"For God's sake Rhea!" Mouse shouted, slamming his palm on the table. "This is the third day in a row that you haven't brought back anything! What the hell goes on in that head of yours? Are you not capable of anything?" he yelled, fixing her with a furious glare she had never seen before.
Rhea stepped back in shock, her eyes wide and filled with hurt. He'd yelled at her before, but he had never been so cruel. "Mouse, I'm trying my best-"
Mouse scoffed. "Well your best doesn't seem to be good enough, does it? I know you can do better, but it doesn't seem like you can be bothered trying." He folded his arms across his chest, looking at her condescendingly.
Rhea took another step back as he spoke, his words breaking her heart. For a moment she was overwhelmed with emotions. Anger, hurt, frustration...just because he was so great at this thieving lark, it didn't mean that she was! How dare he say that when she worked her ass of every day to try and please him?
Mouse could see how hurt she was and instantly regretted his words. He hated seeing her hurt, and to know that he was the cause of that pain was the worst thing he had ever felt.
"Y-you really think I don't try?" She stepped toward him now, her hands on her hips as she looked him straight in the eyes. Her eyes might have been aflame with the glare she gave him, and she was grimly pleased when his face melted into an expression on total shock.
She had never spoken back like this before.
"I work my butt off every single day Mouse, in order to please you! I get up every morning and dread the fact that I have to go and thieve and steal and yet when I come back nothing will ever please you! But I still do it, and you know why? I try every single for you!"
Mouse stared at her, his golden eyes stricken. He saw the tears fall from her eyes as she glared at him, and he wanted more than ever to comfort her, to hold her in his arms and tell he was sorry and that he didn't mean it. But he was no good at that stuff! He had always thought feelings were a sign of weakness and yet
Rhea was probably one of the strongest people he knew.
He reached out a hand, his eyes pleading with her. "Rhea I-"
Rhea shook her head, her two ponytails waving crazily in front of her face as she did so.
She backed away towards the door, her large eyes full of tears. "Would it kill you to have a little faith in me?" she whispered.
Hearing those words, Mouse's heart cracked, and he could only stand there and look at her as she hurt, and hated himself for the fact he always put so much pressure on her. He ran his hands through his hair, wondering what to say to get her stay. Would she leave? Leave and never come back? His heart quickened, and for this first time in a while, he felt fear flood him. Fear at the thought of Rhea leaving and never seeing her again.
She opened the door and looked back at him, her bottom lip quivering. She looked as though she was about to burst into tears. "Just...just leave me alone Mouse," she said softly, shutting the door behind her.
Mouse stared at the door for a minute, his entire body feeling numb. He slumped into a chair, letting his head fall onto the table, covering it with his arms. He groaned loudly, wondering how on Earth he was ever going to make it up to her.
"Dude, you should probably go after her."
Mouse turned his head slightly, keeping it on the table. "Go away Cloud," he muttered.
He heard cloud laugh, then felt his hand on his shoulder.
"Mouse, something is up between you two. For the past week it's been like this. You yell, she takes it, and then she runs off while you curl up in a ball and wallow in guilt." He was quiet for a minute, and then said "Well, this time she yelled back."
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but does this have any actual point?" Mouse asked, finally lifting his head from the table and looking at Cloud.
Cloud's large blue eyes sparkled. "You know what I think?"
"You like her."
"What?!" Mouse exclaimed, throwing off Cloud's hand and stalking over to the other side of the room. He scowled and crossed his arms across his chest. "Where the hell do you get that stupid theory from?"
Cloud tilted his head to the side, looking immensely amused. "You really can be dumb sometimes man, it's so obvious, even to me!"
Mouse had to work hard to keep the sneer on his face, but he could feel his heart pounding furiously in his chest. Was Cloud right? Did he really...have feelings for Rhea? At first he scoffed, but the more he thought about it...about the way his heart pounded when Rhea was around, how horrible he had felt seeing her cry, how it physically hurt when he realised he had hurt her...Cloud seemed to be onto something here.
"Oh really?" He replied in a snarky tone, willing his face not to turn red. "And how is this so obvious?" he tightened his arms around his chest as he spoke.
"Oh, well let me see..." Cloud rested his chin on his hand and made a big show on thinking about it. "You're always looking out for her, even more so than the rest of us...it's like you're always looking at her through the corner of your eye. You're always glancing at her when you think no one's looking, and I've seen the way you smile when she shakes her head and her ponytails wave around her face...oh yeah, and there are those incidences like today, when you yell at her and then sit for hours in silence wondering how you're going to make it up to her..."
Mouse looked at him, no longer trying to maintain his snarky tone or sarcastic expression. His eyes were wide as he listened, and for once his walls were down, letting Cloud now that Mouse actually did have feelings. He just wasn't too good at showing them.
"I seriously do all that?"
It was Cloud's turn to smirk, making Mouse glare at him for a moment. He hastily started talking. "Yep. Well, there are actually a lot more things I could list, but the longer we talk, the further away Rhea gets." He leaned against the table, his eyes now serious and sad as he looked at Mouse. "You really should give her a break sometimes," he said quietly, looking down.
Mouse just nodded, fisting his hands into his blue and white hair.
"Now go after her man! Be a knight in shining armour and all that crap."
Mouse grinned at slapped Cloud on the shoulder. "I owe you one."
Cloud smiled. "Yes, you definitely do."
Mouse rushed out the door, wondering how on Earth he was going to find her now that it was pitch black. Good going Mouse he thought to himself glumly.
"Hey Mouse, looking for Rhea?"
Mouse turned to face Ash, who was smiling down at him, her eyes twinkling with mischief.
He raised an eyebrow at her. "Yeah, just like usual. Have you seen her or what?"
Ash nodded as she stretched at yawned. "Yeah, she was headed to that place that she went to the day you threw Lucky on the ground." Mouse winced at the memory of that day. He had almost lost her that day.
Ash cast he eyes down, running a hand through her hair. "She was crying," she added quietly.
Mouse groaned, hating himself. "Thanks Ash," he mumbled, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"No worries mate. Now, if you'll excuse me..." she walked away from him a little before resting her hooves under her body and falling asleep.
Shaking his head and smiling fondly, Mouse ran in the direction of the little meadow, wondering what he was going to say. He was no expert at such things, especially when it came to apologising to Rhea. He usually just muttered a quick "sorry" and she would accept it. He shook his head as he ran. He really did take her for granted. Why was he always putting so much pressure on her? How come he hadn't realised sooner how hard it was for her? He mentally kicked himself.
He slowed when her heard her sniffing, his heart weighed down with guilt. He closed his eyes briefly before walking forwards.
He stepped into the clearing to find her sitting by the pond, crying softly into her hands. The full moon illuminated her slim figure, and he felt whatever he was going to say stick in this throat.
She heard him though, and turned her head around quickly to see who it was.
Mouse flinched when she looked at him. Her eyes were puffy from crying, and her cheeks were streaked with tears that glittered in the moonlight. The expression in her eyes was one of pure hurt, and he felt another wave of guilt wash over him.
"Mouse," her voice was hoarse, and it cracked when she said his name. "Just leave me alone would you?" She turned head back, looking into the clear water in the pond.
Mouse hesitated, then walked over and sat close beside her, his heart pounding in his chest. He could see even more clearly the tears on her cheeks and reached out to wipe the away.
Rhea slapped his hand away, her face turning red. "Mouse, just go away!" She turned her head to face him, her large purple eyes staring into is. "Why did you come here anyway? To yell at me some more?"
"No look, Rhea I-"
"No, you look Mouse. I'm so sick and tired of going through the same crap day after day-"
"Rhea!" Mouse reached out and gently placed his hands on her cheeks, holding her head to keep her looking at him. Rhea's voice died away and her face flushed red as her eyes gazed into his. She gently covered his hands with her own, feebly trying to push them away, but his hold was firm.
Mouse took a deep breath, trying not to get lost in her eyes. "Rhea I
I came to apologise." He looked down then, his long bangs falling onto his face.
Rhea's eyes widened. Whatever she had been expecting, this certainly wasn't it. What's gotten into him? she wondered, her hands falling limply onto her lap. I've never seen him like this before.
He continued, speaking so softly she had to strain her ears to catch what he was saying.
"I know I've been really hard on you
and I'm sorry. I expect too much of you, and all those days you just stood there and took it..." he closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against hers. Rhea could feel her heart start to pound from the closeness, and she tried hard to focus on what he was saying.
"And I am so sorry." He opened his eyes and gazed into hers. His face was open and vulnerable, something she had never seen before. She felt a fluttering in her stomach as he looked at her so intensely.
Mouse swallowed and continued to talk, trying to ignore the way he heart was pounding.
"I'll do whatever I can to make it up to you," he finished softly.
Rhea was speechless. His hands gently dropped from her face and took hers, slowly wrapping their fingers together. He looked into her eyes, and her heart started pounding furiously, and she could feel herself blushing. At first she didn't mind because it was dark, and she didn't expect him to see. Then she remembered the moonlight that was shining on her face and blushed even harder.
Mouse saw how hard she was blushing and smiled fondly. She was so innocently cute, with her red cheeks, large eyes, and her ponytails...his heart started to race even faster.
"Mouse..." his heart did a flip when said his name. She ducked her head. "You honestly didn't have to...I mean...you never..."
He took one of their intertwined hands and placed it against his cheek, making her look up at him in astonishment. She had never seen this side of him before.
"Yes I did," he said softly. "Because I've realised something and I had to tell you, because if you decided you wanted to leave..." he trailed off, his voice catching in his throat.
"What is it Mouse?" she said softly, gently pulling her fingers out of his and brushing his hair out of his face. He leaned into her soft touch, feeling a fluttering sensation in his stomach.
He laughed softly without humour. "Even the thought of you leaving in unbearable," he whispered, so quietly she almost didn't hear it. She felt herself turn another shade of red. Very soon she would resemble a tomato.
"Anyway," he continued, holding her palm against his cheek and looking into her eyes.
"I've realised something and I need to tell you...I don't know if you'll feel the same way but..." Rhea's heart doubled its pace, and she was suddenly finding it very hard to breathe.
"Mouse, what are you saying?" she breathed.
Mouse took a deep breath, forcing himself to keep looking into her eyes as she spoke. "Rhea, what I'm trying to say is...is...that I think...I'm in love with you," he blurted out, feeling his face turn slightly red. He heart was beating furiously at this point, like it was about burst through his chest.
Rhea gasped softly, her heart soaring. She had never thought...or never even hoped to think that one day
he would say something like this. She felt a smile spread across her face, and Mouse's moth twitched. Her smile made him feel like he was flying.
"R-really?" she asked, now completely breathless.
Mouse grinned, feeling the muscles in his face work as he did so. It had been a long time since he had smiled so broadly. "Ponytails and all."
And with that he gently placed his lips on hers, wrapping his arms around her slim frame and pulling her close as he kissed her, pouring out his heart to her.
Rhea smiled against his lips and smiled, wrapping her arms around his neck and twisting her hands into his silky hair. She pulled herself even closer as she kissed him passionately, and was rewarded by his soft moan. Mouse tightened his grip around her, pulling her tight against his chest.
When they pulled apart they were breathless, but smiling, both of them slightly red in the face.
Rhea nestled into his chest and he wrapped his arms around her. She listened to his heartbeat for a moment, wondering if she should say anything.
Mouse smiled and as he gently rested his head on hers, he heard her say softly: "It's about time,"
His brow furrowed in confusion, Mouse placed a finger under her chin and made her look at him. "I'm sorry?" he said grinning.
Rhea smiled wickedly at him. "Well I certainly didn't want to admit my feelings first."
Mouse's eyes widened and she winked, making him laugh loudly, throwing his head back.
He kissed the top of her head. "You're right. I took a long time getting to it, didn't I?"
Rhea grinned and blushed, kissing him softly before nestling into him again. He rested his on hers, pulling her close as they looked at the night sky.