Who are you calling so short you want to squish like an ant?!
Member No.: 179
Joined: 15-August 11
Evin couldn't remember the last time he hadn't woken with the dawn. It was rare that he could sleep for very long once sunlight made itself known, but it had to be well into the nine o' clock hour by the time his eyelids began to twitch. Warmth was the first thing he registered as he slowly came to, and the moment he realized what the pleasant tangle of limbs around him was, a small smile quirked the corner of his mouth. Breathing in deep, he made his eyes open, and the smile tugged into something much fuller and brighter at the sight of Diamond sleeping against him. He could stay like this just a little while longer, couldn't he? Moving carefully, trying not to wake the other man, his fingers carded lightly through the long blonde bangs that obscured Dia's face. Dia stirred just briefly at the brush, enough to heave a sigh in his sleep and nuzzle his face into Evin's shoulder.
Evin grinned before pressing a kiss to Dia's hair. I'll let him sleep a while longer. Settling in to simply rest, one hand grazed gently over Dia's arm, back and forth in a light rhthym as he let his thoughts wander. There was only so long he could stay still once he was awake, though, and about an hour into simply laying there had him fighting restlessness in his legs. Once he heard the sounds of the city well on its way to getting on with the day, he decided it was best for them to get a move on.
"Dia," He murmured, voice still croaky with misuse even though he'd been awake so long. "Diamond, come on. It's time to get up."
Dia's eyes squinted more stubbornly closed, as if in direct defiance of the request. He buried his face against the skin of Evin's shoulder aand pawed blindly for the covers. Managing to find a handful of them, he yanked them up over his head.
Evin gave a small roll of his eyes and began to carefully dislodge himself from Diamond's hold, thinking that at least one of them had better start to get things ready for the day.
Diamond tightened his grip on Evin immediately, using his full albeit inconsiderable weight to attempt to keep the knight in bed.
"Dia," The name came from him in a short, gust of a laugh. "We have to get up. It's a long ride and if we don't get going soon we'll be riding in the dark part of the way. Come on." He brought his arms around Diamond firmly for a moment, squeezing the man to him and kissing his temple before releasing him again. "You can sleep all you'd like when we get there."
Diamond lifted his head begrudgingly to give Evin a look rather like a cat that had been unceremoniously dumped into a water trough. He blew the bangs away from his eyes with a disgruntled huff. The only thing convincing him to be even this awake at the moment was the bits of affection and that pleasant croak in Evin's voice. Of all the glorious sounds and textures of the human voice, croaky morning voice was, by far, one of his favorites. He inched up to press a kiss to Evin's throat. All right. He was awake. And he would get out of bed. In another minute or two.
The kiss to his throat made Evin smile, a small worm of pleasure wriggling in his stomach, remembering a similar kiss from the night before. Leaning in, he pressed a kiss to Dia's cheek, then along his jaw, before pulling away regretfully. Sliding to the edge of the bed, he got to his feet, stretching his back as he walked over to his packs to get out the change of clothes he brought along.
"We might have enough time to get something to eat before we go," He said as he drew his underthings on, shooting Dia a look as he picked up his pants. "If we get going relatively soon."
Dia heaved the most put-upon sigh possible for a man of his size and sat up in the bed. If his hair had ever been a mess before, it hardly compared to now, the whole tangle of it ruffled up to one side. He yawned cavernously and watched Evin dress with a series of sleepy blinks. Yep. That had happened. A self-satisfied grin pulled at one corner of his mouth as he tilted his head to the side and rubbed at a crick in his neck. Eventually determining that some manner of movement was necessary, he crawled out of the bed in a way that was haflway falling, collecting his discarded clothing and tugging it back on swiftly. He paused between what was nearly every layer to load on a knife belt, harness, or even singular sheath - under his shirt, again under his tunic, in leg sheaths at his calves, under the boots, and even a small knife at his wrist under the gloves. Finally dressed, he hooked the not-inconsiderable belt of weapons around his hips and ran his fingers through his hair, as if that was sufficient grooming for it. The whole process took a fair amount of time, but Diamond handled it with a sort of deft practice that cut the time it ought to have taken to conceal that many weapons in half at least.
Evin had just pulled his tunic over his head when he glanced Dia's way, blinking at the process that was taking place. He knew the man carried as many knives as he possibly could on his person at almost all times, but knowing and seeing were two completely different things. He watched curiously as he cinched his belt into place, a one-sided grin coming to his face at Dia's half-hearted attempt to fix his hair. Going over to him, he ran his hands through Dia's hair, fixing it a little more before kissing his forehead.
"I forgot to bring things for you in Meiras colors," He admitted, brushing down a stray lock of hair. "But I like these new things of yours. Green suits you."
Diamond closed his eyes blissfully at the kiss, a wide grin spreading over his features. He gave a pleased nod and smoothed his hands over the tunic. He wasn't much one for clothes - really, he hadn't ever owned any worth being particularly pleased about - but he had to admit he was exceptionally fond of the rich green fabric. He waited until Evin had finished with his hair and reached out to fix Evin's. Well. "Fix." Really he just wanted an excuse to run his fingers through those curls. He toyed with it just for a minute before relenting to withdrawing his hands, mostly to cover another yawn.
He was halfway through a series of signals when it occurred to him that Evin had no idea what he was saying. He stopped and held a finger up to Evin, beginning to rummage around in search of the tablet. Exactly where had it gotten shoved off to...? He managed to find it under the bed after a few minutes, popping up triumphantly and jotting down a quick message.
I'm really sorry. I had to spend most of what I had left on clothes, weapons, and transport. I had to put some meals here on promise you'd pay when you got here. He passed it to Evin with an apologetic cringe. The reasonable part of his mind knew money meant little to Evin, but the practical side just couldn't quite grasp the concept.
Evin tried to keep up with Dia's hand motions, even though he knew he didn't understand what they meant, looking for clues in the motion that might tell him what they could mean. Dia stopped quickly, realizing the mistake, and within another minute was scribbling over the forgotten tablet. His mouth twitched downward at the cringe, and he leaned in to butt his head lightly against Dia's.
"No need to apologize. I'd have made sure you had more than enough money if I'd had the chance." The only part of that arrangement that was even slightly uneasy was the knowledge that the innkeeper all ready probably thought him mad. But really, what did Evin care?
"I'm just glad he allowed it," He said, moving away from Dia again to pack up the healing supplies he'd taken out the night before.
He likes me. Dia explained simply. There's this sort of amazing thing about port towns where half the merchants are used to dealing with people who don't speak Common. They're really good at charades. He passed the tablet to Evin and set about collecting his own things. Most of it had stayed in the pack anyway, in case he had needed to make a speedy exit, and there wasn't much to begin with. Watching Evin from the corner of his eye, he realized that Evin had never gotten to the cuts along his scalp. ... So much the better. Anything he had to put in the scratches would probably have felt vile in Dia's hair. He hefted the pack onto his shoulder and spun on his heel to face Evin.
Once his healing supplies and last nights clothes were stowed away, Evin pulled his pack up onto one shoulder and looked over at Diamond. "Come on, then," He said, opening the door and reaching a hand out to Dia as if to draw him forward.
They made their way down the stairs, and Evin walked over to the service counter, setting his bag down as he nodded at the innkeeper. "Morning. Morrisson will be checking out now, and I'm here to settle the tab you both arranged."
"Getting out of here then?" the innkeeper asked, more to Diamond than to Evin, really. He turned his attention to Evin and slid over the account of Diamond's expenses. The rook had been spending modestly to say the least.
"I tried t' tell him the border post weren't a place for a twig like him, least of all with his disposition, but he wouldn't have any of it. Try t' make sure they don't eat him alive."
Diamond grinned innocently and shrugged, flapping a hand at the man dismissively.
With his disposition? Evin glanced at Diamond and found himself fighting down a grin of his own. So Dia had been playing nice during his stay. He shook his head as he brought up his coinpurse and laid down what was owed plus a generous tip besides.
"I tried to tell him the same at first," He told the innkeeper, retying the purse and settling it in place. "But I think you can imagine how that conversation went. I'm not so bad at looking after him, though." He thanked the inkeeper and nodded again before grabbing up his bag and setting out for the stables through the back.
The innkeeper thanked Evin for the tip and bowed respectfully. He gave a wave of farewell to Diamond and called after him as he headed for the door, "You be careful with that ass of yours!" Dia grinned and waved over his shoulder, trotting into the stables.
Evin's head whipped around in surprise, staring first at the innkeeper and then at Diamond. He tried to piece together what the man could have possibly meant that wasn't crude and came up with nothing. "So... Am I missing something when you say the innkeeper likes you, or...?"
Diamond blinked at him for a moment in confusion before his mind put together what Evin had meant. A silent laugh broke from his throat and he clapped a hand up to cover the grin, waving his other hand in a Nonononono! motion. Ducking his head, he continued down the aisle of the stable to a stall near the end. He clucked at the beast until it came to the door - a seal brown... well... it wasn't quite a horse. The long ears and somewhat longer, narrower face assured that. A mule. ...An ass. Diamond motioned to it as if this would explain the situation to Evin.
Evin stared at the long brown face of the mule uncomprehendingly for a moment, wheels starting to turn in his head. Oh, all right, so this was what the innkeeper had meant. ...But... That made this Diamond's...
"Mule," He said, as if he could hardly believe it. "You - you came here... on a mule." And he intended on riding up to the post on one. Diamond nodded simply. Evin could feel the headache threatening to build at his temples.
"Dia... You can't - We can get you another mount here before we leave, there has to be something more suitable available..."
The rook blinked uncomprehendingly, reaching his arms up around the mule's neck to scratch the spot behind its ears. He glanced the mule over and shrugged. It was a perfectly good animal. Hadn't had any trouble keeping up with the horses in the caravan, kept its footing well, even dealing with a new rider... He saw absolutely no reason to trade it. Besides, it had the most overwhelmingly disagreeable attitude towards the world at large... Diamond found it very charming. He shrugged and shook his head, giving the beast a pat on the neck and dodging its attempt to nip at his arm.
Evin twitched at Diamond's insistence on keeping the beast, even as it tried to bite him. "Diamond... I can't go back with you riding a mule." It was bad enough that Dia was clearly underfed; to ride in with Dia not even having a proper mount would make Evin look either cheap or like he was lording his status in even so small a thing. He wasn't Dia's master, not really, but no one else would know that, and this arrangement simply looked bad.
"Will you at least look at a horse? Maybe we can get you one and just... say the mule is coming along to carry your things..."
Diamond glanced at his one measly pack. Carry his things? Because that would convince anyone. Still, there was an uncomfortable, awkward feeling of shame beginning to crawl up his spine. He knew the mule wasn't any fine-bred horse, but... he had really liked it. It was the first animal that had ever really been Diamond's, and he found he'd gotten attached rather quickly. Still if there was something... wrong with it... Dia hadn't realized... He fidgeted and glanced down, going a bit red and giving a minimal nod. His fingers still scratched lightly along the mule's jaw, but it was the only thing his posture that remained casual. If the mule was that much of a problem based on its appearance, then what the hell did that say about Diamond? He was hardly fine-bred either.
It was heartbreaking, the way Dia's shame seemed to claim his entire body. The mule would still be an issue, Evin knew, but it was one he'd simply have to deal with as far away from Diamond as he could. Another few unflattering names thrown his way; he would work with what he had.
Giving the mule an appraising look, he stepped forward carefully, letting the animal get his scent before he went over it with his hands, checking it over the way he might go over a horse he was looking to buy. After a couple of minutes of this treatment, he stepped back, glaring at the mule as it made to bite him. Pushing the mule's head away, he shrugged.
"He'll be all right, I think," He said, dusting his hands off and stepping out of the stall again. "Go on and set your things, I'll bring Whisper over in a moment."
Evin was humoring him. Diamond was... more than a bit sure of that. It didn't get rid of the awkward twist in his gut, but it was sweet, he had to admit. He tugged the tablet from the top of his pack and wrote, small and neat. I'm sorry. I didn't know. We can get something else. He passed it over to Evin uncomfortably and shrugged the pack further up onto his shoulder.
His mouth tightened slightly, but Evin rubbed the message out of the wax. "You like him. He got you all this way unharmed, which... counts for more than I had considered. Don't worry about it, Diamond. I wouldn't want you to lose a friend over something so trivial." Of course, with his reputation already all but sunk and with the Commander's eye on him as a result, it hadn't been trivial on first glance. But the bigger picture always pulled at Evin more than immediate concerns. He passed the tablet back with a small smile.
"I mean it. Get him ready and we'll see about getting something to eat."
Diamond reclaimed the slate slowly, hesitating just a moment before he sprung forward to drop a kiss on Evin's lips. He was away just as quickly, setting his pack and tablet aside and ducking into the stall. He went about tacking the mule up... well enough. It wasn't a perfect job, and it took him a couple tries, and more than a few dodged bites, but the result was passable, mule saddled, pack fixed to the back of the saddle, and Diamond largely unbitten.
Evin smiled at the kiss, and it stayed with him as he moved away to get Whisper saddled and ready to go. It took him almost no time, the motions were so familiar, and he lead his mare over to Dia's stall as the other man finished up.
"There's a good place close to the gate we'll be headed out," He said, setting his foot in a stirrup and swinging himself up onto Whisper's back. "Unless you'd rather eat on the road." He wouldn't object; they wouldn't really be able to take their time with a meal in the city, so either worked for him.
Diamond had to admit, with a glance at Whisper, that she was the prettier creature. And Evin made the whole mounting process look... considerably more graceful than Diamond's early attempts. He had found something that worked for him, but as one of the caravan guards had informed him time and again, he was "doing it wrong." He led the mule clear of the stable and sprung up into the saddle, using his arms more than anything, really, and not so much as touching the stirrup. He had it down to a fairly smooth motion by now - not so different from getting over a low wall - and settled quickly. He shrugged at Evin. Really, whichever the knight preferred was fine with him. Caring was just one more task he was not up for at this ungodly hour.
Diamond's mounting technique was odd, but effectual, and Evin looked down to hide a smile. He didn't want to accidentally offend Dia by looking like he was amused, because that wasn't quite it. Everything about Dia was so particularly and peculiarly his own, and Evin simply enjoyed seeing him handle things his own way.
Squinting up at the sky, Evin considered the situation a moment before coming to a decision. "We should probably eat on the road," He said finally. "The earlier we get in the better." Not to mention that, while conversation wouldn't actually be easier, they could discuss things they wouldn't want to be overheard somehow out on the road, however slowly it might have gone.
Dia nodded his ascent and motioned for Evin to lead. He nudged his mount after the knight's as they headed for the road out of the city.