“Cenzon? Are you still there?”
“Of course I am. Just a few more steps.”
The Vo-Matoran sighed. “I’m starting to get irritated.”
Playfully, the Agori replied, “You’re always irritated, Kakivo."
Kakivo muttered something under her breath, but kept her hands over her eyes. It felt like Cenzon had been leading her around like this forever.
“Okay,” Cenzon said, “you can look now.”
At last, Kakivo removed her hands and opened her eyes. Her jaw dropped. The two of them stood on a wide cliff overlooking a section of Aqua Magna. The sun had just begun to dip below the edge of the horizon, and the rapidly-extinguishing rays made the water glisten, making the whole scene feel like something out of a dream. She gaped at it for some time before Cenzon cleared his throat.
Kakivo gave him a sideways glance. “…This isn’t bad. Doesn’t mean you can’t still ruin it, though.”
Cenzon laughed and sat down. Kakivo took a seat next to him, giving him a gentle shove as she did so.
The two of them had become fast friends when the Matoran emigrated to Spherus Magna so many years ago. Kakivo had never been the easiest person to get along with, but Cenzon had discovered that, beneath it all, she was a truly magnificent person. The Agori had always felt rather restless staying with the Ice Tribe, so it did not take much convincing for him to relocate to the village where Kakivo and several other Vo-Matoran lived. Everyone was very welcoming, but he did not care particularly much how they felt. To him, the only person whose opinion mattered was Kakivo.
That’s what makes this so difficult…
Kakivo turned to see Cenzon fidgeting with a rock he had picked up. After a slight hesitation, she asked, “Ah…you okay?”
“Hm? Oh, fine!” It was easy to tell he was lying.
“You’re acting weird,” Kakivo said. She put her hands behind her head and leaned back. “Actually, you’ve been acting weird for a while now. Why’d you bring me here anyway? Something important you gotta get off your chest?”
Cenzon gulped. Well, it’s now or never…
Kakivo sat back up. “Oh. Is something wrong?”
Cenzon waved his hands, saying, “No, no, nothing like that! It’s just that I…I mean, I was hoping that we…um…”
Kakivo smirked. Setting a hand on her friend’s shoulder, she said, “You been out in the sun too long? Come on, just breathe and spit it out!”
“Y…you’re right,” Cenzon agreed. He took a deep breath, steeled himself, and looked Kakivo in the eye.
“Kakivo…we’ve known each other a long time, right?”
Kakivo raised an eyebrow. “Um…I guess? Do you want me to go check my calendar to verify?”
“We’ve had a lot of fun times together. You always keep me on my toes, but I mean that in a good way.”
“…Uh-huh…I’m sorry, where is this going?”
“Well…over the years, I’ve come to realize that I like spending time with you more than anyone else. I’m happy beyond words that I’ve been able to know and get close to you. I was just wondering…how do you feel about me?”
Kakivo stared at him for a moment. “You’re my best friend, Cenzon. My life would be boring as Karzahni without you.”
Cenzon felt his heart race. With a quick nod, said, “O-Oh, I see…”
“Why do you ask?”
He knew he couldn’t stall any longer. Summoning up all his courage, Cenzon stated, “Kakivo…I think I’m in love with you.”
Her reaction wasn’t anything at all like he expected. She wasn’t surprised, or flustered, or happy. In fact, she didn’t seem to be experiencing any emotion. Cenzon immediately felt like a fool. When she began to speak, however, his chest swelled with hope.
“What do you mean?”
Cenzon was dumbfounded. “What do I...you mean you don’t…?”
Kakivo shrugged. “Well, I’ve just never heard it put that way before. Is it an Agori thing? In our home universe we would just say we love someone, not that we’re in love with them. Does that change the meaning?”
Though he knew the answer he would receive, Cenzon asked, “So you do know what love is?”
“Of course. We love our friends, our village, our heroes…unity’s a big deal for us. Why wouldn’t we know what love is?”
Cenzon tried his best not to show what he was feeling. “But…you don’t love in a way beyond friendship?”
Confused, Kakivo asked, “Beyond friendship? I really have no idea what you’re talking about.”
The Agori looked away. He had been warned about this countless times by the others. For all the similarities between them and the Matoran, there were some emotions that their mostly-mechanical cousins were just incapable of feeling. The Great Beings, it seemed, had not designed them to process romantic love, a roadblock that several Agori before him had tripped and fallen over.
Somehow I thought it would be different with us, he reflected. How stupid. Why, why couldn’t I have just listened to them?!
He felt a light tap on his shoulder. Kakivo, a concerned expression on her face, was staring intently at him.
“Hey, Cenzon…what’s up? I’m sorry I don’t know what you’re talking about, but—“
“No,” Cenzon interrupted. He forced himself to smile. “No, you don’t need to apologize! It’s nothing—just some weird Agori speak. I really should’ve chosen my words better, ahaha…”
It isn’t her fault, he reminded himself. This is just some cruel joke of the Great Beings…if there’s anyone I should be mad at, it’s me.
“Yeah, you never were that great with words,” Kakivo agreed. “I mean, a language barrier is one thing, but come on!”
“Hey, I never said I was perfect,” Cenzon sadly replied. “…Well, thanks for coming. I think I’m gonna head home.”
“Sorry, I just remembered I have some work to get done before tomorrow. I’ll see you around, yeah?”
“Yeah, okay. See ya.”
Cenzon stood up and headed back down the slope. Maybe Kakivo couldn’t feel the same way about him as he did about her—so what? Yes, it hurt, but he didn’t want to lose her friendship over something like that. No matter the pain, he still wanted to at least be her friend.
As long as I get to be with her. That’s all that really matters.