Bereft of Instinct
"Even when I sit right next to him, side by side, at breakfast even, we're worlds apart." Heaving a sigh in the sanctuary of their bedroom Sora sat on the edge of their bed. He stiffened, and then sighed, as Yuki's hands settled over his shoulders. Fingers kneading and flexing, soothing tension that had set his back stiff, she smoothed the knots that had set his face rigid with pain. Hands relaxing tensed tendons and cramped muscles Yuki said nothing, simply labored.
"There's no ... talking to him. He just shells up."
"He's striving to keep his temper." Yuki pointed out, hands slowing.
"What for? I'm hardly denying him what he wants. I even agreed to this foolery. The sooner he sees how shallow and petty this all is..."
Yuki stopped, her hands, even her breathing, to that Sora stilled, startled at how loud
his voice was in that absolute silence.
"You talk at him, not to him." Yuki corrected quietly.
Silence fell, smothered them both with its insubstantial wings, seeping its sticky feathers over every inch of air until breathing was a trial. Daring that choking atmosphere, Yuki whispered.
"Until you show respect for who he is and what he does... I find it little wonder he avoids you."
The muscles under her hands hopped, in surprise, indignation, she wasn't sure, for she didn't strive to see his face. Truth be told, she didn't want to. She was weary of the tensions and stifling silence that had filled her home every time her husband and son entered the same room.
"What do you think I should do?" He asked, his question came out tense, stiff, a perfect match for his posture.
"I don't know, what do you think you should do?" Yuki countered.
With a low growl Sora let himself fall back, and with a little shifting before he fell Yuki found herself with her husband's head in her lap, his dark eyes looking up, curiously younger in his confusion, once he lost his frustration that is.
"I still don't know what to do." He groused. "And you aren't helping."
"You'll think of something, I know you will."
"That's not much help." He almost, whined.
"I suppose not." Yuki conceded with a grin. "But don't you think it's more than fair?"
His silence, though a mite sullen, was all the confirmation she'd ever need.
"Let's see already!" All but bouncing up and down, more than betraying his youth, Orca itched to see though his eyes were working fine in his head.
So, smiling minimally to hold the illusion of some maturity, he obliged. One quick turn and accidental face buffet later and Orca had seen more than enough. Also, his view was on a closer scale than he'd wanted, but the accident was quickly forgotten after the giggling died down.
Clearly, the Azure Sea was very ticklish.
The things you learned, a wonder a day.
Balmung's smile widened, just a bit at that thought.
"They're like angel wings!" Orca marveled.
Checking the impulse to crane his neck and gawk at them (the ten minutes it had taken Orca to find this small out of the way field had given him more than enough opportunity to do so, so much so that his neck was a little sore) Balmung shrugged instead. The accompanying rustle as his wings followed suit was so new and unexpected he nearly hopped. Orca certainly did, and though trapped in the face of a middle aged warrior, the Azure Sea's eyes were very young. Unspeakably young even.
Wonder did that to some people.
"Wow, talk about detailed!" Orca gasped.
"The top." The blademaster explained. "It got all... poofy, then it smoothed out. Well, it's smoothing out now..."
"Really?" Forget previous gawking, Orca's description demanded a quick investigation. Craning his neck nearly getting whip-lash the white knight looked this way and that.
Though awkward he could see his wings, and they did look a mite poofed. "How interesting...
As if determined to make a show if his interest they shivered slightly... no not shivered, they twitched.
"So, have you... you know?"
"Have I what?"
"No. I um tried to... you know… flapping, but nothing happened."
Idly he stretched his hand back, an absent exercise he took up when nervous. His wing, all on its own, stretched forward. His hand shook with the small electric shock that took him upon contact. Once that discomfort faded however... They were soft, warm, and ever so faint he could feel the pulse under their skin.
They were living wings, truly living.
"Nothing?" Orca asked, snapping Balmung out of his distracted state. Tucking his wing behind his back, Balmung shook his tingling fingers.
"Well, they flapped, but that was it."
"Hm." Scratching at his chin, clear eyes going distant, the Azure Sea looked first to Balmung, then his friend's wings, then at last considered the field. It was a flat place, with brightly painted windmills perched atop distant hills. The grass while plenty was cropped short, grazed by invisible heard beasts (perhaps even the hated Grunty), the air was still, the clouds scarcely, and the sun was high.
"Hm... mmm hmm.." Nodding to himself, eyes closed as he contemplated whatever was on his mind, Orca's hand slid up till he was scritching the side of his face.
"Alright." Cutting in before Orca's hand got to the top of his head and started scratching there -a doggish habit that annoyed Balmung to no end- the Azure Sky glowered. "What?"
"Well," The hand went up, but Balmung's expression stopped the habit cold. "You aren't going to like it."
To that obvious fact Balmung sighed. "I figured that already."
"I mean you really really aren't going to like-"
"As long as it doesn't involve you tying me up like a kite and using a Grunty to be the kite runner I'll try it."
"Umm... Actually..." Dripping his gaze Orca studied the grass, resolutely not looking at his friend. "That's what I was thinking of."
"Well, that's not an option." Balmung growled.
"Really really not an option." The knight rumbled, and forget that cliché about murder promised in the eyes his whole body promised a if Orca even tried.
"Not even with Rocker Grun-" The Azure Sea hedged.
"No!" Balmung nearly screamed.
Cracking a grin, eyes mischievous and so young -such a startling contrast in a body if not old that was at least mature- Orca chuckled.
"How 'bout with Milky Grunty."
He shuttered at the mere memory of the last Milky he'd seen. Those fawning eyes, wide sunny smile, and a crush a mile wide. She'd been obsessed with flirting with Orca, and she had a clock in her head that had been ticking down the time between her and Orca's last conversation. Clearly it had been too long since Orca, her sweetie pie and sugar muffin, had talked to her. Her solution had been horrible straightforward. Harass Orcas' time consuming friend, after all Orca spent all his time with that "Azure Sky person" and what a better way to get Orca's attention than...
Needless to say it had started out ugly and had ended... well it had ended and he counted his blessings for that. Perched on Dun Loireag's weapon shop, eyes wild, he'd clung to the roof for dear life sending flash mail, PM, text message, even a forum post, all to get Orca to hurry up and log in to do something. Of course Orca had gotten in trouble, grounded that very night for playing too much. Irritated by all the mail Orca's mother had called him to inform him that further messages would not be appreciated.
"I think you can avoid calling him for three days." The woman had groused.
"But, I really need...'
"If you try again I'll have your number blocked, permanently."
"But, the Grunty!"
She'd hung up and he'd had no choice but to log out without saving. He'd lost a very good sword that way.
Taking a deep breathe so he wouldn't scream, the white knight settled for glaring instead,
"I. Don't. Like. Grunties." He hissed.
"Grunties aren't all that bad."
"Yours are." Balmung snapped. "I've got trauma just from yours. I don't want any of my own."
"Trauma or grunties?" Orca teased.
Knightly code, honor, or moderator status aside, Balmung smacked Orca upside the head for that one. It went beyond well deserved, was firmly in the land of justified. Lios would just have to understand. Ignoring Orca's "Oww geez, lighten up will you!" Balmung glowered at the Azure Sea.
"I don't like Grunties."
"I know already!"
"So, no plans with Grunties in them!"
Unclenching his fists the Azure sky folded his arms over his chest, his wings followed suit Wings fully mantled (or fluffed, if Orca's terms must be used) Balmung studied the sky. He had the tools to reach it, he simply lacked the knowledge. No wise, informative wind would be on its way to give a tutorial, nor had CC Corp bothered to sent instructions, they... well he'd... have to figure this out on his own.
"Grunty flute... Grunty flu-"
Shaken out of his ruminations by Orca muttering to himself Balmung snapped his head up. Patting down pockets that were' there -a sure sign he was menu diving- Orca clearly was looking for the dreaded flute. That evil, ludicrous, item that summoned CC Corps satanically inclined "Cute fuzzy animal side kick".
"I said no Grunties." Balmung hissed, sounding rather satanic himself.
Right." Holding his hands up, he mad a parody of modern surrender simply by looking so... medieval while doing so. "No Grunties."
Both hands fisted, blue eyes glinting like ice harvested from winter's coldest day, Balmung grimly advanced. Not liking that.. ominous silence and unblinking stare Orca meekly took one step back. One quick glance (and a fairy orb later) confirmed there were no other players on the field. Not knowing if that was good or bad -but guessing bad, something about Balmung's posture promised it'd be very bad indeed- Orca took a few more steps back. Balmung matching him step for step, whole frame shaking with indignation.
"I." Head tilted to the side just so, lips curled into a soundless snarl, Balmung whispered the last. "Do not LIKE GRUNTIES!"
Wongs open and feathers frazzled with tensions so great they made static cling seem tame in comparison, the Azure Sky made claws (or perhaps talons would be the better word) of his hands.
Forget his status and the prestige as a Descendent of Fianna, there was maiming (or perhaps -hopefully- merely the mother of all noogies) promised in Balmung's gaze.
Turning on his heel, running like he meant it, and cursing the fact he'd left his Ap Do endowed equipment at the Elf Haven, Orca ran for all he was worth. Balmung ran faster, well in the end he did. Acting on impulse he'd not quite ordered his wings to flap, rather he thought about it while running. At first it had caused him to leap straight up between steps, and Orca had gotten a lead from that. But eventually, he caught the trick of tossing the wind behind him. A few falls and skids later and he was keeping his feet, and catching up.
"Stop targeting me as an enemy!" Orca wailed. "I'm in battle mode, I can't gate out!"
The flap of wings, the crunch of steel crunching grass and kicking up sod drew nearer.
"I've got a test tomorrow that I've gotta study for!" Orca howled.
The sun was blotted out by blurs of white, than a heavy weight smashed into him. Both blademaster's flew forward at the force of Balmungs half flying tackle, all but eating grass, clothes now a perfect match for his bright green body paint, Orca moaned. Or rather, considering his position, he grazed. Snapping a hand out, pinning both of Orca's arms with one gauntleted fist, Balmung set his free hand to the top of Orca's skill.
A soft buzz and jingle courtesy of his fairy orb made Orca start. Spitting pebbles and grass blades the Azure Sea's panicked eyes mad Balmung stop his apocalyptic revenge noogie mid hair ruffle. Able to speak, he spoke of the ultimate terror, and it didn't consist of a Cerberus or Lich Lord.
"Players, party, three girls, Names: Yoai fan111, SkySea freak, Sue."
"Sue?" Balmung gasped. "Mary sue!"
Out of those three only 'sue was moderately sane. As rabid as a Milky Grunty, her heart set on him, he'd had her blocked from email, flashmail, and IM to get a little peace. And still she stalked, despite all the means he'd used to shut her up and shut her out.
A confessed bird freak (The last post he'd ever read by her went something like "Birds were just so kawiiixDxDxD!") the second she saw his wings...
He shivered, not from cold, and decided that then and there it was time to take the better part of valor.
"Toodles." With a flap and a leap he broke off his target mode via lateral distance, dropped his party invite, and gated out.
Knowing Orca's computer was an older model and Balmung doing many things at once would cause it to lag, well what Balmung just did might constitute under cruel and unusual... Long enough for the girls (who always had speed tabs on hand that and fairy orbs) to find him? Probably, but Orca could always unplug if it came to that. The last thing he heard as the golden light whisked him away was a shrill "OMG it's him!"
Before Orca could respond, or the girls could glomp him, Balmung of the Azure Sky was long gone.