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[personal profile] selenias
Title:Untitled Nonsense
Author: [personal profile] lavendre
Fandom: Tales of Zestiria
Characters/pairing: Lailah + Michael, pre-game.
Rating: all audiences
Word Count: 700

Notes: This accomplished nothing and I don't even know the story that was meant to be told here. No plot, no juicy world building, no solid characterization. A warm up?! Words r hard.

Lailah stood quiet and still on the bank, watching the cold spring water bubble and quaver past her sandaled feet. The smells of the forest were cool, clean, and wholly alien to her; she’d faltered on the realization that she could walk the land again and spent the afternoon browning the ends of Micahel’s heels to make him walk faster.

Ladylake sat far behind, and forward -- fields of balsamroot and vetch, all the way up to the hairline of the forest where it shifted from pine to spruce, and a copse of birch trees whistled along the sheer face of slate gray cliffs. The valley spread out around her in a triangle of green and purple and threatened to swallow them both in a volley of red sky.

“Michael, have you ever been to Marlind?”

His call came from her left. “No. That’s a place for scholars.”

“A good place for you.”

Behind her, Michael crushed branches and stumbled in the dark, grey cloak catching on the brambles, scabbard dragging over rocks; a gift that she felt no confidence in him carrying, that looked wrong with the lankiness of his youth. He was practically spilling out of his boots.

They’d left posthaste in the afternoon. She felt a strength return to her that she hadn’t felt in her long years left to ceremony. The thought had occurred to her so many times: why not draw the sword herself and leave? She only had pleasures when she was needed. It was a fair exchange when there was a pact, otherwise. Well -- she needn’t think about that.

“We should settle in this area for sleep. It’s wooded enough that travelers shouldn’t stumble upon us in the night.”

“What? That’s ideal?” Michael turned his head, brown hair spreading like a fan. He tried hard to look serious, but he’d trampled ahead with no thought for where they would stay, and Lailah knew her face was no good at lying.

“Do you want a fire to dry off? I think it may freeze tonight again. It’s awfully chilly.”

“Alright,” he sighed. “That would be nice.” Lailah swept together a pile of dead branches and drew a circle in the dirt with the pads of her fingers. There were hardly any rocks to keep the fire from wandering, but the rain still pattered down above. She wiped her fingers clean of the green stuff and hovered closely until it burned the way she wanted, a slow consuming heat. It would warm hands, at the very least.

Michael settled in the grass and paused to watch her, hands poised over an apple, knife held in the left. Music played off his fingers where the rings clicked against the blade, silver and bronzey, expensive for a street urchin. His pants were soaked through -- she supposed he’d have stopped caring at some point.

“Wow.” Michael gave her a strange look. It wasn’t unlike the expression of worshipers when they realized a lady really was sitting at their holy altar. He looked down at his hands, uncertain, as if wondering if the flame would crawl across his fingers. “I would have given you flint if you’d asked.”

Lailah startled, then laughed. “Did you still need convincing? I know it’s a lot to take in.” He shrugged and sagged further in the dirt. Embarrassment, she realized, and smiled, turning her head away to the brush. Everything sagged and drooped with the weight of the rain and she couldn’t help thinking that Michael looked the same.

“Lailah -- here.” He sliced the apple smoothly and offered the other half to her. “You can have some if you want. It’s good.”

Lailah took it from his outstretched hand. It was small and just slightly bruised at the edges. Gritty, with the hard bits of sugar. “You know I don’t have to eat.”

“You don’t have to do a lot of things, but you do them anyway. It’s all I have.”

Lailah tucked her skirt beneath her and sat above on the log, crossing her legs at the ankle. The fire hissed at the earth and she watched its temper settle when Michael turned away from her.

It would be a long night./cut>
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