Other [FanFic] Rose & Sunflower: The Music Within (Updates MWF) -Ch 64/64 [30 September] -COMPLETE-

Discussion in 'Fan Works' started by Risukage, May 7, 2016.

  1. Wildroses

    Wildroses Void-Bound Voyager

    I am enjoying this fiction and hope you continue it. It's going to sate my desire for Elliott fiction. Most stories I have come across only have him as a cameo, which is frustrating when he is your favourite.
    • Risukage

      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

      //Hello, and welcome back! Hope you all had a good weekend. So note for last chapter, since I can't describe it like I properly wanted, to get an idea of what Lys's new haircut looks like, imagine Matsuoka Gou (Rin's younger sister) from Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, but a low ponytail and more copper-ginger.

      Thanks for reading, and for the encouragement! You're in luck today, this update goes into a bit of backstory for both Lys and Elliott, since the game never gave him much history at all. Thus, you get a bit of my headcanon because whateva, I do what I want! Also, I must confess, when I saw some of the early artwork for Elliott on his info page I promptly thought, "heh, that sorta reminds me of Jinguji Ren from Uta no Prince-Sama (Princes of Song, or Uta-Pri). Now not only can I not un-see it, I can't un-hear it either, as I hear all of his dialogue internally as Ren's voice. (And I can totally imagine Elliott singing Ren's image song, Seikai no Hate Made BELIEVE HEART and totally rocking it.) So yeah, I kinda lifted a few bits from Uta-Pri to help round out his character, but TBH, it works. Further, I'm extremely pleased with how the dialogue in this one went, especially the Chatter logs at the end. Every time I read over it for grammar/spelling/content checks I kept giggling, so I hope you all find it as funny as I do. Less chat, more words! See you all again on Wednesday! :)//

      Elliott was typing away furiously when Lys walked up, knocking at the screen as he likewise knocked the sand off of his boots again. As Elliott answered the door, dressed smartly in his style of a dark green shirt and black trousers and waistcoat, Lys noticed that his sleeves were rolled up past his wrists and waistcoat unbuttoned, looking comfortable yet refined in his seclusion.

      “Welcome back, Lysander. You’ve had a haircut, I see, it suits you. Your timing is impeccable, as I’ve just put on the coffee. Ah, right, you prefer Lys, my apologies.”

      “Actually, you can use my full name. Funny, from most other people it just sounds strange or insulting, but it sounds right from you. But then, I trust you more than I do anyone else.” Intrigued, Elliott sat back down, reclining back and folding his hands as he crossed his ankles, the picture of relaxation.

      “And to what do I owe this unexpected level of personal comfort? We’re only acquaintances of less than a week’s time, but already I can tell that your demeanor has changed more than outward appearances show. Your very stride and posture speak of something new.” Unslinging the guitar and leaning it against the table, Lys did the same as he allowed himself to slough off the almost-meek persona he had worn for several months. He removed the glasses, folded them neatly, and set them on the table, moving with fluid grace he had not displayed before.

      “Because you’re honest. You are you. No masks, no agendas, nothing to hide or be ashamed of. You are on display to the world and you have the confidence to back it up in the face of anything. I lost that ability when-” He caught himself and gripped the table tightly for a moment before continuing. “Well, regardless of what or when, it’s been a long time since I felt comfortable being me again. And I somewhat feel bad for how I’ve met everyone, since who they know as me is a lie. A construct to keep everyone else at arm’s length. A bit of my real self came out today, and it felt right, to be me. And they didn’t run or lash out, but I don’t know if that’s because to them it was all just an act or if that’s a version of me that they can accept.” He pushed off of the table and strode across the room, to where Elliott had moved the rose onto a small table near a south window and inspected it as he spun his thoughts into words.

      “I feel. I am. I can’t do anything halfway. Everything I do is with all of myself. It’s why I was always drawn to the performing arts. I don’t want to be the center of attention like many who get into it. That’s impure and disingenuous. I derive happiness from inspiring others, to make them feel emotions and experiences. The applause at the end of a performance is proof of myself, that I live, and I have given others the chance to really feel and live themselves.” Replacing the rose, he put his hands in his pockets and paced the room slowly and thoughtfully.

      “And that’s also why I learned how to fight. Because so many people would rather cause pain, because they think that expressing one’s self is weakness or somehow wrong. And because I feel so strongly I refused to back down or walk away. You can’t tell, but I’ve had my nose broken a couple of times, and I’m amazed that I haven’t broken or lost any teeth. Broke my wrist and fingers several times, though, and have ended up with my arm in a sling more times than I want to count. People learn to back off once the first person damn near ends up in the hospital, but it also means that I’m often alone. I hate fighting, but if I’m not willing to fight for what I believe in and for myself, then are my beliefs and I worth anything?” He gave Elliott a look that was startling; a hazel-green stare of sadness and pain, but also of resolution and challenge.

      “So, now you know my real face.”

      “And your true form. You move with the elegance and pride of a dancer, and there is passion and determination in your words. Whatever it is in your past that has caused you to put up such a cold and rigid facade must have been dire indeed. I will not ask, but should you feel the need to elaborate I will listen without hesitation or judgment, and keep all conversations in confidence. ” Lys’s look softened to gratitude and relief.

      “I’ll take you up on that offer someday. I hate to drop this on you so suddenly, but I need to know if I can be completely honest with someone. This disguise itches and aches, and I hope to dispel it sooner rather than later. For now, let’s shift to more pleasant matters. When I left yesterday it seemed that you had finally obtained the words you were looking for. So much so that I had forgotten to get your number so I don’t drop in unannounced.”

      “Correct on both counts. The torrent of ideas has slowed to a trickle, but I am no poorer for its deluge. Rather, I find myself unexpectedly inundated. I am unable to craft a functional and singular narrative from the plethora of notes I have transcribed in my transitive trance. Once more I must implore you to provide assistance in assembling my thoughts.” Lys sat on the piano bench and stretched his legs out, thinking of a solution.

      “It seems to me that it is not a lack or overabundance of ideas that is your issue, but their structure. What sort of story do you want to tell? The Hero’s Journey archetype is always a popular theme, but maybe you want to craft a Coming of Age tale. Further, what is your setting? Are you telling the story of a person, or the story of a world? The genre is mostly irrelevant at this point, as that’s just the type of furniture that will be placed in the structure you want to construct. I’m partial to a good adventure, and-” He stopped to chuckle and fix Elliott with a private smile. “Promise not to tell anyone?”

      “From your lips to my ears and nowhere else.”

      “I do like a good romance.” Elliott laughed in delight at the unexpected secret.

      “I would not have guessed. You are a man of many surprises.”

      “Not some rubbish harlequin or whatever, you know? A good story where people get together and are happy. The world is full of pain and sadness, and it’s nice to see people overcome hardship and find a companion, even in just a story. Though I don’t like the ones that just throw people together with no explanation and expect the reader to accept that they’ll automatically get along. No proper character interaction or reason for their attraction, other than ‘someone just wants to see them shag.’ Proper romance is more than that.”

      “Another subject in which I assume you refuse to do anything partway as well.”

      “...Not anymore. Not again, for a while.”

      “Once more I must apologize. It seems that I have a talent for saying exactly the wrong thing.”

      “No, it’s okay, you didn’t know. Right now I’m happy to help others realize their dreams. I’ll find personal happiness eventually.”

      “I suppose we can talk of other personal things, then. You reminded me that I still have no way to reach you, let me correct that,” Elliott suggested, reaching for his phone.

      “Thanks. I’ll probably be communicating remotely for a few days after this. Much as I do enjoy having the company I’ve got to get back to work clearing out the farm. It’s not difficult work, just a lot of it. And I should be getting everything shipped in soon so I can get planting. I just hope my finances can hold out until I can turn a profit.” Lys noticed a momentary look of discomfiture from Elliott and put away his phone. “Sorry, looks like it’s my turn to say the wrong thing.”

      “To the contrary. I’ve been cavalier with your time and inconsiderate of your financial situation.”

      “No worries, I’m just getting started and can’t really do too much at the moment, which gave me the time to start making connections. Though I was sorta wondering how you sustain yourself, but you’re a writer, so you’re getting something published.”

      “That is true, for given values of it. I have had some small success in minor short stories and other endeavors, but not the full novel of which I dream, and certainly not enough to provide an adequate living stipend for most people.” He stood up and went to the kitchen to pour out two cups of coffee, as it had finished steeping in the press during their conversation. He offered a cup to Lys, appearing slightly downcast.

      “I am more fortunate than most, I won’t lie. Like yourself, I am also running away from something, but I have little doubt that my circumstances are vastly different. I am...heir to a decently well-off family. Not wealthy, but we have always been comfortable. However, there is little use for a youngest son, and as the eldest has taken over the family business I am left to my own devices and desires. I was allowed to pursue my interests in music and literature as it might prove useful in the future, but there were no requirements of me. As such, I decided last year to attempt to strike out on my own and make a name for myself instead of depending on my family’s. Do not misunderstand me, I am grateful for everything, but because of that I feel the need to prove that I can make my own way.” He sipped his coffee as he paused a moment to collect his thoughts, and Lys patiently waited.

      “I have enough saved to last me several years without any sort of income, as while I am fond of some of the finer things I do not require a lavish lifestyle. Thus I am not under undue pressure to produce the work I seek. But at the same time I have also lost any sort of imperative to continue. It is the fault of none but myself, I know, and perhaps I would be better off socially had I socialized further, but I was unsure of how to approach the townsfolk and feared appearing arrogant and condescending due to my upbringing. Instead I am regarded as an amusing recluse, a situation I do not know how to correct. Your arrival is perhaps exactly what I needed in order to once more move ahead, but I also hesitate to impose upon someone who does not have the luxury of time or money that I do.”

      “You don’t have to apologize for that. If I can’t manage my own time properly then it’s my problem, not yours. You know…” Lys turned his gaze to an unspecified point on the ceiling, thinking as he sipped his drink, “I wonder if we all can sit down together and just...chill. I’m already getting along well with Sam, Sebastian, and Abigail, and Haley, too, I suppose, but I don’t know much about any of you all, really. Maybe when I get a few spare hours we can arrange to just get to know each other a bit. Up by the park? I dunno, haven’t been over there yet. I’ll run it by the others whenever practice starts.”

      “I think that I would enjoy that immensely. A chance to start over and properly establish connections with the residents of this lovely community.”

      “It would also give me the chance to inflict Sam on someone else,” Lys snickered, “I think that Sebastian needs a bit of a break and would appreciate a different foil for a while.”

      “He seems very...enthusiastic…”

      “I said the same thing! He seems to just enjoy getting a rise out of people and has a knack for it. Good person, though, I think we’ll get along. Speaking of, I’m sure…” Lys retrieved his phone again at a message chirp, though through the Chatter group and not the usual text messages, and scrolled through them as several came in.

      RawkStar: hey d00d, sebby’s done tweaking the music, get over here so I can hear what you can do with it :D

      L33tK3ys: take your time, I still need to program this into the synth

      PurpleGoth: I’m bringing beer, get over here before Sam drinks it all!

      L33tK3ys: it’s not even lunch yet

      PurpleGoth: beer is totally a food group :mad:

      RawkStar: yassss

      SixStrings: just finishing a coffee, will be over in a few

      “They appear to be ready to rehearse,” he said, sending his reply, “it looks like I should get going. Sorry it’s been a short visit.”

      “I am grateful for the time you have shared as it is. Though I did not have the time to look for the music I had offered yesterday, and I’m not entirely certain where it is. There aren’t many places it could be,” Elliott commented, taking in the cabin in one sweep of his arm (save for a closed door on the far side), “so it should be a quick search when I get about to it.”

      “Spiffy. I’ll get with you later about us all getting together. See you then! Oh, and…” Lys paused as he picked up his glasses, “thanks again. For everything.” The warm, jovial smile became softer and more muted behind his spectacles, and the fluid, striding walk became more measured and cautious as he once more hid behind his self-imposed mask.

      Later that evening Lys undressed for sleep, once more feeling tired but satisfied with the day. Practice had gone well, and already Sam was getting ideas for new songs as they worked together. No lyrics yet, Sam had admitted that he was terrible at that sort of thing, but it was something that would be dealt with once they had a better synergy as a group. There had been sufficient daylight left after to both go to the library and check out the books he required as well as get a bit of work done outside. As he sat down on the edge of his bed to take off his boots his phone chirped with a Chatter message. Curious, he picked up his phone and was greeted with a shirtless photo of Sam, taken in the bathroom mirror, while making the for-some-reason-popular kissy-face.

      What in the hell…

      L33tK3ys: d00d wtf

      PurpleGoth: MOAR :D

      L33tK3ys: no

      RawkStar: sry guys, misstell :zzz:

      Initially confused, he began giggling until he dissolved into a full fit of laughter, collapsing back onto the bed. He wiped away tears and checked the rest of the messages he had just missed.

      PurpleGoth: c’mon Sebby, your turn. You too, Lys, if you’re still up! ;)

      L33tK3ys: NO

      RawkStar: your turn, too, Abby, if you wanna play like that :p

      L33tK3ys: ...okay maybe

      PurpleGoth: nope, not until I get another pic from someone else. I’ve got two boobs, that means I need two pics to bring the girls out to play :3


      L33tK3ys: the hell I will. Mom almost saw this and I don’t have the energy to deal with that


      Suddenly feeling cheeky, Lys typed out a quick reply.

      SixStrings: why? There were already two boobs in the first pic; you and your reflection :p

      PurpleGoth: there needs to be a microphone drop emoji

      RawkStar: that… That was actually a good burn. I’m not even mad, bro

      L33tK3ys: damn it, mom and Demetrius want to know why I’m laughing so hard. SMH, FML

      SixStrings: good night :)

      Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
        Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
        Gabaw and Alkanthe like this.
      • Risukage

        Risukage Giant Laser Beams

        //Good morning, all of you lovely readers. Yes, morning! I finally picked up a keyboard for my tablet, so now I can work on this when away from my computer, which is MOST OF THE DAY. (Which is quite like being happy that I have a bicycle for when I can't drive my Bugatti Veyron.) And I wanna push out updates in the morning as it feels silly updating "MWF" in the evening, because that feels more like "TuThSa" and that looks silly as well. Or I'm trying to summon Cthuhlu. F'taghn! :p

        *Scrolls up and frowns.* You know, I swear that these posts looked much larger in Word. Damn formatting differences. Oh well, back to the farm as Lys tries this whole "being a farmer" thing. You know, that he moved there to do but I haven't done much with. As a note (since it comes up in this chapter), in-game it specifies that Sebastian is a smoker, but I never viewed him as a regular cigarette dude. My sister smoked the flavored/clove ones for a while and those were 1) much more interesting, 2) didn't smell horrible, and 3) just seem much more like what Sebastian would use, for the "cool" factor as well as the "annoying Demetrius without being a detriment to his own health" way. As always, thanks for the likes, comments, and views, and I'll be back with more on Friday!//

        The sun was bright and warm for a spring afternoon, and Lys paused in his work to draw his wrist across his forehead as he removed his hat. He had tied a kerchief around his neck and found a long pair of work gloves, but had decided to leave the shirt behind, as the sun wasn’t that strong, and he was alone anyway. For a moment he stood there, face to the sun, hat in one hand and the other fist on his hip, taking a moment to enjoy the breeze and clean smell of fresh-cut grass. The sudden click of a camera shutter caught him by surprise, and he turned to see Haley holding up a rather impressive digital camera, followed by Abigail carrying a few packages.

        “I’m so sorry to grab a shot without permission, but it was such a good composition I couldn’t help myself. I’ll delete it if you want. Here,” Haley said, pushing a few buttons to bring up the saved photos, “that did come out well. But again, if you’re not comfortable with it I’ll delete it right now.”

        “That’s really good. I don’t mind, though I don’t know who’d be interested in that sort of thing.” Haley and Abigail exchanged matching grins but said nothing, and Abigail hefted the boxes in his direction.

        “I’m pretty sure you’re interested in these. Looks like the clothes you ordered came in this morning. I figured I’d bring ‘em over and see how things are going.”

        “And I wanted to call in that favor, if you’ve got a few minutes to listen.”

        “Oh, that’s great. Um, if you don’t mind, put the boxes on the porch and I’ll bring them in later. And I’ve got a few spare minutes, what do you have in mind?”

        “Well, I’m pretty good at photographing people, but I’m still terrible with landscapes and such. So I thought that it would be good practice to come take pictures of your farm, so not only would I get the practice I need but you could have a visual diary of what you’ve been doing here.”

        “I would like that. It looks a bit daunting right now, but I’m sure that I’ll look back and wonder what I was worried about. Having some professional photos to document it all would be great.”

        “I’m not a professional, sweetie, not yet. But this might give me the experience I need. Erm, you don’t mind if I just go about as I please, or if I get you in a few pics?”

        “Not a problem. If you have trouble with something just let me know. As for me, well, I can’t guarantee that I’ll be terribly photogenic right now, but I trust your judgment.”

        “Yay, thanks!” Haley bounced in anticipation and kissed him on the cheek before rummaging through the camera bag she wore slung across herself. “Good, I’ve got spare batteries and SD cards, and my other lenses. I’m going to have a walk-around, then, let me know if I start to get in your way.” Lys chuckled at the spontaneous act of affection and put his hat back on.

        “I’m going to continue working in this area for now. It’s what I’ve got plotted out for planting at this time. At this rate I should be done by tomorrow.”

        “You’ve made a lot of progress,” Abigail observed, sitting on the porch (twirling her knife, like usual) and looking around, “I remember coming here a lot when I was younger because it’s all overgrown. It was fun and spooky, and I always hoped I’d find buried treasure or monsters to fight or something. I’m kinda sad in a weird way it’s going away, but then again, I’m happy to see something being done with the place. Apparently your granddad was well-liked around here, and some of the older folks in the community made it a point to at least keep the house in good repair.”

        “I didn’t know that. That’s really kind of them. I’ll have to talk to Lewis about that, see if I can find a way to repay everyone for their work.”

        “Just getting this place up and running again is probably thanks enough for them, I bet,” she mused, opening her backpack and pulling out a large pad of paper and a pencil, “and speaking of work, I’ll let you get back to it. Don’t mind me, I wanna draw a bit of this area. I’m also better at people than landscapes like Haley, so I take the chance to practice where I can.”

        “You’re an artist as well?”

        “Mm-hmm. Well, kinda. I like drawing and painting, but I don’t know if I’m great at it yet. I’m good, but I know I’ve got a lot to improve on. I asked Leah to teach me sculpture once, but it was SUCH a mess. Took me all night to get the clay out of my hair. Oh well, at least I know.”

        “You’re all far ahead of me. My signature is barely legible, and if it weren’t for auto-focus on my phone’s camera I’d never take a picture that wasn’t blurry. As for sculpture… I’m not going to get into that story until I’m also at least three beers in. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of useful skills other than music, so I have a lot of respect for people who do.” Adjusting his gloves and hat, he looked around at the area he planned to work and sighed. “But right now it’s hard work and not skill that’s needed.”

        The three of them worked quietly in their own spheres, not ignoring each other, but also not intruding. Abigail sketched with great focus, swapping out pencils for different hardness or point widths, and smudging and erasing to generate shadows and highlights. Haley photographed from nearly every possible angle, height, and distance that her equipment would allow, for once not bothered by getting a little dirty and messy in the process. Lys had finished clearing out the weeds and now focused on tilling and leveling the ground. When afternoon shadows began to give way to the fading light of evening Lys received messages from both Pierre and Robin that his shipments had arrived, and he replied that he would be over in another hour or two to pick everything up. Haley and Abigail packed up their gear and left, allowing him to put away his tools and take a shower.

        He opened the boxes and laid out their contents on the bed, doing inventory and a quick visual check for fit. Several pairs of cargo pants in neutral colors, long-sleeved shirts in gray and black, and short-sleeved button-downs in single bold colors comprised his new wardrobe.

        Time to continue my change and make progress. I do hope this fits, though, that’s always a hazard when shopping online.

        He put on the black pair of pants, feeling relief immediately that they fit, and pulled a likewise black shirt over his head. It had thumb holes at the end to keep the sleeves from rolling back up his arms, in the slightly punk style he liked. Over that went the short sleeved shirt in bright yellow that he left unbuttoned, and he laughed at his reflection when he saw the “danger” color scheme he’d accidentally assembled. It did look good, though, and “moved” with him; he’d always preferred clothes that flowed rather than fit tightly. Lacing up his boots, he remembered something that he hadn’t worn in a while, and opened his guitar case to retrieve it. In one of the many small compartments for holding picks, strings, and the like, was a marbled red plastic pick that had been pierced by a small metal loop and strung on a lightweight leather cord. He smiled at the memory of the artifact, slipping it over his head and adjusting the length. It fit neatly between the choker and the low scoop neck of the shirt, further adding to the layered style he’d also always liked. As he left the room he suddenly remembered the glasses and grabbed them from the top of the dresser.

        I’m starting to feel and look like me again. I wonder if I’ll be able to change and move on without losing myself. And if anyone will accept it.

        There was still light out as he departed for Sebastian’s house up on the mountain, planning to stop there and then at the general store on the way back. Robin greeted him with a hug when she answered the door.

        “Hi again, you’re looking well! And I see you’ve updated your outfit, very nice.”

        “Thanks, it’s a relief having more than just two sets of everything. You said that everything came in?”

        “It did, I’ve got it in the shop. How are you getting it home? There’s a bit too much to carry yourself.” Lys stopped short before facepalming hard.

        “Arrgh, I’m such an idiot. I completely forgot to think about that.”

        “Lys? Hey, what’s up?” Sebastian had come up from his basement bedroom at the sound of their conversation.

        “I’m just a doofus. I’ll have to come back later to get all of my gear back to the house.”

        “You what? Wait, you seriously didn’t think about how you’d get everything home?” He smirked and cuffed Lys playfully on the shoulder. “I’ll give you a lift back. Gimmie a few to find the spare helmet.”

        “That’s sweet of you, dear,” Robin beamed, “I’ll bring everything out to the garage.” Lys followed Robin and Demetrius to the garage with the boxes of parts as Sebastian approached them with a handful of hooked elastic cables.

        “Thanks, guys, I’ll load everything myself, since I know how to distribute the weight.”

        “This is a nice bike. I didn’t know that you ride.”

        “Do you?”

        “No. I can drive stick, though.”

        “It’s not that terribly different, then, just two wheels instead of four. I can teach you some day if you like.”

        “Really? That would be fun, but only if I’m not taking up your time.” Sebastian shrugged as he secured the last of the load, checked the straps for security, and put on a leather riding jacket and gloves.

        “It’s no problem, it would be nice to have someone else here who knows how to ride. This is a sport cruiser, 750cc, so it’s the right size and weight for someone like you to learn on. Here, I found the spare helmet, get that on while I make sure everything is balanced.” Lys complied, buckling the chin strap and raising the visor as Sebastian donned his own helmet, swung a leg over the seat and stood the bike up off of the kickstand.

        “Okay, good to go,” Sebastian said, beckoning over his shoulder, “riding passenger is easy, just do two things: hold on and don’t shift your weight. Relax and trust me.”

        “I’m just surprised that you trust me. You sure you’re okay with me riding? I can walk if it’s going to be a problem for you.” Sebastian flashed him a rare smile and closed the visor of his own helmet.

        “Just shut up and get on.”

        “That’s what she said?” Sebastian nearly tipped the bike over laughing but caught it and himself in time.

        “You know what? You’re all right. Let’s go, I haven’t been able to ride in a little while and tonight is nice.”

        Lys got into place behind Sebastian, hooking his boot heels over the passenger’s foot rest pegs, holding on as instructed. The machine went from inert to active in a couple of seconds, rumbling smoothly at idle as Sebastian checked everything one last time.

        “Like I said, relax and hold on. Here we go!”

        Lys gasped and clutched tighter around Sebastian as they took off, startled at the sudden acceleration. He mumbled an apology that was lost over the sound of the wind and engine, but the shaking of Sebastian’s shoulders telegraphed the laugh that Lys couldn’t hear.

        The ride down the mountain was smooth and quick, though when Lys snuck a look at the dials he noticed they were only doing about 20mph. It felt so much faster, however, and after his initial trepidation he started to feel comfortable, enjoying the trip. He cracked the visor a little to allow in some of the breeze and closed his eyes, listening to and feeling the bike under him. Like his guitar, the machine felt alive, in synergy with its partner. Sebastian rode with confident ease, guiding it with small, measured movements, as though the bike already knew where to go and he was just providing gentle course corrections. As they pulled up to the general store they were greeted by Abigail.

        “I thought I heard your motorcycle. What brings you out here, Sebby? Wait, Lys? Is he teaching you to ride or something?” Lys nearly fell off in his attempt to dismount, but Sebastian caught him by the arm.

        “Yikes, thanks for that. I’m still a bit tingly, wasn’t expecting that kind of sensation. And no, he’s giving me a lift back home with my gear. I’m sorta terrible at planning ahead.” Abigail eyed him up and down with approval, hands on her hips.

        “Aww, did the ride give you naughty feelings? Love the new look, too.”

        “Thanks, and you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t feel a bit weird after being on a giant vibrating machine like that,” he grinned, taking off his helmet. Abigail giggled, trying not to say something very inappropriate but clearly wanting to very much. Sebastian leaned the bike onto the kickstand, took off his helmet as well, and pulled a pack of clove cigarettes and a lighter out of his jacket.

        “Take your time, I’ll have a quick smoke while I wait.”

        Lys ducked into the store where he was greeted by Pierre. They took the time to go over his order and planting instructions, where he took further notes. Standing downwind of the store, and chatting with Abigail, Sebastian blew a thin stream of smoke as Lys and Pierre emerged, boxes in hand. He ground out the cigarette and placed it into a fireproof container to finish later as he assisted them in securing the last of the packages. Abigail hugged them both before she followed her father back into the store, and Sebastian put on his helmet again.

        “Good to go. Mount up, let’s get you home.”

        Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
          Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
          Gabaw and Alkanthe like this.
        • Risukage

          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

          //And once more we're at the end of the week, time to wrap up this section of the story. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm pleased thus far with how this has gone, and there's still a lot more to go. I'm quite keen to have the posts for next week go up, but we'll get to that next week. One last author's sidebar note: I haven't mentioned it earlier, but Lys totally wears Doc Martens, because they are cool and wicked comfy. Because my characters are effing stylish, damnit. As always, thanks for reading, your comments and likes tell me that I'm not just some random nutter posting words on the internet. I'm a random nutter posting a well-constructed narrative on the internet. :D//

          The cloudless sky was full night by the time they pulled up to the farm, lit up by twinkling stars and a bright full moon. Their eyes had had the time to acclimate to the darkness during the ride, and with the celestial illumination Lys had no trouble seeing the garden shed. Sebastian stopped in front of it and provided Lys with a steady hand as he got off of the bike and unlocked the shed. Lys was about to flip on the light but decided at the last moment that he didn’t want to ruin his night vision. Carefully, the two of them unstrapped and offloaded the packages into the shed.

          “Just put it wherever, I’ll organize it later. I’ll be making a mess of it all tomorrow anyway, so no sense in trying to make it pretty now.”

          “Then I’ll just hand it to you and you put it away, so we don’t get in each other’s way and I don’t unload the bike in a lopsided manner. Also, you really did forget to think of a way to get all of this here? You are such a space case,” Sebastian joked, handing over a box before going back for another. Sighing, Lys paused in shelving a box.

          “Yeah, I did. Like I said, I’m really bad at thinking things through sometimes. I’ve got a lot of energy and drive but it often means that I just rush headlong into things. It got me into a lot of fights, too. I try to plan, but it sometimes feels like the harder I try to think ahead the worse off it goes. Hell, I came out here without any preparation, just quit my job, dropped everything in storage, and walked away without looking back but also without looking ahead. I’m amazingly lucky that I haven’t gotten badly hurt or in trouble here. All of you have been so much help, you have no idea, and I’ve no idea how to pay it back.”

          “Careful, this one’s heavy. And I don’t know about everyone else, but just be you and do your best and I think we’ll get along. Here, this is the last one. Anyway, you’re my friend, and I just want to see you succeed. I’m trying to get out of this place, so no lie, it’s weird to me that someone would come here to get away, but then, that’s your story.” He moved past Lys to have a look at the four-wheeler, prodding and checking various settings and statuses. “Looks like that’s still in good shape. Let me know if you need any work done on it again.”

          “You’re sure, I don’t-”

          “Dude, you can drop the shy act, it doesn’t suit you. It’s okay, you can be yourself.”

          “I guess I’m not that good an actor, am I?” Lys asked, closing and securing the shed door before sitting down on the porch. Sebastian pulled out the case with his half-finished cigarette and the lighter before sitting down next to him.

          “The other way around. You’re a great actor. So much so that you’re fooling yourself. I’ll be blunt, none of us know just who or what you are. But, we can see that you’ve been hurt bad and you’re still sorting things out and learning to trust again.” He paused a moment to cup his hands around the end of the cig, protecting it from the breeze as he relit it, his face momentarily illuminated by the tiny flame. Exhaling another stream of smoke, he rested his arms on his legs, the cigarette loosely held between two fingers. “What I can tell, though, is that you are honest. Hiding things from us is actually hurting you worse than the fear of being rejected, and it’s messing with your head. So, I wonder, when are we going to get to see the real you?” Lys removed the glasses, folding them up neatly and putting them into a thigh pocket as he reclined back on the porch.

          “First Elliott, now you. You’re both right. I’ve been running and hiding for a long time, and when I got here I was at a really low point. This last week I’ve finally felt like myself again, and that I can be myself around others. I’m weird and that puts off a lot of people, but you all not only accept that but seem to get a kick out of it. Which reminds me, sorry about the other day, I really didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I was having a bit of fun and wasn’t thinking about how you’d react, just how it would be amusing.”

          “I told you, don’t worry about it. I’m just not really comfortable with people being in my personal space.”

          “I’m the huggy-cuddly type, so apologies in advance. Seriously, if I pull something that really annoys or embarrasses or pisses you off let me know. Take a swing at me if you need to, I can be dense sometimes.”

          “Hmph, I’ll keep that in mind. You and Sam are going to get along really well. Hmm? Something the matter?”

          “Oh, no, just… A funny train of thought.”

          “How so?”

          “Nothing, just being weird.”

          “So? Out with it.”

          “Well… I was thinking that you smoke those flavored ones, and I’ve never dated smokers because it would be like kissing an ashtray, but those don’t smell that bad, kinda neat really, so I wondered what it would be like with someone who smokes those, and then I felt bad because I felt like I was perving on you again.” Sebastian chuckled in good humor, offering the cigarette with friendly smile.

          “I can see it. Have a try, see what you think. If you don’t like it I understand, it’s kinda acquired.”

          “Eh, what the hell. I’m still young and stupid.” Lys took the offered item, inhaled, and immediately began coughing, much to Sebastian’s amusement. “Dang, I have a hard time seeing how most people can get started on this habit.” His second try was met with more success, and he inspected the cigarette critically as well as his own reaction to it. “Hmm. Not bad, I think I can also see the attraction. It’s not something I’d make a habit of, but I could see having one now and then socially.” He offered to pass it back but Sebastian waved him away, pulling a fresh one out of the pack. He lit the second and they shared a warm, pleasant peace for a few minutes, punctuated with the smoky scent of clove and strawberry.

          “You really are a musician,” Sebastian mused, “you know the value of silence.”

          “Sound can be powerful, but silence even more so. You can hear a lot when it’s quiet, particularly things that are left unsaid.”

          “Truth. You know, it’s weird. I sorta picked up this habit to have something to do when I’m by myself so I’m not completely bored, and I enjoy the solitude of it. But it is nice to have someone else there for once. Sam will hang out now and then when I go out for a smoke, but, heh, you should have seen his face when he tried it that one time.”

          “I think I can imagine it. What was Abby’s reaction to trying these?”

          “Dunno, never offered, but I get the feeling it’s not quite her thing, either. You know,” he said, with an all-encompassing gesture at Lys, “if someone would have told me last week that you’d look and act like, well, you are now, I’d have called total BS. It’s almost like one of those magical girl transformations from those animated series Abby likes.”

          “So, what, I’m Magical Pretty Boy Lysander?” He laughed at his own joke and flicked away ash from the end of the cigarette (a reflex that he’d automatically picked up on), “quiet and shy dweeb until I get my guitar, when I transform into a talented and outgoing musician that flirts with everyone. Somehow I don’t think it’ll catch on.”

          “You are such a doofus, and I don’t think I’d have it any other way. It’s finally nice to meet you,” he smiled, extending a hand. Lys shifted the cigarette to his other hand and grasped Sebastian’s in reply.

          “Nice to finally meet you, too. Looks like I’m not the only one behind a mask.”

          “Well, I don’t meet many people I can trust to take it off around.”


          “As much as I’m enjoying our bromance, I should get going if I want to get in a ride before it gets too late,” observed Sebastian, checking his watch and standing up.

          “No worries, thanks again for the help. Feel free to drop in at any time if you just wanna sit and do nothing for a while.”

          “I’ll do that. And one of these days I’ll teach you to ride.”

          “Sounds great. Be safe out there. Fistbump?”

          “Heh, okay,” Sebastian smiled, returning the gesture. Lys took a long pull off of what was left of his cigarette and remembered something.

          “Mm, nearly forgot, the spare helmet, lemme grab that.”

          “Hold onto it, it’ll be a good reminder for you. Besides, nobody else at the house is interested in learning, or in our current group of friends. It’ll just collect dust in the garage.” He zipped his jacket back up, adjusted his gloves, ground out the last of his cigarette on the heel of his boot, and put on his helmet. Likewise, Lys crumbled what was left of his smoke and stretched as he got to his feet.

          “I better get some sleep, then, I’ve got so much to do tomorrow. I’m gonna be so wiped out, but I’ll finally show some damn progress.” He sighed deeply and folded his hands behind his head, staring off at nothing. “I really hope this works out. I’ve already made friends and I like it here. Starting over again would…”

          “It’d kill you, right?” Sebastian joked as he straddled his bike, his back to Lys, or he would have seen him twitch visibly.

          “...Yeah. Something like that. See ya.” Lys watched Sebastian leave until the tail light had faded into the distance, allowing himself a small smile.

          “Heh, it’s nice to not be alone for once.” He went in, changed, and promptly dozed off, more tired than he had expected.

          The next morning he woke earlier than usual, but took a few minutes to lie back and think as he deliberately formed a plan on how he was going to work. Yesterday he had been lucky. Today he needed to pay attention and do it right the first time. Thanks to the plans he had sketched with Pierre and Robin, and the instructions with everything he had purchased this was actually a simple task, it just required the effort of putting it where it all needed to go. He had slept well and made sure to drink plenty of water (with the intermittent snack for energy), but he was exhausted by the time night rolled around, having just barely finished his work. Everything was planted, installed, tilled, plugged in, filled, and several other forms of completed. He flopped onto the porch and sprawled there, feeling completely drained yet filled with a sense of immense satisfaction.

          Holy damn, I actually did it. I made a plan, followed it, and stuck with it all the way to the end. I actually accomplished something. Whether or not this whole thing pans out, and if anything actually grows are other problems. For now, I can feel good that for the moment I got something right.

          He lay there and allowed the weariness to flow out of himself, very nearly dozing off. Sitting up, he fished his phone out of his pocket and sent a mass text to Elliott, Sebastian, Sam, Haley, and Abigail: I’m finally done, it’s going to take a few days to see if this does anything. Let’s meet up at the fountain tomorrow morning to hang out for a while, I need a day to do nothing but sit around. With a groan of pain, he staggered as he stood, as his legs had begun to cramp while he was sitting. Over the next ten minutes he got positive replies from everyone, and once he received all of the messages that he was expecting he curled up on the bed on top of the sheets and promptly went to sleep.

          Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
            Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
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          • Ghostly Fox

            Ghostly Fox Heliosphere

            Another graet chapter. Glad to see Lys starting to heal from whatever happened. And man do you ever have a steady writing rate. I'm lucky to have an hour to write out of three days right now. (And then my computer ate around 3000 words out of 5000 I had had written, so now I'm trying to catch up so I can post my second chapter.) Back to this, Lys accidentally dressing up like a caution color scheme is something I've done before. I still want to pat him on the head.
              Risukage likes this.
            • Gabaw

              Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

              Just stopping by to congratulate you on your progress and encourage you to continue. This story really picked up!
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              • Risukage

                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                Thanks! The color scheme was actually accidental, and I ran with it; I was thinking of what colors he'd be likely to have, typed it up, and had a, "hunh, lol" moment. :p As for my literary proclivity, that's due to keeping it in Google Drive so I can access it anywhere I have internet so I can jot down bits and pieces as they come to me when I'm not at home. It goes pretty fast because I have 80% of everything mentally queued up, the last 20% is actually writing it out and structuring it properly (and I type damn near as fast as I think). My thoughts are spindles of string, and my hands on a keyboard the shuttle that moves back and forth between warp and weft on the loom that is my computer, weaving an amazing tapestry of complex depth. :)

                *Hug.* I'm happy with it so far, and I like where it's going. I still have a bit of anxiety about the "twist," so to speak, as it gets a bit dark, and I dunno how readers will take it. It's for all of one chapter, but it's a big plot point of his history, so... *Shrug.* I'll burn that bridge when I get to it! Until then, though, moar friendships, as Lys finally meets Alex next week! ...And shenanigans ensue.
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                • Risukage

                  Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                  //It's 4am and I'm still up because MINECRAFT. Thusly, I'm updating now because why the hell not. And now I sleep. Sleeeeeep... *Faceplants keyboard, snores.*//

                  Lys was a mass of muscle aches when he woke, but a few minutes of stretching alleviated the discomfort some, and a hot shower did the rest. He selected the same black pants he had worn the other day, but with dark grey shirt and deep violet one over it. Afterward he took the time to make and enjoy a cup of coffee and sipped carefully at the piping-hot drink as he had a walk around his garden- Yes, it is my garden, isn’t it? he thought, and once again felt the sense of satisfaction and completion that he’d had the night before.

                  No real change yet, but the irrigation drip system is working just fine, and no birds or squirrels yet have tried to eat anything, so for the time being I’m doing well. Today already looks like it’s going to be a good day. On THAT note…

                  Draining the caffeinated beverage and feeling quite refreshed for it, he opened his guitar case to retrieve the necklace, which he always kept there, along with a couple of bracelets in a similar fashion; guitar picks woven into a cobra-stitched braid with the same thin leather cord, in blue and green marbled plastic.

                  Why is it that most of my good memories have to do with this guitar or are carried with it? Hello, what’s this? Oh wow, I’d forgotten…

                  In one of the many compartments in the case he pulled out a pair of small, metal, round-rimmed sunglasses.

                  That’s right, that birthday gift from grandpa. He always did know my style. So THAT’S where these went, I forgot that I’d put these in here. What a nice surprise for myself.

                  He put them on and grinned at his reflection, then grabbed his guitar with enthusiasm and bounded out the door.

                  Oh yes, this is how it’s done. I’m back! Time to go be brilliant again. C’mon, old friend, let’s go meet with new friends.

                  He was earlier than the others, but he had expected that, and stopped in the middle of the town plaza, where he put down his guitar and hooked his thumbs in his belt loops, enjoying the warmth of the morning sun. His reverie was interrupted by a rather muscular young man with short brown hair, who approached him with curiosity.

                  “Hey, I haven’t seen you before. Or, wait, I think I saw you at the Flower Dance, but you’re…”

                  “Yeah, I’ve had a few updates since then, but I am new, just got here a week or so ago. I’m Lys.”

                  “Alex. Cool, at least you’re trying, unlike that other guy.” Puzzled, Lys regarded Alex with a look of confusion.

                  “I’m not sure who you mean. Someone else got here recently?”

                  “Nah, that writer-guy, got here a year or something ago. Always holed up in that cabin on the beach, writing poetry or some other stupid stuff. Dresses like a total dweeb, too, who’s he trying to impress? Not like he goes anywhere or anything, probably just some loser that can’t cut it in the real world.”

                  Lys snarled without thinking, suddenly infuriated. Reflexively, he curled his hand into a fist, rocking his weight back on his right leg, then springing off and pivoting on his left to throw his entire weight behind one solid punch, connecting squarely with Alex’s jaw, just below the ear. Despite the generous telegraph, Alex was completely unprepared for this and hit the ground in a heap, gaping at Lys.

                  “What the hell-”

                  “Nobody insults my friends!” Lys hissed.

                  “Oh, what, is he your boyfriend or something?”

                  “Why? You jealous?” he snapped, “bad luck, he’s not your type.”

                  “I will end you,” shouted Alex, springing to his feet very quickly for someone of his size and taking a wild swing at Lys, who ducked out of the way with ease.

                  “Not with accuracy like that, you won’t.”

                  “What is your problem? Why do you freaking care?” Lys was vaguely aware of shouts and the sound of running footsteps toward them but ignored it; he was more focused on dodging Alex’s punches, which though clumsy were powerful, and he was still slightly stiff from the previous day. But he was more agile and not as angry, and he even felt cocky enough to block and deflect a strike.

                  “Spoken like someone who’s never fought for something. Isn’t there anything you want to protect?” This somehow enraged Alex further, and Lys very nearly missed getting clipped as he dodged aside once more.



                  The momentary lapse of concentration at the sound of his name gave Alex the opening he needed, and he hit hard. Completely off-balance, Lys could only process the sensation of falling, but not how fast or far. He was aware of someone catching him, breaking his fall and gasping in pain as they took his full weight.

                  “I’ve got you. Is it bad?”

                  “Nnngh, damn. Elliott? Is that…” Holding a hand to his head, his vision cleared enough to see that Elliott had caught him, his blue eyes wide with worry. Before he could inquire further about Lys’s condition he saw Alex approach, and pulled Lys close protectively, his jaw set in determination.

                  “This fight is over, stand down, Alex.”

                  “So now you’re defending him? After what he did?”

                  “You’ve never had something you wanted to protect?” This had the unexpected effect of getting Alex to back off long enough to cool off, just as everyone else ran up. Haley in particular was shocked.

                  “Alex, what’s going on? This isn’t like you.”

                  “It’s okay guys, it’s not his fault,” Lys groaned, unsuccessfully trying to sit up, “I started it, he finished it. Fair game.” Alex eyed him suspiciously while Sebastian folded his arms across his chest and shook his head.

                  “I really doubt that. You’re impulsive but not stupid.”

                  “Mate, you have no idea. He was being friendly and said something I took the wrong way, then I overreacted and lashed out. My fault, Alex, sorry.” The initial shock of pain had finally worn off due to adrenaline, but it was replaced promptly with a dull, throbbing ache that pulsed in time with his own. He sagged into Elliott’s shoulder, gritting his teeth and wincing at the effort of not trying to completely collapse. Haley reached out to Alex, but he pulled away.

                  “It looks like he didn’t hit you as bad as you did him, but are you okay, too? How-”

                  “Whatever,” Alex grunted, turning on his heel, “it doesn’t matter.” He stalked off with his hands in his pockets and shoulders hunched, and Haley sighed as she watched him go.

                  “I’ll talk to him later. I know he doesn’t get along with some of you here, and apparently you least of all, but he’s not normally the type to do that.”

                  “Well, in fairness, I did knock him on his ass, so that’s enough to incense anyone.”

                  “Yeah, right, man,” Sam laughed, “he outweighs all of us and was captain of his gridball team in school. No way you did any damage.”

                  “No, I really did. I didn’t hit him that hard but he still went down. If I’d just have clipped him he might not have tried to tear me a new one that bad.”

                  “...You really…” Sam’s expression was one of impressed awe. “You are scary, dude. And probably dumb as hell for picking a fight with someone like that. I’m amazed you’re still conscious.” Elliott agreed and moved Lys’s hand to assess the damage.

                  “The medical clinic is nearby, let’s get you over and have you looked at.”

                  “I’m fine, it just sodding hurts. Check my eyes, if my pupils are the same size then I’m not concussed and there’s nothing to worry about. I’m not bleeding...at least I’m sure I’m not… It just...dizzy.” His second attempt to sit up again was a failure, only producing another wave of pain. “Just gimmie a minute to clear my head and- gah!” Elliott picked him up with almost insulting ease, to which Lys protested firmly. “I’m okay, you don’t need to- Ow. Friggin’... Fine, you win,” he conceded, relaxing into Elliott’s grip, “but usually at the end of being carried like this there’s a bed, and I’m in no condition to do anything but sleep in it.” Elliott chuckled and lead the way to the park.

                  “All that can be offered right now is a park bench, which should be sufficient for your current needs, then.”

                  “At least I’ve a decent selection of handsome princes and lovely princesses,” Lys returned as he flashed a grin at the group, “perhaps one of you will be kind enough to bestow me with a kiss should I doze off.”

                  “Are you always this much of a flirt after losing a fight?” Abigail teased.

                  “I’m always this much of a flirt, it’s just that after losing a fight it’s easier to get sympathy affection.”

                  “You’re even easier than I am,” piped up Sam, who had thoughtfully picked up Lys’s guitar, “and with even less shame.”

                  “‘Easy’ indicates that someone else is interested in return,” riposted Sebastian, to which Sam made a very pained face.

                  “Oh, ohh, right there, do you see?” he asked, pantomiming a stabbing motion, “right in the heart. You are cold.”

                  They arrived in the park, and Elliott set Lys on his feet, who barely succeeded in not stumbling, and lounged on a bench as the rest of the party likewise sat on benches or the ground. Lys straightened and smiled his flirty grin.

                  “There, told you, just fine, all I needed was- Ugh, burn it, wrong again,” he muttered through clenched teeth, clasping a hand to his head, “sorry, but I’m gonna need to borrow you again for a little longer. I’m proper amazed that he didn’t knock me out with that, and I’m rather wishing that he had.” He dropped onto the bench and sprawled across Elliott’s lap, throwing an arm across his eyes and sighing deeply. “Doesn’t it just figure. I finally get back to my old self and the first thing I do is pick and lose a fight. Some things never change.”

                  Abigail leaned up against the fountain and pulled out a large pad of drawing paper, a pencil, and an eraser, while Sam poked at Lys’s guitar case while seated on the next bench over.

                  “Mind if I have a go? I’ve got a song idea and I wanna sound it out while it’s fresh in my mind.”

                  “Have at it,” Lys replied, waving his other hand in the direction of Sam’s voice, “it’s already tuned.” Sebastian pulled a laptop out of his backpack and set it up with a microphone to record Sam, which was something that they’d done often. Haley pulled her camera out of the bag slung across herself, poking through the lenses she had brought, then all of them paused and turned as one. Mouth slightly open, Lys was asleep and snoring gently, one arm over his eyes and the other across his midriff, using Elliott as a pillow, who was trying with extreme difficulty not to laugh.

                  “You know what? I don’t care, I need a picture of this,” Haley said, immediately snapping a few photos with glee, “the two of you are just crazy cute like that.”

                  “I am quite certain that he will be both pleased and amused to hear that.”

                  Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
                    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
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                  • Ghostly Fox

                    Ghostly Fox Heliosphere

                    I'm not quite sure what to say to this chapter beyond that it's as well written as the rest. Lys is definitely an "act then think" guy to punch someone who is definitely in a heavier weight class then him. (I can see Lys having a concussion, if Alex hits anywhere near as hard as he probably does.) That said, Alex is not getting along with most of the farmers I've read about so far. xD Which, fair enough. (Lys should keep in mind that its a good idea to have a weapon on hand when you want to fight someone bigger than you. Lord knows I'd probably never have made it through school if I hadn't gotten a reputation for fighting dirty.) Well, ideally he won't have to keep it in mind, but since when do things go perfectly.
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                    • Gabaw

                      Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                      YES. Fookin' get 'im!! Left, right, duck, jab and hook, weave, hook again. What a fight. I thoroughly enjoyed that as well as the abruptness of the hostilities :confirm:
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                      • Risukage

                        Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                        *Bows.* I'm glad that I'm able to keep up the quality of writing as well as story content. Fortunately, no concussion, but it will hurt like the dickens for a while. And yeah, he's a bit of, well, a firebrand. Very much the one to act on impulse and emotion, it's pretty obvious that he's honest and open, but sometimes he really sucks at being discrete or subtle. It seems that Alex isn't well-liked around here (not disliked, just not a favorite), and as a band/drama geek in high school I do have a bit of lingering resentment about sports, but I do have a small soft spot for him due to his history, which will show up on Wednesday (that update is typed and ready to go). As for weapons, if he were to use them, he'd favor knives/daggers/light weapons. I'm gonna go all RPG up in here and specify that he's a Rogue; heavy on the Dexterity and Intelligence, with extra points in Charisma as the "Face" of the group. Strength and Constitution are his dump stats, and he doesn't have a low Wisdom score, he's just really rubbish at most skills that require it. I was actually planning to reference this in another couple of chapters, so yay, I guess?

                        *Laughs.* Huzzah, I was hoping that that bit came out okay. TBH, I couldn't think of any better way to bring Alex into the story, and it plays into story elements later on down the line anyway. I also can't imagine any fight between them lasting longer than a couple of minutes, and that's only because Lys has crazy amounts of dodge and evasion. You can Rogue-tank anything!...until all of your abilities are on cooldown. Then you either wait for a rez from the healers or run back from the graveyard because you got OMGWTFPWNED in one hit. :D

                        (Why yes, most of my RPG/MMO/etc characters are Rogues or the equivalent, why do you ask? :3)
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                        • Ghostly Fox

                          Ghostly Fox Heliosphere

                          Hey, another rogue! That explains things. Yeah, I get the weapon preference thing, I just (in most real life encounters that it became an issue) also follow the doctrine of anything that tilts the odds in your favor being a weapon you should use. Sort of fits my observation that rogues come in two main flavors: red/'hot' characters who act, and blue/'cold' characters that plan. They tend to reach towards the middle of the spectrum as they mature, to balance out there character- except when it's a character flaw that is the point of their character. That said, I also go for the 'kill it lots, and fast' route, which works great for DPSing most groups to death. The issue arises when there's so many of them that I out-draw my tank and the enemy decides to kill me lots. :(

                          I myself am mosty neutral to him, but I can understand that his façade colors the way a lot of us view him, due to poor IRL experience. I also had issues with being bullied by sports jocks, up until the 'fights dirty' reputation got around. Though in my case it was because the closest thing I had to a 'clique' was that I was an outsider and there was a group of outsiders. But I also didn't belong to them, so for a while things were not pleasant. Amazing what word getting around that you are completely willing to hit someone in the head with a hard cover book will do. That said, I also have no fondness for sports and tend to walk away when discussion turns to it. Now, combat displays? Those I am willing to watch.
                            Last edited: May 31, 2016
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                          • Risukage

                            Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                            Oof, sounds like while HS was a bit rubbish for me, it seems that yours was far worse. I hung around with the skaters and goths, so while the popular kids and jocks were jerks, they left us mostly alone. And I'm right there with you as far as sports being "meh" but proper fights are "ooh." I love seeing skill on display, and I like seeing positive results, so stuff that tends to be all "WHOO, WE WON YOU SUCK IN YOUR FACE" bores me to no end, but someone who can demonstrate mad skillz and still have respect for their opponent earns my fistbump of approval, so to speak. (One of the many reasons I watch more anime than "western" TV these days...)
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                            • Ghostly Fox

                              Ghostly Fox Heliosphere

                              Funny thing is that it was in Middle School when this stuff happened- so by High School I had enough of a reputation that I could basically do what I wanted and be left alone as long as I didn't trampled the boundaries for groups. That said, it really only took three real fights for that reputation to be established, so I probably had it better than some people in my shoes would have.

                              I have a big appreciation for combat from the stories I read growing up, mostly feudal era fantasies, be it Western or Eastern style. Seeing people do actual combat - not displays, which tend to be fancied up- is a big weakness for me, as are people using tactics. Getting to play as those roles makes me very happy. I also admittedly am a bit of a dork for noblise oblige being acted out the way it is idealized as- the whole "leading because theyre good at it and because the people trust them" thing made more sense to me as a kid than a lot of ways people choose leaders in real life. Getting to go to a full blown medieval fair that boasted jousting, live sword combat,archery demonstrations and even a small scale battle basically just made the fondness stick.

                              (I'll stop cluttering your thread now. At least until the next chapter.)
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                              • Risukage

                                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                No worries! I enjoyed the quick sidebar chat, and it kinda adds to the framework/background of this story anyway, so it's all good. Here's hoping that future chapters continue to please. Jaa, mata ne!
                                  Gabaw likes this.
                                • Risukage

                                  Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                  //So I was planning on uploading this when I woke up. What I wasn't planning on was being woken three hours early by the cats playing loudly in the window, and then doing other things loudly, like cleaning themselves. Gah. And since I tried for a half an hour to doze off again without luck, this update goes up now. Yay. Hopefully I can drop off again and get a few more hours before work, but since it takes forever for me to actually go to sleep, the magic 8-ball says it's not likely. (However, once I am asleep it's damn near impossible to wake me, so yes, they were being REALLY ANNOYING. *Grumpy cat face.*) Hugs for all of you lovely readers! Fanfiction like this is made possible by support from readers like you. *PBS logo.*//

                                  Lys woke up with a start, sitting up blinking in the bright, early-afternoon sunlight.

                                  “That didn’t take long. Good nap?” asked Haley, who was reviewing photos that she’d taken.

                                  “How long was I out?”

                                  “Only about ten minutes, we really expected you to sleep longer.” Swinging his legs around so he sat properly on the bench, he stretched, noticing that Elliott was doing the same.

                                  “Sorry, didn’t think I was that heavy.”

                                  “You aren’t, but I hesitated to move, on the chance it would wake you.”

                                  “Thanks. That helped, though, I no longer feel like I’ve got the percussion section from the 1812 Overture in my skull. It still hurts, but I can think now. And now that I can think clearly, time to clear things up.”

                                  “Where are you going?” asked Sam, who was making notes on a pad of paper with one hand on one leg while supporting the guitar on the other.

                                  “Off to talk to Alex. I really do feel bad about that. Regardless of what was said, it’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it, and I could have done a much better job of dealing with it.”

                                  “What was it that was said, or is that something you desire to keep in confidence?” Elliott queried. Lys didn’t look at anyone while he thought of a good answer.

                                  “I don’t like it when someone insults my friends. Back in a bit.”

                                  As Lys walked through the plaza it occurred to him that he hadn’t bothered to ask where he could find Alex in the first place.

                                  You twit. Again, always running off without thinking or planning. I really thought that I had gotten a better handle on that. Well, might as well start here and see if anyone has seen him lately.

                                  He vaguely recalled Alex storming off in the general direction of the saloon, and there were houses in that area, so it stood a good chance that even if Alex wasn’t there, someone might know where he was. Passing the saloon, he heard a voice talking just beyond one of the houses, and strode in its direction.

                                  “You at least understand me, don’t you?” Lys paused, not seeing the speaker but already recognizing the voice.

                                  Sounds like he’s having a conversation. It’d be rude to interrupt. Perhaps I should-

                                  A dog barked and Alex laughed, accompanied by the sound of a collar and tags jingling, probably from being scratched.

                                  Ah, this conversation is one-sided. Leaning against the wall, he folded his arms across his chest and listened.

                                  “Yeah, nobody else cares or wants to try. Just you and me. Dad was a jerk to mom and me, and he finally left us alone. And now she’s gone, too. But you’re here, aren’t you? You won’t leave me, and I’ll always take care of you.”

                                  I see. Well, enough eavesdropping, then.

                                  “I think I understand now. Doesn’t quite excuse what you said, but nothing excuses my behavior, either,” Lys remarked, walking around the corner. Alex jumped and glared at Lys, angry at the interruption.

                                  “What do you want now? Another fight? I’ll drop you faster and harder than I did last time.”

                                  “To the contrary,” Lys replied, leaning on the fence, and putting his hands in his pockets, “I’m here to apologize. I didn’t give you enough time to explain yourself, and even so, it’s your opinion, and it was honest. If you want to take another swing at me you’re more than free, and I won’t stop you. But at least I can clear my conscience in the meantime. So, sorry about hitting you, that was wrong of me.”

                                  “You really think that’s just going to make everything okay?”

                                  “No, it won’t. But it’s a start. And I’d like to try to start over. That’s why I came here in the first place, and I’m already falling into bad habits. You do have something you want to protect, I can see that now, and I want to help.”

                                  “Protect what?” Alex asked, still wary of Lys, but slowly becoming less tense.

                                  “Your friend there. And a memory.”

                                  “I don’t want your sympathy.”

                                  “Then I won’t give it,” Lys shrugged, and interrupted the start of Alex’s protest, “but I will offer my empathy. I still have both of my parents and I’m on good terms with them, so no, I can’t sympathize with your position. But I am capable of compassion, and that is what I will offer.”

                                  “...Why do you care?”

                                  “That’s what I do. I’m rubbish on my own for pretty much everything, but I excel at assisting others. I’m a support class; I feel best when I’m helping someone else achieve their dreams. So, I wonder, what are your dreams?”

                                  Alex didn’t answer immediately. The dog that he had been talking with whined at him for attention, and Alex scratched him behind the ears. Lys held out a hand to the dog, who sniffed him and pressed his nose to Lys’s palm, begging for further scritchies.

                                  “If Dusty likes you, I guess you aren’t all that bad. Me, though. I… I dunno. After high school I kinda lost focus. I still want to go on to be a professional gridball player, and I keep up with the training. Mom worked her hardest to make sure I got a good education and had what I needed to be successful, but afterward…”

                                  “So you’re keeping up with the physical requirements, that’s good. What else do you need to do?”

                                  “Apply to teams, I guess? I need to go look it up. But I’m still a bit out of shape for it. I do a lot of weight training but the running is still hard.”

                                  “My cardio is also terrible, so I can’t fault you there. Hmm. Well, I’m free in the early mornings.”


                                  “I know for sure that I have nothing going on then, and most evenings I’m either working on something or have other plans. So first thing in the morning is best, especially when it starts getting hot in the summer. I don’t know how far anything is around here, though, so we’ll have to use my phone or something with GPS to help us plot a good course.”

                                  “Are you… Are you offering to train with me?”

                                  “Running, yes. I’ve got a different physical build than you do, so weight training won’t do me good, and you seem to have that well in hand as it is. I’m not interested in it anyway. I have other physical pursuits that I prefer.”

                                  “What, like dancing or something?” Alex snorted, finally cracking a smile.

                                  “Yes, actually. Go ahead and laugh,” Lys said, as Alex chortled, “but it has gotten me some serious tail over the years.”

                                  “Pfft, whatever. Men or women?” Alex shot back, hoping to get a reaction.

                                  And. Men and women. What’s that look for?”

                                  “Oh, so you’re…?”

                                  “Yes. Is there a problem?”

                                  “No, it’s just… I’ve never seen anybody be so open about it.”

                                  “I’ve got nothing to hide or be ashamed of. And it’s not like I’m completely easy, I’m quite shallow when you get down to it.” Alex had relaxed considerably during their conversation and now smiled easily.

                                  “So you only date hot people or something?”

                                  “Exactly, you catch on quickly. Therefore you don’t have to worry about me hitting on you. You’re more cute.”

                                  “I should probably punch you for that but you’d probably be into that sort of thing.”

                                  “If I was I’d ask you to spank me, and I usually reserve that for second dates anyway.” Alex laughed out loud, surprising Dusty.

                                  “I take it all back, you’re cool.”

                                  “And so are you. Let’s try again. Hi, I’m Lys, short for Lysander.”

                                  “Alex, short for Alexander.”

                                  “Then we have something interesting in common.”


                                  “We have pretentious full names that can be shortened to an even more pretentious ‘Xander’ by people trying too hard to be cool.” He and Alex shared a chuckle over this, as he gave Dusty one last petting. “Let’s go, everyone else is up at the fountain and is probably wondering what’s taking me so long.”


                                  “Well, we’re friends now, right? So let’s go meet up with the rest of our friends.”

                                  “...Yeah. All right. Sounds like fun.”

                                  Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
                                    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
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                                  • Risukage

                                    Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                    //A lovely Friday to all of you, and time for another installment of Mahou Shounen Rizaanda: Ai no Uta! (Magical Pretty Boy Lysander: Song of Love!) I've been listening to some of my sappy, upbeat J-pop all week because I've been kicking my butt at the gym and everything hurts, so I need me a pick-me-up, which is the sort of thing that generates chapters like this. I also just want to point out that Captain Jack Harkness is Lys's role model, and Nekki Basara (Macross 7) is his musical idol. Further, his guitar is based on mine, which I finally pulled out of the garage a month or two ago (after so many, many moves to new apartments/homes). Here's a fast link in case you're curious, hope it works: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guit...acoustic-electric-guitar/511869#productDetail. And lastly, Haley's remark about Abigail's drawing in this chapter is a reference to this, which always makes me smile:

                                    You're on the canon ground, I'm up in crackship space
                                    Let's start a shipping war, don't care if I get hate!
                                    Don't like my pairings, well, then you can hit the bricks
                                    This is my OTP, I'll go down with this 'ship//

                                    “Yeah, that sounds better if we- Oh hey, you’re back! Alex?” Sam looked up and greeted Lys, not expecting to see someone else.

                                    “We got things figured out,” Lys waved, taking a seat next to Elliott again, “matters were settled with a minimum of fisticuffs.”

                                    “What, did you flirt with him until he chased you all the way up here?”

                                    “Of course not, we talked about it like adults. Besides,” Lys pouted, “I’m still hurting from that punch. I’m in no mood to flirt with him.” Alex sat down on the edge of the fountain and looked at the drawing Abigail was working on, who tilted it up so he could see it better.

                                    “Yeah, sorry about that, I kinda used my full strength.”

                                    “Well, you can apologize by kissing it better. ...Okay, I lied, I’m always in a mood to flirt.”

                                    “You are truly indelicate in the art of love,” noted Elliott, shaking his head.

                                    “What I do is not art, it’s a game, one at which we all win.”

                                    “So the emotions of others are just playthings to you?”

                                    “Not at all,” Lys explained, bouncing to his feet and taking in the group with a sweeping gesture, “the flirt is all about emotions, excitement and expectations. It is a fleeting moment of pleasure shared by two people selflessly, feeling the warm tingle of temporary passion. It is beautiful because it is momentary and ephemeral, created in just that moment for just that person.”

                                    “And what of long-term affection? Are you capable of understanding and feeling the gentle warmth of true love?”

                                    Abigail giggled maniacally and suddenly began making changes to her drawing. Haley and Alex leaned over to see, and Haley looked between it and the two men across from her a couple of times before laughing.

                                    “Okay, yeah, I totally ship it.”

                                    Her modifications complete, Abigail passed the pad over to Lys and Elliott. She had drawn them (very well!) when Lys had passed out for a nap, and had just added little wings to the both of them; feathered for Elliott, batlike for Lys.

                                    “You even gave me the cute fangs, I love it.” Lys said, quite pleased with the results. Elliott passed back the drawing with a smile.

                                    “The resemblances, both physical and metaphysical, are uncanny.”

                                    “Hey, that sounds like a fun idea for a book. Two beings of power, competing for the attention of a lovely woman, determined to prove that their method is the best,” Lys suggested.

                                    “That is…an interesting idea. I do think that I could take that thread and spin it into a full story.” Sam had been listening to the entire exchange while gazing off at nothing, plucking strings idly as he thought. Then he sat up with a jolt and readied Lys’s guitar.

                                    “Oh. Oh wow, wow, I have such an idea for a song now. Sebby, start recording!” A jaunty, energetic tune resonated from the guitar as Sam improvised a new song on the fly, suddenly awash with inspiration. Lys listened intently, tapping his foot in time with Sam’s music.

                                    “Run that again, I have an idea.” Sam obliged, this time with more flourish and a cleaner sound, having already worked out some of the initial song. Lys waited for Sam to finish the intro before joining him with improvised lyrics.

                                    “I need you, my honey, the night is cold without you. Your touch, it excites me, it sets my heart on fire. Intoxicating sweetness, I crave the feel of your kiss. Tell me, my honey, what is it you desire?”

                                    Before he could think of a second verse Elliott chimed in, for an impromptu vocal battle.

                                    “My lady, I hold you, you are the light in my day. Your smile, it controls me, my soul is opened to you. Overwhelming feeling, as bright as summer’s zenith. Tell me, my lady, what would you like me to do?”

                                    “This fight of hearts is mine to win.”

                                    “This war of souls I will not lose.”

                                    “My honey-!”

                                    “My lady-!”

                                    “Give me your heart-”

                                    “Give you my soul-”

                                    “Tell me, which is it that you choose?”

                                    Sam stopped playing and turned to Sebastian, looking unusually serious.

                                    “Tell me that you got all of that.”

                                    “Yeah, I did,” he replied,” holding a set of headphones to his ear with one hand while he worked a wireless mouse with the other, “this is actually pretty good stuff. We’re still working on a style, but this is a decent start. Kinda ‘idol group’ of a sort, I guess. I have some ideas already for the synth part, and writing in the bass and drums won’t be much trouble.” Sam turned and pointed at Elliott now, even more determined than before.

                                    “Lys said you play piano really well. We need to find a place where we can set up together.”

                                    “Please don’t conscript more of our friends or we may not have any at all.”

                                    “Chill, Sebby, you know that a piano and electric guitar duet would kick ass for this. And did you hear their harmony? I just wanna borrow him for one song.”

                                    “We can’t fit a piano in your room, and your mom would have a fit if we tried.”

                                    “Isn’t there one in the community center? It’s been closed for a few years but I think I remember one there,” Alex suggested, scratching his head as he thought.

                                    “That would be perfect! We could move the entire band over there and mom wouldn’t worry about me disturbing everyone.”

                                    “What part of ‘closed for a few years’ did you not catch?”

                                    “Maybe I could talk to the mayor?” Lys asked, “was there a reason it was closed or just ‘because?’ And it would allow you to get a full professional setup. I’ve set up equipment for dad’s gigs, so I know how to run cables and hook up speakers and the like. It’d give you the chance to really calibrate your songs toward a live audience and how all parts will need to be balanced. Well, we’d probably need to purchase all of that since I have no idea what the setup is like there, so it’s kinda a future project, but it’s possible. Damn, I just realized, I know how to run a soundboard but it looks like I’ll have to teach someone else if I’m on bass. Um, are you okay?” Sam had a rather giddy and misty-eyed look that Lys wasn’t sure how to interpret.

                                    “...I have never loved another man like I love you right now. This is going to be sweet!”

                                    “You’re only hearing what you want to, aren’t you?”

                                    “I’ll contact the mayor and see what I can do about getting it opened back up. A bit more space to work wouldn’t be a bad thing, and I also want to hear what Elliott could do with that song. Provided you’re interested,” Lys hastily amended.

                                    “This morning I might have refused, but I now find myself intrigued. However, I’ve never performed with an ensemble before.”

                                    “Hell yeah, now we’ve got a lyrics writer on board, too. We’re going to be rock stars!”

                                    “He never said- You know what? Whatever.”

                                    “It’s no bother, I will need a change of style and scenery from novel writing now and then. It might aid me in breaking through writing blocks and broadening my horizons, and I quite enjoy everyone’s company.”

                                    For the next few hours they collaborated on the new song; further lyrics, name, and instrumentation. Alex provided a surprising level of insight for a non-musician, which ended up being useful for being an outsider’s perspective. Abigail finished another two drawings and sketched the outline of three more (Lys was in half of them, to his amusement), and Haley had been using the time to work on composition photography, swapping out both the battery and SD card. Finally, Sam reached for Lys’s guitar case to put it away before he saw something that reminded him of a question he had wanted to ask earlier.

                                    “Hey, Lys, what’s ‘Resonance’ mean?” On the body of the guitar, where it joined up with the neck, it was written in neat, flowing, silver-pen script that stood out brightly against the black lacquer of the guitar.

                                    “That’s its name.”

                                    “You named your guitar?”

                                    “Why not? It’s been my closest companion for years. It’s actually my first instrument, bought with my own money. That’s also this necklace, my first guitar pick.” Sam’s expression didn’t change much but he now handled Resonance with what appeared to be reverence now. Sebastian moved aside the laptop, stood, stretched, and moved a bit downwind as he pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

                                    “I’m going to burn one really fast and then tinker with that a bit more. I like it so far but it needs something that I can’t think of right now.”

                                    “I’ll be heading out; Elliott owes me some sheet music and I want to get back home before dark to make sure everything still works. Looks like I’ll see you in the morning for a run, Alex. Oh, yeah, Haley, if you want to drop by again in the next couple of days I’ve got everything planted and ready to go. Nothing’s growing yet, but you said you wanted to try documenting all changes.”

                                    “Ah, thanks! I’ll message you first, just in case.” Lys ducked into the guitar case’s strap and adjusted it across his chest as Abigail studied Sebastian curiously.

                                    “Those smell neat, but what do they taste like? The same?”

                                    “I dunno, yeah? Just more...burned?” Sebastian shrugged, and a sense of complete mischief stole over Lys.

                                    “That’s a good question. Maybe I can help answer that?” Sebastian gave him a flat look that clearly asked, what the hell are you doing?, but said nothing and offered the cigarette for him to try. Instead of reaching for it, Lys gently ran his fingers up Sebastian’s arm, cupped his hand in his own, and took a very careful, slow drag from the cigarette, ignoring the strangled noise of surprise from his friend. Exhaling, he pondered for a moment, still holding both, as Sebastian was too paralyzed to move.

                                    “It’s clove and strawberry; sweet, but smoky and bitter. Dark, intoxicating, and intense. A bit like you,” he said, kissing Sebastian lightly on the cheek as he walked away, taking the cigarette with him and taking another puff. “Cheers, all, see you later,” Lys waved, walking off with no small amount of swagger in his step.

                                    “That was so hot,” Abigail giggled, and Haley agreed.

                                    “I think he just broke my friend. Sebby, you okay, man?”

                                    “...What just happened?...”

                                    Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
                                      Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
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                                    • Gabaw

                                      Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                                      +1000 for getting the old axe out of storage. I got a similar acoustic-electric lying around but it doesn't make people's ears bleed so electric it is :p Looks like they finally got a band started. Awesome! but if they play J-pop I swear to god... I will disown this thread lol :rofl: nah but a piano/electric duet would be f**king sweet tho like the top gun anthem or something haha. I'm looking forward to more musical jargon and all that.
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                                      • Risukage

                                        Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                        *Laughs.* No worries! I listen to a lot of stuff in different languages (I've also got some Russian and German stuff in my files), so while I'm influenced by a massive number of styles (my music database is effing huge and diverse) I can guarantee they won't go all pretty-boy idol group, even though the thought is ROFL-funny. What are they working toward? Good question! I guess we'll have to follow them and find out. :)

                                        Though, no lie, I am kinda hesitant to actually try playing again. It's been ten years since I picked up my clarinet, and nearly as long since I even tuned the guitar, so there's no small amount of worry that I will be complete and total RUBBISH. It's one thing to start a thing and not be good, it's another to come back and end up being worse! I plan to spend this weekend searching for some decent music to practice on for motivation and something to do; I am a professional with... *thinks...* bloody HELL, over twenty years of experience in several instruments, so I know HOW to play and all of the elite stuff, I'm just missing the level 1 skills for guitar. (Hurrah for high stat modifiers and so many skill synergies, yay.) Just thumbing through a chord book will bore me to tears, so if I can snag the guitar tabs or full sheet music to something that would be invaluable. I've also got a decent synth that's in good shape, really need to get a stand for that and set up a little musical corner for it and the guitar and I can pretend to be a pro again. :p
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                                        • Gabaw

                                          Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                                          what you got a synth?? now we're talking. I bet it's a fancy pro or semi-pro board too. Maybe we'll see some of your stuff in the much neglected audio portion of the fan works section?
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