ch.?

Sep. 7th, 2005 01:43 pm
brokenworld01: (driven)
[personal profile] brokenworld01
In Which Tav Gives Up on Numbering Chapters. ~_~

Gyumaoh 21

~*~*~

"General Johar!" Johar crowed, leaping up onto the wall beside Toril.

The redhead snorted and narrowed his eyes. "Your head is inflating already."

Grinning broadly, Johar set a jug of wine down on the stone and sat beside it. "Damn right! This calls for a celebration!"

Toril rolled his eyes. "It's a temporary assignment, moron."

"It's a start," Johar said, suddenly serious. "It means a helluva lot, okay?"

Flicking ash from his cigarrette, Toril studied him for a moment. "Why?"

"Why?" Johar echoed, removing the cork from the jug. "Because. It means he trusts me, respects me. Thinks I'm good enough -- hell, more than good enough -- to take his place. Fill his shoes." Raising the jug, he took a long drink. "It matters, okay? Why the hell should I explain it?"

Toril accepted the offered jug silently. Johar swiped his cigarrette and smoked while he drank. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, Toril said, "I'm going with them."

They swapped again, but Johar sat holding the jug for a minute. "That's good," he said finally.

"Hn. You had to chew on that for that long?" Setting his heel on the wall, Toril wrapped one arm around his upraised knee.

"Hunh? Yeah. No. ... Fuck." He took a hasty swallow before continuing. "The thought of travelling, with a purpose, a destination -- it just seems right, don't it?"

"Yes," Toril replied, so quietly it was almost soundless.

"And I got this weird feeling like... like I'd forgotten to do something, you know? Like goin' to sleep with a fire still burnin', except bigger. Way more important."

Toril closed his eyes. "Not forgotten.... Failed."

Silence fell between them as they sat, staring into the gathering darkness. The sun was setting, the sky bleeding in watery pinks and oranges just over the tops of the trees. The jungle below was far from quiet with bird calls and animal noises. Sounds of the nightly routine of ending the day.

Leaning over, Toril faked a blow to Johar's head and stole the wine jug instead.

"What the fu~uck?" Johar protested, lowering his blocking arm slowly.

"Stop talking stupid shit. We haven't got any great mission waiting for us."

"I didn't say tha--"

"We're just following orders, right?" Toril held out the wine jug, his expression resigned.

Johar grabbed the jug with one hand and tried to grin. "Until we get to give the orders, anyway."

"Speak for yourself," Toril growled.

Johar smirked and saluted him with the jug. "I was."

~*~*~

They left before dawn the next morning, in the quiet hours when most of the army slept.

Despite his best intentions to get some decent rest before the journey, Toril had found himself in Johar's bed hours after he should have been asleep. They'd clung to each other with a desperation that neither wanted to acknowledge, chased their fears away with violence and sex, and slept none the easier for it. Johar's arms had still been wrapped around him in the morning, something he'd never experienced before.

The thought that it had been comforting disturbed him more than he wanted to admit.

He hadn't woken Johar up to say goodbye. Some instinctive feeling said, "if you don't say goodbye, you have to come back," and he trusted in it. He would be back.

Travelling was difficult, but nothing he wasn't accustomed to. Settling in at the fort had made them all a little soft, after the months and months of being always on the move. Though they could have travelled more swiftly, the Prince and his General set a comfortable pace. They had a long way to go, after all, and there was no point in tiring themselves quickly at the start of it.

On the first night, as Toril took his his turn at watch, he caught again the faint strains of sound that had drawn him to the outer walls of the fort. If there were words to it, they were in no language he knew. Rather, it sounded like the faint rumbling purr of a cat, as much vibration as sound, and he had to force himself to put it from his mind.

By the third night, he was also certain they were being followed by something that flickered beyond the edges of vision. The Prince seemed to sense it, too -- at least something had him frowning into the jungle when he thought Toril and the General weren't looking.

On the fifth night, as he his turn at watch following the Prince, he asked Kougaiji, "What is it?" He wasn't surprised to find he didn't need to clarify what he was asking about.

Kougaiji frowned into the darkness. "I don't know. That's what worries me. The only thing I've sensed that was similar to it was --" Glancing sharply at Toril, he pursed his lips. "Well," he said finally. "It hardly matters. It's not the grafitti artist, at least. And so long as it chooses not to confront us..."

"Your Highness --"

"Toril," the Prince interrupted, "Please. I've told you the formalities aren't necessary."

His tone said, "let it go."

Toril bowed his head slightly, conceding both points. For now.
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