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One Shots!

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Shelly couldn't sleep.

  The incessant rain was like bullets pounding on her window; shots in the dark that were blocked by a little pane of glass. The trees bent to the howling wind, scraping their branches against the walls while the cabin creaked and shook with each crack and boom of thunder.

   Lightning split the sky and the world flashed before her eyes. She retreated farther into her blanket, away from the fingers clawing at her window and away from the unrelenting darkness that flooded back after each lightning strike. Unceasing, the torrential downpour surrounded her as the crash of thunder shook her to the core.

  She couldn't bear to stand up and turn on a light. She'd fall over before even taking a step, and the shadows that erupted from the bursts of light would consume her whole. She had to toughen up and deal with it, just like everyone else.

  Curled up in the center of the bed with the blanket draped over her, Shelly hid from the storm. Even so, the sounds pierced through her protection like a gunshot as she attempted to bury herself inside the mattress.

  She let out a surprised squeak when the door opened.

  "Shelly?" It was Shieldy. "Do you mind?"

  "M...Mind what?" She uncurled, listening to him close the door and pitter-patter towards her. He lifted the blanket, but his face was covered by darkness.

  "I don't like thunderstorms...and I know you don't either, so I was wondering if I could stay here?"

  "Oh! O-Okay, sure." Shelly moved over, and Shieldy immediately scrambled into the bed, covering himself with the blanket as well. "I just uh...thought Party Hat would be your first choice."

  "Well, I didn't want to leave you alone..."

  Shelly flushed a little. "Th-Thanks..."

  Light flashed behind her, and the thunder came a moment later. Shieldy yelped and Shelly flinched. For all his recklessness, she didn't expect there to be a moment when she'd see him so afraid.

  Though, she had a few guesses on why.

  "So...I guess you know how lightning is attracted to metal, right?"

  "Mhm." She thought she saw him nod. "I, uh...got hit by lightning once. It wasn't fun."

  Shelly winced. "Oh...I'm sorry that happened."

  "Mm...what about you?"

  "Huh?"

  "How come you're scared of thunderstorms?"

  "Oh, it's..." She could barely hear herself over the rain. "It's not as bad as you, I just think they're loud, and dark, and....scary. Usually I just curl up and sing to myself, it helps me calm down."

  "...could you sing right now?"

  "Yeah..! Yeah, I could do that."

  Shieldy shifted to a more comfortable position, half his face buried in the cool mattress. His eye trained on Shelly as he tried to ignore the flashes of lightning beyond the blanket. Her singing filled their small blanket fort like soothing waves of warm water; like a gentle spell lulling him to sleep.

  He closed his eyes as a soft smile lifted his face. Even the thunder seemed to make way for Shelly's voice, dying down to low rumbles. Shelly herself felt calmer as safe memories from the song enveloped her, and she took a deep breath once she finished.

  "Your singing is beautiful."

  "A-Ah! Th-Thank you..." The peaceful feeling didn't last long; not because of the ongoing storm, but because she realized it was getting hot under the blanket. She hadn't processed that she and Shieldy were in the same bed, together, until just now. She was already blushing from his compliment, nevermind how Shieldy naturally attracted warmth.

  She laid down and poked her head out of the blanket, the cooler air of the room fresh on her face. Shieldy did the same.

  "What's it called?"

  Shelly pushed away her embarrassment. "The song? It's called Seashells' Lullaby; my mom used to sing it for me when I was a kid." She smiled at the memory. "It always makes me feel safe."

  "That's really nice."

  Lightning lit up Shieldy's face- Shelly saw his smile for a split-second before his eyes shrunk as he retreated into the blanket again. 

  "Are you okay?"

  Thunder rumbled in the distance as Shieldy poked his head out again. "Yeah...I'm still kinda scared."

  Shieldy was more scared of lightning than thunder- it made sense. It was only because they came as a pair that he feared both. The reverse was true for Shelly.

  "Well, what makes you feel safe?"

  "Um...usually, Party Hat gives me one of his plushies to hug. That helps a lot."

  "Oh. You can, uh, hug me...if you want to..."

  What was she thinking.

  Shieldy wrapped his arms around Shelly and pulled her close to him. She squeaked at the sudden movement.

  "Huh? Shelly, are you okay?"

  "Y-Yeah, that was just...really sudden." She breathed as quietly and slowly as possible so that Shieldy might not hear her racing heartbeat. She closed her eyes; his warmth reminded her of the beach, buried in the sun-baked sand. The thought calmed her instantly- and surprised her a bit.

  Shieldy wasn't always the safest person to be around; he had a reckless streak and never thought things through. Yet here, in the middle of a storm, she felt safe with him. She fluttered her eyes open, enough to catch a flash of light as shadows sprung to life. Shieldy didn't flinch this time.

  Wherever this feeling came from, Shelly didn't mind it. After the initial pull, his hold became much more relaxed, as if all he needed was someone close to him. Shelly closed her eyes again, glad that he didn't seem afraid anymore. She wasn't afraid, either.

  "Hey, Shelly?"

  "Yeah?"

  "Thanks for letting me be here."

  They were talking in whispers, on the verge of sleep. It was almost as if they were partners, and in a way, they were. The competition had let them grow closer in silent ways, standing near each other and working together. This kind of closeness felt natural- it just wasn't apparent until then.

  "Of course." Shelly nuzzled a little closer into Shieldy. "Goodnight."

  "G'night, Shelly."