Behind Closed Doors
Sun hears suspicious noises from the prayer room.
Sun’s stomach rumbled so much that he thought the neighboring kingdom could probably hear his stomach protesting its state of emptiness. After going without his favorite blueberry pies for an extended period of time, his craving had grown to the extent that if he were to drop dead at this very moment, he would surely revive as a death knight and continue seeking blueberry pies even though they would not taste like anything to his undead tongue, and that would be the ultimate tragedy.
In order to avoid an early encounter with the benevolent God of Light due to the inelegant method of starving to death, Sun decided to seek sustenance for himself.
Namely, blueberry pies.
Sun knew that the best way to acquire his blueberry pies would be to have either his “enemy,” the Judgment Knight, or his vice-captain, Adair, go and line up at his favorite store in his stead to buy the pies for him. Otherwise, he would never be able to get to the front of the line to buy his pies as everyone would instead want to tug on his golden hair.
That was why Sun decided to set off to search for either his “enemy” or his vice-captain, as either would do just fine for his needs. Perhaps he could even enlist Roland’s help this time too.
He picked up his brush that was somehow not where he had left it the night before (he had thought it to be between his two bottles of hair oil but instead it was on the right side of his bottles), brushed his hair thoroughly, made sure his appearance was impeccable, and then left his room.
Judgment wasn’t in his room. Adair wasn’t either. Sun looked all over and still couldn’t find them.
As Sun passed by one of the prayer rooms in the Sanctuary of Light, he heard some noises coming from within.
His feet came to a stop.
Although his sensing ability had grown ever since he had lost his physical sight, so much that he could easily see through walls and doors with no problem, he found it hard to see inside this particular room. There was a thick layer of holy element shrouding the door and the walls.
Someone had purposely warded the room, making it so that Sun could not see inside. Well, that was just asking for Sun to snoop around because this was making him even more curious.
He wondered if perhaps he should take a page out of Blaze’s book, letting his foot fly out to do the job for him, but he was afraid he would destroy his carefully cultivated image of the graceful Sun Knight if he were to kick open the door without figuring out who was inside first. So instead of kicking the door straightaway (unfortunately he was not Blaze and did not have the excuse of being brash), he leaned closer to the door to listen, one ear nearly pressed against it.
If anyone were to pass by the hallway at this very moment, they would spot the Sun Knight in his act of eavesdropping, which was not exactly elegant; however, he would quickly explain that he was merely resting due to a sudden epiphany bestowed upon him from the God of Light. There was really no need to suspect anything was up with the Sun Knight, or that there was any way he could be up to no good.
Besides, this time, he couldn’t be blamed for his curiosity.
His eyebrows shot up.
If Sun were to describe the noises he had first heard, he would call them clashing and thudding sounds. He thought that might mean that someone, at least more than one person, was inside the prayer room practicing their fighting skills. Obviously the people inside were not using the prayer room for its original purpose.
However, what Sun heard now was very different from the sounds that had stopped him in his tracks. These sounds were definitely not the result of swordplay. These sounds were more like some other kind of play.
His imagination ran away from him. He scowled even as he felt his ears heating up. He bet that it had to be Earth. Who else would be as shameless as Earth was, doing something like this in broad daylight? He had thought that Earth kept all of his conquests to his room, but apparently he was wrong.
And apparently, Sun was also wrong about his assumptions that it was Earth inside the room.
“… Don’t…” said a deep voice, one that Sun recognized very well even through the heavy door.
It couldn’t be.
Sun found himself covering his mouth in astonishment. If it had been Earth, Sun wouldn’t have blinked twice, but the identity of the person inside was making Sun feel like he had stumbled upon something he shouldn’t have. It would be like Sun stumbling upon his teacher Neo having relations. Not something Sun needed to see or hear.
“But I can’t help it, please…”
The voice of the new speaker gave Sun an even larger shock. His breath hitched. He would recognize that voice anywhere too. There was no mistaking the voice that Sun had gotten used to ever since the age of eighteen when he had first become acquainted with the other person.
Sun had wanted to find both of them, that was true, but not in this way!
The deep voice gasped, “T-Too tight …”
The second voice grunted. Sun’s face burned and he could stand to listen no more. With one swift motion, his leg shot out and slammed into the door, image be damned. Although the door had been heavily guarded by holy light, it was not exactly a very strong door and the holy light didn’t do a thing against physical strength. Under Sun’s mighty boot, the door groaned and gave away.
Immediately, Sun rushed into the room and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Don’t you dare touch him!”
His shout came out more like a shrill shriek.
He didn’t know which him he meant. Did he mean that he wanted hands to be kept off of his best friend who was not supposed to be his friend, or did he want hands to be kept off of his capable vice-captain who had served him faithfully ever since the age of eighteen?
He really, really didn’t know. All he knew was that he didn’t like this. Why were they even in a locked room together anyway? At least, he assumed the door had been locked. His foot had taken care of the door before he could figure that out.
Once Sun burst into the room, the thick layer of holy light that had been shrouding the door no longer blocked his sensing ability. Adair must have tossed that up as a last resort to block Sun from seeing anything, except it had attracted Sun’s attention even more. Just how out of it was Adair to have overlooked that possibility?
Without holy light blocking his vision, Sun immediately saw the actual situation inside the room.
It was much tamer than his imagination. Both of the men inside were fully clothed, although their arms were tightly wrapped around each other.
Sun frowned severely in a fashion that was entirely unsuited for the Sun Knight’s countenance.
Closer inspection showed that it was Adair who had his arms tightly wrapped around Lesus Judgment. He had even grabbed fistfuls of Judgment’s robes. Was Adair actually…nuzzling Judgment?
Sun would have expected them to jump apart and look at him guiltily the moment he entered, but Judgment merely flicked his eyes over before looking back at the person who was burrowing into his embrace. The two of them did not make any move to break apart. In fact, although Sun didn’t know if it was just his imagination or not, Adair seemed to have tightened his hold on Judgment and buried his face even deeper into Judgment’s shoulder, eliciting a stifled gasp from Judgment. If Sun could actually see with his eyes, he thought that Judgment’s face would probably be startlingly pink at the moment, and he would also look more disheveled than he ever presented to the outside world.
“What’s going on here?” demanded Sun flatly. What was Judgment doing with his vice-captain! What was Adair doing with Sun’s best friend! What. Was. Going. On.
He’d never even suspected… Was this what Judgment and Adair disappeared off to do whenever he couldn’t find them…
Judgment merely said, “I… believe that your vice-captain has been c-cursed.” His voice hitched when Adair tightened his hold around him.
What? He thought… Oh.
“Adair, you’ve been cursed?” asked Sun.
Adair nodded, but his head was still buried in Judgment’s shoulder.
“Captain…” murmured Adair into Judgment’s clothes. “I’m really sorry about this, but I… I can’t help it…”
“Sun, come closer,” Judgment urged, his voice slightly higher than normal.
Not knowing what Judgment wanted, Sun approached with caution. As soon as he stepped near them, Judgment’s arm shot out and pulled him into a tight group hug. After some maneuvering, Sun was now completely in Adair’s embrace.
“He has to have someone to cling onto,” Judgment explained, his voice much more settled now that he was no longer being hugged to death by Adair.
“This… actually doesn’t feel too bad,” said Sun after he managed to collect himself. He also understood now what Judgment had meant by “too tight.” Adair’s arms were practically squeezing the breath out of him, clinging onto him as if he were a teddy bear.
As the Sun Knight, Sun was very rarely hugged unless it was by a child that had been thrust into his arms. He couldn’t actually recall the last time he had been hugged by someone else like this. Was it his teacher who had comforted him awkwardly, not knowing how to deal with a crying child? But even that had been different from this kind of hug…
He felt himself warming up.
Sun hesitantly laid a hand on the back of Adair’s head. “…Just who in the world dared to curse my vice-captain? I’ll show them!”
Adair squeezed even tighter, smiling into his captain’s shirt. “Thank you, Captain.”
Like the curse where Sun was always interrupted in the middle of applying his facial mask, this was also a dire curse, and Sun was determined to discover the origin. His vice-captain would not be able to perform his duties if he could not stop hugging people.
“What happened before you found yourself with the need to hug?” asked Sun.
Adair replied, “Knight-Captain Judgment and I decided to spar in an empty prayer room.”
“And then we sparred,” answered Judgment, “however, in the middle of sparring, a change came over Adair.”
Adair nodded, the motion tickling Sun. “I was swinging my sword when suddenly I didn’t feel like doing that anymore. Instead, I wanted to encircle my arms around the person before me, and that happened to be Knight-Captain Judgment…”
“Hm…” wondered Sun.
All this was said with Adair’s arms still around Sun. This was going to be difficult. How was he going to investigate when he couldn’t even extract himself from Adair?
“I’m going to transfer Adair to you,” Sun said. Immediately after, he pried Adair’s hands off of him and nudged him toward Judgment.
“Sun-” Judgment started to say, but Sun had already left the room, leaving Judgment with his hands full. Of Adair.
“Thanks, Knight-Captain Judgment.”
The edge of Judgment’s mouth quirked up into a miniscule smile. A secret smile that few were privy to. Adair wondered if this was what his captain always saw.
“This doesn’t feel bad,” Judgment said, echoing Sun’s previous words.
In fact, he thought it felt nice, this feeling of having someone’s arms around him. He had never known the sensation could feel like this.
He carefully brought his arms up and returned the hug. Surely, he could allow him this behind closed doors?
When Sun sensed Storm’s presence, he hastened his steps to catch up but not so much that he would appear hurried, as that would not be graceful.
“Brother Storm,” Sun called out. The person he had stopped turned. To anyone else but Sun, Storm’s face would have been hidden by the towering stack of paperwork he held before him. Sun, however, was able to see past the tower. The stack of papers wobbled, and a tired pair of eyes peeked warily over the top.
Sun paid no heed to the wary gaze, smiling as he asked, “Might you have chanced upon discontent toward the God of Light’s benevolence this past week? Sun fears that treachery is brewing among disbelievers, poison reaching across distances to hinder our bodies and minds, eliciting untoward behavior against the God of Light’s will…”
Storm sighed and shifted the pile of paperwork in his hands. His voice was pained as he asked, “Sun, can you get to the point?”
Sun quickly spread his sensing out. It wasn’t like he wanted to spout all this nonsense and waste his breath, especially since he wished to get to the bottom of Adair’s curse as quickly as possible. When he spotted that the coast was clear, he leaned in and asked in a low voice, “Is there anyone holding a grudge against me? Or the Sun Knight Platoon? Adair especially?”
“Against Adair?” asked Storm, one eyebrow raised. “Most likely no one. He’s well-liked among all of the holy knights and even among the royal knights. There may be a few who envy him, but I wouldn’t say any of them hold a grudge against him. He always listens to other people’s woes after all. A good friend.”
Sun listened and couldn’t help but give himself a mental pat on the back for picking out and training such a capable vice-captain who knew how to get on people’s good side. After all, Sun knew all too well how many people he had sent Adair to beat up and how many people were still Adair’s friend despite having been beat up by him.
Storm continued musing without Sun’s prompting.
“Against the Sun Knight Platoon? Not very likely either. They get along with most people. They’re usually a friendly bunch, if a little rowdy.”
Then, Storm smiled a wide smile that Sun didn’t particularly like.
“Against you? Too many to count.”
“What? Do you need me to list the people? The king, the previous king, that baron you crossed, our very own princess, the Pope, the princesses from the Kingdom of Moon Orchid, Earth-”
“Dear Brother Storm, surely you are mistaking Sun for someone with influence so great that even Sun dare not claim to possess such influence.”
“You don’t want to hear the rest of the list?” asked Storm, sounding like he really wanted to continue.
“Thanks, but no thanks,” Sun replied dryly. “Please allow Sun to politely decline his dear brother’s generosity.”
Storm deflated. If he had ears like a puppy, Sun was sure the ears would be drooping against his head by now. Did Storm want to rub it in that much?!
However little Sun wanted to admit it, Storm was right. He had offended a lot of people in his time as the Sun Knight (and even in his time as the Sun Knight-in-training. It really couldn’t be helped, not when there were matters better taken care of with less than upstanding means. The Church, falling to treachery? Never on his watch!).
Now the question was, which among the people he had offended would take it out on his vice-captain instead of coming directly at him? It wasn’t like people didn’t know that taking something out on his holy knights was the same as picking a fight directly with him. Then again, such an occurrence was not unprecedented. For instance, although he had not done it out of a grudge, the Son of the God of War had thought to target Adair when the Monastery had wanted Sun to demonstrate his knowledge of Resurrection. Adair was indeed not safe from people who wanted to inconvenience him no matter how stupid such a course of action was.
After thinking it over, Sun decided to pay Earth a visit first. Adair had helped Sun “surround” Earth before, and Earth also knew that taking Adair out of the picture would greatly hinder Sun.
That, and Earth was just a detestable person, so if Sun were off the mark, it would be no big deal.
Off he went.
Sun passed by many closed doors while searching for Earth. The Twelve Holy Knights each had a public personality to maintain, but they were generally completely different people behind closed doors when they were not on the job. Except for a select few, such as Blaze, who was always brash, and Leaf, who was genuinely a good person, the security of a solid door between them and their duty meant letting loose a personality with a gap so large from their perceived one that if their followers were to find out, those followers would most definitely drop into a dead faint.
Although he could no longer see with his eyes, Sun didn’t consider himself blind. His sight had a larger range than ever before as long as no one was purposely blocking his sensing, like what had happened with Adair. If he willed it, he could see through doors and walls with no problem whatsoever. So far no one had called him out on it yet.
He passed by Ice’s room and saw that Ice was baking a cake. He couldn’t wait until he could taste it! All was right with the world if Ice was back to baking… Except for the matter of Adair’s curse, of course. Moon was writing a letter at his desk. Sun didn’t doubt that it was some sort of love letter. Roland was cleaning his blade. How boring. Leaf was…reorganizing his voodoo dolls. How utterly scary! Sun amended his previous thought about Leaf. Although Leaf was indeed a good person, he was still capable of scaring their followers into a dead faint with what he did behind closed doors.
He’ll pretend he hadn’t seen that.
By the time Sun reached Earth’s door, he could already tell what was happening inside. Earth, like Sun had expected, was entertaining a woman, and even though Sun could not hear what was happening through the walls, he could see well enough, and that was more than enough to make his cheeks heat up. Oh how dare Earth have such a good time…
Since kicking the door open like what Blaze would do was not appropriate for his image, Sun quickly picked the lock instead and threw open the door.
“Brother Earth, the God of Light bade Sun to visit his… Ah, has Sun interrupted?” Sun halted and turned his head to face the cleric on Earth’s bed, pretending like he was surprised at her presence. He then pretended like he didn’t know how to react at her state of undress.
“N-Nothing at all!” the cleric hurriedly said while throwing her clothes back on. “Good day to you, Sun Knight. Goodbye, Earth Knight!”
She scrambled out the door, nearly forgetting her stockings.
That had been a close one. Any further, and Earth would have actually succeeded!
With the cleric gone, Earth immediately dropped all pretenses. He scowled and crossed his arms. “Why can’t you ever leave me alone?”
Sun didn’t pay Earth’s question any mind. Just in case, Sun shut the door. He turned, smile gone. “What did you do?”
“What did I do? Don’t you mean, what did you do to me? You’re the one who scared her off with your blinding hypocrisy!” Earth retorted.
Bl-blinding hypocrisy?! Why wasn’t Earth the Metal Knight?!
Sun was undeterred. “Don’t you play stupid with me. You must have done something!” He omitted Adair’s name, just in case. No need to give Earth extra information if he wasn’t actually involved.
Earth threw up his hands. “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”
Sun paused. Earth’s heartbeat hadn’t quickened. He was…telling the truth, as much as Sun didn’t want to admit it. “Then who could have cursed Adair…” he muttered under his breath. He really had thought that Earth would be the number one culprit.
“What was that?” Earth asked and shifted closer.
“Nothing,” Sun gritted out and promptly left Earth’s room, leaving behind a befuddled and frustrated Earth.
Sun visited the Pope next. He figured that he had frustrated the Pope plenty of times, perhaps only second to Earth, and the Pope was likely to actually know how to curse someone. In hindsight, Sun really doubted that Earth would have that kind of knowledge. The Pope, on the other hand, was a master of all kinds of magic, sly old geezer that he was.
“Good day, your ancientness,” Sun greeted with false cheer after the door closed behind him.
“Sun Knight, how generous of you to visit,” the Pope said, grimace not at all hidden from Sun even with the Pope’s veil. The Pope could never stop himself from reacting to jabs at his age, normally depending on the piece of cloth over his face to hide his reactions. Now, the cloth did nothing to conceal Sun’s view of the Pope’s expressions.
The Pope, however, hit back hard. He was no innocent fifteen year old boy. What an old coot! In a supposedly kind voice, he asked, even though he knew exactly how long Sun had been missing, “Sun Knight, have you been outdoors a lot? Your skin glows healthily like honeyed bread.”
Honeyed bread? That couldn’t be possible!
Immediately, Sun’s hand flew up to his cheeks. They were smooth. Silky. Awesome to the touch. Sun had made sure of it. But no matter how much Sun had made sure of that, he couldn’t tell what color his skin was anymore!
Adair had assured him that his skin was as white as milk. It couldn’t be that he had been lying!
A horrifying thought hit Sun. What kind of milk had Adair been talking about?! No… Adair wouldn’t lie to him about that, even though if anyone could learn to twist their way past Sun’s lie detection, it would have to be Adair. But no, the Pope was just trying to make him panic, and he was nearly succeeding. Sun was so very tempted to blast away the smug smile that was now on the Pope’s face.
“Hmph, you’re just jealous of my naturally youthful skin,” Sun muttered.
The Pope rolled his eyes. “Natural? As if! Enough small talk. What are you here for?”
Sun nearly spluttered. His skin was totally natural! It was true that he applied facial masks, but that was it, really. It wasn’t like he was using magic to maintain his appearance, not like what the Pope was doing. “Don’t worry, oh venerable Pope. Though your mind may not be what it used to be in your age, Sun still wishes for your wisdom. Did. You. Do. It?”
Scowling, the Pope asked, “Do what?”
The Pope was not hiding anything, not with how calm his heartbeat remained, but Sun had piqued the Pope’s curiosity. Even though the Pope was not the culprit, Sun was sure he would know about curses.
“Never mind. Do you know what kind of curse would make someone…”
How was he supposed to ask this?
“Hm?” The Pope perked up. “A curse, you say? Go on.”
“What kind of curse would make someone feel the need to hug someone else? How does that even work?” Sun asked all in one breath, the questions tumbling from his lips.
The Pope hurriedly scooted away from Sun.
“What? I haven’t been cursed!” Sun exclaimed. “I’m not about to hug you!”
“That makes me feel so much safer. But wait. Why are you asking? Do you plan on cursing someone or what?” demanded the Pope.
“No! It’s just…”
Adair was cursed. Adair! His vice-captain!
“Just tell me if such a curse exists, alright?” Sun grumbled.
“Telling you doesn’t sound like such a good idea,” the Pope said. “I’m not about to unleash on everyone a Sun Knight who knows how to curse people.”
“So such a curse really does exist?” Sun concluded from what the Pope had just said.
The Pope pursed his lips, realizing what he had just given away. He threw up his arms much like what Earth had done when Sun had confronted him. “Fine, I’ll tell you, but you’ll need to owe me a favor.”
“I’ll have Cloud owe you a favor.”
“No, it has to be you. Cloud is busy tending to the library.”
“You know how he’s looking at you nowadays. Are you going to take advantage of his pity for you?”
Ugh, anything but pity. Sun did know, and it made him all sorts of uncomfortable. It wasn’t Leaf’s fault that Sun became sort-of-blind. It was really his own fault for leaving Leaf in the first place, and now he couldn’t stop feeling guilty in Leaf’s presence. The way Leaf looked at him just made him feel even guiltier.
Even as he spoke Earth’s name, Sun knew how utterly ridiculous his suggestion was. Earth would never agree, and the Pope was looking at him like he was out of his mind.
“Come, child, it really has to be you. Only you are capable of handling this favor,” the Pope said sweetly.
Sun wanted to grit his teeth. He really did. But he didn’t want to grind his teeth down because he liked his teeth just the way they were. He had already passed his teeth grinding quota for the day.
“Fine, tell me already!” Sun growled.
The Pope beamed. Sun was already regretting his decision. “A curse that makes you want to hug people?” the Pope mused. “It doesn’t sound deadly, but such a curse can only be the result of black magic.”
“Black magic?” asked Sun. He was not overly familiar with black magic. It wasn’t like holy magic or dark magic, which called upon the elements in their natural form. Black magic was a more twisted form of dark magic, warped by intent.
“I’m not going to tell you how the curse is performed, but with black magic, it is very doable,” explained the Pope. “Judgment or Leaf might know more about this, actually. They once investigated such a case.”
Sun had seen Judgment earlier in the day. He doubted Judgment would have forgotten to mention already knowing about the curse if he’d had such knowledge.
Did this mean he’d have to pay Leaf a visit?
He kind of didn’t want to. He still felt utterly guilty about hurting Ice and Blaze, but at least they weren’t under the impression that they owed him anything. Leaf, on the other hand, couldn’t stop looking at him with those eyes…
Sun steeled himself and knocked on Leaf’s door. It was only polite. Behind the door, Leaf quickly placed his voodoo dolls down. One of the voodoo dolls had its arms wrapped around another. Sun tried to block the existence of the voodoo dolls out of his mind, but it wasn’t working.
“Coming!” Leaf called out.
When the door opened, Leaf smiled at Sun. It only made Sun feel worse. Why couldn’t Leaf chew him out like Earth always did? But then, Leaf was a good guy. He would never do that. Instead of chewing Sun out, Leaf said, “Oh, hi Sun. Are you feeling better today?”
Was he feeling better today…? What kind of question was that? That implied he hadn’t felt all that wonderful the day before, and that was simply not true.
Sun did the only thing he could to regain his footing. He fell back on his inane and flowery speech to distract Leaf. “The God of Light has granted Sun renewed vitality, opening Sun’s eyes to…”
Ah, that was an unfortunate choice of words. Why did he have to bring up his eyes?! It was just supposed to be rambling nonsense!
Leaf whispered, “Has He returned your sight?” His voice was quiet, but Sun thought he might as well have shouted straight into his ears with how much the words were affecting him.
“It was just a figure of speech,” Sun mumbled, hating that he had gotten Leaf’s hopes up. “Never mind me. Why have you shut yourself inside today?” Sun asked. Immediately, he wanted to thud his head against the wall. That wasn’t what he’d wanted to ask! He also knew very clearly what Leaf had been doing inside his room.
Leaf glanced shyly up at him, eyes darting up and then back down.
That was…different. Better than those worried glances, but…different. And strange.
“Do you wa… Um… Have you… hugged anyone today?” Leaf asked haltingly. Scratch that. That wasn’t shyness. That was hopefulness.
Sun was at a loss for words, his mind coming to a shocking realization. His surroundings were getting kind of fuzzy. Was this what it felt like to be so shocked that he was about to faint? He had thought himself immune to being shocked by what his brothers did behind their doors, yet now he was reacting like how one of their followers might upon opening a door they shouldn’t have. He shook his head to wake himself up, and then he gripped Leaf’s shoulders.
In utmost seriousness, he asked, “What did you do, Leaf?”
Sun burst into the prayer room. Judgment and Adair weren’t hugging the death out of each other anymore, but they were sitting side-by-side. Neither of them had taken a single step out of the room. No doubt they hadn’t wanted Adair to randomly hug people and scare them witless.
“Captain!” Adair exclaimed and leaped up to cling onto him. It calmed Sun down. Sun ran his hand through Adair’s hair.
“It was Leaf! Can you believe it? He sneaked into my room, stole some hair from my hairbrush, and, and!!”
“And what?” asked Judgment from the side, his voice calm. Meanwhile, Adair had stiffened for some reason.
Sun stopped, not entirely sure if the other two would believe what he was about to say. Even he had found it hard to believe when he had first stumbled upon Leaf and his voodoo dolls, and he’d seen the proof with his own sight then.
“Leaf put the hair in a voodoo doll, wanting for me to hug more people,” Sun finally said, shuddering at the thought of the voodoo doll he’d discovered of himself. Its arms had been wrapped around another voodoo doll. “He said it would be good for me.”
Surprisingly, neither Judgment nor Adair reacted much to that. They actually believed him then?
“It has been good for you,” Judgment said, choosing to respond to the last part of Sun’s words. “Leaf knew the value of hugs. How do you feel at the moment?”
“Needed,” Sun replied, leaning his head on Adair’s shoulder. Appreciated. Loved. “But I’m sorry that you were cursed, Adair.”
Had he truly been in such a sorry state that they thought he needed hugs?
Adair shook his head. “It really doesn’t inconvenience me.”
Sun believed that that was not a lie.
“But how is it that Adair was cursed when Leaf tried to steal hair from my hairbrush? That doesn’t make sense,” Sun mumbled.
He felt Adair gulping. Judgment looked away, mouth quirking up ever so slightly.
“Don’t tell me you did something to my brush!” Sun exclaimed.
“No, I mean, yes… It’s not what you think!” Adair tried to say. With his contradictory statements, Sun couldn’t tell whether or not Adair was lying. His heartbeat hadn’t increased much, but it was just a bit faster. Even when Adair had been telling Sun about the curse, he had been calm. Sun counted this as a success.
“Do you secretly sneak inside my room to use my hairbrush?” Sun asked. “Please tell me you have your own. Surely you’re earning enough to buy a hairbrush.”
Adair tightened his hold on Sun and laughed. “I’m sorry, Captain, that is such an absurd thing to say.”
“Well? What’s going on then?” demanded Sun.
“Do you dislike being hugged?” Adair asked instead.
Sun paused to consider the question. This feeling was… not bad. No, it wasn’t just “not bad.” He liked it.
He shook his head.
Adair smiled into Sun’s shirt. “The truth is, Captain… I knew this would happen.”
“As expected of your vice-captain, yes?” Judgment said from the side.
“Well, I do have the best eye for people!” Sun hurriedly said.
In the end, they let the curse run its course. Leaf confessed it should only last a day. Sun found that he quite liked being hugged after all, especially if Adair was the one doing the hugging.
If they continued hugging even after the curse supposedly ended, well, that was an entirely different story. And, if anyone mentioned anything, Sun would respond in this way.
“Though the God of Light sees all, misguided intentions do plague our lives. However, even such misguidance may lead to a touch of comradeship, as well as much needed warmth, that can improve our daily lives. If a spell befalls a dear brother, offering his support is the least Sun can do.”
“What is he saying, Adair?” Other people would ask, turning to Adair in hopes of having him decipher his captain’s words. It was what people did most of the time… Even though they’d never had to ask while Adair was hugging the very person whose speech they wanted deciphered.
Adair would tighten his embrace around his captain and shoot the asker a smug look, but surely they’d be misinterpreting his expression.
“It’s just a curse,” Adair would say.
And they would believe him.