Feelings of Fire & Ice

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By the time Rob and I reach the mouth of the inn, Ifrit and Shiva are waiting outside with their fiery and icy glares. I lower my head, already preparing to apologize, when Rob charges at them with a speed I've yet to see him exert—or any Bomb, for that matter. 

He's like a combo pack of Fira and Thundara all unto himself.

He stops inches from Ifrit, barely reaching the height of his knee. "Eeefree...!" he shrills, and Ifrit responds, "Who is this little monster?"

"Onlyyourbestbestbestfan," Rob squeals.

Shiva raises an icicle-sharp eyebrow. Her eyes are fixated on me though, not Rob. I feel both my hands drift to my chest, near my heart, before I recognize my arms moving. 

"You went to the library?" she asks.

I pause mid-step, feeling the stretch of my Achilles' heel; feeling, for the first time, a pleasant surge through my body. I thought I wouldn't like her chiding me, but all this attention she's giving me—it's intense. It's too much, like my feelings are backed up in a queue in my head. My face flushes, even as I try to willpower myself to calm.

As Shiva closes her eyes and breathes in, her blue lips barely tighten; her chin gently shudders. I love watching the subtle movements of her face. Then the corners of her mouth broaden into a smile, and I want to sing.

If only that smile reached her eyes. Instead, as she flutters her silvery lashes open, all I see is confusion. "Am I right? You find this Bomb at the library, didn't you?"

I nod hesitantly. 

Then I step a little closer, so I can feel the chill of her. I need her cold aura to cool down my blushing neck; my burning shoulders. I can't tell if her smile lifted a weight from me, or burdened me with yet more emotions I'll never sort out.

"I suppose that's fine." She glances at Bob, who's stammering gladly at Ifrit's loud praises, then flits darts of anger back at me. "Are you ready to climb uphill and downhill all day?"

"Umm." My throat is tight. "Yeah, I think so." 

She clicks her tongue once, quickly adds, "That's a nice dress," then pivots on her heel, and heads towards the furthest reaches of the Land of Summoned Monsters, where stalactites and stalagmites come together in a crescendoing point, like the grand organs in fairy tale churches.

I keep trying to put my finger on if she's colder than normal, or if I'm that flushed with the feelings that were once trapped under unbearable swathes of growing pains. 

I follow her on her heels, and much to my surprise, Ifrit screams at Bob, "Hurry up if you want to come with us!"

Bob zips in figure eights between me and Ifrit, singing, "Yeehaw-haw! Lali-ho!"

"Lali-ho...?" I echo.

Shiva giggles, her thin veil of irritation shattering to bits. She flashes me the deeper smile I yearned to see before, then says, "It's a dwarf song. It goes like this..."


Author's Note

Shiva cares about Rydia!

But is she falling in love with Rydia? 

Do Eidolon fall in love with people? 

Is Rydia going to sort out this whole growing pain situation, just in time to get her heart broken... or is she going to cultivate a deeper relationship with Shiva? 

First draft: June 2018

Second draft: August 2018

Third draft: September 2018

Word count: second 564 / third 607

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