It's been awhile...

The first thing I want to say (other than that) is that I'm sorry. When I first started writing this (and posted it), I had this entire universe worth of information and stories and little anecdotes that I was so excited to share with you, and about two weeks later, I went through some very traumatic medical things and just lost all of the steam I had to work on this fic. I had some other works saved up that I was able to post to get me through the initial month or two, and have recovered enough that I've been able to write and post some one-shots and have been able to start a couple longer, multi-chaptered fics here more recently, but I just haven't been able to make any headway with this. I've tried several different times, but it just—I can't.

That's no excuse for leaving you guys waiting without any kind of an explanation, but it is what it is.

So, moving forward, I am by no means done with this fic, but I am officially putting it on an indefinite hiatus until further notice. I am (still) trying to figure out how to go forward with this in a way that I will be content with (and will be enjoyable for you guys), but I don't know how long it's going to be until I'm able to do that.

The rest of this post consists of a portion of a chapter I had been working on when everything happened back in September. Originally, it was supposed to be part of a much longer (probably multi-chaptered) section dealing with the development of Musa and Riven's relationship through Alfea and how they continued to grow throughout their transition out into the real (read: adult) world. As it stands however, I was unable to finish it and sadly it was left on a little bit of a cliffhanger (I'm sorry; spoiler alert: Musa's okay in the end, I promise). The beginning of this was supposed to be longer, too, going into more detail about the relationships between the two and Codatorta, Brandon, Flora, and Helia, but—well, you've heard the story already. Hopefully, one day I'll be able to finish and post this in it's entirety, but I didn't want to publish this note without giving you guys something else to read, and this was I had.

Thank you so much for all of your patience so far, and thank you for your understanding moving forward (and the views and follows and favorites and alerts and comments and everything else—I really, really appreciate them). I will update this as soon as I can, but I can't promise when that will be. I would rather take my time and give you good work than force out something that's horrible and drag you through the mud with me. As always I own nothing, and would love to hear whatever feedback you can give me (even if it's just to tell me I suck (it happens pretty often, so I'm used to it)).

Thank you for your time!

Most of Riven and Musa relationship took place in secret. It's not like they were trying to hide it from everybody. It just kind of happened, and for the most part the two of them were okay with it. Relationships were hard enough without everybody else telling them what to do, and besides everybody just kind of knew that they were together (and when they didn't and decided to hit on Musa, Riven had no issues explaining it to them in private). There were only five people who were privy to the more intricate parts of their relationship, and even they only knew part of it.

The first, of course, was Codatorta.

The second was Brandon.

The third was Flora.

The fourth was Helia.

And the fifth was Techna. To her credit, she knew more than the rest, and she'd been much better at keeping the secret than everybody else. (Codatorta had confessed some to Saladine and Feragonda in order to help protect the young couple. Brandon didn't always make sure nobody else was listening in when he was giving Riven a hard time about it. And Flora and Helia liked to give each other a heads up when something was going on so they could prepare.)

Techna and Musa weren't close in the sense that they hung out all of the time or had long, dramatic heart-to-hearts like Bloom and Stella did, but over the years they'd come to know each other quite well. They had learned each others habits and body language as a means to help maintain homeostasis in the room, and could read even the slightest of changes in the other's moods, even if they couldn't figure out why. They were roommates after all.

So, even before Musa had started sneaking out, Techna knew something about her was changing, and it only took observing her and Riven's coming and goings when they were all supposed to be hanging out and the resulting changes in their moods to figure out that he was the cause. Or at least part of it.

Techna wasn't sure how she felt about their relationship at first, especially after the first time Musa had woken her up sneaking back into their room three hours after curfew the first time wearing one of Riven's hoodies.

In Riven and Musa's defense, that really had been innocent and they weren't even really dating yet. Everybody had met up in Magix for dinner and to just do teenager stuff and Riven and Musa had both conveniently slipped away. They'd fallen into one of their first real, in depth conversations with each other out by the lake and it had been colder than either one of them had expected. Musa had tried to play off her discomfort but Riven had rolled his eyes, muttered something about her being almost as stubborn as his sister and wrapped the sweatshirt around her shoulders before she could stop him (and yes, that was the first time he mentioned having a sister to her). Of course, it was colder than expected because the two had been talking much longer than expected, and by the time either one of them had realized it was already well past curfew.

Techna knew that it was far from the first time Musa had snuck out, they'd snuck out together before for all kinds of different things, but she was worried about her friend. She didn't want her getting in over her head either with Riven or trying to get back or forth to him, and while she didn't confront Musa about it like she should have, she did make a point to start asking questions about the two's relationship, and always stayed up until she heard Musa coming in and feigned sleep so Musa wouldn't know.

Things went on like that for a couple of months, and Techna battled internally over saying something to Musa but kept putting it off. Musa knew that Techna knew she was sneaking out, and she knew that Techna knew things between her and Riven were starting to get more serious, but she didn't think Techna knew the two were related. It was only when Musa came back to the dorm bloody and crying that everything came to a head.

Techna knew something was wrong right away. Musa fell against the door still in her Winx form before she changed back and slipped to the floor. Techna jumped out of bed, throwing her covers to the side in a flurry as she bounded over to the balcony and threw the door open. Musa was lying there, bloody and barely conscious. Techna had wanted to go get help right away, but Musa had begged her not to (for after all, it was well past curfew and she would probably be expelled for being out by herself) and Techna had relented against her better judgment. Instead, she half helped/half drug Musa into their room and used what few healing spells they'd been taught to help Musa as much as she could before putting a silencing charm on their room and calling Riven and telling him in no uncertain terms to get over to Alfea and help his girlfriend before Techna came over to Red Fountain and made whatever Musa had been through look like a walk in the park.

It was less than ten minutes later (Techna had reluctantly admitted that was pretty impressive a couple of days later) that Riven and Helia were slipping into their room from the balcony in full their full Specialist's uniforms and Techna had Riven pinned to the wall, demanding answers. That had lasted for all of about thirty seconds before Riven had taken stock of the entire room and noticed Musa laying on her bed, now completely unconscious. Before Techna knew what was happening Riven had pushed past her and was at Musa's side, rambling things off to Helia as he started taking inventory of her wounds and what he would need to fix them.

Techna watched on in stunned silence as the two of them worked, her anger quickly turning to worry and fear as the adrenaline started to fade from her system and she realized just how bad off her best friend really was.

Riven worked with the same single-mindedness that he did whenever he was faced with a problem when he was in uniform or on a mission. Assess the situation, determine a solution to any conflicts involved, and proceed quickly and efficiently. It was as natural to him as breathing, and the fact that it was his beautiful Musa he was working on did nothing to change that approach other than to maybe spur him on with more determination than ever. All of the Specialists at Red Fountain received extensive emergency medicinal training, and Riven was technically considered the medic of their team [a/n: i can't remember if that's canon or not, I don't think it is, but i have seen it in several other fics, and it would make sense that Red Fountain would set up their teams with a certain formula of tactical specialists/pilots/technical specialists/hand-to-hand combat specialists with somebody having medical training in case something goes wrong. I imagine that Riven would have strived to be very well rounded as i hope to discuss more in-depth in later chapters, and his teachers would have encouraged him to pursue the medical training as much as they could because having someone who knows how to effectively handle and treat wounds on a "battle front" who is as skilled in combat as he is and can easily fall into multiple roles on a mission can be invaluable and save a lot of lives. Any who, my apologies, back to the story.]

Helia listened to his ramblings intently because they weren't just ramblings and made a quiet assessment of his own as he kept perfect track of all of the supplies Riven was listing off. For his part, he hadn't really known about Musa and Riven yet, other than something was obviously going on between the two of them that they weren't telling any about, and Riven seemed to come back much happier after he'd snuck out some nights than others. As far as that night had gone, he'd just been enjoying sleeping peacefully in his bed after a long evening of studying when he'd been woken up by Riven climbing in through the window. Riven was always silent as he did so, mostly because it was natural to him and these whole sneaking in and out things were good practice for him, but also a little bit because he liked his new room mate and didn't want to disturb him. All-in-all, Riven knew that he was kind of hard to put up with sometimes with his attitude and Helia had it hard enough being Saladine's nephew and trying to make up for the missed year, and really he wasn't a bad room. No matter how quiet Riven was though, Helia always woke up. It was what made a Specialist a good Specialist. That ability to sense something was wrong no matter how well the threat covered their tracks. It was the exact same thing that had brought him back to Red Fountain. Helia had panicked the first night it had happened, but after pinning a confused and fighting Riven to the floor (that was the other thing that had brought him back to Red Fountain, as much as he hated true violence he'd missed having people around who could keep up with him), he'd calmed down and most of the time after that he barely took a second to confirm solely by listening that it was Riven (or later Musa) before falling back to sleep.

The night Musa was hurt was no different than normal other than the fact that his dream was centered around a certain fairy of nature and some incredibly flattering silken lace, and he was a little ticked off about being woken up from it so suddenly. He had groaned as his vision of his (well not necessarily his, yet) beautiful Flora wriggling underneath him in ecstasy was replaced by the darkness of his own room as his eyes fluttered open at the sound of the window being pushed up and rolled over towards the wall as Riven's feet hit the floor inside their room and threw his pillow at his roommate's head with impeccable aim.

Riven had panicked for a fraction of a second as the projectile got closer and closer before he realized what it was and relaxed as he caught the pillow an inch away from his face. It hadn't taken more than a look over Helia's ruffled sheets and his tense posture to figure out why his roommate was particularly crabby this evening and he couldn't help but let out a quiet chuckle because really, he knew Helia's pain. Helia had grumbled some at his laughter and threw an uncharacteristic "shut up" over his shoulder before Riven had thrown the pillow back at him (hitting Helia square on the back of his head and shoulders) and told him to man up and tell her how he felt already.

Now given the circumstances, Helia hadn't taken that very well at all and shot back that Riven was one to talk and yanked the pillow back under his head and buried his face into it when Riven just laughed and proceeded to start stripping out of his clothes for the night. Normally, Riven would have taken offense to something like that and their little banter could have led to a rare, good fight for both of the two of them to blow off some steam, but after the wonderful night that Riven had just had with Musa, he really didn't have any steam to blow off anymore. They'd been making out by the lake for an hour or two before Musa had gotten tired and headed back to Alfea. He'd thought about following her to make sure she was okay, he'd done that before, but the circumstances were different then, and he didn't think she would be as appreciative of the protectiveness now, so he had just stayed by the lake a little bit longer, calming himself back down before taking the long way back to Red Fountain on his hover bike. As soon as he'd found out she'd been hurt he'd regretted not following his instincts.

He'd just gotten himself snuggled up half under the covers, sprawled across the bed on his stomach like he liked, when he got the call.

At first, he was going to just ignore it, but when he'd open his eyes to glare at the vibrating piece of technology, he'd caught Techna's name flashing across the screen and he was so bewildered that he'd reached out and answered it before he'd known what he was doing.

Any thoughts of sleep were gone when he'd heard the panic in Techna's voice and he was up and out of bed, throwing another pillow across the room at Helia as he headed towards their closet and started pulling his uniform on. Helia had been right behind him (he'd been listening the entire time and even though he knew even less about what was going on than Riven, he knew they needed to get over to Alfea now, and the pillow really hadn't been necessary), and three minutes later they were crawling out the window Riven had just been crawling in.

The two had made their way to Alfea as fast as they could, and it had only taken the two about thirty seconds to figure out how they were going to get over the wall and up to Techna and Musa's balcony as they had been instructed [read: threatened]. Thankfully, the two had already thought about doing this for reasons (yeah, they had totally thought about breaking into the girls dorm for safety reasons, it /definitely/ wasn't personal or anything. No. Of course not. They were professionals.), and they'd combined Helia's plan for getting over the wall with Riven's idea of moving along the roof and dropping down onto the balcony from above to fool the security measures put into place and slip in through the doors with out being discovered. It really was a credit to their training and natural skills that they'd been able to pull it off so quickly, most people couldn't breach the school's defenses, and the few that could typically had to try a couple different times before they were successful.

The ride through the cool air in the forest had done a lot to help clear Helia's head from the dream he had been having, and any lingering thoughts of it were gone as soon as they'd stepped through the door and seen that Techna hadn't been exaggerating. He was genuinely concerned for the girl and wasn't sure whether or not Riven would be able to handle this on his own, but he'd seen his roommates test scores and that one time that his uncle had pulled him out of their strategies class to go help that kid that had been attacked by the dragon in heat, and he'd figured if worst came to worst, help was only a yell away. So, he paid attention to what Riven said as he made his own catalogue of her injuries in hopes of making sure Riven didn't miss anything he could catch with his own knowledge.

For her part, Techna eventually turned her focus to her friend's breathing—the one confirmation that her friend was still alive from the distance—and didn't realize that she was crying until Helia had laid a hand on her shoulder and asked her if she was okay. Techna had just stared back at him for a moment before she shook her self out of her stupor and told him she was fine as she wiped her eyes. He'd looked like he was going to argue for a moment before he nodded his head and asked her if she could go get the things that he hadn't been able to find in the room or their bathroom. She'd nodded her head in return and just told him to come with her when he started to list off supplies. There was no way she was going to be able to remember it all right now. Instead, she'd told him to follow her and led him out into the common room of their dorm, noticing Riven still sitting on the side of Musa's bed, quickly, but uncharacteristically gently, wiping off the blood that had seeped from the gashes across Musa's torso with a wet washcloth she recognized as one of her own.

Techna numbly helped Helia grab the things that Riven would need (and come up with some plausible substitutes when they weren't able to find whatever they were looking for), and almost fell to her knees in relief when they'd walked back into