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 Taxus: Dancing in the Light

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Kojiyumi

Kojiyumi

Scorpio Horse
Posts : 797
Join date : 2014-03-14
Age : 41
Location : Between the gutter and the stars... or more often, Discord. ShadowoftheNight#1538

Taxus: Dancing in the Light Empty
PostSubject: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyTue Mar 18, 2014 11:28 am

AU.  Canon elves, modern world.  An exploration in "What if?" and an appeasement of an insane muse....




Mornings like this he couldn’t help but wonder what the world, what his life would have been like if things had been different for those firstcomers to this world a millennia ago.  Would it have been better?  It didn’t seem like it could possibly be worse.
   
Rejection is a bitter pill to swallow, and after having to take it enough times, in order to counteract your tolerance, it begins to grow spines and thorns of the rustiest, sharpest brightmetal.  
   
Unlocking the door to his motel room, Wylhaen Yves surveyed the damage.  He’d left it in a state of complete and total disarray in his rush to get to his appointment with IceLights Publishing.  The editor he spoke with had been nicer than he’d come to expect, and even offered to call a cab for him after rejecting his manuscript.  
 
He flopped backward onto the bed and lay for a long moment staring at the stained ceiling.  The hotel room was little better than a homeless shelter and about as flea-ridden.  He could hear his resident rat getting into something in the bathroom, but didn’t feel like getting up to see what it was destroying.  He also didn’t feel like getting up and dressed for work.  Then again if he didn’t, the landlord would probably throw him out.  Already the guy was breathing down his neck for being late on rent payments, which was why he wasn’t complaining about the rat.  For all he knew the old bastard planted the rat there to try to drive him out.
   
Reaching over to the bedstead, he hooked the phone with his little finger and was relieved to hear a dialtone.  He knew he couldn’t really afford to make any long-distance calls, but...  Well, if he was probably going to get thrown out for non-payment anyway, what’s a few more dollars in the long run?  He just needed to hear her voice.  A voice for a change that wouldn’t be thick with rejection of even the kindest sort.  


“Yves residence.”
 
“Hey, mom.”
 
“Oh, hi, honey.  How are you?  Are you okay?”
   
“Well and good enough for having been rejected again.”
   
“Oh, no.  I’m sorry.”
   
“Yeah, I am too, but what can ya do, right?  It’s a good thing elves live so long, eh?  I figure someone will eventually accept me if I live enough eons...  maybe.”
 
“It’s the loss of every company that rejects you.  They don’t know what they’re giving up.”    
 
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
 
“Don’t be so sarcastic, I’m serious.  You’re a wonderful writer.”
 
“Yeah, well, you have to say that sort of thing.  You’re my mother.”
 
“You never did listen to me, did you?  Head as hard as stone.  You got that from your father.”
 
“Where is dad, anyway?”
 
“On another run.  I’m not sure where he is right now, but he promised to call at the next stop.”
   
“Tell him I said hi.”
 
“Of course.”  A pause then, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
 
“Absolutely.  Just not looking forward to work.  Very least I hate coming home with more grease in my hair than on the burgers.”
 
“Then why don’t you just quit.”
 
“I could, but then I’d be calling you collect from a shelter somewhere.”
 
“There’s nothing else you could—”
 
“No, not really.”
 
“...”
 
“Listen, mom, I gotta go or I’m gonna be late... and I think Gnawthrough just broke something glass in the bathroom.”
 
“Gnawthrough?”  
 
“I’ll explain later.  Bye, mom.”
 
“Bye.”

 
Wyl put the receiver back on the cradle, sinking back into his thoughts.  He knew she was struggling to not offer to help him.  She knew he wanted to do this on his own, to stand on his own, and be his own, come what may.  He just hadn’t anticipated all that was coming.  Or not coming.  That was the hard part.  No, no thinking like that.  It wouldn’t do him any good.  Focus on now.  Focus on--

   CRASH.
 
Focus on the pest in the bathroom.
 
Sighing, he slowly dragged himself off the bed to go see what that damn rat had just broken.  It was nowhere to be seen when he stepped in the cramped little room with its bare swinging bulb and cracked tiles, but evidence of his presence was:  rat pills on the edge of the tub, and a broken bottle of hair dye.  Electric purple spread slowly over the tile floor towards the elf’s feet.  Sighing, Wyl grabbed a sponge and started mopping.




His boss decided that chewing him out for being a half-hour late would best be done in front of the entire kitchen staff.  Wyl just squelched his desire to snap the man’s head off and feed it to the alley cats and meekly promised to never be late again at risk of termination.  He couldn’t afford to risk it, literally and figuratively.  Not now.

Apparently there was a running joke with being a waiter, one that looped around every so often just to annoy him.  People liked to ask “Struggling artist? Musician?  Philosopher?” and any other litany of professions.  He used to wince tellingly when they hit “writer”.  He didn’t anymore.  Now he just ignored them as he scrambled from booth to booth taking orders and delivering food with a forced smile.  High Ones he hated this job with a passion unrivaled by anything else he could think of, but it was the only job he could get that didn’t involve wearing a stupid paper hat, although he still found himself asking, “Do you want fries with that?”

Silently he hoped no one noticed the odd coloration of his fingertips and cuticles.  He’d been late because he was busy trying to scrub the dye off his hands with only a slight success.  His fingers bore a sickly lilac tint, his nails a darker bruise purple.  As he cleaned, he’d made a mental note to stop off at the local hardware store and buy as much ratpaper as he could afford and the biggest traps they had.  Normally he wouldn’t have minded a rat too much, but this one was the single most destructive creature he’d ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

Soon the lunch rush was on.  Dropping a too-hot plate onto a table in front of a scowling man, he turned to tend to the customer who’d just slipped in, his arrival announced by a bell barely audible among the incessant chatter of the other patrons.  Chatter that Wyl knew would leave him by end of day with a splitting headache to go with his nausea from the grill smoke and grease.

He trudged over to the far booth and sighed heavily, recognizing one of the regulars.  Guy came in every day and ordered something random off the menu, or something not on the menu that had to be made special.  He hadn’t ordered the same thing twice yet, and would eat quickly and vanish, leaving a generous tip under the plate.  Wyl had never had to wait on this guy before; but then again he was normally on time and got to pick his assignments for the night.  All that was left over was booth duty, which NOBODY wanted because it usually involved putting up with nasty teenagers and equally disagreeable antisocial sorts.  Like this one, he suspected.

Well, at least he’d get a decent tip out of it, he hoped.
 
**What’ll it be today?**
 
“What was that?  Didn’t quite hear you?”
 
**I said...** Wyl began, then sighed heavily, annoyed, “What do you want?”
 
“Ah, much better.  Well, that is a very good question.  What does any of us want?”
 
Wyl stared at the elfin man with a cool, blank stare, trying to not scowl.  He wanted desperately to whip hip pad and pencil at him and scream that what he wanted was to just get bloody signed, have a nice house and a nice lifemate to share the rest of eternity with.  But instead he’s got a fleatrap room with warped floorboards and a psychotic fighting couple upstairs with just a giant, pesky rat to keep him company while he worked a job he hated waiting on people like him. Wanted to, but didn’t.  He choked back his response, and forced a Cheshire grin.
 
“Well, I suppose what I want is to take your order right now, so what will you be having today?”
 
“How about... you?”
 
Wyl started to write something, then stopped and stared at the elfin man who was grinning at him like a hyena.
 
“’Scuse?”
 
“I said ‘You’.”
 
“Yeah, I heard that.  I don’t think so.”
 
“What?  You won’t fill my order?  But isn’t the customer always right?”
 
“Not this time.”
 
“I should complain to your boss for being so rude.”
 
Wyl’s eyes turned black then red as blood and the corner of his lip turned up.
 
**Rude?** the locksend tore into his customer’s mind with enough ferocity to cause him to wince, **Listen, they don’t pay me enough here for me to put up with being hit on by--**
   
**Don’t you like me?**
 
**I don’t even KNOW you!**
 
**Would you like to?**
 
**Would you like me to call the police?**
 
**And tell them what?  That I asked a pretty young lad out?  Where’s the crime in that?**
 
**I--  They--  Look, I’m not interested.**
 
**Aren’t you?**
 
**No.**
 
“Very well then...  I’ll have the special.”




“YVES!”

“Destiny calls,” one of Wyl’s co-workers chirped half-sympathetically as the manager barked his name.  The elf just gritted his teeth and returned an empty tray to the kitchen before going to see what his boss was bellowing for now.
 
“Yes, sir?”
 
“I want you closing tonight.”
 
“W-What?  B-But I’m off in—”  
 
“No, you’re not.  I need you to pull double shifts until further notice.”
 
“I-I-I—” he began, then lowered his head a little, sighing heavily, “Yes, sir...”
 
“Good.  Maybe this’ll teach you to not mouth off to the customers.”
 
Wyl’s eyes went round with shock.  Of everybody in the restaurant, he was the LEAST likely to start spouting off.
 
“I never...”
 
“Damned if you didn’t.  Don’t think that just because I can’t send doesn’t mean I can’t read a face.  I watched you and that regular go at it on a mental battlefield, and I’m saying right now if you do that again, you’re gone.”
 
Go at it?  Mental battlefield?  Was this guy serious?  He didn’t...  the reg had...  Wyl struggled to not tell his boss off.  Why didn’t he, he asked himself, seething.  Why didn’t he tell this guy to take his lousy job and shove it up his...  oh... of course.  That’s right.  Because he desperately needed all the money he could in order to hold onto his roach motel of a residence.  He swallowed down his intense need to scream an obscenity at his boss, rip off his uniform, and storm home in his underwear.
 
“Never happen again...” he mumbled, choking back further comment.
 
“Good.  Now, booth 6 is waiting for someone to take their order.”



   
He didn’t even bother to clear the dirty clothes off the bed before flopping down onto it.  What, he wondered, had he done in his short life to deserve such a hard road.  He put no real faith in religion, or even what he was told about the difference between elfin and human souls, but at the moment, he contemplated the theory of reincarnation.

‘I know,’ he thought, ‘I was a very bad person in a past life and now I’m paying for it.’  

In the bathroom, Gnawthrough was busy turning over jars into the sink.
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Kojiyumi

Kojiyumi

Scorpio Horse
Posts : 797
Join date : 2014-03-14
Age : 41
Location : Between the gutter and the stars... or more often, Discord. ShadowoftheNight#1538

Taxus: Dancing in the Light Empty
PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyTue Mar 18, 2014 11:32 am

It wasn’t over.  Not by a long shot.  It didn’t take long to realize his boss had put a target sight on him to be the next to go.  The method was always the same.  Make the employee’s life a living hell but keep it within labor rules so there’s no major trouble.  If it persisted enough, the worker would just quit and couldn’t get unemployment.  This time it was twelve-hour shifts alternating waiting the tables and helping in the kitchen.  If someone wanted a day off, they got it.  He’d just plug Wyl into their job.  Last kid had managed about three days like that before walking.

Wyl wasn’t that kid.  He knew what his boss was doing, and wasn’t going to give that easily.  If he wanted him gone, it would have to be forcible eviction.  Same policy he had for his landlord past and current.  He just hoped it happened before he ended up a corpse.  Between writing and working, sleep was a pipe dream.  

After two weeks of this, he began to question his decision to stick it out.  He wasn’t sleeping well, and trying to write out the stories swirling in his head…  He’d usually fall asleep writing, waking to several pages… if typed, they had more grammatical errors and nonsensical broken sentences than a book report written by a first grader.  If handwritten it seemed to start out legible for the first sentence or two… halfway down the page it was chicken scratch and strange doodles.  Nothing usable in either case.




Wyl slumped down in a corner, resting his head on his knees for a moment as lull between after-school and after-rush settled on them and he could take a moment to breathe.  He was working all of the tables that day and was exhausted to the point of stumbling over himself.  Never mind that in the past week, he’d gotten maybe eight hours of sleep total. He looked up as a foot gently poked him in the ribs.  Mandy, his partner in overwork.  The stout little human woman was in trouble with the boss for getting into a verbal disagreement with the cook, who had subsequently been fired for sailing a plate at her head.  He might have gotten away with it if the plate hadn’t shattered an inch from the boss’s face as he came in the door.  Wyl was amazed Mandy didn’t bounce, too.  He looked up at her, struggling to keep his eyes open and not nod back down.  She smiled a little.

“You look like the living dead, honey.”

“No, corpses get more rest than I am.”

“If you’re not careful you’re going to end up one.”

“I’ll be okay...”

“Why don’t you just quit?”

“Why don’t you?” he asked with a half-smile.

“Who knows, I just might.  But until I find another way to support my boy, this will have to be it.  But you...”

“I have no other practical skills aside from my writing,” he shrugged, “And I’m far too obnoxious to be kept,” he smirked, then raised an eyebrow, “I could always try my hand as a hitman...   I have great aim.” he smiled genuinely.  Mandy laughed a deep chuckle.

“You do that!  I know just who your first job should be!”  She threw a nasty glare over to the boss.  He was busy screaming at an elfin girl who was cowering behind her tray.  It didn’t matter what she had done, just that he was unhappy with her.  She looked ready to cry.

“She’ll be gone in a week.”  Wyl sighed sympathetically.

“Sooner if she’s got any brains in her head,” Mandy nodded.




A month passed.  And things just kept getting better and better.  

The girl did quit. And he picked up her slack.  The boss let up a little for a while when he thought Wyl was starting to become more of a liability than a shove-out, but then renewed his vitriol.

Having to walk home on a regular basis because his boss keeping him after closing caused him to miss the last train was bad enough normally.  Having to walk in a veritable downpour was even worse.  He thought he might be crying, but he couldn’t be sure through the torrent of rain that was soaking his face.  The overpowering feelings of desperation and futility that sat heavily on his chest like an angry sow was enough to reassure him that he probably was in tears.  

He sat down at an empty bus shelter and curled up around himself.  He didn’t care that every inch of his clothes were soaked all the way to his skin, just that...  He actually didn’t care about anything at the moment.  All he wanted to do was just not think and not be, at least for a little while...  

The words that he’d been trying to nail to paper, that had swirled in his mind like goldfish in a pond, had died.  Dried up.  He felt strangely empty without the constant chatter of that unseen voice whispering tales into his mental ear.  Saturating his thoughts to the point of distraction.  He remembered fleetingly the warm summer afternoons back home.  He’d sit in the crook of a tree listening to the quiet, broken only by the chirp of birds or the call of a quail in the high grass.  And he’d write.  Stories of creatures of shadows, and people who underestimated the darkness.  Primordial fears and darkest dreams and glimpses of things not meant to be seen.  Pages and pages, at first for no one but himself.  Then for his family as they encouraged him, even as his teachers chastised him for the subject matter.  

He’d always felt spoken words were somehow inadequate to what he often wanted to say.  When he was young he learned quickly that a single send could relay all he needed it to.  Words, images, emotions, wound together but understood.  But humans couldn’t send.  As a child knowing what he wanted to say in his head, stumbling over it as he tried to explain himself…  So when he became upset, he wrote instead.  The words flowed easily, soul tricking out onto paper.

As he grew older, his writing went from simple journals to stories.  Cathartic, mostly.  If another child was bothering him, they rapidly ended up the villain, or soon and more commonly, the victim in a wild tale.  And here, now… there had been stories about his boss.  Many that never made it to paper.  Some were among the most gruesome he’d ever written.
 
Now the words, the catharsis, was gone  like so much smoke, the voice silenced, unanswering no matter how much he called to it.  There was only exhaustion and a cold emptiness.  Abandonment.  Now he couldn’t even think, couldn’t put his thoughts together enough to comprehend how he would make it through the next day.  He considered getting up and walking until he just collapsed somewhere, just to be moving, but that even seemed too difficult now.  He was just… tired.  So tired, heartsick, and alone.  If this was all he had to look forward to for an eternity, he didn’t want it.  Better to be human, to be mortal, and know there was an end to--
An end…. An end…. The words echoed in his mind, but he didn’t feel as cold as he thought he would.  He wondered a little what it would feel like to just step in front of the southbound G...  How fast would that be?  But he wanted it to be clean.  He didn’t want to upset his mother...  for her to see...  He didn’t want some blank-faced officer from their hometown to show up at her door and tell her that they’d had to scrape her son off the engine of a commuter train because he couldn’t handle the pressure of waiting tables and failing at writing.  It was almost enough to make him laugh.  Almost.  Besides, he was a coward.  He’d never be able to--

He felt a heavy hand on his shoulder and looked up a little, brushing away still-wet bangs.

“I...  You’re...” He didn’t even try to send, his head hurt too much for that.

“You’re going to catch your death if you stay out here.  Let me give you a ride home.”

Catch your death.  Somewhere in the back of his mind, Wyl heard a dark laugh.  At least he thought it was the back of his mind. Maybe it was from somewhere else inside.

“N-No, I can...”

“Where do you live?”

Wyl mumbled something and saw the regular...  ‘What was his name?  Had he ever said it...?’  shake his head slowly.

“That’s another four, five miles.  Let me drive you.”

“I said I’m fine…. I don’t need…”  He started to stand, but stumbled, his legs unable to support his weight.  The elf man caught him before he could crash to the pavement, held him up.

“You can’t even walk right now.”

“I—” He didn’t feel like fighting.  He really couldn’t fight, “Fine.  Whatever.”      

“Fine...”

He hadn’t heard the truck pull up, and didn’t struggle as he was guided into the passenger side.  It was warm, which was nice, and he slipped further into his own mind.

“Is that the extent of your name or does it go on from there?” the driver asked as he climbed in and tapped a finger on younger elf’s nametag, a gaudy blue and gold button that read only “Wyl”

“Wylhaen...  Wylhaen Yves.”  

“Well, Wyl, I’m Grenvil Devlin.  Call me Grenn”

“Nice to meet you...”
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Kojiyumi

Kojiyumi

Scorpio Horse
Posts : 797
Join date : 2014-03-14
Age : 41
Location : Between the gutter and the stars... or more often, Discord. ShadowoftheNight#1538

Taxus: Dancing in the Light Empty
PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyTue Mar 18, 2014 10:30 pm

Grenn kept watching Wyl out of the corner of his eye the entire drive.  Wyl had slipped into sleep almost before he’d gotten back on the road, exhausted to the point of collapse.  Beyond, actually.

‘Just a kid,’ he thought, ‘should still be home with his parents.’  He’d outlived many of his peers, and knew well enough what the world could do to you if you just jumped into it and weren’t ready.  Maybe humans could do it, but then they had to. They live shorter, mature faster…  They don’t have the time to wait around for the right opportunity.  But most elves had to learn that the hard way one of the failings of immortality.  Racing to keep up with those you’d pass by eventually.

He saw Wyl shiver hard and reached over to turn up the heat in the cab.  If he hadn’t come along, the youth probably would have just frozen to death.  The nights this time of the year could be deceptively, dangerously cold, especially to the soaking wet and underdressed.  He reached out and touched the pale hand close to him.  Like ice.



The big black pickup rolled into what could only be described as “the wrong side of the tracks.”  Even in the torrential rain, he could see people milling about in the increased shadows, making various deals.  This wasn’t the kind of place for any young person, human or elf.

Pulling up outside of the hotel, Grenn grimaced.  Without even getting out, he knew from other similar places that this place had to be breaking at least an even dozen fire codes.  He didn’t want to get into health codes.  He could hear people screaming and yelling from inside, and thought he heard a gunshot from somewhere.  Police sirens screamed in the distance through the din of falling water.  
He felt a weight against his side and turned his head to see Wyl’s head resting on his shoulder.  He’d curled up against him and was sleeping fitfully.  His fingers and legs jerked and twitched, and he mumbled and trembled constantly.  Grenn put an arm around his shaking shoulders and pulled him closer, attempting to comfort him even a little.  Wyl settled against him, quieter now, but still cold and wet.  Grenn sighed and turned his vehicle away from the low area and head back towards his own house.



It was a dream.  It had to be.  Only in a dream could Wyl play a violin.  The sounds he was able to produce from an instrument, any instrument, in the waking world could be used to torture information from prisoners.  He knew this from critiqued experience.  Now, however, he stood in quiet darkness, violin tucked under his chin, feeling the reverberation of the notes as the bow glided over the strings.  The music that filled the dream world was silken sweet.  Behind his dream-eyes he saw a sleek spotted form slink in the shadows in tandem with one of ebon.  So long as the song continued unbroken, they continued to swirl around him, just out of clear vision save for green-gold eyes.
 
The notes began to falter, creaking like old wood, and the shadow-walkers slowed in their dance, moving closer in on him.  He could hear the purring of their voices through the music, growing ever louder.  A string strained, broke, curling back against his face.  He played faster, trying to drive the forms back into the shadows, feeling the eyes closing in on him.  Another string parted with a snap.  Now he could feel the brush of muscles beneath fur against his legs.  The purring had risen to a rough growling that made his hand shake and falter.  Whiskers brushed his cheek, the rough sound shifting from organic to mechanical, a purr to a grating growl of metal gears.  That was when the fangs sunk into his shoulder, the violin dropping from his hands to shatter on the unseen floor.

Wyl’s started, bronze eyes fluttering open, fighting the dream back despite the exhaustion still resting on his shoulders.  The grating hadn’t ended with waking.  But why…?  And where was….?  Oh, right.  Grenn.  Truck.  Going home.  But what was that sound?  Oh.  He looked through the water-spattered windshield, and wondered when the hotel got a garage with an automatic door.  His frozen mind muddled through the fact that it didn’t.  He struggled to sit up a little, trying to find the energy to be more concerned than he somehow was.

“Where...  This isn’t...”

“Shush.  This is my place.  You can stay here the night; at least it’ll be warm.  You can’t tell me that hole you’ve been living in is heated well enough to keep you from getting pneumonia by morning.”

“It’s not so bad...”  

“Right.  Keep telling yourself that.”  Wyl started to say something in response, but was silenced by a hiss, “No argument.  You’re staying.”

No argument.  Got it.



Wyl wandered around the living room with the dull curiosity of a new pet.  One just coming out of anesthesia.  Part of his investigation seemed to be half-crashing into things as he explored.  His parents’ home wasn’t so nice as this one that was well furnished with leather sofas, nice wood furniture...  And a big red brick fireplace blazing hotly.  No wonder it felt so comfy in the room.  How nice.  He ambled over to it, and collapsed into a heap on the carpet in front of the hearth.  

“The sofa’s more comfortable, you know.”  Grenn smiled, waiting for a response, but got none.  He walked over to the young elf soaking his carpet.  Dead to the world.  Again.

Grenn told himself that it was common sense.  Wyl’s clothes would dry faster if he wasn’t in them, and on top of that, it would prevent the elf from getting a chill worse than he had.  He also told himself over and over again that he was taking no pleasure in this as he began unbuttoning Wyl’s jeans.

He threw his guest’s clothes in the drier and sat down on the sofa with a glass of dreamberry rum to watch him sleep.  That Wyl hadn’t woken through the entire process of being stripped told of his level of exhaustion.  And he’d slept through it in that boneless way that only the young or the inebriated seem to be able to master.  Wyl didn’t look old enough to drink, really.  He looked barely out of childhood curled up under the blanket the way he was.  Sweet and innocent. But elves in their early years were difficult to age sometimes; harder than humans.  He’d known elves half a century old who barely looked out of their teens, still seeming awkward in their body.  Wyl wasn’t awkward, just young and in dire need of rest, Grenn thought, flipping through Wyl’s wallet.  It had survived the drenching more or less; most likely due to being made of black vinyl.  The flames along one side of it was an interesting touch.
Grenn flipped through the contents while sipping his drink.  The picture on the driver’s license looked more like a mug shot.  From the look on his face, Wyl must have been at the MVD for quite some time before getting his picture taken.  But at least he’d been told the truth.  Wylhaen A Yves.  Brown hair, brown eyes... what an understatement there.  More like polished mahogany and burnished copper.  But the MVD never got that descriptive.  Date of Birth….  Grenn squinted a little closer at the card, then looked over at the ID’s owner, curled up in a ball like a kitten.  Twenty years.  Adult, at least by legal statutes.  Legal ages, he knew, were all based on human lifespans.  For fairness sake they applied to elves and trolls alike.  Twenty, as far as he was concerned, was still too young to be out on your own outside of school, at least as some elves went.  Especially one from as small a town as this one was.  That entire part of the country was known for nothing but farming communities, small towns, and friendly people.  He wondered what wild aspiration could have driven the young elf from what was obviously a happy home given the photos he was carrying.  

He looked for a long while at the last picture.  Wyl sitting in the grass besides a beautiful buckskin horse.  The animal was lying down, as horses do, and chewing on the elf’s black-streaked hair, which he seemed endlessly amused by given the broad grin on his face.  Who’d taken this picture, Grenn wondered, mother or father?  Maybe another relative or a lovemate...?  He felt a sudden pang of jealousy that someone may have had the chance to share intimacies with the happy creature in the photo that seemed miles away from the wreck sleeping on his floor.  The barefoot youth in the photo wore a faded band t-shirt and torn jeans, but bore no dark circles under his eyes, and seemingly had no worries.  He flipped it over and read the date scrawled on the back below “Wyl and Sunpiper.”  Sixteen at the time the picture was taken.  Sixteen.  There was a chance that if it was a small enough town that he hadn’t been with anyone yet...

‘Stop,’ he told himself forcefully, putting down the picture, feeling obscenely guilty at being excited by the thought that the lad sleeping on his floor might be...  Besides, there was at least four years between the innocent rural boy and his horse in the picture, and the young elf before him.  

To try to deny that he was attracted to Wyl would be a blatant lie.  He’d frequented the restaurant before, but it wasn’t until the new waiter started that he made it his regular lunch spot.  The first time he saw him, Wyl was diving between tables as if on skates, still fresh, still enthusiastic.  There was a day he watched him move with such ease and grace, he would have sworn the boy had the old floating powers.  No, he was just that quick, that deft on his toes.

Grenn kept coming.  Watching.  Fascinated by him for a reason he couldn’t place.  He wanted to talk to him, get to know him.  But he sensed the time had to be right.  So every day he came in hoping Wyl would come to his table.  Somehow a full month went by and Wyl never was assigned to take his order, no matter what booth or table he chose.  But that was okay.  He enjoyed watching him work.  Then he noticed the gradual slowdown.  The darkening of the expression.  The way the light steps became trudging.  His eyes darkened.  By the time Wyl approached him that day to take his order, gone was the bright youth, replaced by a scowling cynic as indifferent to the customers as the rest of the staff.

In retrospect, Grenn cursed himself for not taking a different approach with Wyl.  The playful flirting was a mistake.  And had sunk like a boulder dropped in a lake.  Wyl had brought him back his food with cool indifference, dropping the plate in front of him with a short send of **Enjoy.**

But he still kept coming.  Wyl served him a time or two after that.  But they didn’t speak, really.  Not beyond the basics needed to place an order.  And he watched Wyl further decline.  One day the boy was practically useless on the floor, taking orders to wrong tables, getting them wrong initially for the cooks.  He should have stepped in then.  But he let it go on, and Wyl seemed to get better over the next week. .  Occasionally he’d even catch the youth watching him, eyes glowing in the fluorescent lights.

Then he started to slide again.  Worse than before.  This time he wouldn’t let it just pass without saying something.

He’d never have come across him on that bench if he hadn’t been attempting a “coincidental” meeting.  Grenn had intended to maybe catch him on his way out of the diner, maybe walk up beside him and offer to buy him a drink.  Unfortunately, he’d met with the rainstorm, which slowed down his drive.  He arrived after the restaurant had closed, and had simply been heading home.  Coming across the young elf lamenting at the bus stop was a fortunate accident.  He wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t tripped across him.

Grenn sat the wallet down on the living room table next to his now empty glass, letting his own eyes close.  Wyl was best off by the heat of the fire, he thought. He’d take a quick nap himself, wake later, and put more logs if needed.  Make sure to keep the boy warm.  Maybe add another blanket or two if necessary.  Yeah… yeah, that’s what he’d do.  He faded into his own sleep, aided by the warming of the alcohol, and the soft crackling of the fire.
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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Sweet stuff!   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyWed Mar 19, 2014 10:05 pm

Love this so far...very different and really creative!

Can't wait for the next piece!


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Kojiyumi

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PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyFri Mar 21, 2014 1:32 am

Waking was difficult, and he did so reluctantly.  The malaise that had settled over his body told of oncoming illness, but he didn’t have time for that.  He had to rise and deal with another day.  Perhaps, though, he could get away with a few more minutes of sleep, if he was careful.  It was warm under the blanket, soft and comforting… something his blanket and bed never was.

Wyl bolted upright and realized his mistake immediately as the room swam in and out of focus.  What he could make out…. This wasn’t his room.  Where in the…?  Panic tightened around his chest as he tried to remember the night before. The last thing he remembered was… leaving the diner and---  A gruff, albeit amused snort caused him to whip around again, feeling his neck protest at the speed.

“Finally awake, are you.  I thought you were going to sleep forever.”

His eyes weren’t clear, but he knew that voice.  Quite well.  

**You!  What are you--?  Where--?** His mind flashed fear he couldn’t mask to the other elf as he scooted back, away, still wrapped tight in the blankets, feeling the heat of the fireplace behind him, yelping as his hand brushed a hot stone.   He let go of the blanket in favor of nursing his palm, and realized something else as it slipped from his bare shoulder.  **Where re my clothes?  What did you--?**

“On the back of the sofa.  After I dried them.”  Grenn cut him off, kept his tone even, ignoring the implication that had been in the send.  The kid was scared, in an unfamiliar place.  “I found  you playing catch-me-catch-you with pneumonia out in the rain last night  Dragged you here so you’d have a chance to warm up, maybe avoid getting sick.”

‘Too late…’ Wyl thought, eyes now focusing, settling on his hated uniform lain neatly over the back of the couch.  Slowly the fog cleared enough for him to remember…  **You didn’t have to do that.  I would have been--**

“No, I didn’t.  But I couldn’t just leave you there, the state you were in.  You looked like a dog a step away from death.  What were you thinking…?”

The tone was double edged, questioning and admonishing.  What had Grenn seen in him that night?  Had he seen how low he had been feeling?  Or was he being a typical elder and trying to tell him he was stupid for trying to walk in the frigid rain through a bad neighborhood.   Either way, he wasn’t in the mood for a lecture.  He shrugged, choosing how he wanted to answer, and doing so aloud, knowing he could never mask the lie of where his thoughts were at that moment

“Wasn’t.  Just wanted the day to end.”

Grenn wasn’t stupid.  That the boy had switched from send to speech meant he was trying to hide something.  Wyl’s expression when he found him looked like he wanted more than the day to end.  There was an emptiness in his eyes that even now Grenn could see a shadow of.  It dulled his pupils, greyed his irises.  It was bad enough on the face of an aged mortal.  On a young immortal, it was haunting.  Elves who took that look so early in life…

“Let me guess.  Life isn’t going the way you planned it?  Not even close.  Am I right?”  Grenn looked at Wyl, saw confirmation in the eyes staring up at him, then went on, not giving him a chance to answer “That’s the nature of life, kid.  You make plans, life laughs and does as it will.  Mortal, immortal.  Life’s got a way of coming in and messing with you.  But you survive, and you go on, and you learn from it.”

**Yeah?**  The boy’s lip curled a little **Maybe I’m tired of suffering because life as a fucked-up sense of humor.**

Suffering.

“Boy, you don’t know the meaning of the word.  You may have a lot of disappointment that things aren’t all dreamberries and roses, but—”

**What do you know about what I’m going through?  You don’t have any idea how much—**

Grenn had lived long enough to have buttons. And this was one, and one pushed oh-so-so often by the youth of the day, pretentious and privileged, the lot…  He’d seen battles, wars… killed, nearly been killed, had friends—lovemates, lifemates—die in his arms.  He’d lost everything and dragged himself back up from nothing.  And here was this… this child saying he didn’t know…  

He didn’t mean to go off.  He really didn’t.  Maybe it was being tired himself, or… one drink too many already that morning…  He’d..  He just… imploded.  

Wyl didn’t have time to react.  Grenn was in his face faster than he could move, fingers tightly gripping his hair, grey eyes locked on his.  There was something in those eyes that turned Wyl’s insides to jelly, the change as so drastic.  

**You want to know what suffering is?**

Before Wyl could answer, a bombardment of images struck his mind.  Scents. Sounds.  Grenn’s memories open and lain out, and for all the horrors dreamed up in his own mind’s eye, none was like this.  Grenn had lived long, and lived hard, and sometimes, lived hideously.

Grenn reeled back when Wyl’s own mind retaliated against his intrusion, the boy rejecting his visions, both shutting down and shutting out, before lashing back with an offensive as hot as fire, raking claws through his psyche.  Forcing him to stop.  He let go, leaned back, realizing what he had done as his eyes cleared of the red haze of anger to clearly see the young elf in front of him.  Wyl was cowering back from him, curled dangerously close to the fire, an expression on his face like an animal in a snare trap.  Then the boy surged to his feet, stumbling towards the sofa, where his clothes lay.

"H-Have to go… w-work..”

“Wyl…”

“G-Gonna be l-late…”  He struggled with trying to hold the blanket around himself and get dressed at the same time, his fingers shaking visibly.

**WYL.**

There was command in the send, and the boy whipped around, jerking like a disjointed marionette.  Now Grenn could see the sheen in those copper eyes, barely held back even as the boy’s overly-tightened jaw kept his lip from quivering.  Damn it…

“I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have…”  He saw Wyl shrug and rapidly turn back to trying to dress.

“What do I k-know?  I’m jus-just a st-stupid kid.  Get ou-out of your h-hair in… in a minute…”  Hearing the stammer back in his voice, the way it always came back when he got overwhelmed was clanging to his ears, but Wyl couldn’t get it together to send if he wanted to, a wounded animal trying to hide the pain.  "Don-Don’t ma-matter..."  He didn't need Grenn to prove to him that his problems were less than the weight of the world.  It wasn’t that bad, better than most.  He knew full well that he could just pack up and go home, and his mother would welcome him with open arms, and he could be comfortable and cozy on the farm until time’s end.. but, dammit, that’s not what he wanted!  He wanted… wanted…  His fingers curled into his palms, digging deep grooves even as he bit into the inside of his lip, eyes closing tight.  

Arms strong and smelling of suede and some sort of spicy soap closed around him, held him tight even though he struggled to pull free.

**You matter.  You fucking matter.**  A pause. **Maybe I've done a shit job of proving that I care what happens to you.  I wouldn't even be making these screwed up attempts to prove it to you if I didn't.** 

In sending there is only truth…

Grenn felt the struggles lessen, replaced by shudders as the boy’s body gradually went slack.  He guided them both to the floor, cradling the younger elf still tangled in the blanket against him.  A single tear slipped from between tight-closed lids… then the deluge began.

This time there was no pretending it was just the rain on his face, though water dampened his cheeks with the ferocity of a tempest.

And through the storm, Grenn never let go.
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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: More!!!   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyFri Mar 28, 2014 12:44 am

Very nice!!!


More pretty please!!  Surprised 

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Kindredsoul

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PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyFri Mar 28, 2014 10:01 pm

I FINALLY got to reading this!! Yay me!!

But....but....

*lip wibble*

Oh how I hate your nasty-bad job right now!! ><

*waits patiently for more*
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G0lden

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PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptySun Apr 12, 2015 12:39 am

Wow Koji this is really well done. Can't wait to see what happens next.

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Kojiyumi

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PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyMon Apr 13, 2015 4:47 pm

Arigato! I am trying my hardest to get back to this one! Please send cookies to the muse!

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ණ⃛(ᵒ͈̑ᴗ̂ᵒ͈̑ )” Getting stuff done at the speed of smell! ─=≡Σ((( つ•̀ω•́)つ

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyFri Apr 17, 2015 4:51 pm

*drops whole bag of cookies by for the muse then gets into Charger and squeals tires leaving before I can be seen*

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Kojiyumi

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PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyFri Apr 17, 2015 9:47 pm

You JUST might be getting his attention... XD

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ණ⃛(ᵒ͈̑ᴗ̂ᵒ͈̑ )” Getting stuff done at the speed of smell! ─=≡Σ((( つ•̀ω•́)つ

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Kojiyumi

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PostSubject: Re: Taxus: Dancing in the Light   Taxus: Dancing in the Light EmptyMon Apr 20, 2020 1:29 am

Has it really been so long... I need to work on this again, too...

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