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. Risukage

    Risukage Giant Laser Beams

    To be honest, I've no damn idea. I had a quick kip out to the garage to have a look and if I'm not mistaken, it was purchased back in the late 90s, back when I was still with the jazz group, because I recognized the headphones in there. It's a Yamaha PSR-220, quick info link here http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi...s/digitalkeyboards/portable_keyboards/psr220/, and I recall that it was a decent piece of equipment. However, one thing that makes me both want to punch things and cry a bit is that I'm a brilliant performer, but a terrible composer. However, now that I've actually got leisure time and a decent income (two things I haven't had in over a decade) I might just have a go at it and see if I can help boost our audio selection. Maybe I can even put some lyric writing to use and do some vocal components, my gaming headset has a decent mic on it. Though I'm quite certain my vocal talents are superior to my lyrical composure. :rofl:

    ...Well hunh. I already have an idea for a "theme medley" of sorts; the main SDV overture with the character themes. Guess it's time to see if 1) that synth will play nice with my tower 'cause I've no idea if it can do it on its own, and 2) find some good audio mixing software. Off to VGMix, I suppose, haven't been there in a few months. And I'm only a first-level pianist, too, THIS can only end in hilarity...
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    • Risukage

      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

      //A happy Monday morning to all of you! At least I hope it is for you, I didn't get much sleep because the cats were dancing on me all night and I didn't get to bed until late anyway. I am SO happy that the office has a decent coffee machine in the break room that makes a passable latte...

      Also, over a thousand views! Wow! Thanks to all of you who still think I'm interesting enough to follow for more than a couple of weeks, and I hope you all continue to follow this through to the end. Like I said earlier, I've hit some kind of writing runner's high and all of the ideas are coming in. And impressively, I dumped it from Drive to Word as a backup (in case) and I'm running 40 pages so far at 11-point font. WTFLOL. All of that for a silly story that maybe twenty people will read. Maybe I need to get my arse in gear and start penning out (so to speak) that novel I've had in the back of my head for about ten years.

      Meanwhile, back to the story with some backstory, and a little bit of character development. And I just want to point out that Abigail and I would totally be best friends (TOTES. BESTIES.), and I sometimes use her as my "voice," because pretty much every interaction with her my reaction has been, "yeah, makes sense, I'd do the same thing." And I may be the only one, but damn, I am extremely pleased with the Chatter logs, they amuse me more than they should! Cheers, everyone, see you on Wednesday. :)//

      Elliott shook his head as he waited for Lys just outside of the park, but flashed a small smile.

      “I think you did a rather bad thing to him.”

      “I know, that was just naughty. I’ll apologize to him later for it, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity.” He sighed deeply as he exhaled a stream of smoke, looking serious and introspective. “I’m starting to be myself again, and I’m happy about that. I hated having to bottle everything up and be afraid all of the time. I’m also happy that I fit in here as myself, that’s a massive confidence boost. However… I’m also annoyed at myself for starting to fall back into bad habits, and I need to rein that in fast before it bites me in the ass again.”

      “And of bad habits, I didn’t know that you smoked.”

      “Um, yes and no? Not really, I picked it up a bit from Sebastian the other evening after he helped me get everything home. I think that this kind is all I can really stand, and even then it’s more of a social thing.”

      “That is something for which I must thank you. I had forgotten what it was like to enjoy the company of others, and I am certain that I’d likely never have obtained the courage to approach others myself. I actually find myself anticipating working with everyone in a musical fashion. It wasn’t something I pursued actively in the past, but now I have the urge to practice and polish my skills once more.”

      “Really? I feel like I dragged you into this without asking. Another bad habit I need to break. I’m pushy and arrogant. Most times it just comes off as confidence, but the truth is that I’m just full of myself and… Heh, too late, I was already taken down a peg or two. So either I’m getting over some of what happened or I’m just too stupid to pay attention and learn from it. Biggest thing I need to do is keep my damn hands to myself. I’m very much a playfully touchy person, and I’m comfortable with physical closeness around friends. For me, love and lust are two different things; there’s nothing wrong with physical pleasure, and sharing it with others is something I enjoy, as long as they’re comfortable with it. And yes, I’ve had a number of partners, and we all agreed that it was just for that night or two of fun and no further strings attached. Two adults having a good time and being responsible about it. But a lot of people associate any sort of touch with intimacy, and I don’t want to give anyone here the wrong impression. Don’t get me wrong, I miss the feeling and closeness of a meaningful relationship, and I do want to be with someone permanently someday, but…”

      Elliott kept walking for a few more steps before he realized that Lys had stopped, with not quite a thousand-yard stare, but the distant look of someone who has rediscovered an inner pain and is probing it carefully to see just how badly it hurts.

      “I got burned. Bad. I was stupid and reckless and got other people hurt, and in some way I deserved it. The pain and scars are still too fresh, and I don’t want to risk screwing up the friendships I already have here. Everyone here is so nice, genuinely so. I want to protect that. I’ll find happiness for myself once I finally deserve it. For now, I’m helping others realize their dreams; Sam, Alex, Haley, you… I wonder if I should just lock myself away again for a while longer until I can learn a bit of self-control.” He felt Elliott’s hand on his shoulder and reached up to grasp it, a silent thanks for the support, and they continued walking on toward the ocean.

      “I cannot speak for everyone else, but I am glad to know you, as you are now, as a friend,” Elliott mused, “I have not had the same experiences, nor a similar upbringing, so I am more reserved in my interactions with others. It isn’t that affection was discouraged, it’s that there was an expected level of decorum and dignity. As I mentioned before, we weren’t wealthy, but we are well-known, and the family name and reputation are very important. And particularly, as the youngest, while nothing great was expected or demanded of me, I was supposed to be respectful and presentable. I instead found personal expression through music and writing. Those were encouraged and I threw myself into these activities with great abandon. My brother chose to learn the cello, but I still remember hearing a family friend play on our grand piano when I was young, and I was entranced; this amazing instrument, so elegant and beautiful, that could produce such a diverse and rich sound. I decided right then that I wanted to learn how to do the same, and while it was difficult at first and I despaired of ever becoming proficient, I dedicated myself to practice and learning, my passion channeled into music and literature, in order to express the feelings I did not think I could otherwise share.”

      “That’s mature for someone who was so young. I can see how you’ve been able to keep up with me, then. I’m a brilliant musician and vocalist, but still can’t do lyrics or composing that’s worth anything.” He had finished his cigarette by the time they crossed the bridge, and he carefully snuffed out the last of the embers and wrapped what was left in a tissue to discard later.

      “I feel that I must rebuff your statement with your earlier actions. That improvisation with Sam’s song? And mine? You heard a song twice- twice!, and you were able to immediately run with it. That’s talent.”

      “I dunno, my lyrics weren’t very good-”

      “Stop that,” Elliott interrupted, flicking at Lys’s ear, “or I shall become annoyed. Do not denigrate your skill in front of me. In your words, you are brilliant, and if you have a failing it is that you expect too much of yourself, and when you fail you believe that you aren’t good enough. You aim higher than nearly anyone I have ever met, and if you do not hit the target for which you are aiming then not only are you still ahead of so many others to begin with, you still end up further because you chose to challenge yourself.”

      Lys was caught off-guard by this compliment, but laughed and wrapped Elliott in a friendly hug and kissed him on the cheek. “You are so hot when you’re being commanding!” Just as he did so, he realized what he’d done and backed off. “Ah! Sorry, sorry! I didn’t mean to- Um…” Elliott’s expression was one of calculating curiosity, which softened as he smiled and chuckled to himself.

      “Do not change, Lysander, you are honest and energetic, and I need that in a friend.” He turned away to open the door and gestured for Lys to follow. “I find that I am too cold and distant, and it has likely been one of the reasons I have not yet connected with others around here. Perhaps the fire of your personality will help melt some of the icy facade I have inadvertently constructed. In the meantime, I did find what I had promised you. It is just piano score, but I imagine that you can do something with it.” He handed over a small stack of papers in a folder, and as Lys flipped through them he noticed five or six different pieces, each paper-clipped together to keep everything tidy.

      “Nifty, this looks like fun. I bet I can transpose and interpret these for guitar without a problem. Though I don’t know if I want to try rhythm backup or lead part first.” Elliott tapped Lys gently on the forehead for emphasis on his previous statement.

      “What did I just say? Listen to yourself, you are skilled, and I will not allow you to speak otherwise around me.” He focused on Lys for a moment, almost reaching out to him but catching himself at the last moment.

      “Something wrong?” Lys asked.

      “Ah, just, I think that your bruise is beginning to show. Apologies, I was almost a bit forward.”

      “‘Forward’ is me glomping you a moment ago. This is you looking out for a friend. I don’t mind. Anyway, how bad is it? I’m really lucky he hit me that high up, otherwise he’d have caught my sunglasses, and I’d be in an entirely new and different world of hurt.” Lys felt a small thrill of warmth as Elliott brushed aside his hair, which momentarily numbed the dull ache in his left temple.

      “It’s not that bad, it seems. You’ll be a little colorful for a few days, but your hair will hide it, and you don’t seem to be in any discomfort. Which reminds me, you did ask earlier…” He stepped closer and kissed the bruise gently, and for the first time in as long as Lys could remember, he was speechless and blushing.

      That was...unexpected…

      “It appears that I am finally getting a grasp on this ‘flirt’ you do,” Elliott laughed, “and I suppose that I can see the appeal. I may be ‘hot’ when commanding, but you are adorable when flustered.”

      “Well played, my friend, well played. Ah, damn,” he hissed, noticing the time on a wall clock, “I need to get going soon if I want to have any daylight to check the garden. Sorry to just grab this and run.”

      “We have had all day together, I do not begrudge you the need to take care of business. If you have more time tomorrow I would be amenable to further conversing, but I do not know what is on your schedule.”

      “I’ll message you once I know what’s going on then. Gah, I almost forgot again, I need to contact the mayor, too. And apologize to Sebastian. I am such a spaz.”

      He was able to check his garden before it was too dark, relieved to see that everything was as he left it and functioning. The mayor replied quickly to his message and agreed to meet with him the next day. Feeling pleased with this, Lys contacted the band (which now included Elliott, who Sam had apparently strong-armed into making a Chatter account after Lys had provided him with Elliott’s number) and updated them with the news.

      SixStrings: it’s cool for us to use the old CC, not sure on time yet

      RawkStar: whooooooo

      SeasideScribe: excellent, you are moving quickly on this endeavor

      L33tK3ys: not before noon, okay, I feel like sleeping in tomorrow

      PurpleGoth: he can just come over and give you wake-up kisses :3

      L33tK3ys: *sigh*

      SixStrings: soz m8


      SixStrings: no really, sorry, that wasn’t cool of me

      PurpleGoth: don’t care, got a new phone background

      L33tK3ys: wat

      SixStrings: um

      RawkStar: ROFL

      PurpleGoth: Haley is a digital ninja with that camera :D

      SeasideScribe: it appears that your quota of fanservice was met for today

      PurpleGoth: I dunno who I ship more, though, Lys & Elliott or Lys & Sebby :rofl:

      SixStrings: ...thanks?...

      L33tK3ys: I’m out, see you tomorrow

      PurpleGoth: aww, but you know you’d make such a cute uke, Sebastian!

      SeasideScribe: do I want to know?

      L33tK3ys: no

      SixStrings: no

      RawkStar: yes

      L33tK3ys: seriously?

      RawkStar: I just wanna see Abby explain ‘uke’ to Elliott

      SixStrings: later, trust me. See you all tomorrow

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

        Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

        Haley be shipping hard yo lmao :rofl: I know what she's talking about despite having zero interest in it myself. Such is the internet :p
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        • Risukage

          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

          *Laughs.* Yeah, the fun thing is that nobody is sure if Abby is serious about it or if she just loves messing with Sebastian, because really, he's the most likely to be annoyed or flustered by it. Which is also why Lys and Sam find him so much fun to be around; he's the straight-man to their shenanigans and has the best reactions.

          Also, I remembered later this afternoon (probably after I succeeded in blocking it from my memory) that I finally got around to finishing the truffle oil quest for the mayor this weekend. I thought, "okay, the quest text sounds a bit risque, but that's probably me just being a perv. He probably wants it for cooking." And then I turned in the quest. ...TMI YOU OLD FART, AHHHHHHHHH. It's really going to make awkward writing any future chapters with him in it, because I can't stop thinking of that and going "nooooo whyyyyyy."
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          • Risukage

            Risukage Giant Laser Beams

            //Guten morgen, meinen freunden! Wie geht' es ihnen? :)

            A lovely Wednesday morning to everyone, time for a rather large update. I almost thought of splitting this up, but the first half was really too short on its own, and I have something that I really want to go up on Friday that I'm editing now, so BIG POST, whooo. Not much else to say, so let me get out of the way so you can get back to reading. *Kisses!*//

            Like usual, Lys woke up with the sun. Yawning and stretching, he dressed again in the same clothes from the day before, figuring that since whatever he wore would get dirty and sweaty, he might as well wear something already used. Fortunately, he had a pair of exercise shoes, just in case his boots weren’t good for something, and he laced those up, feeling strange in them for a moment. Lys snapped shut the choker and tied back his hair, slipped his phone into his pocket, and left the house. He got to their meeting spot before Alex did, so he took the time to stretch, which he still needed even two days after the work on the farm. Presently, Alex arrived, yawning broadly but in good spirits.

            “Heya, Lys, you still up to do this?” He was dressed in running shoes as well in a track jacket and pants, in green accented with white, looking quite comfortable in them. “That’s all you’ve got for exercise gear?”

            “I’m not an athlete, so I never had that sort of thing in my closet. Besides, when I moved here I was living out of two suitcases for everything, and only recently ordered new stuff. I didn’t think then that I’d need anything of this sort.” Alex stretched and thought about this for a moment before he shrugged.

            “Well, I dunno how long you’ll keep up with this, so yeah, no need to get anything now, I guess.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “It’s just that you said you’re not an athlete, so I don’t know how long it will take before you’re bored or whatever and give up on it.” Lys frowned and cuffed Alex on the shoulder.

            “Oy. I’m going to take a bit of offense at that. I promised to help, so I’m going to help until the job’s done or you tell me to piss off. No, I don’t do sports or anything like that, but physical health is important, and this will be a new challenge for me. So if you are still up for this, let’s run our legs as well as our mouths.”

            “...Okay. Cool. I guess we can try a jog around the plaza and see where we both are.”

            “That works. You set the pace; you’re the one that needs training, and I need to know how to keep up. What kind of work do you need to do? You said that you meet most of the physical requirements, just not the cardio?”

            “Yeah,” Alex replied, starting off with an easy jog that Lys matched, “I need both long-term endurance as well as burst speed.”

            “So the best training regimen is to alternate days, one with a long-distance and medium-paced run, and the other focusing on sprints and shuttle runs in short bursts.”

            “You said you’re not an athlete.”

            “No, I just dated a girl a few years ago that was on the track team. Heh, she always got a kick out of being able to run me into the ground.”

            “Sounds like fun.”

            “Oh, it was,” Lys said, grinning at the memory, “it was a massive turn-on for her to wear me out one way and then another a bit later.”

            “Now that’s too much information.”

            “Really? Because I hadn’t gotten to the part that she particularly liked dragging me in right after a run because we were both still sweaty and-”

            “No, seriously.”

            “What, jealous?” Lys smirked, elbowing Alex playfully.

            “It’s...just weird to talk about this sort of thing with someone I’ve just met.”

            “I know, I’m just messing with you. But I will have to tell you some other time about when I dated that parkour enthusiast. Damn, it gave him some amazing legs.”

            “Really?" Alex suddenly turned red as he realized what his remark implied, and hastily amended it. “I mean, not that I’m interested in that, you know. I just wondered if that sort of thing worked for that, I mean, you know...”

            “It could do. What, you want to give parkour a try?” Alex thought about it for a moment before wrinkling his nose and dismissing the idea.

            “Nah, it’s good for skinny guys like you. I’m way too bulky for that sort of thing.”

            “Fair point. You’re about the same height as I am, but probably half again my weight in muscle, and I’m already tall as it is. Also, did we have a plan for today? Or was it just ‘run until we’re too bored or tired to continue?’”

            “Uh, I don’t think we did.”

            “Lead on, then, I set a timer on my phone when we started, and if that app works right we should get GPS data we can use for next time.”

            Lys checked his phone when it chirped at him at the half-hour mark and they decided to call it for the day there; both of them were winded and tired, but Lys was pleased that he had been able to keep up the entire time, and Alex’s concern that he was very far behind in that training was assuaged.

            “I must say, though,” Lys gasped, ”that anyone that does this for fun is completely mad.” Alex was sweating visibly but looked satisfied with his performance, and extended a fist to Lys.

            “True, but you kept up. Knucks for respect, bro.”

            “Thanks,” he said, returning the gesture, and inhaling and exhaling deeply to regulate himself again. “There we go, right. Back to normal. And I think it’s time for a shower. Ah, I don’t know if you’re interested, but today the mayor is going to open the community center for us to use for practice. If it works out I’ll owe you a favor for helping us out.”

            “You already agreed to run with me.”

            “That was because I punched you in the head and wanted to make up for it. I’ll owe you another favor for this.”

            “You have a weird sense of honor.”

            “I pay back all of my debts for what they are worth or greater, and you may have given us the chance to really do something with the band. Whatever you need or want, just ask.”

            Scrubbing his hair with a towel, Lys checked his phone, having missed a message while he was in the shower. Haley was on her way over, and had sent it about ten minutes prior. He replied that he would be decent by the time she arrived, but to give him a minute if he didn’t respond immediately, and dressed a bit more quickly than he usually did. He had just put on the choker and necklace when there was a dignified knock at the door. He slipped on his bracelets and opened the door to a waving, smiling Haley.

            “Hi, sweetie!” she smiled, “thanks again for letting me do this.”

            “I’m happy to oblige, but I didn’t think that photographing empty flower beds would be that fascinating.”

            “It’s not that, it’s the composition of the shot, as well as having a record of all that’s been and being done that are important.”

            “But why my farm? No offense, and I’m flattered, but…?”

            “I’ve wanted to be a professional photographer for a long time, and my focus,” she paused to giggle at the unintended pun, “has been people and animals, which are interesting enough, but I need to expand my horizons. I’d love to work exclusively with models,” she paused again to sigh wistfully, “but it could also be great to be paid to travel and document far-off places for books and magazines. And for as boring as it is here I do want to show it in the best light I can, and have been trying to record as much as possible, like festivals and seasonal changes. You and your farm are perfect practice for a long-term project.”

            “Will you need me here for any of that? I was going to run up and talk to Sebastian really quick before I get the community center opened.”

            “Go on ahead, I’ll join you later, that’s something I want to document, too. Oh! Did anyone mention that there’s a shortcut to the mountain behind the farm? That road that goes north up the hill will eventually turn east and run pretty much right into their house.”

            “I did not! That’s extremely helpful. Though I wonder why Sebastian didn’t use that route when we came back the other night.” Haley shrugged in reply and opened her camera bag to retrieve her equipment and Lys went back inside to grab Resonance.

            “I’ll see you in a bit.”

            “Okay, have fun dragging him out of bed before noon.”

            A while later Lys knocked on the door of Sebastian’s house, feeling quite tired from the walk uphill after the run he had done earlier. Robin answered and hugged him warmly.

            “Good to see you again! Come on in. What can I do for you today?”

            “Is Sebastian up? We’re getting the community center opened up to try to move the band there and I could really use his input.”

            “Lewis is giving you the keys? Can’t say I’m surprised, he and your grandfather were best friends, and he’s taken a shine to you. Sebby should be up, I saw him get something from the kitchen a couple of hours ago. Go on down, he took the basement for his room when I built this place. I offered him something better but he insisted.”

            “Thanks, ma’am.”

            “Please, call me Robin. I’m not old enough to be called that yet.”

            “I will. ‘Scuse me, I’m apparently off to fight an uphill battle.”

            Lys knocked on the basement door, and got a muffled, “mmph, what?” for his trouble.

            “It’s me, Lys, can I come in?”

            “...Lys…? Why the… What time is it?” Lys opened the door just enough to admit himself (once he had unslung Resonance) in order to keep from flooding the room with light from the stairwell. Closing the door, he paused to let his eyes adjust to the near-darkness of the room, only illuminated by the lights on various electronics around the room. Sebastian fumbled for his phone and stared at it blearily before groaning in frustration.

            “Look, just give me a minute, I came to apologize. It seems to be my second job around here lately.”

            “What? Dude, just-”

            “Hear me out, okay?” Lys leaned Resonance against the wall and sat down on the couch next to the door. “I’m sorry about yesterday, that was rude. The other day was one thing, but you already made it clear that you’re not comfortable with physical contact and I still went and did...that.”

            “Lys, that’s-”

            “No, really, that was borderline harassment and I should know better. I’m a good judge of body language and reactions and I ignored that for a quick laugh. I never liked it when others did that to me, and here I am doing it to my friend. I’ll back off.” Sebastian sighed deeply and sat up.

            “I don’t feel like having this conversation right now.”

            “Oh, sorry… Still, I was wrong, so, same as I offered Alex, take a free swing at me or shout or whatever, I won’t fight back. I deserve it.” Sighing again, Sebastian threw aside the covers, swung out of bed and strode across the room to rap Lys sharply on the top of the head with his knuckles.

            “Doofus. I’m not mad at you. I’m not even angry right now, just tired. I was up late with that coding project and didn’t get to bed until damn near 3, and then Sam woke me up a few hours ago when he messaged me about something.” Lys winced at Sebastian’s hit, but resisted the urge to rub it.

            “Ow, that actually hurt. So you’ve only had, oh, not much sleep. I didn’t know you did programming work or I wouldn’t have dropped by until later. Sorry again, seems like I keep screwing up around you. Ow!” He recoiled from a second, much harder tap, and Sebastian folded his arms across his chest and sighed once more.

            “You’re not screwing up anything, and you didn’t know about my job because I’ve probably never mentioned it around you. And thanks, I appreciate the apology, but it wasn’t necessary. In retrospect it was actually kinda funny.”

            “Seriously? I thought I embarrassed the hell out of you.”

            “No, you surprised the hell out of me. I expected you to just take the damn cigarette and I’d light a second one because you’d had one the other night and knew what they were like. I didn’t expect you to go all shounen-ai on me there. Again.”

            “The fact that you know what that word means is hilarious.”

            “You don’t know Abigail’s reading and watching habits.”

            “I think I already do.”

            “Here, look out, I’m turning on the light. I might as well get up now.”

            “Sorry about that- Ah! That was brighter than I was expecting. Anyway, I suppose I owe you a coffee or a soda or something.”

            “Nah, I’ll just grab one from the fridge on the way out,” Sebastian said, his voice muffled for a moment as he pulled his shirt over his head, “I keep some of the bottled cold coffee in the fridge for late-night coding and- Are you okay?”

            “Just trying to give you some privacy,” Lys replied, carefully staring at a different part of the room.

            “Don’t tell me that you are shy? Really?”

            “No, it’s… Well, you know I’m bi, and after everything I was kinda worried that you might think I’m perving on you or something.” Sebastian laughed, balled up his shirt, and threw it at Lys.

            “You are such a dweeb. I trust you, relax.”

            “Trust me? After I’ve technically hit on you twice?”

            “You only did that around other people and you were deliberately being amusing about it. You had every opportunity to ‘perv on me’ when I gave you a lift back home and you didn’t. Besides, you’ll laugh, but, your music. It’s honest and open.” He rummaged in the closet and pulled a shirt off of a hanger, and put it on. “Like that vocal battle you had with Elliott, you like to make other people feel good, and you’re at your best when supporting or working with them. I don’t think you’re capable of hurting anyone. You know, unless they deserve it.” Sebastian was changing into a fresh pair of jeans, so he missed the momentary look of pain and regret that Lys quickly hid.

            “Well, yeah, usually. Hey, I just remembered, Haley said that there was a shorter route from here to the farm, why didn’t you use that the other night?” Sebastian flopped onto the couch next to Lys and laced up his shoes.

            “I haven’t taken that route in years, so I wasn’t sure if it was overgrown or blocked or what, and it’s a pretty steep incline going down, so I wasn’t about to risk that at night with a heavy load and a passenger. A few extra minutes on a safe, known route was better.”

            “Oh, yeah, that works. I’m glad that at least one of us here is sensible, Sam and I kinda lack that sometimes.”

            “You two are the little brothers I never wanted,” Sebastian grinned, shoving Lys playfully and grabbing his hoodie that had been tossed over the arm of the couch, “but I’ll still look out for you anyway. Let’s go, grab your guitar and I’ll spot you a cold coffee and you can get me a beer later on.”

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

              Ghostly Fox Heliosphere

              I have to say that I feel bad for Lys. Struggling between controlling his impulses but being himself enough that he doesn't make people wary. (I also am wondering about the full details of what happened to him- I think I've mostly put it together, and a willing to wait for the reveal in story terms... but that doesn't mean that I like the implications.)

              Also, you somehow managed to make me nostalgic over being able to run. How even. (Then again, I haven't been able to without consequences since middle school...) Still, it says something that you managed to make me wistful over exercise. And without heavy handed involvement of certain types of imagery.
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              • Risukage

                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                *Grins widely.* I'll get to that part eventually, and I will have a happy ending, damnit, because like Lys said before, the world is already full of pain and sadness, it needs more happy stuff. I also promise that there will be no emo angst, because uggggggh. That's not to say that whatever happened didn't kick him in the squishy bits, because he is still hurting from it and it sort of colors his actions around people, but it's not like he's gonna be whiny about it. :p

                And I'm not a runner at all, so you gave me a warm and fuzzy! I have to do it, though, for reasons, so I know how and why to train, but I'm not quite good at it. (For what it's worth, I shotgunned both seasons of Free! Iwatobi Swim Club recently, so I've got that friends-and-rivals-in-a-positive-manner thing going, which I think is spilling over into the fic.) So far I'm pleased with my prose, so to speak; it feels natural and descriptive without going full Wheel of Time, and I don't think I'm hitting anyone over the head with symbolism or "HEY LOOK, A THING HAPPENED." It also took a few chapters to really get into the, well, characters of the characters, as well as writing in general, so the first few posts felt a bit clunky. I feel like I'm finally giving everyone their own "voice" and motivations.
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                • Ghostly Fox

                  Ghostly Fox Heliosphere

                  (Pre-Comment Warning: I am very asleep and just generally garbled. Pain is bad for your brain, kiddies! :V)

                  Happy endings are almost always better. That said, you better keep your word on the happy ending or pitchforks, fire, and tears will be involved.

                  As to imagery- I personally think you are doing a great job. The post jog bit made me miss being able to run in cool air until my muscles were warm... Basically I am missing the "runner's high" phenomenon on a personal level. (Luckily I was never as addicted as some people get, or being unable to would bother me horribly more.)

                  As to the characters - I think you're doing a good job at making everyone that any substantial role more filled out. Especially the group that Lys has fallen into. Yeah, they have moments of irrational action, and bad behavior but... well, teenagers. Or, well, young adults. Bad decisions are part of the experience of being one.
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                  • Risukage

                    Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                    //Heh. *Places one hand on PC tower, raises the other.* I solemnly swear that this will have a warm and fuzzy ending. No Disney-style schmaltz, but I've got good stuff planned for everyone. :)

                    And funny enough, I sat down and re-read the entire thing to double check for content and continuity and...it's actually not that bad. I'm used to most of my writing being "meh," but this is actually something I might sit down and read. Y'know, if I wasn't already writing it. The characters and motivations have also remained consistent while evolving with the story. Further, I've been backing it up into Word on my system just in case and it comes in at 46 pages at 11-point font. I'm like barely a quarter of the way done telling this story, and I've almost got enough right now for a light novel, which will be read by all of, what, twenty people at most? This just proves how much I love you all. *KISSSES.*

                    Last note: yes, the music in this one is straight from the game, so go ahead and put the "Stardew Valley Overture" and "Grandpa's Theme" tracks on loop for proper ambiance. And grab the tissues. :3//

                    Remarkably, Sam was already at the fountain when Lys and Sebastian arrived, and Abigail and Elliott greeted them cheerfully as well. As Lys approached he saw Haley walk up as well, checking her camera for the photos she took at the farm.

                    “Hey, I didn’t expect everyone to be here so soon.”

                    “Sam woke up early for some reason and messaged everyone,” Abigail offered, “so since that woke me up I figured I might as well head over.”

                    “I am usually an early riser but was not planning on arriving until later. However, I found his enthusiasm to be rather...infectious.”

                    “This is going to be so cool!” exclaimed Sam, grinning so widely the top of his head threatened to fall off, “it’s been a while since I was last in here, but there’s plenty of room for us to practice.”

                    “Don’t get too excited, we don’t know the condition of anything, if there’s even a piano in there, and if it’s in tune,” said Lys, being pragmatic.

                    “I can guarantee the veracity and status of all counts. I’ve kept it in tune all of these years myself,” remarked Lewis, who also had excellent timing.

                    “Hello, sir, thanks for doing this for us,” Lys greeted Lewis with a handshake, “I hope that this isn’t going to be a bother.”

                    “Far from it, it pains me to see this place in disuse.” He pulled a large ring of keys from his pocket and opened the door. “Your grandfather and I spent a lot of time here in our youth, you know. Having it used for the same purpose lights a fire in my heart.” Everyone filed in behind Lewis and Lys as the mayor flicked on light switches, observing the new rehearsal space and making mental notes.

                    “I remember that he said you two were close friends, and told me a lot of stories. He always smiled when he did, they seemed to be some of his most fond memories.” Lys set Resonance on a table and paused in opening the latches to look around.

                    “He did,” replied Lewis with a sad sigh, sitting down at the piano, “and they’re some of mine as well. You know, it’s been years since I played piano, and longer since I heard it, but I remember a tune that we always played together, with him on that old guitar of his. I wonder…” In a minor key in a slow 3/4 time, Lewis began to play a song from memory, and everyone stopped to listen, but nobody noticed Lys’s grip on Resonance’s case tighten.

                    “Oh, that was pretty, mayor- Ah, Lys!” gasped Haley, noticing tears rolling down his face, “sweetie, what’s the matter?”

                    “That’s... It’s Grandpa’s song... The last time I heard it… Played it… When he…” His shoulders shook as he tried to hold back further tears, biting the side of his hand to shock some control into himself.

                    Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

                    “Stop that,” Elliott reprimanded gently, taking Lys’s hand in both of his, “we’re your friends, you can talk to us. What happened?” Haley pulled a handkerchief out of her bag and offered it.

                    “Dry your eyes, sweetie. That song means something dear to you, doesn’t it?”

                    “...Sorry… I…”

                    “He taught that to you. It was your first song, wasn’t it?” asked Lewis, now sitting astride the bench, looking sad and nostalgic. “I remember his letters where he would go on about how fast you were learning and how much fun he had teaching you, and the duets you two would play. I admit that I took it rather hard when I heard that he had passed, and I wondered how you and your parents were handling it. You have no idea how elated I was to hear that you were moving into his old home.” He stood and nodded to the guitar case. “That’s Harmony, isn’t it?”

                    “No. I haven’t played Harmony or his song since…since I played both for him one last time. He asked it of me, and he looked so happy and content when I did, like everything in his life was finally complete. ...He was gone later that night… Harmony is safe in storage, I’ll bring it over someday now that I’ve moved in. This is Resonance.” He opened the case and carefully pulled out the guitar in question.

                    “May I? Ah, a lovely instrument, I expect nothing less from his grandson. And an acoustic-electric hybrid? Heh, you have quirks just like he did. How time flies and leaves us behind.” Lewis returned Resonance to Lys, suddenly looking very old and tired, the weight of the years gone by sinking in. “We were the best of friends, and I celebrated every milestone with him, even if we were separated by distance. I still have all of the letters and photos he sent. I’ll share them with you some time if you’re interested.”

                    “I’d like that. Wait, I remember…” Tucked between the case and padding, Lys slipped out a photograph that he’d hidden there for safekeeping. It was quite old but in good condition; a much younger Lys sitting on the lap of someone he very closely resembled, holding a guitar with difficulty but face set in concentration as he tried. Haley and Abigail made identical squeals of delight at the photo.

                    “Oh sweetie, you were so cute when you were little! And that’s your grandfather? You two look so much alike!”

                    “That you do, my boy. You’re the spitting image of my friend when we were your age. Could an old man ask a young man a favor and hear the song of an old friend one more time?” Lys slipped the strap over his head and settled Resonance in place, pulling out the pick and rubbing it between his fingers for a moment as he composed himself. What was stiff and like a music box under Lewis’s fingers on the piano was a sweet but sad melody under Lys’s on the guitar. He let the last notes linger and fade away, sighing and scrubbing his arm across his eyes as they burned with more tears. He froze as someone began playing on the piano again, but this time it was a smoother, softer rendition of his grandfather’s song. Elliott was now seated, the melody and harmony parts now twining together, unlike the hard chords that Lewis had played.

                    “You… You heard that twice.”

                    “As did you with Sam’s and my songs. You aren’t the only one who can pick up a tune quickly. You know my song, and now I know yours.”

                    Mine… It’s my song now, isn’t it?

                    Lys wiped his eyes one more time and joined in with Elliott when he looped back around to the beginning. The song changed; no longer sad and wistful, it was warm and hopeful, of memories made and those to come, of friendship and good company. It rolled and flowed, and they passed the melody back and forth to each other, neither in direct control, a dance of sound.

                    “Key change and final verse!” Elliott said, as they were about to repeat the chorus one last time.

                    “Wait, what?”

                    “Keep up!” laughed Elliott, throwing Lys’s words back at him, and stepping up from minor to major. Lys instinctively followed (it was his song, after all!) despite being caught by surprise, and laughed as well, caught up in the moment. This was his song, and he was finally able to share it with someone else, the same way it had been shared with him. The pain was gone, replaced with a sensation he hadn’t felt since he and his grandfather had played together, Harmony and Resonance singing with their namesakes.

                    For just a minute there was nothing else but the song and his friends as he shut out the rest of the world; Sam and Abigail had an arm around each other’s shoulders, offering the other a tissue, Haley was photographing everything, Lewis looked sad and happy at the same time, Sebastian was introspective, and Alex-


                    Leaning against the wall by the door, Alex watched Lys and Elliott with confusion and interest. When the song ended he tilted his head to the side, looking quizzical as he sorted out the order of his thoughts.

                    “That all was the same song? All three of those? But they all sound different. And the same. That’s weird.”

                    “That’s how music works,” replied Lys, resting his arms across Resonance, “on paper it’s just bits of dots and dashes and snippets of directions and notations. It’s logical, cold, and precise. But what makes it amazing is when someone reads and plays it, and everyone does it a little differently. You heard that just now; Lewis plays it stiffly but carefully because it’s a fond but old memory for him. I also have fond memories of it but flow with it because that’s how I remember playing it with Grandpa. And Elliott and I… That was someone learning something new and sharing it with the person who’s known it almost forever. His interpretation of it was what he heard of our own versions of the same song, and what he had just heard of the person who taught it to us, and together we created something new. It’s the same song, but the way it’s told changes with the people doing the telling.”

                    “It’s… Almost like an heirloom, yeah? You know, the family swords passed down for generations, that have had bits fixed and replaced so many times that the original sword is gone, but it’s still the same sword. Right?”

                    “That is brilliantly insightful, and yeah, it’s almost exactly like that. It really is an heirloom, isn’t it?” Lys asked of nobody in particular, smiling to himself, “I wonder if the song was his or if someone taught it to him as well. But Elliott is right, it’s mine now. Damn it,” he muttered, hastily wiping his eyes again, “it’s been a few years and it still hurts. But I’m glad to have heard and shared this song again.”

                    “He called it ‘Stardew Valley,’" said Lewis, “I don’t know if that’s his name for someone else’s tune or if it’s completely his, but as you said, it’s yours now. As is the community center. Here are the keys, I’ll talk with you later about maintenance and everything, but for now I have duties to attend to. Go have a look at the stereo equipment and grab what else you’ll need to get set up. It’s in storage since we only use it now and then for town events, so it might as well get set up and see more use rather than gather dust.”

                    “You trust all of this to me? Just like that?”

                    “My boy… No, you’re not a boy. You’re a young man, and you made a very old man feel almost half a century younger, and for a moment I saw a close friend that I hadn’t seen in a decade. This is the least I can do. I’ll be back later.”

                    Astonished, Lys watched Lewis leave as he whistled the old song to himself, walking with a bit more energy and youth than anyone had seen in a long time. Haley put a fist on one hip and jabbed Lys in the chest with a finger, looking extremely cross.

                    “I am angry at you, Lysander, you lied to us!”

                    “I- What?!”

                    “You said when we first met that you weren’t good at making friends and getting along with people, and here you are with six people all worried about you and ready to work on a project that you took charge of because you wanted to help everyone. The mayor even likes you and he’s usually a total grump. Further, that song nearly made me cry, and I don’t do that for just anyone.” She put her other fist on her hip to match and stood akimbo, glaring at him and demanding an answer. His expression shifted from shocked to a sweet, warm smile, and he wrapped Haley in an enveloping but gentle hug.

                    “...Thank you. And you’re right, I did lie to you, but not in the way you think.” Stepping back, he shrugged expansively, arms outstretched. “This is me. Right now, right here, no more masks or disguises. I’ve still got secrets, and I’ll tell those when it no longer hurts to think of them, but otherwise, I’ve nothing else to hide. I’ll be completely and bluntly honest about anything you ask, because I respect all of you enough to tell you the truth. I don’t do anything halfway, so if you want or start something you had better be ready to finish it. No, I was never good at making friends because nobody else was willing to open up and be true to themselves. I refused to hide away and most people didn’t know how to handle that. So...if everyone will let me, I’ll be your friend and support and help you all in any way I can.”

                    “Well! I can’t argue with that. I am no longer miffed,” Haley said, regarding him with a look of satisfaction, “you’re just too cute to stay angry at and your honesty is refreshing.”

                    “I’m glad, you’re too nice to stay angry,” he laughed, for once not bothering to flirt and smile. Sam walked over and punched Lys in the shoulder, though he had to reach up a bit to do so.

                    “Quit being awesome or I’m gonna get jealous. And you better help us get set up soon, because I’ve thought of a kickass rock anthem version of that song I wanna try.”

                    “This face suits you much better,” remarked Sebastian, “even though I keep finding it up in mine all the time.”

                    “I don’t mind that,” Abigail winked, nudging Sebastian, “and you are such a joy to draw. You’re always dynamic and in motion.”

                    “You’re weird,” commented Alex, scratching his head, “but you fight for what you believe in, even if the other person is bigger and stronger than you. I respect that.”

                    “You have given me the chance to start over,” Elliott smiled, “and that is a rare and valuable gift.”

                    “...Well, then let’s get started. Time to find that equipment and make this happen.”

                    Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
                      Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
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                    • Risukage

                      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                      //BONUS ROUND! *DING DING DING.* YOU ARE WINNAR.

                      This chapter happened by accident of sorts; I was pushing the story but had a funny moment I wanted to add, which became its own thing, and you know what? Mini-chapter for your Saturday morning. I also just had to add this because what Elliott does is based on a true story that makes me smile every time. You can thank @MagicallyClueless for the early post, so pop over to her art and fic threads if you haven't already and show her love. Because you people are beautiful like that. And I've had two Blue Moons and am cracking a third once I hit "send" on this. :)//

                      Lys tried a couple of different keys before he found the one that successfully opened the storage room down the hall. He felt around by the door frame and located the light switch, illuminating a large room with neatly-stacked equipment on the floor and shelves along the walls.

                      “Ah, nifty, looks like- Nnngyah!!” He leapt backwards and pressed himself against the far wall so fast it almost appeared as if he’d been thrown.

                      “You find something, dude?” queried Sam as he peered into the room.

                      “Ah, heh. Spider. Big one,” he sheepishly grinned.

                      “Hunh, it is. Cool.”

                      “Not when it’s- The hell are you doing?!” he yelped, further attempting to merge with the wall as Sam succeeded in catching the spider between his hands.

                      “Got it! Check it out, pretty neat, hunh?” Lys made a strangled noise of panic and scrambled away from Sam, hiding behind Sebastian, who protested loudly at being used as a human shield.

                      “Get him away from me!” Lys demanded, shooting Sam a very dark but spooked look.

                      “It’s nothing to be afraid of, just a little spider,” he smirked, holding his cupped hands out to them. Abigail brandished her knife with terrifying speed and skill.

                      “I will cut you, Samson,” she threatened, backing up as well. Haley very quietly made herself inconspicuous to one side while Elliott shrugged and inspected Sam’s quarry.

                      “Hmm. A regular orb weaver of some sort. Lots of those around here.”

                      “Heh, it really wants to be free, it tickles. Wanna feel, Lys?”

                      “PISS OFF YOU MANIAC.”

                      “Ugh, I’ve had enough,” Sebastian groaned, "Sam, take that damn thing outside already.”

                      “Awww, fine. Hey Alex, what do you think?” he asked, hoping for a similar reaction to Lys.

                      “Cool, I guess. Spiders are weird. How do they not get confused with all of those legs?” WIth a slightly offended look that Alex wasn’t bothered Sam released the spider into the bushes and dusted off his hands.

                      “Okay, all gone. See? SPIDER HANDS!!” he grinned, lunging at Lys while wiggling his fingers. Lys made a high-pitched squeak as he picked up Sebastian around the waist and held him in between Sam and himself.

                      “SOD OFF YOU TOSSER.”

                      “Augh! Lysander Erik von Morgensonne, put me down!” Sebastian gasped in pain as he hit the floor, not expecting to be released so quickly. Lys appeared to be shocked, not just for dropping his friend on command.

                      “Bloody HELL, ‘Bas, you wield the power of a full name like a tactical nuke. Sorry about that.”

                      “Your middle name is ‘Eric?’” Abigail asked, putting away the knife.

                      “With a ‘k’, yes. Here, have a hand,” he offered, helping Sebastian to his feet, “you’re pretty good at that no-nonsense stuff, you’ll make a good dad someday.” Sebastian looked surprised but rolled his eyes, and Lys noticed Abigail hide a quick blush and smile.

                      Oh really. Interesting.

                      “That’s really your full name? When did Sebby learn that?” Sam wondered aloud.

                      “It’s in my contact information, it’s not like I hid it.”

                      “Oh. Hunh.”

                      “If we’re done giving me grief over my arachnophobia let’s see if we can get things set up. I can start pulling out the equipment we need if everyone else wants to bring up the instruments from Sam’s house.”

                      “Are you certain you want to do that alone?” Elliott asked from behind Lys, “there might be other things in there as well.” With a smile of mischief that Lys couldn’t see, he brushed his fingers gently across Lys’s neck, just below his choker. Lys shrieked, and reflexively, turned and slapped Elliott across the face.

                      “I- Ah! Elliott! Sorry-” He was interrupted by Elliott laughing so hard that he had to stagger to the piano bench to sit down. This was echoed by Sam, who was sitting on the floor, holding his sides as tears ran down his face.

                      “Oh sweet Yoba… You… You scream like a girl!” he gasped. While they didn’t find it quite as funny as Sam and Elliott, Alex, Haley, Abigail, and Sebastian were having a fine laugh over the circumstances. Lys was now over the initial shock and folded his arms across his chest, somewhat offended.

                      “So I do. You can’t tell me that there isn’t something you’re scared of.”

                      “Yeah, but…” Sam paused to catch his breath before finishing his statement, “I’m not letting anyone here know what it is. I’m not that crazy.”

                      “Fine, I’m just going to pout a bit until you’re all done having fun at my expense.”

                      “Come here, I’m sorry,” Elliott offered, wiping away tears and trying to stifle further laughter.

                      Pouting, I said.”

                      “Oh, stop that.” He stood up and pulled Lys over to sit with him, hugging him around the shoulders.

                      “My sincere apologies, but I simply could not resist.”

                      “...Fine. Just don’t do it again,” Lys sniffed, his pride soothed enough to find it amusing as well, and leaned into Elliott’s hug. “I’ll slap you twice as hard next time.”

                      “Fair enough,” replied Elliott, kissing the top of Lys’s head and ruffling his hair, “Hmm? Is something the matter?”

                      “I… I was just thinking about Harmony.”

                      “Your grandfather’s guitar?”

                      “Yeah. It’s in storage with everything else. I don’t know how I’ll get everything up here. I guess I’ll have to find a way to rent a truck for a day or something.”

                      “It’s in town, right?” Alex asked, sitting on the edge of a table, “how much do you have?”

                      “Uh, yeah. Something like a small 10x10 thing. I don’t even have any furniture, I sold it all before I left.”

                      “I’ve got a pickup truck, it should be able to hold everything. I’ll find a tarp and some tie-downs so nothing shifts on the way up here.”


                      “Will you need help?”

                      “Elliott? I-”

                      “It might be cramped for three in a truck,” Sebastian piped up, “Elliott and Alex can take that and I’ll drive Lys on the bike. I’ve been itching for a good ride anyway.”

                      “You all… It’s not a bother? Ow!” Lys recoiled as Sebastian knuckle-tapped him for the third time that day.

                      “Doofus, I told you to drop the meek act already. We’re your friends. If we say we’re going to do something then we’re going to do it. So why don’t you two start emptying the storage room, me and the rest will run back to Sam’s to grab everything.”

                      “Actually, I’ll stop by my place first. Like I said, I’ve got the truck, and it sounds like you have a lot to bring up the hill.”

                      “Sweet!” Sam enthused, bouncing to his feet, “you kick ass. I’m buying all of your drinks tonight, dude.”

                      “Well… Yeah, that works. You guys handle that and I’ll see you all in a bit.”

                      It took a couple of hours to dismantle, load, and transport everything, but the entire drum kit, synth rig, and all guitars and speakers had been successfully delivered and reassembled in the community center by late afternoon. Lys and Elliott had set up the speakers and begun running wires and cables in preparation for the rest of the instruments to arrive, and Lys had blocked out where everything was going to be so that once everyone else arrived they would be able to shift items immediately. Alex showed a surprising level of intuitive skill in assembling both the drum kit and synth, and Lys made a mental note to show him how to run the soundboard when he got around to setting that up.

                      “We’re good to go. This is our new practice area. Congrats, Sam, you’re on the way to being a rock star,” Lys smiled, and grunted as the wind was knocked out of him when his friend plowed into him with a full-body hug.

                      “You are the best person ever.”

                      “And I’m the most tired person ever,” Abigail sighed, flopping onto the floor, “I need a beer and a place to do nothing but sit and drink it.” Lys nodded and gave Sam a brotherly noogie.

                      “Much as I’d love to hear us tune and test everything, I’m a perfectionist and would spend the rest of the night getting us balanced. Let’s grab a few brews to celebrate and get some practice in tomorrow.”

                      “Your proposition is acceptable. I find myself parched as well. Let us abscond to the saloon and occupy a table for the rest of the evening.” This was met with unanimous approval and everyone secured the items they had brought up before walking out. Lys hung back to turn out the lights behind them, and Elliott waited as well.

                      “Hey, you two…” Alex began, then stopped and scratched the back of his neck in hesitation.

                      “You require something of us?” Elliott inquired. Alex watched everyone else leave and sighed.

                      “So, yeah. When Lys and I had our fight? It was because of you. I… I said you were basically a loser who dresses funny and he socked me for it. So…sorry.” Elliott chuckled politely at Alex’s admission.

                      “To be fair, I do dress strangely compared to the rest of you, and I’ve not had much fortune in my work thus far, so your assertions were not completely incorrect. Despite that, I am not offended. Rather, I find myself respecting you more for your candor and courage of this admission. I look forward to a long-term friendship between us.”

                      “Man, you’ve got all of the words. Kinda surprised you don’t have all of the girls, too.”

                      “And you have the physique that most women admire, so I could say the same of you as well.”

                      “Heh. For once I’m glad to be wrong. Nice to meet you, bro, knucks.” Elliott returned the fistbump with style and turned to Lys.

                      “If we are finished with this place let us depart for one with a more...spirited atmosphere.”

                      Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
                        Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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                      • Gabaw

                        Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                        oh s**t Abby got straight up murderous there LOL. tbh I'd react the same. f**k spiders. They're great but f**k em. Nice scene at the end there with some brofists. Glad to see the gang finally setting up for some combined practice!
                          Risukage likes this.
                        • Ghostly Fox

                          Ghostly Fox Heliosphere

                          (Sleep deprived comment warning warning, but you lovely amazing people probably guessed that by now.)

                          Oh, heh, Lys shares my fear of sliders. Though I also have a strong impulse to kill them when I see them. I can admit they are interesting and do incredible things, but any fascination I could have further is ruined by my sheer terror of them.

                          Also, as embarrassing as a high pitched scream might be, at least Lys' fear based reaction isn't to help or hiss at the source. I tend toward yelping, but I've hissed at things before.

                          One amusing anecdote about that is that I was having a bout of insomnia worse than usual and decided to binge a horror game LP (I think it was a version of the Grudge continuity) so I was hearing that choked growl noise for almost six hours. Cue the next day/later in day an me at about 40 hours of no sleep, being dragged to the store by my mother. Loitered around the entrance, then I catch a glimpse of black, then a crackling groan.

                          Cue me freaking out, instinctively trying to put distance between me and 'her,' me having already sworn loud enough for everyone in the store to hear, me knocking over a Christmas display, and managing to trip over my own feet while trying to turn and see 'her', thus landing on my ass. So I'm being stared at by fifteen plus people, iincluding two that were from my school, there's Christmas boxes, ornaments, and ribbons on the floor, about ready to either have a heart attack or piss myself and... it's a card board cut out. Not just any cutout, no. It was a cardboard cut out with a speaker attached to make it...snore. Because it was an advert for insomnia.
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                          • Risukage

                            Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                            Muahahaha. Y'know, I was gonna go to bed and reply in the morning, but I'm still working on beer #4 (a very lovely Belgian white beer import gift from my husband's co-worker, so I'm enjoying this slowly), so MOAR STORIES.

                            Lys is a lot of me, and yes, I am also terribly arachnophobic. As I have mentioned on other forums, just the picture alone of a spider will make me generate the sort of sounds that only dogs can hear, and real spiders will spontaneously grant me a black belt in kung-fu. The damndest thing is when I encountered a scorpion in my bedroom... So about (holy crap it's been that long) six years ago I was mobilized with my Reserve unit out to Oklahoma to train BCT Soldiers, and I was placed in off-post housing. Okay, whatevs, I had worse when I was overseas. So one summer afternoon on a day off my husband and I were playing WoW and chatting over vent. We were hunting stuff in Hellfire Peninsula (because Burning Crusade was the new hotness and we were leveling in that area) when I noticed motion from behind my monitors. I glanced up to see a two-inch-long, slightly transparent pink scorpion climbing the wall.

                            Now, I must pause for a moment to make a few things very clear; it was summer so the only thing I was wearing was a tank top and shorts. My desk was tucked into a small alcove next to the door. So the scorpion had to have come in under the door, made a sharp 90-degree turn to the right to go toward my desk and then another 90-degree turn to go UNDER my desk (and bare feet) or at least hug the wall before it decided to climb the other wall which I was facing. Also, this little barbed bastard had to have trundled all the way down the hall at the end of the apartment, because I was a good 20 or 30 feet from the front door at the far side of the apartment.

                            Well, normally I'd have excreted no small amount of building materials, but a strange aura came over me and I instead kept it in visual contact while I reached back for my boots. My men's size 8 1/2 wide Army-issued boots that I'd spent a year wearing in the desert, that I always put on and took off while sitting in that same chair. I secured a firm grip on one of them and SMASHED THAT SON OF A B*TCH. The only thing left was a funny-colored smudge on the wall. I put the boot back where I'd grabbed it from and took a few calming breaths to stave off the impending sense of "what the F*CK JUST OMG OMG OMG HAPPENED," and went back to my keyboard. "Sorry, dear, was AFK killing a scorpion. What quest were we on again?"

                            Also, Elliott's prank has roots in reality. YEARS ago my parents went to go see Raiders of the Lost Ark with dad's parents when it was in theaters. Well, you remember that bit where the female lead has to push the brick to keep the room from killing them and there's all of those bugs falling around? My mom and dad were seated behind his parents. When those bugs began falling everywhere he reached up and tickled the back of his mom's neck. She leapt out of her seat and SCREAMED, and then proceeded to beat the heck out of him with her purse. I just wanna point out that dad is a bit over six feet tall and grandma barely cleared five, but oh by gawd did she give her oldest son a whoopin' for that! :)

                            (And thanks for the positive replies, good to know that everyone is having fun reading this. Merry HELL, I cleared l33t views? Kick ass...)
                              Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
                              Gabaw and Alkanthe like this.
                            • Gabaw

                              Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                              That scorpion story had me in stitches :rofl: also I'm a sucker for crazy ass military tales too so. the funny thing is that I bet you check your boots every day in the desert and didn't find a single scorpion inside. go figure :p I mean there's probably as many camel spiders in the southeast US as there are over yonder. We're not safe from that s**t either....
                                Risukage and Alkanthe like this.
                              • Risukage

                                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                //A bright, early, and sodding cold Monday morning to everyone. At least it is up here in the PNW, and I'm off to snag a cold-brew coffee before work, too. Looks like I've finally gone native...

                                @Gabaw, haha, that's one of my best stories, but it's not quite as good as the time I told a previous commanding officer that I was a cross-dresser. Ahh, memories... And yeah, the damndest thing was that I spent a year downrange in the sandbox and checked my boots and gear every damn day for critters (I was living in a raised, permanent fixture, not a tent, but STILL), and never saw a damn thing anywhere. Then I come back home and see one of those little f*ckers in my room. I partially credit my "bravery" to less of a lack of f*cks to be given and more of a sort of crankiness that arises from seeing something so dreadfully and unpleasantly out of place.

                                Annnnnyway, time for a rather large update, as again, I'm posting full "scenes" and this one really couldn't be broken up. Once, more, thanks for reading, and I promise that I'll finish this someday, even though I've started to channel the spirit of Robert Jordan. (At least there's been no braid-tugging or women sniffing with irritation at men's shenanigans. Wheel of Time jokes, so relevant!)//

                                Lys left Resonance at the community center, as he didn’t want to disconnect it from everything, and he was going to be there the next day anyway. It felt a bit strange to be without it like that, but he knew that it would be safe there. He, Alex, and Elliott caught up quickly with the rest of the group and sauntered in a loose collective to the saloon. Alex had returned his truck earlier after everything had been dropped off, not wanting to leave it parked too long there in case the mayor got annoyed. Friendly banter went around the group until Alex made a very unfortunate boast.

                                “Sam, you really should rethink covering my bar tab, I will drink through two of your paychecks.”

                                “Oh, you are adorable,” Lys laughed, “but go ahead and believe that.”

                                “Did you just call me out?”

                                “You know, I think that I did.”

                                “I outweigh you by, like, fifty pounds, bro.”

                                “You do, but muscle mass isn’t the only thing that plays into alcohol tolerance; metabolism, body fat, genetic heritage, and what one has eaten that day can all drastically tip the scales in one direction or the other. And I can tell you right now, mate, that I can drink you under the table and still walk you home.”

                                “It is on, bro.”

                                “That it is, mate. You know what? I’ll be generous. I’ll cover the tab for just us two, because you probably won’t be able to figure out how your wallet works by the end of the night.”

                                “I’m going to make you eat those words. Or drink them. Ha!”

                                “Care to have a friendly wager?”

                                “Hell yes!”

                                “Well! Since I was the one to issue the challenge, you can set the terms.”

                                “Fine, I’ll make it easy; whoever loses has to do anything that the winner wants.” Lys gave him a very smoky and suggestive look.

                                “Oh, mate, you don’t want to do that. But then… I am known for being merciful. Are you certain that that is your desired outcome?”

                                “Trying to get me to change by psyching me out? Yeah right! You’re on!”

                                “Very well, let’s shake on it in front of witnesses so it’s valid.”

                                “Come at me, bro.”

                                They grabbed one of the largest tables in order to accommodate themselves. Lys ordered three pitchers of a local wheat beer and walked back to the group and Elliott and Haley followed with enough glasses for everyone. Lys poured for everyone and remained standing.

                                “I’ve grabbed the first round for everyone, but after this, you lot are on your own. But first, in celebration of what we’ve done so far, the hope of what will be, and the friends I have made and hope to know forever. To all of you.” He raised his glass to a rousing shout of “cheers” and downed his glass in one go. Turning it upside down on the table, he grinned at Alex.

                                “That’s one. How many before your last?”

                                “Ballsy, bro, let’s see how cocky you are after a few more.”

                                “Then you need to start so I can finish you.”

                                Alex drank his as well, then gave Lys a look of surprise.

                                “Damn, you don’t play around. I expected something lighter, not the good stuff.”

                                “Getting worried already? Don’t worry, I promise to be a gentleman about our bet. You can take it as slowly as you need.”

                                “Trash talking on the first beer?” Sam laughed, sipping his, “you’re either super-confident or have an ace up your sleeve.”

                                “How many times must I tell you? I never do anything partway.”

                                “Then I suppose it must fall to Sebastian and myself to be drink a bit more responsibly tonight as we are the only two strong enough to drag either of you two home,” Elliott observed.

                                “Might wanna be careful about dragging Lys home or he might drag you all the way to bed,” giggled Sam, finishing his glass and pouring a second. Lys was halfway through his second and gave Sam an insulted look.

                                “Tch. You wound me. Tonight you all are safe from my advances, as I have a very firm policy on not making love while drunk.”

                                “Why, can’t get it up?”

                                “I have carefully cultivated a reputation for completely satisfying my partners,” he rebuffed, swirling the last of his glass before drinking it and pouring a third, “and when intoxicated it is all too easy to be sloppy and careless. A kiss, however? Well, I admit that I do find it pleasant to taste a drink from someone else’s lips. Also, I don’t know who’s keeping count, but that’s two.”

                                “You have a weird style of romance.”

                                “It has served me well so far. But for now I am pursuing a different ambition. Romance would simply be a distraction right now.”

                                Alex had finished his second and drained the pitcher to pour the third.

                                “Well, that’s the last of that, I guess I’ll grab the next.”

                                “Physically, yes, monetarily, no. If you could grab more of the same that’d be lovely. Unless you want to want to end this quickly and ask him to pull a stout. Kanpai.”

                                “What about pie?” Haley asked, slightly distracted by reviewing some photos she’d just taken around the table.

                                “You know, cheers. Ah, right. I get a bit multilingual when I’m buzzed. I started nearly half a dozen languages but never got anywhere with them. Spent so many years in college, I wonder how many majors I’ve got all of the prereqs out of the way for. One of these days I’ll actually finish one of them.”

                                “Don’t you keep saying that you don’t do anything partway,” Abigail taunted, “how is only taking a few classes conducive to that?”

                                “That was less a lack of follow-through and more of a lack of focus. I did well in all courses that I took, but I drifted for several years as I tried to figure out what it was I was good at and wanted to do.” He sighed and drained his glass again, setting it down and rubbing his thumbnail against it as he became thoughtful. “And while I am a brilliant musician I’m rubbish at most everything else. I tried a broad range of classes in the hope of discovering some other talent that I could use to support myself, but… Muri da ze… Mmph, sorry. No matter what, it was useless, I couldn’t really do anything. Turns out I’m just a pretty face and voice.”

                                “Don’t you at least have any hopes or dreams to achieve?” asked Haley, sipping neatly with her chin in her hand and elbow on the table, “something you want to do anyway?”

                                Lys stared at the froth in the bottom of his glass.

                                Träume nicht mehr haben.” He chuckled darkly to himself and shook his head. “No, I don’t, never really did. And it doesn’t matter. Ah, Alex, that’s the start of four? Well, tvoe zdorov'e.”

                                “You really don’t have anything you want?” Elliott asked, topping off the glasses of everyone else, “isn’t there anything at all you’re searching for?”

                                “...za lubov…”

                                “Say again?”

                                “Nothing. Never mind. Let us speak of happier and more interesting things.”

                                Conversation flowed along with the drinks, and by seven glasses Alex was looking a bit tired, though he wasn’t willing to admit it. Lys did, though, and decided that it was time for the game to end.

                                “Right, we’re both still tied, let’s call this a draw and a win for us both.”

                                “Like hell, you’re just tryin’ ta back out.”

                                “I’m helping a friend save face and avoid feeling ill in the morning.”

                                “So you think I can’t handle it?” he asked, standing up and holding onto the table for support. Lys was reclining back in his chair, one leg over the other, and he unwound himself and stood up fluidly, thumbs in his belt loops, with no sign of sway or lack of control.

                                “I know you can handle it, you are rather well right now. However, I believe that any further is a tipping point and it will go from a fun game to something we’ll regret tomorrow. Thus, I am offering a gentleman’s agreement to call it here.”

                                For a moment it looked like Alex was ready to tell him off, but something in that dark-green stare made him reconsider.

                                “Yeah, we promised to move a bunch of your stuff out of storage, and it’d suck if you had to do that with a hangover.”

                                “That it would.”

                                “Ah, here you are. I was going to message if I didn’t find you soon.”

                                “Mayor? Oh, good, I can return the community center keys.”

                                “I already told you, hold onto them. You’re responsible enough and it’ll be easier for you all to get in to practice if one of you already has them on-hand. I just wanted to drop by with the maintenance and procedures documents in case something needs repairing. Here.”

                                “...Thanks. I get the feeling that I owe no small number of favors around town right now.”

                                “Just keep the center in good repair and be successful. Sometimes the best reward one can ask for is to see someone else accomplish something. Well, you young folk continue with your evening, I’m off to have a drink with Gus.”

                                “Thanks again, see you later.”

                                A few hours later they filed outside, feeling quite cheerful and tipsy but not unpleasantly so.

                                “Still on for sprints in the morning?”

                                “Of course, bro, I’ll run you into the ground.”

                                “Ha, we’ll see about that. And though we did call it a draw I demand of you one thing.”


                                “Drink at least two glasses of water tonight. A hangover is partially caused by dehydration, and we’re going to be working hard in the morning, so I want you to be in good health.”

                                “Fine, then I demand that you get some sleep ‘cause I’m going to run you ragged.” They laughed in good humor and Sam yawned, stretching widely and nearly falling over.

                                “Muh, man, I shouldn’t have tried to keep up with you at all. Though it is fun being a cheap date.” He giggled and swayed on his feet, and Lys caught him by the wrist.

                                “I’m walking you home, you need someone to make sure you don’t pass out on your face.”

                                “Nah, man, I’m good, heh, really good.”

                                “You can barely stand up straight. Here, it’ll take all night to get you home in your state, I’ll give you a lift,” he said kneeling down, “put your arms over my shoulders, I’m strong enough to carry you to your house.” Sam complied, although he did stumble and fall into Lys’s back. Hooking his arms around and under Sam’s legs, Lys shifted his friend to better support him and stood up.

                                “I’ve got you, try not to flop around too much.”

                                “Kick ass, I’ve got an epic mount. Hi ho, Sunflower, away!” he laughed, waving around an imaginary hat, which very nearly put them both on the ground.

                                “Bloody hell, I told you to be careful.”

                                “As much as I’d like to see the potential shenanigans that are likely to occur, I have the farthest to walk to get home, so I’ll be on my way.”

                                “G’nite Elliott, see you tomorrow for practice.” Haley sighed and tilted her head to one side, hand on her face as she watched him depart.

                                “I hate to see him go, but damn do I like to watch him leave.”

                                “Dat ass, tho,” Abigail snickered, quite buzzed.

                                “Thirded,” Lys grinned, “and we really should get going ourselves. I’ll walk you home, too, Haley, since you’re on the way.

                                “I would appreciate that,” she replied as she zipped up her jacket against the night chill.

                                “Noooo, boobs, come back!” Sam lamented, reaching out to Haley, forcing Lys to stagger again for balance.

                                “Sodding… Do that again and I’ll drop you. Right, well, we’re out then. Alex, Sebastian, Abigail, see you all tomorrow.”

                                The three of them made decent time once Sam quit flailing around, and soon they were in front of Sam’s house.

                                “That was sweet of you to look out for us,” Haley smiled, kissing him on the cheek, “you’re more of a gentleman than I had expected. Sleep well.”

                                “Aww, just for him?”

                                “Fine, one for you because I’m in a good mood tonight.”

                                “Yassss. Good-night kisses are best kisses. Hehehe.”

                                “I’ll leave you to deal with the pint-sized terror. Good night.”

                                “G’nite, catch you later. As for you,” Lys said, addressing his friend as Haley closed the door behind herself, “I’m putting you down now, be careful.”

                                “Where’s the button for dismount? My UI is all messed up right now,” he giggled as he slid off of Lys’s back and tripped over his own feet. Instinctively Lys reached out to grab Sam’s wrist and pulled, but overcompensated for Sam’s lesser weight and greater level of intoxication, and ended up on the ground on his back with Sam collapsed on top of him, giggling into his chest.

                                “Ow, buggerit.”

                                “You are awesome, man,” Sam said as he pushed himself up, sitting across Lys’s hips, and regarded him with a look of introspection.

                                “I wonder, what it’s like…”

                                “Are you okay-” Sam cut him off by grabbing his collar with both hands and pulling him up into a kiss, and in a rare moment Lys was caught by surprise. He paused, trying to figure out if he should pull him closer or push him away, and was saved the choice as Sam pulled back on his own.

                                “Hunh. Neat. Though I gotta say I prefer girls. And tasting my beer from the glass.” He stood up, staggered, giggled again, and made it to the door without further incident. “See ya later, man, thanks for the ride, maybe later I’ll have to give you one. Oh! Double entendre for the win, whoo! Ow, I forgot how to door. It goes the other way.”

                                Lys sat there for a moment longer before bursting into uproarious laughter. Once he had gotten the mirth out of his system he got to his feet, dusted himself off, and walked home with his hands in his pockets, whistling merrily to himself.

                                Edit 17 June: Added spoiler tags to collapse thread
                                  Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
                                • Risukage

                                  Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                  //A very chilly Wednesday morning to everyone from the PNW! Seriously, it's the middle of June, why the hell is it 50 degrees and cloudy? NATURE YOU'RE DRUNK GO HOME.

                                  Either way, more faffing about, and one of these days I'll actually get around to pushing the storyline. Probably next week, as I have one last round of shenanigans planned for Friday. Last update I thought that I was the Robert Jordan of fanfiction, but then I realized that that implies that I'd die by the time the fic is 3/4 done and it would have to be completed by a separate author with input from my husband and copious notes. So, maybe I'm more the Tolkein of fics. Much better than the G.R.R. Martin of fics, yeah? :p And I also had a funny thought that this is taking a very "Macross" feel to me, what with the musical integration and romantic angles and such, and I now want to hear Sebastian and Elliott perform "Triangler" or "Lion" from Macross Frontier together (the two opening themes). I also want to hear Lys rock out to "Dynamite Explosion" (Macross 7), but that's just because that song just KICKS ASS. FWIW, his sunglasses? Directly inspired by the ones that Basara wears, because they're cool.

                                  Anyway, time for more story. And a cat.//

                                  “Hey, you made it after all. Feeling good enough to train today?” Lys asked, in the middle of a very satisfying stretch as Alex walked up.

                                  “Damn right I am. I’m going to run you into the ground like I promised.”

                                  “I’ll take you with me, then. I’ve been having a look around and it looks like we’ll have some good markers to guide us. See how that bit of decorative rock wall has evenly-spaced markings? We can use those as guideposts up and down the plaza. We’ll alternate jogging and sprinting between them, and go up and down the plaza a couple of times to see where we’re at.”

                                  “Sounds good. Less talking, more walking I guess.”

                                  There was no talking, actually, as all of their breath was used to keep going. Only two rounds up and down the wall left them winded and gasping, and they took a few minutes’ break to catch said breath and stretch out the already-creeping burn. Like the day before, they only lasted a half an hour before calling it and flopping on a bench under a tree in the plaza.

                                  “I’m already regretting my promise,” Lys chuckled, “but it’ll pay off in the long run. It’s just going to suck to be me for the first month or so.”

                                  “And I’m way too out of shape for how long it’s been since I did this last. I really thought I was in better condition. For what it’s worth, bro, I’m glad that you came along to help pull me up and out. Funny thing, seeing you trying so hard is really pushing me to do better. I mean, if a skinny guy like you who doesn’t even do sports is trying like this I’ve got no excuse, right?”

                                  “Word,” Lys replied, trying to punch Alex in the shoulder in an encouraging manner, and somehow missing, “I’m not gonna blame this on the beer last night, I’ve just never been a runner. Not that I can’t improve, but it will be an uphill battle.”

                                  “I’m going to get cleaned up and changed, send me a message when you’re ready to leave.”

                                  “Will do. As soon as I hear from Sebastian and Elliott we’ll be good to go. Meet you at my place, then?”

                                  “Cool. Urgh, I sat too long, it hurts to stand up.”

                                  “I’m already dreading that. Here, gimmie a hand, I’m probably going to fall over otherwise.”

                                  An hour later Lys was in a fresh change of clothes, sipping on a hot cup of coffee as he donned his usual accessories, and carefully cleaned the lenses of his sunglasses with a soft cloth. It was a warm day and he felt like dressing the same, so he now wore the khaki cargo pants with a tan long-sleeved shirt under a dark blue short-sleeved button-down, the long one tucked in and the short one loose and unbuttoned.

                                  Damn, I’m glam, he thought as he inspected himself. Elliott had already messaged to let him know that he was already on his way over, and Lys was quite surprised to see Sebastian contact him.

                                  SixStrings: merry hell, didn’t think you’d be up so soon

                                  L33tK3ys: I went to bed as soon as I got home because you all woke me up so early yesterday :p

                                  SixStrings: fair point. Elliott is already on his way, I guess I’ll prod Alex now

                                  L33tK3ys: k. OMW

                                  Lys went outside to sit on the porch and enjoy the morning as he notified Alex of the updates, and was pleasantly surprised to see a lanky ginger tabby stroll up and headbutt his ankles. He sat down and the cat trilled at him, ears and whiskers forward with confidence.

                                  “Well, hello, you’re new here. No, you’ve probably lived here longer than I have, you look to be about a year or so old, so I’m the one that’s new here.” He offered a hand for the cat to inspect, much as he had done with Dusty, and like the dog had, Lys was found to be an acceptable source of ear-scritchies.

                                  “You’re quite the pretty boy. Hunh, yeah, ginger kitties are always male, aren’t they? You know, you’re probably what I would look like if I was a cat,” he thought aloud, as the cat purred under his fingers before dancing off, tail flicking. He sat down, cleaned the fur on one flank for a moment, gave Lys another scrutinizing look, and danced back over to headbutt his wrist again, leaning into it and rubbing up against Lys’s entire arm.

                                  “And you’re almost as cuddly as I am, too. You know, since we seem to be spiritual brothers, and I’m only using half of my name, why don’t you use the other half? How does ‘Xander’ suit you?” The cat murred at him in satisfaction, his back arched as Lys scratched his spine.

                                  “Hello, then, Xander. Sorry I don’t have anything to feed you right now, but you’re probably a barn cat here, so that’s not a problem, is it?” Xander continued to pad away to either groom randomly or rub up against something before returning for more pettings as Lys drank his coffee. Shortly, Sebastian rode up, followed closely by Alex.

                                  “Looks like we’ve all got good timing this morning, all we need is Elliott- Oh, never mind.”

                                  “Alex caught up to me and I was able to ride the rest of the way,” he said, stepping out of the passenger side, as Sebastian removed his helmet and Alex closed the driver’s side door behind himself. Lys set down his empty mug and was about to stand up when he got a better look at Elliott and broke into laughter, flopping onto his back. Elliott regarded him curiously until he looked at himself as well and chuckled, facepalming. Alex and Sebastian took a moment longer to see the hilarity, and Sebastian pulled out a cigarette and lit it, tucking his gloves into his helmet and setting it on his bike.

                                  “Seriously, mate, what are the odds we would do that?” Similar to Lys, Elliott had chosen trousers and waistcoat in beige with a dark blue shirt, although Lys wore something closer to sapphire blue while Elliott had navy.

                                  “In fairness, it seems that we both have a preference for neutrals with a splash of color. Easy to coordinate and update or change as needed. Which raises the issue that normally etiquette demands that one of us go home and change, and we’re already at your place,” he smiled, in good humor about it.

                                  “Nah, can’t be arsed. We’ll be twins today. Just let me- Oh come on, Xander, you’re not helping.” Xander had hopped onto Lys’s chest and licked him on the nose before settling down into the fuzzy “breadloaf” pose of a happy cat.

                                  “Who is your new friend?”

                                  “This is Xander, and he’s already being a pain in my ass.”

                                  “Xander? ...Ah, I see, clever.”

                                  “What’s clever?” Alex asked, as Lys poked the cat in the side a couple of times in an attempt to move him with minimum fuss. He then looked at the two of them together and remembered one of his first conversations with Lys.

                                  “Oh, I get it. Heh. Here, let me grab him for you.”

                                  “Noooooo, I’d rather you didn’t.”

                                  “I won’t hurt him.”

                                  “I’m not worried about him. I just don’t want to change because this shirt got blood stains on it. Have you ever moved a cat who didn’t want to be shifted? You have to make them want to move. Don’t you? Yes, you’re an adorable pain in the ass and you’re such a pretty fuzzy- There he goes,” Lys grinned, having given Xander a thorough round of ear and back scratching, as well as attempting to give him a hug. Offended, Xander bounded off and composure-groomed, giving Lys the opportunity to get away.

                                  “Well, we no longer match, since I’m now covered in cat fur. Good thing this doesn’t show up much on a tan shirt,” he remarked as he brushed himself off, “and I’ll be right back while I put away my mug and get my helmet.”

                                  “Take your time, I’m still working on this,” Sebastian said, taking another drag on his cigarette. Lys returned a minute later with the helmet that Sebastian had loaned him and closed the front door.

                                  “Thanks again, and in advance, for the help today. I really didn’t expect everyone to just drop everything and help me finish moving in.”

                                  “It isn’t completely an act of altruism, I find this to be a rare opportunity to get out of town for a little while and change my surroundings. I have been trapped in that cabin for a year now, even though it was a prison of my own construction.”

                                  “Ditto,” echoed Alex, “I’ve been wanting to get out for a little bit but didn’t have a good enough excuse.”

                                  “Same here,” commented Sebastian, blowing a stream of smoke, “this is one of the last times I can get in a good ride before it gets too hot during the day. So don’t worry, we’re all being selfish about this, you’re just a useful excuse.”

                                  “Funny as it sounds that actually makes me feel better. Here, Alex, gimmie your phone, I’ll plug the location into your map and Sebastian and I will follow.”

                                  “Hang on a sec, here you go. Hey, I didn’t know you knew how to ride, cool.”

                                  “Hunh? Oh, no, I don’t, this is a spare helmet that ‘Bas loaned me. I do intend to learn one of these days, though; a bike would make it easier to get around town since I am a bit far out. And it would give me the freedom to get back into the city if I have errands. There, here’s where we’re going. Ready?”

                                  “Yeah, I’m finished, gimmie a sec to gear back up.” Like before, Sebastian ground out the last of the ember on the heel of his boot and put the remains in a tin to discard later, and pulled his gloves out of his helmet. “Oh, wait, are you- Okay, you wear Docs, same as Abby, nifty. Just making sure you’re at least wearing decent shoes, since I don’t have spare gloves or a riding jacket.”

                                  “Even if you did it wouldn’t matter. I’m a little wider in the shoulders than you are and taller.”

                                  “Point, so a riding jacket wouldn’t protect you in the right places anyway. Well, this is a faster and longer ride than the trip down the mountain, so like last time, just relax and don’t shift your weight. Since we’ll be following Alex that gives us a bit of breathing room from unusual traffic. If at any point you don’t feel comfortable or need me to pull over just tap me, since I won’t be able to hear you over the bike and wind.” Lys tucked his hair into the helmet so it wouldn’t get tangled during the ride and raised the visor.

                                  “Got it. Well, I’m ready, let’s head out.”

                                  The ride out to the storage unit was lovely. The spring air was warm and clean, even once they reached the city, and Lys enjoyed the exhilaration of the treble rush of wind and the bass rumble of the bike, a two-part harmony of sensation. He completely understood why Sebastian liked this, and was determined to learn for himself. Fortunately, in a strange stroke of luck, the storage site was on the side of the city closest to Pelican Town, and Lys dismounted at the gate to enter the PIN that would allow them access to the yard.

                                  “Unit 314,” he told Alex once they had entered the gate, pointing in the correct direction, and upon arrival, re-entered his access code to open the unit.

                                  Was this really all that there was in my life? There’s more to living than material possessions, but was I really worth so little?

                                  “It’s mostly books, so the boxes are small but heavy.”

                                  “Got it. Hey, Elliott, Sebby, you two load and Lys and I will hand everything up to you.”



                                  It took less than half an hour to shift everything and securely tie it down. He didn’t have anything that was fragile or shaped strangely, so it all stacked neatly and snugly in the back of the pickup. Going back in one last time, he picked up the final item that Alex had respectfully left alone.

                                  Harmony. I’ll hear you sing again soon, once I’m strong enough to listen.

                                  Hooking the strap of the old, battered case over his shoulder, he walked out into the sunlight and sighed.

                                  “That’s all of it. I’ll go let the front office know and get everything closed. Elliott, here, I can’t take this on the bike and I don’t want to risk it in the back of the truck.” He handed over Harmony and felt a twinge of hesitation as he did so, for which he quickly snarled at himself.

                                  You ass, Elliott is one of the few people with whom you can trust this. He realized that he was still gripping the carry strap and released it, remanding Harmony into Elliott’s custody.

                                  “Sorry, just had a moment… Harmony and Resonance are probably the only two things I have that actually mean something to me. Everything else in that unit and house… They’re just possessions. Those two, though, they’re, well...part of me, I guess.” Elliott said nothing and flashed him a smile, pleased to be trusted with something so precious.

                                  A little over an hour later they were back at the farm and had completely unloaded the truck, which had been considerably faster than loading and securing it. Everything was haphazardly stacked in the living room, save for Harmony, which was set on the kitchen table. Alex looked satisfied with his work, having enjoyed “an unexpected ‘arms day’,” and left once everything was unloaded. He would meet up with them later for practice, as he was interested in Lys showing him how to use some of the equipment, but before that he had some other things to take care of himself. Elliott and Sebastian had nothing else of import to accomplish before practice, and stayed around to share a coffee while they waited for Abigail and Sam to reply back. Lys enjoyed the company, but Elliott and Sebastian could feel the slight tension in the room that Lys tried to hide.

                                  “Go on. We both know you need to,” Elliott said, nodding toward Harmony.

                                  “Hunh? Well...I…”

                                  “Like a bandage, just rip it off,” Sebastian piped up, lounging in his chair, “you clearly want to open that case. Get it out of your system.”

                                  “...I just don’t want to...in front of….”

                                  “I said it yesterday and it appears that I must say it again today: we’re your friends.” Hesitantly, Lys opened the catches to the hard case that protected his grandfather’s guitar. Inside was a lovely maple-gold guitar with a dark rosewood neck, bearing the slight scuffing and marking of a well-used and well-loved instrument. Like Resonance, the name “Harmony” had been carefully written in gold pen where the body met the neck. Elliott and Sebastian remained quiet Lys picked it up and retrieved the pick from where it had been stored in the frets, the same way he had with Resonance. Plucking the first string Lys winced at how badly out of tune it was, and hummed to himself as he adjusted all six strings. Again he hesitated, pick in his fingers, but relaxed as Elliott reached out and squeezed his hand in silent support.

                                  Harmony was brighter than Resonance, but its sound was just as beautiful, as Lys played the song that he had before, the last time for his grandfather, and he remembered that night. It hurt, it burned, it stung, but somehow, the pain eased a bit, as if the music gave it a chance to bleed away, even though it left a cold emptiness in its wake. When he finished he gripped the pick tightly in his fist, blinking back tears, and carefully set Harmony on the table in case he dropped it.

                                  “...Sorry, it still hurts. That sound, it’s…” He stood up to leave the room and stopped when Elliott got up as well, grabbing him by the wrist.

                                  “It will for a while, but don’t run from it. That will only make it worse.” Lys released his grip on the pick, which had bitten into his palm and left a red mark, and dropped it on the table before wrapping his arms around Elliott’s waist and burying his face in his shoulder. “I just...need a hug for a moment. Sorry…”

                                  “Don’t be. Take the time you need.” Elliott returned the embrace, and Sebastian spoke up to voice his opinion.

                                  “You had a really bad loss with your grandpa, and again when whatever happened to make you come out here, and it looks like you never took the time to properly mourn or whatever to get it all out of your system. People like Alex are going to tell you to suck it up or something, and that’s only going to make it worse. I’ve been there before, and I won’t tell you how to deal with your problems, but I will tell you that you will need to do something about it sooner rather than later.”

                                  For another minute longer nobody said anything, comfortable in the silence. Lys finally hugged Elliott tightly before letting go and sighing.

                                  “Sorry… Thanks. I needed that. Heh, that’s one of the reasons why I prefer dating guys, we’re taller so we give better hugs. Ah, not that we’re dating, just that...just saying…”

                                  “Not a worry,” Elliott laughed, ruffling Lys’s hair again, “I know what you mean.”

                                  “Bother him for hugs, that’s not my thing,” Sebastian remarked, "you two are taller than I am anyway." Lys cuffed him on the shoulder, finally smiling again.

                                  “That works for me, you’re not cuddly enough. You’re too emo and prickly.”


                                  “Heh. C’mon, let’s get over to the community center. I want to hook up and run a few more things before everyone else gets there.”

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

                                    Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                                    Lys is fab AF lol it's a good match. also my friend just picked up a ginger cat recently and the little guy is already up to all sorts of catlateral antics :rofl: I think you got the behavior spot on. As for the end there, as I've told Magics, feelings are hard for me. but you managed to eek out some emotion from this stone cold heart of mine. that was a very touching scene :cry:
                                      Risukage likes this.
                                    • Risukage

                                      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                      Heeee. Xander is pretty much word-for-word a skinny ginger tabby that we adopted for a while. He was cute and sweet and cuddly and had NO concept of personal space. Imagine that you have just met someone, and you offer a handshake and say, "hi, I'm insert-name-here." He would give you a big hug while giggling, "hi, new friend!" Xander also has a bit of my current cats as well, because they're adorable little nuisances.

                                      As for you, yay! I hate melodrama and overly-emotional stuff for the sake of THE FEELS, so trying to convey a moment like that was finicky, because Elliott is totally the sweet hugs-giving type, and Lys just needs one right now, but I'm trying not to dwell all emo-like or get terribly romantic about it. (...Yet...) Sadly, the easiest part to write is how much it hurts because I've been there and... :-\ I'm a tired, jaded, cynical old sod anymore, so no worries, you're not alone. :p

                                      Tomorrow's update picks up, though, so I hope it makes you laugh, because I sure did. I'm doing some last bits and polish for it, and it'll go up first thing in the morning, once I figure out how alarm clocks work.
                                        Alkanthe and Gabaw like this.
                                      • mrobake

                                        mrobake Zero Gravity Genie

                                        Great chapter as usual, Risukage. Btw, could you please put the stories in spoiler tag for easier navigation and viewing purpose.
                                          Gabaw likes this.
                                        • Risukage

                                          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                          Because I'm amazing and I totes love all of you (yes, even you back there, I see what you're doing...I like it...), I went back and added tags for ALL of the posts for easier readability. And this is on my second glass of stout, so that's how much I like you people. Off to bed with me, will update when I figure out how pants work in the morning, hopefully on the first try.
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