merikuru: (Zzz...)
[personal profile] merikuru posting in [community profile] 12months_challenge
Here's our Februantasy master list:


Original

Agassia, "shore" (by [personal profile] kalloway)
Rose Sun and Thorn Moon, "meeting" (by [personal profile] taichara)


And March's challenge is:

M/March!

This is the month to bring out all your male/male relationships. A cuddle before a warm fire, a romp in the sheets, a day spent fixing up the house or car or something else in friendly contemplation - here's where it all belongs. Let there be men!

If your work has spoilers, please add an [S] tag to the comment title. If it has mature content, please add an [MA] tag.

This theme challenge will end on March 31st, 11:59 PM Central Standard Time.

Reunification: Ghosts, pt 01

Date: 2016-03-06 01:24 pm (UTC)
taichara: (Desert's Jewelbox -- tiny)
From: [personal profile] taichara
Dirinalla was lost. Its soaring silver spires crumpled like sand, crashing into the walls of the Gorge that cradled the great city; its skyways shattered and fell like diamond rains to the ground below, carving to ribbons any hapless soul not already crushed by the burning rubble that choked every street, every plaza.

There were fewer of those pitiful victims than one would have expected, but that was no accident: the architects of Dirinalla's fall had no need for corpses.

No, what they wanted were living bodies.

Dominie transports hovered over shattered arcologies, monstrously sleek black scavengers, maws open wide to accept the uncountable captives herded by the conquering Hunt. Smaller such vehicles roamed the broken streets, and any pocket of survivors unlucky enough to be found by such a glassresin behemoth found themselves surrounded by Hunt drones in black and grey, eager for the capture and the prestige it would bring them ...

-*-


[Over here! The sixth Spar Ramp on Assur'ka is still open!]

Shadow's flitter wobbled beneath him, vents choked with dust and running low on power. Gritting his teeth, he risked lifting one hand from its controls to finger the cable socketed at his nape; no, the connection still held, and this was the best he'd managed to fly the thing. He slung dust-caked white hair from his eyes and, sensory pods deploying from his shoulders like short skeletal wings, scanned for incoming Hunt.

They were running out of ramps. Out of ramps, out of time ... the Hunt was closing in and they'd hardly managed to lead a fraction of Dirinalla's people to the safety of the city's reinforced underlevels.

Even so, we are also running short on space and sustainability.

Damn it all, I thought we had more time!

And that, some bitter, blackened part of him muttered, was what made him a fool. Vixen knew the Dominie was eyeing the city long ago; never even mind his own presence, Sable's presence --

No, we cut off any and all word back. I know that. Dusk and Ember paid for that security of ours.

I need to focus.

There was no time to lose, not even a heartbeat; a heartbeat filled with the sounds of rushing feet and labouring hover-discs, misfiring psi-tech and frightened shouting and swirling dust. A milling, frantic mob some dozens strong headed straight towards him. Shadow raised a hand in acknowledgement, received a chuckle over his comms bud and a wave of comforting presence in his battered spirit in return -- and the smoky crystal of Sable's half-mask of a visor glinted through the crowd.

"Let's get this started, folks, Shadow's waiting for us, c'mon c'mon --!"

That was the sign he was waiting for. Shadow unslung his rifle, checked the primer, and brought it to wary rest position, maneuvering the flitter out of the way with knee pressure and mental impulses as the first of the mob began to pour down the ramp to the labyrinths below, Sable leading the way. Shadow's pale gaze kept scanning the area for sudden Hunt, but his attention was decidedly split.

[How many more?]

[I think we're at the end, or close enough that anything else's suicide.]

Even over the waveform, Sable's response with thick and caustic with bitter displeasure.

[Coil and Scale just reported in with another group, Vixen's down deep with Firebird and Phalanx getting folks as sorted as we can manage, Crimson's crawling over the sec-net, everyone else's searching for stragglers or harrying the Hunt. Vixen's orders are for us to get these folks downstairs and stay put.]

[This is it, Shadow. The bastards have our people.]

Shadow shook his head, promptly a brief quizzical look from a passing civilian, one of the last; he waved it off.

[Not everyone. We have to remember that. Not everyone. That's everyone, incidentally; I'm going to pick up rear point. Let's get going.]

[Always.]

-*-


Despite their best efforts, neither Sable nor Shadow could keep their herd of confused, frightened people to stay as quiet as possible. Down in Dirinalla's subterranean womb, a feeling of safety crept in -- weren't they well away from the Dominie now, down where the Hunt could get locked out? -- and that led to whispers, and chatting, and complaints about the weight of the burdens they carried. And the more easily distracted, especially children, began to wander away from the caravan.

One such wee wanderer, a youngster of maybe six, had taken it into her head to chase after a stonelight, following the floating wisp of glow back down the passage. Shadow, sighing, had waved away her parent's apologies and nudged his flitter into being just a bit more stable; it would just take a moment to overtake the girl, scoop her up, and bring her back, and the ride should distract her --

The child twisted around in his arms, reaching for the flickering wisp, and screamed.

He followed her gaze and nearly did the same --

The Hunt. A dozen drones strong, chitinous armour luridly red and blue and black in the soft gloom of the tunnels. And they were armed, oh how they were armed --

Those are launchers, what are they doing --

... The tunnel. No. No, damn it all!

His lips pulled back in a rictus. Wrenching the flitter around he all but plowed into the girl's family, tossed her towards them like a bundle of clothing --

"Run. Run. All of you!"

His voice rose. Dimly, through the roaring in his ears, he could hear Sable shouting instructions; he was already whirling back, hunched low, rifle held like a lance braced against his ribs as he fingered the trigger stud.

[Shadow --!]

[Just a feint! That's all! Get them moving damn it, isn't there a side passage and lift just up ahead --?!]

The first rank of drones fired.

The world turned upside down. A screaming, screeching dissonance in his skull tumbled Shadow from the flitter, tearing the cable from his spine in a shriek of tortured metal. The familiar touch of Sable -- the reassurance of the others -- all faded from his awareness. Neurocluster bombing. He fought panic, struggled to his knees, vision swimming. The rifle came up. The sound of his and Sable's charges faded; was it because they'd found the other route, or the cacophony in his head?

It didn't matter. He had to stop the drones -- they were already closing in ... until they stopped. Beyond them he caught a glimpse of black and gold and grey, saw a gloved hand come up in signal.

Then there was nothing but roaring and pain.

-*-


No!! No no no no --

Sable felt, more than heard, the walls come down, a terrible cacophony that threatened to follow them clear down the passage, leaving nothing but ruin in its wake -- but Dirinalla's supports, lovingly maintained, held the streetway intact. Only the one section had collapsed ...

Shadow!

Vixen was already rocketing from the depths of their warren in response to his frantic transmission, but she was just not going to be fast enough. He needed to know -- needed to see -- just on the edge of the neurocluster detonation when it went off, Sable could think clearly enough but all sense of ring-bonds was diffuse and tenuous at best.

He needed to know.

Beneath his visor, unseen, his eyes prickled warningly. Damn it ... Sucking in a breath, he faced the milling, frightened crowd waiting to file into the shaft and its circular lift.

"... Okay. All you folks, I need you to follow my instructions and do not deviate from them. Got it?

"You, you and you -- yeah, you got it -- you're in charge until one of us lot meets up with you. Some combo of browns and reds mixed in there, probably, you know us when you see us. Probably be Shale, kind of stocky, shaggy -- yeah, I see you nodding, you got it.

"Form up folks into queues and start heading down in the lift -- you want two levels lower, then south. Me? I need to go check for survivors and make sure the Hunt isn't on our tails. If they find out where we're headed before we get locked down, we're sunk. Now get going!"

-- and with that he hunkered low over his flitter and took off towards the collapse without a second glance.

-*-


Nothing. There was not a thing -- not a sign, not a mark. Rubble, oh yes, far, far too much of that. A mangled flitter, a length of shimmering black control cable, the long needle of its 'port jack stained with blood. But that was all. No sign of Shadow, at least not amongst the debris that he could reach.

And he still had only the faintest, haziest of touches in his spirit. Maybe it was the clusterfrag, but ... if Shadow were ...

Not on my watch.

He tossed his long coat aside, a splatter of black and rust-brown against the dust, raked a shaking hand through his sweat-soaked mop of black hair, and deployed his laser arrays. The components slid freely from their sleek pods in his arms, recombined, swiveling lenses into place, locking onto the anchor studs in flesh and bone.

No pissant pile of rubble was going to stop him from finding Shadow.

-*-


The Hunt controller -- still holding position at the mouth of the rampway -- and her fellow lieutenant found themselves at something of a crossroads.

On the one hand, the citizens-to-be that they were supposed to round up for transport had either escaped into the rebel city's underlevels (a demerit) or were now buried in a tunnel collapse (definitely a demerit). On the other hand, she -- and she had no trouble sharing this with her fellow controller -- had struck a blow against the active resistance cells remaining in the city, and ...

"Hart! Come take a look at what the drone's just dug out!"

The excitement in Mink's voice was unmistakable; that was not the sound someone just retrieving drones made. Hart bounded down the ramp in a flurry of black and red flashes just in time to see the drones pulling a body, scraped, bruised and bloody, free of the rubble. It was the pale-haired rebel who had tried to hold off the drone unit ... interesting.

Then the body moaned, and Hart met Mink's eager grey gaze. A dead insurgent was good, but a live one was even better --

"Have you uncovered something?"

Soft query from directly behind her; somehow, she managed not to yelp. Why, why did her commanding officer have that terrible, discordant habit?

"We have, sir. One of rebels survived the tunnel collapse."

Flash of a smile, beneath golden brows. If the Commander was pleased, then she, and Mink, were more likely to be commended than reprimanded, and Hart was all for that. Leaning past her, the Commander pitched his voice to be heard over the rebel's pained noises.

"Excellent. Mink, drag the wretch's carcass up here into the light where I can see it, if you please. Thank you."

Hanging from Mink's shoulder like a barely twitching slab of trilobe flesh, the rebel was indeed a wretched sight. Well, that hardly mattered. It was up to the Commander what would happen to him now; and the Commander seemed inordinately curious, studying his subject with narrowed eyes, and reaching out to tip the captive's chin up, rattling the bloodied hair out of his face.

Now the Commander's smile was genuine. And disconcerting.

"Bring him to my bivouac. Leave the drones; they are unimportant.

"You've done well, very well indeed."

-*-


"Sable. Sable.

"Sable, I don't care how many times you repeat yourself, the answer is still no. I don't like it any more than you do, but ..."

He didn't want to hear it again. He hadn't wanted to hear it the first however-many times, and it didn't matter how much Vixen repeated the same tired excuse, he was not going to be swayed --

"Then I'll go alone. The day those bastards can outwit and out-run me -- I probably trained some of them --"

"Is that a hint, boy?"

Phalanx's rumble brought him up short, breathing heavily, but even the sight of her massive hand clenching into a fist was not enough to make him give up. Sidestepping Phalanx and Vixen both, he started towards the tunnel he'd painstakingly cut through the rubble and dropped to his knees. He was literally going to have to crawl to reach his goal, but he didn't care ...

... a gentle hand on his shoulder stopped him as surely as if he'd been pinned under the fallen slabs. He didn't need to be able to see to know whose hand it was.

~ I can feel your agony, Sable. I know how it feels, believe me. But, call me selfish, but I don't want to lose you as well. ~

Firebird's mindvoice was as gentle as his touch, but it scraped along Sable's nerves like acid in the veins.

He's not lost! Not yet! I -- I don't know where, he's not answering, but I know he's not dead. They can't block that.

Damnit, Firebird --

~ No, you're right. He's not dead, not yet, but weakening, and something, or someone, is blocking me from him and I would assume from you since no neurocluster effect should last this long. And, if that's the case ...? ~

Sable sagged against the rough ferrocrete.

If that's the case then the Dominie definitely have him. But Vixen can't let him stay there!

No, indeed. Sable whipped around so fast he snagged himself on the ragged wreckage, blood beading up on his pale skin as he fixed his attention, knife-sharp, onto Vixen.

"You can't take the chance, Vixen. If they psiscan him, or his body, then what? He knows as much as I do! As much as any of us except you and maybe Firebird!"

Vixen's mouth opened, then closed, eyes shuttered with the sudden shock behind Sable's words. Firebird hid a smile; Phalanx swore.

"Kid's got a point --"

"I know! I know ... Fate rot it, I worked myself up to be able to be callous and here we are anyway. Sable, there's one chance -- calm down!"

Green eyes flashed golden with warning; Sable took the hint and settled down, falling silent as a dustmouse. Firebird looked, if anything, even more amused, and Sable wondered what the man was thinking. Vixen ignored the bronze-maned medic for the time being.

"One chance, I said. You know as well as I do we have too much we need to do to keep these people safe, and that's where our resources are tied up. More than that, there's not a damn hope of following bonds that are blocked and we can't poke every nest of Hunt in the city looking for Shadow.

"Stay here. If one of us isn't back within two marks, come down to the Sanctuary; there's no hope. And don't touch the rubble on the other side, got it?"

Reunification: Ghosts, pt 02

Date: 2016-03-06 01:25 pm (UTC)
taichara: (Desert's Jewelbox -- tiny)
From: [personal profile] taichara
... I am not dead. I hurt too much to be dead.

Not dead, no; something worse, something infinitely worse. Jolts of agony in his shoulders, racing through his veins, dragged Shadow unwillingly back to something vaguely resembling awareness.

He was pinned in a rough sitting position atop a pile of emptied service crates, knees bound, hands wrenched behind his back and tied. His coat had been peeled from him along with gloves, shirt and undershirt, exposing black bruises, oozing wounds and the sharp thorns of the white and black sigils along his shoulder blades and spine; the pods of his sensory array were clamped painfully shut, hooks biting into the bioalloy.

But all of that paled before the spectre that was pacing back and forth in front of his face in this small and makeshift bunker, long tails of his gold and bronze uniform swaying with every step. Then the spectre, as if sensing his sharpening attention, paused, pivoted on one black bootheel, and swooped close to seize his chin in a grip like iron.

"I see you're awake. May I assume you might actually be aware of my attentions now, Shadow? It's been so very long, after all, since you've last graced me with your attendance."

"... as ... pleasant as ever, Geist ..."

Hard, so hard to force the words out of his swollen throat. But force he did, laced with as much disdain as he could muster. His head felt wrapped in padding, muffled; he could barely feel Sable, and all else was a void. What had Geist done to him?

The grip on his chin tightened, even as the fingertips prodded slowly up his jawline. He glared back, groggy, and was rewarded with a venomous smile in return.

"The Concordat thinks you deceased and your matrices lost to us, you know -- and surely you can deduce what rewards and rank will be showered on me for returning you to our Trioch's welcoming embrace.

"Honestly, though, if I may be bold? I think you've tainted yourself, dirtied yourself. I'll break off those false ties of yours once way or another, and I'll make you thank me for it."

Geist stepped away, releasing Shadow so quickly he slumped in his bindings and gasped with pain as muscles screamed and wounds began to trickle freely once again. Stubbornly he forced his head up, trying to focus -- to see what the Dominie ... the Concordat operative --

How did I ever stand to work with you?

-- his former fellow officer was doing. It did not take long before he regretted the choice. Geist had spent a few minutes sorting though the contents of a slender case just out of sight, but once he returned -- humming softly to himself, pleased as a sabre's kitten with a bit of fluff -- his intent was all too clear. Clenched between his fingers were two glittering, needle-tipped ampoules and a scalpel.

"Now, where shall I begin, hm? Another dose of the blocker? Or something more interesting?

"Oh, you'll thank me for this, Shadow -- and, who knows?"

The bright red eyes suddenly burned.

"I might even forgive you for Hydra, if you do well enough.

"But I doubt it. Oh, how I doubt it."

-*-


'Don't touch the rubble on the other side', Vixen had said. Well enough, and Sable hadn't really felt compelled to argue at the time if it meant even the sliver of a chance to find Shadow -- he was still blocked, but there was something leaking through that left him queasy and furious in equal measure. So at first he'd paid the odd command no mind.

She'd given him a long time to wait, however, and before even a mark was over he'd gotten fidgety enough to begin -- ever so cautiously -- widening the tunnel. Then abandoned that plan as unsafe and started a whole new excavation, burning up his reserves to fuel the bursts of burning light that cleared away the battered plascrete at the top of the artificial rockfall. That was so much easier that he'd broken through in a fraction of the time.

From his perch atop the debris, it was impossible to miss just what was waiting there. No one else had been caught -- which meant the dark splatters and smears could only have come from one source.

Worse, the stains streaked the hair-cracked flooring -- someone had, in truth, dragged Shadow away.

I need to --

"Sable, what in --"

Vixen. Sable scrambled back over the debris like a sandhare, nearly tripping in himself in his haste. If she was back -- he checked his chronometer; well short of two marks -- then that meant ...

An irritable snarl sliced the air and brought him up short, and then he noticed that his leader was not alone. Ha; not only was she not alone, she was flanked by two bodies Sable least expected to see, ever -- but from the set on the lean, feral faces that stared back at him with their burning azure eyes, the twins certainly expected to see him.

... Or Flame did, anyway. Midnight looked more likely to rip out his throat.

But that's normal, so oh well?

"It's really pouring off him, Vixen."

Flame was either mocking or trying to be helpful, Sable couldn't decide which. Both twins were hard to read, and nudging the fragile links to them was a good way to be savaged, so he found himself floundering until Flame himself stalked over, with his hunter's sweet smile, to jolt him on the shoulder with a fist.

"We agreed, come on; wait much longer and even we can't do anything. Show us where to start."

"Ah ..."

Without warning Midnight was at his other side, an obsidian and silver predator in human shape, too-white teeth bared slightly. He tightened a sinewy hand on Sable's chest, bunching synthleather under tense fingers.

"He bled. Show us where."

The burning eyes bored into Sable's visor.

"You won't feel that pain. Show us now, while you can."

-*-


He'd been grateful to be alive, once -- he couldn't remember exactly when, or how long he hung trapped in agony while Geist filled his veins with fire and then brought the scalpel to bear. Not that he'd needed to add much, or so he claimed; the rubble had all but done his work for him. Shadow could well believe it; even through the rapidly-thickening haze he knew that time was running out -- or should have been.

... how have I not bled out yet? he hasn't treated me for the rockfall ... has he?

If Geist had made an effort to keep him alive, Shadow couldn't remember it, or was not conscious for it, and it didn't take much effort even in his feeble state to know which was the more horrifying of the two. But at that moment, the Concordat officer was across the camp space, recording his findings -- so many slates, already; Shadow hated himself, hated what was being pulled from him -- and maybe he could twist that to his advantage. Pinioned as he was, there was not much he could do to add to his list of injuries -- but system strain, now, that could be within reach ...

I've already given him too much.

the probes ... when did he learn to do that ...?

It would be worse, infinitely worse, if Geist brought his prize back to Parei'in with him. The Trioch's left hand was known to be brutally efficient in their 'interrogations', and -- for returning a defector from the Concordat -- Geist very well could receive whatever he wanted as reward. Including whatever was left of Shadow, if he wanted it, once a matrix sample was carved from his flesh.

But even that fate paled in comparison with the data already being plundered from his mind.

they'll know everything ... I can't let it happen. I can't.

The hooks and circuitry keeping his sensory pods closed burned like ice. He focused on them, trying to force past the pain, willing the pods to unfurl -- or, better, more likely, to crack and seep with blood and ichor as the bioalloy components catastrophically failed. A painful and messy way to go, but better than the alternative --

sable ... please ...

The air filled with murderous howling. Jolted with surprise, Shadow rocked sideways and hung on his bindings, shaking with pain as his bare skin scraped along the crates and one pod hooked on an edge. Geist was rocketing from his perch, eyes nearly black with outrage as he thundered for his lieutenants and drone entourage.

"What is the meaning of --?! Hart! Mink!"

-- and the door tore free of its supports, flung halfway across the flooring. A bloody head followed it, beaten nearly to pulp ... but still recognizably Mink. Geist spit and lunged for the doorway, drawing a sliver-axe from nothingness, Shadow and the slates both momentarily forgotten.

"Animals! I'll tear you to pieces for this!"

"Promises, promises ~"

-*-


what ...?

Coughing, wheezing, Shadow struggled to right himself and failed. Was that Flame? Did he just hear Flame? Impossible -- why would one of the twins be here of all places?

maybe ... I'm finally dying ...

Everything was madness and howls and too bright, far far too bright. He could hear roars of fury and screams of pain, the sounds of plating and unprotected flesh being shredded; the tang of burning soulstone and spilled blood made him want to retch, but he was too weak.

A flash of black and silver raced past him. Midnight ...? If Flame was here, then that would make sense. Through blood-caked lashes he was all but certain it was the pair exchanging blows -- blades and hammers against wild ghost-axes -- with Geist. But none of it made sense, none of it ...

Strong, careful hands gripped him suddenly, tilted him slowly upright. Someone else (who had three hands? surely it was someone else) traced gloved fingertips down his shoulders, stopping at the first hooks. And then -- oh, then! -- there was a voice he knew, he knew, was all too real, as the haze in his mind was battered and burned --

"He's mine."

-- and before Shadow could muster a whisper -- any response at all -- Sable stroked his bloodied hair from his face, pressed cool lips to his too-hot forehead, and lunged into the melee.

no ...!

"Shhh ..."

The first arms tightened -- Vixen, holding him close, shoring him up, bathing his eyes, pressing cysts of regenerative gels against the worst of his wounds, probing carefully at the ties between them to clear his addled mind. Enough to make him cough, and moan faintly about the slates, and what Geist had done ...

... enough for him to see, now, what was happening.

A small sea of drones lay mangled, ichor pooling around them, and near the door lay what could have been the body of a Concordat sub-lieutenant. One wall, flimsy as it had been, was nearly nonexistent, Geist and the twins tearing, swinging, slashing at one another -- Flame bitten deep by an axehead and shrugging it off, ignoring the blood, laughing as he maneuvered Geist between himself and the onrushing Sable.

Sable, who wrapped one hand around the Dominie's neck and yanked him back so viciously Shadow heard Geist's vertebrae begin to crack, forcing the carbuncle eyes to stare into his visor. His free hand came back in a swift arc and Shadow saw the bulbous barrels of one array deploy --

-- not a cluster of lenses, no bright burning light, but a glistening black-alloy sheath. Sable snarled something into Geist's face, something Shadow could not hear, pushed the staggering man away from him, and drove his arm through the forward arc toward the officer's abdomen.

His arm, and the array, and the wickedly sharp resinous wedge -- white as bone, honeycombed with virulent greens -- it drove into Geist's vitals as if his armour didn't exist.

Geist crumpled, writhing, blood seeping from his very pores within seconds.

Sable turned away before he even hit the floor.

-*-


Tucked deep in the bowels of Sanctuary, Vixen's rebel warren, a small room was set aside, separate from Scale's main infirmary. Rank has its privileges, after all, even when it didn't really exist.

"... I didn't know you still had that. Or ever had that ..."

Shaking his head, Sable leaned on the edge of Shadow's cot and brushed the pale hair out of his eyes before hitching a shoulder in a half-hearted shrug. Leave it to Shadow to fixate on something like that when he needed to be knitting himself back together.

"The toxblade? Doubt I'll have another one, I don't want to synth the cocktails it takes to load them and it takes too much energy to secrete enough bioenamel to make the carrier.

"Besides, it's dirty work. I'll stick with my pewpew guns, thank you very much, they're a nice clean sort of weapon."

Slowly -- he couldn't manage more than 'slowly', patched and sutured within an inch of his life -- Shadow inched his hand to bury his fingertips in Sable's messy black hair where he leaned, and gloried in being able to feel his presence again. Scale had thundered and Firebird only shook his head with a sigh when he'd asked when he could be back to duty, but at least his head was clear. For how, he'd take that and be grateful.

Sable's sudden sigh made the cot shiver a little, and Shadow murmured a wordless question that prompted another shrug.

"Nothing all that much. Just didn't expect to run into that bastard again.

"You don't have to worry, by the by -- Vixen scoured the place of every last record before we put the bodies and damn near everything else through a recycler and the bivouac went up in flames. Very pretty flames if I do say so myself. But that's not the important part."

Suddenly Sable was half across the narrow cot. Shadow struggled to meet him halfway and mostly succeeded, hooking his arms around Sable's middle while Sable tried very, very hard not to crush the pale bundle in his arms.

"Firebird told me you tried to death-will yourself into system toxicity. Don't you dare! Ever, ever again --!"

The waves of emotion across his mind said more than the mere words could. Shadow let his head drop to Sable's shoulder, lips against his throat.

"I hoped you'd forgive me, but the guilt nearly finished me instead ..."

"Doesn't matter, we're both still here and that bastard's not worth the stress over now. Now you need to sleep before Scale stomps us both flat, even Vixen won't save us if he starts up --"

Reluctantly Shadow cooperated as Sable settled him back onto the cot's thin cushioning.

"Are you ...?"

Cool lips against his forehead again; then smooth crystal of the visor against his cheek.

"Staying right here. They can go pester Mist if they need skills like mine.

"And I'll always be right here, as long as you stay with me."

Re: Reunification: Ghosts, pt 02

Date: 2016-03-06 01:42 pm (UTC)
kalloway: (Hixar Heart)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
I don't even have words, dude. ALL OF MY LOVE, FOREVER AND EVER. ♥

Re: Reunification: Ghosts, pt 02

Date: 2016-03-06 01:44 pm (UTC)
taichara: (Desert's Jewelbox -- WAT DO)
From: [personal profile] taichara
I WOULD HAVE HAD IT DONE BEFORE I GOT HOME BUT STUPID OFFICE DRONES DX

<3 ~~

Re: Reunification: Ghosts, pt 02

Date: 2016-03-06 02:31 pm (UTC)
kalloway: (MF Alto)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
*hugs and hugs* I DID NOT MIND WAITING A FEW, CHEESY (AND BROCCOLI) MINUTES FOR IT.

Re: Reunification: Ghosts, pt 02

Date: 2016-03-06 02:34 pm (UTC)
taichara: (Asimov - Voltaic Chains)
From: [personal profile] taichara
*hugs and hugs* I think I nuked my brains though, lol

(look at what Shadow used to work and cohabitate with, and wonder no more why the thought of ever even eeking back towards the old days scares him bloodless)

Re: Reunification: Ghosts, pt 02

Date: 2016-03-07 12:53 am (UTC)
taichara: (Desert's Jewelbox -- mail)
From: [personal profile] taichara
Thank ye kindly ~ <3

This crew is from the novel Kalloway was mentioning before the holidays, btw (with a slight tweak for one because I can do that with my own stuff for in-reference purposes lalalala) --

Re: Reunification: Ghosts, pt 02

Date: 2016-03-07 01:32 am (UTC)
taichara: (Desert's Jewelbox -- goober)
From: [personal profile] taichara
Yeh, I tossed the link for that one at you -- also one for MCK, since it's also in the same scifi-mostly category unlike the other two :3;;

Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-27 09:41 am (UTC)
kalloway: (Dex & Sin 2)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
"At least Ashe won't kill me," Aeon Jester said to himself as he switched cameras to get a good look at the scrape of light red, absolutely not 'pink', paint on his mobile suit's pale grey arm from an overly nervous student grabbing at Anaplekte during their first venture outside of NIN-ANA in a slightly-handicapped Safphir. Surface damage - it'd buff out. With Valentine busy with NIN-ANA's long mission, Aeon had been asked to linger outside the colony and help the students exit, enter, and in general not panic. He honestly thought he liked bugging the mobile suits better, but that was only because he'd had enough things go wrong over the years that he knew he could pull from. Aeon had plenty of information - it didn't mean much when he couldn't calm down a panicking First Year.

But the Safphirs were all secured back in their hangar, the students had all been sent on to their evening activities, and once Aeon looped halfway around NIN-ANA to park Anaplekte where it belonged, he'd be free...

To shower. All he'd wanted, for at least the last hour, was to get out of his flightsuit, scrub himself clean, and sprawl. Purity and Mercado hadn't mentioned coming back for the night, which meant he could read, listen to music, or just enjoy a tiny bit of quiet before wandering down to see what Jet had going on for the unofficial study hall group.

Lingering in the black for just a moment longer, Aeon could see a couple of Factory Rubises out repairing a solar panel. Somewhere, he was sure there were patrols out, and the drone sentinels, of course, but he couldn't see them. He didn't need to see them. After adjusting Anaplekte's cameras again, he started back toward his usual hangar.

"This is Aeon and Anaplekte coming in from class..."

"Took you long enough," came in response. Zinaida, from the sound of it. Aeon didn't remember any of Daybreak Team helping the class, after all. "Your guest is here."

NIN-ANA wasn't exactly known for attracting casual visitors and it took Aeon nearly a second to realize who Zinaida was talking about.

Then- then he couldn't make Anaplekte move fast enough.

~*~

Helmet and datapad in hand - he'd needed to do something to fill the time between student 'launches', after all - Aeon cursed the speed of Anaplekte's descent cable and actually jumped the last few feet out of frustration. The weaker gravity in the hangar wasn't different enough to notice normally, but Aeon could feel it when he landed much softer than he should have.

Now-- Where...?

Pantera didn't say a word til he was close enough to be pulled into Aeon's arms, though he did offer a little wave on his way. Aeon knew that if he... was like Pantera, he supposed, that they would have had the better part of an unspoken conversation already. But he couldn't - he had to use his body instead.

"Hi," Aeon said softly. He would have gestured to his datapad, but it was tucked in his helmet and behind Pantera's back. "I wasn't expecting you..."

Pantera shook his head before leaning just a bit. "I just thought I'd come see you."

That answered Aeon's unspoken worry that something was wrong, at least. Though something was probably... Well, Pantera's underlings had probably shoved him out the door to relax, likely.

"I'm happy to see you." Aeon let go after a moment, though he reached for Pantera's hand with his free hand and squeezed. He caught a brief flash of silver under Pantera's coat and couldn't help smiling. His own bracelet was under his flightsuit and...

"Though..."

"Mmm?" They'd taken a couple of steps, but Pantera stopped. "Is something wrong?"

"I've been marinating in this flightsuit all day," Aeon replied with a little, braid-swinging headshake. "My plans for the evening began with a shower."

"Patrols?" Pantera questioned. "Something else, if it was all day?"

Aeon's datapad beeped - probably Seth or Doc Grizzly reminding him that he'd clocked in just under the time outside for a mandatory visit, but it was still recommended at his earliest convenience.

"Working with the students," Aeon explained. "Did you go out today?"

"Doctor Hisano continues to be a terrifying inspiration on a flitter," Pantera replied with a slight chuckle. Aeon couldn't help echoing the sound - that sounded like Amde, after all. She'd been splitting her time, as had Lan... but she'd eagerly taken up a combat role. Aeon hadn't. Aeon had watched over Pantera and...

Well, there wasn't a day when he wasn't grateful for open-minded, understanding partners. On both sides.

"I was just going to shower down here," Aeon said after a moment, once they'd gotten to the interior airlock. "But we can go back to my room. It's not too odd to wander around in a flightsuit, after all."

"But... only the second time I've seen you in one?"

Aeon nodded. Mostly, Pantera had seen him in his NIN-ANA cargos and a t-shirt or tank top. Or less, since he hadn't needed anything more when he was just keeping Pantera company when Pantera had been injured.

Nobody else was waiting at the tram station, which didn't surprise Aeon too terribly much. Pantera's bracelet worked exceptionally well with the on-demand tram, after all, which meant they wouldn't be waiting long. Still--

Before Aeon could shift his helmet around enough to get a hand buried in Pantera's pale hair and pull him into what he could only hope would be the first of many kisses, Pantera shifted to peer down the tram tunnel. Sure enough, there was a headlight in the distance.

Aeon's datapad beeped a few more times and, frowning, he plucked it from his helmet to see exactly who had the worst timing ever.

He cleared the medical reminder from Seth and then looked at his other messages after mumbling an apology in Pantera's direction.

[ZSnow: Have a good night~]

[NIN-ANA: The tram's all yours.]

[Discordia: Thanks for the help today. Go get cleaned up.]

Meddlers, one and all. Aeon sighed as the tram pulled up, which gained him an odd look from Pantera.

"Nothing important," he explained as he reached to put a hand over the tram door to keep it open as Pantera stepped on. Sure enough, the car was empty and, Aeon was sure, so was the entire tram. "Just Eris, the instructor I was helping, thanking me..."

Aeon sat down beside Pantera and a moment later, the tram started to move. Helmet and datapad were dumped aside as finally, Aeon could reach to touch Pantera's hair and gently twist his fingers through the familiar red at the front, even though the gloves of his flightsuit kept him from really feeling anything.

"We're alone," Aeon said firmly. Pantera could relax...

"I know." Pantera did lean, but it took a moment. And before Aeon could do anything else, his datapad beeped again.

He didn't care who it was or what they wanted - he...

It beeped again.

And again.

"Something important?" Pantera suggested.

"Maybe," Aeon replied as he turned and grabbed.

[Doc Amde: He's probably already there, but Pantera has been herded your way.]

[Doc Amde: Don't do anything I wouldn't do. Twice.]

[Doc Amde: And your brother says hi, because he's intent on killing any form of mood ever.]

"Just Amde," Aeon said as he went to put it back in his helmet. "She--"

The tram was already pulling to a stop in the staff area? At least the station wasn't too crowded. They were cleanly between Factory and school traffic, Aeon supposed. A couple of people offered them friendly waves and smiles, but mostly, Aeon could tell they were being quite literally politely ignored.

Still, the second they got into Aeon's hallway, his datapad beeped. Four times.

Before he could reach for it, Pantera grabbed it away.

"I'm pretty sure it has some sort of casual mute button," Pantera said firmly. "It'll still let you know if there's an actual emergency and not just a running commentary..."

"Yeah, I'm sorry." Aeon waved his arm - helmet and all - at his door and let Pantera go in first. "Let me turn it off?"

Pantera had his coat off by the time Aeon had tossed his helmet on a chair and set his returned datapad to an emergency-only mode with a polite away-message for anyone trying to casually get his attention. He debated where to put it and eventually settled for the kitchenette counter.

"I'll be--" Aeon trailed off when he realized that Pantera had his boots off, too, and was watching Aeon's every move.

"I probably need a shower too," Pantera said with an attempt at an indifferent shrug that was betrayed by a bit of a blush visible on his cheeks.

"Well... I can't promise it'll be a long shower--" Aeon gestured for Pantera to follow him to the bathroom. "It'll depend on usage, availability..."

"That's fine," Pantera interrupted. "I'm used to that - you know that."

"Yeah, well..." Aeon laughed and shook his head. "I guess we'll see?"

Blinking, Aeon didn't comment when the shower timer popped up with one of the longest times he'd ever seen. He'd muted the meddlers and was going to leave them that way.

"Need a hand?" he questioned, instead, when Pantera made no immediate move to undress.

Pantera chuckled and shook his head. "I was wondering if you did."

"Nah, it's second nature." Aeon started peeling himself out almost without thinking. Air on his bare skin felt fabulous and he shucked off the thin tank top he'd been wearing as soon as he could. "Feels good to have it off, though."

"I can imagine..."

"Are you sure you don't need a bit of assistance?" Aeon questioned as he left his suit at his hips and reached for the bottom of Pantera's shirt. "I have a lot of experience."

This time, he did kiss Pantera, softly and quickly, before pulling back enough to actually get Pantera's shirt off, with Pantera's help.

"Aeon--"

"I... think I'm still surprised you're here," Aeon admitted. He certainly hadn't expected it and, aside from what he wanted to do, didn't entirely know what to do. "You gotta tell me what you want, though-- tell me, show me, I can't..."

Pantera's mouth against his pretty much said enough that Aeon was sure he could feel it, though, even if it wasn't quite the same way Pantera communicated with his partner and friends. It was more than enough - that kiss - to get Aeon to stop tracing the familiar patterns and fading scars on Pantera's skin and instead get himself properly out of his flightsuit. His underwear was nearly an afterthought and, as soon as he was naked, Aeon started the water.

"It'll be warm right away," Aeon explained as he took Pantera's hand to pull him into the shower stall. "And we have a few extra minutes. For whatever.

"I really do need to clean up, though..." Aeon grabbed for a bottle of soap. He wasn't worried about his hair - it'd been thoroughly cleaned and re-braided recently, with the ends getting a good twenty damaged centimeters hacked off the bottom - just his body. Pantera's, hair, though, pale with the red at the front that didn't seem to darken even when wet... "I'll wash your hair in a minute."

"I can..." Pantera paused then nodded. "I'll wash your back?"

"And anywhere else you want," Aeon replied. He poured enough liquid soap on his hands for both of their bodies and grinned as he offered some to Pantera. He absolutely had not missed Pantera's tiny little glance downward. "Everywhere else you want..."

"We'll get distracted and..."

"Yeah, we will. That's the point," Aeon said quickly as he started with Pantera's shoulders and chest before leaning in for another kiss. Pantera's hands trailed down his back as Aeon shivered and opened his mouth more. No more soft kisses - he wanted far more and Pantera seemed willing to give. Or, he realized, he was. Hot, deep, hard, desperate-- Aeon nearly forgot about the hot water hitting his back as he groped at Pantera's back and augments and just kept kissing him. They'd probably end up clean eventually...

...even if they ended up a bit dirtier first.

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-27 12:17 pm (UTC)
taichara: (cherrybir)
From: [personal profile] taichara
*bwee ~*

And grand times are had all around. Muahahahaha }3

I approve }3~

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 12:44 pm (UTC)
kalloway: (Frying Pan of Inspiration)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
And the grapevine gets some new rumors, Ashe complains about having to fix Anaplekte on her own (well, Gate would come help, really), etc. etc. *grins*

\o/

just wait til the Reunification refugee kids get to go play in space, Aeon!

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 12:46 pm (UTC)
taichara: (cherrybir)
From: [personal profile] taichara
*grins ~* As good or better as the rumours about the gentleman in medical ~

\o/

no one will be safe ~

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 12:48 pm (UTC)
kalloway: (Xmas Lights 4 Bubbles!)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
I'm not sure anything will top those. Not our space prince/AI/celebrity-actor-musician/whatever-he-is-today~

though is that different than with any of the normal First Years? *ducks*

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 12:50 pm (UTC)
taichara: (Chrom Mirage)
From: [personal profile] taichara
You should do a ficlet about that one, lol ~

they'll be brutal in packs? :D

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 12:53 pm (UTC)
kalloway: (GW Pair)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
I thought about mentioning him and his partners, and Pantera's partner but wasn't sure how comfy you'd be with all those names popping up (and then promptly forgot to ask, because my life). But it's not unpossible~

Gai Moros will whip them into shape?

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 12:55 pm (UTC)
taichara: (Asimov - gogogo!)
From: [personal profile] taichara
More names can't hurt anything, it's my AU so they can go wherever says I *lol*

moohahahaha

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 01:31 pm (UTC)
kalloway: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
*laughs* Just making sure~ And also wondering how much cross-referencing I'll need to do to make sure I have the right names in the right places, oi.

lalallala

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 01:47 pm (UTC)
taichara: (Desert's Jewelbox -- hehehe)
From: [personal profile] taichara
Especially since the gentleman in question has one of the more striking differences in appearance ~?

*whistling innocently*

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-31 12:41 am (UTC)
kalloway: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
See, I have in my head that Meister ended up with the most visual changes... *ducks*

Re: Gundam Iscariot/Reunification AU, 'Clean Up'

Date: 2016-03-30 12:44 pm (UTC)
kalloway: (GS MSV Strike Rouge)
From: [personal profile] kalloway
*grins* Glad you liked~

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