up?'  Callista twinkled hopefully.

Something melted in him once again.  Okay…  maybe not a prank after all.  Darn you, Kane.

Cat grabbed Callista under her legs, holding her up along with the cloth and all, and attached his other arm around her waist for security.  'Yes Callista,' he said with a defeated yet pleased sigh, 'The Cat Express is here to pick you up!'

She giggled as he carried her out of the room, a hand holding onto her work, and the other around his neck for the sake of simply touching him.

'Are you hungry, Callista?  Shall we have lunch together?'

Calli blushed at the wonderful thought of lunch with him, and nodded her head excitedly.  Together they climbed up steps upon steps that she would have otherwise stumbled over (just as she did while making her way down earlier on with Kane), if it wasn't for Cat ensuring that her feet was off the ground in the first place.

For days and days after that, a lunch together became daily lunches together, and with that it eventually led to daily suppers together as well.


{_Confession___}
A few weeks have gone by ever since The Azureins took off to the clouds; the pirates and girls by now have become accustomed to each other's presence, oddities, and names.  Today, the crew were bustling about, readying to dock onto not just anywhere…  but on a floating island.

The girls were, obviously, excited.
It would be their first time to ever see, let alone step onto, an island that's just up in the sky.  The land that they grew up from was far from such locations, and they could only ever catch a few skyships passing by in the distance then.

The ship veered into the harbour, its spinning rotors of all sides calming to an eventual rest.  It landed with a slight bump that the pirates were used to by now, but the girls had not expected.

Callista was, unquestionably, the only one that fell over from the mild impact, while her other sisters managed to catch themselves in time.  Cat, also unquestionably, helped her back to her feet.

'Callista, we'd have to cross a board to get off the ship and onto the land,' he said with a hint of worry.

'Okay, Cat,' she simply replied, unsure of what he was concerned about.

As they reach the crossing plank, the girls discovered the problem.  The angle was a tad too steep due to the ship being too immense for the docks, and even so, it was only able to connect to a stairway that was meant to be just the right size for any normal skyship.  The awkward feeling of vertigo that they thought they had rid of came hitting them again.  Castalia had no problem as she bounced off the ship with Kane.  Pea, as lady-like as she had always been, had someone to escort her down.  Lio had Foxy, Kes refused any help from a particular person at first (which she obviously gave in to rather quickly), and so it was finally time for Callista.

She edged over the plank and looked down…  it was dizzying.  She wobbled backwards into Cat, who held her by her arms and was just about to pick her up, when she said no.

'Cat,' she explained, 'let me try…  t-to do this.  B-By myself.'

Calli moved to the plank again, took a step onboard, and took another forward.  Halfway through the walk, the uneasy tightness in her shoes and lightheadedness finally overwhelmed her; she lost balance and found herself falling forward.  'Cat!'  she exclaimed anxiously.

He caught her graciously by her waist and, in a blink of an eye, Calli was plopped back up on his arms.  He easily carried her across the plank and down the stairway.  A sigh escaped from Callista, dissatisfied with her earlier performance.

'Hey cutie,' Cat assured her, 'don't fret!  You did your best.'

She smiled at him, albeit sadly, then looked away.  'Okay…'

A sudden sharp pain ran through his chest.  God, what did I do?

'Calli,' he started again and held her hands to his, 'this is your first time on Moonglaze Isle, right?'

Calli returned the attention to him and nodded.

'Shall we have lunch together here, too?'

Another silent nod.

'Let's go…  I know a place that sells some sweet dishes that you…  we might like.'


As they sat down for lunch together, silence persisted between the two of them after they ordered their food.  Cat wasn't too sure on what was bothering her, and felt stupidly scared to assume, or even ask.

The food was good nonetheless, and Callista seemed to cheer up a bit from it.  He watched her enjoy the warmth and aroma of it and they began to chatter about the littlest things again.

After their afternoon meal was over, they strolled down the market together, until they came upon a shoe store for ladies.  It caught his eyes first, how the line of pretty high-heels flaunted themselves by the front display.  Girls like shoes, don't they?  Callista…  she has only ever worn ugly clogs on the ship since she was barefooted when she first came.  A short moment of guilt poked in him.  Maybe I should've grabbed a pair of shoes from her home or something while I was at it…  of course that's stupid, why would I have known that this would happen in the first place?

'Cat?'

Callista woke him up from his musings again, and stared at him with a confused look.  'I-Is there anything w-wrong?'

'Ah…  shoes!'  Cat pointed to the heels.  'Do you want some?  I mean a pair?  I mean, because, you don't have your own shoes on the ship, you're only wearing a spare, so…'

'Oh.'  Calli glanced at the subject on hand with disinterest and shook her head to him.  'T-Thanks Cat, but…  um…  I won't be able to f-fit in any of those anyway…'  Her head hung low shyly, feeling ashamed for a moment of her big feet that earned her unpleasant nickname.

Now, it finally dawned upon Cat on why it happened– the whole stumble business, that is.  'How big is your feet?'  He asked without hesitation, a question that further abashed Callista.

'Um.  A-As big as yours, Cat…'  She smiled at him timidly, as if she got caught in the act of doing something secretive.

That did not hit him quite as quickly yet, for his new brilliant idea was already on its tracks.  Without a warning, Cat picked her up into his arms again, and was soon running through the marketplace with a very confused Callista re-experiencing a moment as if she was being kidnapped all over again.

He gradually came to a stop, put the astonished Calli down, and bent over panting to catch his breath.

'C-Cat?  A-Are you okay?'

His head swung up to her surprise and Cat grabbed her hand to pull her into a store.  'Come!'

Before she knew it, Callista was suddenly seated.  A man came to attend them and Cat began instructing him.  Her feet were measured, and materials were chosen, embellishments even, as well as embroidery designs— all according to her selected preferences.

It was only when the shoemaker returned inside to his workstation when Cat remembered her earlier statement.

'You're right, Callista…  Our feet are of the same size…  but… how did you know?'

Calli flushed and grinned at him sheepishly again, fidgeting in her stool.  'Um…  You'd leave your clogs by the m-mast sometimes, when you're up at the nest…  A-and…  there was once, I t-tried to fit myself in them, out of c-c-curiosity?'

Cat dazed at her speechlessly for a while, then laughed.  Too cute!  He lightly bumped his forehead against hers and remained there, lessening down to a chuckle.  Just too cute!

Calli smiled and felt her shyness abate to relief.  Warmth flooded her senses again as she watched Cat laugh his adored mellow laugher, and felt her heart squeezing in her chest as his face came close to her.  Too sweet…  She was thankful…  Cat had never once rebuked her.  Always understanding, always caring, always there…  He's just too sweet!

His eyes then flashed opened and realised that Callista had been quietly gazing at him all the while he was humouring himself.  Oh…  their thoughts synchronised, as they fell deeper into each other's eyes of gold and blue.

Their faces drew closer, breath upon breath…
Their eyes now fluttered and closed…

The moment their lips came into a first contact, a rush of thrill and pleasure ignited within them…

… yet it was short-lived, for they were both startled by the sound of a door loudly creaking open.

'Eh.  You're still here, Sir?'  The shoemaker looked to them oddly.  'Or is there anything else you wanted?'

'Huh?  Uh, no.'  Cat brushed the back of his head awkwardly, and softly sighed as he noticed the blushing Callista facing away from him.  Ugh, what am I doing?!  'Well… I'll come by in an hour to collect the shoes then.'

After the shoemaker nodded and walked back in, Cat hesitated, then offered his hand to the special girl again, hoping that he had not scared her off from his previous action.  Much to his consolation and somewhat to his glee, she took his hand, held onto it tightly, and gave him a smile that gave him a much assured confirmation.

Whatever just happened…
He liked it… and so did she.


{_Moon___}
'Here you go, princess!' Cat smoothly slipped a shoe onto her foot, as Callista was back on the stool two hours later.

'Ooh!  It's so comfy!'

He slid the other pair on as well, and she beamed with sparkly eyes and wavering lips at her new pair of footwear.  Instinctively, Callista got up and began moving about, cautiously at first, until she was running around the shop, then all about the street by the store.

'Cat!'  She called for him a few yards away, waving frantically.

He waved back at her, entertained by her usual eccentricity, but very pleased with the result of his brilliant idea.

Soon she came running back, but this time it didn't look like she was going to stop; Cat put a foot back to prepare for impact, alarmed by the speed she was going at.  'Uh, Calli, you might wanna slo– OOF!'

She pounced onto him, and just as she calculated, Cat was able to catch her in time.  He held onto her as she buried her face into his hair.  'Calli?'

Soft sobs tickled his ear, and Cat took that instant to squeeze her tighter.  'Calli?  …What's wrong?'

'Cat,' she whimpered through her tears, 'Cat…'

'I'm here honey, would you tell me what's wrong?'  Callista remained silent, aside from calling his name every now and then.

Cat patted her back as he paid for the shoes, then carried her back to the ship.  The sun was already beginning to set.  When they arrived back on the deck, no one had returned yet, aside from the few crew taking the shift to look after the ship.  He set her by the mast– her usual sitting spot– and stroked her face, cleaning her tears, worriedly.

'Calli?  We're back on the ship.  Would you tell me what's wrong now?'

'Cat,' she smiled at him despite her reddened face and teary eyes, 'thank you…'

'Huh…  For what?'  His fingers were now combing through her hair.

She began to cry a little harder, again, but managed to maintain her smile.  'I can run again!  Thank you, Cat…  I can run again!'

His felt it, his heart, melting with absolute awww, bubbling into a puddle, until his body began to shake and grabbed Callista into a tight cuddle.  'No Callista!  It's not me…  it's you!  You were able to run all along…  you were just in the wrong shoes!'

Callista began to giggle faintly, and Cat felt his heart suddenly solidify again yet soften at the same time.  This girl…  she gives me all sorts of bizarre feelings that just don't make sense…  sometimes it hurts so much…  and other times…  He sighed as they snuggled together, finding much needed solace in each other.

'But Cat,' she gathered her calm at last, 'if it wasn't for you, I would still be tripping!'

He ruffled her hair, 'Silly girl, all I did was just buy you new shoes.  But hey…  your aren't stumbling in your words anymore either!'

'Oh!'  Calli paused to register it in.  'Sweet!'

'Though, why have you been wearing shoes too small for your size all the while?  I'm pretty sure you could've had them customised too.'

Calli blushed and hung her head low.  'I didn't want them…  my big feet…  I was ashamed…  so I wanted to hide them.  A-And…  they always said that boys didn't like girls with big feet…  so…'

Cat embraced her close to his chest, and planted a kiss on her head.  Calli heated up at this and shifted to look at him.  He had a stern face on, his golden eyes looking straight at her with sincerity.  'Calli, there's nothing to be ashamed of who you are.  You are beautiful…  and it doesn't matter what size your feet is.  I love you the way you are,' he continued still in seriousness in his voice, 'and you should love yourself just the way you are too.'

She gazed at him intently with puppy eyes.  'You… love me?'

'Huh?  Wha–' oh shit, I wasn't being fully aware of what I was saying! 'I mean, I like you– no no no, I mean, I accept, uh, acknowledge–'

'You love me, Cat?'

He stopped and looked at her with defeat written all over his face.  'Yes,' he murmured with a quiver, 'yes, I do love you.  I love you Callista…'  Like hell it wasn't obvious enough…  who am I trying to kid?

For whatever reason it was, perhaps the common illness of boy stupidity, Cat was almost expecting a rejection of some sort.  However, Callista delivered it to him in a not-rejecting-manner-at-all.  He felt her utterly soft and full lips press against his before he could further develop his gloomy thoughts.  The state of shock that followed after was quickly recovered from, when something hot and irresistible overtook Cat's senses instead, compelling him to kiss her deeper in return.

A press against the lips is not a kiss, he thought inaudibly to her, it has to be done like this…

Callista, for the first time in her life of 17 years, experienced what a kiss was today…  how it was like to be kissed, and learned, how it was like to kiss.  The only word that she could think of at that point of time and interaction with Cat was just…  Sweet!


That night, the moon was full again, and it proudly lit itself up way above the skies.  Callista and Cat had been playing around in the ship, conquering over steps and high places, the ropes and riggings, and finally settled down for a supper at the crow's nest.

The moonlight glistened in her face as Calli recalled how, just a few full moons ago, she made a wish…

Dear Full Moon…  since there aren't any shooting stars…  oh I hope you don't mind listening to my wish…  Um…  Maybe I should do this again.

Dear Full Moon, I wish upon…  you…  to please, um…  I just wish for an adventure.

For 17 years, I have been stuck here in this island with my sisters…  everyday is the same.  My sisters (sans Castalia) have only one wish, which is to get married, but all of us (sans Pea) probably won't have that chance…  oh!  I should probably wish for them too!  I wish that all my sisters wishes would come true…  and mine too.

I wish for something different.  A life that is a little more fun than this.  Oh!  I would love to live a life that's a little more fun with um, my true love too…  if he's out there somewhere…  I just…

I wish for happiness.  Not to say that I'm not happy–  I-I am, sort of…  but…

Lio had interrupted her then, thus Calli ended her recollection of that rather awkward prayer.  She snickered to herself as she chewed on warm bread dipped in a sweet sauce, causing Cat to gain interest and nudged for her attention.

'Cat,' she smiled her absolutely pretty dreamy smile that made Cat all mushy inside, 'thank you.'

'Again?'  He chortled, 'what for now?'

'For granting my wish,' Callista whispered.  Thank you too, Moon…

'Huh?'  Cat stared at her with a raised brow, and a softened smile, clearly not understanding but charmed nonetheless.

'Cat,' Calli continued, 'do you think we'll meet again?'

'Huh?'  Now he appeared worried, and gave her a I-demand-an-answer-from-you-lady glare.

She giggled and shook her head.  'No Cat, I didn't mean in that way!  When we die…  and born again…  or maybe, do you think, there is a different world out there, with people like us?'

Cat sighed in relief.  It's amazing, I wonder what goes through in her head all the time!…  ah well, never too late to start finding out…  He brushed the back of his neck in search for an answer, one that wasn't too corny, and replied, 'well…  I believe that some things are meant to be, you know?  So yes.  I'm sure we'll always meet again…  No matter how far apart…  but why are you already thinking about death?  We still have a lot of life left to live…'

'That's true,' Callista said and took his hand in hers.  'Lots and lots of life left to live together with you!'


{_Epilogue___}
Callista shut the bedtime storybook quietly, and for a moment watched her sleeping child with a soft, motherly smile.  She snuck out of the bed and laid a kiss on Pearl's forehead, before placing the book back on the side table and switching off the night lamp.  Turning to the door, her husband was already standing there, and had been silently observing her movements.  Cat grinned at his wife and offered his hand to her and, just as always, Callista returned a smile and took it.  They lured each other into a mutual embrace and cuddled comfortably by the entrance.

'Cat?'  Callista whispered as they shifted back to their room.
'Yes cutie?'  He replied and lovingly pressed a kiss to her temple.

She sat herself onto their bed and began untying her hair.  'I just had a sudden thought while reading to Pearl… do you think… maybe, there is another world out there…  with another us… existing?'

Cat raised a brow with a slight snigger and teased, 'what have you been reading to her?'

'Oh no sweetie– it wasn't even from the book, it was just a thought that came to me…'  She pondered to herself as Cat snuggled himself around her and rested his head upon her shoulders.

'You know that I'm not… romantically-inclined with words,' Cat replied tenderly this time, 'but…'  He stopped to think for a moment, then continued, 'if there is another world— actually, even if there are many worlds out there, with many different us…  and even when we die this lifetime, reborn again and live many lifetimes ahead of now…'

He paused and attempted to structure his feelings into words; promises of things unknown would not be wise, he knew, yet there was some indubitable faith in him that…  'Some things are just meant to be, you know?'

Callista turned to smile at him affectionately, then– without a warning– pushed him down against the bed and hugged a very surprised Cat tightly.  'Some things are meant to be… just like you and me?'  She giggled and gave him a smooch.

He felt his heart melt again, just like the only woman who could do it has done so many times before, and nuzzled her face with his and held his wife tighter.  'Yes,' said Cat with a grateful sigh, 'just like… you and me…'

Callista now watched her sleeping Cat with lingering thankfulness, and stroked his hair as she continued to think.

Seems like it was just yesterday when I was still sleeping together with Lio…  Now…  Funny how one person can change even the satisfaction of sleep…

Switching off the night lamp in the master-bedroom, she gave him a secret kiss upon the lips, then tucked in with him cosily into yet another sleep…


No matter how far apart we started our journey from, or what world we live in, or how different we are in each lifetime…  When it comes to true love…  Some things are just meant to be… you know?

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