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Birthday Warmth

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Birthday Warmth

"Just another lazy Saturday." Mag thought as he rolled over on his side to get away from the straying rays of light pouring through his window. "I don't wanna explore today..." He muttered into the covers while he pulled them up around his shoulders and neck. As he snuggled into the covers on his bed he heard music faintly from the outside and began to ponder it for a moment.

"It must be Linear playing her ocarina. She always plays so beautifully" He thought as he tried to slip back into sleep. He seemed to doze in and out of consciousness as the morning slowly drifted by, never getting to sleep yet never being fully awake. Finally with a frustrated sigh he practically threw himself out of bed and began to get dressed. He gave a wry smile to himself as he noticed he had slept in the clothes he wore yesterday-AGAIN. He seemed to get so tired from some adventures that he would just come in and fall asleep, barely remembering to take his goggles and cyframe off.

"Young Master Mag, how long do you plan to sleep today? It's already noon!" Came the muffled voice of Gre through the door as a knock was being tapped out.

"Yeesh! Can't a guy get any extra sleep after a hard day's work Gre?" Mag muttered half-way under his breath. "I'll be down in a minute, I still have to get dressed." He responded at an audible level for Gre to hear. Apparently satisfied with the answer, Gre gave an exasperated sigh and calmly walked back down the steps.

After Mag had finished changing his clothes he put on his goggles and naturally reached for his cyframe. Yet as he picked the device up he decided against wearing it and set it back down. "I'm really tired from yesterday and besides, it's nice weather outside, it might be fun to do something other than explore dungeon ruins for once." He smiled to himself, and silently remembered what today was. He would have to find something special to do for Linear today, after all-it was the anniversary of the day when she had come to the Launcher estate, bearing a letter written by Mag's father. The letter that had started 5 years of protection, friendship, trust, and even a little bit of love Mag decided. Since Linear either couldn't remember when she was born or just couldn't state it, they had all agreed that this day would be her celebrated birthday. Even though they never knew how many candles to put on the cake, they just arranged a few together and Linear seemed satisfied with that.

Mag shook his head for a minute as he found he was blankly staring out the window. Linear was outside tending to the flowers. Whether she had continued care for them from earlier this morning or if she had taken a short break from the duty while he was snoozing was uncertain to Mag. However, she had stopped playing her ocarina and was now sitting next to a flower pot looking around with a small smile on her face. Mag sighed bemusedly and headed out of his bedroom down to the kitchen to talk with Gre for a bit.

"Thanks for helping me on this Gre! I'll try to be back in about an hour." Mag spoke as he turned the knob to head out doors. As he exited from his house he saw Linear holding her ocarina and tracing her fingers as if she were playing a tune silently. "You sure like playing with that thing don't you?" Mag chuckled as he strode over to where Linear sat on the grass. She looked up from the ocarina and smiled warmly while she nodded.

"Yes." She said in her usual soft tone as she picked herself up from her spot on the grass and dusted herself off.

"Want to go into town for a bit?" Mag asked. "I need to pick up some things." He tilted his head to the side and smiled a bit. Linear craned her neck and body around Mag trying to see if he was hiding something behind his head somehow. "Eh? Oh, I'm not wearing my cyframe today. I'm a bit too tired from yesterday's exploration to go again. I was thinking a day off might be nice. Um, is that okay with you?" He looked a bit nervous, he was never really sure if Linear liked adventuring as much as he did or if she just went along for the ride so to speak.

"It's okay." Linear smiled and trotted off into the house to put her ocarina away while they went into town. It wasn't long before she returned without the ocarina and nodded to Mag, signaling she was ready to leave. "Alright, let's go!" Mag said brightly as the two headed out to town.

-

It wasn't like it was a far walk, especially considering the Launcher estate was less than a mile outside of Pannamn town. Mag was uncertain as to whether he should hurry and get back home quickly, or to delay as long as he could. He thought about helping Gre and on the other hand finding a way to distract Linear if he didn't hang out in town for a while. "Well I suppose Linear seems to keep pretty occupied on her own, I just have to keep her out of the kitchen for a little bit..." He thought as he stared into the ground while he walked along the path to town. Linear nudged his arm lightly and looked at him with concern. Mag snapped out of his thought and laughed nervously.

"Eh-heh, it's nothing Linear. I was just thinking, uh what people are going to say when they see me without my cyframe for once. That's all." Mag smiled convincingly and breathed an inward sigh of relief. "You idiot, best not to tip Linear off on anything. She may be quiet but she's not stupid!" Mag chided himself. He grabbed Linear's hand and started to run to town with her. He decided that maybe helping Gre would be a better thing to do than just wait around in town for an hour or so.

A good thirty minutes passed before Mag and Linear were on their way back from town. The entire walk home Mag complained about the stupid questions people kept asking in town. They just made him look more suspicious by asking why wasn't his cyframe on and mentioning how small the cyframe usually made him seem.

"But Mag, earlier you said..." Linear trailed off softly as she shuffled a bag of groceries in her arms. Mag furrowed his brow a tiny bit. She was right. He had made up that story on spur of the moment, so he supposed he would have to play along with it.

"I know Linear, I just didn't expect everyone to take notice all at once." He muttered. Linear let out a small giggle at the comment as they approached the Launcher estate. Upon entering the house Mag reached into the bag he was carrying and pulled out a small, pitiful looking, potted plant and offered it to Linear.

"Here, I'll trade you this plant for the bag you're carrying." Mag said cheerfully as he offered the exchange. He figured if he bought Linear a plant to doctor she might become engrossed in it so Mag wouldn't have to figure out a way to distract her out of the blue.

Linear smiled, nodded and graciously traded the bag of groceries for the plant. From the instance she received the plant she smiled and even held it very carefully. Mag couldn't help but smile at that.

"You can actually keep that one in your room Linear," he said enthusiastically. "I don't think Gre and I will have to worry about reminding you to take care of it." Mag gave a friendly wink as Linear blushed and then walked off into her room to tend to the plant.

As Mag entered the kitchen he breathed an inward sigh of relief. "Hi Gre! I think Linear will be entertained with the new plant I bought her so I decided to come back and see if I couldn't help out a little." Mag said cheerfully. Gre looked up from slicing some meat into thin slices.

"Ah, well I can get it by myself Master Mag." Gre graciously spoke. Mag let out a little irritated moan at the formal name.

"I just want to be able to say I helped a little Gre." Mag explained,blushing a little, as he set the bags of groceries down on the table.

"Oh," Gre blinked a bit in surprise. "Well I suppose if you can slice this meat for the sandwiches I can go put the groceries up." Gre straightened his posture and set the knife down on the chopping board he was using before picking up the bags and heading out to the store room. Mag shrugged and picked up the knife and started to carve some slices out. They weren't as even in width as the one's Gre had sliced but Gre had also had much more practice at it over the years. After a few moments Gre had returned and was intently looking at the oven where a cake was being baked.

"Okay," Mag began. "This seems like enough to last us." He beamed proudly as he didn't take note of Gre's head shaking at the slices he cut in dismay.

"Young master may be fine at adventuring but at any kind of house hold chore he's very inexperienced." Gre sighed as Mag replaced his look of accomplishment with one of annoyance.

"Well at least they're done." He muttered. "Anyway, what kind of cake is it?" Mag questioned, turning his attention to the cake baking in the over, which was about finished.

"Chocolate." Gre sniffed proudly. "And one of the finest I've ever baked too." He said with great dramatics to emphasize it. Mag just rolled his eyes and looked around for something else to help with when he happened to look out the window. It was raining now, without any thunder, but raining nonetheless.

"Dammit," Mag muttered. "So much for the picnic I had planned." Mag sighed. "I'll be back in a minute Gre. The rain doesn't look like it wants to let up so I need to go make a change in plans for the day." He called to Gre as he left to head up to his room for some serious brain storming.

Mag sat on his bed in thought. "What can I do now that it's raining? I was sure Linear would enjoy a picnic but now that's all pretty much ruined..." He propped his head up with one hand and stared aimlessly out the window over his desk while being lost in his thoughts. "Well maybe we could just have a-" He interrupted his own thoughts again when he heard a vague melody coming through the window. Rising from his bed he took notice of Linear moving about in the rain outside. Curious, Mag walked over to the raindrop-covered window to try and take a better look outside at what she was doing.

Mag wasn't sure if it took him by surprise or not to see Linear dancing about in the rain outside. He smiled to himself and propped his hands on his desk as he leaned forward to prop himself up. She certainly seemed to be enjoying herself. She was just swaying from side to side with an occasional spin or arm and hand gesture. Mag smiled warmly and watched her for a few minutes as she danced and smiled and just had a nice time out in the rain.

"Master Mag!" Gre knocked and opened the door all in one motion, which made Mag spin around to attention very fast.

"Y-yes?" He said a bit nervously to Gre while trying not to blush profusely. Gre seemed to not have noticed Mag had been fondly watching Linear.

"Everything is almost ready." He said informatively.

"Um, okay." Mag blinked a bit while registering the information. "I'll go get Linear then I guess. She's out playing in the rain so she'll need to change first which should give us enough time to set things up." Mag smiled at his own planning and mentally gave himself a pat on the back as Gre nodded and went back downstairs. "Phew." Mag thought. "I hate it when he bursts in like that sometimes, he embarrasses me enough sometimes without having to barge in on me." With one more glance out the window at Linear he headed back downstairs and out the door to go ask her to dry off.

As Mag headed around the house underneath the shelter of the awning he listened to the sound of the rain as it hit the roof and ran down the drain pipes to the ground. "Ah, rain. A nice relaxing noise." He thought as he smiled and rounded the corner of the house where Linear was at. He smiled to himself and just stayed content to watch Linear dance for a while. Since the rain was falling so plentifully, not only did she not hear him but she had her eyes closed as she spun around.

Mag obviously liked Linear a lot. Since she had shown up on the Launcher estate's doorstep she had almost fit in perfectly. Maybe it was because she was so quiet but it was also because she was Linear. She supported him in her own quiet way, the polar opposite of himself and he found it comforting. Well more than comforting but he couldn't quite put it into words. The mournful air about her rarely was found now as opposed to a few years ago. Mag was glad she had come to stay with him and Gre, despite all the mystery and occasional trouble that followed her.

"Linear," Mag called as she spun around again. He blinked, apparently she hadn't heard him so he called again. "Linear!" Again, she didn't hear him so he stepped out into the rain and placed his hand on Linear's shoulder.

With that touch Linear stopped dancing and looked alarmed at Mag, then relaxed and smiled as sh realized who it was that had their hand on her. Over the years it had really been gradual but Mag had grown to be at least Linear's height if not maybe an inch taller. Then again because of his crazy hair it was hard to tell anything really.

"Hey uh, Linear, Gre and I need your help in the kitchen with something for a little bit, think you can come in for a second?" Mag smiled. Linear nodded and blinked at him with her deep purple eyes and smiled which made Mag blush and quickly retract his hand from her shoulder, realizing he had held it there for a while. Mag gave out a tiny nervous laugh as he rubbed the back of his neck with the hand he had just retracted.

"C'mon Linear, if you stay out in the rain you might get sick or something." He nervously spat out as he gently grabbed her hand and led her around to the front entrance. They both stopped before the door as Mag wiped his feet and Linear tried to wring out as much water as she could from her oversized dress and hair.

"We better go change clothes Linear, if we stay in these and drag water all over the house Gre won't be too happy with us." Mag said humorously. Linear lightly giggled and went to change clothes as Mag called after her. "I'll meet you back here in the living room when you're done." She turned her head and nodded before she shut the door. "Alright, now I have to be faster than her at changing." Mag thought as he dashed up the stairs to his room.

-

When Linear came out from her room she noticed all the lights in the living room were off so she started to walk over to turn on the lights. Apparently a lot of time had passed when she was outside in the rainstorm because it was now practically sunset outside, with heavy overcast of course. As she reached about halfway to the light switch the lights came on and there was Mag and Gre. "Happy Birthday Linear!" They shouted with bright smiles on their faces.

Linear at first had stepped back with one hand at her chest in her normal frightened stance until she realized what was going on. She then smiled brightly and looked at the table in front of the two couches. There was a cake and some sandwiches and drinks set up on the table.

"We were going to try and have a picnic but since it rained that kind of ruined the plans a little bit." Mag stepped away from the light switch and shuffled his feet a bit trying not to blush.

"Mmn, this is very nice." Linear shook her head as she smiled brightly. "Thank you." She rubbed her sleeves together absent mindedly while she blushed a bit.

"Well Linear, let's celebrate. I'll light the candles and you can make a wish." Gre smiled and produced a lighter from one of his jacket pockets to get the celebration underway.

A good few hours past and after most of the food had disappeared when Gre started to gather dishes from the table and clean up. "Well I'm going to clean these dishes and then retire to my room. Please don't stay up so late tonight young Master Mag. I don't want to be yelled at three times tomorrow morning before being able to rouse you out of bed." Linear let out a tiny giggle at this as Mag turned red.

"I-I did not! At least, I don't remember that..." Mag tilted his head as he tried to remember if he had actually done that or not.

"Ahem," Gre cleared his throat. "Anyway, good night young Master Mag, Linear." He gave a little bow to each person (as best he could with his arms full of dishes) as he said their names and then headed through the door into the kitchen.

Mag shook his head out of thought about the comment and said good evening to Gre, as did Linear. For a while after that Mag and Linear sat in silence as Mag tried to think of something to say. Finally he came up with something that Linear would be interested in.

"So how's that potted plant coming along?" Mag said curiously as Linear's eyes lit up. She hopped off the couch and motioned for him to follow as she walked over to her door and into her room.

On the desk sat the potted plant, next to Linear's ocarina, and it looked very much improved from earlier in the afternoon when Mag had seen it. Mag just sat himself down on Linear's bed as she beamed with pride and sat down next to him.

"You never cease to amaze me with that talent of yours Linear." Mag said as he stared in awe at the plant. It was now vibrant and green, instead of withered and tired looking when they had found it. For a few minutes they sat in the quiet of the room until Mag cleared his throat and tried to find something to talk about.

"I, uh, I'm really sorry we couldn't have had that picnic today Linear." Mag sighed and placed his arms in by his sides, shifting his weight to lean back slightly. "I figured you would've liked that better for your birthday." He chuckled a tiny bit, not noticing Linear trying to motion to him that it was okay. "It would've actually been just me and you so I suppose that it's okay it rained. I mean, Gre got to be there so that was a plus." He smiled somewhat disappointed while he looked down at the floor.

"It's okay Mag, really." Linear said quietly, yet reassuringly as she took one of Mag's arms and wound her own around it and rested her head on his shoulder.

Mag's face suddenly turned as red as the scarf he wore and he gulped silently as Linear took her hand and placed it on his chest gently. Trying to keep from passing out with shock he gingerly reached up to the hand on his chest and put his own over it, caressing it ever so carefully. Linear smiled at this and let out a small sigh as she shut her eyes and slightly rubbed the top of Mag's shoulder with her temple.

By now Mag's pulse was going rather fast and while he was relishing in the feeling of Linear being close to him, he found himself in a very awkward situation. Slowly, he found himself moving the hand he had covering Linear's hand up her arm to her bare shoulder and feeling of her smooth skin there before he lightly felt of her dainty jaw with the palm of his hand. Linear opened her eyes when his hand gently cupped her jaw and she looked at him with a bit of confusion and something else evident in her eyes.

Mag swallowed hard and slowly drew in closer to Linear's face for a soft kiss on her lips, all the while not moving his hand from her face. After the kiss Linear looked a bit puzzled at Mag but smiled and nuzzled her head into the crook of his neck and sighed contentedly. Mag untangled the arm from Linear's soft entanglement and gently wrapped it around her to reach over to her shoulder as she let her arm find it's way around Mag's back to his waist.

Mag rested his right hand on top of his left on Linear's shoulder as they drew her into a firm embrace. For a while Mag just held Linear there, enjoying the feeling of her close to him. Occasionally, he'd brake his hands free from their clasp and stroke her long blonde hair, but they would always find their way back to hugging Linear into a soft, yet firm embrace.

"I love you Linear, you know that right?" Mag whispered softly as he gave her a kiss on the forehead and gave her a light, reassuring squeeze.

"Yes, Mag. Me too." She whispered just as softly back and nuzzled a little more into him as she tilted her head up and gave him a gentle kiss on the jaw line She then set her head back down to the crook of his neck as they just sat there for a long time, enjoying the feeling of each others' warm embrace.

-Fin-