Entry 2: Under the Stars
Sometime after Entry 1
Countless stars met her sharp viridian eyes the moment she opened them.
Sighing quietly, Yutsu placed her arm under her head and propped her feet up against the ventilation shaft. Her long ears flicked every now and then at the slightest sound that broke the monotonic whirring of the ship's engine. From the light splash of dolphins accompanying the vessel to the crewmen's thunderous snores, her acute hearing left out nothing.
The blunette could easily block out the sounds though, but she chose not to because it was difficult for her to fall asleep either way, with or without the background noise. The Ferret Express, while not a five-star cruise, was definitely more comfortable than any ships on which she used to stowaway.
No, the insomnia was an old problem of hers. She could never sleep for long under an open sky, despite being forced to do so during the majority of her bounty hunting trips. Whether it was because of occupational hazard or a past trauma, she simply could not bring herself to just close her eyes and let darkness claim her consciousness for some hours. The most she could do was nap in a state of half-wakefulness.
Perhaps this was why she always passed out on Rui's bed whenever she returned to the Cog Weasel. The reason was quite simple, her body and mind knew it would be safe to let go and succumb to sleep around her lover.
Yutsu sat up brusquely and moved to the edge of the cabin's rooftop, deciding to keep night watch since she was here anyways. There was always the option of curling up under the blanket beside the golden Fox, but she felt quite uncomfortable doing so on a foreign ship where she was surrounded by strangers even though their bunks were far away from their guest room. Besides, she did not want to chance waking up the teens, no matter how silent she was.
Sakura's antennae have been unusually alert now that Nita was under her care.
The blonde Bear was really quite adorable, the way she slept in a ball form. Really, if it weren't for the circumstances, the bounty hunter wouldn't have minded bonding with the girl more.
After all, she did not scratch, unlike a certain sootball.
Well well, what are you doing out on the deck at this hour then, hmm?
Yutsu watched the small figure leaning against the railing with mild curiosity. The night breeze blew through Nita's long unbound hair as she waved at the shaded tides below, seemingly at the dolphins as if she could converse with them.
"Can't sleep, sweetie?"
The Bear let out a startled squeak and gripped the railing before turning around cautiously. "M-Miss Yutsu?"
"Didn't mean to scare you," the blunette smiled apologetically, "want to come up here? The view's even better…" she then added with a wink, "I'll brush your hair for you too if you like."
"Really? Okay!" Beaming, Nita scrambled towards the ladders and climbed up to the roof like an eager puppy, her characteristic tail wiggling as she sat down beside the bounty hunter.
The ponytailed woman couldn't help but chuckle affectionately at how trusting the blonde girl was. She should be disgusted by such gullibility, yet she could not fully bring herself to hold any negative emotion towards the innocent soul. Was it because she was younger than Sakura, or because the Bear's lone blue eye had yet to be tainted by the ugly reality of the world?
"You take great care of your hair, Nita," the blunette murmured as she brushed through the girl's long tresses, noting how she crooned under the treatment. "It's very silky." Unconsciously, she adjusted the pressure and soothingly massaged the blonde's scalp in a way that was reminiscent of how her mother used to do for her and her sister Charlotte, who would always buzz in bliss.
"T-Thank you! Alkira used to praise my hair, so I've always kept it groomed and grew it long- " Eyes closing, Nita cooed in contentment when Yutsu softly scratched her furry round ears. "Hehe, she would always rub my ears too…"
From what the blunette heard, Alkira was someone who was like a mother for the Bear. The earnest yet unexpected comparison to a maternal figure made her very uncomfortable, especially after that brief reminiscence of her own mother.
"So what made you come out to the deck, hmm?" She easily changed the subject without betraying her emotions, "Did you just want some fresh air?"
"Yup! Well, it's also because I'm fascinated by the sea," Nita crooned again when the blue-haired woman tied her hair into a low ponytail, "I've always been on the Plains, so I've never seen one before."
"I despise the sea," Yutsu said severely before she realized it, so she tried to soften her tone even though the topic was quite sore for her. "Well, I just don't like deep water much. They look pretty, yes, but they could be deceiving too."
"Deceiving?" The young Bear turned around and blinked in inquisitiveness.
"Yes, you don't know how deep the ocean is. What could it be hiding beneath its depth in spite of its transparent blue? Quite a dangerous nature, don't you agree?"
"B-blue? One of my eyes is blue… b-but, I swear I'm not hiding anything! A-and I'm not dangerous!"
D'aww, she actually looks worried that I might think she's dangerous! The most intimidating Nita had seemed was when she caught the giant tuna, but that cubbish little roar of triumph only made her more adorable rather than scary. A teddy bear will always look cuddly even if it had a fearsome scowl, won't it?
"No, sweetie, not the sky-blue. The sky is bright with either the sun or the moon, while the sea could only steal its brilliance through mere reflections. Even with the clouds hiding its stars, the sky would always glimmer no matter what. The deceptive-blue… let's see, it's more like the shade of my hair."
Nita blinked and tilted her head. "But you said that kind of blue is hiding something…?"
The bounty hunter twittered mirthfully and twirled a strand of her indigo tresses. "Mhmm~ But that's only my opinion, Nita. So, what do you like about the sea?"
"Oh," the blonde was still confused by the analogy before, but she was quickly overtaken by childlike excitement, "the sea is like an endless lake to me. There's no edge except the border between land and water… I can't help but think what an amazing journey I'd make to discover new things! Well, technically I'm on a voyage already… but I'd still love to explore more! Make stories adventures and the like, hehe…"
Yutsu smiled lightly when Nita began to squirm and fiddle with her thumbs like she tended to do if she thought she was rambling. But instead of commenting, the young woman only stroked the Bear's hair.
"Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure, Miss Yutsu?"
Truthfully, she did not know the answer to that innocent question. "Perhaps I did once, but certainly not anymore," veiled emerald eyes gazed into the distance, "there's no point in dreaming, not when only nightmares await."
"But that's just for me, sweetie," Yutsu patted the girl's head again, "you're a dreamer… a storyteller, so don't let reality anchor you down."
What happened next completely took the blue-haired woman by surprise. Nita bravely hugged her, snuggling even closer after a moment's hesitation.
"U-um… I-I don't know, I-I just thought… um you need a hug."
The Bear's muffled voice was too sincere to have been pity so instead of rejecting the contact, Yutsu simply wrapped her cloak around the kind girl to shield her from the night breeze.
Not a moment later, the bounty hunter's antennae tingled to signal the appearance of a bumbling Foxroach. Sakura was clearly sleepy still, but she was looking around the deck in an obvious search for her roommate. Her fluffy tail was mopping the floor as usual, possibly saving the crew from cleanup and definitely earning a trip to the bathtub, courtesy of a henpecking golden Vulpine.
Overall, the black-haired girl just looked like a lost kitten interrupted from her nap.
"Sa-chan~ your girlfriend's up here~"
"Huh…? Oh, okay," she mewled drowsily and climbed up side-ladder with half-opened eyes, oblivious to the teasing remark. She crawled towards the twittering Bunnyroach and curled under the woman's free arm.
Then she proceeded to drape her dirty tail over the frowning blunette's lap in order to reach the Bear.
Before Yutsu could reprimand her though, she had already fallen asleep. Nita gazed at her with a fond expression before she also closed her eye and drifted off.
Sighing inaudibly, the ponytailed woman carefully tucked her cloak around the two teens as best as she could without shifting too much. She watched their peaceful features with a smile of her own, wondering why she had gotten so soft tonight to allow them to get so close.
Her long ears twitched a little when she realized she'd have to stay upright like this unless she wanted to wake up the girls.
"Oh well, just for tonight…"
Twittering, Yutsu's eyes fluttered close as she slept with the two teenagers in her protective embrace, under the glittering stars.
A/N: a short entry that shows a simple yet meaningful interaction between Yutsu and Nita