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X-DREAMERS [IC - BASE]

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Jowan 

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Allies: Duke, Kelsier
Location: Outside

 

Duke approaches him and Jowan expects him to stop at any moment so that they can talk, but he doesn’t. He keeps approaching, and before Jowan can do anything more than make a startled noise in the back of his throat Duke embraces him. 

 

He instinctively tenses at the touch, and for a moment he doesn’t understand. Neria hadn’t been that tactile, saving hugs for special occasions (like when she found you and you had to tell her to stop because it was too much on your fresh injuries), and he hadn’t spent that much time with Lily (because you ruined it all). Other than that, touches had always been related to pain. The strike of a templar’s gauntleted fist, the lash of the whip and the cut of unwanted knives as his torturers demanded knowledge that he didn’t have. 

 

Duke’s touch isn’t like that, and when he realizes it he relaxes. Duke’s touch is soft and warm, gentle and harmless. He can feel Duke’s heartbeat through the cloth between them and his breath tickling his ear. It’s nice, and yet it ends far too soon, before Jowan can decide whether or not he should return the embrace. 

 

The blush is back on his face, and he hopes that Duke attributes it to the running and the heat. “Yeah,” he says, unsure of what to do with his eyes and he’s still so close to Duke should he step back. “I guess we’re done sparring now, then? Unless that was some strange form of attack from your world.” Stupid, stupid, don’t joke about it like that, he might think that you didn't like it. 

 

what do

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< STATUS: Stable; Curious >

< LOCATION: 3rd Floor Library >

< AGENTS: Theo | Sorey | Cure Scarlet >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Mikleo | Lailah | Edna >

 

“Now, now, Theo,” Arch said, waggling his finger as he gave a soft tsk-tsk. “You can’t go around tearing the throats out of humans you disagree with. Humans weren’t given the ability to reason just do they could squander their gift in favor of ceaseless violence.” Unlike demons who fight no matter the circumstances Arch wanted to add, but he kept his thoughts to himself and smiled instead. He was sure everyone in the room was smart enough to know just how awful demons truly were without him lecturing them about it.

 

Arch was delighted to see that Sorey appreciated Arch’s explanation. The angel positively beamed at the praise, his wings giving a small flutter of excitement. The… “friends” Sorey motioned towards appeared apprehensive. Arch watched the trio warily as the blue haired individual dusted off his clothes, straightening out the wrinkles. Arch raised an inquisitive eyebrow at the three. Sorey claimed they were seraphims, but they didn’t resemble any angel Arch knew. Knowing that they could be angels from another piqued Arch’s interest, but without any confirmation all Arch knew was that they were magical beings from another world. They were not human. His momentarily curiosity fading, Arch turned to face the humans.

 

“Theo and I actually came here to look for books that could give us more information about the organization and how we got here,” Arch said, suddenly remembering why he came to the library in the first place. He looked between Towa and Sorey expectantly. “I’m not entirely sure we’ll find what we’re looking for, but it wouldn’t hurt to look around." Taking the initiative in hopes of spurring the humans to begin their own search, Arch glanced around the room for a book to look through when he caught sight of what appeared to be a metal box Annette might have laying around her lab. Walking towards it, Arch leaned down to get a better look at the screen on the front of the box. On the top of the screen read "XDRS DATABASE".. Arch coked his head to one side. That sounded useful.

 

"Would any of you know how to operate this device?" Arch said glancing over his shoulder. "I believe it might have information about this organization on it."

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# Dynarst, Typheus, and Fiddlesticks #
 

Dynarst made himself small during the meeting. On this plush chair he was marring with ash, in this giant room fit for the nobility, he felt incredibly out of place. He didn't quite follow anything that was going on, and part of him wanted to not listen in at all. Nosiness never led to good things in the world of the ska, he believed. He'd let everyone's gossip slip right past him.

 

Before he knew it, people around him began to rise and leave, causing a little bit of a rucks as chair feet scraped across the floor. The noise made him wince but it quickly ended, giving way to the chatter of a couple people who decided to remain in the room.

 

The giant metal creature who Duke knew... It had its back to the table with its wings extending out behind it, standing on one end of the room, no less intimidating than the first time.he saw it. There was another similar metal wraith, brownish in color, who looked similar, and it astounded Dynarst how little they looked like anything else in the hall.

 

He didn't want to disturb the Survivor or the Duke -- both living legends in their own right -- but Dynarst also did not want to stay in his seat. He didn't want to wander without the security of going with someone he knew, and since both the Duke and the Jowan were occupied...

 

He slipped out of his seat, quiet, but much clumsier than many of the other skaa. Lamar moved like liquid when he snuck around and Kelsier seemed to prowl -- but Dynarst stumbled with uncertain steps, his legs not quite convinced that going towards collection of sharp metal objects was a good idea

 

"Um..." Dynarst began. "G-good to see that ya made it back, too."

 

  Typheus barely processed the scrape of chairs and the chatter starting up, all new voices blending together into a stream of white noise. He wanted to keep musing, but habitually looked over his shoulder to check on Fiddlesticks: she had barely moved, only turning to watch the door. He glanced around the room, noticing that a significant number of people had already left, and turned back to the window; but then he paused.

  Oh... was that addressed to him?

 

  The mech looked down to his right, slightly apologetic, not realizing that someone was standing there. It was the dusty, hook-nosed man from the mission, who had been standing behind Duke. He was still hunched and timid, just like before, looking extremely uncomfortable like a low-Code Xinschi-uual being publicly shamed before aristocrats. He had barely paid attention to him, so why was he here now?

  "...Yes. We're fine." Typheus finally, awkwardly answered. He stared at Dynarst for several long seconds, his threads warring over what to say next. It was hard to shake himself of this disinterested apathy, and he both wanted to be left alone and have Dynarst distract him with something. "Is there something I need to do?" he asked slowly.

 

"Not really," said Dynarst. "At least, nothing that I know of."

 

The mech had turned its torso to look at him with its yellow eye, and while it unnerved the skaa to look into those unreadable glowing rings, it was in a sense easier to meet the gaze of the bot than to meet the eyes of a human.

 

Dynarst had a difficult time forming his own wants into sentences. He had an even harder time turning those sentences into spoken words. What did he want, exactly? That thought was useless in his world; it had never come up in the past. But he had to say something, now that he had disturbed the bot from its current activities (even if said activity was just standing there, stoic.

 

Before he could formulate anything, though, Dynarst heard someone rise from the table. He whipped around to take a look. The Survivor had finished his discussion and seemed to be going somewhere, and the skaa wondered if it was a private outing, or if they would be worth following.

 

"If you want to take a look around," Dynarst turned back and finally addressed Typheus, voicing his request in an indirect manner, "I can follow along."

 

  The machine’s eye flicked up when Dynarst broke eye contact, noticing Duke leaving with the new blonde stranger. The spot the latter rose from had a knife just in front of it, its point imbedded into the table. He also noticed the cause of the loud crack he heard earlier - a long split running counter to the knife, also in the tabletop - and some bootprints pacing from one end of it to the other.

  I guess that’s what you do with a table containing no computer. You break it and walk on it, one of his threads joked. Typheus stifled a chuckle, looking back at Dynarst who was still not composed, and considered the man’s request. It was a good opportunity to really poke around the castle and learn its nooks and crannies, and collecting the information was smart, but another side of him recognized that Dynarst might want to be around Duke, yet didn’t have an excuse for it. The mech’s eye glazed over in thought. How many times had he found himself in the same situation? Trying so much to cross that fine line between trying not to stalk someone and just being fond?

 

  You shouldn’t compare yourself to a human, his thoughts interrupted, you don’t know this person. He shook his head, reminding himself to be objective. “I, uh…

  He paused when he heard a sudden whir, and looked to see Fiddlesticks rising up. She didn’t look around or say anything, heading straight for the door; she wasn’t skulking behind Duke again, was she?

  “I just need to keep an eye on my partner,” Typheus finished. “I go where she goes. At least, until I know she’s not going to break anything.” He ignored the sudden recollection of Fiddlesticks quite literally breaking things left and right when the scientists were studying them. Nothing from light rods to furniture was safe from her. She didn’t even mean it half the time. “I suppose you can come, if you want, but… I thought you’d want to hang around Duke instead. He’s far more lighthearted, probably with less to think about and be burdened by.” His level tone fell with the slight admittance that he was letting internal analysis plague him, and turned and headed for the door. To think that a Superiority model like himself, barely a step below the toughest one built, could be weakened just by thinking too much.

 

"Duke... Looks a bit busy right now." Dynarst didn't want to get in the way, but he perked up at the offer -- the confirmation that he could come along. "It's alright, I will follow."

 

  Typheus let a small laugh escape his speaker, allowing him to follow as he went through the hall. Fiddlesticks was just up ahead, and noticed him coming, turning around just to become disgruntled and resume ignoring him. “He won’t be for long, if she’s going where I think she is,” he said in low tones to Dynarst. “I can’t tell what’s going on in her head most of the time, but at least she’s a little predictable. Why she’s chasing the first random person we met when we first came here, I have no clue.” For a moment he debated actually asking her that, but chances are she didn’t have an answer either. “More impulses, apparently.

 

  He glanced down at Dynarst; even when half-crouched so the machine could actually walk down the halls, Dynarst looked so small and far away. It made him wonder what exactly went on in his previous life that made him so mousy, but whatever it was, the result was shockingly similar to himself: withdrawn, reserved, and trying not to get involved in others’ business.

  Except for Fiddlesticks, he reminded himself, she’s too reckless and it’s my job to keep her running. Also the others, but they can manage themselves. Yeah, those are the reasons.

  The mech thought for a moment, and decided that they might as well chat while they’re tailing Fiddlesticks. Not that socializing was one of his strongest traits, but at least they’ll be distracted.

 

  “You’re oddly comfortable around me,” Typheus observed, “do you have intelligent constructs in… Luthadel, it was called? Most of the humans we meet don’t know what to do with us. I know you have Inquisitors, and metal-burning abilities, but those aren’t machines.

 

"No," Dynarst replied after a pause. The machines of his world were simple, those for smelting and forging, operated by armies of overworked people. But if this thing -- Typheus -- was the most advanced form of machine... He said that the inquisitors weren't machines, but their brutal efficiency made Dynarst question the claim. "Metal isn't sentient. There is nothing like you in our world, except for old wive's tales about ghosts inside objects."

 

He sheepishly laughs. He had to occasionally run a few steps to catch up with the mechs pace. "I'm... comfortable, because if you wanted to kill me, you'd have did it already." Although he is still tense, Dynarst seems to have an easier time being talkative. He didn't think he had spoken this many words in... this many words in forever. "I didn't even know our world had magic, before today. Dunno what kind of places everyone else in that room came from. They're probably... really different." The question, again, was implicit. He was curious to hear about a world that could allow the existence of such large, self moving machines.

 

  Typheus’ iris dimmed in light amusement. “Well, the place where I’m from isn’t much different, depending on where you are. The biggest thing you’d notice is the lack of anything in the air, then the fact that it’s a lot more orange...” He trailed off, trying not to be caught up in the nostalgic imagery of Zirhon. “Earth is a bit like here: lots of vegetation, all green, blue sky, white clouds, pretty clear air. It’s also densely populated except in the prairies. I haven’t been anywhere else beside them, the forest, and some cities though.” He glanced at Dynarst, realizing he might not call his homeworld Earth. “That being the place where I first met humans. People like you and most of the others at the meeting.

 

Dynarst looked into the distance. Of course a hostile world would be home to hostile-looking metal beasts that could survive in those kind of harsh environments. Sometimes he felt like the Dominances were wholy unwelcoming even to the well-fed noblity. "Humans... I guess we are all humans, ah?" After the words left his mouth, he saw his mistake. Typheus was very obviously not a human. "I mean we, as in the people of my... world. Skaa and nobility separated for so long that I don't know if we're the same species anymore."

 

  Typheus thought for a moment, recalling Elise’s face and the well-to-do gown she wore. Skaa and nobility were different? Was she not nobility? Or did the two groups just look the same?

  “I didn’t know there were two intelligent species on your planet,” he said, surprised. “We only have one.” He paused, debating on how much he should tell Dynarst, but he had no reason to suspect anything bad would happen. In fact, it would probably help him relax. “They’re called Xinschi-uual,” he began, “they built us, my partner and I. They’re much smaller and scaly. They’re a bit like…What Earth animal do they resemble? He briefly wondered, Does Dynarst even know about animals, with as desolate as Luthadel is?...Gophers,” he added anyway. “We’re their mechs. They built us for the war.

 

  It’s not war, it’s just games! Fiddlestick’s voice snapped at him from a memory.

  Then why are people dying over it? He had asked.

  I don’t know! I’m just sick of it… I want real fighting, and I want Cyrii back! It’s the Empire’s fault for getting us embroiled in this stupid thing…

  You wouldn’t exist if we weren’t at war.

  Cyrii wouldn’t be captive if we weren’t at war.

  Typheus sighed through his air intake. Why did it always wrap back around to that? Why did he care about Fiddlesticks so much?

 

  He tried to distract himself by continuing, not caring if Dynarst was listening or not. “She is a 56 Pusher model, designed to take damage and dish out twice as much back. She isn’t meant to last very long, but has somehow managed to beat those odds.

  I’m a 36 Superiority model; my job is to manage other mechs and make sure they abide by the law. I also supervise combat situations so that updates on it can be relayed back to my superiors real time… admittedly I’ve also tried to keep troops alive, which I’m not supposed to do.” He perked up a bit when Fiddlesticks, her pace once torpid and nearly aimless, suddenly sped up and headed through the door into a familiar area: the main room where Duke had surprised everyone with an invisible maze. He glanced up at the ceiling and was relieved to see that the hole had been patched.

 

  “So what about you? What do you do?” Typheus asked, moving a bit quicker to catch up with Fiddlesticks while she stopped in front of the main doors, scanning them. She beeped as he gently moved her out of the way so he could pull them open, not wanting her to try to since she’d just scrape them up with her bayonets. She just sheepishly looked at the ground.

 

"But... Aren't you an intelligent species?" The machine was smart and could think and move on its own, didn't it? And like the Skaa, they all had particular roles. The mech inquired about his own single-faceted job, and Dynarst obliged. "I... move the ash off the streets." It was a lot less interesting than what the two machines did, and, on their world, they probably had more machines that did the sweeping job, too. If the gophers could build beings to fight -- and that thought alone was amazing to Dynarst, for the only being ever known to create other beings was the Lord Ruler, God of the World Himself -- then the gophers most likely created beings to clean the roads.

 

They followed that brown one but so far, that one hadn't spoken a word. That mech reminded him of himself, preferring not to speak any more than necessary outside of a couple grunts (or beeps, in this case). He wasn't sure he should nod to it, but he did anyway as he exited the castle.

 

  Typheus searched the definition of "species", a bit bewildered by the question. "I don't think we count as one," he said, letting Fiddlesticks follow Dynarst out before he too left, letting the door close slowly on its own. The Pusher model dropped back briefly to whisper to him, "Did I say something?"

  "No... you've been really quiet," he said.

  "He nodded to me. I didn't think humans did that too."

  "He's just being respectful."

  Fiddlesticks' eye brightened in genuine surprise, but she didn't comment further, instead taking the lead of the group again. Typheus twitched his wings. What did she expect? For nodding to be a rude gesture in Luthadel? He glanced down at Dynarst and saw him staring up at the sky, still in awe of it. I don't think he even knows any rude gestures, he thought.

 

  Fiddlesticks abruptly stopped and her partner stopped by her, his brief curiosity on why answered by a commotion in front of the trio. He spectated with her, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder; she didn't react, watching longingly. So THAT’S why we came out here. I wonder how she knew.

 

~~~

 

Above, the sky was still the same constant shade of dark blue -- blue! Dynarst still didn't believe that his eyes could register so much of that color. White, shimmering flecks filled the alien sky and while the sky seemed to be darkening, there was no sign of the nightly mists that plagued his world and strangled unsuspecting wanderers.

 

His eyes were so focused upwards that he smacked right into one of Typheus' legs when the mech stopped. Dynarst peeked around the metal limb.

 

The green grass was on fire. It seemed to be burning in very specific straight lines, as if it were contained by something. He could see the survivor struggle against something invisible, his hands revealing the glowing blue of the Duke's barriers wherever they struck. Dynarst tried to warn him that there was fire bouncing through the walls, headed straight towards him -- but no words come from his mouth and he looked away when the Survivor was seared by flames.

 

In one deft movement, though, the older man had thrown off his cloak, and with it the fire. The skaa dared to look again. With the power of his magic, which Dynarst still could not understand, he shot upwards as if launched by some sort of invisible force and floated for a few seconds, before he began to fall, fall, fall and land into a pool of water with a massive splash. When the droplets cleared, Dynarst watched, slack-jawed, as the revered Survivor rose from the pond.

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Kelsier - Outside the Castle

[fight fight fight?] - [a beautiful moment] - [0% steel, 15% iron, 100% smiling]

 

Kelsier shook himself to scatter away some of the water on his skin and on his clothes. Even if he had kept himself as clean as the nobility, he could see the pool getting slightly muddied by the ash that had washed off. He ran a hand through his hair as he stood up straight, watching with curiosity as the two men ran towards each other with their arms open and outstretched, meeting for an embrace. It was as if they were long time lovers happy to see that the other was safe and alive -- and that sight woke some nostalgia within the Survivor. Or was it envy?

 

For a moment he considered interrupting them, but the hug was too brief and Kelsier found himself out of steel to burn. He noted that he still had iron; his vision was still overlaid with thin blue lines pointing to the scattered spoons among the grass. Two much heavier blue lines pointed further along. Following them with his eyes, he saw that they connected to the metal constructs standing in the field, from the direction of the castle. They were the things standing around at the meeting, he recalled. When did they arrive? Kelsier gave them a wave. Neither of them had charged and attacked them yet, which meant that at the very least they were neutral towards the group and its fighting, whatever they were.

 

He stepped out of the water, beaming and looking as if he was in a good mood. The barriers were down -- for real, now -- and the green grass had begun to smother itself out, a property unheard of compared to the brown grasses of his home. "Not bad! That was a fantastic spar. I haven't done something like that in a long time." Well, that was half a lie. He'd fought like that before, but not with so little killing intent behind it. He pulled on the spoons on the ground. They darted in a straight line towards him -- some of them pelting Duke in the back of his shins on their way to Kelsier -- and he held out his palms in front of his chest to catch them and tuck them away.

 

Invisible barriers, created at will, he mused to himself. Kelsier could now start to picture how he managed to hold off the inquisitor, especially if the two worked in tandem. It was indeed a powerful ability, if someone were to cultivate his intelligence.

 

Behind all this, he was worried about his metal reserves. He doubted this world would have the right allomatic alloys for him to consume and refuel, and therefore it was becoming increasing pressing to find some way to get back to Luthadel to restock. But for now, he hid his concerns. He didn't really need metals. "Our guests missed the first part of the lecture, but I'm sure you enjoyed what you've seen of the practical demonstration," Kelsier proclaimed, bowing to the mechs -- and Dynarst -- with a smile. "Unfortunately, the rest of the allomantic magics are not nearly as flashy. Brass and Zinc deal with manipulating emotions," he mentioned, looking towards Jowan to see if the younger scholar was listening, "while Copper and Bronze cloak magic and detect magic, respectively. Subtle, invisible. Nothing like the explosive power of Steel."

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b66ab1c5efcb9f5adfe252bf9169f6c7.png [ theo ; -- add. m. e. l. for: a. s. t. ]

 -- status.

legios ; dormant ]

grey ; knight of loyalty

--

 

Of course. He should have expected this -- Arch's patience in dealing with humans was endless, after all. In response, Theo only gives a slight growl, nodding his head to concede to the angel's point. Perhaps some humans are okay, but species aside, Theo is fully aware that enemies exist no matter the creature involved. As far as he was concerned, the blond with the face tattoo was an enemy and nothing more. He is sure he can find some time when Arch is not looking to teach the blond a lesson in mocking a ... wrong audience. 

 

He is caught up in his own thoughts, and only comes back to attention when Arch speaks -- huh, that's weird. He must have misread the situation, for only a minute earlier his husband had been staring rather intensely at the empty corner of the room. 

 

Well, it was Arch. Perhaps he was momentarily caught up in thinking about how much he hated demons again. Theo still remembers the time he almost fell off a cliff because he had been so preoccupied. 

 

He comes up beside Arch, arms crossed as he stares at the curious device the angel is pointing to.

 

"Looks like something Annette would know," he replies. "Maybe if you hit it hard enough it'll activate. Here, let me try."

 

He makes a move to smash the delicate small boxes below the larger metal box, inscribed with various letters. A spell, maybe? No matter -- he can hit through anything. 

 

 

9afec5aed2aa9588b093521063f110d7.png [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ]

-- status.

 vylcan ; secondary ]

by your sword -- shield me from judgement!

--

 

Duke cocks his head he separates from Jowan, staring inquisitively at the other's response. The other man hadn't hugged him back, and now he said this -- could it be?

 

"No," the blond replies slowly. "It's called a hug. H-U-F-H." As if to emphasize his point, he squeezes the other man's forearms, his hands having slid down to rest on Jowan's arms. 

 

"You usually hug the other person back. We can practise," Duke suggests, almost too quickly -- because he likes touching Jowan, feeling the other man's form against his own, and although they have only known each other for a short while the mage's presence by his side is comforting, after all they have been through. But he is perhaps too quick to push -- he doesn't want Jowan to feel uncomfortable, after all, and the other man is an almost violent shade of red. Was it the unfamiliarity of the situation? 

 

"That's okay," Duke says, grinning. "When I got here, I had no idea what rulers did. Stan had to tell me they were used to measure things, and then he caught me measuring my --"

 

He is cut off by Kelsier's voice, and Duke trails into nothing as he watches the older man step out of the water, completely unbothered. Starstruck, Duke barely notices the spoons suddenly hitting his shins. 

 

Fantastic! Kelsier had called their match fantastic. Duke feels himself unable to keep the smile off his face, a silly grin having established itself permanently on his features as he nods in response to the blond man's further words, hearing none of them, until he followed the movement of Kelsier's head with his eyes and noticed they were not alone.

 

Dynarst -- when had he gotten here? And the strange robots, as well, and Duke instinctively brushes the edge of his arm almost self-consciously. That had been ... interesting.

 

Well, no matter. Accidents happened all the time, and he's not dead. That is the most important note, all other things aside.


"Dynarst!" Duke calls, giving the other man a wave. He hoped the skaa was enjoying their world so far -- perhaps he had to show the other man a room, just as he had done with Jowan. What interesting things had he seen? Come to think of it, he had left immediately after the briefing was over, uncertain what had happened to the skaa otherwise. 

 

"What have you been up?" he says to the skaa, although it is more a loud yell than anything -- he is unwilling to leave Jowan's side, but the mage seems perfectly entrenched in Kelsier's description of the levels of magic in his world. "Did you see the mess hall? The hallway? I got stabbed there, it was fantastic, I think there's still a broken railing. What friends have you made? Are they my friends? Have you ever hugged?" 

 

 

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Towa Akagi, Princess of the Hope Kingdom
<Status: Stable>
<Form: Civilian>
<Location: 3rd Floor Library>
<Agents: Arch | Theo | Sorey>

 

~~

 

"...I suppose it's hard not to worry about all our friends back home. I'm not just worried about my friends; there's also my older brother. I know he can handle himself, but..." Towa shook her head. She was getting off-track.

 

She heard Arch and Theo converse for a bit before following Arch's line of sight to what her friends had told her is a computer. "Don't tell me you've never seen a computer before. I mean, I don't entirely get technology but I know what a computer is--!!"

 

That's when she saw Theo rear up to hit it. "Theo, no!! That'll destroy it!" She was, thankfully, able to get that out before Theo's weapon could make contact with the computer. "...maybe we should leave using the computer to me, then..."

 

She hadn't used a computer on her own before, but she'd seen her friends back home do it enough times that she hoped she'd do so correctly.

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Jowan 

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Allies: Duke, Kelsier
Location: Outside

 

Jowan blinks at Duke, surprised. Did he not understand what a joke was -- ow, ow, ow!
 
Too quickly, he jerks his left arm away from Duke’s grip. “Watch it, injured,” he says, then immediately regrets snapping. The bandage had mostly been covered by his sleeves, and he’d already established that Duke has the memory of a finch. He was always flittering to the next thing that caught his attention, always with the same captivating intensity. “It’s fine, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, it’s just a little sore,” he says quickly. 
 
“I know what a bloody hug is,” he says, ignoring the pain to laugh. “Wait -- F-H? Huff? Right, right, Duke didn’t know how to read. Enough mocking him, then. It's as good a time for an impromptu reading lesson as anything. “It’s H-U-G. The G makes the guh sound, right?” He doesn’t know how much Duke already knows, and hopes that he isn’t insulting him by dumbing it down too much. Then again, if Duke doesn’t know how to spell ‘hug’ he’s probably fine. 
 
He wonders if it’d still be okay to accept the offer of hugging practice. No, sweet Andraste no, that’d be weird, Duke had made the offer when he thought that he didn’t know what a hug was. Besides, it had probably been a joke anyway. 
 
Maybe he should have just gone along with it and pretended that he didn’t know what a hug was. 
 
He doesn’t understand where that thought came from, or why his brain keeps insisting on finding excuses to touch Duke.
 
Fortunately, Kelsier cuts off both that train of thought and Duke’s story. Jowan smiles at the older man’s words; not only was he not upset at him for going overboard and setting him on fire, but he’d called it fantastic!

 

At the appearance of the bots he glances at Duke, but when Duke doesn’t react other than touching his arm he decides that it’s safe to pretend that the bots won’t hurt them. 

 

(Later, when Duke calls being stabbed “fantastic”, he realizes that he shouldn’t have trusted Duke’s self-preservation instincts. By then it’s too late to run away screaming, so he resigns himself to probable death.)  

 

He listens to Kelsier’s explanation carefully, clearly interested. Manipulating emotions? Wasn’t fear of manipulation one of the reasons why blood magic was so hated and feared? Magic is meant to serve man, and never to rule over him. There was a draw towards flashy magics, admittedly, but he could understand the value of subtlety. “So then, you could manipulate someone’s emotions, and the with copper they wouldn’t be able to tell?” he asks. Maker, he wouldn’t want to picture Orlesians with that kind of power. 

 

wait, he hadn't been manipulating duke this entire time, right? nah, duke's just like that

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Dynarst -- Outside the Castle

[duke!!!] - [the duke noticed me!!!]

 

 

Dynarst smiles -- for once -- when the Duke greets him from afar. It seemed like whatever they were doing was over, and the smaller blond haired man was greeting him directly!

 

"Hug?" The skaa yells back. "Like, a H-U-F-H hug? The--" he makes an awkward, wide gesture with his arms -- "the thing you're doing? No, not really!"

 

It was incredibly silly to admit it, and normally he never would have said outright that he had never had a tender moment shared like the one between Duke and that other man. There was something about Duke's innocent demeanor, however, that made the hero more human in the skaa's eyes, more easier to talk to. This was in contrast to the Survivor's and even the Lord Ruler's mythical status -- that man with the scars still felt like more legend than man even when Dynarst was standing in front of him.

 

"I haven't been doing much!" he continues, shouting across the gap. This was like giving a report to his superior of all the things he did in the day, except this time, there was no real threat of punishment,  "I just came out here a minute ago, so I haven't seen the rooms!" He pauses, and points to Typheus, "But I think he's my friend now?"

 

Friend. What a strange concept. He never thought that one of his first real friend would be a giant made of metal, and he hoped that Duke would be proud of him for making the effort.

 

...Wait, did he just say he got stabbed in the castle?

 

 

latest?cb=20141130035308

Kelsier - Outside the Castle

[kelsier's private lesson part 2] - [50% brass, 50% zinc, 100% screwing around]

 

Kelsier shakes his head from side to side at Jowan's assumption. "Good guess, but almost."

 

He turns to the mage, now that he was the only one who was really listening to the second part of the magic lecture. "Normally, the only way to sense the use of these metals is through detecting them with Bronze, so most people wouldn't notice if the touch is subtle enough. However, with some training, one can start to recognize the signs of emotional tampering. Plus, Copper not only protects from Bronze detection, but also blocks any emotional interference as well. A very useful metal.

 

"Brass and Zinc can't control someone's actions or rewrite their thoughts, only amplify or suppress the feelings that are already there. So, recognizing inconsistencies or strangely prominent feelings can be a telltale sign that someone is trying to play you for a fool. Copper is useful for blocking it all out, but wouldn't it be better to be aware of what someone's trying to do?"

 

To prove his point, Kelsier burned Zinc. He himself was not that good with the two mental metals and lacked the subtlety of someone like Breeze, but that was an unimportant detail that nobody needed to know. Out of all the emotions that man probably felt, Kelsier wanted to select something that wouldn't spook Jowan --- choosing to amplify a sense of wonder and awe, he flares his metal, feeling it burn within himself, and worked to make its effect incredibly obvious.

 

"Are you feeling it now, Jowan?" he asks with a sly smirk.

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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9afec5aed2aa9588b093521063f110d7.png [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ]

-- status.

 vylcan ; secondary ]

by your sword -- shield me from judgement!

--

 

Duke jumps in surprise when Jowan jerks himself away, startled, and a second later the blond realises his mistake.

 

Right -- Jowan's arm. He'd completely forgotten, and and in the panic the blond looks at the other man, distressed. He drops the man's other arm, face concerned. 


"Sorry, sorry," he immediately says. "Are you okay?" 

 

Jowan's words are reassuring, but not enough, and Duke blinks at him guiltily. He hadn't intended to hurt the other man -- he'd just been so caught up in the moment. Stunned, the blond nods in response to the other man's next words, completely disregarding the correct spelling; he wanted to ask Jowan exactly what the mage meant by the 'guh sound', but it is not the correct time to do so. 

 

Dynarst's response breaks him out of his thoughts, and Duke turns immediately, his attention caught by the skaa. The other man's movements are endearing, as Dynarst makes a wide gesture with his arms to emphasize the hug. And -- he had spelt it as Duke had, too. The blond turns, wondering if Jowan had heard, but the mage seems preoccupied with Kelsier's explanation. Not wanting to interrupt, Duke turns his attention back to Dynarst. Common sense tells him he should walk up and close the gap between the two of them to continue their conversation, but he doesn't want to leave Kelsier's side -- and Jowan's.

 

"H-U-G," he yells back, repeating what Jowan had said even though it held no real meaning, and giving the skaa a thumbs up. "We can practise sometime. It'll be great!"

 

Then, he glances at the robot that Dynarst had pointed to. Well -- that hadn't been the one the stabbed him, at least, although he holds no ill-will towards Fiddlesticks either. "I'll show you the rooms sometime too; they have showers! You can bring your friend!" 

 

Briefly, he wonders if the robots wash. Perhaps? Their shells looked awfully clean, glistening as they moved. With a hand, he beckons them closer; he wants to introduce Kelsier to Dynarst, but at the same time -- he is entirely unsure what they are doing now. The fight was over, it seemed, and the place worse off for it -- but he is not too concerned with how the scenery of this world appears to outsiders, and so Duke smiles and straightens his posture. 

 

Perhaps you should let Twilight know the outside grass has been set on fire, Vylcan says. 

 

Duke nods in response, but does not move from his position. 

Edited by Homulilly

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   Typheus listened to the newcomer's - Kelsier's - explanation with interest. He clearly hadn't iron-pulled to the pond, which was the only type of allomancy Elise had told him about, because he wouldn't have shot up into the air like that. The other types were interesting, to say the least... He had a passing wonder if the emotion types - brass and zinc - would have any effect on him or Fiddlesticks. That would be useful in the future; at least, until the man figures out how to make one of them angry.
   He'd been unreasonably angry once. He didn't want to be steeped in so much negativity again. Gryn knows how Fiddlesticks feels then, considering how often she's been mad for no good reason.

   The Pusher model jerked a little bit when the trio noticed them, but actually hesitated on her own without Typheus sticking his claws into her. He gave her a puzzled look, still uncertain of why she came here in the first place or how she knew of the fight. While Duke waved at Dynarst and said.... "hufh"?, the Superiority model quickly opened his emitters and stole a peek into his partner's mind.
   What are you doing? she immediately asked through the console. Outwardly she only glanced at him, ears perking a little bit. He blinked, not expecting her to be so acutely aware of him.

   I'm trying to figure out why you're so sullen, he said vaguely. He searched her mind, and found that it was unusually still. Usually threads were going off like fireworks in there.
   Besides the argument? she pointed out.

   I withdraw my case.

   What a formal way to say you're sorry, she joked; a few threads lit up, but her levity quickly disappeared. You don't have too...

   Why not? I was rude.
   I was just thinking... about what you said about us not needing to be here. So I was going to the Gateway to see if I could figure out how it works.
   Typheus didn't say anything, but he did try really hard to contain his amusement. Unfortunately it didn't really work. Oh, shut up!

   You're a novice and it's alien tech! he laughed.

   Doesn't mean I can't dream!

   And the fire caught your attention?

   ...Yes.

   Typheus looked at her for a moment, then closed his emitters, severing the connection. He looked back at the three men, the previous flames that they had been standing in now reduced to smoldering ash. Duke had struck up conversation with Dynarst, with Jowan standing beside him, rubbing the same arm that was wounded during the mission. Kelsier was sopping wet, but didn't seem bothered. None of them were wary of the mechs; even when Fiddlesticks attacked Duke, the most he did was pass out, and Dynarst referred to Typheus as a friend, earning him a look of surprise and gratitude from the machine.

   It wasn't like they weren't welcome here...
 

   "How about this," Typheus began, catching the Pusher model's attention again, "clearly we messed up with the mission. I'll take the blame for that. I should have tried harder to convince you it was the wrong planet." Fiddlesticks mumbled something, but he continued, "But we have proved that these people do go onto other worlds, and do try to amend them. There are a finite number of us here, and it's desirable to take missions in familiar places. So what if I talk to Twilight about our situation, clear up some things, and we can do a mission for us? To try and find Cyrii? Would you be okay with that?"

   Fiddlesticks perked up at her pilot's name, but the brightness of her eye kept fluctuating, reflecting internal conflict. For several long moments, he thought she wouldn't answer, or try to find an excuse to do everything herself. Then, she finally said quietly, "I would like that... but what about the crystal?"

   He slowly blinked in relief, his internal worries calming down. "Who needs it? We have three men who can raise walls that can stop you, use metal for magic, and start fires. I haven't met everyone here but it can't be that much different, can it?"
   "Can they take cosmic fire?"

   He laughed. "Guess we'll see about that." He finally relaxed his posture for the first time since coming through the Gateway, and let Fiddlesticks go. Atypically for her, she lingered for a bit, looking around uncertainly before she saw Duke waving them over. She kept her feet planted on the ground, suspecting another maze; Typheus didn't even think of that and casually walked over, glancing back once to see if Dynarst or his partner were following. So, a little bit reassured, she followed, before coming to a hesitant stop beside him in front of Duke.

 

   "I'd be happy to take a tour if you're willing to provide it," Typheus responded to Duke's offer. "I didn't think there would be time with the missions going on." He then took a moment to introduce himself to Kelsier, "Typheus." He then looked at Fiddlesticks for her input, but there was just a long pause where she just stared at Duke, ears twitching.
   Then she said, out of the blue, "I thought you were going to crush me with that maze."

   Typheus shot her a sharp look and smacked her arm. She beeped and pulled back. "It's a genuine concern!"

   He stared judgmentally.

   "Okay fine! I stabbed you because it was fun, cape guy," she admitted, breaking eye contact, her voice lowering to a mumble.

   "Duke," Typheus introduced for him.

   "What? He's a duke?"

   "No, just Duke." He gestured to the man beside him, "Jowan," then next to him, "Dynarst," then over one more, "Kelsier."

   "Fiddlesticks," she added for herself. Interested in quickly forgetting her failed assault so she didn't have to explain to the others that she did stab Duke, she asked the trio, "Why did you guys stop fighting? We were just watching."

Edited by skwerl56767

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Jowan 

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Allies: Duke, Kelsier, Dynarst, Fiddlesticks, Typheus
Location: Outside

 

Jowan nods, engrossed in Kelsier’s explanation. Zinc and brass sounded less powerful and versatile than the mental applications of blood magic, but perhaps faster to cast and more subtle? Far easier to block, though, if any allomancer could just eat some copper to stop it. “Do you think copper could be used to block magic from other worlds?” 

 

Kelsier finishes his explanation, and without warning Jowan is hit with a sense of awe. Wow, that was amazing -- the Lord Survivor didn’t even look like he’d done anything and just -- wow. “Um, y-yeah, think so,” he mumbles. 

 

It’s a little terrifying to be in the presence of someone with so much presence, so he steps back and clings to one of Duke’s arms for some measure of protection, then looks up and -- 

 

Seeing the Lord Survivor didn’t prepare him for Duke, with his infectious smile and sun-touched hair and wide, open eyes. "You’re really pretty, aren’t you,” he breathes, amazed that such a person could exist. So powerful, yet so kind and willing to help -- how? And he’d even managed to remember how to spell ‘hug’ the first time, despite how little attention he had seemed to be paying! He’s smart (well, maybe not really, but there’s hope) and incredible and -- 

 

The effect ends and the awe drains away, leaving in its place dregs of horror and betrayal towards Kelsier and disgust at himself for being so easily manipulated. No wonder Loghain had managed to trick him so easily, if he practically fell at Kelsier’s feet as soon as the man used a bit of magic on him! 

 

“Y-you -- what is wrong with you!” He means to yell, but his voice comes out strangely hushed. “Maker, you didn’t give any warning, you just!” 

 

He tries to take a step backwards, away from Kelsier, but he’s still clinging onto Duke’s arm. Shocked, he drops it, even as a voice in his head whines at the loss of contact. A fresh dose of horror runs through him as he remembers what he’d done under the effects of the spell. “I need to --” 

 

He doesn’t know what he needs. To get away from Kelsier. Anything. 
 

maybe it's a dream maybe nothing else is real

Edited by Zor

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Stan - Stan's Room

[post-shower] - [i'm sorry]

 

The sounds of water stopped. Stan slides open the bathroom door, hair still wet and smoothed against his skull. He had put on pants but his torso was bared, half covered with a towel hung around his neck. He pauses at the threshold when he sees Lara, solemn, sitting on his bed. He tries not to frown, because her sadness is contagious. She didn't look like she wanted to be touched.

 

He sits, very deliberately taking the desk chair as a backwards facing seat instead of the empty space beside Lara. He slouches over the backrest of the chair, and he meets her gaze with expressionless green eyes. He had used his shower to put his thoughts in order -- but none of the thinking could have prepared him for this scenario. He expected her to be happy about the development -- and for him to give her an ultimatum, asking her if her loveskickness was worth it.

 

"Baby," he begins. "What's wrong?"

 

Was it him? Was this time all that different? He'd been known as a heartbreaker for so many years. Joining the XDRS was a fresh start, but it wasn't a fresh life. Even when he had the chance to start a new life in his own world, he ended up squandering it: Chanel wasn't the first, and she wasn't the last, either. It is ingrained into his identity that he is nothing better than a traitor to all sides, wanted by all for all the wrong reasons, and that becoming close to someone was something that invited nothing but trouble.

 

"Look," he says when she does not end up replying. "I'm sorry if I was too forward. If you don't want to get hurt, then it would be best for you to forget about all this."

 

~

 

"Look, if you don't want to get hurt, you should just forget about all this."

 

"I'm not after you because of lust, Stan. I just sincerely believe that there's a good person, somewhere in there, and that you just need someone to bring it out."

 

Stan pauses his work, but otherwise does not further acknowledge the blonde woman behind him when she speaks. The rifle parts were all laid out in order on his workdesk, and he was giving each of them a thorough clean and examination. Damn crew didn't know how to take care of their guns. Always banging them around.

 

He had given her an ultimatum, like he gave everyone who thought that he was the type who knew how to settle down. He thinks she is wasting her time with the mechanic of the Red Rebel. She called it on several occasions a 'project', as if he were a shed to be assembled over a weekend or a painting to be done in several sessions. A person to be worked on and shaped, ball bearings to be greased to work their best. But -- as he silently clicked the pieces of the gun back together, he did begin to see the parallels. Most of the pirates he'd known never saw the beauty in these pieces of handheld mechanical technology, but then again, they barely treated their own prosthetics with respect or reverence. If he had his own mechanical hand, he'd make sure it'd stay well-maintained. From all her blabbering, this woman sounded exactly like him -- except instead of weapons, she liked to tinker with people
 

Conventional wisdom said that you don't fix something that isn't broken; but the process of creating novel inventions was everything but conventional. He might not haven been a broken man -- at least, he didn't think so  -- but if she thought he was a puzzle to crack with a prize hidden inside, then he would have some fun being the toughest puzzle she had dared to try and crack.

 

So, he entertained her. "Alright, Ms. Chanel. If you think you can tame this hot beast, then I'll accept your challenge."

 

~

 

"But..." he finally adds. "If you're serious about this, I'll try. I'll try to love you like I haven't ever loved anyone else before, Lara Rochelle."

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9afec5aed2aa9588b093521063f110d7.png [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ]

-- status.

 vylcan ; secondary ]

by your sword -- shield me from judgement!

--

 

Dynarst approached with the bots, and Duke straightened; he prepared to speak to the brown-shelled one, to ask or perhaps offer a jest at its expense, but before he can even confirm Typheus' acceptance of his tour proposal, Duke is drawn away by Jowan's touch.

 

He turns, smiling -- he is always ready to embrace the other man, and it lightens his heart to know the mage is so willing to touch him now, only to stop dead in his tracks.

 

Jowan -- called him pretty? There is a certain spark in the other man's gaze, a roaring awe that lights something within Duke's chest and makes him smile.  He had ...  his doubts about beginning something. His track record is not exactly the best, and there are things better left unsaid between the emerging friendship between Jowan and him, but this confirms -- !

 

He is just about to respond, to jest alongside the other man, confident and secure in the air between them, before the expression on Jowan's face abruptly twists and the other man's expression changes. 

 

Jowan's voice is not loud: it is quiet, just like the mage -- small, quiet, hushed, a desperate whisper in the dead of night, a shot into a blank nothingness. His grip on Duke's arm tightens, and the blond turns in response; he places a hand over the other man's as without really thinking. It is instinctive, as he sweeps himself in front of Jowan, planting himself between Kelsier and the mage.

 

What happened? It had all been so fast -- one second he had been preparing to return the other man's compliment, and the other he was -- here. What happened? 

 

But this is not the time. He is jolted into action as Jowan drops his arm; the darker man steps back as if burnt, his eyes focused on nothing in particular, and he breaks off his sentence mid-speech. Immediately, Duke grabs onto the other's arm -- his uninjured one, this time -- 

 

"Look at me," he says, his voice steady, as he reaches up and places his hands onto Jowan's shoulders, bringing the space between them closer. "It's alright. Look at me."

 

He presses their foreheads together, taking a breath -- sharing in the space between them. 

 

This is not new. He has seen this before -- a kind of battlefield aliment, a haunt of memories long past that he has seen in those who have seen the worst of humanity. He is no fool -- only an idealistic stranger raised in the best place on earth, in his world.

 

There are those who are not so fortunate.

 

He pulls himself from Jowan, although he still holds the other man with one hand. He slips his hand into the other's, turning to Kelsier with fire in his eyes. 

 

"I challenged the Inquisitor without hesitation. I will fight the Lord Ruler with that same fire. You have my loyalty, but should you harm the people I consider allies -- make no mistake, I will do the same to you." The area surrounding them grows cold, a secret challenge issued in the moment before them, before Duke takes a breath and closes his eyes. 

 

He is a senior agent. One of low standing here, true, but he has reigned before -- as Guard Commander, as Lord, as Elias' right hand. 

 

One does not survive all those encounters not understanding which battles to pick. And he has survived -- where others have died. Where kings have fallen and had their heads held on spikes. He is not his brother, nor Elias -- he is calmer, quieter, more forgiving, but he has been raised among wolves. 

 

He doesn't understand what bewitchment Kelsier must have used on the other man, but -- to play with emotions, when his heart, raw and beating and roaring in his ears, is already so vulnerable -- 

 

He considered it, Jowan returning his feelings, but perhaps he is too quick to draw his card. The other man -- what they have said can be easily jousts between friends. To think that Kelsier would do such a thing --

 

He swallows. Perhaps another time he would have given anything for a manipulator of thoughts, back when Chevire had been tall and standing, when Elias had been a spark in the night with his hungry eyes and large hands. And Cas --

 

"I'm exercising my right as senior agent," Duke announces. "This conversation is over."

 

He turns to Jowan, dropping the mage's hand, giving the other man a tight smile. He remembers -- how quickly the other man had dropped his arm upon realising what happened, how quickly his expression had turned. 

 

It is telling enough. 

 

"Don't worry," he says. "Just a spell. It happens. No hard feelings." 

 

Then, he turns and begins to walk back to the building. 

Edited by Homulilly

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Kelsier - Outside the Castle

[kelsier's private lesson part 2?] - [50% brass, 45% zinc, 55% regret]

 

A second after the pulse ended, the mage's expression turned sour. Kelsier didn't even have time to answer any of his questions, nor attempt to explain himself. It was a bit funny at the beginning. It was much less funny now. He chuckled a bit at the situation, though now the laugh rang hollow.

 

He'd never seen someone react so powerfully to a Rioting, nor stumble after being released from it. Perhaps he had overdone it? Kelsier admitted that he was never the best when it came to those metals. A younger him would have chosen to become a zinctongue and a brass savant and play the rich nobles like a harp -- but he knew that for him today those skills were useless unless he used them to work an already angry crowd. 

 

In response to the harm befalling his friend, Duke issued a threat. Kelsier stood straight, no longer smiling. If he were asking for a fight, then the Survivor would fight back with every trick in the book. His Steel had run out, but he had other weapons in the form of the very magic that had upset Jowan. So long as he avoided the crushing power of the barriers and got in close--

 

--but that threat from Duke was one saved for a later date, Kelsier realized as he watched the caped boy end their interaction and walk away. 

 

He crossed his arms. The water in his clothes was beginning to chill his bones, but he didn't want to head back to the castle right away, lest it seemed like he was following the pair that just left. The man turned to the remaining people on the scene. "Well, Dynarst, was it? Looks like it's just me and you and the machines, m'boy."

 

Dynarst looked positively stunned at the sudden turn of events. One minute they were getting along, and the next... He wanted to chase after Duke again, but the Survivor pinned him to the spot by addressing his name. He simply nodded to the man, unsure of what he actually meant by that statement.

 

 

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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♫ Name // Lara Croft  ♫

♫ Players // Stan ♫

♫ Support // lol what support idk maybe Cicero is there but I forgot the poor dog ♫

♫ Status // Recovering from her train wreck of thought ♫

 

~~Love me for me, it's all I ask~~

 

Baby, what’s wrong?

 

Her heart had, admittedly, skipped a beat when he called her “baby”.

 

Lara didn’t want him to see her ugly crying face, but there she was, out in the open. Her tears fall onto the carpet, leaving small spots on the carpet. Little ghosts of her past, scattered in a sporadic pattern on the floor. She doesn’t respond, trying to get her bearings. She wants so badly to run to him, to bury her face in his shoulder and let her piteous cries float through the air and dissipate.

 

And for a second, she almost does.

 

Look, I'm sorry if I was too forward. If you don't want to get hurt, then it would be best for you to forget about all this.

 

Too forward? No, he hadn’t been too forward at all. Lara’s cries are finally quiet. It’d take some time for her breathing to adapt, but here he is, right here and right now. Something about his voice is almost comforting. She stares at the ground, tracing little constellations in the teardrop marks. Lara quietly wipes at the tears still in her eyes, knowing that she has to woman up. Something about her knows that he could hurt her, and badly, if things went awry. Yet… She can’t bring herself to forget anything that just happened. No, no, it’s impossible. She knows herself- when she loves, she can’t just turn back. She’s fallen down the rabbit hole, and for once she doesn’t want to crawl back out.

 

But… If you're serious about this, I'll try. I'll try to love you like I haven't ever loved anyone else before, Lara Rochelle.

 

This makes Lara smile, and she lets out a laugh/sob. Hearing her middle name escape his lips is one of the more intimate gestures she’s received from him throughout the months they had known each other. She thinks about it, how they had grown progressively closer, how this was probably going to happen at some point. And this makes her smile stay a little longer. Nobody knows her middle name, no…. Nobody but Stan. It’s nice, that he knows more about her than the others. They’re close, and she’s alright with that. It’s a minor detail that nobody else has to know. Lara stands up from her spot. She hesitates to take a step, looking at him in a state she’d honestly never seen him in. He’s looking at her with those green eyes, eyes that remind her of people she’d known and loved. Henry, her mother, and perhaps some others… Finally, she thinks she can speak.

 

I’m not running away from this. I know what I said, and I meant it. I love you. And I’m willing to give this a go, even if it means that I fall on my ass a few times.” She approaches the chair, just a few short steps. As she reaches him, her hands carefully touch either side of his face, her right thumb stroking his cheek. “It’s just…. Hell, I’m more than ecstatic that we were on the same page- or perhaps so I think.” She sighs. “I have some doubts, I admit. But doubts are normal, I suppose. It’s just…I… A lot of things came rushing back to me at once, and my emotions became a bloody train wreck.” She leans her forehead against his, not wanting those emotions to come back after she just recovered. “I… I want to do this with you. I’ve never been more serious about anything, besides my job, than I am right now. Love me, is all I ask. I.... I know there’s a good person there. I’ve seen it plenty of times, and I know there’s probably something there that’s planting seeds of doubt in you too. I hope I can be what you need- a kick in the pants, a source of comfort, anything. I’m not sure what you see in me, and perhaps I might not really ever know. But Stanley Westley, I’m yours. For as long as it lasts.” She lets out a wry laugh, surprised at her own dramatic flair. When was the last time she’d been like this? “Baby, hm? Not a nickname I’ve had before, but I like it. I ought to hand it to you, love, that might be one of the better things a significant other has called me.” Her smile drops, but not quite to the level of a frown. She moves her head back up and meets his eyes.

 

But…. I know what you’re implying. You have some dirty laundry, as do I. And that’s alright, if we’re doing this thing, then I suppose we’d need to know, would we not.?” She rests her lips against his forehead, her hands moving from his face to his shoulders. Something about the wet steel of his left shoulder grounds her into reality. He’s a man who’s been hurt before, and she can tell at least that much. Her breathing is now calm, serene. She hopes that he knows he has this effect on her. It’s a strange feeling, falling in love again, but perhaps it’s what she needs. She hopes that she can provide what he needs, and that he can provide for hers. She knows it’ll be a journey, but she’s willing. She’s willing to give it a try, even if it means falling backwards again. She’d gotten up the last few times, had she not? “And if you’re willing,” she whispers, “Then I’ll tell you about mine, and if you wish… I’m willing to listen to yours.

 

Every step I go

Is a step to you

Take my hands now,

You are the cause of my euphoria.

-JK

 

 

 

Edited by Mikasa361

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Jowan 

f4r0Deq.gif

Allies: Duke, Kelsier
Location: Outside

 

Duke holds him, and they breathe together. 

 

He doesn’t understand why Duke is bothering when he doesn’t deserve it, when he’d done nothing but hurt him, but for the moment he listens to Duke’s commands and focuses on the sound of his voice. The points of contact between them, shoulders to hands and forehead to forehead, are grounding, and he finds himself wishing for more. 

 

He wants to reach up and hold Duke, and the words hugging practice flash through his mind, but -- no, he can’t do that. He’s already taken so much, from Neria and Lily and everyone else he’d met, and he can’t take more from Duke when he’d already given him so much. If XDRE is supposed to be a new chance at life for him he refuses to keep being the leech he once was. 

 

Duke turns away from him, and it’s like dropping a bucketful of cold water on Jowan’s head. He’s not ready to let go, he wants to beg Duke to keep holding him. 

Duke doesn’t let go, not completely. Jowan clings to Duke’s hand like a lifeline as Duke defends him, even as he doesn’t understand why Duke’s doing it. Duke had respected and admired Kelsier, he could tell, so why would he turn on him so quickly? Just because Jowan had been hurt? 

 

He’s too surprised to keep holding Duke’s hand after Duke lets go, and though his hand trails after Duke’s he doesn’t move to grab it again. If Duke doesn’t want to touch him he can at least give him that much, as much as he wishes it could be otherwise. 

 

"Don't worry. Just a spell. It happens. No hard feelings." 

 

What --? 

 

He follows after Duke, despite feeling horribly unsafe with his back turned to Kelsier. It takes them some time before Jowan speaks, his voice quiet and hoarse. “It’s not. Not just a spell. Weren’t you --” No, of course Duke hadn’t been listening to Kelsier’s explanation. “Maker, I’m so sorry, I.” 

 

Something had changed with Duke, he can tell. His smile had been so brittle, so forced, and the only explanation that Jowan can think of is that he’d done something wrong. He just doesn’t know what or how to fix it, or if that’s even possible. 
 

but it wouldn't mean a thing if i told you how i feel

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Posted (edited)

   Fiddlesticks didn't receive an outright answer. Instead she witnessed Jowan apparently having some sort of segfault, as if he too were a machine and two threads suddenly crossed. Unlike when her threads randomly terminated during high stress, however, he simply seemed to switch from one emotion to the next. One minute he was whispering like a bewitched schoolgirl, and the next he was suddenly disgusted and turning away, backing off, shooting a glare at the oldest man of them. Duke's lighthearted expression quickly changed as he saw it too.
   Neither mech had processed that Kelsier had pulled another magic trick. They didn't know what the heck was going on. Only that Duke had suddenly pulled Jowan in close like two women trying to comfort each other and that he abruptly turned and challenged Kelsier.
   There was no proper way to react to that. All Typheus processed is that suddenly they were girls and Duke tried to be a man again. He couldn't help the fact that his society had very strict gender roles and that he followed the stereotypes to the letter.
   He couldn't help but laugh really, really loud.

   Fiddlesticks jumped out of her sealant as laughter boomed from his speaker, his normally low-toned, reserved voice roaring out over the clearing and no doubt reaching the castle. He couldn't even hide it, just slapping his hands to his face, trying to contain it, but it didn't work. She wanted to laugh with him, but amusement was only betrayed in her eye, and she locked up with tension exponentially winding up. Duke wasn't going to like this.... so maybe there will be another fight?

   Alas, it didn't look like that would be the case, as the man turned and left the situation, leaving Jowan in shock and the others speechless. He seemed genuinely upset that Kelsier had somehow manipulated Jowan. Kelsier, on the other hand, wasn't as deeply affected, his smile simply flattening into a thin line. Admittedly the mech was disappointed that the sudden spike in tension resulted in nothing, even with her partner vainly trying to calm himself, and she was tempted to goad on the older man by asking if he was going to just ignore that. She cast another look at Duke's retreating form, scrutinizing who she first learned was just a jester with some dramatic flair. "What was that all about?"
   Typheus tried to gasp out an explanation, but all that came out was "Bras-hahAHAHAHAHH!"

((EDIT: I'm editing this because I pushed Typheus to react in a way he normally wouldn't so I wouldn't bother anyone. I bothered people anyway, so I'm choosing the accuracy route and writing what actually would have happened. From now on, I'm not going to avoid bothering people and will just write what's accurate to my characters so I actually enjoy them.))
   ((This won't affect the following posts, so don't bother editing anything.))


    Fiddlesticks didn't receive an outright answer. Instead, she witnessed Jowan apparently having some sort of segfault, as if he too were a machine and two threads suddenly crossed. Unlike when her threads randomly terminated during high stress, however, he simply seemed to switch from one emotion to the next. One minute he was whispering like a bewitched schoolgirl, and the next he was suddenly disgusted and turning away, backing off, shooting a glare at the oldest man of them. Duke's lighthearted expression quickly changed as he saw it too.
   Typheus quickly processed that Kelsier had pulled another magic trick, but he was immediately distracted by Duke whipping around and grabbing hold of Jowan, pulling him close and whispering softly. Like a girl trying-
   The recognition immediately terminated. Before the machine could restrain himself his left bayonet unsheathed and flashed toward them-!
   Cling! It was interrupted by a swift smack, diverting its point well past the couple. He snarled and withdrew the blade, snapping his jaws at Fiddlesticks. She hissed back at him, matching the glare. "You said these people were our allies!"

   "The statute of-!"

   "They're humans!"
   "That's not an excuse!" he spat back. The umber mech just kept her eye narrowed, fixed on him, yet she took a step back. Typheus was often level-headed and somewhat forgiving, but he had limits. Harsh limits. They were like the painted lines warning that you were about to step off the edge into a churning furnace, except so thin you barely see them in time. Thankfully, she seemed to stop him precisely on that line.

   "You said we needed to be friends with them," she reiterated, not mentioning that she, too, was agitated by the display. She glanced over at the two men, but Duke had already taken his leave. Jowan was too uncomfortable to stay, so he had left too. Kelsier's smirk had flattened into a thin line. She looked back at Typheus; his eye was still cold, unforgiving, glowing with such an intense yellow it strained her cameras. "If I'm not allowed to stab him, you can't either!"

   "Fine!" he grumbled, but it was drowned out by the underlying growl. He forced himself to sheathe his bayonet, angry with himself. He still couldn't help but attack on principle... this must be how Fiddlesticks feels all the time. No wonder she's so unstable. The stupid part is that she's right, too: they don't belong here. At all.
   They needed to get out of here.

Edited by skwerl56767

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9afec5aed2aa9588b093521063f110d7.png [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ]

-- status.

 vylcan ; secondary ]

by your sword -- shield me from judgement!

--

 

Duke turns, feeling the sway of his cape brush his boots as he does so. He can't quite place what he is feeling right now -- it is not disappointment as he would have expected, because a certain part of him still holds onto faith. He remembers the talk on the bridge, the way Jowan's hands had felt in his own, sliding his gloved fingers down the other man's arms. The faint trace of his veins, lining the part where his wrist spills into his palms -- and his skin, not quite as rough as Duke had expected, warm and alive underneath his own.

 

He has half a mind to turn back, bring Kelsier forward on his challenge -- the older man was ready to fight at any time, after all, but the blond stops. 

 

That is not him -- at least, he doesn't think so. He has spent his life in service to the cause instead of declaring outright war, and he intends to make good on his promises to liberate Dynarst's land. Challenging Kelsier right now, in the heat of the moment -- that would not do, not when his abilities would be helpful to the organization at large.

 

The act of compromise. It leaves neither side satisfied, but it is the best alternative to crushing everyone in the immediate vicinity under his barriers. He has seen that once, and the results were ... effective, but less than desired, all things considered. 

 

Instead, he makes his way forward, surging towards the castle with full intentions to sulk in Stan's room, perhaps, but stops when he realises Jowan is following. The other man is quiet, sullen, every step called forth with hesitation, and Duke nearly gives in and says something when Jowan speaks first.

 

His words are careful, hesitant, choppy. Duke sighs internally, rolling his shoulders back. And then, still with his back turned to Jowan, the blond man raises his arms up and stretches, feeling the tension in his shoulders loosen as he rolls his arms back.

 

Not just a spell? Which portion, entirely -- did they make the same assumptions? 

 

Then, he turns to Jowan.

 

"I think we should talk," he says. "Kitchen?" 

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Jowan 

f4r0Deq.gif

Allies: Duke
Location: Kitchen

 

“Yeah, okay,” he agrees, biting his lip. He’s not sure he wants to talk about it or explain why he overreacted so much, and he definitely doesn’t want to hear Duke reject him, but he doesn’t have much of a choice. Running away from problems doesn’t work. It’s something that he should know by now. 

 

They walk in awkward silence. He wonders if he should say something, but his throat is dry and he doesn’t know what to say. At least the walk isn’t too long. His thoughts are unpleasant enough; he doesn’t want to be left to stew in them for too long. 

 

Inside the kitchen is a high counter with several tall stools beside it. He picks one and sits on it, then looks down at his hands, not quite sure where to start. An apology? Had he already made too many of those? 

 

where to begin
 

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9afec5aed2aa9588b093521063f110d7.png [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ]

-- status.

 vylcan ; secondary ]

by your sword -- shield me from judgement!

--

 

Inside the kitchen, things are awkward, at best. Jowan perches on one of the tall barstools, fidgeting with his hands, and Duke sighs. The silence between them is long and heavy, almost suffocating in the air, and the blond drums his fingers on the island's countertop, marveling at the feel of the cool marble underneath his fingertips. X-Dreamers headquarters ... it doesn't compare to some of the beauties of the world he has seen in his adventures, but he can always appreciate a well-kept kitchen. Whether or not the kitchen appreciated some of his more eccentric creations, well -- the jury was still out on that one.

 

With nothing to do, Duke busies himself; he preoccupies himself with pulling two mugs and two plates from the shelves, familiar with where everything is now. He would rather prepare something, than -- is he deflecting?

 

No, that won't do.

 

You'll have to talk to him eventually, Vylcan says, more prominent now that things have settled down and it is just the two of them. I still remember how long you pinned after that other boy. 

 

"Don't bring up my embarrassing sexual history," Duke says aloud, louder than he expected; perhaps the quietness of the kitchen had lured him into a false sense of security, one where he had forgotten Jowan is nearby entirely. Staring at the mage with a caught-in-headlights look, Duke gives a faint laugh and taps on the edge of his head.

 

"Sorry. He's telling me to actually talk to you. I suppose he's right sometimes."

 

Then, he holds up the two mugs and smiles. "Want something to drink? I'll make hot chocolate." 

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Stan - Stan's Room

[post-shower] - [dirty laundry]

 

Stan closes his eyes at her touch on his face. A good person, huh...? The words send a warm ripple down his neck. Yes... he remembers. The feeling is much different compared to physical lust -- that had faded already -- but somehow it feels much more intimate than the kiss they had shared earlier. When she touched her forehead to his, he thought he could feel a little dampness still on her cheeks.

 

It wasn't sexy, but that's what true relationships were, weren't they? Ultimately, they were messy, ugly things that showed their true natures once the initial sparks were snuffed. It is the resolution, the acceptance of each other's faults that he had never really experienced -- he was too busy trying to set the room on fire, either romantically, metaphorically, or literally. That was his job; that was his nature. It was telling that Lara was willing to give him a chance -- he still thought that she was crazy in wanting to trust him. Did she even think she could know everything about him? Despite his perceived openness and extroversion, Stan was a very private being tangled in many lives and many secrets. But... he had to trust her, too. It couldn't be all about himself anymore. He internally scoffs at the closed loop he had crafted for himself -- how could he trust anyone to know him, if he didn't trust them with any knowledge of him?

 

So, like he promised, he tries. For the first time since he got out of the shower, he smiles. "I love you, too."

 

The silence hangs in the air following his affirmation, but it isn't awkward; if anything, it was relieving now that he finally said it out loud, as if it had suddenly become a tangible truth. He did fancy her -- even in this entire organization of two dozen people, Lara was one of the few people whom he enjoyed the company of, and who he could begin to trust again. He had just forgotten that, recently.

 

But, she had asked him to open up a little about himself, and that was why he couldn't say silent. He nods slowly then bursts out laughing, unaccustomed to this kind of honesty. "...Usually when I say that, I don't mean it. Not in this way, Lara. I'm sure you've noticed that I don't particularly get close to any of the ladies I court, or at least, not as close as they assume I am. It's the problem that comes with being naturally charming, interesting, and polite." He grins at his own sarcasm. That was a joke about his own narcissistic tendencies -- of course the charisma, the pleasantries, everything, was manufactured! It had to be, if he were to con his marks successfully. 

 

"Where are my manners, as a gentleman?" he says, playing it up. With the earlier tension gone, he feels a lot more relaxed and falls right into his usual step of casual pleasantries. "You're my guest, and I should offer you some refreshments."

 

He gets up slowly, gently shaking himself out of her embrace. Standing up, he uses the towel to dry his hair one more time before making his way to the drawers on the far side of the room. He pulls the second drawer open, looks inside, and pauses. He eyes the pack of cigarettes within, unopened since the day he moved into this room, but ultimately he reaches beside it and takes out a bottle of whiskey and two crystal drinking glasses. 

 

He pours drinks for the both of them. After handing one glass to Lara, he turns the chair and sits down, facing the bed. "Cheers," he smirks and clinks her glass, "to acknowledging our dirty laundry."

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Jowan 

f4r0Deq.gif

Allies: Duke
Location: Kitchen

 

When they arrive Duke busies himself by pulling dishes out of the many cupboards that cover the walls of the kitchen. Sitting still while he works is awkward, but Jowan wouldn’t know how to help even if he did know where to find anything. 

 

"Don't bring up my embarrassing sexual history."

 

Jowan startles and they look at each other with the same wide-eyed expression. Duke laughs and Jowan laughs with him; it’s quiet and a little hysterical, but it’s something. He doesn’t understand what… sexual history (something that he shouldn’t be thinking about) has to do with talking, but for all he knows it’s some kind of in-joke. 

 

Duke’s… head-spirit, Vylcan, is still disturbing, but for another reason. “Is he… always watching, then?” Duke can’t help it, he knows, it just feels strange to have a not-quite-spirit spying on a private conversation. With luck Vylcan wouldn’t make any more helpful comments and he’d be able to forget about him. 

He’s deflecting, anyway. Vylcan isn’t why they’re there. 

 

“Sure,” he says, then blink. “But what’s… chokolat?” Some strange drink from the multiverse? Duke’s world? 
 

Status: not thinking about Duke's sexual history

Edited by Zor

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9afec5aed2aa9588b093521063f110d7.png [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ]

-- status.

 vylcan ; secondary ]

by your sword -- shield me from judgement!

--

 

Hearing Jowan's laugh is reassuring, even if it breaks the silence in the otherwise quiet room and is a little too loud. Privately, Duke thanks whatever spirits lie above that most of the agents are still elsewhere; many are preoccupied on another mission, and the rest of their scattered group seems to have wandered off for their own amusements. 

 

Briefly, he wonders what they are up to. Have Stan and Lara finally resolved their tension and gotten together? No, he'd eat his entire shoe if that would happen in the span of only an hour or so. 

 

Jowan talks about Vylcan, and it is strange; the mage seems uneasy, and Duke remembers that sharing minds is something that people from other universes seem to find strange. It is weird, considering it is the highest honour on his world.

 

"Yes," he confirms. "But he's friendly, and never intrudes. More of a mentor, than anything -- just a dead man who can't take physical form, but that's a story for another day. He quite likes you, actually."

 

I have no particular feelings towards this man, Vylcan says. But you seem rather fond of him.

 

Waving it off, Duke sets the mugs down on the counter and tips the small switch of the kettle, boiling water. Huh. Was there water in the object before he started it? Well, he'll find out if it starts steaming and shrieking eventually. Having water or not isn't the big concern -- the issue is, Jowan doesn't seem to know ... chocolate?

 

"Chocolate," he repeats, staring at the other man with a raised eyebrow. Huh. That is a ... first. Most of the time, food from other worlds are relatively the same, and once more Duke wonders exactly what kind of place Jowan sprung from. For what it was worth, it didn't sound like a very nice area.

 

Well, he doesn't have to return now, or ever. Humming to himself, Duke folds his arms and waits for the water to boil, explaining as he does so. "It's a sort of ... delicacy, I suppose. Lots of people eat it as a bar, it's sweet and melts in your mouth. But for our purposes, we're just going to be drinking this" -- and here, he smacks the top of the tin of hot chocolate powder, stored away from stormy nights and a mission well done. "Because Xander doesn't allow large blocks of chocolate in the kitchen anymore after someone tried to boil whiskey and pour it on top of the chocolate bars to make alcoholic hot chocolate."

 

Who could've done such a thing, Vylcan asks, amused. 

 

"Anyways, he's not here, so I can't go pester him to make something for us. Plus, I feel like getting him to come would be awkward right now; he permanently moves in his armour and I always have the temptation to stick a knife in there and see if I can flip it, like a lobster. That aside -- it's delicious, trust me."

 

While he was speaking, the water -- so there was water inside after all! He wonders who could have filled it -- boils and screeches to a halt, and he casually dumps the powder into the mugs and pours the water over top of it. Then, Duke pauses.

 

You should probably let him decide his own condiments, Vylcan says carefully.

 

"Here," Duke says, passing one of the mugs to Jowan. "Careful, it's hot; blow on it." 

 

Then, he slides the stools until they are facing one another, and sits down as well. Grabbing his own mug, Duke takes one of the small bottles on the table -- he hopes it's the cinnamon and not the salt ---- and lightly sprinkles his drink, watching Jowan the entire time. 

 

"Do you like it?" he questions, staring at Jowan with bright eyes. 

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MvNH8Xh.pngFN7Mf20.gif

M4e0rFY.png

< STATUS: Stable; Curious >

< LOCATION: 3rd Floor Library >

< AGENTS: Theo | Sorey | Cure Scarlet >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Mikleo | Lailah | Edna >

 

“Ah, ah!” Arch chastised as Theo raised his arms over his head to smash the box. Arch quickly pulled Theo’s arms down and wrapped himself around Theo’s arms. He ducks one arm underneath Theo’s armpit, snaking it around Theo’s forearm while his other hand finds Theo’s.

 

“You can’t go around smashing things that don’t belong to you,” Arch said casually, trying to ignore the chorus of “Theo, no!” behind him. Arch’s fingers intertwined with Theo’s, warm and slotted perfectly together as though that’s where they were meant to be. Arch subtly scooted closed towards Theo. He leaned in closer until he could feel Theo’s hot breath tickling his skin. “I think it might be better to see if anyone else knows how to operate the box before destroying it, don’t you?” Arch asked softly. He met Theo’s gaze, titling his head to the side ever so slightly.

 

“Oh, you know how to use this machine, Miss Scarlet?” Arch asked as Towa approached from behind. He pulled himself away from Theo, allowing his fingertips to graze Theo’s arm before he lowered his arms down to the sides. “Excellent!” Arch exclaimed ecstatically. He took several steps backwards to give Towa the room she needed to use the machine.

 

“I’m afraid we don’t have computers back in our world,” Arch explained, motioning between himself and Theo. “We won’t be much help in operating them, but I’m glad you know what you’re doing!” Arch’s face brightened as he was filled with a surge of admiration. Even as a self-proclaimed human expert—because who else would know humans better than an angel—he was always amazed by how resourceful they were. Even when he thought he knew everything about a subject a human would come along with an idea or perspective he had not considered. Seeing Towa so confidently approach the computer made him shiver from all the pride swelling in his chest.

 

“Sorey,” Arch said turning to the other human. “Are you perchance acquainted with computers?” If one human knew about them then surely two humans could know about them.

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Jowan 

f4r0Deq.gif

Allies: Duke
Location: Kitchen

 

Vylcan’s presence is still unnerving, but he supposes that if Duke trusts him there’s nothing else that he can do. Aside from cutting off Duke completely, of course, but he has absolutely no desire to do that. Rather the opposite, really. The kind-of-spirit would just have to stay. 

 

“Chocolate,” he tries again, committing the word to memory. He’s not sure if he should trust Duke to cook (suspecting that he knew who someone was), but the actions that Duke performs seem simpler than making tea. Surely even Duke wouldn’t be able to mess that up?

 

Cautiously, he takes the mug from Duke and slides it across the countertop towards himself. Following Duke’s instructions, he blows on it carefully before taking a sip. His eyes widen. The liquid is rich and sweet, like Duke described. He takes another sip, larger this time, and burns his tongue. Hissing to draw cool air over his tongue, he sets the mug down on the table briefly, then picks it up again because he refuses to let a small burn stop him from enjoying the drink. 

 

Duke watches him while sprinkling salt into his own mug (perhaps he likes it that way? It seems like he’s sprinkling in a fair amount, but all he knows is that salt makes things better). “Yeah,” he says, taking another, more careful sip. “Thank you, I’ve… never had anything like this before.” Sweets were a rarity enough, and the thick unrecognizable flavor must be the chocolate stuff. Why would Duke give him something so delicious? 

 

He doesn’t want to ruin it by bringing up bad emotions and he’s too cowardly to want to start the conversation, but they’d come to talk, right? They couldn’t just keep putting it off with sugared drinks, right? He coughs and sets down the mug, looking down into it. “About back there. I’m sorry, I didn’t… mean to be too touchy or make you uncomfortable or…” Maker, this is difficult. Why, out of all of his regrets, is this the hardest one to talk about? 
 

chocolate > thinking about rejection

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