Twelve Months Is A Year

Month 1 -- August

© 2007 by AuroraExecution

This page was last modified: 2007/04/06


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The day after Deathmask and Shaina had become "official," a group of Gold Saints could be found meeting in Shaka's temple. "So Deathmask and Shaina are together?" asked Aiolia, "How did that happen?" Camus threw his best friend a suspicious look.

"You had something to do with it, didn't you, Milo?"

"Of course I did," Milo replied, grinning. "Where there are relationships, there is me."

"How long do you think they'll stay together?" asked Kanon. "For that matter, how long do you think they'll stay alive?" Milo shuddered.

"I have my doubts," said the Scorpio Saint. "The two of them seem about to kill each other any minute."

"What do you think, Shaka?" demanded Kanon. Shaka blinked, then began to chant furiously.

"What are you doing, Shaka?" Aiolia asked curiously.

"Praying for the souls of those around them."

"Hey, guys!" Saga's quiet voice called into the temple as the Gemini Saint entered.

"No, Saga," Kanon began to cry out before he was interrupted by Milo.

"Saga..." said the scorpion slyly, "Have you heard the news yet?"

"News?"

"Deathmask and Shaina are officially dating." Saga froze, and the sound of gears winding down could almost be heard from the direction of his brain.

"Tha...ish...um..."

"Saga has lost the power of speech," moaned Kanon, taking his brother by the arm and leading him towards the entrance. "Come on, Saga. I'll take you back to the temple now."

Shortly after Saga and Kanon left, Aphrodite entered. "Good morning!" said the Pisces Saint cheerily. A few of the others eyed him warily.

"You're a bit cheerful today, Aphrodite," Camus remarked. Aphrodite grinned.

"Yes, well. One's best friend dating an Amazon...it does not happen every day. In fact, Camus, maybe Milo and I should set you up with someone." The Aquarius Saint gave him a do-it-and-I'll-make-you-a-human-ice-cube look.

"No."

"Aww, Camus. You're no fun," Milo whined, "You could use a girlfriend."

"No."

"Whoa, is everyone here?" interrupted Mu, entering the Virgo temple. "And why is Shaka chanting?"

"Deathmask and Shaina are official!" cried Aiolia. "Shaka is praying for our souls." Mu nodded, not at all surprised.

"I see."

"You're not afraid they'll kill each other?" Aphrodite remarked, and Mu smiled.

"They will try, and fail. You see, they are such a volatile couple because both of them still have childish notions of relationships. Shaina is still in the you're-my-boyfriend-so-do-what-I-say stage, while Deathmask expects a girlfriend to fall at his feet. However, if one day they can manage to see through that, then they may make a wonderful pair."

"Deathmask in love," chortled Milo, "I can't wait to see that." Aphrodite smiled mysteriously.

"Actually, Milo," the Pisces Saint murmured, "I can see it happening. I mean, sure, it started out as a bet between Deathmask and myself, but now I'd be glad to lose the bet if it meant Deathmask could discover that he does, in fact, have a heart." Aiolia let loose a grin.

"Well, then," declared the lion, "Shall we give them a hand?" Shaka paused in his chanting and opened one eye.

"You want to interfere in Deathmask and Shaina's affairs? Are you sick of living?" the Buddha demanded. Aiolia grinned.

"Well, I owe Deathmask some torture. I mean, I don't hold any serious grudges against him anymore, but surely this is a chance not to be missed. And it's for his own good." Aphrodite and Milo exchanged grins.

"I'm in," said Aphrodite.

"And so are Camus and I," declared Milo as well. Camus gave him an 'am I?' look. Mu smiled.

"I'd like to help." Everyone immediately glanced at Shaka.

"Um..." Shaka hemmed.

"Come on, Shaka," urged Aiolia.

"Well..."

"Shaka...just say yes," Mu told him calmly. "We already came through ice, fire, and death. Don't worry about doing such little things, yes?" Shaka nodded slowly.

"Fine," he murmured grudgingly, a slight smile touching his lips.

* * *

A week later found Deathmask busy sulking in his temple. He had thrown a few things at the twins when they passed through, and then spent an hour carving up his wall. Heat typically made him disagreeable, and his new girlfriend was not helping. If it weren't for Aphrodite's challenge, he would undoubtedly be throwing Shaina over a cliff right this moment. She spent most of her time telling him to do her bidding, and getting angry because he ignored her. Every afternoon, she would arrive at his temple for a conjugal visit to prove they were still in a relationship, and it would always result in Shaina screaming, Deathmask cursing, and both separating in a sulk.

As the afternoon wore away, Deathmask's mood grew steadily fouler. He was not looking forward to "the visit" and the insufferably moist heat was wearing away at his patience. Shaina crashed into his temple much later than usual, around sundown that evening. "Deathmask!" she yelled, "Kanon insulted me. Go challenge him!" The Cancer Saint's right eye ticked a few times, and his aura seemed to grow darker.

"What the hell?" he demanded, his voice dangerously calm.

"He said I was an obsessive bitch with mental problems! Aren't you going to do anything about it?"

"You are an obsessive bitch with mental problems. Why should I do anything about it?"

"Because you're my boyfriend! Why can't you be a gentleman like Seiya?" Deathmask sneered at her.

"It's always Seiya, isn't it? No one can ever live up to Seiya. Well, I have news for you. You're never going to have Seiya. He doesn't like you."

"He defeated you!"

"No, Shiryuu defeated me, and I respect the Dragon for that. Seiya didn't even fight me. What's so great about Seiya anyway?"

"I love him!"

"You're obsessed with him. There's a difference."

"You forget that he's seen my face. I'm bound to him now. Like you'd understand, you chauvinistic bastard." Deathmask scoffed.

"Athena already released you from that attachment. That's not why you like him. You act like no one on the face of the planet is as good as Seiya, and then you try to guilt-trip me into being an imitation of Mr.Goody-goody Dumbass. Figure it out, wench. I'm not your damn doll. I won't ever be like Seiya 'cause I'd rather kill myself than turn into that idiot." Shaina stared open-mouthed for a few seconds before responding.

"Shut up! Son of a bitch. Go to hell!"

"Been there, done that. Now get out of my damn temple before I send you there as well." Shaina's aura was filled with pure flaming hatred as she stared Deathmask in the eyes and shot a bolt of electricity at him. The Cancer Saint ducked, and a large chunk of stone fell from his temple wall.

"Hey guys?" a voice demanded sleepily.

"WHAT?!" snapped Shaina and Deathmask at the same time.

"Is everything ok?" Aiolia walked into view from the back entrance of the temple. Deathmask crossed his arms. "I heard loud noises, and was afraid that someone was attacking."

"We're fine, Aiolia," Deathmask quickly explained, "Shaina and I are just...uh...hanging out." Aiolia raised an eyebrow, but did not comment further.

"All right...you two have fun then."

"What's going on? Is everything all right?" Marin interrupted, also entering, but from the front door. Shaina rushed over to her comrade-in-arms.

"I think I'm going to end it. Now," Shaina hissed. "Damn it. I hate him so damn much! Damn it." Marin put a hand on Shaina's shoulder.

"Now you're just using extraneous language. Come on, let's go talk about this elsewhere." As the Aquila Saint led her now-friend away, she called back to the men who were standing behind them. "Aiolia, have a talk with Deathmask, please?" Aiolia gulped as he nodded.

* * *

"So what is it that annoys you about him?" Marin demanded, having situated herself safely out of range of the Cancer temple, and out of range of the entire temple section of Sanctuary, in fact. Shaina made a face. This was visible to Marin, due to the fact that both females had removed their masks after reaching Marin's hut and allowed themselves some ventilation from the stuffy heat.

"He--urr--Everything!" Shaina exploded. "The damn bitch thinks he's king of the world. He can't even try to be nice to me, and he's constantly bitching about what's wrong with me!" Marin smiled briefly.

"Have you ever tried to be nice to him?"

"I..." Shaina broke off, thinking back. To be honest, she had never been terribly kind to Deathmask either.

"Maybe you should try it sometime. He's not always so bad." Shaina raised an eyebrow.

"What makes you say that? Doesn't your boyfriend hate him?" Marin smiled again.

"Well...Aiolia and Deathmask were indeed on less than friendly terms for a long time. But I asked Deathmask to talk to him a few weeks ago, and they've agreed to at least be civil with each other if they can't be friends." Shaina raised both her eyebrows now.

"Wait--he agreed?"

"That's what made me decide he wasn't so bad. I was scared to death when I asked him to talk to Aiolia, but he was perfectly courteous with me, and even with Aiolia."

"I don't know...I just hate it so much. I get up every day dreading that visit."

"Then why haven't you broken up with him yet? There must be some reason."

"I already told Milo I'd be able to prove him wrong..." Marin now raised her eyebrows.

"And that's all? If it really makes you unhappy, then don't go anymore." Shaina was silent for several moments, and when she spoke again, her voice was quieter.

"It's supposed to be easier than this. You find a guy, he doesn't like you, so you find a hotter guy and get over the first one. That's what I thought it would be like." Marin laughed aloud.

"It's never easy, Shaina. Sometimes, you meet someone you think is the one, and then he's not, and you have to learn to get over it. To tell the truth, I had a crush on Milo when I first came to Sanctuary. He wasn't the one...I was just being a silly girl."

"What about Aiolia?"

"Actually, I didn't have a crush on Aiolia. I don't think I got the chance before I realized I loved him. And whatever he asks of me, even if he needs me to die, I wouldn't be able to say no. Even now, even after being together for a while, it's still not easy. Sometimes he has to leave, and sometimes I have to leave. And sometimes we're both just cranky with each other. But somehow, we always manage to save this, no matter what the cost. If you truly loved someone, you'd do that too. Shaina, I can't really tell you what to do. The most important thing is whether or not you care enough to try to continue this relationship. So tell me, do you really hate him that much?"

"I...don't know. I thought I did."

"But you still go to see him, even not wanting to?" Shaina nodded. "And you think he's hot...that's worth something." Shaina's head jerked up in surprise.

"I do not!" Marin was laughing hysterically.

"Yes, you do. You said that you thought if you found a guy who doesn't like you, then you should go find a hotter guy and get over the first one. I know you were thinking of Seiya as the first guy...so Deathmask must be the hotter one." Shaina's skin was around the same tone as a poinsettia, which made Marin laugh all the harder. "Deathmask...hot..." the Aquila Saint choked out.

"He is..." whispered Shaina. Marin paused in her giggling for a moment and simply stared at Shaina with a you-walked-right-into-that look.

"Well...something about him attracts you. Maybe you should try to figure out what it is." Shaina looked down a little further.

* * *

Meanwhile, Aiolia was having a talk with Deathmask. The lion was rather nervous at first that Deathmask would take out his anger on anyone and anything, but the Cancer Saint had merely settled into an anti-social sulk. "Why don't you just break up with her?" Aiolia finally asked, after hearing Deathmask sporadically whine about Shaina for half an hour.

"I already bet Aphrodite."

"So? If you're that miserable around her, then dump her."

"Is that what you do?"

"I haven't dated any other girls, to be honest." Deathmask rolled his eyes.

"Great. You'll be lots of help. And you're in a perfect relationship. Figures." There was a pause.

"Not...really," said Aiolia. Deathmask turned to look at his fellow Saint.

"Seriously? I thought you and Marin were all cuddly and disgustingly romantic all the time." Aiolia smiled.

"Only sometimes. We have our days, though. We just...work through them. What bothers you so much about Shaina anyway?" Deathmask spat on the ground.

"She's a bitch." Aiolia hid a smile.

"I will give you that. But if she's so annoying, then why do you put up with it? I mean, if you don't dump her, you can at least stop having 'visits'. It's not like anyone really thinks you two are serious." Deathmask cocked an eyebrow at his neighbor. "What? Everyone in Sanctuary knows you're both dating because of bets. Now, whether or not you'll ever go further is beyond me, but right now, if you guys are so pissy around each other, then just stop being together."

"Isn't being together kind of required if you're dating?" Aiolia shrugged.

"En. There's being together, and there's being together. If you hate being around each other, then there's no point. But if you're in love, then even if you're not physically together, there's a mentality there." Deathmask looked thoughtful.

"Maybe we should try that...it would certainly make twelve months go faster." Aiolia smiled wisely.

"Maybe..."

The End of Chapter 1 -- Continued in Month 2: September


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