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Collections and Stuff

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Yoshimitsu, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Yoshimitsu

    Former Moderator

    Okay so I do a lot of random writing based on whatever comes to mind, and quite often that results in stuff that doesn't really have any place in any canon or RP or anything but it's still stuff that... y'know, is about my characters (and sometimes others). Either that, or it's something that wont continue any further. I figured I'd just post all of it in one place as a kind of reference if anyone ever needs it (including myself) and stuff.

    I'll spoiler all the individual drabbles for ease of navigation and put a brief blurb about it.

    As always, feedback is appreciated.

    1) Phones Gang Intro
    Illiana helps Phones out a few times, and Phones sees fit to introduce her to the rest of his mercenary team.

    Illiana casually walked a couple of steps behind Phones, falling into line properly. Sometimes, her soldier's instincts couldn't be supressed. Falling in line behind a superior (which Phones wasn't, technically, but he had the upper hand with it being his group she was about to meet) was just one of those, just like instinctively finding cover for a firefight and survival training shining through when she didn't expect it. The heavy, metal door in front of them slid open nearly silently as they approached. She raised an eyebrow at it. Even though the place looked run-down, it was definitely in perfect shape. Just needed a bit of a polish... Though that would probably make it stand out, she reasoned. She pushed those thoughts aside and cast her gaze around the room she had just entered.

    It was a pretty big room. Again, while it looked a bit on the run-down side, it was definitely in perfect condition otherwise. One wall was covered entirely in monitors and had a series of keyboards, plugged into something she couldn't see, at regular intervals. Near the opposite wall were a few tables that each had four chairs positioned neatly around them. Two people were at at one of the tables. On the wall near the tables was, what looked like, a fully stocked kitchen complete with oven, microwave and sink. There were a number of shelves blocking her view to the back of the room, where she could hear someone messing around with something mechanical, each shelf lined with something different. Weaponry, pieces of armour, a number of helmets and headsets, things glowing in vials... She didn't dwell too much, preferring to focus on the rest of the room. Near the wall of monitors was a much larger table with ten chairs around it, the centre of it made of glass.

    "This is our general room," Phones said in his quiet voice, guesturing with his hand. "It's where we spend most of our time since it has most of our interests in one place."

    "It's... well stocked, to say the least," Illiana replied. Phones glanced at her, something like a smile playing at his lips.

    "I'll introduce you to everyone."

    They approached the table with the two people, who were apparently engaged in a thumb-wrestling match. As they approached, one of them turned her head and abandoned the match. The girl stood up and met them halfway. She was an athletic girl, that much was obvious. There were muscles visible, her arms toned underneath tanned skin and her waist quite slim under her tank-top. She wore loose-fitting cargo pants. Her hair was bright red and pulled back into a high ponytail, though her fringe fell loose at the front. There was something about the way the girl held herself, though. Not quite soldier discpline, but something that kept her in check. She raised her hand, offering a handshake.

    "This is Evita," Phones stated as Illiana shook her hand. "She's our frontline soldier."

    "I can introduce myself, Phones," Evita commented, a slight edge to her voice. Phones just rolled his eyes. "Nice to meet you. You must be the solider Phones kept on telling us about. Illiana, is it?"

    "Yes."

    "Nice to meet you."

    "Likewise."

    While not saying very many words, Illiana could tell she and Evita were gauging each other straight away. The handshake was firm without being painful, neither looked away during the short exchange and they were both keeping their shoulders slightly tense. It was the soldier instict again, Illiana reasoned. The difference she could immediately tell was that Evita wasn't actually a soldier. She'd taught herself the rules, not had them driven into her skull durin training. Somehow, the green-haired girl could envision them coming to blows at some point.

    "You can practically smell the testosterone," an unfamiliar voice remarked with a laugh. Both Evita and Illiana broke their stare at the same time, Evita in annoyance though Illiana was just curious.

    It was the other person at the table. A blonde boy, wearing sunglasses. His hair was shaggy but clearly looked styled, his fringe covering one eye. He pulled himself to his feet easily with a grace that reminded Illiana of Yoshimitsu. His outfit was... She wanted to call it simple, but the way the material was shimmering under the dim light told her it was expensive. A sleeveless black shirt with a red trim and stitching and denim, tight-fitting jeans. Minimalistic, but a lot of money had been spent on those clothes. The summoner didn't form an opinion just yet. People could surprise, after all.

    "I'm Sebastian, fashionista extroidinaire and resident covert ops agent," the boy introduced himself with an over-dramatic bow. Illiana just stared as he stood up again. "Not one for words, clearly. Or are you just containing your fawning?"

    "Believe me, I can think of a few people I'd rather fawn over," Illiana blurted out before she could stop herself. She had to stop herself from clapping her hand to her mouth. However, Evita started roaring with laughing and Phones let out a small chuckle. Sebastian just smiled, completely unabashed.

    "An honest one, eh? Don't worry, I'll soon drive that out of you," Sebastian replied before returning to his seat and offering his hand to Evita for another thumb-wrestling match.

    Phones just sighed and gestured towards the wall with monitors. It was kind of incredible to see, actually. Each individual monitor was a live feed, several of them from the corridors she had just walked but mostly from various locations she didn't recognise. A meadow, a busy high-street, the inside of a hotel, a river... the list went on. She stared at a few, noting that they moved slightly from side to side for a better view. On a couple of monitors, there was text but it was too small for her to see properly. Phones nudged her arm and gestured towards a point near the centre of the monitors. She stared for a second before realising there was someone there.

    It was... a robot was her best guess. It had blended in to its surrounding due to its dull grey colour. Phones lead her towards it and more of its features became apparent. Two fingers and a thumb, two front toes and one at the back for support, shock absorbers on the back of its legs. Its head was curved forward, flaps at the rim of the curved plating moving as it turned its head. Tubing extended out from its neck to its back, its chest to its arms, its waist to its legs. Instead of a face, it had a shining light. Its fingers were tapping away at keys in front of it, though she could see a wire connecting its plate into whatever was connected to the keyboards.

    "This is Phoenix, our hacking expert," Phones said. "You're better off introducing yourself to him. He'll be able to judge you that way."

    Judge her? Confused, she stepped forward, not entirely sure what to say. It wasn't every day she had to introduce herself to a robot, after all. As she approached, its head turned to examine her. The light, which she had initially thought was bright, wasn't particularly strong. She could look at it without being blinded.

    Not sure what to do, she just said, "Hello."

    The robot examined her for a few seconds, and she wondered if she'd said something wrong already.

    "Analysis complete. Female. Human. Green hair. Not synthetic pigment. Not natural pigment. Microscopic bacteria. Spear. Rubies. Sapphires. Echanted. Attracts strong creatures. Evidence compiled. You are a South Pole Summoner?" The last line sounded like a question, so Illiana took it to be one.

    "I am, yes. You know a lot about the Summoners?" Illiana asked.

    "Negative. This unit analyzed severeal myths, lores, news reports, eyewitness recounts, security footage and police reports to come to this deduction," Phoenix replied. "This unit would enquire your name."

    "Illiana Silna," she replied, still slightly unsure.

    "Silna-Summoner. I am Phoenix. A pleasure to make your acquaintance," Phoenix said, extending a hand. Illiana took it, noting how strange it was to shake a hand that didn't have five digits. "Do you have any enquiries?"

    Illiana's mind flashed with at least a hundred questions. It wasn't often she had the chance to ask a robot anything, after all. She settled on one, though, since Phones was still giving her a tour.

    "How come you're called Phoenix?"

    "Statistical probability suggested a seventy-three per cent chance that you would ask what it was like to be a robot," Phoenix stated. Its voice was synthetic and devoid of any emotion. It was slightly unsettling. "This unit was constructed from defunct materials from various other synthetic creations. Upon construction, the humans and Tyrell-Alien pieced together software in the semblance of an artificial intelligence and installed it into this unit. This unit then proceeded to adapt the software into the individual you see. In a sense, this unit was created from deceased pieces of other units and they were reborn. This unit found a piece of human mythology that represented the idea and chose that for a name. Does this answer your enquiry, Silna-summoner?"

    "It does, thanks," Illiana replied with a small smile. Phones nudged her and gestured again. Illiana nodded her head towards Phoenix, who merely resumed typing away at the keyboard.

    "Impressive. You're only the second person I've known to get a title involving your name," Phones stated quietly.

    "Really? What does he call the rest of you?"

    "I'm Introverted Human, Sebastian is Annoying Human and Evita is Violent Human," Phones replied casually as he lead the way. They were walking past the shelves now. "He's sort of got our core personalities down to the letter, even if Sebastian takes it as an insult. We all think Seb's annoying though, so whatever."

    Behind the shelves looked like an engineer's workshop. Tools were discarded anywhere, wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers, blow torches... Scorched desks and mangled pieces of metal everywhere. She stepped over a piece of scrap metal and noted that most of the floor was decorated with leftover pieces of various materials. She glanced around and saw some things she recognised, iron, steel, wood, and some things she didn't recognise like glowing rocks and various coloured fluids that she made sure not to go near. Ahead of them was someone working over a desk, their back turned and face covered by a metal sheet to protect from the sparks flying off from whatever they were blow-torching. Phones apparently had the courtesy to not interrupt the mechanical work, as they stopped and waited for the flame to flicker out and the figure to turn to them. Illiana suppressed a gasp when they took their mask off.

    This must have been Tyrell-Alien because he definitely wasn't human. Ignoring the dulled teal skin, his facial structure looked to be comprised of overlaying plates. They looked stronger than bone, and streamlined his head in a way that looked aerodynamic. When he blinked, he had two sets of eyelids - one set that was translucent and covered his eyes horizontally and another like a human's. His mouth was just underneath jagged plates, too, and Illiana caught a glimpse of sharp teeth. His skin looked tougher than human skin, too. His forearms each had a long fin on them, his fingers slightly webbed. As he shook off his thick overcoat, probably to protect him from the heat, he revealed a dorsal fin. The summoner guessed that he would have similar fins on his legs, underneath grey cargo pants.

    "Tyrell, this is Illiana," Phones introduced. Tyrell nodded, but didn't extend his hand like the others had. "Illiana, Tyrell's our hardware expert as well as expert marksman."

    "I heard you talking to Phoenix," the alien stated. His voice had a strange coarse quality to it, deep but confident. "It's not often he hands out titles, is it, Introvert?"

    "We were all surprised," Phones replied with a small smirk as he folded his arms. "I wouldn't advise calling Seb 'Annoying' again though. I was seeing stars for days."

    "So, a summoner?" Tyrell asked, turning his attention back to Illiana. "Soldiers, or at least the last couple I ran into. They're usually the only jobs I refuse to take. Summoners are already unfortunately judged, I won't add to that."

    "That's thoughtful," Illiana replied, though a small frown crept into her features. Phones must have left assassin out of his description on purpose. The fact was confirmed when Phones rubbed the back of his head awkwardly, but Illiana just shrugged. She'd met other assassins, ones who didn't have such a generous moral code. "So, hardware expert?"

    "I specialise in weaponry," Tyrell explained, gesturing around to various guns in varying states of completion. Maybe. Illiana didn't know a lot about firearms. "But put something mechanical in front of me and I can disassemble and reassemble it within minutes. I like experimental weaponry, though. Unconventional ammunition. Plasma, mercury, lightning, scorpions."

    "Scorpions?"

    "That one was a joke."

    Illiana laughed, but it was cut short when she heard a loud clanging sound. Like metal striking metal. Violently, in fact. Phones and Tyrell both immediately to the side, where Illiana noticed a staircase leading down. Phones was frowning, but Tyrell's emotions seemed closely guarded. Or he was frowning and Illiana just couldn't tell the difference. His face-plates seemed fairly secure and non-moving. Phones was rubbing the back of his head awkwardly again, but Tyrell wandered back over to the bench and picked up one of the more finished looking guns. Illiana regarded the gun slightly warily.

    "I'm not sure we'll need that, Tyrell," Phones said slowly, though he didn't sound entirely sure of himself.

    "I'm taking it anyway. You know how Davis gets," Tyrell replied. Illiana could hear the threat in his voice. As in, I don't mind putting a bullet in between his eyes if I have to. The alien glanced at Illiana, and she knew that he could tell what she was thinking. He just nodded. It didn't exactly put her at ease.

    "I would've rather done this... Another time," Phones said hesitently. He slipped his hand into his pocket. "Though it looks like there's no easy way behind this. Come on."

    The staircase, she noted, was completely metal and not like the stone that had been in the main room. The walls were smooth stone, and an almost circular path. Laser drilling, she reasoned, was a fair guess. Even though the stairs were metal, their footsteps were non-existent. If they'd been overlayed on the stone, that made something resembling sense, she figured. With the way Tyrell kept his grip on the handgun tight and Phones' tense expression, she kept on guard. Her right hand automatically strayed towards her spear, her left ready to conjure a fire if needed. There hadn't been any more loud noises, but she thought she could hear a voice now. It was low, nearly inaudible.

    "We need to stop giving Davis this job," Phones muttered to Tyrell.

    "If we knew how to keep Lluad in check like he does, I'd happily take up the position," Tyrell replied, keeping his voice equally low.

    "It's tension. Lluad's responding to something in his blood," Phones said. They'd reached the bottom of the stairs now. It was a long corridor with a metal door at the end. No real lighting, except for what was coming from the room above. "If it was me or you, he'd be howling and trying to escape. Davis is a Hunter, so Lluad's on his guard."

    "And the threat of a bullet just isn't the same," Tyrell murmured. Illiana could hear something in his voice, he just couldn't tell what it was.

    The door was thick, she could tell just by looking at it. A keypad lock and a deadlock seal to keep it in place. Tyrell keyed in an eight-digit code too quickly for Illiana to catch any of the numbers. The door beeped, then Phones pulled at one side. It swung open fairly easily, obviously well-maintained, but Illiana didn't doubt that once it was locked, it'd take nothing less than a tactical nuke to get through. Whatever was down here was dangerous, clearly. So what had their exchange been about? Something was definitely strange about this situation.

    The room inside was fairly poorly lit, just a couple of weak or flickering ceiling lights that looked well past their prime. The entirity of the walls, ceiling and floor was stone again, the same smooth surfaces that finally convinced Illiana it had been hewn into the rock itself. There was nothing particularly technical, either. In fact, the only real feature was the cage in the exact centre. Not like a prison cell, either. Two layers of bars that were thicker than her forearm, one door that didn't have a visible lock and, unless she was mistaken, a generator that was feeding an electrical current through the outer layer. Inside the cage was a person, but it was too dark to make his features out properly. She was only certain they were male. He was in the middle of the cage, arms pulled around his knees and head tucked down.

    "This the newbie?" An unfamiliar voice came.

    Illiana turned to look at the source of the voice, still slightly on edge. It was another man, fitting into the same age range as the rest of the humans she'd met so far. Fairly tall, with a strong build that showed hours in the gym. His hair, mostly hidden under a brown fedora that dipped low, was styled to cover his right eye. He was wearing a black vest and loose-fitting jeans, looked relaxed and casual in his stance. In his hand was a sword, segmented at regular intervals. He was holding it loosely, but his positioning on the hilt immediately told her that he was ready to use it at a moment's notice.

    "Davis," Tyrell said, and his voice was dripping with authority. He gestured with the gun as he spoke. "I don't care about your Hunter business, you know the rules."

    "It was just one jolt, just to see if I could get a reaction," Davis replied with a smirk. Illiana could see hatred filtering into his face. Already, she could feel that she wouldn't like him. "No harm done. Didn't even budge."

    Tyrell pointed the gun at Davis' head. To his credit, the brown-haired man didn't even flinch.

    "We've been over this. Lluad is just as much a part of this team as you are," Tyrell said. "If you can't curb your behaviour around him, we can replace you."

    "Go back to the others. The full moon's almost over, we can watch him from now," Phones ordered. Davis merely shrugged and strutted out of the room, clicking his tongue as he did. Illiana watched him go, not at all sorry to see him leave. Phones looked at her apologetically. "He's a Hunter. It's in his natural instincts to distrust or despise anyone who's powers are based on their own instincts. He sees them as dangerous and volatile. Unfortunately, he's also the only one that can calm Lluad down on the full moon."

    "I take it..." Illiana gestured vaguely towards the cage.

    "Yeah. That's Lluad. He should calm down soon, but he still needs to be restrained every full moon," Phones explained. He hesitated for a moment, then continued, "I suppose it doesn't really need saying that Lluad's a werewolf. He's in the last part of his full moon phase, so he's more in control now than he would be otherwise. It's why we send Davis down here to keep an eye on him. It's in Lluad's instincts to fight a Hunter with whatever resources are on hand. With Davis? Sitting there silently and not rising to his provocations is a victory. Drives Davis insane. We're not complaining."

    "If Davis is like that, why do you keep him around?" Illiana asked curiously. She felt the immediate danger was passed, but she still didn't stand too close to the cage, just in case.

    "Because he's useful," Tyrell supplied. "And he isn't entirely intolerable as long as Lluad's not involved. Unless we can't avoid it, they're kept separate on any and all missions we go on. Being a Hunter, he has information about a number of myths and legends that have more basis in reality than we do. Phoenix can cross-reference the facts and make a database for us instantly."

    "And Lluad's senses are constantly heightened, as well as his physical strength and speed," Phones said, nodding to Tyrell. "In fact, he and Sebastian make infiltration seem easy. Evita and Davis make a good offensive force. It's just playing off each other's strengths and weaknesses."

    "I see."

    Lluad shifted in the cage, uncurling his limbs. He was shirtless, Illiana noticed, and covered in a layer of sweat. He approached the edge of the cage, his clear, bright blue eyes shining in the darkness, regarding her curiously. His hair was short, very short, and a light, sandy brown. Even in the dark, she could see extended canines and clawed hands, his sweatpants slightly ripped around the knees and shins. His build was slim, toned, lithe, meant for speed and quick strikes. Tyrell and Phones didn't raise their weapons, she noted. Lluad let out a noise like a whine, cracking his neck. His claws slowly retracted and his canines shrank to a normal size. His eyes stayed blue, though.

    "You back with us, Lluad?" Phones asked cautiously.

    "Just about," the caged boy replied, a slight growl to his voice. "I'll need about... an hour more? I don't think I'll... yeah. Thanks again."

    "No problem. I'm sorry we have to send Davis down here," Phones said. It was clearly a conversation they'd had before, but there was still sincerity in Phones' voice.

    "I don't mind. I don't remember too much, and it'd be better than me making a fuss," Lluad said with a small smile. He sniffed the air for a moment, his eyes slowly moving back to the summoner. "That's... new. Cold, snow or ice. Flowery... no, grassy... A bit of metal..." He sniffed between each pause, as he associated the scents.

    "This is Illiana, she's a South Pole Summoner," Phones explained. "She's helped me out a couple of times. Figured she might want to see our base of operations."

    "Nice to meet you, Illiana," Lluad said with a crooked, slightly forced smile. She could see his fangs through the smile, not completely retracted. He rubbed the back of his head, the same way Phones did. "I... uh..."

    "We can come back later, Lluad," Tyrell interjected.

    2) Yoshimitsu and Lluad - Werewolf things
    Lluad knocks on Yoshimitsu's door at two in the morning, having some full moon problems.

    He wasn't really concerned. Illiana had filled him in and Phones had fleshed out all the details for him. It was a pack thing, apparently. Something about pack mentality and having familiar and safe scents. Kind of like having a safe space to retreat to, he figured. That was his best estimation anyway. It wasn't really a thing, no one even questioned it after the first time it happened. Everyone had been pretty accepting and understanding, apart from Davis but that was 'cause Davis was a prick.

    So it didn't really come as a shock when Lluad knocked on Yoshimitsu's door at two in the morning. The blue haired boy had simply pulled his door open to allow Lluad entrance to the room, the werewolf looking a little sheepish (something Yoshimitsu found entertaining to no end) before entering. The door closed with a quiet click and Yoshimitsu turned to look at his new friend. He was only wearing some sweatpants and a vest, his eyes shining a bright blue and his canines slightly elongated. Those eyes were looking around the room, his gaze lingering on something he found interesting or confusing. Yoshimitsu sat on the edge of the bed, his bare chest looking very pale in the moonlight that was trickling in through the window.

    "What's that?" Lluad asked, pointing at a hanging scroll on the wall.

    "The noble lineage of the Elite Guard," Yoshimitsu replied, a hint of sarcasm in his voice as he glanced at the object. "I've been doing some research into my origins and finding out just what went into making me a superhuman."

    Lluad nodded slowly and continued looking. The taller boy approached the desk in the room, glancing back. Yoshimitsu just stretched and nodded, guessing that the wolf was asking for permission to look through his stuff. He didn't mind. It wasn't like he was hiding anything, after all. It was mostly just bits and pieces in the drawers; hair product, concealer, eyeliner, a few documents, a book or two, that sort of thing. Lluad pulled out a bottle of aftershave and sniffed it. He pulled a slightly disgusted face then put it back, but Yoshimitsu chose not to take that as an insult.

    After having his fill of rummaging, Lluad straightened up and looked back to the previously-slumbering boy. Yoshimitsu shifted back on to the bed and pulled the cover back. It was almost adorable, the way Lluad was very tentative about... well, everything he was doing since he'd entered the room. It was probably just because Yoshimitsu was new. Maybe he'd ask. It wasn't really important though. He looked down at Lluad's hands, noting that the claws weren't there. Clearly still in control of the inner animal. The bedsprings groaned slightly as Lluad sat down on the bed.

    "Rough night?" Yoshimitsu asked, not making a move to get under the covers just yet. He was used to running on only a couple of hours sleep, so being woken up didn't bother him as much as it might someone else.

    "Kind of," Lluad said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I'm really sorry-"

    "Don't worry about it," Yoshimitsu cut in with an easy grin. "I get it, don't worry. No big."

    Lluad just shot a grateful look, one that didn't quite meet Yoshimitsu's eyes. The boy was too nice, Yoshimitsu had decided. Always apologetic and trying to make sure he didn't say anything offensive. Completely in his element as a tracker but when he wasn't doing that, he always seemed unsure of himself. Not sure where to stand or whether to raise his voice or if it was okay to drink the milk in the fridge. Even now he kept on fidgeting, messing with his hands or the folds in his clothes, running his fingers through his hair. Yoshimitsu reached out and grabbed his hand, stopping him from smoothing out his sweatpants for the third time.

    "It's okay, really," Yoshimitsu said.

    "I know, it's just..." Lluad started, but didn't seem able to finish the sentence. Yoshimitsu looked at the other boy's eyes. They were a bright, light blue. Almost cyan, actually. With the canines as well, it was no question of what was actually bothering him.

    "The full moon?" The blue haired boy asked curiously.

    "Yeah."

    In all fairness, Lluad had actually gotten a lot better at controlling himself on the full moon. They'd gotten past having to cage him up or chain him to the wall. Davis had been disappointed but again, Davis was a prick. In the past few moons, they'd only had to restrain him once and it was because Davis had been deliberately taunting him. Yoshimitsu didn't mind admitting that he enjoyed smacking Davis around to get him behaving again while Illiana and Phones kept Lluad away. Lluad had been all apologies again.

    "How bad is it?"

    "It's... it's not too bad," Lluad said quietly. "It doesn't affect me as much as it used to. It still feels... it doesn't feel right though."

    "Being alone?"

    "Yeah."

    Yoshimitsu nodded then pulled himself into a lying position on the bed. He extended his arm across the bed, inviting Lluad to lay down next to him. Illiana had told him that Lluad responded best to closeness when he needed to share the room with someone. Lluad hesitated for a second before joining Yoshimitsu. He lay his arm on Yoshimitsu then apparently thought better of it and removed it only to put it back again and then promptly remove it once more. Yoshimitsu held back a small grin as he grabbed the werewolf's arm and put it back over him. Lluad let out a tiny sigh.

    "Sorry I'm so fidgety, it's just-"

    "Seriously, it's okay," Yoshimitsu said reassuringly. He stroked small circles on Lluad's arm, hoping to soothe the boy. "I used to date a guy who literally would not stop moving when he was in bed. I ended up sleeping on the sofa half of the time. This is nothing by comparison."

    Lluad let a reluctant grin cross his face. "You're... okay with this?" He asked. "I mean, coming in at..."

    "Yeah, it's fine. Illiana told me you need to do this sometimes," Yoshimitsu replied. "I'm just a bit curious about why you picked me? She said you went for people who were familiar and you barely know me."

    Lluad was quiet for a long moment.

    "There's something in your scent that's familiar," he said finally. "More than the others. It reminds me of myself. I can't really explain it."

    "I get it," Yoshimitsu said, nodding. Lluad's head tickled his chin. "When I was younger, I went to a friend of mine. He could seal off parts of powers and stuff that the owner didn't want or like. This was years ago when my self-control wasn't exactly high. Once a month, I'd wake up in a random location and not remember how I got there or what I'd been up to."

    "You mean..."

    "Yeah, I had one of my friends follow me. Turns out, we're more similar than most people think," Yoshimitsu explained. "Every full moon, I'd completely wolf out. It's why I've been looking at that scroll. I'm pretty sure I'd remember being bitten and it didn't kick in until I was a teenager, so I figure it must have been genetic. In the end, there was no way I could control it so I had my friend just shut it off until I was convinced I could."

    "Can you? Control it?" Lluad asked, lifting his head just enough to look Yoshimitsu in the eye.

    "I don't know," Yoshimitsu admitted. "It's not something I've really thought about with everything else that goes on. I don't know if it even can be controlled. If it's genetic, it means was put in me because it was meant to be a weapon. It might be completely feral. I'll decide once I find out more about it."

    Lluad nodded and dropped his head again, throwing his leg over Yoshimitsu's waist. The blue haired boy pulled Lluad in closer, rubbing circles on the werewolf's back. It was sort of nice, actually. It had been a while since he'd shared a bed with someone like this, not that he'd look too deeply into it.

    After a long period of silence, Lluad spoke again.

    "...You smell like home," Lluad said. He immediately buried his face into Yoshimitsu's chest as if he was embarassed about what he'd said. Yoshimitsu just chuckled.

    "That's a new one," he replied, running his fingers through Lluad's hair.

    "I just, I mean... It just smells familiar, like... Like safety and comfort," Lluad tried to explain. "It's not like everyone else. They smell like... it's like friendship, like comrades. You're different."

    "Can I ask... what does Davis smell like?"

    Yoshimitsu didn't need to look to know Lluad had pulled a disgusted face. "It's hard to explain. Because he's with the others so much, he smells like them but there's something off about it. Like tainted or poisoned. The only way I've been able to describe it is... Imagine going home and finding your entire family dead. Something that should be safe is ruined forever."

    "I see. I'm sorry I asked."

    "No, it's okay," Lluad said immediately. "No one else ever asked. Phones and Tyrell get it. He's a Hunter, we're biologically opposed to each other. It's in our blood. They get that and... I guess they just didn't want to ask in case it offended me or set me off."

    Yoshimitsu nodded again before saying, "I think I'm done with questions. I was just curious."

    "It's okay," Lluad replied.

    They lay in silence again. Yoshimitsu felt the way Lluad's chest moved as he breathed, still short and shallow breaths. The full moon was really taking it's toll on him. He could feel the werewolf's heartbeat against his side, already naturally faster than a normal human's. The boy was acting calm but there was no denying that Lluad was on edge. He rolled on to his side and gently rolled Lluad on to his other side, then wrapped his arms around the werewolf from behind. Already, he could feel Lluad relax.

    "Night, Lluad."

    "Goodnight, Yoshimitsu."

    3) Hector and Yoshimitsu - Catching Up
    Hector and Yoshimitsu haven't had much time to just hang out. (Note: started as something fairly innocent but ending implies smut? I got bored of writing it though and haven't ever gone back to it)

    "Your hair is like a fucking hedonistic unicorn," Yoshimitsu commented with a grin, skipping just out of reach of the bigger boy. He skipped around the tree, light on his feet as always, and jumped up to grab a branch. He swung up and perched, looking down at his friend. Luckily, he'd had the foresight to wear a pair of sweatpants and a vest, though his feet were completely bare. To be fair, though, a random jaunt through the forest hadn't been what he'd had in mind for today. Not that he was complaining, really.

    "You're not exactly one to talk," Hector replied, running a hand through his hair casually. All the volume was still there, both before and after the hand-running. He was striding along at ground-level, clad in a v-neck t-shirt and loose jeans, eyes hidden under aviator sunglasses. Even so, Yoshimitsu could tell that his friend's eyes were following him. There was an easy grin on Hector's face as he watched. Yoshimitsu jumped to the next tree, landing nearly silently, and turned to look down again. "You look like you had an accident with a biro pen."

    "Excuse me, this colour is a hundred per cent natural," the blue-haired boy replied, sticking his tongue out. He jumped again, swinging from another branch, and landed neatly on the floor. Still, he kept hidden behind the trees for now. There was something playful, something silly and yet something comforting about jumping around the forest and hiding from Hector, knowing full well that the dark haired boy didn't mind, maybe even found it entertaining. He snuck around the tree as Hector passed and jumped to the other side, moving silently along the ground before jumping up again.

    "Yeah, naturally awful," Hector retorted with a smirk. He didn't even try to dodge the acorns that Yoshimitsu flicked at his head. They bounced off and fell to the floor, already forgotten.

    "Shut up, blue suits me."

    "Yeah, you must be the only person I know who can almost pull of the colour."

    Yoshimitsu jumped forward and landed on a branch just a fraction too weak for his weight. He tried to kick off before it snapped, but all that succeeded in doing was making it break faster. A fall like that wouldn't hurt, though, so there was no point in trying to stop his descent. He heared another snap, then suddenly he'd hit something just a bit sooner than he expected to. Except it was two somethings. Arms, in fact. Hector had caught him before he could ruin his clothes on the grassy forest floor. He snorted at the thought of Hector being concerned about his clothes. Trying to stifle giggles, he pulled himself out of Hector's arms.

    "Thanks," he said around laughing. Hector just smiled, thrust his hands into his pockets and carried on walking. Yoshimitsu bounced past him, energy incarnate at this point. That was the thing, though. Yoshimitsu always had boundless energy when he was just hanging around with some of his friends. Some friends were too serious for it, like Fratley or Araini. Some friends, though. They'd tolerate him jumping around or throwing acorns or just acting like an idiot. He always jumped at the chance, as well. Saving the world got old. Sometimes he just wanted to have a bit of fun, and not worry about the next looming disaster. Some of his friends understood that. Hector was one of them.

    "Some day, someone's gonna stop you from eating all that sugar," the brown haired boy commented, stretching his arms. Yoshimitsu simply skipped along again and jumped into the trees, an easy and carefree grin on his face as he moved. There was something soothing about it, moving without caring and feeling the fresh air on his skin, knowing that Hector didn't care about his antics. It was relaxing, calming even despite his hyperactive behaviour. He didn't know how far out they were. He didn't care, really. It was a rare opportunity when they could both just hang out and be ridiculous, even if Hector was being significantly less so than he was.

    "Nope, my diet is like seven eighths sugar, I'd have withdrawal symptoms," Yoshimitsu shot back with another grin. Hector just sighed. The blue hair boy jumped back down to ground level, next to Hector, and fell into pace with his friend.

    Well, he managed it for a while, anyway. Barely a minute had gone by before he just jumped forward and continued his hyperactive journey through the forest. He couldn't help it, he had loads of energy that he just couldn't work off. Hector seemed happy enough to watch, anyway. Amused, even, if that grin was any indication. The lithe boy could feel his friend's eyes, watching as he launched from tree to tree, barely making the bark shudder before he was moving again. He laughed as he hit the grass again, completely caught up in his own entertainment.

    That was when Hector tackled him to the ground. Yoshimitsu's first reaction was to be indignant, but then he realised things were jumping over the bulkier boy. Deer. Somehow, he hadn't noticed them. Too caught up in his own little bubble, apparently. Hector's arms were planted firmly on either side of his shoulders, his body low and protective, as the animals made their way past the pair. Yoshimitsu was about to let out a sigh of relief after they passed, but he noticed his friend was still tense. Hector's head turned towards the bushes, his face a mask of aggression. Something shifted, the bush rustling.

    They held still for a minute. Yoshimitsu could feel both of their chests heaving, his own as he let his workout catch up and Hector's, he guessed, from adrenaline. Then Hector turned his face back, his breathing settling. This close, the blue-haired boy could feel his friend's heartbeat. It was mostly normal, a bit quicker than the average person's but he was coming down from an adrenaline rush. Completely normal. Hector's body was still on top of his own. Their faces were barely inches apart, their chests almost touching. This close, Yoshimitsu could see through the sunglasses. They held like that for another minute.

    "You... you can get up now," Yoshimitsu commented, only slightly awkwardly.

    "Don't want to," Hector mumbled back.

    4) Yoshimitsu - Imposters
    Yoshimitsu finds out someone's been impersonating him to commit crimes. He's not overly impressed. (Started out with an attempt to flesh out his link to Bahamut, but abandoned when I couldn't make it work realistically - Yoshimitsu just isn't that sort of character)

    "I can't believe people were fooled by this..." Yoshimitsu muttered to himself, perched on top of a street lamp and watching the scene below him unfold.

    It was a little after midnight, the sky completely free from cloud cover and the moon shining bright overhead. The street was mostly devoid of people, apart from Yoshimitsu and the person he was watching. What would normally be still air was filled with the blare of a store alarm going off. The person being watched was average height and average build. Average in every way, actually, apart from vivid blue, spiky hair. Well, that and the fact he'd just managed to blow up the front door of a jewellery store just by touching it. Yoshimitsu rubbed his temples as he watched the guy walk into the store and start smashing glass cases to get at the valubles inside. It was with a half-hearted sigh that Yoshimitsu slid from the street lamp down to street level.

    Is this all it takes to get people thinking I'm the one responsible? This is ridiculous.

    Without any sense of urgency, he stepped under the slightly-smoking doorframe. He leaned against it, both hands in his pockets, as he waited for his target to notice him. Almost comically, he checked his watch to see how much time had elapsed since he started tailing this guy. Barely even five minutes. It was another few minutes of frantic grabbing before the guy realised he wasn't alone. He pulled a gun from under his jacket and pointed it at Yoshimitsu, who smiled casually. The boy's hand was shaking. Clearly he'd never pulled the trigger before. Still, scared and holding a gun was never a good combination. Slowly, very slowly, Yoshimitsu pulled his hands out of his pockets and raised them. He took a step back so that the moonlight could show his face. The other boy gasped.

    "You... you're..."

    "I'm the guy you've been impersonating so that you wouldn't take the blame for robbing all these stores," Yoshimitsu said calmly, the serene smile still on his face. "I still can't believe it. Is some blue hair all it takes to impersonate me? Blue hair and some supernatural powers?"

    The boy was shaking even more now. Best not push it just yet. It'd be mean to just incapacitate the guy straight away, Yoshimitsu reasoned. Better to give him a chance to explain himself, hopefully turn himself in. Unlikely. Oh well.

    5) Yoshimitsu and Ragnarok - Difference
    From a fic I originally planned, not sure if it'll still happen in the future. A time ripple causes Yoshimitsu to team up with two alternate versions of himself - one who had never met Vincent and one who had never defected from the Elite Guard. Happens mid-story.

    Yoshimitsu sat at the entrance to the ruined building, knees drawn to his chest for warmth but otherwise alert. It had been the safest place, they reasoned. As long as someone kept watch for the other two, and they could alternate every three hours or so. Three hours sleep was better than no hours sleep, and it wasn't like any of them slept for longer than that on a normal day anyway. His eyes kept on darting left and right as he watched the outside world, but it was still and quiet. They hadn't even dared to light a fire, on the chance that smoke might rise and give them away. The pair sleeping behind him had been given what little cover they had, under the assumption that whoever was awake would be able to keep themselves warm. That was fine and great, but for the first time in his life Yoshimitsu felt like he wanted to curl up and just hide somewhere.

    His companions weren't at fault, though. Well, they weren't the most agreeable people in the world but they weren't the worst either. They were just like him, after all. Him if he'd taken different life choices. At their core, he reasoned that they were still very similar. Experience had changed them all. It was what they'd done with their lives. One small change had caused vastly different outcomes, and it was just living proof of that. If he hadn't gotten loose, if he hadn't met Vincent, if he hadn't met Bahamut, if he hadn't been revived... Anything could have changed him. Not just the big things. What if he'd chosen the other room in the house for his bedroom? Or wanted the kitchen arranged differently? How would he have changed then?

    A rustling behind him caught his attention, but he had already recognised it as one of his companions moving. After the first few times, that noise stopped putting his nerves on edge. Nasuk had been handling things just fine. Beds back in the castle weren't exactly comfortable, after all. Ragnarok was a bit more vocal about his issues, but Yoshimitsu could tell that he'd been through just as much roughing-it-up as he had. The noise behind the alert boy didn't immediately halt, causing him to turn his head. Ragnarok had woken up. Even still in bed, the man had gone for his mask and put it on. Yoshimitsu stopped moving for a second. The man? He still considered himself a boy, did he consider Ragnarok a man? Was Ragnarok better than him?

    He was still musing when Ragnarok sat next to him. He didn't immediately react. After all, even though he was thinking, his senses were on high alert. He'd heard the footsteps, the unsure step from foot to foot before Ragnarok had finally sat down. Yoshimitsu ran his fingers through his hair, letting out a sigh he hadn't even known he was holding. Even though his companion was under a mask, he could tell those dark eyes were just as wary as his own. They were in a war zone, after all. Being caught unaware was completely out of the question. Somehow, he had a sneaking suspicion that Nasuk was awake as well.

    "No action?" Ragnarok asked, his voice low yet still catching Yoshimitsu by surprise. He had expected to be able to go to sleep without any conversation. Maybe he was rubbing off on his allies. Yoshimitsu was a vocal person, after all.

    "Nothing. I think we're safe, for now anyway," he replied, glancing around again. It was the start of his second hour of watch, and there hadn't been any activity at all. He heard Ragnarok let out a sigh, whether relieved or disappointed he couldn't tell. The man next to him was a violent person, he knew that much. Any chance to jump into a fight and Ragnarok was there. It unnerved him. Not because he expected to fight the masked man, though. It was because he didn't realise just how strong a moral pull, a moral guidance, Vincent had been on him. Without having something to ground him, he would have turned out just as violent and competitive as the man who sat next to him.

    Ragnarok let out another sigh, and this one was definitely disappointed. There was a moment of silence as Yoshimitsu let his angriest ally let the feeling leave his system. Yeah, there was no denying that Ragnarok's personality unnerved him, even scared him.

    "Why are you so angry..?" Yoshimitsu asked, but even as the words left his mouth... Well, he'd rather have been facing a violent dragon unarmed than deal with that. Ragnarok turned his head, but he could sense no anger under that shield. He couldn't feel anything. Ragnarok was closed off.

    "I'm not angry," Ragnarok said, his voice coming distorted again. That fucking mask. He was hiding even his own voice. "I'm powerful. I can do nearly anything. I have what nearly everyone in the world would kill for. There's not a single person any more who can come close to beating me in a straight up fight."

    "So what's your problem?" Yoshimitsu asked, half curious and half annoyed. "I used to be like that. I started gaining power and power to make myself feel strong. Why did I get out of that, and you didn't?"

    "What makes you think I don't feel strong?"

    "Because... I don't know."

    There was a moment of silence. An awkward one at that. Yoshimitsu thought back. He had once had a phase where he'd been seeking out anything that could make him stronger, that was certain. Thing was, he had been under the influence of Vincent as well when they'd made that abomination of a person. He'd thought about it so many times before, though. The urge to gain power hadn't just been making Yisimentsu. He'd had it. To get stronger, no matter the cost. At first, it had been so that he could protect his friends, but as time went on... Well, he was glad that Hector had his soul-sucking sword.

    "It's not that you don't feel strong," Yoshimitsu said carefully. "I remember what I was like. You say you never met Vincent, and I can believe that. I always had that urge, that itch to get better." Yoshimitsu took a pause, trying to pick his words. Ragnarok seemed to be listening, since he hadn't cut him off yet. "It was intensified. When I was with Vincent, when our souls were combined, it was so much stronger. I'm starting to see it now. We turned into that thing-" he noticed how Yisimentsu flinched, even underneath that mask "-and we just couldn't stop. I wanted to protect people, I'm just wondering... is this what it would have turned out as?"

    Even under that mask, he could tell what Ragnarok's expression was. Thoughtful. Reluctant. Unsure. They still had their common factors, that was definite. Somehow, they'd ended up in wildly different places. Ragnarok hadn't found that element, that person or thing that grounded him. Something to make him see sense and remember what was important to him. Yoshimitsu could tell, because every time Ragnarok had spoken about his past... Every time, there had been something sad in his voice. No, not sad. Regretful. Which was even worse.

    "I kept focused," Ragnarok finally said, his voice neutral. It wasn't completely neutral. There were wavers. "Up until a point, when a friend asked me for a friendly spar. I'd always had the mentality that I would only use my power to help the people I loved. I didn't realise how strong that power was, though."

    "What happened?"

    "I nearly killed him. After a certain point, I didn't realise how strong I was. I thought it was weaker, a standard training fight," Ragnarok explained slowly. Yoshimitsu could hear carefully void nature of his voice. A man who got by at the cost of his own emotions. Everything was pushed out of the way until he had to deal with it. How long had he been living like that, though? A day? A month? A year? "It made me realise how strong I actually was. I started going around, seeing what impossible tasks I could do. Stop a volcano? No problem. A hurricane? Not a big deal. A storm? I just took the power for myself."

    "I got addictive, didn't it?" Yoshimitsu guessed, but he was fairly certain he was right.

    "It did. I couldn't shake the fact that I was better than everyone," Ragnarok admitted. Yoshimitsu could see how much Ragnarok was admitting, how strongly it was guarded. He raised his hand and put it on his companion's shoulder, reassuringly. Ragnarok didn't shake it off. "After a while, I just accepted it. I was the best. I may as well have been a God. It sunk in after a while. I was about seventeen when I took up the name Ragnarok."

    "It suits you. The end of the world," Yoshimitsu said. "People are waiting for you to explode... and it sounds like you could do."

    Ragnarok looked at Yoshimitsu. He removed his mask. For the first time since they'd met, Yoshimitsu could properly see his face, his eyes. Dark blue, darker than Yoshimitsu's somhow. Scars, running all over his face. They matched the scars on his arms. A man who had seen too many battles, who had kept fighting at the risk of himself... There was still something there. Still that urge to save people.

    "When did I get so insightful?" Ragnarok asked, with a bitter chuckle.

    Yoshimitsu wrapped his arms around his companion... no, it would be closer to say his friend. While Ragnarok's body was rigid and untrusting at first, he relaxed into the hug after a few seconds.
     
  2. Yoshimitsu

    Former Moderator

    Yoshimitsu says goodbye to Vincent

    "It's okay," Illiana said, placing her hand on his shoulder tentatively. Yoshimitsu shrugged it off, but stared at the blaze in front of him.

    "No, it's not," he replied bitterly.

    They were all gathered. All of his close friends. Illiana, Araini, Phones, Kilik, Fratley. Even Antonio, as long as his smirk could be ignored. All of his closest friends, those he'd trust with his life. They were all watching, and he'd lied to them. Well, that wasn't quite accurate. They were there for the exact reason that he'd asked them to be, but he'd fabricated a story. A story he just couldn't tell any more. It hurt too much.

    "Yoshimitsu," Fratley started, his deep voice not calming in the way that it normally would do. Yoshimitsu didn't want to hear sympathy.

    "No, you're not here for what I said."

    There was a moment of silence. All of it crashed over him. There was no reason to burn the house that he and Vincent had lived in except that he had to. It was personal. Every single part of him was praying to extinguish the flames and save the house, restore it, keep it going. Every single moment they had. The first time Yoshimitsu had woken up and Vincent had already made coffee. The millionth time Yoshimitsu had stolen Vincent's clothes because he was too lazy to do laundry. The last time they had ever kissed, before they had to deal with the crisis of the week. Vincent would have wanted him to do this, he would never, ever have allowed Yoshimitsu to act the way... He couldn't. He just couldn't.

    Vincent was gone. He needed to get rid of that last thing linking them together, the very last thing that would remind Yoshimitsu of what they had, what they could have been, every single moment that never happened. He just couldn't do it, he couldn't keep on dwelling on a relationship that had been ripped from them. He stopped himself. He saw the flames and he saw. The moment when the blade had punctured Vincent's heart. When all of his friends had dragged him away from Vincent's body, just to save him. When even his strongest friend, the greatest mage, had told him that Vincent couldn't be saves. He saw all of it, and he couldn't even try to stop the tears. Vincent had protected him for so many years.

    He wanted to protect Vincent too.

    He failed.

    "We know."

    Somehow, somehow it had been Antonio's voice that had replied. Yoshimitsu looked around. He could still feel the tears in his eyes, on his cheeks, expecting Antonio to have some sarcastic remark waiting. Antonio's eyes were... Yoshimitsu couldn't even figure out the expression on his face. It was so strange on his features.

    "We've known since you invited us," Illiana said, placing her hand on his arm. "We knew you, we knew Vincent. Even when he sided with his uncle, we knew that all he ever wanted to do was protect you. He's probably the only reason any of us made it out of that dimension alive. We all owe him our lives."

    Yoshimitsu looked around and, even through his tear-stained vision, he could see them. Fratley, his hat pressed to his chest and his head bowed. Araini with his eyes closed and his hands clasped. Kilik, sat next to his staff and his palms on his knees as he watched Yoshimitsu. He could see Illiana's tears in her eyes, despite how steady she kept her voice. Even Antonio. Antonio had taken off his mask, his expression steely but his eyes... They spoke of a pain that the boy had never felt before.

    "I never knew him. I heard what happened, but he fought. He fought to save the rest of us. He kept us alive. None of us would be here today if it hadn't been for him," Antonio said. Yoshimitsu looked at the brown haired boy. That level of sincerity, of honestness...

    "We know. We know what he meant to you. We know why you've burned the house, we know why you asked us here," Illiana said, and he could see the tears flowing freely over her cheeks. "Yoshimitsu, you're not alone. You've never been alone. You will always, always have people who love you, who care about you, and that's never gonna change."

    He looked at his friends again, and he could see. None of them had come because of the bullshit reason he's given. They'd come for the same reason he had. They'd let him burn down the house for the same reason he knew he needed to.

    He was saying goodbye.
     
  3. Yoshimitsu

    Former Moderator

    Rework: Lluad

    I decided to rework my character because I wasn't happy with what he was like previously. I like him more now.

    He takes his coffee scalding.

    He has his curry extra spicy, his steak blue and his soft drinks so cold they belong in the arctic. Above all else, though, he takes his coffee scalding. The cup burns his hand and the liquid scorches his mouth but that's how he drinks it. It makes his tongue blister and burns his throat as it goes down but he still gulps it down as though his life depends on it. Standing on the corner of a road he barely even recognises any more, he feels the heat threatening to make blisters on his hand and he sips the drink.

    It's been years, now. Years since he was in the foster system. Moved around, passed from hand to hand like a gift or some luggage. Not knowing where he was going or who he'd end up with. Not knowing whether he'd be going into a nice house or some hovel that everyone pretended didn't exist. Not knowing if he was going to end up with someone who gave a damn or someone who would treat him like their own personal punching bag. He turned sixteen and filed for emancipation, struck out on his own and somehow managed to find his own way.

    Sometimes, he stands on that corner and watches the world go by. The cars and the drivers pounding on their horns because they think that might make traffic flow faster. People walking down the street, talking about what they've done over the week or having a messy break-up or just trying to get to their destination without hassle. Dogs barked and cyclists pissed everyone off and the world carried on turning. He stood and watched it. He drank it in and let it consume him, just for a while.

    That was the thing. He didn't heal.

    It was a can of worms in itself. Healing was complicated and intricate and a whole host of other things that people thought were simple. Phones would consider him healed when he stopped lunging at Davis randomly. Illiana would think he was healed when he could get through a full moon unsupervised. Sebastian would say he was healed when he got rid of his leather jacket and his ripped jeans. Healed wasn't that simple. Healing wasn't that simple. Healing wasn't a thing that he did, not realluy.

    He stood in the animal clinic, his veins bleeding black as he took the pain of the last of the animals there. It was cathartic. Was that the word? He guessed it was the word. If he was left to close up, he'd go around every single animal and take some of their pain. His veins would flush black and he'd feel whatever injury they had. A broken bone, a stomach ache, a crippling migraine, it didn't matter. For a few seconds, he'd feel it and embrace it and let it take over everything. It'd fade and he'd move to the next animal and repeat the process.

    He started having competitions.

    Him and Yoshimitsu would go out and see who could fuck their choice for the night first. Yoshimitsu was good at this bonding coping bullshit. It was probably because he'd been through nothing but shit in his life, but whatever. They'd go out, they'd drink and dance and find someone and nine times out of ten, he'd win the match and Yoshimitsu would be buying him an extra drink the next time. It was fun, it was active and it kept his mind off... well, anything, to be honest.

    Then they fucked.

    He didn't really care. It was just a thing that happened, as far as he was concerned. Yoshimitsu, though... Yoshimitsu looked concerned, fucking hurt when he suggested to just keep it casual. Sure, he'd agreed but that look that flashed across his face, just for a second, told the full story. He didn't dwell. He wasn't getting involved. He wasn't doing anything that demanded he devote himself to something. He'd done that before and it just ended badly. If Yoshimitsu was expecting more, well...

    Lluad splashed some cold water on his face.

    That was Yoshimitsu's problem, not his. He was broken and bruised and never likely to heal. That was his life and he dealt with it. And that was the thing about life. It went on. For longer than he might have liked.
     

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