Categories > Anime/Manga > .hack//Sign > Sterile Skies

Sorta Flying part 2: Run Aground

by Kasan_Soulblade 0 Reviews

Category: .hack//Sign - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters:  - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2012/10/05 - Updated: 2012/10/05 - 1664 words - Complete

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Sterile skies
chapter 7
Sorta Flying, part 2:
Run aground


He ran, steel shoes sending leaves of natural and unnatural hue skyward with each step. Wings pumping madly, he ran then leapt into a breeze that was so subtle you could only hear it. As for feeling, letting touch be your guild, it was so delicate that even the fleeting caress of wind against skin was a flicker of imagination rather than the work of real sensation. Breaking past a series of mycoind encrusted swells, his almost flight, really impressive jump, ended like all the others. Unwilling to brace for a fall he smashed chest first into the moist ground and skidded several feet. Once the bizarre scree-squich of armor scrapping over leaves, lightly scratching the muddy earth under the loom had died down Orca stood.

"You OK?"

Face full of mud, white hair made colorful by all the leaves plastered to it, Balmung didn't answer. Didn't lift his head, and resolutely did not groan. Knowing he wouldn't get anything more than a grunt no matter how he pressed, Orca simply settled for waiting. Bracing himself on shaking arms, Balmung pushed up, spitting muck and the occasional pebble up until he could breathe again. Airway restored, he breathed hard and up, and set the one leaf perched on his nose spinning away. It fluttered, made it look so bloody easy that the Azure Sky glowered at the leaf as if fluttered off.

Still, Orca had asked, his concern was genuine. And, to that, as a knight...

"I'm fine." Balmung managed something like civility to his tone.

Impressed, that he was talking and being reasonable -there were after all well over ten vaguely shaped like Balmung leafless smears in this area alone, and this was the fifth area of five he'd tried flying at- Orca chuckled. Truth be told, had Orca met this much resistance over anything he'd have given up. Like water, the blademaster preferred the route of least resistance. Hence, why he'd taken the title of Azure Sea, though seas were deep and powerful water was water, and he'd always admired the gentler nascence of water's nature.

"I can Phal Repth you, if you need it." Orca offered.

"No. No damage has been inflicted to my HP so save your SP." Balmung winced, ever so slightly, than worked from laying on his stomach to sitting, the effort it took made the Azure Sea wince in sympathy pain.

"It won't change a thing statistically." Orca quoted recalling Lios' promise. "But you can't tell me it doesn't hurt."

"It hurts." Balmung hissed. Taking a deep breath Balmung ran a gauntleted hand over his breast plate. Leaf bits brightened the muck of mud under his fingers somewhat. Orca tried not to notice how Balmung's hand was shaking a bit. "I guess that's why nature makes birds so fragile so they can't fall more than once."

To that Orca said nothing, after all, what could he honestly say?

"How'd the test go?" Balmung croaked, sounding a bit winded.

"Meh." The Azure Sea shrugged. "So-so. I think I passed, I'll find out when I get the paper back. Math's the pits."

So's crashing, though he didn't say a word Balmung's expression didn't really need words or effort to read. But, despite whatever pain he was in, Balmung held his peace. Taking a deep breathe the Azure Sky stood, slowly, gingerly as if expecting to find broken bones and bruises under ever inch of his armor. Bracing his legs so the shaking stopped, and with only a hint of a sway to his step, the knight managed a few steps.

"Gunna try again?"

No words needed, Balmung nodded.

Sitting again, menu lingering on his heeling spells for a few moments, Orca ignored the whimpered "shroom" at his side. He waited for Balmung to bend, to say "My HP needs attention" or something stilted like that. Turning, without saying a word or accepting the mute offer of aide, Balmung looked to the sky. Listening.

For the sound of wind, waiting for that hint of air, a breathe of breeze.

"Shroom?"

Something small and moist poked his side, Orca didn't notice. He knew of water, it was fluid, ever moving, water was prone to stiffening in frigid circumstances and melting away when put under fire. Its very substance was change incarnate, yet for all it metamorphoses it was always a necessary. Always necessary.

Of water he knew, of the sky he was learning.

The sky... it held. Containment was its truth, it held clouds and wind, both fickle yet needed things. When fire burned, smoke strived to claw its way to the highest spire, yet though it tried it never succeeded in staining the upper spires of heaven. With rumbles and electric born roars, rain fell through heavens hands, nurturing, smothering, with aqua fingers all that was below. Its brightest ornament, the sun was life incarnate. Though it went through stately paces -ever rising, falling, always at predictable times- it was the stuff of loyalty.

After all, the sun dial hardly waited on the moon, and it's ever changing phases.
With a nod Balmung snapped out of his "I'm listening" pose and opened his wings. Clearly the wind had turned, at least to Balmung's hearing, Orca couldn't make out a difference if his life depended on it. Standing, Orca made ready to pace after his friend, idly digging through menus till he found a healing spell.

Best to be prepared after all.

"Shroo! (music note)"

With a screech that sounded vaguely like "noo not me" Orca absently picked the mushroom. It was more for the sake of some quiet than to get food for a Grunty. Following the trail of kicked up leaves and fallen feathers, Orca considered his Phal Repth spell, then on impulse decided to offer a potion instead.

For when Balmung crashed, of course.

The sky held, translucent but hued (bitter grey at storms coming, softest blue at normal, darkest black during the night, and those unspeakable colors that came at lights fall and days start) it touched the earth only when it must. Only at the horizon. Part of infinity, the gateway to the immeasurable things, like the circumference of an amorphous galaxy, it defied yet demanded definition.

"Hm.." Scratching his head, wincing a little at the familiar scree squish that signaled another failure, Orca wondered. Then asked (after all, the sky wasn't the only hued but translucent thing about) the downed knight. "Random thought, but you've got any Earth Element stuff on you?"

"My boots." Balmung croaked, after spitting mud and leaves for a while. "Why?"

"Call it a hunch, but take 'em off next time and we'll see what happens."

"Alright." Clearly perplexed Balmung worked his way to sitting. Slow but sure, with only a ghost of a shake to each motion.

Enough, Orca decided then and there, was enough. "Potion?" The Azure Sea offered brightly.

"My HP hasn't been-"

"I said potion?" Leaning closer, potion in one hand, the other a five finger sandwich with Balmung's name all over it, Orca waited. Made patient by the fact his best friend's eyes were a touch glazed and he was obviously spent Orca smiled.

"Hnn." Smiling despite the grime, the Azure Sea read through the offer, caught sight of the "sandwich" in the other hand, and having a firm grasp of the obvious, he laughed. "Why not?"

XXX

"It tastes awful Orca!" Than a moment later, more than a mite indignant. "I am not being an immature brat!"

having pulled her son's door open a crack Yuki meticulously cleaned some random nick-a-nack nearby. Shamelessly listening in, she'd been drawn by the soft grunts of pain he'd uttered. She'd almost entered and turned off the computer, never mind the fit of temper doing that would have caused. But something held her back, some niggling instinct.

So she'd waited, and cleaned, and listened, curiosity satiated in bits and pieces.
Her final and full answer came when he'd uttered a surprisingly poetic turn of phrase, and she lingered over it in her head for quite a while after.

"I guess that's why nature made birds so fragile..."

So, he was learning to fly with those new wings of his. He was learning of flight, and falling, both were valuable lessons in and of themselves. So she got to work, working hard at nothing at all, and absently wished some of his elegance would rub off on his essays. Or outside that World of his, it might be nice too...

"Yuki, I'm home!"

A door slammed shut and one room away with a partially open door to allow her a hearing egress she heard him breathe one word that would have guaranteed instant grounding had he dared say it in public. But it wasn't public, it was private, so she couldn't do a thing.

"I will have to try your suggestion tomorrow Orca."

Quietly she crept to the door, turning the handle, she moved to ease it closed. She found it curious that they never promised to meet up, or even discussed a where, or a how, they'd get together next. No "let's meet up at the usual" or even a mundane "call me".
It was merely a given, them seeing each other again. A fact so honest it didn't bare repeating.

"Father's home." The last came out so bitter she started, loosening her grip on the nob. It clicked as her hand went slack, and to that soft sound her son hissed. "Something's happening, I've got to go."

Taking one step, then another, she slipped back and away.

From below, obviously concerned, her husband hollered her name. "Yuki?"

Checking a sigh, Yuki spared a glance at her son's door. He knew now, what he suspected more than confirmed when he opened the door. He'd know she'd been about, that was a given.
No point in even hiding now, or even trying.

"I'm upstairs dear." Yuki called. "I'm coming right on down."
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