Claude/Ashton. Before the final battle, Claude spends some time at the beach. Shounen-ai.
/The moon is beautiful, as usual. I hope I'll live to see it again tomorrow /. Every time Claude looked at the sky, he had the same hope over and over again. When he looked at any sky on any world, he knew that it would always be there. It would look different, or even artificial, like on Energy Nede, but it would always be the same sky.
/All these worlds live in the same universe/. He quietly mused as the moon painted waves crashed upon the L'aqua shores. /We are all under the same sky. The stars unite us all. Why, then are the Ten Wise Men so desperate to take it all away/?
The blond nearly jumped from the sandy ground he sat on. When he turned to look for the source of the voice, he saw a young, brown haired man in black robes and two dragon heads perched on his back. On the young man's left side, sat the red Gyoro and on his right was the purple Ururun. Those dragon heads made it easy for the young man to stand out.
"Oh hi, Ashton." Claude replied. He turned back to the sky, watching the rainbow stars.
"Are you looking at the sky again?" Ashton sat by Claude.
"Yea," Claude answered quietly. He took a brief look at Ashton's face, and remembered asking Rena a question about skies in Mars. He wondered how Ashton would answer such a question. Since the dragons on Ashton's back seemed silent, Claude decided to go ahead and ask. "Ashton, what is your favorite kind of sky?"
Ashton raised his eyebrows and looked back at Claude. "What?"
"There're so many different versions of the same sky," Claude continued as if Ashton already answered the question. "The blue sky bathed in sunlight, the red horizon of the setting sun, the multitude of starlights at night. Which do you like, Ashton?"
"Hmmm..." Ashton frowned for a moment before answering. "Notice the sea, Claude. Right now, it looks like diamonds because of the moon. It's dark because the stars are out. It's beautiful. Worthy of much poetry, but it is not my favorite kind of sky." Ashton inched closer to Claude.
"Then what is your favorite sky?" Claude asked, acutely aware of Ashton's warm body close to his. He thought of inching away from Ashton, but something kept him there. He remembered how close Ashton sat to him when he ordered the "Heartthrob" at Armlock. Claude would never forget how Ashton had to scoot close to get a sip of the shared drink and never feeling more embarrassed when people asked, "Are they on a date?" He ran from Ashton after that question was asked and seriously regretted doing so. He swore never to do that again as he remembered the carefully hidden hurt on Ashton's face.
Ashton looked at Claude for a little bit as if he knew what the other was thinking. Then, he looked away. "Well, I always liked the sky when there's a sunset. I can't imagine anything more beautiful."
"Ah I see," Claude replied, remembering how Rena had said the same thing. He decided to give the same answer just to see how Ashton would respond. He looked up at the night sky. "For me, when I see the sunset, I could almost feel the heartbeat of the stars. I-"
"Is that so?" Ashton quickly replied, interrupting Claude. "Is the sunset really your favorite kind of sky?"
Claude gasped, shocked at being cut off like that, and also at Ashton being able to see through him. "Well . . . no." He finally replied. "But I never said that I didn't like the sunset."
"I see." Ashton blushed. "I'm sorry, Claude."
Claude smiled, "Don't worry about it."
"GWARK!" Gyoro barked.
"Shut up!" Ashton snapped. "OW! Don't bite my head!"
"What's wrong?" Claude inquired.
Ashton shook his head while trying to bat Gyoro away from him as Ururun began squawking too. Claude could only blink as he watched poor Ashton fight the dragons, like he always did. Usually, one of the dragons would say something that clearly irritated Ashton and then they would bite his head and neck. Sometimes Claude laughed, sometimes he just felt sorry for the fellow swordsman. Ashton could have gotten them removed, but when he found that getting rid of them meant killing them, he opted out. Now he was stuck with them until they could be removed without dying. But, that's what Claude liked about Ashton. When the sometimes irritating dragons finally calmed down, Ashton replied.
"No. Nothing's wrong." He quickly shook his head as the two dragons quietly made some noises as if saying, "that's crap and you know it."
Claude, noticing the dragons' reactions, didn't believe the other boy either. He looked up at the sky. "It doesn't seem that way."
Ashton sighed, "Sorry."
Unfortunately, that apology sparked more "Gwark! Awrooo!" noises from the dragons. Irritated, Ashton tried to clamp the dragons mouths shut, but it did little good as they bit him. Claude tore his gaze away from the sky to help pull the dragons back.
"Leave him alone!" Claude demanded, holding the dragons' heads.
"Gwyoo, Awroo . . . "
Once the dragons backed off, Claude moved back to his spot, and Ashton blushed. The blond looked at the dragons and they stared back at him with a knowing look in their eyes.
"Ashton . . . " Claude said quietly, wondering just what was wrong with the Expellian.
At first Ashton didn't answer, opting to just sit down and catch his breath. Claude waited until Ashton turned to him and said, "They keep picking on me."
Claude chuckled at the reply. "I can see that. They do that all the time. There's something else."
Ashton looked up at the stars. "I don't know how to say this. I mean that I'm scared." He looked back at Claude. "I know that the stars are beautiful, but they don't care about anything or anyone. If I get hurt, or if you do, they'll continue to shine on. They were here before any of us existed, and they'll be here long after we are gone."
"Ashton, stars are balls of gas! They can't care." Without even thinking, he grabbed Ashton's shoulders, not worrying about the dragons. "We're the beings who can really care. Are you scared of dying?"
"No, silly!" Ashton chuckled. "I know I'm weird, but I'm a warrior. You know how it is."
"Uh, yea, I guess I do," Claude replied, his chest suddenly aching. Ashton felt warm under his hands. "So, what's the matter?"
"I'm just scared that you won't like me if I tell you how I feel about you."
Claude knew exactly what Ashton meant. "You like me."
"Heh. Yea." Ashton blushed. The dragons hyuk hyuk hyuked, but no one paid attention to them. "I do like you. I liked talking to you. I felt for you after what happened with your father-"
"No, don't worry about that now." Claude didn't want to think about his dead father now. He preferred to save the grief for later, when he had someone's shoulder to cry on. He found that someone now, but now wasn't the time for tears. "We have other, more important things to do."
"Oh, yea, like fight the Wisemen," Ashton replied. "We'll fight together, won't we?"
Claude nodded. "Of course! I'm a warrior too!" He held Ashton close to him. "For now, we can just sit under the stars, and I won't have to feel their heartbeat, because now I can feel yours."
"Really?" Ashton's own grip around Claude tightened. "That's great! I can feel yours too. Let's stay like this for as long as we can. Even if the sky doesn't care, we do, and that's all that matters, right?"
"Right. I just hope that I'll live to do this again tomorrow."
"Aw, don't worry. We'll be okay. Every thing will be okay."
Neither one of them knew which one initiated the kiss, and they never paid attention to who pulled away first. Claude could hear the ocean dance under the stars, but neither he nor Ashton wanted to join it. Instead, they just sat close together, enthralled with each other and the glitter of the universal sky.