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

    Okay, so this chapter wasn't a total loss, whew! I was trying to push the story and things but still felt like being amusing about it. I really do have an endgame and it does involve the band, it's just taken me a bit to move THAT bit of plot along because I spent too much damn time on Lysander and Elliott. However, about half of this was written after I had flown back home from three days out of state doing my monthly Reserve weekend, and I was at about 20 hours awake when I hit "post."

    Yeeeeah, that comment of his might have been a bit too much for this place, but like I said, when I got to writing that bit I had been awake for about 20 hours straight after kicking my arse for three days playing Army, and it was pretty damn funny to me at the time. As for the elemental superheroes, well, no lie, it is a VERY blatant setup for a potential magic-based sequel, and even if I don't use it Lysander is right in that they need something to help them stand out and be noticed (tastefully!) in order to better get their name out there. We'll see if I can write a better chapter on Wednesday. :D
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    • Risukage

      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

      //I really, REALLY want to make a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference with chapter 42, but I've got nothing. Oh well, lost opportunities, I guess. Have another chapter, see you all again on Friday!//

      SixStrings: hey, m8, you busy tomorrow?

      L33tK3ys: if you’re trying to sext Elliott this is the wrong number

      SixStrings: of course not. If I was I’d have asked if you’re busy TONIGHT :D

      L33tK3ys: LOL. What do you need?

      SixStrings: well, I’ve got enough money set aside, I can finally pick up a motorcycle

      L33tK3ys: I see. You need my mechanical and technical expertise. As well as someone to keep you from trying to seduce the salesperson for a discount

      SixStrings: exactly! You know me so well

      L33tK3ys: be there tomorrow afternoon, then

      SixStrings: I owe you big, thanks

      Lys sat on the porch, finishing a cup of coffee as he petted Xander, who was sprawled across him and the porch, enjoying the warmth of the sun and his “person.” He tensed as Sebastian rode up, expecting Xander to react as he had last couple of times Sebastian had dropped by for riding lessons, but the ginger tabby merely gave the black, noisy machine a look of disdain before putting his chin back on Lys’s leg and resuming his rumbling purr.

      “Thanks again. Like I said, I owe you for this. I’ve never made this big a purchase before, and I really don’t know much about vehicles.”

      “I’ll take care of you; after your riding lessons I know your style and skill, so we’ll get you something that’s the right size and power. You’ll also need all of the right gear, too, so I hope you remembered to account for that in total costs.”

      “Yeah, that was part of the math. I did a bit of price research and made sure I had extra just in case of whatever.”

      “Ready to go, then?”

      “Mm-hmm,” Lys replied, drinking the last of his coffee in one gulp, “I just need to put away the coffee mug, grab the helmet, and lock up. Move, kitty, sorry about that.” Xander made a noise of protest as Lys stood up, flicking his tail to express it, then stalked over to sniff and rub Sebastian’s boots, who leaned down to give him a friendly scratch. Lys locked the door and hopped off of the porch.

      “Let’s get going, I’m so jazzed about this.”

      They went to the place in Zuzu City where Sebastian had purchased his own motorcycle some time previous, as well as parts and gear. It was a lovely ride on an early-fall day; the sun shone in a cloudless sky but was tempered by a breeze that took off the edge and brought a refreshing coolness to the air. Lys enjoyed the view of their travel from behind his friend as he held on carefully, looking forward to experiencing it on his own, and shivered a bit at the scary yet liberating thought. Arriving at the dealership, Sebastian parked out front and walked in, greeting the person at the front desk and asking about something that he had ordered in recently.

      “It just got in, we were going to call you in a little bit to let you know,” the receptionist said, “I’ll let the parts department know to bring it to the counter so you can pay for it before you head out.”

      “Thanks, that’ll be a bit. My friend needs to get a ride of his own, so we’re gonna wander the floor for a bit.”

      “Oh, great! Good to meet you…?” she trailed off as she extended a hand, realizing that she hadn’t asked his name yet. He gave her his “friendly-but-not-flirty” smile and shook her hand.

      “Hi, I’m Lysander. Lys, usually.”

      “I’m May, just let me know if you need anything. James should be able to help you two if you have any questions.”

      “Will do. C’mon Lys, this way, you need something a bit larger than mine.”

      “You mentioned that before. I did a bit of reading so I’m not totally clueless, but it’s still too new to me. I’m a musician, not an engineer, so this is totally out of my league.”

      “Mine is 750cc, which is a decent level of displacement and power but not too much. You, though, are taller and heavier than I am, so while it would likely work for you, I know that you’re also going to have Elliott as a passenger at some point. Besides, knowing you, you’ll probably be comfortable handling something a bit bigger and more powerful. 900cc should do it, I think.”

      They went back and forth for an hour or so, looking at several models and makes of motorcycles, until Lys walked back over to one that they’d eyed a couple of times.

      “I think that this might be what I’m looking for.”

      Similar to Sebastian’s but a bit larger, it was a black sport cruiser, with elegant lines that hinted at both speed and power, as well as dignified performance.

      “Let’s get you out for a test ride, then, I’ll find someone who can get us the keys and permission.”

      Lys signed a couple of forms (for liability and safety purposes), left his ID, and picked up and put on his helmet as one of the employees walked the bike outside and set it on the kickstand. He took the keys, mounted, turned over the engine, and sat there for a moment, listening to its sound and feeling the vibration that it sent through the rest of the machine and himself. With a smile of anticipation he took it off of the kickstand and set off, easily getting it moving and then shifting to second as he turned onto the road, preparing to run a loop around the area. Sebastian was standing in the shade, slightly away from the building, having a smoke when Lys returned a few minutes later.

      “How’d it go?” he asked, strolling over as Lys set the bike on the kickstand, turned it off, and took off his helmet, shaking out his hair and taking a deep breath of fresh, cool air. Lys gave the machine a loving pat and laughed.


      “Heh, so it already told you its name.”

      “Yeah, everything just felt right. It’s got enough power that I can make highway speeds but not so much that I’ll lose control, the throttle and brakes are responsive without being twitchy, and it’s well-balanced with a comfortable center of gravity. This is the one.” Going back inside, they conversed with the employees who began drawing up the paperwork as Sebastian took Lys over to the gear side of the store to get him properly fitted for safety.

      Lys selected a lightweight mesh jacket in red and black that went down to his hips, with “armored” plates in locations that would take the most damage on impact; shoulders, elbows, back, and a couple of other spots, as well as a Mandarin collar that would provide neck protection. It fit him much better than the leathers that Sebastian liked, and he also found gloves in the same color and style that were reinforced on the back of the hand and knuckles, in addition to a helmet that properly fit him. As an afterthought, he was pleased to find pants also in the same style (not easy, given his height!) that strapped over his regular pants and snapped into the hem of the jacket for further protection and stability, providing the armored points where he needed them most. He snugged tight the straps on the arms, torso, and legs that would keep everything from shifting, and flexed and moved his limbs and joints, testing for mobility.

      “I already feel safer. It’s all light but has padding and protection where I might bounce or drag against the pavement. I should also get proper riding boots at some point, but that’ll take way too long at the moment, and I’ve got a decent set on right now. Let’s get these rolled into the total cost and get going.”

      Another hour later and all paperwork and payment had been handled as the sun began to slip below the horizon, casting shadows that grew in length as the light of the day grew shorter. With elation, Lys bounced Morgenlied’s keys on his palm as he walked outside, helmet under one arm. Sebastian had purchased and secured the part he needed and was on his phone, checking something. Impulsively, he snapped a quick photo of Lys as he walked up.

      “I figured that you’d want a pic of that, if anything to send to Elliott or your parents or someone.”

      “Actually, yeah, thanks, let me see. That came out pretty good for a fast, candid shot. Send it over when you get the chance.”

      “Already done. You’re a real motorcyclist now, dude, how’s it feel?” he asked, putting away his phone and putting on his gloves.

      “Proper spiffy. I already feel so free, and can’t wait to share it with Elliott. I know he’ll love this. He’s been aching to get out of town for quite a while.”

      “Then follow me, I’ve got some place I wanna show you,” Sebastian grinned, already astride Nachtlied, “it’s gonna be a great first ride for you, too.”

      “Where are we going?” Lys asked, tucking his hair into the helmet as he put it on.

      “It’s a secret. Get on and follow already, traffic has let up and we’ve got a window of clear road to ride on for a bit.” Without any further discussion, Lys mounted up and started up his machine for the second time, feeling the vibration and hum that were already becoming familiar. As instructed, he followed Sebastian onto the road, who cruised sedately for a minute until he was certain that Lys was keeping up, then turned off onto a side road and accelerated.

      Sing for me, Lys thought, shifting down for power and opening the throttle, the harmony of wind, metal, and fire. This synergy of rider and steed, guiding and trusting each other. I began to see it before, but now I understand it. Dangerous freedom, the razor’s edge of power and peril. I hear you, I feel you. Let’s fly, together.
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      • Gabaw

        Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

        Good bike choice :confirm: It's an exciting purchase for Lys and a great thing to enjoy cruisin down a light highway into country roads. Ahh... no i'm not jealous. (maybe a little)
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        • Risukage

          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

          FWIW, I did a bit of research to make sure I got the specifics right, and he's riding a Triumph Bonneville; I love their bikes, and it just seems to fit. I'm also convinced that Sebastian also rides either a Triumph or a Ducati, because he's such an elitist dork, and those are just proper NIFTY, yeah? :)
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          • ApertureGaming011

            ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

            Are these supposed to be fictional bikes or...
            • Kid Absurdity

              Kid Absurdity Big Damn Hero

              Don't forget to edit your thread title!
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              • Risukage

                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                Merry HELL, I owe you a beer. I have been loopy as hell the last few days.

                And @ApertureGaming011, Triumph and Ducati are high-end British-made motorcycles, with a bit of a pedigree. I didn't want to name specifics, as while this world is fairly close to our own, I feel like it blurs the line too much and takes the reader out of the story to mention too much from "this" world. I'm also keeping the timeline somewhat vague, but given the prevalence of smartphones and other high-end consumer tech easily available, it's sorta obvious that it's set roughly in "now."
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                • ApertureGaming011

                  ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                  Oh, okay then.
                  • Risukage

                    Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                    //And a lovely Friday to all of you lovely people! Only one admin note here, and I'm going to drop this, run the hell away, and not mention it again: for kicks and giggles, and for a writing experiment, I'm now also doing chapters containing all of the naughty events that are alluded to but never described, over at Archive of Our Own. If you're interested in seeing what weird stuff goes on in my head, have at it, but yes, it is SO very Not Safe For Work. So if you're into that sort of thing, cheers, if not, don't worry, this is the only time I'm plugging this. (...Heh...) Have a finely-crafted link here: Rose & Sunflower: The NSFW Chapters

                    (Oh gods, I was merely rubbish before, but I'm actual trash now. I'm SO going to lose readers over this. *Hugs knees to chest and rocks back and forth.*)

                    Right then, on with the REAL story!//

                    Despite the evening becoming dark and Sebastian and his bike all in black, Lys stayed behind his friend with ease, cracking his visor a bit to take in some of the fresh air as it whipped around him. Lys wasn’t familiar with the route, but he could see that it led away from both Zuzu City and Pelican Town. Nobody else was on the road, so they had it to themselves and they took advantage of the freedom.

                    No wonder he enjoys this, there’s nothing to hold you back. It’s so peaceful. No drama, no demands, no expectations. It’s just you and the machine, and the sound of the wind. Your life and safety are in your own hands, and it’s exhilarating.

                    Lys lost track of the time and didn’t care; he delighted in the new sensations and view until Sebastian signaled to turn off onto another spur. It took them up and around a bit until they ended up on a vista overlooking the city. Sebastian parked and dismounted, taking off his helmet, with a smile that Lys almost never saw. He parked next to the black-clad rider and set his helmet on Morgenlied, walking over to stand next to his friend, who looked unusually peaceful as he gazed out over the illuminated metropolis.

                    “I’ve never brought anyone else up here. It’s where I go to think and be by myself. To be myself. I keep looking at the city and wanting to get out of that tiny damn town and do something. But up here all of my problems look so distant, and I feel like I’m reminded of what I’m working for. It gives me a bit of perspective and, weird as it sounds, confidence.” Lys put a friendly arm around Sebastian’s shoulders and squeezed him in a half-hug.

                    “Thanks for sharing this with me, it’s pretty amazing. I’m glad I’ve got you as friend. Someone who’s not afraid to put a boot in my ass when I need it, which is more often than it should be. You’re a good person with a lot of potential. I hope I’m helping you reach that goal you’re looking for.” To his surprise, Sebastian reciprocated with an arm around Lys’s waist, the same half-hug, and a playful shoulder-punch.

                    “Save it for Elliott, you dweeb,” he grinned, “but yeah, I am making progress toward the future, and you’ve opened up possibilities I’d never considered before but am happy about. So, thanks to you too. It’s nice not being alone anymore, and a year ago I’d never have admitted that to anyone, not even myself.”

                    “Even though I’m always invading your space and giving you hugs?” he replied, messing with Sebastian’s hair, who slapped away his hand and laughed.

                    “I don’t mind it that bad. Even though you’re so obnoxiously energetic you’re somehow relaxing to be around. And it is nice to have someone I can lean on for once, though if you tell anyone I’ll punch you somewhere it hurts,” he threatened without malice, and sighed wearily, “it’s kinda tiring being strong, isn’t it?”

                    “Yeah, but I don’t mind, because if I’m helping others be more than they could alone then I’m doing something useful with my life, and I’m happy for it.”



                    The breeze blew again, and Lys tucked stray hairs back behind his ear, again inhaling deeply of the fresh air, still warm from the day but tinged with the chill of evening. The success of his acquisition, the euphoria of the ride, and the brightly-lit view left him in a warm, slightly dreamy state, and he lost himself in old memories, reminded by Sebastian’s presence and the lights of the city. He hummed quietly to himself, remembering a song that he had shared with someone some time ago.

                    “It’s getting late, we should head back,” Sebastian remarked after a while, and Lys agreed, only partially hearing him.

                    “We should. This was wonderful, almost as much as you are.” Still wandering in his own mind, he pulled Sebastian close and kissed him deeply, slightly confused when he felt the other man tense up and grip Lys’s shoulder tightly. “Is there something-”

                    Reality snapped back with a harsh coldness, and he swore loudly as he released Sebastian, pushing him away, backing off, tripping over himself, and landing heavily, which would have hurt more if it weren’t for his safety gear.

                    “‘Bas! I- Shit, shit!! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to- That wasn’t- You’re not- By the LIGHT, I am such a damn idiot!”

                    “...What...the hell,” Sebastian asked, not angry, just perplexed.

                    “I… I’m so, so sorry.” Lys held his head in his hands, feeling sick at the thought of offending his friend.

                    “That’s nice. Now can you tell me what’s going on? Do I remind you that much of Elliott?”

                    “...No. You…” He sighed and sagged, rubbing a gloved hand over his eyes. “As creepy as it sounds, you remind me of my last boyfriend.” Sebastian shrugged with curious acceptance.

                    “Actually, that explains a lot. Here,” he offered a hand to Lys to help him stand, and gave him an angry look when the other man hesitated. “Get your ass up, there, now talk to me. So what, I look like the last guy you dated before you came out here?”

                    “A little, and your personality reminds me a bit of him, too. Sorry, I... I’ll go, see you later, sorry about this, I-” Lys was interrupted when Sebastian, annoyed at Lys’s attempt at evasion, especially after what he’d just done, punched him rather firmly, though not very hard or with any level of skill. It did, however, produce the desired effect of snapping Lys out of his bout of self-pity. Snarling, Lys grabbed Sebastian by the collar with both hands and lifted him slightly before he once again realized what he was doing. Unfazed, Sebastian hooked his thumbs in his belt loops as Lys let him go.

                    “That’s better. So he meant a lot to you, as I recall.”

                    “Yeah. This… You’re going to laugh.”

                    “I might.”

                    “This was a little romantic, and I was thinking of something it reminded me of back then with him, and I just… I wasn’t paying attention. I swear I wasn’t making a move on you.”

                    “You never got over him completely, did you?”

                    “I thought I did, that I had forgotten, but looks like I just buried it.” Lys sagged again and sat down heavily, wrapping his arms around his knees. Sebastian studied him quietly for a moment and seated himself across from his friend, pulling out the ever-present pack of cigarettes, lighting one and throwing the pack and lighter to Lys. Sitting comfortably with one leg up and the other on the ground, he draped an arm across his knee as he took a lengthy drag from his cigarette as Lys lit one for himself and returned the pack and lighter.

                    “You know, you said a bit earlier that you need a friend to put a boot in your ass, so here, I’m doing that right now. You need to get over him and what happened, but don’t forget. That’s not healthy and won’t help anything. So things didn’t end very well? Oh well! You still had a lot of good times together, and as weird as it was for me, I can tell that you really did love him, and despite what happened, you still do. That’s not a bad thing. Hell, it’s part of why I like you as a friend; you’re capable of showing affection and friendship to just about anyone. It should annoy me, but that’s why it works, because you’re the annoying younger brother that continually gets in my hair, but I still look out for you anyway, since you can do something that I can’t. But there is one thing you haven't done; you’ve accepted the scars on the outside but not the ones on the inside.”

                    “I know. I’m trying not to run away from it, but he was my closest friend, and-” As he mentally finished that thought his eyes went wide and nearly dropped his cigarette. “I’m doing it again. I am such an ass, damn it!”

                    “You’re also being a cryptic little shit. Spit it out.”

                    “He was my friend and I screwed it up, and I’m doing it again with you. I am such a damn idiot!” He got to his feet and almost made it to his motorcycle until Sebastian casually kicked him in the back of one knee as he walked past, dropping the ginger-haired man on his back.

                    “Looks like you’re giving that safety gear a workout,” he observed, with another lazy pull on his smoke, “and you held onto your cigarette, too, good reflexes. But you’re also running away again. Get back here and quit being emo.”

                    “I’m not going to lose another friend because I took it too far!” Lys snapped, rolling over and sitting up, brushing himself off with his free hand. Sebastian gave him another long, silent, thoughtful look.

                    “You really weren’t paying attention, were you? For as strange as that moment was, it was different. Normally your hugs feel energetic and friendly, like a brother. That, well, it was personal, the way you’d embrace a lover. If that’s how you hold Elliott then he’s a very lucky man. And when you realized what you were doing you backed right off. So chill out, dude, you’re not repeating the past. Just don’t do it again, okay?”

                    “I… I guess you’re right.” Lys got up again, finished brushing himself off, and found it to be his turn to offer Sebastian a hand, who gave him another dark look when he saw Lys shrink back once he was on his feet.

                    “I will punch you in the squishy bits if you don’t stop being a twit.” Laughing, Lys hugged Sebastian tightly, who chuckled as he returned it. “There, that’s how it works, you irritating little brother.”

                    “Oh? Is this also how it works? Not touching you, not touching youuuuu,” he teased, holding a finger close to Sebastian’s face, and the rider in leather grinned and put a hand in Lys’s face, pushing him away, earning a laugh of amusement.

                    “There, that’s what I was looking for. Let’s get back home, it’s late.”

                    They made the journey back quickly, and at the turn-off from the main road that led back into town, Sebastian halted and raised his visor.

                    “I’m going to take the path home from behind your farm.”

                    “Cool, I’m gonna visit Elliott real fast. I need to get this off of my chest or it’s gonna itch all night.”

                    “Nifty. See you at practice, then.”

                    Lys took a roundabout route out to the beach, trying to avoid any place where the noise of the bike might disturb anyone, but despite its size and power, it wasn’t as loud as he thought it was. Crossing the bridge, he prepared for the change in terrain as the wheels touched sand, and was pleased to find that he still had decent traction. Pulling up next to Elliott’s cabin, he dismounted, suddenly wondering if his partner was even awake. His question was answered when Elliott walked out, looking very puzzled, his shirt unbuttoned and waistcoat missing, apparently getting ready for bed.

                    “Sebastian? What brings you- No, you’re… Dear?” Lys removed his helmet and smiled at the look of delight on his partner’s face, his earlier apprehension washed away.

                    “Hey love, what do you think?”

                    “I think you look amazing, and it suits you. That is a lovely piece of machinery. Come in, tell me all about it, I’ll have a better look at it in the morning.”

                    “Sure. Ah, though I… Well, I… Okay, I’ll just say it like it is, I kissed Sebastian tonight.”

                    “Did he enjoy it?” Elliott asked, not bothered by the admission as he sat down in his computer chair.

                    “Love, I’m being serious!”

                    “Then I imagine that you had a reason. You seem very torn up about it, so clearly it’s causing you trouble. Talk to me, dear, what’s on your mind?” Lys put his helmet on the table and regaled Elliott with the events of the day and the incident at the vista, who listened quietly until Lys was done.

                    “What was his name?”

                    “Who? Oh. Allen. Why do you ask?”

                    “So I can better understand your past and help you move on. He was truly dear to you, and I cannot blame you for missing him and all that you did together. Thank you for trusting me enough to tell me about all of this; that is what matters the most to me. But we must continue this conversation at a later date. Come, join me. It is late, and you can get home quickly in the morning now that you have transportation. I imagine that your mind will be assuaged by staying at my side, though I lack the energy to please you tonight.”

                    “That’s okay, love, I’m wiped, too. Though I’m already feeling better for just being able to talk to you about it. And if you could help me out of this gear before I pass out on your floor, that would help. I’m about five minutes away from being unconscious.”
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                    • Gabaw

                      Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                      Wow wasn't expecting that! I think it does show a change in character and maturity to see how Lys handled that and got himself together after Sebastian helped out a bit. There's also something about riding a bike that gets all those stray thoughts out of you and away into the slipstream... Sounds nice.
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                      • Risukage

                        Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                        Lysander is a space case and sweetly romantic. Sebastian is pragmatic and used to him being bizarre or a twit. Personally, I'm happy that I've been able to develop them this way, where Sebastian is the stoic older brother that isn't above or bothered by thumping his "younger brother" if needed to knock some sense into him. At least, I hope I've done a decent job of showing that change. :D

                        Also, I really, REALLY wanted to have a funny take on Sebastian's 10-heart event, and I was able to tie it in to more back story. So go me, I guess. And yeah, a ride on an open road on a nice evening with a good friend? That's a zen experience right there.
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                        • Risukage

                          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                          //And now we have a small change of scenery as the story continues to progress. Oh look, it's more character development, how droll. See you all again on Wednesday!//

                          A few days later Lys and Elliott chatted energetically in a parking lot near the largest park in central Zuzu City while they waited for the rest of the crew to show up, as Lys tutored Elliott in the riding and handling of a motorcycle, the same as Sebastian had done for him a few months previous. The sound of familiar engines caught their attention as Sebastian pulled up with Abby riding behind, and Haley and Sam as passengers to Alex in his truck. Abby bounced with glee at the sight of the other two motorcyclists as she hopped off and struggled with removing her helmet.

                          “Oh...sweet...Yoba… You two are adorable!” she giggled once free, and Sebastian took off his own and gave them an amused look.

                          “Aren’t you two are taking this ‘cute couple’ thing a bit far?” he asked, with cheerful snark. Earlier that morning they had stopped in at the motorcycle dealership to equip Elliott to ride as well, as he was interested in learning (though very nervous!), and if Lys was fully equipped to ride safely it would be both stupid and rude not to have his partner be the same. Elliott was also partial to the lightweight mesh jacket and pants that Lys had purchased, but in blue and black. They had also had the time to fit him for boots, as his normal shoes were ill-suited for riding.

                          “You laugh, but wait until I teach him to ride as well, then we’ll get him a motorcycle, at which point we’ll have our own gang, and it’ll be brilliant. You get to be leader, of course, because you’re the one in the snazzy leathers and you hate being the center of attention,” Lys sassed in return.

                          “Looks like you two took care of some business earlier. Still on for the main business of the day?” questioned Haley, who stepped carefully out of the truck and was nearly knocked over by Sam as he exited with far less grace. Lys nodded and began taking off his safety gear.

                          “Unless plans have changed, yeah, let’s get out here and see if we can find a venue to perform at. I’ve got a couple of places that I’ve been to before that I can check out, and it sounds like all of you have some place in mind as well.”

                          “Hey, you mentioned before that your dad plays around here somewhere,” Sam piped up, “do you think you might be able to get us a spot there?”

                          “I called him earlier and it could be possible, depends on the day. That venue is used for a lot of stuff, and I don’t know how much it would cost to do a gig there, but he said he’d get back to me once he had some info. To be honest, though, I don’t even know if it’ll work for us; it is a bit small, and it doesn’t normally attract the type of audience that we’re aiming for. Granted, any audience is better than none, but I’d rather do it right the first time around.”

                          “Well, we may be here for business, but I also wanna just hang out,” Sam commented, stretching and looking around, “it’s been ages since I got out of town for a bit and I want to wander around for a while, too.”

                          “That’s also the plan. I’ve got a few things I want to do, too, and a couple of places I haven’t been since… Well, that’s not important. Anyway, meet back up around, what six? Seven? That should give us the rest of the day.”

                          “Gimmie a call if you’re going to be earlier, then,” Alex nodded, “since you’ll be storing your gear in my truck.”

                          “Will do, and thanks for that. You good to go, love? Nifty. Right then, let’s get everything stashed and get going. See you all later!”

                          “You’re worried about running into your old colleagues, aren’t you?” Elliott asked as everyone went their own ways.

                          “A little, yeah. But it’s the middle of the day in the middle of the week, so everyone I might see should be in classes right now. Anyway, I’ve changed a bit, so I shouldn’t be as recognizable.”

                          “I wouldn’t be so certain, dear. Despite some external modifications, if you still carry yourself in the same manner you did in the past you will be fairly easy to spot. I do not think that there are very many men in town with your fiery hair and personality.”

                          “Yeah, that’s kinda true, but… I’m not going to worry about it. I’m going to have a good time today with you and that’s what matters. Although, I did have one thing I wanted to do really quick in this area.”

                          “As do I; there are a couple of books that came out recently that I had been interested in obtaining. And…” Elliott chuckled at himself at a new thought.

                          “You’re anticipating being able to find your own work there soon, yeah?” Lys smiled, squeezing Elliott’s hand as they walked.

                          “Correct. It is almost difficult to properly comprehend it, that I have finally achieved my dream for which I have worked for so long without success. I very nearly fell into depression due to my continual failure.” He stopped abruptly, wrapping Lys in a solid hug. “I could not have done it without you. It is now my turn to ensure that you accomplish what it is you seek to do.”

                          “I’m getting there. I’m already happier than I have been in years and have something to work for. Now c’mon, you go snag your books. Meet you back in half an hour?”

                          A little sooner than that Elliott exited the bookstore, sliding his purchases into a backpack slung over one shoulder as Lys walked up, offering him a coffee.

                          “Hey, love, thought you might want one, too. It’s not as good as yours, but it’s still tasty.”

                          “Thank you, how considerate- Half a moment…” Elliott studied Lys carefully, noticing something different. Lys made a noise of curiosity as he sipped his own drink, and his partner laughed in amusement when he finally spotted what had caught his attention.

                          “You cheeky, sneaky thing. Perhaps Sebastian is correct, you are taking this ‘cute couple’ thing a bit far.”

                          “Nothing gets by you, does it?” smiled Lys, thumbing his ear and brushing the gold-colored object of scrutiny, “but even though it was a cover-my-ass line I threw out there when we met, I was serious that I had been considering earrings for some time. So I figured that while we’re in the city I could get that done and check another thing off of my list.”

                          “You seem quite determined to change yourself as much as possible from what you were.”

                          “Not entirely, but I find myself wanting to change, to advance and be more than I was. I was in a bit of a holding pattern back then, not sure what I wanted to do or be. Now I’ve got a path and ideas, and while I don’t have a dream yet, I don’t mind. There’s things I want to do, and that’s good enough for right now. Also,” he giggled, the smile of mischief barely hidden behind his coffee cup, “you’ll notice I did studs.”

                          “I noticed.”

                          “Because you wear loops, and-”

                          “I get it, dear,” Elliott interrupted with a quick kiss, then looked around furtively. Lys understood his reaction and squeezed his hand again.

                          “Don’t worry, love, it’s a big enough city that nobody’s going to give us trouble about it. Besides, it’s not like we’re making out or anything. Be yourself. Now follow me, I want to check out the amphitheater, it might be a good place to try, though if we don’t do something soon it’ll be too cold to perform outdoors.”

                          After a bit of wandering around, Lys was able to track down a flier with contact information about using the location, and he folded it and tucked it into a pocket as he walked, looking about and remembering old events. It was one of a few places that Lys wanted to inspect, as it was a part of the unofficial “performing arts” section of the city, and given his classes and interests, he had performed in some fashion at nearly every venue possible. Over the next couple of hours they toured all of those locations, picking up business cards or fliers that would allow them to reach someone who they could talk to about performing there.

                          “I think we’ve got a lot of options here, and we should be able to cover the cost of using the space of our choice, but it occurs to me that we’ve not done anything to put out our name so far, so even if we do get a gig we won’t have much of an audience.”

                          “You are correct. As I recall, there have been some videos of our performance at the luau, but while they have generated some interest and comments, it isn’t nearly enough.”

                          “Yeah. Today was definitely great in that we got some good recon done, but before we make any plans to perform we need to solidify our ‘image’ and start advertising. I’ll work with Haley on that; she’s been doing a great job of documenting us so far, so we just need to start using that to our advantage. Still, it’s been great to get out and about.” He paused a moment to consider something. “Hey, you know, this is technically our first ‘date,’ isn’t it?” Elliott was surprised at the question, but thought about it and smiled.

                          “For most social definitions of it, I suppose it is. We have spent a lot of time together, but not in the traditional sense of ‘dating.’”

                          “I don’t think that anything about us has been in any way ‘traditional.’ Which for some reason makes me happy. Maybe I’m just an elitist or a hipster or something.”

                          “You are not alone in enjoying the way our status had begun and has progressed. Like my writing endeavors, I was unsuccessful in cultivating long-term relationships. You have been my only companion of more than a couple of months.”

                          “Well, you’re not completely inexperienced,” Lys winked, “as you’ve surprised me in knowing how to do a few things I hadn’t expected of you.” Elliott blushed and cleared his throat in embarrassment, and Lys put an arm around his waist. “I’m just giving you grief, love, don’t take it seriously. And rather, I’m glad you’ve had some experience of some sort. It wouldn’t be healthy otherwise for someone of your age, regardless of your status.”

                          “It is true, but could we continue this discussion somewhere not in public?”

                          “Okay, sorry, I just get too much of a kick out of seeing you flustered. Oh, hey, we’re at the theater. I haven’t been in here in so long, let’s have a look around. This is probably the closest I have to a second home.” Once again, he was caught by a thought as he recalled something. “That’s right, your family...”

                          “You are correct. It is funny how small a world it is sometimes. Let us have a look, between the two of us we can hardly be trespassing. And it has been some time since I was here, but never upon the stage or in its inner workings. Perhaps you can show me about.”

                          With enthusiasm that Elliott had only seen a few times before, Lys led him through the various rooms, describing makeup and costume techniques, the various plays and works that he had done, recalling past performances and stories, and laughing at the things that actors would get up to offstage, all of the stories and memories that he had made and shared with others. Elliott listened silently with a smile, enjoying vicariously his partner’s delight and the knowledge that he shared. Eventually, Lys navigated the labyrinthine corridors to the main stage, where his grin nearly split his face in half as he strode to its center, gazing out over the empty audience.

                          “I missed this, love. It’s not been long, but it’s actually hurt to be away. It’s not that I missed the attention, it’s the joy and experiences that I give to people. I live for that; telling a story and making people think and feel something amazing. I’ve missed performing with dad and his group, even for small venues, because of the camaraderie and synchronicity you get with your fellow performers. I wish I could explain it all, but I don’t have the words. I’m a performer, not a composer.”

                          “You don’t need to, dear. The words you have used are sufficient, and your smile and delight tell a story of their own. I already feel the love and respect you have for these media, and if it is within my power I will assist you in standing out here once more.” Lys sank into Elliott’s hug happily, resting his head on the other man’s shoulder.

                          “That’s not necessary, love. I won’t ask you to pull strings with your family, that feels wrong. I want to do it on my own merits. Though if I could just do one last show I could walk away and be content. However,” he suddenly laughed and tapped Elliott on the nose, “it would be funny if your work was adapted for the stage. Would that not be the height of conceit? Performing our own story like that?” Elliott chuckled at this thought and pondered it.

                          “That idea, while unlikely, is amusing to no end. As well as your assertion that I would perform across from you. I am not made for the stage.”

                          “The hell you aren’t. I’ve worked with you for a few months on your book, and I saw it when we swapped clothes for a day. You’ve got the spark of the stage in you, it just needs proper cultivation. Anyway, it is just a bit of a silly dream. I’m just happy that you’ve gotten this far. Though, who knows,” he mused, staring out again over the empty seats, “it’s a strange world. I guess that’ll be my dream for the moment; to be able to stand up here, in any form, just one last time.”

                          “Who is there? Who dares trespass here?” demanded a confident, feminine voice that immediately commanded respect. Startled, Lys and Elliott turned to see who had addressed them.
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                          • Gabaw

                            Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                            Lys is clearly ecstatic about being on stage again one way or another. but who is this strange voice? an old acquaintance i'd guess. this will be interesting!
                              Risukage likes this.
                            • Risukage

                              Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                Gabaw and Alkanthe like this.
                              • Risukage

                                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                //My birthday gift to myself was this chapter. The dialogue and interactions just flowed, and I am so pleased with these characters. I feel a bit weird in that I'm building so much of a world and making characters never mentioned in the game, but what the hell, I'm having fun. J.R.R. Tolkein is my spirit animal... :p//

                                “I can’t trespass in my own home,” Lys replied, with no small amount of snark, “and how do I know you’re allowed to be here, too?” The speaker stepped out of the wings and fixed Lys with a look that he would have called “hawklike.”

                                “Because I own this place.” Lys was at a loss for words, while Elliott had gotten over his surprise.

                                “Hello, mother, I did not expect to see you here.”

                                She was of average height for a woman, even in low heels, and while in middle age was still in good health for it, showing no signs of wrinkles or crow’s feet. A violet bolero jacket was left unbuttoned over a clean-cut but stylish dress in the same shade but darker that went past her knees but still afforded easy movement. Her auburn hair was cut in neat layers to her shoulders, and dark blue eyes stared up at him from down a nose that again put Lysander in mind of a hawk eyeing its prey. She did not have an unkind face, but the focused intensity she managed to project instinctively made one want to stand up straighter and address her as “ma’am.” She held a clutch purse in one hand, similar to the same practiced, effortless manner that a trained warrior might hold a weapon, and her other hand was on her hip as she looked Lys up and down, assessing him in a glance.

                                “I must say the same. Hello, Elliott, it is good to see you again. And you must be Lysander. You call this your home? What audacity breeds this sort of assumption?” Slightly annoyed at being caught off-guard, as well as the way the question had been phrased, Lys felt rather cheeky.

                                “Because I have spent many hours upon this stage, entertaining and delighting the guests that provide your income. So while you may own it, you also owe me.” Elliott gasped at the exchange, already worried about the outcome.

                                “Dear! Please don’t-”

                                “It is quite all right, Elliott,” she interjected, still fixated on Lys, “he does have a point of a sort, though he lacks tact in expressing it. A theater without performers is merely an expensive and pointless form of interior decorating. However, it is no small amount of arrogance to assume that your name and presence are what command and demand an audience.” Elliott saw Lys set his jaw in the manner he always did when on the edge of anger, when his pride and professionalism were in question. Straightening further, Lys glared back, and where she commanded respect he controlled the stage, creating his own spotlight.

                                “I never said that, and further, I never performed for my own sake. To do so would be to sully the art of theater. I stand upon this stage and revel in applause, yes, but not for the attention; it is because that is proof of myself, of my performance, of the story that I have told. It is thanks for the entertainment that I have provided and skill that I have demonstrated. My songs, my stories, my voice, they are all given freely to any who ask and I ask nothing in return. That is the soul of an artist, and while it may not bring prestige or wealth those are mere material concerns that get in the way of and diminish my art. You may speak ill of many things about me, and they will likely be true, but I will not tolerate a slight against that which I have devoted most of my life.”

                                Tilting her head to the side, she continued to consider him with that birdlike look.

                                “How very curious. You are quite the interesting young man. You have also been a positive influence upon Elliott. Very well, I approve. You may call me Elizabeth.” Quick to catch on and understand the situation, Lys immediately grinned and was about to say something before she interrupted him.

                                “No, you may not call me ‘Liz.’ Nor ‘Beth.’” Her look developed a bit of a chill as Lys’s smile reached critical proportions. “And should the name ‘Lizzy’ ever attempt to cross your lips your future vocal career will be as a soprano. Are we understood?”

                                “May I call you ‘mom’ as well, or do you prefer ‘mother?’” he asked, pushing his luck as far as he could, and he giggled as he saw Elliott put his face in his hands out of the corner of his eye. Her cool and collected demeanor didn’t waver, and neither did her frost-edged stare.

                                “Not until the two of you are properly wedded. Which brings me to my next point; my eldest has already taken the responsibility of carrying on the family name. Do you plan to have Elliott do the same, or is yours the one that shall take precedence?” Enjoying the opportunity to not only sass his potential in-laws but get away with it, Lys pretended to think about the question as he folded his hands behind his head.

                                “Well, personally, I think that ‘Elliott von Morgensonne’ sounds quite nice, but that’s just me.”

                                “Von… I thought that I recognized that infuriating smile. You are the son of Arthur and Lynn von Morgensonne, are you not? That most definitely explains your unorthodox appearance. And your vexing personality.” Lys had taken everything else in stride, but this caught him unaware.

                                “How do you- Oh, right, mom and dad teach dance and music, so just about everyone that’s been on stage here has taken lessons from one of them at some point, haven’t they? I keep forgetting just how much influence they have around here. It’s funny what you get used to when you’re so close to it for so long.”

                                “Hmm, you have been at this for quite some time,” spoke up another voice, though this one masculine. Elliott turned to greet the new arrival, who appeared out of the same stage entrance that his mother had.

                                “Ah! Father, I was wondering if you were here as well.” The family resemblance was quite apparent, though the other man had short, sandy-blonde hair in a businesslike cut instead of Elliott’s strawberry-blonde locks, and deep green eyes behind silver-framed spectacles. The way he moved was also very close to Elliott’s elegant, deliberate stride. Dressed in a tailored suit of deep tan with a sky blue shirt and matching tie, he tapped at a smartphone as he brought up data that he desired.

                                “Good afternoon, Elliott, I see that you are doing well,” he said with a fatherly smile, patting his youngest son on the shoulder, “and that you are apparently romantically involved with a performer that has been a part of this theater for a number of years. I see no leading roles on your dossier, Lysander, all of them are support or background characters. Intriguing. One might take that to infer that you are shy or lack confidence, but your, hmm, ‘conversation’ with my wife speaks otherwise. It appears that your love for both theater and my son are genuine. I am Phillip, and I will head your question off at the pass and inform you that no, you are not allowed to call me ‘Phil.’”

                                “I like your parents so much, love,” Lys chuckled, “nobody has been able to out-cheek me like this in a long time.” Elliott sighed and massaged his temple with a hand, looking only partly relieved.

                                “Please do not alienate your future in-laws, dear.” Elizabeth’s expression softened and Lys saw that Elliott had inherited her smile, the way it touched her eyes and made you feel like the center of her attention.

                                “Do not worry, we all were testing each other, and it seems that we all have passed. Now that initial introductions and impressions have been made, we can move on to business. When we last spoke, you mentioned that your book was completed and had been submitted for publishing. Has there been any further development on that front?” All apprehension and tension that Elliott had felt vanished as the subject of literature was brought up.

                                “Yes, actually, it goes to print next week. I will let you know as soon as the first copies are available.”

                                “That would be excellent,” Phillip remarked, making a note on his phone and putting it in his pocket, “you have been laboring over this endeavor for many years now. I am delighted to hear that you have achieved the success that you have desired. I also recall that you had considered a pseudonym under which you could write, so that your work could stand on its own. What did you decide upon?”

                                “Ah, I did not. Nor did I use my name. To be honest, Lysander has writing credit as well for the amount of work that he put into it with me, so we...” Elizabeth and Phillip exchanged glances, and in them, an entire conversation.

                                “It should be easy enough to find, then, I will keep watch for it,” Phillip said, pulling out his phone and making more notes, “and this will make it easier to obtain the rights for an adaptation. Not that we will use your work without recompense or the correct legal representation, but not having to go through third parties will expedite the process. Further, not having the family name on it directly will help avoid the appearance of nepotism and favoritism, though both are technically true in this case.” Both Lys and Elliott weren’t quite certain what was going on, and Elizabeth stared off into the lighting rigs as she tapped her purse against the palm of her other hand.

                                “A mid-fall release, not a bad time for it. It will generate interest before the winter holidays, when sales pick up for new and popular works, and likely have a decent following by spring. So, say, six months or so for it to catch on and rise in the public consciousness, and a stage release by late spring to early summer, giving it enough time to be out long enough to be interesting and new but not oversaturated. Hmm, though I do hate to rush things, so we can push for a fall performance, which will give a bit more time to properly adapt it and advertise. We can work out particulars once it is published and I have had the opportunity to read it.”

                                “I- Wait,” Lys asked, “are the both of you really talking about adapting his novel for the stage? Already? You don’t even know what it’s about!” Phillip glanced up at him from his note-taking from over the rim of his spectacles.

                                “First, it is your work as well, so be certain to give yourself proper credit, and second, while there are stories that will always draw an audience due to their appeal, it is necessary to innovate and breathe fresh life into the theater now and then. It can be a risky maneuver, but such is the nature of things. And no, we do not know the content nor the nature of your novel, so it is potentially likely that it is rubbish. However, knowing the exacting standards to which Elliott holds himself, as well as the love of storytelling and the stage that you have already displayed, we are confident that the subject matter will be appealing.”

                                “This discussion can continue once we have your book,” Elizabeth nodded, “but we are here on business and must take care of it before it becomes too late to do so. It was a strange but delightful surprise to see the both of you here.”

                                “It was good to see you again as well, mother,” replied Elliott with a gentle hug, “I will call as soon as the first books are ready.”

                                “I appreciate that. As for you,” she turned, addressing Lys, “I suppose that it is not premature to welcome you to the family already. Though it is probably for the best that you are both men, as I am certain that your children would be simply unruly.”

                                “What- Hey now! Just remember that you’d be the grandmother so we’d pawn them off on you when they’re being little shits because it’s your job to spoil them. So there.” Elizabeth laughed heartily, something that Lys did not expect, and returned the deep but soft hug that he offered. Phillip accepted similar hugs from his son and potential son-in-law before remembering something that he wanted to ask.

                                “I notice that you are now wearing glasses, Elliott. Have you really been spending that much time behind a screen?”

                                “What? Ah! No, they’re for glare reduction and the like. It was Lysander’s suggestion.”

                                “Then he has been quite a good influence. You have always let your health go when focused upon something. Perhaps a companion was what you lacked, not vision or skill. And those suit you quite well.”

                                “True, and thanks. I don’t want to make you any later than you already might be, we’ll catch up further later.”

                                Lys put an arm around Elliott’s waist as Elizabeth and Phillip departed, and let out a deep breath that he didn’t realize that he’d been holding.

                                “Well. So that’s a thing that happened. Shall we meet up with everyone else now?”
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                                • Gabaw

                                  Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                                  Everything went better than expected! (.jpg) :rofl: heck even I'm excited for the stage adaptation of Elliott's novel. The writer, the actor, the stage and finally, the story. It's all set! Now you just need an audience...
                                    Risukage and Alkanthe like this.
                                  • Risukage

                                    Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                    All the world's indeed a stage
                                    And we are merely players
                                    Performers and portrayers
                                    Each another's audience outside the gilded cage

                                    (Apropos of nothing, I just thought a bit of Rush fit the moment. :p)

                                    Will I actually follow through on this self-indulgent wankery, or is it merely a red herring to move along the plot? Good question! Perhaps one day it shall be answered. :3

                                    *Queues up Rush's greatest hits album and plays air guitar for a while.*//

                                    Holding hands as they left, they said nothing for a few minutes as the events that had just transpired sunk in. Then, one moment in particular stood up and waved for Lys’s attention.

                                    “Did… Did your mom basically tell us to get married? Because that’s something that I did not expect to happen today.”

                                    “My parents are refreshingly direct and blunt. They prefer not to leave things to ambiguity and chance. But yes, you are correct, and it was an unexpected statement for me as well. They have taken a liking to you, dear, something that has weighed upon my mind for some time.”

                                    “That’s the second time someone’s inferred that we’re going to get hitched at some point. It feels...weird.” Elliott gave him a teasing smile and kissed the top of his head.

                                    “Oh? Does the prospect of no longer being a bachelor frighten you? That you will be unable to return to your hedonistic and debaucherous days?”

                                    “No, it’s… Don’t take it the wrong way, love, but I never gave the matter any thought, ever, because I never really thought it would happen. In college I was always busy and focusing on my education, and as basically the campus bicycle it didn’t seem likely that anyone would be interested in anything more than a few months of fun. After I… After that fight with Allen and everything that happened, I gave up on the idea of long-term love. I didn’t think I deserved it, and to be honest, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to get the chance to try. Even after meeting you, I was still stuck in a bit of depression, and…” He stopped walking and bit his lip, his grip on his partner’s hand suddenly tight. Elliott put a hand on his shoulder and wiped away the tears that had already escaped.

                                    “What is on your mind? Share your pain so that I may carry some of your burden.” Lys looked at the scar on one wrist silently for a moment, and shuddered at the memory behind it.

                                    “For the first couple of months in town I still hadn’t gotten over everything. I was doing a good job of locking it away and keeping it from everyone else, and I wasn’t going to try again, but… But if something were to happen, I wasn’t going to fight it. I didn’t think I had a future or a purpose, and if I disappeared it’s not like it’d be a big loss.” He leaned into Elliott, suddenly needing a bit of emotional support, and felt the ache fade a little as his companion held him. “I’m over it now. Mostly. Still working through a couple of things, but I’m no longer in that state. Still, it’s just weird to me, I never thought I was the marrying type. Never thought I’d be able to make someone properly happy.”

                                    “That is true actually, you have not.”


                                    “You have made me feel both delight and contentment. By day I cherish your smile, by night I desire your touch. You have given me more than mere happiness, and I am now devoted to repaying that gift.” Lys smiled with relief and kissed him warmly, which did not provoke embarrassment or self-consciousness from Elliott this time.

                                    “Let’s get back to the others, it’s about time to meet up."

                                    They arrived just ahead of Sam, who was the last to return.

                                    “Well, how was everyone’s day?” asked Lys as he retrieved his and Elliott’s riding gear from Alex’s truck.

                                    “I didn’t find any place that we could perform at, but it was nice to get out for a while,” Sam sighed, leaning against the truck with his hands in his pockets.

                                    “Same,” commented Abigail, “Sebby and I were able to pick up a few things we needed, but couldn’t find any place that would be what we’re looking for.” Haley adjusted her purse over her shoulder and brushed her hair back over her shoulder.

                                    “It seems that we’ve all been unsuccessful. Alex and I had a very lovely day, but to be honest, we really don’t know what you all need, so we didn’t know what to look for.”

                                    “Looks like Elliott and I were the only ones that might have a result, but then, I’m the only one here who’s done live shows in the first place, and I know a lot of the popular venues around here, so I guess it’s cheating. Wait- Oh, awesome, hang on,” he interrupted himself, as his phone rang, “lemme get this. Hey dad, how goes it?”

                                    “Heya, Pick, pretty damn good. I got the info you’re looking for. I’ll send it on over as soon as we hang up.”

                                    “Sweet, thanks! Any idea on timeframe?”

                                    “It’s a bit busy at the moment, but I can grab you something anywhere in the next couple of weeks to early next month.”

                                    “Brilliant! We’re all here, actually, gimmie a sec to bounce it off of everyone.” Lys grinned as he addressed his friends. “So, is anyone here busy in the next two or three weeks?”

                                    “No WAY,” Sam gasped, eyes almost as wide around as his mouth, and even Sebastian looked interested as Abigail gasped and bounced up and down, hugging him. Haley and Alex looked like proud parents, and Elliott hugged him around the waist.

                                    “Yeah, I think everyone’s cool with that,” Lys snickered as he returned to the call.

                                    “Great! I’ll send you the calendar along with everything else, so get back to me when you’ve decided on a date and time. Sorry I can’t do this in person with you, Pick, but it was the one night that we could schedule a few hours with Liz and Phil to work out details for your mom’s work, so we’re kinda booked.”

                                    “No worries, that’s- Wait, what?”

                                    “Oh, right, you probably haven’t met them-”

                                    “No, that’s ‘wait, what’ as in did you mean ‘Elizabeth and Phillip?”

                                    “So you have met them, then. Makes sense with how much you do at the theater.”

                                    “Actually, I just met them a bit ago. They’re Elliott’s parents.”

                                    There was silence on the other end of the phone, which was broken by Arthur laughing so loudly that everyone else could hear it. Wheezing, Lys’s father chuckled a few last times before regaining some form of composure.

                                    “Dang, it looks like we all just missed each other. Oh, your mom is going to get such a kick out of this, I’m going to message her right now.”

                                    “Please don’t terrorize my potential in-laws, I barely made a good enough impression as it is.”

                                    “Don’t worry, they’ve got a good sense of humor.”

                                    “Well, she did say that she ‘recognized that infuriating smile,’ and stated that I had a ‘vexing personality.’”

                                    “That sounds about right. She’s also an excellent judge of character. Though don’t call her ‘Lizzy.’ I found that out the hard way. If looks could kill, whoo!”

                                    “I was already warned in no uncertain terms against doing that.”

                                    “Ha! Well, I’ve got to get going, so give Elliott a hug for us, we’ll meet him at your first gig, whenever it is.”

                                    “Will do, see you then.”

                                    Lys hung up and saw five pairs of very questioning eyes focused on him.

                                    “You two had a VERY interesting day, didn’t you?” Sebastian asked.

                                    “Um, the long and short of it is that we ran into Elliott’s parents when we stopped by the theater for old time’s sake, and apparently my parents are meeting them on business right now. So I’m not sure if I’m annoyed that I missed the chance to say hi, or am glad that I’m not at potential Ground Zero for shenanigans.” His phone chirped with a text message, and upon checking it he saw that it was from his mother, that simply read, “LOL!!! :D

                                    “Oh great, and now mom knows. Let’s get geared up and head on home. By the time we get back they should be done and I’ll get to find out if one of us ends up getting disowned or forbidden from dating.” Sam laughed and held Lys’s helmet for him as he finished donning his safety gear, as Elliott had put his on while Lys was on the phone.

                                    “I can’t wait to meet your mom and dad, they sound like a total trip.”

                                    “Well, I’m their best and worst qualities, so I think you all will get along. Right, I’m ready to go. See everyone later, I’ll send you the info as soon as I get back to the house, and we can figure out the best date and time for our first gig.”

                                    It was evening when they got back to Lys’s house, just after dark, but he knew where everything was by instinct and opened the door and turned on the lights without missing a beat, pausing only to forward the information that he had promised everyone.

                                    “Here, I’ve got a few spare hangers in the closet by the door, we can hang up the gear in there, though you’ll probably want to keep yours handy when you head home, won’t you?”

                                    “I will, but I expected to stay the night so I will utilize this space for the time being.”

                                    “Well, it’s not that late, and I’ve still got some energy. I thought that I could show you something really nice…”

                                    “Your smile is both flirty and mischievous. You hint at activities of an adult nature, as well as an ulterior motive.” Lys’s grin got wider as he pulled a very old, battered guitar case out of the closet and handed it to Elliott.

                                    “Here, head over to the couch while I grab Resonance.”

                                    “Is this Harmony? So you propose to instruct me tonight?”

                                    “Yeah, you taught me piano, I should return the favor. Why, not interested?” Elliott sat down and with great care opened the case and took out Harmony.

                                    “I am very interested. I had considered asking, but we have been so busy.”

                                    “Well, we’ve been getting busy, so you’re partially right,” he teased, sitting down next to Elliott and setting Resonance’s case on the floor.


                                    “Smile, love, I say stuff like that because I’m trying to get a rise out of you. Now, first, start with posture. Sit up with your back straight, a bit forward on the edge of the couch. Hold it like this,” he paused in his instructions to arrange Elliott’s hands in the correct places on the guitar, “don’t kink your left wrist too far, and hold the instrument into you with your right. Feel that? It should be an extension of yourself. Here, I’m terrible at mirrored instructions, let me get comfy.” He hopped onto the couch and settled himself behind Elliott, adjusting from there.

                                    “I wonder if this is less of an assistance to your teaching and more of an opportunity to be affectionate.”

                                    “Oh, no lie, this is a great excuse to snuggle you, but really, I can better help you learn this way. As long as I’m not distracting you from back here,” he leered, nibbling Elliott’s ear as he took the pick from out of the frets.

                                    “Later, dear, there will be plenty of time for that tonight,” he chuckled with a smile.

                                    “You sound confident that you’ll learn quickly. Well, here’s the basics; it’s six strings, from the lowest to the highest they are E, A, D, G, B, and E. Hear them? Right. The gaps in between the raised bars are frets, and they are all a half step each, twelve per string. Let’s try a basic scale on the lowest string. I’ll show you how to use a pick later, for now, pluck the string with the side of your thumb, no, that’s too hard, like this,” he demonstrated, and watched Elliott try it again.

                                    “Better, like that. Now to learn how left hand fingering goes. Using tip of your finger, hold down the string on the second fret, and use your thumb on the back of the neck for support and stability. A bit harder, it takes a bit of pressure to- There, you got it.”

                                    “I believe that I will need to develop not only greater hand strength but a few callouses in order to properly play this instrument.”

                                    “You’ll get there. Next is fourth. Good, now fifth- No, not six, five, there. Seven, nine, eleven, twelve. Nice! Back down now. Twelve, eleven- That was ten, eleven, nine, seven, five, four- Excellent, you remembered, two, open string. There you go, E major scale. You’ve already learned something!”

                                    “I… I have. And I can already feel the instrument, how it sings when pressed against you. I now know why you called yours ‘Resonance.’”

                                    “So you felt it, hunh? But that was nothing. If you want to really feel it you need something a bit more complex.”

                                    “Could you show me? You’ve played a number of songs in my presence but I do not recall anything that would take an abundance of skill.” Lys placed Elliott’s hands on the guitar body where he could feel the instrument but not be in the way as he reached around his partner and took hold of Harmony. Thinking for a moment for what he wanted, he launched into a heavy, powerfully strummed piece that made the guitar hum and vibrate with an intensity that Elliott didn’t know was possible. Silently, Elliott listened and felt the musician and instrument work together, in harmony, amazed at how animated Lys was when he played while still remaining in control, and almost felt as though he was intruding on a private, intimate moment between the two of them. As Lys allowed the last chord to fade away Elliott finally allowed himself to relax and breathe normally again, then laughed at a sudden, silly thought.

                                    “Something amusing, love?”

                                    “Nothing much, I just thought that I was the only one that you touched like that, and for a moment felt a little jealous.”

                                    Laughing heartily, Lys hugged him around the shoulders from behind, kissing him on the cheek.

                                    I was lucky enough to find the exact track I was thinking of that Lys plays at the end. This actually has two guitars in it, but he's playing the rhythm guitar part, not the plucked main melody. Mmmm, listen to those chords...

                                      Gabaw and ApertureGaming011 like this.
                                    • Gabaw

                                      Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                                      All this talk about Rush and I thought the post note would be related. I was wrong :rofl: well looks like Elliott is finally learning how to play tho not without distractions :p Come on Lys you cheeklord lmao.
                                        Alkanthe and Risukage like this.
                                      • Risukage

                                        Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                        What? He's providing positive reinforcement. :)
                                          Gabaw and Alkanthe like this.
                                        • Kid Absurdity

                                          Kid Absurdity Big Damn Hero

                                          I like that you put a focus on theatre in your fic so you could drama while you drama.
                                            Gabaw, Alkanthe and Risukage like this.

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