Disclaimer: The characters in this fic, such as Johnny, Shania, etc. don't belong to me; they are property of Sacnoth and Midway, so don't sue! ;.;
Dedications: God, my friends, my readers, my RP buddies, Aruze for gracing this magnificent RPG with yet another installment, X-SEED for localizing this game, and finally, all the fans that are still devoted to this series after so long.
Special dedication to: HeartlessTitania, for being a fan of Johnny x Shania, and for patiently listening to my ramblings on FTNW. XD
Shadow Hearts III: Spread My Wings
Installment: Set Alpha, Part 1
For the first time, Shania was revealing a vulnerable side to him, and if he had been just a little more suave, he would have slipped his arm around her quivering shoulders.
But he wasn't Ricardo, nor did he want to be. He had to get his favorite companion to like him for being himself, not by just copying someone else.
Okay, so he had borrowed one little thing from the smooth mariachi with his claim to stop her if she ever went crazy… but it was still a completely sincere gesture, derived from his deep desire to help her.
"None of your damn business," Johnny snapped with flushed cheeks, but only received leering jeers in response from the neighborhood teenagers.
One older boy carelessly laughed before continuing to provoke, "Still haven't gotten your V-card stamped yet either, Johnny-boy? Guess you're gonna have to stay friends with your hand till the ice queen finally melts!"
He felt one of his hands start to burn with the telling sensation of deadly Malice, and just barely managed to quell it. They might have been stupid as hell, but they still weren't monsters that needed to be killed.
"Knock it off, you morons!"
He did his share of aggravating her, and he had to wonder why she wasn't as quick to snap a sharp tongue at him when she seemed to have no problem doing that to other people.
"How come she never bites your head off?" Hilda whined to the blond detective on one occasion. She had accidentally wandered too far away in one of the ruins, drawing a nearby group of monsters to their location. Shania snarled at the vampire for slowing them down. "You do stupid things too!"
"Hey!" He frowned, protesting his innocence, "I'm not as bad as you!"
The gravity of her actions didn't start to sink in until the Gate began to crumble, but Johnny refused to let her stay there to mull over everything.
Once everyone was outside again and gazing up at the vast blue sky, clear of dangerous red light, she could feel the dull ache slowly receding.
It was all over.
A faint smile tugged at the corner of her lips. Beside her, she could hear a heavy sigh of relief from Johnny. Shania turned her gaze toward him, and then abruptly looked down at their sides.
He was still holding her hand.
Shania could walk around wearing just a potato sack, and his heart would still be in his throat whenever he looked at her.
Especially since potato sacks had a lot of holes in them…
He tried to keep his frequent scrutiny a secret from her, in case she thought he was a freak for staring at her all the time. Both in and out of battle, wandering around a new city or figuring out the intricacies of a challenging dungeon, no matter where they were, he always wanted to know where she was and stay close to her, if possible.
He held out the small umbrella to her, stubbornly refusing to take it for himself; Shania took a hold of the handle and grabbed his arm, pulling him into her shelter.
His cheeks quickly flushed with her bosom lingering so close to his face. The blond coughed to cover up the awkwardness and sheepishly explained, "I wasn't sure if you'd be okay with sharing…"
Shania used her free hand to flick him on the forehead. Ignoring his quiet cry of protest, she barreled right ahead, "Right, because I'd much rather see you get sick from walking around in wet clothes."
There were some cultural differences that confused them at times, like when Johnny presented with her a red-colored box, and she responded by inquiring, "What's this for?"
"Valentine's Day," he informed her somewhat bashfully, "It's today. Have you ever heard of it?"
She shook her head, and then listened patiently to his explanation. Funny, the tall blonde noted silently, how his cheeks kept getting redder as he continued talking, until the shade almost matched that of the box in his hands.
"So…" he gave her a bright, winning smile and bravely asked, "Will you be my Valentine, Shania?"
He waited with bated breath to hear her answer, and when she finally gave it to him, his face brightened, particularly accentuated by the wide smile creasing his lips.
A split second later, Johnny felt panic gripping him as he tried to figure out where he should take her. Chelsea Theater? Brooklyn? Central Park? They could dine at a restaurant instead of eating in the agency as usual…
Hell. What was he even supposed to do on a date? This was his first.
He fled down the stairs and searched through his extensive bookcase, hoping to glean some useful information.
It took only her second mission for Johnny to present her with a cell phone, and the stipulation that she keep in frequent touch.
But it was difficult for Shania to admit weaknesses of any kind, and the first time she tried to call him, she couldn't figure out how to make the foreign device work properly. She grew frustrated at one point and wanted to throw the darned useless thing on the ground, but then it started ringing and shaking.
She flipped the phone open and brought the receiver up to her ear, immediately hearing, "Shania? Are you okay?"
While Shania was talking to the chief-no, her fiancé, the blond teen paced around in an endless loop, fervently wishing he could hear their conversation.
He saw the way Zonda lingered around her hand longer than necessary for such a simple exchange. It was just a ring. Was he also feeding her the entire backstory of its origin or something? Maybe he was as bad as Frank when it came to telling stories.
Finally, the priestess returned to the group with the ring in her possession. The sooner they left the Grand Canyon and continued on their way, the better.
He barely paid attention to Natan introducing himself, as his attention was focused on a much more enticing sight.
Shania cleared her throat just then, bringing his eyes back up to her face. Her lips were curved in a slight smirk, as if she knew exactly where he had been looking.
The blond teen desperately hoped she wasn't mad at him. She might turn into that bird form again, and…
His cheeks flared bright pink again, but he pretended nothing was out of the ordinary, and extended his hand to shake hers. "Uh… the name's Johnny. How are ya?"
When she stepped out of his bathroom wearing nothing but a silky red chemise, his jaw dropped… along with his pants, just minutes later.
If his brain was actually functional at that moment, it might have processed his girlfriend's intentions as she knelt down and calmly tugged his boxers away to join his crumpled jeans.
When her soft lips wrapped around him, Johnny thought he was going to lose it right there. Then she started doing something wicked with her tongue, and… Oh, God-!
"Sh-Shania…" he gasped aloud, desperately trying to control himself so he wouldn't explode in her mouth.
This fight would have much higher stakes than her previous trials, Johnny realized with increasing worry, so he stepped forward to stop her.
He knew how important vengeance was to Shania, but he wasn't going to let her face such a dangerous opponent without truly thinking it over first. She could die! Her own dad had even said so! If she was killed right here and now, what would happen to her goal then?
Her expression was uncharacteristically soft when she turned around to gaze at him, rather than the anger that he expected.
Maybe she could be reasoned with…
Thank goodness Lenny was too classy and devoted to say anything about what he might have heard from the night before, but Johnny considered taking his girlfriend to a nice hotel for the next time.
Maybe it was his responsibility to stop before they had gone all the way, he pondered somewhat ruefully. Shania hadn't said or done anything to indicate that she regretted their intimate night together, to his immense relief. Still, he could have waited to make their first time more… special, in some way.
Then their second time would be even more incredible, he decided with determination.
For an American boy, he was strangely bashful when it came to intimacy, but his timidity didn't put her off, as the daring blonde placed her hands on his shoulders and slowly massaged the tension out of him.
"Relax," she whispered into his ear, smiling at the way he shivered under her ministrations. She glanced down briefly, catching sight of his clenched fists by his sides, and then continued unwinding his taut knots.
There would be plenty of time later for him to get tense and uptight again. Though, at that point, he would need a different kind of release…
The female Garvoy warrior mentally rationalized that the rest of the group was just slowing her down, and leaped over the monsters to push on ahead by herself, deftly ignoring Johnny's call to her back.
More monsters got in her way as she rounded the corner. Glints of deadly silver flashed from her blades when she cut through them, legs pumping impatiently to keep pursuing her prey.
Shania finally caught up to the trio, clearly outnumbered but still determined to fight and win.
"Lady…" she tightened her grip on her weapon handles, "This is it… I'm going to kill you!"
Seeing Johnny weep for his sister made a dull pang of guilt resonate within her, and she started to reach out toward him, but her drive for revenge gradually overrode her sympathy.
She couldn't let her resolve weaken. That woman had taken too much from her. She could even go crazy and die herself, from the Kiss of Malice she had been forced to receive. Then Lady would have nearly completed her annihilation of the Garvoy tribe. Shania would fight to her last breath to prevent that from happening.
Her life, or that woman. Who would Johnny choose to save?
Johnny didn't have to hit the enemies hard to be useful; she relied on his support so her tomahawks and fists could deal enough damage for both of them.
He was agile, ducking around monster attacks with a smug grin, right before he delivered quick slashes to their bodies. He recovered more quickly than the other group members, except when a hit actually landed on him, breaking through his weaker defense. Then the Garvoy princess would jump in front of him for cover while he pulled himself off the floor.
They fought pretty well together, he noted with some pride.
Her wings flapped in a rapid whirlwind of fury, carrying the spiritualist over to the furthest group of monsters, and Johnny followed closely behind, not wanting to let her go off alone again.
She thrust twin feathery hands forward, blasting the monsters with a fierce wind spell that struck them down from the sky. One of the creatures crept toward her back while she was focused on casting.
Before it could strike her with crooked shadowy claws, Johnny jumped forward and swung his knife out in an arc of deadly red light, determined to protect his friend from getting hurt.
Finally, she and Natan had avenged their fallen brothers and sisters, but now, the Garvoy princess wondered what lied ahead in her future, when her companion made a surprising offer.
Work with Johnny in his detective business? Doing what, exactly? She couldn't really picture herself searching for lost cats in his neighborhood, and his finances were left in Lenny's capable hands.
But then again… if the alternative was returning to Gada Village and playing the role of a dutiful, properly behaved wife… Shania found that idea deplorable.
Keeping that notion in mind, it became much easier to make her decision.
After Tirawa's powers fully awakened within the spiritualist, she felt the raw rage and hatred gradually ebb away while her previous calmness returned, and Johnny, who always watched her closely, quickly noticed the change.
It was almost time to return to the Gate and finish their quest. When the group got a rare reprieve in a small town, the young detective immediately sought her out.
"How are you feeling, Shania?" He asked once they were alone.
"…Better," she admitted quietly, "I'm not sure if it's gone completely, but…"
"-but if it's not, I've got your back," he finished for her.
Mao swatted the blond away after he had shaken her half to death, and noted with mild amusement that humans could act just as territorial and possessive as cats.
She didn't see what all the fuss was about. The boy was acting like those two humans were mates, when the distance between them was so damn obvious. The impulsive woman had a soft spot for the kid – or was he too stupid to see that?
The large cat heaved a sigh and took a hearty swig from her flask. She would much prefer not to get involved in that mess…
Before Shania could even finish her sentence, the blond teen grabbed her hand and adamantly pulled her away; he wasn't about to say good-bye again so soon after watching his sister's body disintegrate.
They ran through the winding paths of the twisted structure, passing by red light that shot through the air around them. Trying to ignore the presence, Johnny could feel an unusual source of heat pulsating within him – was it his own Malice reacting to the Gate's destruction?
They came way too far to be taken out now. They had to make it out alive, all of them.
She has to be doing this on purpose, Johnny grumbled inwardly to himself when his girlfriend casually sauntered out of his bathroom wearing nothing but a towel; he couldn't help following her every movement with his hungry gaze.
He sat on his hands so they wouldn't reach out toward her, and then started idly rocking his heels back and forth.
Shania lifted a bare shoulder in his direction, giving him a sultry look as she calmly provoked, "Enjoying the view?"
Oops. He had been caught.
"Oh, yeah," came his cool quip, contrary to his inner panicking, "the towel's really pretty."
During deeply contemplative occasions, Shania found herself wondering how long their relationship would last – Johnny was more than what she could ask for, but was she able to fulfill all of his needs in return?
He was attentive, protective, and fiercely loyal. His smaller form radiated strength, even though it wasn't as transparent as with other men. Optimistic as he was, he still had his moments of vulnerability, which made her feel useful, being able to care for him.
Johnny seemed content with just her company, oddly enough. What other aspects he saw in her, she honestly couldn't figure out.
End of Installment
Author's Note: I would tell my brain to slow down with so many fic ideas, but this is too much fun! :D To all Johnny x Shania fans, I strongly urge you to read the translation for the ending song of FTNW, "Spread My Wings." Don't you think the lyrics would be appropriate from Shania to Johnny? :3
Now, for these particular drabbles, all of them started out as a single sentence for the 1sentence prompt at LiveJournal, but I expanded them, because 50 sentences alone would be too short! XD;; There will be a second installment following this, with the remaining half of the drabbles. I really hope you readers enjoyed these! If you have any requests for drabbles, or even your own ideas for sentences with prompts, please feel free to leave them in your review!
With love for my fans,