I should have known… that you knew too. Cless/Chester
He didn’t know why, but watching Chester practice his archery had always been… relaxing. He’d go into the forest a ways to the right of the village every early morning and leave a little before noon. His practice sessions were always silent. Cless didn’t dare distract him. He’d always arrive a little after he started and would take a seat on the ground or on a stump. There wasn’t much else. There were no expectations on the other’s part.
Chester had never asked him to drag himself from home and join him. He remembers Chester saying one morning he would be training in the forest if anyone needed to find him. That was it. And… that was all it had to be.
Cless was perfectly happy watching his best friend. He was able to see the flaws and corrections, and the all the improvements Chester made along the way. It was… interesting, witnessing his progress from day one. Even though the villagers already thought good of Chester, they’d think so much highly of him if they saw how hard he worked. Cless was sure they would.
Lately though, Cless had taken to admiring Chester’s form. His stances and expressions were so different from his and all the other swordsman in the village. His posture was strong, and you could see the faint ripple of muscle in his arms as he moved the arrow into position. His gaze grew focused on his target, and his feet shifted, faintly moving apart, and dug back into the ground again. And when he let his arrow go, there would be a faint gleam in his eye, and if he hit his target, it would brighten. Chester looked so… happy when that happened.
Cless didn’t mind sitting and watching at all.
When the practice was all over, they’d finally exchange words, and Chester would tease him, asking if this was his way of sneaking out of chores. And he’d argue back no, call him stupid and his best friend at the same time. Taking jabs at each other… That never changed either.
The only thing that changed was lately, Chester had spent most of his time with Ami because she was sick and he was so worried. Cless didn’t blame him. It’s just now, these mornings are about the only time they see each other. Chester takes care of Ami during the day and in the evening, Cless has to keep up with his father and his school. It’s been going on a few days now, and Cless isn’t really sure when it’ll end. But he hasn’t argued… It wouldn’t be fair… And that would mean admitting that he’s been a little too fond of Chester lately. No one… needs to know about. It’s not like it’s that important or anything… His family and friendship are what’s important.
Hours later when Cless excuses himself to bed, he learns something… disappointing.
“I’ll be giving a morning class tomorrow,” his father says.
“Oh? Will you need me for that?”
“Of course. We’ll be sparring. Besides, you do a good job and I’m sure you’ll get a good name for yourself around town.” There’s pride in his father voice as he says that. Cless smiles faintly and nods. After all, it’s only one morning. It won’t hurt. And he promised his father he’d always help out.
The morning comes and it’s been so long since he’s felt this pumped and full of adrenaline. Most of the participants are older than he his, but Cless has been able to hold his own. Ten matches in all. Cless made it to the eighth, only to discover he was exhausted and was then easily knocked down. His opponent reaches down and gives a hand.
“You’re a tough kid,” he says. “Maybe when you’re older, huh?”
Cless grins and accepts the handshake offered to him. “Yeah… Maybe next time…” He walks out of the room quickly, the cheering and clashes of steel getting softer as he moves father away. It had been… pretty fun he thinks. His parents were really happy. It makes him feel… good. He just can’t escape that nagging in the back of his head that he won’t be able to talk to Chester today. He’s probably already home and--
Cless looks up at the flash of blue hair that catches his eye and finds Chester standing in front of him.
“Oh, hey! What’re you doing over here?” Cless asks, taking a few steps forward.
“I heard you’d be in the competition Miguel set up today. I ended my practice early and managed to catch your last two matches.” He stretched his arms, holding them behind his head. “I was a bit surprised. Normally he keeps you away from those sorts of things. “ Grinning a bit more as he said, “He doesn’t want you to be too overwhelmed, right?”
Cless rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah.” His face softened as he asked curiously, “How’d you know if you went out to train this morning?”
“Well… After I started training and noticed you weren’t sitting there like usual, curiosity got the better of me.”
“Really? Hm… It was kind of weird not going and seeing you…” he caught Chester’s questioning gaze and quickly added on, “It’s just been part of my routine, you know?”
Chester nodded slowly, uncrossing his arms and letting them lay at his sides. He looked away slightly and then returned his gaze, walking over to Cless. “Hm, I guess it’s only fair I congratulate you for doing as well as you did.” He unfurled his fingers and held out his hand. Cless smiled at the gesture and took hold of Chester’s hand, his grip firm and the handshake slow.
When he tried to loosen his grip, thinking it was good enough, he felt Chester’s strengthen and his body leaned in slightly out of instinct. He opened this mouth to ask what was wrong only to have his breath stop when he felt a pair of lips on his cheek. His eyes followed as Chester leaned back, smiling lightly.
“You better tell me when you’re not coming next time.”
Cless stared before slowly breaking out into a wide grin. So he did know… That was Chester for you…
“Don’t worry. I’d hate… to miss another morning with you.”