A.N- Hey, guys, I decided to write another Belgariad fic. This one also has no connection to the other two. I hope you guys enjoy it, don't forget to read and review! As usual, I own nothing.
"How many times have I told you to be more careful?" Ce'Nedra sighed, as she continued to dab at the cut on Garion's shoulder. It wasn't as bad as it had looked a few minutes ago, but she would still probably have to put some kind of bandage over it.
"You sound like Aunt Pol," he grumbled, wincing slightly as she continued her work.
"You say that like it's a bad thing," she frowned. "Why didn't you go to her? You know she'd probably do a better job of this than me." After all, she didn't have much experience with tending to wounds. It was one of the few things she didn't know how to do very well.
"You're seriously asking that? You know how Aunt Pol would react if she saw me like this. Besides, it's not like you've got anything better to do. It's not like you have to actively be a stuck-up, spoilt little princess all the time, after all." Ce'Nedra glared at him.
"Excuse me? How dare you talk to me like that? Do I need to remind you who I am? If we were in Tolnedra..."
"Well, we aren't in Tolnedra any more, so that's not an issue," he said, before she could continue. "All the same, why shouldn't I talk to you like that? Somebody's got to, and I don't see many other volunteers." He was glaring at her too now. For a moment, they just sat there, glaring at each other, neither wanting to be the one who backed down. Ce'Nedra glanced at Garion's shoulder for a moment.
"You know, I'm tempted to just leave that, let your aunt see it." She didn't want to do that, not really. She just wanted to see how he'd react.
"Really? What good do you think that'll do? All it'll mean is that I'm not able to train anymore, which means that's one less person to help you out next time you're in trouble."
"I don't need you to come and rescue me. I'm not some damsel in distress, alright? I can look after myself." He looked at her for a moment, before he replied.
"I'm not sure climbing trees really counts as being able to look after yourself, but maybe I'm wrong." Part of her wanted to laugh, but not wanting to give in just yet, she decided not to.
"It's better than nothing. Besides, it's not like anyone's going to teach me how to defend myself, so I might as well use what I know how to do to my advantage." Garion frowned, then replied, his voice a little bit softer now.
"You never ask for help. If you asked, I'm sure someone would give you a hand."
"No, they wouldn't. I'm a princess, remember? No point in showing me how to do something that once this quest is over, I'll never need. They probably think I'm too delicate, anyway. Too small to be much good at anything."
"If you're worried about size, you can talk to Silk. He might have some ideas for what you could do. If that fails, though, you could always ask me." She thought about that for a moment.
"I could. Why would you help me, though? You don't like me, why would you want to help me?" He frowned at her.
"I do like you, there's just some things we don't see eye to eye on." He smiled. "Sorry, that maybe wasn't the best choice of words. And I don't mind helping you. I feel like I owe you that, since you taught me how to read and write. The least I can do is teach you something useful to return the favour. So, how about I teach you how to use a sword, and you finish cleaning this up, and we'll call it even at that?" Ce'Nedra nodded, and held out her hand.
"Very well then. I hope you know what you're doing, entering into a deal with a Tolnedran. Of course, as long as you keep up your end, there shouldn't be any problems." She smiled, and for a moment he just watched her. Then he took her hand and shook it.
"That shouldn't be a problem. Although, I'm not sure what exactly you could do if I don't meet my end of the deal, since by then you'll have already fixed my shoulder." Ce'Nedra considered that for a moment.
"Well, I suppose we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it. Although, I can guarantee you, it won't be anything pleasant. Just because we aren't in Tol Honeth doesn't mean I can't still make unpleasant things happen to those who break deals they strike with me." She smiled at him sweetly. "So I suppose you'll just have to make sure it doesn't come to that." Garion stared at her for a moment, then nodded.
"Yeah, you're right. Now, would you mind getting back to fixing my shoulder? Otherwise you definitely won't be getting any help learning how to fight." She nodded, and picked up the cloth again. Dipping it back into the water, she continued cleaning the wound. As she worked, she tried to keep her gaze solely on the wound itself, rather than allow it to wander at all. It was hard, though, since opportunities like this rarely presented themselves. She and Garion tended to keep their distance, physically speaking, so she rarely got a chance to be this close to him. On top of that, he'd had to take his tunic off so that she could treat the wound properly, and she was really trying not to look at anything but the wound, but it was hard. It was at times like this, if she was being honest, that she found it really, really difficult to just look at him as a friend. She sighed, finishing up with cleaning the wound. She turned away to get the bandages, and when she turned back to face him, he spoke again.
"Are you alright? You've been a bit quiet." She sighed, not sure what to say to that. It probably wouldn't be appropriate to say, 'Yes, everything's fine, except for the fact that I might actually be in love with you and would really like to kiss you right now.' She wasn't sure how he'd take that, but she wasn't particularly keen to find out. It would probably make things very awkward, and she'd probably end up disappointed. So, rather than say all that, she just smiled.
"Everything's fine. I just haven't been able to think of anything to say, that's all."
"Well, there's a first," he muttered, but she just rolled her eyes at him. She didn't really have the energy to start another argument with him. Instead, she just concentrated on the task in front of her.
The next day, the lessons began. Garion wasn't sure if it was a good idea, since his arm was still a bit sore, but after a little pestering, Ce'Nedra managed to convince him it would be fine.
"Alright, we should probably keep this quite basic today. There won't be any point in doing anything too complex if you can't get this right." She nodded, wondering just how basic this would be, how long it would take before she was at the point of being able to fight. Garion handed her a sword. She wondered if it was his, then decided that wasn't important. "Today, you just need to be able to hold the sword properly. That's all." She held the sword in both hands.
"How's this?" She asked, looking up at him for confirmation. He looked at her, then took a step closer.
"Not quite. Your hands are a bit off position..." He stepped closer again and took hold of her hands, adjusting them on the handle of the sword. Ce'Nedra was unable to stop a blush from spreading across her cheeks. Garion seemed to notice something was off, since once he'd got her hands in position, he stepped back. "Is everything alright?" he asked.
"Yes, of course. Why do you always assume something's the matter with me?"
"Because, sometimes, it seems like there is. Maybe I'm just imagining it, but sometimes, when we're together, you seem a bit strange" At his words, Ce'Nedra felt herself panicking a bit. After all, she'd been trying hard not to let her feelings become too obvious, and now he was telling her he knew something was the matter. She wondered if he'd figured put precisely what was wrong,. or if it was still possible to throw him off the scent.
"You probably are just imagining it. I mean, I'm pretty sure I would know if I was acting differently around you," she said, as casually as she could manage. Judging by the look on his face, though, it seemed that he believed her. She smiled, glad to have averted that crisis, for a while at least. She knew that he would probably figure out what was going on sooner or later, but the longer she could hold off on that, the better. For now, though, she'd just learn how to defend herself, get a better grip on her feelings and hope that the rest would take care of itself.