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

    //*Lights cigarette that she stole from Sebastian, inhales deeply, coughs for a prolonged period of time.*//

    “For almost as long as you all have known me you know that I am very flirty and open about affection. This has always been a defensive mechanism. I do enjoy the attention and making people feel good about themselves, but it’s also a useful way to put space in between myself and others. For a long time growing up I was teased and picked on, and because of it I became withdrawn and introverted. At some point I decided to turn it around and be loud and flashy, and it worked; people thought I was just an amusing distraction, not to be taken seriously. I put that mask back on when I got here, because it would let me get close enough to be friends, but also give everyone a ‘safe’ distance from me. I never expected anyone to be interested in me, and I wasn’t going to pursue a relationship. I didn’t think I deserved it, that I wasn’t worthy to be loved.” He paused to chuckle darkly at himself.

    “I dated quite a bit, particularly in college, but only when someone else initiated it, I never approached anyone myself. I took every relationship seriously, and did my best to fulfill their needs, both emotional and physical. Apparently it didn’t take very long for me to develop a reputation as a flighty but skilled lover, and I admit to being rather flattered by it and developing a bit of an ego. Every time a relationship began I made sure to drop the flirty demeanor and focus exclusively on that person, because I respected them and wanted no misunderstandings. This went on for several years, and I was happy with who and what I was. I hadn’t had anything successful longer than a few months, but every breakup had always been amicable and mutual; no hard feelings either way. It was simply that we had enjoyed each other’s company for the time being, but couldn’t see any long-term status benefiting us both. I always used protection and got checked regularly, so I saw no harm in just having fun.”

    Sighing, Lys ran a hand through his hair and took a moment to compose himself before he continued.

    “And then last year I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in several years. We picked up the friendship again, and after a little while I asked if we could take it further. He agreed, and for the first time I felt really happy about being with someone. We were comfortable together. At least for a few months. Then he began to get distant and less interested in, well, being physically intimate. I didn’t think much of it at first; we were both busy with classes and other activities, so I didn’t press the issue. But after another month or so I began to get annoyed and worried. He told me not to be concerned, that he just needed a bit of time to sort through a few things, but he began to stop responding to texts and calls for days at a time. So, one day I decided to confront him about it.”

    Lys paused again to regain his composure, sniffing as he blinked back tears, reliving the pain of the memories that had haunted him for so long.

    “It was stupid of me. I should have waited, tried to talk to him in private. But I was impatient and angry, and I stopped him in public. We started out calm but eventually the conversation escalated and became a full-out argument. I won’t repeat what was said; it’s not important, and to be honest it’s nobody’s business. But the gist of it was that he wasn’t interested in men after all, and having heard of my reputation, wasn’t certain that I was someone he wanted to be with. Naturally, I was angry and hurt by this, and beginning to get embarrassed by the attention we were attracting.”

    He was quiet for a moment, and Elliott reached over to brush Lys’s fingers with his own, earning the flicker of a smile as Lys maintained that soft contact, just enough to help him continue.

    “And then it hit the breaking point. I don’t remember what was said, but it hurt, right to the core, and in that moment I lashed out. I hurt and I wanted him to feel it, too. I wasn’t as strong then as I am now, but he wasn’t, either. He was basically Sebastian’s build, so he’s lucky I didn’t hurt him worse. He went down in one hit, bleeding. Before I could do anything else one of our friends ran up and hit me hard enough to rattle my teeth. I might have calmed down and tried to apologize, but after that…”

    Pausing again, he took a deep, ragged breath and pinched the bridge of his nose, biting his lip to hold back further tears.

    “You saw it just now, and like it was back then, I was too angry to think clearly, and I’m always irrational when I’m hurt. All together, and after such a deep, personal blow to my ego and self-esteem, I fought back. I remember it like a dream, like I was watching it happen and not actually there. It was four against one and I was only able to hold my own because nobody there was properly trained in how to fight, and they were all just trying to stop me somehow. Someone got lucky and knocked me down, sat on me, and tried to choke me out. You weren’t the first to try, Alex, but you were the only person who pulled it off; he was unskilled, and I had just enough coordination and anger to throw him off and get to my feet. The mist of rage finally cleared and I saw what I had done. All of the pain and suffering I had caused, all of which could have been prevented if I had just been patient and waited. I saw the look of fear on his face as he saw what I truly was… And I ran. I’ve never run that hard or that far, and by the time I got to my apartment I was dizzy and exhausted and my lungs burned like fire. Everything burned; my mind, my body, my emotions… It hurt too much, I hated myself, I was so stupid and I had ruined it all. I went into the kitchen and…”

    With a sob, he curled up on himself, shoulders shaking, nails digging into his sleeves. Twice he tried to say something, but nothing came out. Hands shaking, he reached up to unsnap the choker, dropping it carelessly, removed his bracelets, and rolled back his sleeves. He looked up at everyone and showed his arms, revealing the thin, white scars on his neck and wrists. A collective gasp and muted swears of shock rippled through the group.

    “I don’t remember what happened. The next thing I recall was waking up on the kitchen floor. There was blood everywhere. I was still holding the knife. I don’t know who called them, but paramedics were trying to patch me together. My only thought was, ‘why are you doing this? Why won’t you just let me die?’ I faded in and out of consciousness for the next few hours, and woke up in the hospital. I was there for a couple of weeks before I had recovered enough to be released. ...And once they were certain I wouldn’t try it again. For another month or so I stayed in my apartment and shut myself off from the rest of the world. I had to get away from everyone, from everything. Then I found the letter that my grandfather had given to me just before he passed away, willing to me the deed to his farm. So I ran away and came here. I tried so hard to leave behind everything, tried to leave my old self behind, but I still brought it all with me and screwed it all up again. Stupid. I’m just such a damn idiot.”

    He slammed a fist into the ground, tears running down his cheeks.

    “I don’t know why I tried to kill myself. I don’t know why I thought I could come here and change. I don’t know why I thought for a moment I deserved to be loved. Completely useless, dumb, stupid, idiotic…”

    With a growl of anger, Alex suddenly reached out and roughly grabbed Lys by the shoulders, dragging him to his feet.

    “Alex- Ow! What are you-”

    “Don’t you ever call yourself stupid again!” Too surprised to answer, Lys stared back at Alex, trying to formulate a reply. “You got hurt and had nobody to talk to or help you out. You thought you were completely alone in that moment, didn’t you? That in a flash of anger and pain the world was completely against you. You always solve your problems, and for one moment you saw a way to make it stop hurting. I don’t agree with it, but I understand why.” Alex released him and he still found himself unable to answer, then felt the strong warmth of Elliott’s arms around him from behind. He leaned into his partner’s touch as Elliott examined his wrist quietly, gently running a thumb over the scar.

    “Do you know what I see?” he asked, and Lys shook his head silently. “I see someone who is too strong. Someone who has always had to lock part of themselves away because nobody else is willing to understand. Someone who makes it a personal mission to protect everyone because he loves them and wants to ensure their safety and happiness. And even when it all crumbled and you had to fight those you cared about you never once blamed them; you turned your rage inward because you felt weak. Weak, because you were unable to resolve the situation any other way, and you took it out on the one person you could fight: yourself. And even when you tried to destroy yourself, what you saw as the source of pain in others, you were still too strong, and survived. You could have tried to end it again, or tried to re-open wounds and make contact with them, but you didn’t. You left to find yourself, to start over, to find answers. You could have stayed in that apartment, alone, but you had the strength to decide to make a change. I’m glad that you moved here, because I got to meet you, and I am greater for it.”

    “...I tried to hurt you.”

    “I provoked you.”

    “I very nearly hit you.”

    “But you didn’t. Even in that moment of fury you had enough self-control to deflect aside.” Sebastian approached Lys and took a good look at the scar on his neck, silently tracing it on himself.

    “Damn, you really don’t do anything in half-measures, do you?” He sighed and hooked his thumbs in his belt loops. “I think that this is it for today. Give me the keys, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

    “What?” Sebastian gave Lys a look of sympathy.

    “I’ll lock up. Go home, you’re a mental mess right now, and we sorta helped cause it. Take tonight to sort yourself out and we’ll meet up again tomorrow. You just ripped open a massive scar of emotional trauma and need time to put yourself back together, which I don’t think you can do with all of us hanging around. I’m not giving you grief about this, I’m saying it as a friend that’s concerned about you.”

    “...Yeah. You’re right.” Lys gave the keys to Sebastian and took back the choker and bracelets as Abigail handed them over, putting them back on, and swaying on his feet as Sam hugged him. Haley kissed him on the cheek and squeezed his shoulder supportively. Alex ruffled Lys’s hair with a smile.

    “I’ll catch you in the morning like usual. Sorry I had to drop you like that, but you were seriously close to kicking my ass.”

    “It’s okay, you did what you had to.” Elliott barely stifled a chuckle.

    “How interesting, I said the same thing. Do you think you will be alright, dear?” Lys flexed his bandaged hand gently as he slung Resonance's strap over his head, coalescing his thoughts.

    “...I… Maybe, I think so. If you could walk home with me, I don’t want to be alone just yet. I’m also not sure I can make it back by myself right now, feeling pretty beat.”

    “Anything you ask. Lead the way.” Elliott grabbed his satchel and fell into step next to Lys, who fumbled for Elliott’s hand as they walked, gripping it tightly, needing that mental anchor to keep himself going.

    “I’m sorry I hid so much from you. It was insulting and condescending of me to think that you couldn’t or wouldn’t understand. That was extremely wrong of me.”

    “I am no longer angry about that. Rather, now that I know what it was you hid I know why you chose to lock it all away. It seems that it hurt you worse to tell the story than it was for me to hear it. I am sorry for pressuring you so rudely.”

    “It’s okay. I’m… I feel hollow and cold right now, but there’s also a strange lightness now that it’s finally been said.” They said nothing else until they got to his home, and Lys stopped in the middle of the room, lost in thought again. Elliott put a cautious hand on his shoulder.

    “If you are doing better I’ll go. I don’t want to intrude.”

    “No, I…” He weakly wrapped Elliott in a soft hug, slowly feeling the pain and cold drain away. “Stay, here. Tonight. I need you.”

    “Are you sure-” Lys’s kiss silenced him, but there was something demanding and urgent that hadn’t been there before.

    “Stay, please. I want you.” Elliott’s smile gained a sultry air as he unsnapped and tossed aside the choker.

    “I was wondering when you would ask…”
      Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
      Gabaw and Alkanthe like this.

      WATERTHOOOOOSSEE Phantasmal Quasar

      Im sure that Seb's cigarettes are chemically enchanced...
      like uranium...baking powder...acid and all the stuff you can imagine!
        Risukage and Gabaw like this.
      • Gabaw

        Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

        Oh. s**t. Well that was worth the wait to put it lightly. I need a cig after that too and I don't even smoke! It's strange how we tear ourselves down like that isn't it :p It was just a squabble and a fist fight at the end of the day but it meant a lot more than that. On that note, Lys should take up boxing if he hasn't already :rofl: who knows, it might help him control that hot streak. tho even Alex wouldn't stand a chance then... okay, psychological issues come first, then the punching.
          Risukage likes this.
        • Risukage

          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

          His cigs? Nah, they're just the regular hipster-style flavored ones. However, I'm a lush, not a smoker. And yeah, @Gabaw, it took him long enough, didn't it? Good think he doesn't have any close neighbors... But yeah, sometimes the worst enemy one can have is themselves, and the best gift is someone who understands you completely and without reservations. Boxing, though? Nah, he's got the wrong build for it. Besides, he already knows Tai Chi, which is honestly better for managing and tempering one's, well, temper. He needs to guide and focus himself, not get even more crazy-strong, yeah? :p In the meantime, Elliott can deal with all of the fallout from the mental issues and provide the supportive hugs that Lysander will need. ...Among other needs. *Coughs again.*
            Gabaw likes this.

            WATERTHOOOOOSSEE Phantasmal Quasar

            You need to get James (From Experiencing Freedom) To fight Lys,that is the true battle of the century.
              Gabaw, ApertureGaming011 and Risukage like this.
            • Risukage

              Risukage Giant Laser Beams

              *Laughs.* Now that I'd like to see as well! However, James is a trained Soldier with mods, and Lysander is, well, a sexy dancer. So unless he's gonna try to seduce James with some sweet moves, he's gonna need some massive upgrades first. :D

              Seriously, though, that is hilarious, +1 for you.
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              • ApertureGaming011

                ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                OH MY GOD I GOT SPONSORED THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE OH MY GOD *Passes out on laptop, breaking screen.
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                • Risukage

                  Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                  //Well, that was a bit of a surprise, yeah? Now that THAT mess is out of the way, what other shenanigans are our eager protagonists going to face? We'll find out later. For now, a bit of domestic fluff, because right now Lysander needs that and so do I. And I don't care if Elliott's dialogue is wonderfully bad, that's the idea; that he's so comfortable with himself and his partner that he's confident enough to say exactly what's on his mind, and what's on his mind is seeing them smile and be happy. He has so much love for someone that it's hard to contain it, and he doesn't want to. All of the marriage candidates have great/cute dialogue after you get married, but his is probably the most endearing because you get the feeling that every line is delivered with an honest smile and a hug. And every one of you knows that he gives the best hugs. THE. BEST.

                  Lys, though, he's just a doofus that enjoys bad flirts and innuendo to make you laugh. Different sides of the romantic coin. :)//

                  For the first time in some time Lys woke from dreams, not nightmares. He lingered on a particularly nice one until he realized that it wasn’t a dream, and he wasn’t alone.

                  I remember now, yesterday I finally told him everything. And because of that I was finally able to give him everything…

                  Relaxing, he let his mind drift and feel every part of himself as enjoyed Elliott’s solid warmth around him, tucked into the curve of his partner’s body, one arm wrapped around him. He had to get up, but he had time; he wanted to take just a few minutes to etch this moment into memory. Carefully, trying not to wake Elliott, he slipped out of bed, resisting the urge to brush the strawberry-blonde hair out of his face; he wasn’t sure how deeply Elliott slept, and he would have plenty of time for that later. As quietly as possible he dressed for his run, re-tied his hair neatly, reflexively reached onto the dresser for his choker, and paused in self-reflection at the habit, as well as noticing that it wasn’t there.

                  Not anymore. I don’t need it any longer. Thank you, love.

                  Giving Xander a quick pat on the back, his four-footed companion trotted past him, bounded lightly onto the bed, and curled up next to Elliott, purring with surprising intensity. Lys smiled fondly at the two of them before leaving, stretching once before settling into a slow, easy jog to the plaza. Alex was kneeling with his back to Lys, retying his shoes. Feeling particularly energetic, he loped over quietly and pounced, wrapping his arms around Alex’s neck and legs around his waist.

                  “Gotcha! Good morning!” Alex was nearly knocked flat by the unexpected glomp but stood up with insulting ease, with Lys still holding onto him like a backpack.

                  “So what, today is gonna be a weight-training run? You’re awfully perky this morning. I didn’t expect you to be up this early or doing this well.”

                  “I slept well. As much as I looked like total crap yesterday, it did feel good to finally get all of that off of my chest. Keeping it in and hidden from everyone was slowly killing me. I feel like a new person.” He gave Alex a friendly noogie and slid off, adjusting his clothes as his cousin gave him a wide grin.

                  “You look like it. Hey, you’re not wearing your choker. It’s weird seeing you without it.”

                  “I don’t need it. I’m not hiding anything anymore.”

                  “Well, time to burn off some of that energy. Today is sprints, so let’s see how long your cheerfulness lasts.”

                  Still feeling pumped up from his run and the morning in general, Lys tried to temper it as he re-entered his home, seeing that Elliott was still asleep. He wasn’t that deep in slumber, however, as the quiet shuffling of fabric from Lys taking off his running jacket was enough to wake him. Propping himself up on one elbow, he scratched Xander’s ears and gave Lys a languid, satisfied smile.

                  “Good morning, dear. Feeling better?”

                  “Love, you have no idea. I don’t ever want to go through a dry spell like that again.” He sat down and dislodged Xander as he did so, kicking off his shoes and pulling his shirt off over his head. “I feel better than I have in years. Though part of that is who I woke up next to.” He leaned over to brush Elliott’s lips with a quick kiss before tossing his shirt in the laundry bin and his jacket over one of the bedposts.

                  “I think that I could get used to waking up like this as well,” Elliott replied, slowly tracing a finger from Lys’s shoulder down to his hip.

                  “You could always move in here,” Lys joked, and hid a look of surprise as Elliott considered the offer seriously.

                  “It is something that had crossed my mind…” Leaning over with a sassy grin, he wound a lock of Elliott’s hair around his finger.

                  “Well, the thing that has crossed my mind is that I’m fire and you’re water, so why don’t we go catch a shower so things can get properly steamy?” Laughing heartily, Elliott flopped back onto the pillows with a hand over his eyes.

                  “You are fortunate that I’m already dating you because your flirts are terrible.”

                  A while later Lys scrubbed a towel over his hair, getting it closer to “not-quite-damp” rather than “dry.”

                  “I’ll go start some coffee while you finish up, love. Take your time.”

                  “I’ll be done in a moment. Ah, your hand, how is the bandage holding up?”

                  “It’s still good, looks like Harvey knows his stuff. I don’t think it will come off until it needs to.” He found a fresh pair of pants and fastened them as he walked into the kitchen, trying not to trip when Xander weaved between his legs and rubbed up against his ankles. The pain and noise in his head were gone; no more angry buzzing, no more self-recrimination. Humming to himself, he set the coffee to steep in the press and located two clean cups.

                  Two. It’s been a while since I’ve had more than one out at once. Not since he and Sebastian visited a couple of months back. Have I really been that alone?

                  Elliott strolled in as Lys poured the coffee, brushing aside Lys’s hair to nuzzle his neck and run a finger across his shoulders. Lys gasped and jumped, feeling a pleasant electric tingle.

                  “One night and you already know just how to get the best responses from me?” he asked, handing over one of the cups. Elliott had also retrieved his trousers, as well as his shirt, though he left it unbuttoned and the sleeves rolled up past his elbows.

                  “Not completely, no, and while I look forward to many opportunities to find out more, I am happy to take my time in doing so.” Leaning back against the counter, Lys sipped his coffee, holding the cup in both hands and enjoying the slow warmth it released.

                  “So… You’re okay with us being…”

                  “If I weren’t then I would not have taken your offer to walk you home yesterday. As I said, I was wondering when you would get around to suggesting it.”

                  “Heh. Funny thing is that I was waiting for you to ask, since I wasn’t sure how comfortable you would be with getting intimate so soon. Although,” he chuckled into his cup and took another sip, “absolute truth, when we first met? That line about earrings and such? I was covering for the fact that I was thinking about how you were crazy hot and I wanted some of that.” Elliott laughed as well, giving Lys that warm smile that was his alone.

                  “I can see how you were reaching for a more socially acceptable topic for a first meeting. And I suppose that I should confess that my initial impression was that I wanted to get to know you further as well, in addition to exploring...other possibilities.”

                  “It’s interesting, and sorta frustrating, that only now we’re finally on the same page. Sorry it took me so long to finally open up about my past. I should have trusted you more, but-” Elliott took Lys’s coffee cup and set aside with his, interrupting his partner and creating a soft silence in the kitchen, only breaking it when he allowed Lys to catch his breath again.

                  “Do not apologize for it any further. I fully understand your suffering and fear of losing everything. Regardless of how long it took for us to get here, it is not the destination I seek, it is the journey, and I want to walk it by your side from now on.”

                  “You have a very annoying habit of being correct so often, but I think I’ll learn to live with it.” He retrieved his cup and returned Elliott’s, finishing what was left quickly. “But for now, I’ve got to get to the garden, there’s a few things I need to do before I can run off and enjoy the day.”

                  “Would my assistance be of use or will I be in your way?”

                  “I don’t know if you’ll make it go faster, but it will be nicer. C’mon, I’ll show you around.” Outside, Lys rubbed his arms for a moment against the morning chill, but the coffee was already working, the sun was up, and he had put on a work shirt.

                  “Now that it’s fall I was going to put in sunflowers over there. I’ve wanted to do that for a while now and it’s satisfying to finally get around to it. One of these days I’ll also do roses, once I have an area set aside that I think they’ll look nice. I’m also doing well so far with what I’m growing. I’ve been thinking of getting a motorcycle for myself, since Sebastian’s lessons have paid off and I know what I’m doing. It would be nice to have the freedom to get out and about a bit more. And I’m confident enough to have a passenger, too,” he hinted without any trace of subtlety.

                  “It has been too long since I left the confines of this town. The last time I had done so was retrieving the last of your belongings from storage, and before that… My memory fails me. I support your decision, if anything else for the selfish desire to escape this place for a little while.”

                  “I think it’s a journey I’ll enjoy having with you.”

                  As Lys dressed for the day back in the house, he realized that Elliott didn’t have a change of clothes, who didn’t seem terribly bothered by it and re-dressed as he had the day before.

                  “It is of no issue, I will stop by my home now and change my attire.” Lys put on his necklace and bracelets, this time pushing the sleeves back partway up his forearms.

                  “I’ll go with you; I’m done here. Just gimmie a few minutes to brush and re-tie my hair and grab Resonance.”

                  “Here, I’ll do that for you,” Elliott offered, taking the brush and working it gently but efficiently.

                  “Thanks, love. I guess we should keep a spare set of clothes at each other’s place, yeah? We are a bit far apart.” He handed Elliott the bit of ribbon he used to keep his hair back, which then was neatly and firmly tied in place. “Thanks again. Right, sunglasses, and then- Oh, you know…” On the dresser was the pair of half-rim silver glasses that he hadn’t worn in months. “Want to try these? They’re not prescription, they just have some anti-glare and anti-UV coatings, good for things like computer monitors or when you don’t want to wear sunglasses for some reason. You really should wear something with your lighter eyes, especially next to the ocean like that.” Elliott took the glasses, having just fastened the buttons on his wrists, and put on the offered item, which produced a lip-biting grin of delight from Lys. He picked up his satchel and put a fist on his hip, ready to leave, amused at his partner’s reaction.

                  “You appear to approve.”

                  “Yeah, well, I’ve got a bit of a glasses fetish, and those look so good on you. They match your earrings, too. Onward, then?”

                  Back at the cabin, Elliott unbuttoned his waistcoat and shirt as he walked toward the bedroom, followed by Lys, who watched with no small amount of interest and flopped on the bed, sprawling out comfortably.

                  “I think I could see myself waking up here now and then as well,” he leered, as Elliott shook his head fondly and shrugged out of his shirt and set it aside, reaching for a clean one. Folding his arms behind his head and staring at the ceiling, Lys sighed thoughtfully. “You know, Sebastian was right. I said that I couldn’t let go, but really, I wouldn’t. I was so scared and hurt that it all wrapped up together in a giant tangle that I was even more scared of to try and un-tangle. For as much pain as I was in, it was more terrifying to imagine things being even worse. But it was all just my imagination. It wasn’t my memories that were the source of pain, it was myself. And now...I’m free. I’m myself again, I’m more than I used to be, and I’m happy with that.” With his shirt buttoned but untucked, Elliott sat down next to Lys and leaned over him, lacing the fingers of one hand with his partner’s.

                  “Though your fire is no longer wild and uncontrolled like it was before, it now burns brighter and more warmly. You were my light in the darkness, but now you are my light of day.” Laughing, Lys grabbed Elliott’s collar and pulled him down.

                  “You know that you can’t say romantic fluff like that without me doing something about it.” Elliott quite enjoyed the energy and intensity of Lys’s kiss, but sat up when he felt him unbuttoning his shirt.

                  “Save that for later, we have places to be. Ah, you naughty thing! Later, I said,” he smiled, standing up and slapping away Lys’s hands as he began unbuttoning his shirt from the bottom up instead.

                  “You promise?” Lys grinned, rolling over on his stomach and putting his chin in his hands as he watched Elliott fix and tuck in his shirt and reach for his waistcoat.

                  “Your libido appears to have very few boundaries.”

                  “It usually does, but it’s been a while since I was getting any regularly, and you’re hot. Deal with it.”

                  “I will deal with it later tonight, then. Let’s go before we’re late.”
                    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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                  • Gabaw

                    Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                    Finally looks like Lys is breathing easy again. and with him all of us too :rofl: and Elliot no doubt. a little too easy if that last bit is any thing to go by :p knowing you tho it's def not over!
                    • Risukage

                      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                      //Damn, I'm really glad that I had that writing buffer, because I blew straight through it; only got this finished a little bit ago because last week I had a case of crippling anxiety about, like EVERYTHING. Fortunately, though, I got today's done and almost all of Wednesday's update, so it looks like I finally pushed past the whiny, emo stage I got stuck in. UGH.

                      On an editorial note, the reason I reference him knowing/using Tai Chi is because 1) I studied it for a year or so, 2) it's excellent for balance and exercise, and 3) it's what Waterbending was based on in Avatar: The Last Airbender, so Lys finding a synergy between that and the ocean currents amuses me greatly. Seriously, when I was watching the show for the first time I remarked often to my husband, "you know, I know those forms, did they really?..." Later I caught an interview with the creators who talked about the martial arts styles that were used for each element type, and I was delighted to be proven correct. Which brings me to a similar point; should I ever get around to finishing this story, I've got one in mind where magic is (accidentally?) introduced to Pelican Town, and our current characters get mixed up in an adventure to fix things and discover the source of this magic and its purpose. It's still in the stage of "cool scenes I've thought of" and "basic story and premise," but it could be fun. I'll only give it a shot if I get enough interest, though; there are several other magic-based stories here and I really don't want to over-saturate the market, so to speak. :D//

                      Stepping brightly out onto the sand, Lys tugged playfully at Elliott, throwing him off balance, then swinging the both of them around into an impromptu dance.

                      “You are almost too cheerful, dear, but I haven’t the heart to reprimand you.”

                      “Sorry, it’s just that after this last week I feel so alive. Summer is over and the world is going to get cold and dark, but I’ll be there to warm and light it from now on.” He whirled away a few steps and stopped, looking out over the ocean.

                      I’m still here. Despite everything I have survived. But there’s still one last thing…

                      Resolutely, he set Resonance down on the sand, took a deep breath, and stepped onto the pier. Elliott watched him silently, understanding what Lys was doing and why it needed to be done. His first steps were almost shaky, but as he kept walking he began to feel the rhythm and creak of the wood under his feet, shifted by the weight and flow of the ocean. At the end he stood: feet apart, shoulders relaxed, and eyes closed as he listened to and felt the sway of the Gem Sea underneath him.

                      There… There it is, the pulse of the water, the heartbeat of the sea. I can feel it now. I’m used to my fire; bright and nimble, ever-changing and mercurial. But this, it’s steadfast and regular. You fight fire; you constantly dance with it because if you don’t pay attention for a moment you’ll get burned. But this, you let it guide you. You don’t push against it or change direction quickly. The energy moves and flows, and you ride it. I understand now.

                      Taking another deep breath and letting it out slowly, with eyes still closed, he began moving through one of the Tai Chi forms, much to Elliott’s shock, who almost dashed forward until he saw that Lys was balanced and centered; he knew exactly where he was and where he needed to be, dancing with the ebb and sway of the water.

                      I can feel it now, I understand. ...I’m not afraid…

                      Laughing with joy at this revelation he spiraled out of the form and pushed himself up onto one of the pylons, balancing on one foot with the other tucked behind, arms outstretched and face to the sky, feeling the wind above and the water below.

                      I feel like I’m flying. I’m free.

                      “Dear! Are you sure you-”

                      “I’m not afraid anymore,” Lys whispered, “I can feel the water now, I know how it moves. I can dance with it. And because of that, I think I understand you better, too.” He turned and leapt down, sweeping Elliott up into a hug that lifted him off of the pier for a moment. “I’m not scared of myself or my scars, of the past or the future. I’m here with you and I can’t ask for anything else. Now let’s get going,” he smiled as he picked up Resonance again, with a gentle warmth that Elliott hadn’t seen before, “I’ve kept us waiting long enough with my random acts of introspection.”

                      The community center was already unlocked and in use by the musicians, as Sebastian still had the keys, but Haley and Alex were not yet in attendance. All three present looked up at their arrival, and Sam in particular was excited about it.

                      “Lys, dude! You’re here! Hey, you look- Oh, where’s your choker?” Lys laughed at the first question out of his friend’s mouth.

                      “Alex asked me the same thing this morning, and the answer hasn’t changed; I don’t need it anymore. See?” he asked, showing the pushed-back sleeves, “nothing to hide. I’m not embarrassed or afraid of them anymore. They’re a part of who I am. Also, I didn’t say it yesterday, but sorry for snapping at you like that. You were trying to cheer me up and my reaction was completely uncalled for. Thanks for being a friend.” As expected, Sam bounced up and tackled Lys with a hug, which he reciprocated hard enough to make Sam gasp for breath.

                      “Glad to have you back, dude, ready to rock?”

                      “You have no idea. Let’s make some noise,” he replied, ruffling Sam’s hair and striding over to set down Resonance and pick up the bass guitar.

                      “What, you two didn’t make enough last night?” Sam laughed, and was baffled to see Elliott blush and Lys trip over a mic stand, barely avoiding breaking the equipment. “What’s up with you two, I just-” Comprehension dawned and his face-splitting grin showed nearly all of his teeth, and he nudged Elliott with glee. “No WAY, man! I don’t care where that hand has been, high five!” Elliott returned the gesture, mostly out of reflex and courtesy than conscious effort. Abigail was laughing too hard to comment, and Sebastian was extremely amused.

                      “If that’s the case then I’m quite glad that I didn’t drop by to give back the keys.” Lys stood up and brushed himself off, having regained his composure despite his loss of balance and dignity.

                      “Oh, I don’t think I would have minded, the more the merrier,” he leered with a wink, “though I think Elliott’s a little too shy for something that adventurous just yet.”

                      “What’s adventurous?” asked Alex, who had just walked in, followed by Haley.

                      “Oh, nothing much, Lys was just thinking of teaching Elliott how to dance with another partner,” Sam commented, delighting in Elliott’s discomfiture.

                      “I thought he already knew how to dance.”

                      “Not that kind. You know, the horizontal mambo, the sexy shuffle, the-”

                      “Okay, that is quite enough,” Lys interrupted, pulling Sam’s jacket over his head to shut him up before giving Elliott a supportive hug, “sorry, love, I know you’re not as comfortable discussing or joking about this as I am.” Elliott had nearly turned the color of Lys’s hair, completely embarrassed about the exact nature of their relationship being discovered and discussed in such a manner.

                      “I… I’m not used to discussing such personal matters publicly, even among companions.”

                      “Sorry, dude, didn’t mean to embarrass you,” Sam commented, fixing his coat, “I’m happy for you two, seriously. I was just ruffling your feathers, didn’t think I’d actually hit on something true.”

                      “Quite alright, although if it’s all the same, I’d like to move on now.”

                      “Works for me,” Abigail offered, “can we move to discussing just how hot Elliott is with those glasses, because he totally is.”

                      “I know, right?” enthused Lys, hugging her happily, “it’s like he was already cute but those just make him sexy.”

                      “Yes! Glasses are a hotness multiplier; if someone is average they’re less average, but if they’re already yummy then it makes them exponentially more desirable.”

                      “Exactly! You clearly have your degree in Sexy Math. What about Sebastian? He’s already pretty attractive, what kind of glasses do you think would-” Lys stopped as an idea came to him, and he and Abigail clasped hands as they came to the same conclusion: “horn-rimmed hipster glasses.”

                      “Yes, ohmigosh, yes, Sebby, you would be amazing in hipster specs.” Rubbing his temples with strained patience, he sighed at the overenthusiasm from his friend and girlfriend.

                      “I’m not a goth, I’m not emo, and I’m not a damn hipster.”

                      “Your butt would look great in skinny jeans, mate, just saying.”

                      “You have no idea how much I don’t care, and I’m not a freaking hipster because I’ve never done anything before it was cool, because it was never cool in the first place.”

                      “Then you are a proper hipster, then, because you aren’t doing anything ironically and you genuinely don’t care about what people think. You are the hipster of hipsters.” With a groan of frustration, he put his face in his hands, sighing even more deeply than before.

                      “If he’s always going to be this wound up after he gets laid then I am so quitting this group.”

                      “I’ll be sure to do a better job of wearing him out next time,” Elliott suggested, patting Sebastian’s shoulder in sympathy, earning laughter from Sam and Abigail, and a grin of glee from Lys.

                      “Challenge accepted, love.”

                      “I thought you said a moment ago that you weren’t comfortable discussing this sort of thing, sweetie,” commented Haley, who had finished unpacking her camera and gear.

                      “I adapt quickly, and I was caught by surprise at first. Besides, it appears that the japery has been spread amongst more than just myself, so I feel a bit less self-conscious at the moment.”

                      “Well, like Sam said, I’m happy for you two. It looks like you’ve finally found what you’re looking for; you’ve finished your novel and found someone nice to hook up with. Oh, you said before, but I forgot, any news on when it’ll be published?”

                      “Later this month, actually. I have a few contacts that I was able to tap to guide me in the right direction, and the first copies will be printed in the next few weeks.”

                      “That’s awesome, bro,” supplied Alex, “I really thought you were a massive dweeb but right now you’re the most successful out of us.”

                      “Well, if it wasn’t for Lysander’s input I likely never would have gotten this far, so I cannot claim success on my own, and thusly have listed him as a co-writer.”

                      “What, really? My cousin’s getting credit? Nice! But you’re listed first, yeah?”

                      “Correct. Though I did not use my family name nor a pen name, as I did not feel comfortable using either; we used his for the time being until I believe that I am able to make it on my own without relying on my family’s reputation.”

                      “Hunh, that works, I guess, but couldn’t that be confusing later? Or are you keeping Lys’s name when you get married?”

                      For the second time in less than half an hour Elliott and Lys were struck silent from an unexpected question, and they exchanged a glance of hesitant surprise.

                      “That’s… We haven’t discussed that sort of thing, this was just...” stammered Elliott, and Lys was similarly at a loss for words.

                      “I hadn’t either, I mean, I didn’t think that I was- that we were, ah… Regardless, Alex is right. We still have time to change it before it goes to print, to put your name on it properly so that-”

                      “No. Now that it has been mentioned…” Elliott thought about something and chuckled at it. “You know, ‘Elliott von Morgensonne’ doesn’t sound too bad.” Lys felt his cheeks grow hot as his pulse suddenly raced.

                      I never thought that anyone would ever be interested. Even as companions, despite our work together, it was never even a real possibility in my mind, but now, in this moment…

                      “You know, it sorta does,” he answered, feeling an unusual but satisfying sense of happiness at the thought, “I hadn’t thought about it before.”

                      “I don’t know about anyone else,” interjected Sebastian, not bothering to hide his amusement at Lys’s sudden shyness, “but I’m tired of being the side character in a shoujo manga. I thought we were here to play, not gossip.”

                      “You’re right, mate, sorry, we got really sidetracked. Let’s get started.”
                        Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
                        Gabaw and Alkanthe like this.
                      • Gabaw

                        Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                        I'm glad you're out of your slump. In a major way it seems with this chapter lmao :rofl: they're really up on each other left and right these days. also favorite line of the chap "You have no idea how much I don’t care". Seb strikes again :p
                          Risukage and Alkanthe like this.
                        • Risukage

                          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                          //A few people have wondered why some people think that Abigail and Sebastian would or should hook up. Well, I kinda think that they could, and today we find out a little bit of why. There's not a lot of in-game reasons, but the subtext or implications could be there depending on interpretation. This is my take, and it helps me flesh out both of them a little more, as I still feel that they're a bit two-dimensional the way I've written them so far. Not enough "on camera" time to really develop them properly.

                          Also, I don't think that anyone here cares, but I've finally uploaded this entire thing to Archive of Our Own. That took quite a while! If for some reason you want to follow it over there, just follow this finely-crafted link and you'll be on your way!


                          I'm updating it there right after it goes live here, so don't worry about one story getting ahead or behind the other. The only real difference, TBH, will be any comments and commentary. And a bit of formatting. Still considering writing that magic-heavy "sequel." I really need to storyboard it first, though, to see if it's even possible...//

                          As they finished cleaning up for the night, Lys approached Abigail with an idea.

                          “I was thinking that I could teach you how to use that sword and some basic combat forms, maybe before practice starts. Do you think you’d like that?” Her mouth and eyes both went wide, and she gave him a similar full-body hug to the ones that Sam would give him.

                          “You’re amazing, that would be totally awesome.”

                          “Then how about we meet up an hour earlier and see what happens? We can adjust from there.” She bounced with joy and kissed him on the cheek, picking up her bag and almost hopping over to the door, where she surprised Sebastian with an even stronger hug and very meaningful kiss. The dark-haired man staggered for a moment as he watched his girlfriend leave, then shrugged.

                          “You have a strange talent for spontaneously generating affection from others.”

                          “I know, it’s a curse, but I’ve learned to live with it,” he replied. Elliott finished talking with Haley about something, and she, Sam, and Alex left after saying goodbye. Just before he walked out, however, Sam turned to give Elliott double-thumbs-up of approval, grinning again when Elliott sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration at the reminder. Sebastian tapped Lys on the arm as he walked by.

                          “Hey, follow me home. If you’re going to teach Abby I want you to have something.”

                          “Yeah, can do, let’s lock up, then.” Elliott picked up his satchel as Lys retrieved Resonance.

                          “Then I will leave you to that, and I will retire to my cabin once more.” As he gave Lys one last hug, he whispered, “and I will wait up for you.” Lys almost wasn’t able to hide a smile of anticipation, and he closed and locked the door behind all of them.

                          “Off to your place, then, what is it you want to give me?”

                          “One thing of many that nobody knows about me is that I’m a bit of a collector. Specifically, old armor and weapons.”

                          “I would not have guessed that. You don’t have much room there, though.”

                          “I don’t have much, it’s not a big town. But it is old, and it’s interesting what I’ve been able to find.”

                          “I think I see where this conversation is going. You really feel safe arming me against your girlfriend?” he laughed.

                          “I’m arming you so you can teach her how to fight so she can be safe.”

                          “Pardon?” Sebastian sighed and put his hands in his pockets, staring off for a moment as they walked, then pulled out the cigarette pack and a lighter. He passed one over, lit them both, and sighed again.

                          “Yesterday. When you picked that fight with Alex? I was scared. No, that’s not enough, I was terrified. I’m not a fighter.”

                          “Nah, you’re more of a Wizard, really,” Lys joked, to which Sebastian shook his head.

                          “I know you’re trying to be funny about what happened, but I’m serious.”

                          “You’re right, yeah. Sorry, I’m listening.”

                          “When you and Alex went at it I very nearly ran. I didn’t, and I’m not sure why. Maybe I was too scared to. And then when Abby and Sam ducked behind me I… I felt guilty. I wanted to get out of there and save my own skin, but that would have left them potentially in your path. Fortunately, it was all over quickly and nobody noticed, but…” He paused to take a long drag from his cigarette to focus his thoughts. “Abby, though, she wants to fight. She hates all of the old-fashioned expectations her parents have for her, and will do anything that defies the same. And I want her to be able to take care of herself in a bad situation, because I don’t know if I’ll be able to.”

                          “Don’t sell yourself short, you’re probably braver than you give yourself credit for.”

                          “I notice you hedged it with ‘probably.’”

                          “That’s because while I’m getting to know you pretty well and I’m a fairly good judge of personality, I don’t know you that well. Also, when the situation comes down to it, you may surprise yourself. You’re calm and logical, and I think that in a pinch, you’ll retain those qualities.”

                          “You have a point, but Abby is the one that stands up for herself. You know, Sam asked me the other day what I saw in her as something more than just a friend.”

                          “I wondered it myself, but you’ve known her longer than I have.” Sebastian smiled, and Lys recognized it as the one of fondness for someone special, a genuine expression.

                          “For a while I really didn’t. She was just...there. She wasn’t a girl or a guy, she was there, as a friend, and I didn’t really mind because it was sort of nice having someone else to be around. Sam’s a great friend, but sometimes he’s a bit much to deal with by myself. But what changed things is a couple of years ago when she found out I had the motorcycle. I thought it was just the usual fawning over the ‘cool’ things like I’d seen a lot of people do, but when she saw it she asked me the same thing you did: ‘what’s its name?’ She doesn’t know much about automotive engineering or maintenance, but to her, it wasn’t just a machine, it was a well-crafted piece of engineering.” Again he paused to think while he took another drag from his smoke.

                          “She finally saved enough money from her art commissions to pick up a decent tablet so that she can start doing digital work, which is easier, faster, and cheaper to produce and sell. When she showed it to me she remarked that she didn’t want to be a financial burden and wanted to pull her own weight somehow. She’s also never given me grief about staying in my room and coding all the time; she respects that I’m doing actual, paying work, that I don’t do well in the sun and heat, and told me once that she’s a bit jealous that I have a space to myself like that where I’m allowed to do what I want. She gets so much pressure from her parents to conform to their desires and I have so much freedom. And like you, she understands the power of silence. It’s nice to be able to just be around someone, not needing to do or say anything, but enjoying the other person’s presence and being supportive without being demanding.”

                          “This is probably the most verbose I’ve ever heard you, mate,” Lys chuckled, and Sebastian flashed a quick smile of humor in reply, “and I can see where you’re coming from. And you’re also right as well, she wants to get out and fight somehow. Doesn’t really matter what, she just wants to be able to prove to herself that she can successfully defend something or someone. I respect that a lot, and I’m happy to help teach her. Are you sure that you don’t want to learn as well?”

                          “Thanks, Lys, but no. I told you, I’m no fighter, and I’m not embarrassed about it. I’m not so macho and meat-headed that I feel emasculated or insulted by someone looking out for me. Rather, I’m almost confused by it. I mean, who would want to stand up for me?”

                          “I do. I’ll fight for all of you. Though I don’t mind having someone next to me, just in case.”

                          “Then why haven’t you taught Elliott?” Lys was about to answer and caught himself, inhaling on what was left of his cigarette to cover for it. “You were about to say that you didn’t want him to get hurt, weren’t you?”

                          “...Yeah. So technically, you’re a better person because you’re willing to step back and support someone who’s ready to fight. Me, I’m holding back someone who has the will and strength to stand with me, out of the baseless fear that they’ll be hurt.”

                          “It’s not totally baseless, you were hurt pretty bad last year, but you were the one that caused the greatest amount of suffering when it was all said and done. Not calling you out, just saying it like it is. But that’s also why you need to step up and teach Elliott as well; Alex is okay enough for the moment, but if you really care about him, you’ll show him how to stand up for himself, and for you. If you have someone that’s there to support and fight for you as well you’re stronger than trying to take on the world alone, and maybe you’re going to be less likely to go off like that again. Although,” he smirked, “it sounds like the way your relationship has progressed means you should be pretty mellow for a little while.”

                          “You’re both talkative and full of sass today. Who are you and what have you done with the real Sebastian?” he laughed, playfully shoving the shorter man.

                          “It’s all your fault, you know; you’re the one that’s inspiring us all to be better people. I was happy being a lone basement-dweller, and now here I am getting out and trying to be a professional musician. And I finally found the courage to talk to Abby. It’s something I’d thought of for a while, but I didn’t think she was interested. I thought she was just a good friend like Sam, but I’d been oblivious to some of her signals. For the first time in a while I’m really happy about who and where I am. Thanks.”

                          They were finally at Sebastian’s house, and Lys offered to wait outside while Sebastian ran in to retrieve the item he sought. He returned quickly, and Lys gaped at the sword in Sebastian’s grip.

                          “Wait a minute, that looks like-”

                          “Yeah, that’s what threw me when I saw Abby’s, I think they’re a matched pair.”

                          Where Abigail’s was a shortsword, this was a longsword; longer and slightly more slender, with a more pronounced guard and longer hilt. That was where the differences ended, though, as the scabbard was the same ornate yet functional style as its fraternal twin, and the blade was the same meteorite-speckled metal. Lys twirled it much as he had the other one, noticing the difference in feel between the two, but how similar they were in craftsmanship and balance.

                          “Yeah, I think you're right; they're supposed to be matched, either dual-wielded by one person or separately by two partners. This is a loan, right? You’re not-”

                          “Shut up and take it. I’m not going to use it otherwise, and there’s a kind of poetic symmetry to the two of you training together like that.”

                          Lys sheathed the sword, tied it to his belt, and looped the strap around his thigh to stabilize it, noticing that it felt not only comfortable, but somehow right.

                          “I’ll take good care of it, and Abby.”

                          “Thanks. Though it’s getting late,” he noticed, checking his phone and shooting Lys a cheeky grin, “you better hurry if you want to do anything tonight.”

                          “...Say again?”

                          “I heard what Elliott said to you, he’s terrible at being sneaky. Besides, even if I hadn’t I know what you two are thinking of. Get going, get busy, I’ll catch you tomorrow.”

                          At the cabin, Elliott was cleaning up and putting away dishes as Lys entered with a backpack over one shoulder. He dried his hands on a towel and walked over as Lys dropped the bag carelessly by the table.

                          “Good to see you again dear, I-”

                          He wasn’t quite certain exactly how it happened, as the movement had been too fast and fluid for him to track, but he found himself on his back on the floor, glasses askew with Lys sitting astride him, growling happily as he nibbled his neck and began undoing buttons with slow determination.

                          “You said earlier that you were going to try ‘wearing me out.’ If you still plan to give that a try then you are in for a very long but pleasant night.”
                            Gabaw and Alkanthe like this.
                          • MagicallyClueless

                            MagicallyClueless Master Astronaut

                            dang, already about to hit 40 chapters! that's pretty legit : D
                              Risukage and Alkanthe like this.
                            • Gabaw

                              Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                              Sebastian the master of prose :rofl: well it seems that him and abby are getting quite fond of each other tho they're not quite at Lylliot level yet. dat ending tho holy s**t.
                                Risukage likes this.
                              • Risukage

                                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                //Forty chapters? Dang! That is amazing. I really didn't think that either I'd get this far or that it would run this long, and I still have so much more to tell!

                                @Gabaw, yeah, Sebastian can be quite eloquent if he ever speaks. I wonder what other philosophy he's got tucked away... As for Lysander, well, he's a man with NEEDS, mate, and they've not been met in a little while. He'll mellow out in a couple of days. ...Provided Elliott survives that long. And is it Lylliott or Ellisander? Hmm! :)

                                Also, yes, the opening is me riffing on that joke running around the Tumblr-verse that Elliott is secretly a merman, and I find that to be effing hilarious. SO META, WHOO.

                                (Also, I'm out of town right now, and posting this on a tablet is making me stabby. RAAAGE...)//

                                As light slowly filled the room, Lys twitched a bit in his sleep, draped across Elliott. At first it went unnoticed, but the second time he woke the other man, who noticed his partner’s distress and brushed the ginger-red hair out of his face.

                                “Dear, what’s-”

                                Lys woke up and sat up, panting heavily in shock, then glared at Elliott and grabbed him by the shoulders.

                                “You aquatic ninny! I don’t care if you can create an air bubble, that was still terrifying!”

                                “...Good morning to you, too.”

                                Blinking away the last of sleep as reality finally made its presence permanent, Lys sat back on his heels, replaying his remark and the last moments of the dream.

                                “Ah, well then. That was bizarre.”

                                “An explanation would be forthcoming.”

                                Lys rubbed the back of his neck and chuckled at himself.

                                “Sleeping by the ocean makes for weird dreams. I was a sea captain and my ship capsized in a battle with pirates. I fell into the ocean and was rescued by you, who was a merman for some reason, and because of all of the debris you were pulling me deeper to safety, and I was freaking out because even though you’d summoned a pocket of air for me you were still diving further. Hey, quit laughing!” he said, crossing his arms across his chest and pouting a little, “it’s not that funny.”

                                It took Elliott a minute to compose himself, by which time Lys was sitting cross-legged at the foot of the bed, having stolen one of the blankets and wrapped himself in it, giving Elliott a look of annoyance, who deflected it with a fond smile.

                                “Very sorry, dear, but I do so love your imagination.”

                                “It wasn’t that funny.”

                                “No, it wasn’t, it was endearing and sweet. Now why don’t I make it up to you by making you late for your run?” he asked, sliding a hand under the sheet. His ego easily soothed, Lys disentangled himself from the fabric wrapping and leaned into Elliott’s touch as he kissed him warmly.

                                “I brought my running gear with me, I’ve got time.”

                                “Then I will have the time to enjoy making you late.”

                                Despite Elliott’s efforts, Lys was on time for his run with Alex, who noticed the backpack and arrival from a different route, and made a snarky comment about it. For the second time that morning, Lys was annoyed by someone being amused at his expense, and took a friendly swipe at Alex’s shoulder, which prompted a quick sparring match that ended when Alex seized him in a hug that pinned his arms to his sides. The athlete released his cousin to set up the timer for their run while Lys set his backpack someplace out of the way, and like they had nearly every morning for several months, set off side-by-side.

                                Once cleaned up and finished with his chores, Lys dressed for the day as he always did, this time adding the sword to his attire. Again, it felt right somehow. Maybe years of theater and fantasy games had done something unexpected to him. He gave Xander a scratch under the chin, picked up Resonance, and left for the community center. Arriving before anyone else, he propped Resonance up against one of the park benches and went through a few forms until Elliott arrived, followed shortly by Abigail and Sebastian.

                                “It looks like we’ve got a small audience,” Lys observed. Abigail set her bag down next to Resonance while the other two took a seat nearby.

                                “Yeah, I’m so nervous! But this is going to be so cool! Hey- Omigosh, no way. Where did you get that?!” she gasped, finally cognizant of Lys’s weapon.

                                “That’s a secret. But it’ll be a bit more fair and a little easier to teach you if I have my own blade.”

                                “It looks like mine. Oh wow, this is going to be amazing. I’m less worried about hurting you now.”

                                “Mate, you can’t hurt me. I know what I’m doing.”

                                “You’re sure? I mean, I’m glad that you won’t be facing me while unarmed, but I’m still concerned that I’ll do something strange by accident.”

                                Lys drew his sword and settled into a fencing stance; feet shoulder-width apart and right foot ahead, his body turned slightly to the side behind his weapon, which he held loosely but firmly with the point angled down, his left hand in a fist on his hip. His entire posture was relaxed confidence, and his hazel stare one of calculating study.

                                “As it is said in internet parlance, ‘come at me, bro.’”

                                Abigail unsheathed her own weapon, dropping the scabbard on the ground as she had not put it on, holding the shortsword awkwardly in one hand. Taking a breath to steady herself, she lunged at him with a wild overhead swing. Lys made no movement until she was nearly upon him, then neatly sidestepped as her weapon came down where he used to be. The meteorite blade flashed in the light with a flick of his wrist, sending her weapon spinning across the grass. Not finished, he stepped into the maneuver, striking her in the midriff with the pommel and knocking her to the ground, then standing over her with the point at her throat. Elliott felt Sebastian stiffen and almost stand, but stopped him with a reassuring tap on the shoulder. Abigail wasn’t scared or injured, just baffled by how easily and quickly she had lost.

                                “Whoa, that was neat. I hardly saw you move.”

                                “Sorry to do that to you, but it served a dual purpose. First, now you know why I’m not worried about you hurting me, and second, I proved to you that I won’t hurt you either. Here, have a hand,” he said, helping her to her feet, “now grab your sword and I’ll show you how to properly hold it. I was able to easily disarm and defeat you because your grip and stance were all wrong.” Sheathing his weapon, he waited for her to return. “Right, first, look at how you’re holding it. It’s a sword, not a club. Remember that a weapon is an extension of yourself, and therefore needs to be handled as such. Here, turn your hand, wrist up, and relax. Now hold the hilt so it lines up with your arm, and gently wrap your fingers around- No, not the thumb, that follows the line of your arm and goes along the side of the hilt for balance and grip. Your thumb points down toward the blade, fingers point back toward your shoulder. There, feel that? With just small movements of your wrist you have full control of your weapon.”

                                “Hey, yeah. You’re right,” she replied, moving the point in a tight, neat circle with minimal movement of her hand, “this feels a lot more stable and comfortable. The other way feels like I could have broken my wrist even if I had hit you.”

                                “Exactly. You’re a fast study. It also makes it hilariously easy to disarm someone, as you saw first-hand. You move and maneuver with your wrist and shoulder; your elbow mostly lets you extend or withdraw, as you want to avoid torquing or overextending that joint.”

                                Now that she had the control as well as the confidence, Lys began drilling her on basic techniques, starting slowly and focusing on developing good muscle memory and habits before speed or strength. Sam arrived at some point in their practice, but for once didn’t interrupt, and instead sat down on the grass near Elliott and Sebastian, his elbows on his knees and chin in his hands as he watched with fascination.

                                “I think you’re getting it,” Lys said, watching Abigail repeat the most recent action he’d shown her, “but let’s stop here for the day. We’ll pick it up again tomorrow. Though I don’t want to do any sparring until you’re much more practiced and we’ve got a bit of safety gear, especially eye protection. It was extremely reckless of me earlier, but, well, I do have a bit of a weakness for dramatic flair.”

                                “Yeah, I’m just new enough that I’d probably cut you pretty bad. You know, worse than you did the other day, anyway.”

                                “Well, scars can be pretty cool, and at least it’d be one that wasn’t self-inflicted.”

                                “I’m surprised that you’re able to laugh at that,” Abigail replied, retrieving the scabbard and sheathing her weapon. Lys reached up to run his fingers across the thin white line that ran along one side of his neck, thinking quietly.

                                “What else can I do? I already ran from it and you saw what that did to me. It’s who I am, and a reminder every day of what was done. I have no intention of repeating the past. Even at my darkest and worst, I survived, and I now want to use that strength to defend the people that I love.”

                                “Some of us don’t always need protecting,” she grinned, picking up her backpack, “a few of us want to be able to look out for others, too.” Lys took a step back at her words, which were surprisingly similar to Sebastian’s, and glanced over at Elliott, who nodded in agreement at her statement.

                                “Yeah, that’s true. I’m not used to that. It’s a nice change. I’ve changed, and I wouldn’t take back anything that’s happened here. It’s not just me, though, we’ve all changed.” He chuckled at himself as a moment of poetic inspiration flickered in his mind. “The seeds of potential in all of us were already there, I just provided the light and warmth that they needed to grow.”

                                “Dude, you and Elliott are getting so much like each other it’s almost scary,” Sam commented, standing up and brushing himself off, “and you continue to confuse me. You say you’re a Rogue, but you sing like a Bard, rage like a Barbarian, use that sword like a Fighter, and since you’re running a successful garden I guess you’re a Druid, too. You are like a multiclassing king, dude.”

                                “Wait, I thought guys like him were called ‘queens,’” Abigail snarked, and Lys laughed so hard he had to sit down for a while.

                                That evening they all left the community center in good spirits, having done more planning than practice, as they discussed potential locations for another live performance, as well as the logistics of it all. Elliott stepped up to Lys on his non-sword side, put an arm around his waist, kissed him on the cheek, and continued to hold him close as they walked.

                                “So, your place tonight?” Once again, Lys had a hearty laugh.

                                "Sam is right, we really are taking after each other. Your drive is nearly as bad as mine.”

                                “That is part of it, but it is more than just physical intimacy I desire, it is mental as well. Your presence is a light in my otherwise dim existence, and I have found it pleasantly reassuring to have you next to me at night. I feel a little more...complete… The nights aren’t as cold or silent, and though I’ve never had trouble sleeping, I feel more rested than I have in years.”

                                “You’re not the only one. I’ve shared a bed more times than I can count, and when I was with someone in a relationship it was the best sleep I got. And for once I’m not talking about being frisky,” he smiled, nudging Elliott with his hip, “it’s that same mental connection. I never thought much about it back then, but it was something that had occurred to me a few months ago, in that I really missed it as well. Though while it was nice it was never this...deep? I mean, we’ve only known each other a little over half a year, so sometimes I wonder, are we moving too fast? But even so, you’re the first person I’ve really resonated with. I’ve never believed in soulmates but…” Lys shrugged as he trailed off, unable to finish the thought, and leaned into Elliott’s shoulder.

                                “I can state the same conviction; that two people ‘destined’ to meet is a myth and believing in it is folly. However, two people who find a deep, meaningful connection with each other, based on ideals and ideas, on interests and abilities, on hopes and dreams… I believe in that because we have found it. Alone we are functional, but together we are more; I a writer and you a musician, but I could not have created that story without you, and every day your music gets more beautiful. I do not think, though, that we are moving ‘too fast.’ Yes, we are moving more quickly than some other couples, but look at how much time we have spent together, getting to know each other. No, I do not yet know your entire history and set of skills and abilities, but I am happy for that. It means that I will have new things to learn about you for some time to come, and I am delighted at the prospect and potential to be surprised.”

                                “I don’t know that there’s much to be learned, love. You know most of it; I’m a performer and entertainer. Beyond that I don’t have any useful life skills. I’m a lot of fun to be around, and I’ve got good stories, but I still worry that I’ll be a financial burden on you.”

                                “You will not. Your endeavors here are already turning a profit, and should you retire this line of work for something else I am quite certain that you will be successful. You aren’t alone; I am concerned that I will be a burden to you, so do not worry, because we are doing this together, and we are far greater in that regard. And you are far more capable than you think you are. One day I will get you to understand and accept that.”
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                                • Kid Absurdity

                                  Kid Absurdity Big Damn Hero

                                  The sword training bit of the chapter reminds me of the adage that the greatest fencer in the world doesn't fear the second-greatest fencer in the world, but he fears the worst one.
                                    Alkanthe and Risukage like this.
                                  • Risukage

                                    Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                    Exactly! I really wanted to use that line, but couldn't make if flow with the rest of the dialogue, so I dropped the idea. Besides, it would imply that he's "great," where actually he's merely "competent." :p He has enough training to not hurt himself, and to impart that knowledge to others. ...And make it look good, he is an actor, after all!
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                                    • Risukage

                                      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                      //Hurrah, back from three days out of state, and I am WIPED. Though I did have the time to finish this chapter on the flights in and out. LOVING that bluetooth keyboard... This isn't as polished or detailed as I was hoping, but I WAS playing at being Army for three days, so I was a bit short of time and energy to work. Oof! Still, it's funny and advances the plot, and that's what I was going for. Wednesday will be much better.

                                      Also, I'm starting to get a few hits on Archive of Our Own, which is nifty. Though now I also sorta wanna do, well, basically, "Rose & Sunflower: The NSFW Chapters," because 1) it could be fun writing tasteful, well-written smut, and 2) it would amuse the merry hell out of me to see that get more views than my carefully-crafted 40+ chapter narrative. :D Still up in the air, though, I doubt anyone here is interested, and I've not gotten many views/comments over on AO3 yet. *Shrug.*//

                                      “Mmm. As much as I’m enjoying this, I really do need to get going,” Lys remarked, twining his arms around Elliott’s neck, “though you really do give the best hugs, and even more amazing kisses.” Elliott sighed and sat up, allowing Lys to get out of bed, then stretched his arms over his head with a yawn.

                                      “I thought that I was brilliant at a couple of other things as well. Very well, you go ahead and prepare for your run, I shall prepare coffee for when you return.”

                                      “You’re wonderful, love,” replied Lys, putting on and adjusting his running pants, “though before I left I did want to bounce an idea off of you.”

                                      “I can see a glimmer of mischief in your eyes. I am already intrigued.” Lys’s grin got wider, disappearing for a moment as he put on his shirt.

                                      “I really want to mess with everyone today…”

                                      The entire group was present the hour before scheduled practice, as they were all interested in watching Lys instruct Abigail in swordplay. She had handed Sam her weapon, which he handled rather clumsily, but everyone got the impression that he was doing it on purpose for a laugh. Then Abigail looked up and tilted her head to one side, an expression of absolute confusion painted across her face. Everyone else turned to see what was so strange and immediately developed the same look. Lys and Elliott had arrived, but a bit different than usual.

                                      “...Are they…?” asked Sam.

                                      “...They are…” answered Abigail.

                                      Lys was dressed in Elliott’s normal but stylish manner; charcoal trousers and waistcoat with a dark blue shirt, wearing the silver half-rim glasses, his hair loose over his shoulders. Elliott wore Lysander’s outlandish attire of black cargo pants and same-colored long-sleeved scoop-neck shirt, the sleeves pushed halfway up his arms, with a deep red short-sleeved button-up over it, as well as the guitar-pick necklace and bracelets, the ever-present sunglasses, and his hair tied back with the same length of ribbon. It went beyond mere visual appearances, though, they moved like each other; Lys walked with Elliott’s stately, measured stride, and Elliott rolled with Lys’s energetic swagger. Lys also carried Elliott’s satchel, while Elliott had Resonance slung comfortably over one shoulder and the sword in his other hand.

                                      “Well, you’ve got a bigger audience than you did yesterday,” Elliott grinned, “think you can work like this or you gonna get cold feet?” Lys sniffed with dignity and gave Elliot a look of injured pride, who laughed and tossed the sword to him. With careless ease, Lys caught it.

                                      “You forget that I am a professional, dear. Not only do I perform well under scrutiny, I often thrive when observed by many.”

                                      “Your confidence is an inspiration to us all, love.”

                                      “It is born of skill and training.”

                                      “What the heck is with the both of you today? You’re being weird,” asked Sebastian. Lys raised an eyebrow at him and set the satchel down by a park bench.

                                      “We are ourselves, of course. What is so confusing about that?” Elliott folded his arms behind his head and shrugged.

                                      “Yeah, it’s not like anything is terribly different, you’re going to have to be more specific.”

                                      “Dude, you two are just crazy,” Sam beamed, enjoying the show immensely, “and this is just awesome. Though how far did you take the cross-dressing? You wearing each other’s underwear, too?” he joked, hoping for a reaction out of one of them. He got it, but not in the manner he was expecting. Elliott’s expression changed from amused to flirtatious, and he reached over to slowly trace a finger down Sam’s face, from his ear to his shoulder, knotting his fingers in Sam’s shirt collar and gently pulling him closer.

                                      “How badly do you want to know, and in what manner?” he winked. Sam was speechless, and Lys was the first to break character, laughing heartily.

                                      “Okay, you win, love, that was good.” Elliott straightened, smiling, but it was his usual, gentle one, not the wild type that Lys always wore.

                                      “Your performance was likewise excellent.”

                                      “I’m the actor, but you’re the one that got my stride and attitude spot-on, and that’s hard to do.”

                                      “Like I said, what the heck, guys?” questioned Sebastian, thoroughly confused. Lys pushed his glasses back up on the bridge of his nose, about to reply, when Abigail sighed with delight.

                                      “He just did that hot glasses-adjustment thing. Catch me, Sebby.”

                                      “What now?”

                                      “Catch me, damn it,” she repeated, feigning a swoon, that Sebastian reached out to catch with resigned patience.

                                      “As I was about to say,” Lys continued, “part of it was to have some fun at everyone’s expense, but it was also because I wanted to highlight what a change of clothes and attitude will do for a person and other people’s perception of them. We have a name and a sound, but we don’t yet have an image. We’ll need that to make it as a professional group. I’m not saying that we can’t be ourselves, but we will need something to help us stand out and be recognizable. Haley, do you think it would be possible to commission Emily?” Haley thought about it for a moment and nodded

                                      “I bet she’d love to. She’s so weird and eclectic, but that’s what makes her good at what she does, I guess. Getting the chance to design something for all of you would be a fun challenge for her.”

                                      “Great. Everyone, start getting ideas put together for what we could do. Haley, ask her if she can please visit tomorrow to get measurements and hopefully some useful ideas.”

                                      “Sure, sweetie. I think she can get away from the bar for a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon without a problem.”

                                      “Excellent. And now I believe I owe Abigail a bit more practice before we all work together,” Lys said, once again wearing Elliott’s persona. His partner had likewise donned the other man’s mannerisms and flopped onto a bench, hooking one leg over the other and reclining comfortably, his elbows hooked over the back of the bench, somehow maintaining Lys’s sitting energy. They successfully stayed “in character” the rest of practice, to the amusement and amazement of their bandmates. Lys’s bass playing was more refined and restrained, and Elliott displayed unusual enthusiasm on the piano. Their performance was natural and unscripted, the result of working so long together, as well as the long-practiced knowledge of storytelling.

                                      As the evening ended Lys reached for his keys to lock up and chuckled at the reflexive action. Elliott pulled the keys from “his” pocket and twirled them around a finger as everyone exited the community center, then secured the door.

                                      “Well, looks like everything is tied up around here. Except for you, love, but that can wait until we get home,” he smiled, putting a hand on the small of Lys’s back and letting it drift down past his belt. Lys gasped and blushed, a rare event for him, and not one easy to fake.

                                      “Dear, really now!” In another rare moment, Sebastian grinned, shaking his head.

                                      “I’ll say it again, you two are weird. But then, I guess that’s why you’re so much fun to be around. See you tomorrow, but if you dress like anyone else I’m going to be worried.”

                                      Hand-in-hand, they walked off to Elliott’s home.

                                      “So, do you intend to follow through with your suggestion?” Lys asked, still using Elliott’s gentle smile. Elliott responded in character and in kind.

                                      “That was the plan, actually. Feeling adventurous?”

                                      “Well, we’ve successfully role-played each other all day. Now I wonder if we can do the same all night.”

                                      They were back to themselves the following day, and as requested, Emily showed up. The need for ideas was unnecessary, as she arrived with her arms full of sketches.

                                      “I loved the colors thing you all did at the Luau,” she gushed, spreading the drawings across the table, “and I‘ve been dreaming up ideas since then. You have no idea how excited I am to do this for everyone. I kept that idea and elaborated a bit, trying to mix elemental, well, elements into each outfit.” Everyone picked up the sketch of their proposed design, already impressed at how close to their own styles and preferences they ran, as Emily listed off her suggested names: “The Garnet Fire, the Sapphire Water, the Topaz Lightning, The Emerald Earth, and the Amethyst Sky.”

                                      “That all sounds like some kind of themed super-powered hero team or group of magical artifacts, y‘know?” observed Sam.

                                      “True,” Lys conceded, “but this is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about, that image that will grab attention and make us stand out. Everything is flashy but tasteful. I think you solved our problem before we even mentioned it.”

                                      “Emerald Earth? Maybe ‘obsidian‘ instead? The alliteration feels a bit weird,” asked Sebastian.

                                      “I had considered that or using ‘rock‘ or ‘stone,‘ but they sounded clunky, and I like the idea of obsidian, but we‘re already using black as a base and it would have been too much.”

                                      “It‘s hard to go wrong with black. Fine, green is okay, too.” Sam giggled with impending mischief, and Sebastian sighed deeply, knowing already that the joke would be at his expense. “What is it now?”

                                      “Green and rocks are perfect for you. Because you're a stoner.”

                                      “I smoke tobacco, not cannabis, you doofus.”

                                      “We can work out particulars later,” Emily interrupted, “but right now I need to get everyone‘s measurements. I‘ll get you one at a time in that room so you have a bit of privacy, since I‘ll need you to take off a couple of things so I can get the right numbers.”

                                      She worked quickly and professionally, though she did have a brief moment of concern when she noticed strange marks on Lys‘s back and shoulder. He only shrugged and remarked that he was “very good at what he does.” This generated a smile of approval when Elliott‘s turn came up, and though initially confused he quickly did the math and asked her not to mention it to anyone else.
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                                      • Kid Absurdity

                                        Kid Absurdity Big Damn Hero

                                        It may not be as polished as you like, but it does a solid job - especially in connecting Lys/Elliott's antics to a larger plot. This chapter drives home the point that the band is going somewhere in the story's endgame moreso than it being there to facilitate interactions. This is very cool and I'm excited to see where that goes.

                                        As to off-site smut-writing, I'm not sure it's of interest to me, but I can assure you it's of interest to a whole lot of someones out there.
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                                        • Gabaw

                                          Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                                          Very good at what he... oh. I get it. Bleeeehhh :p lmao! also elemental super heroes would be great one way or another. it's too good to pass up :rofl:
                                            Risukage likes this.

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