cloakand_danger: (think I need a devil to help me)
уυαη кα-ƒαι ([personal profile] cloakand_danger) wrote2010-05-01 10:46 am

And more for [livejournal.com profile] justprompts, because writing is awesome

1. Birthdays - Nana

“Nana?” Yuan asked the older half-elven woman that night. “How come the table was fancy today?”

“It was the young master's birthday,” Nana explained to him patiently. “The humans celebrate every year on the day of their birth with a special party.”

“Oh.” He fell silent for a long moment. “Nana?”

“Yes, Yuan?”

“Do I have a birthday?”

“I'm sure you do. Everyone does, even if we don't remember when it is.”

He thought about this. “How come he gets a party?”

“Because he's human, and we're not. That's...just the way things are.” Nana's tone was very sad.

“What about you? Do you have a birthday?”

“Little one, I'm too old for it to be something to celebrate, even if we could. Don't you worry about old Nana.”

“You're not old!” Yuan sat up in his cot, indignant. “The lady in the house is lots older!”

“Humans age faster than we do. I'm many years older than any of them, and I don't need a birthday. But thank you for thinking of it.”

“...Oh.” Curiosity pacified for the moment, Yuan lay back on his cot, staring at the ceiling.

He didn't care what Nana said. Tomorrow, he was going to find a way to give her a birthday.

2. Learning - Kratos

“I'm already learning to read,” Yuan protested. “I don't see why I should have to do all this schoolwork alongside you. It's not like I'm ever going to need it. ...It's not like you're ever going to need it, either, and I'll need it even less than you.”

“You don't know that,” Kratos persisted. “It could come in useful one day!”

“You'll get into enough trouble teaching me to read as it is,” Yuan replied. “And history is boring.”

“But you're learning so quickly,” Kratos told him. “You're much brighter than I expected, for a half-elf-”

If Kratos had been about to say anything after that, it was interrupted by Yuan snarling and throwing the history book at his head, after which he stubbornly refused to speak until some hours after Kratos had figured out what he said wrong and apologized.

3. Flirting - Kratos

Yuan sighed in aggravation as he looked around to see where Kratos had gotten off to. Unsurprisingly, his friend had wandered off in his intoxicated state, and was flirting broadly with a pretty young woman at another table.

A second glance and a quick mana sense check revealed, somewhat to Yuan's surprise, that the young woman was a half-elf. Not that her green hair didn't make her race abundantly clear, but it was rare to find half-elves in this town unaccompanied by a human. No wonder the poor girl looked a bit frightened of the drunken human leaning too far into her personal space. Yuan caught a glimpse of blond hair near her side before the child it belonged to ducked out of sight behind her chair.

“Kratos!” he called irritably as he stalked over toward them. “Leave her alone, can't you see you're scaring her?” He turned to the girl with a sheepish smile, hoping to reassure her. “Sorry about him, he's really harmless if you get to know him.”

“I am not,” Kratos sulked.

“...It's all right,” the young woman smiled back at him, a bit uncertainly. “...Are you two friends?”

“Yeah, somehow.” Yuan slipped into the chair beside Kratos, making sure to 'accidentally' jab an elbow into his side to keep him upright. “I'm Yuan, and this idiot noble is Kratos.”

The half-elven woman smiled warmly, apparently put at ease by their antics, and Yuan's heart skipped a rather startled beat. “My name is Martel, and the little one hiding by my chair is Mithos. ...It's very nice to meet both of you.”

4. Morality - Martel

“Yuan!” Martel's shocked voice cut through the noise of the crowd, and Yuan winced, hastily putting the apple back on the vendor's cart before anyone else noticed what he'd been doing. Wearing his most hopeful and innocent smile, he turned to face their recently-acquired companion.

“Martel! Did you find the supplies you were looking for?” She seemed like a nice enough person. Yuan was willing to bet she'd let him get out of trouble if he played it nice.

The frown on her face said she wasn't falling for it. “Don't you try to distract me. I saw what you were doing.”

Hiding another wince, Yuan turned them away from the apple cart before anyone in the area could take note of their discussion. “What does it matter? He had plenty more, it wouldn't hurt him to lose a few. I was going to bring you one, too,” he added quickly. Girls liked presents, that should help calm her down.

“And did you think I'd be impressed by becoming a party to thievery?” That raised eyebrow, while very pretty, was extremely ego-deflating. Yuan was quickly running out of fancy words.

“I suppose 'I wasn't going to tell you it was stolen' isn't going to help my case,” he ventured.

“Not in the least. What if Mithos had seen you?”

“Then he'd have learned to feed himself in case we ever run out of money,” Yuan argued back. “It's a useful skill for people in our position.”

Martel just kept staring him down. “I will not have you teaching my brother that kind of disrespectful behavior, Yuan. And I won't tolerate it from you, either. How do you expect to earn respect if you don't ever give it?”

Yuan blinked at her, perplexed. “...What makes you think humans would ever respect me, anyway?”

Slowly, the anger drained from Martel's face, replaced instead by disappointment. This was not, Yuan felt, an improvement in the slightest. “Yuan, that's exactly the attitude we have to fight against. Trust me, you can earn the respect of others, even humans, but only if you behave as if you deserve it. Kratos respects you, doesn't he?”

“Kratos respects that I'm not afraid of people,” Yuan pointed out. “I never had to be nice to earn his respect.”

“Well, mine isn't given so easily,” Martel informed him firmly, turning aside to head back toward the others.

Yuan decided as he followed after her that that was the best argument he'd ever heard for learning to be polite.

5. Forgiveness - Martel

“Oh, damn,” Yuan said once they were out of town. “...I left that book back in the inn. Can you guys wait here? It'll just take me a minute to get, I'll be right back.”

“Hurry up, or we'll leave you behind,” Martel teased him with a smile.

Yuan grinned roguishly back at her. “I wouldn't dare let my lady leave without me.” That said, he hurried back down the road toward the town, the smile falling away from his face as he moved.

It wasn't a big town, and the Mayor's house was right next to the inn where Yuan had conveniently left his book as they packed that morning. Letting himself in, he quickly cornered the Mayor himself in his study, holding a ball of lightning beside the man's ear.

“I don't have much time before they come looking,” he growled, “so let me make myself very clear. Martel is a wonderful and forgiving person, and she believed you when you said you'd treat your daughter like a real person from now on. I don't.

“I'm going to be keeping in contact with some of the people in town. Don't bother asking who. If I ever hear that she shows up to school with so much as a single bruise, I will come back, and I won't be bringing my friends with me. Are we clear?”

The Mayor nodded silently, too frightened to speak.

“Good.” Yuan smiled at him pleasantly, but with the distinct impression of sharp teeth hovering behind it. “I'll be on my way, then.”

A few minutes later, he was humming cheerfully as he caught up with his friends, the lost book in hand. “Found it!” he declared as he reached them.

“You didn't leave anything else, did you?” Mithos asked.

“Nope,” Yuan replied airily. “All taken care of.” And as they continued on their way, he blithely ignored Kratos' suspicious eyebrow.

6. Strength - Martel

“Don't be afraid,” Martel gasped, choking on the blood filling her lungs. “I know...you're all strong enough...to make our dreams...come true.”

But as he sat staring blankly at the slowly-cooling body in his arms, her blood drying on his clothes, Yuan knew she had been wrong.

7. Duty -  Kratos

Yuan nodded distantly at Kratos as he approached in Derris-Kharlan's library. It was time to put out some feelers. He'd spent too much time growing apart from his best friend, but maybe it wasn't too late to patch things up.

“Mithos is in one of his moods again,” he remarked casually.

“It will pass,” Kratos replied, not bothering to meet Yuan's eyes.

“Until the next one, anyway.” Yuan paused, and as if the thought had just occurred to him, asked, “...Do you ever wonder if maybe we should try to rein him in a little more? It seems...excessive, sometimes.”

“We started this system, Yuan,” Kratos reminded him. “It's our duty to see things through to the end. To stay by his side, no matter what he suffers.”

Yuan nodded slowly, as if his doubts were quelled. “...Of course, you're right.”

So much for having room to patch things up, then. Yuan would have to go it alone this time.

8. Life - Kratos

As he arrived on the scene, Yuan already knew he was far too late. The trail of dead bodies, the gore coating the ground, all pointed to one thing. One place, where at last he found his truest friend.

After the last few years of relative happiness, it was a harsh blow to see Kratos in such a state, wounded and covered in blood not his own, broken in every way. Yuan almost didn't register the more physical impact as he approached and Kratos struck out at him, too blindsided by the carnage and despair of the scene.

But there was one thing he knew, and that was that he needed to hold tightly to Kratos, before the other man could retrieve his sword from where it had fallen.

“Let me go,” Kratos rasped, voice hoarse from screaming.

“Never,” Yuan promised.

9. Vacation - Botta

“Listen to me very carefully,” Yuan said, not bothering to hide how annoyed he was with his Second. “You are of absolutely no use to me if you collapse from overwork. Do you understand?”

“I'm fine,” Botta replied, despite the visible circles under his eyes. “If these don't get to the departments on time-”

“Then delegate!” Yuan insisted. “...I don't care if you don't know how to relax. I am putting you on mandatory leave as of right this moment.”

Botta looked at him, seemingly lost. “...What should I do, then?”

“Go skiing with Celsius. Visit your sister in Exire. Take a hike to Ozette. Whatever you feel like doing,” Yuan explained. “That's the point of vacation.”

Another long, measured look...and Botta went back to his paperwork.

Yuan's eye twitched menacingly. “What do you think you're doing?!”

“You told me to do whatever I feel like, sir. I feel like finishing my work.”

The ensuing shouting match was the talk of the base for the entire week that Botta spent locked out of anything resembling work.

10. Repentance - Kratos

Yuan sat and watched, still cradling Kratos' unconscious form in his arms, as Lloyd and his friends fought Origin for the right to save the world. In the end, he found he couldn't regret that part of losing. After all, if he'd won, he wouldn't have been able to save Kratos from his own foolhardy ideas of what repentance meant.

He looked away from the battle, brushing a stray lock of hair out of his friend's face. “Noble idiot,” he muttered, but it lacked even the mild venom it had held, so many years ago that he'd nearly forgotten who they had once been.

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