The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:50 pm

There wasn't much he could do about Laven's tiredness, but the he could probably do something about the rest. Wasn't there food around here somewhere? Part of him wanted to sit down, but it was to comfortable beside Laven for him to move. He believed Laven when the other man told him he was drunk, and honestly he wasn't sure how he was. He'd spent hours in the darkness not only physically but mentally. Menel had been so happy to see Laven, and he still was, but worry was crushing him. Still bearing down like a weight over his limbs.

"I'm drunk." He repeated lightly, sighing a bit. He wasn't even sure he had been drunk before. "I don't... feel very good." Really he didn't know how to explain it. Physically he was alright. He'd beat his feet up a bit running around but all the exertions of the day hadn't put nearly enough strain on his body to explain why he felt the way he did. He made a little sound when Laven pulled away, disliking the way his vision swam every time he moved.

It didn't take much encouragement to get Menel moving. Frankly he would have followed Laven just about anywhere, his steps far surer than they had a right to be with the ground moving around the way it was. Menel followed Laven to the blankets, noticing the small sound that the other man made and honing in on it like a finely trained hound. He had to grasp tightly to things, focus on them sharply in order to understand them with any amount of clarity. It was strange really, everything else in the world had fallen away from his normally keen senses, leaving him instead with only a razor-sharp connection to one thing at a time. Except that one thing would try to slide away from him without warning.

Laven sat down and so Menel did too, uncertain what to do with himself because Laven was curled up on the blankets. Huddled up like he was cold. Was he cold? Menel shifted, moving around like a drunken moose but managing to sit behind Laven. His legs comfortably on either side and just lay himself on top of the elf. His heavy arms wrapping around the other man. It was perfect. It meant that he could lay his face in the other man's hair.


"What's wrong Laven?" Was he sorry he'd come? Was it him? Laven was cold, but Menel felt like he was burning up. His skin hot while everything else inside was what was cold. The elf still smelled like war, but in Menel's arms he felt like a man who hadn't won. There was no smile. No rejoicing that he'd saved all those children. He hugged Laven gently.


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:07 pm

Laven felt Menel curl up around him like a human coat, and if this was any other situation he might have laughed at the absurd man. "Of course you'd be a cute drunk." He muttered to his knees as two arms coiled around his waist and squeezed. When Menel's head connected with the back of his he did manage to huff out a little laugh and untangle his hands from where they were clasped at his knees. He gripped the hands around his middle and allowed himself to rest, eyes closed and a comfortable warm weight at his back. He could have fallen asleep like this, even in the awkward position with dawn rapidly approaching.

"What's wrong, Laven?"

Menel sounded so worried, hugging Laven just a little tighter. It made the elf's eyes burn and he pressed back against Menel instead of answering. Knew he was going to say something he didn't want to, wondered if Menel would even be able to understand or even remember. He was a lightweight it seemed. If he could stand to be around Laven after all of this... Maybe Laven could help him build up a resistance. At least teach him how to manage how much he drank.

"We..." Laven's voice almost broke and he frowned deeply at himself for the weakness. He took a few deep breaths before continuing, fingers stroking Menel's hands. "found them, found Gwenny." Laven's jaw clenched as he tried not to remember the sounds of so many children crying in such a small space, the hungry eyes and tear marked faces. Gwenny's once cheerful face a sad and beaten mask.

"She'd always been a fighter. Didn't know when to stop trying to get away until they made sure she couldn't."

And like that the tears he had been keeping locked away spilled, a dry sob that burst from his chest. And the terrible fear that seemed to be always hanging over his head.

"I'm tired of losing children."
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:45 pm

Laven was slowly but surely warming up in his arms, relaxing. Menel could feel it more than anything else, and he might have wished to see the other man's face but... he didn't mind sitting like this. Drawing Laven into himself protectively. When all other instinct fell away, this was what Menel was left with. When Laven started to speak Menel heard his voice break and his grip tightened just a touch. The sound of pain resonating in his chest like the clapper of a bell ringing with a hollow sound.

By the elf's words he could not tell if the girl had lived or not. He could feel Laven's fingers stroking his hands, the tenseness that touched his body and his words, but they did not tell him the truth behind Laven's words. Was Gwenny alive?

He knew some small truth though. Even if she was alive, she would never be the same little girl that she had been before. The one that Laven remembered. The one that her sister was waiting for. His mind could not hold that thought in words, but he knew it just the same. Laven let out a broken sob and Menel crushed him in his arms. Pressing his face over Laven's shoulder and feeling the despair echo through his body.

It wouldn't have mattered if Menel had been there. If Laven had arrived a few moments earlier. Neither one of them could have done a single thing different to make a difference; and what had been done wasn't enough. Menel hoped that Gwenny was alive. That she was alive and that she could find her way through what she had gone through. Alive meant that she had a chance for that at least.


"I..." His words seemed so useless, stalling on his lips even as he fumbled for them. Slipping away like smoke so that all he could do was hold on. Tell Laven with his arms and presence that at least in this moment he wasn't alone. That it was okay to feel like this. Menel felt warm tears slid down his own face, not for his pain which was to distant in the haze to do anything more than sharpen the ache in his heart. But for Laven. For the surprisingly gentle assassin he held, and yes for the little girl that couldn't be saved. "I know."

It was just a whisper, gentle. He couldn't say he understood exactly how Laven felt. Certainly not like this, not now. But he knew. Knew what it was like not to be fast enough. Saying he was sorry would have been too much like a platitude for the swordsman. Distantly he wondered how many children Laven had lost. Tonight. In other nights like this. In the years of his life long in the past. He knew though, that it was cutting the elf up. That Laven had a shattered edges of memories in his mind just like Menel did. He couldn't have put that in words either, but he knew it just the same.

"You don't have to hold onto it, I'm here. You aren't alone."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:39 pm

WARNING: Non-graphic mention of child death in this post!

He didn't know how long he sat there, crying in Menel's arms. Eventually he ran out of physical tears but his body continued to shake with silent sobs. He had learned to cry without sound as a small child and had never broken the habit. So while once in a while he might let out a soft keening sound Menel's voice was the only thing that broke the tense atmosphere.

Eventually Laven didn't even have the energy to shake. His head rested against Menel's on his shoulder. Red eyes staring at the pale sky as he tried not to think anymore. Tried to remember and forget.


"I had a son, when I was young and stupid." Laven's voice was startling, and he blinked before continuing. Didn't even realize he'd started speaking but couldn't stop now that he'd started.

"Martin. He was my... He was someone I thought I loved's child. I was more his father than that man was though. Attached at the hip. He was so cute, black hair and blue eyes... Always smiling." Laven smiled and closed his eyes, hands tight around Menel's wrists. "And all the terrible things that had happened to me... was worth him. I could have stayed as nothing but a nanny if it meant keeping him in my arms." Remembering taking the little boy shopping, remembering cleaning himself up to be someone Martin could be proud of when his biological father was too busy to even say goodnight.

"And then I was taking him home one day, and..." Laven bit his lip hard, tasting blood.

"There was an accident. It was my fault. If I had been careful, if I had kept him back. But he was gone, and I didn't die with him." He remembered waking up in a hospital, hair shorn and each breath like fire. Remembered the doctors and their words. Randwulf's judgment.

"He let me keep the lock of baby hair I'd cut when Martin was a toddler. But.. I can't remember his face anymore. It's been too long. Gone 25 years and all I have is flashes of memory." One of his hands stole away from Menel's and touched Remembrance's hilt, drew it forth and ran his thumb over the bird in flight cut into the blue glass. The dark whorl that was Martin's hair inside. "And this dagger. To remind myself of my failure."
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:01 pm

For the longest time Laven just wept. Long after Menel's tears had dried, but the swordsman never moved. He was a rock at Laven's back, a solid presence that breathed and quietly held the elf while he sobbed silently. Menel never wondered at the silence of tears, to him it wasn't remarkable. He had learned that lesson himself once long ago. He let Laven's tears fall for as long as they needed to, until finally the man's tears began to taper off and he spoke.

Before all this, the swordsman had wondered if Laven had a family of his own. Considering how clearly he loved children it seemed odder to think of him without one than with one. Now however Menel knew.

Menel wouldn't have wished the pain of losing someone dear on anyone, much less the aching guilt of feeling as though it was their fault. Of living afterwards knowing that the person you cared most about in life was stripped away from you. Laven said those words, words Menel had said so many times that they might as well have been spoken in his own voice. If I had only been faster. If only I had done something a little differently. Always after the moment was long past and all that remained were memories that grew fainter and fainter as the days passed but never seemed to grow less painful.

The swordsman tilted his head as he felt Laven's hand move away from his. Watched the other man draw the dagger from it's sheathe and touch it fondly. Touch it like a physical memory. It would have been an invasion to touch the blade, so Menel lifted his free hand to touch Laven's face instead. Pushing back his hair and wiping away tears with long thick fingers that were accustomed to much less delicate work. Fingers that were no less sensitive for all that they did.


"Would you tell me about him? About Martin?" His voice was quiet still, genuinely interested. He wasn't sure really how much his mind would hold but... How often did Laven talk about the boy he'd loved? Not about his death but about that little boy that he'd cherished for whatever time they'd had before that. Even if Laven couldn't remember his face perfectly, that boy was still there, buried in his heart in a thousand dusty memories. Memories that wouldn't cut as deeply as those others did.


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:46 pm

Lips pressed against the pommel before Laven touched it to his forehead and returned Remembrance to it's sheath. He was thinking as he went through the automatic motion, thinking about the kind man asking him to tell him about the son he'd lost forever. Menel was still a comforting weight behind him, but Laven was so tired. He shifted again, silently asking Menel to  let him move. When he did it was quick work to unbuckle the three coils of leather from his throat, unbuckle Remembrance and lay them all next to the clothing he knew he hadn't folded. Menel's kindness again. Laven rested his palm against the dagger before rubbing his face and giving in, flopping backwards onto the blankets.

He slung an arm over his face before answering Menel. The darkness helping him recall old memories he hadn't pulled out in so long.


"I met him when he was four. I'd never been around children much but he seemed so oddly quiet. I remember wondering if that was just how human children were." A soft smile curled his lips. This was good. Remembering the good times instead of drawning in the bad.

"But I was 15. Didn't know a single thing about taking care of children. He taught me everything ina trial by fire, better than his father ever could have." Laven reached out blindly for Menel's hand, a silent apology for bringing something bitter up when he'd been asked for the good.

"Used to spend all night making sure he was asleep. Martin never had nightmares, not a single one. It was surreal to me. All these ideas on what I should or shouldn't expect, books and talking to other parents when they finally started to trust me... And he barely cried, loved to have me read to him. Hated his vegetables but ate them when I was looking. Scraped them into a flower pot when he thought I wasn't." Laven chuckled, remembered finding Martin's secret and being frustrated. Knowing he couldn't get mad at the child but watching him more after that.

"He loved going riding. I was a bit of a dare devil. Went fast and took turns too tightly. My cousin managed to turn my hoverboard into a monstrosity before I had run away from our home... but she at least knew what she was doing. Martin loved it, holding on to my shoulders as we practically flew through the streets. I used to call him my little sparrow."
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:41 am

It took Menel a long moment to realize that Laven was moving, trying to put his dagger back and remove the leather straps from around his neck. The swordsman shifted back a bit, his vision was a bit better now, but his senses still felt dull and narrow. Not exactly up to his usual self. The elf lay back, throwing an arm over his face and Menel lay down beside him, propped up a bit on his arm listening as Laven spoke. The pleasant memories gave Laven's voice a deep calming tone.

He didn't know what Martin looked like, so he couldn't really imagine the boy... but he could imagine Laven. In a way... He tried to imagine a younger Laven. A young man with lavender hair and bright crimson eyes. As young as Laven was it wasn't hard to imagine him without the small wrinkles around his eyes, that flickered whenever he smiled or frowned. A young man who wasn't sure how to be a parent but loved a quiet intelligent boy.

If Laven had been anything like him... he would have put the whole of himself into being a parent. Laven said nothing about the boy's father after that first comment and reaching for the hand that Menel gave willingly. The swordsman rubbed his thumb over the other man's hand as he held it. Menel didn't know it but he was smiling just a little, his expression patient and just a little sad.
"Did you ever take him horse-back riding?"

It was just an idle question really, but he liked listening to Laven talk about Martin. He wondered what it was like to be a father... Laven had started so young, but it was clear how much he'd loved the boy. Regardless of blood, there wasn't a single doubt in Menel's mind that Laven had been Martin's father. "To have a father that loves him as much as you do..." He didn't say that Martin had been lucky; it would have been cruel in a way, but he let the words trail off slightly with a little smile. "You two must have been very close."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:26 pm

Laven talked for what felt like an eternity. Told stories about Martin and remembered things he hadn't thought of in decades. He couldn't hear the little boy's laughter anymore but he remembered how it felt to fall asleep in the summer sun with him wrapped up in his arms. Remembered skinned knees and secret codes and finding a cat giving birth to a litter of kittens under their porch. Learning to cut hair when Martin attempted to give himself fringe like all children seemed to do. Remembered fighting about Martin with Randwulf in the night when no one else could see Laven in the head of the household's bedroom. He didn't share the parts about his long removed lover with Menel. They weren't good memories and Menel didn't need to know anything else about the man he had spent so much of his younger years with.

When Menel asked about horses Laven laughed, moving his arm to look over at the swordsman. The question was odd, but welcome.
"Martin was scared of big animals. Cats and dogs were okay, but I can't imagine what being near a horse would have done." Laven paused, thinking. "I haven't seen a horse in years. I've been in the city too long." There were vacations he had taken, but they had slowly stopped happening as he grew older and more distant from everything.

Menel was being very caring, stroking his hand in a slow, soothing motion. For being more than a little tipsy, the younger man was focused. Laven had to be grateful.
"Thank you, Menel." He murmured, eyes drooping but mouth smiling. At least until he suddenly yawned, jaw cracking as he attempted to keep it in. "Sorry," Laven muttered. "It's been a long day."
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:55 pm

Menel struggled not to echo Laven's yawn. Though he hadn't spent the later hours of the day carrying small children to safety, he had been up since the breaking of dawn. Add to this unusual day the amount of alcohol he had drank and Laven's soothing voice talking about someone he'd loved years ago and Menel was feeling himself being drawn into the lure of sleep as well. He listened as best as he could though.

The swordsman started to shake his head but thought better of it at the last moment. Instead he  pulled the makeshift pillow they'd made earlier a bit closer. He'd forgotten to unwrap his cloak from around it, but he didn't really care anymore. "You should sleep." It seemed an obvious solution, and he waved his hand a little as if to forestall any argument that might come from the elf.
"I'll keep watch so you'll be safe"

His voice trailed off a bit, his thoughts shifting around to half a dozen odd places before he leaned toward Laven. Extracting his fingers from Laven's so that he could push the elf's lavender hair back away from his face. He took much longer than was strictly necessary, smiling softly the whole time with a slightly mischievous expression. Finally he let out a little chuckle, rubbing his thumb over the lines of Laven's face. "Though it's sort of tempting to throw you over my shoulder and carry you to my hotel room."

At least then Laven would have a comfortable bed to sleep in, but they'd have to leave everything else here because even Menel couldn't carry everything. Or maybe there was some sort of other compromise he wasn't seeing at the moment, but to the swordsman the idea of making sure that Laven had a safe, warm, comfortable place to sleep was an excellent idea.


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:50 pm

Laven let out an entirely unbecoming snort, eyeing Menel as he seemed intent on mother henning the older elf. "You'll do no such thing, On either account." Laven closed his eyes and enjoyed the petting but raised a hand to gesture wearily at Menel. "You are in no condition to be manhandling me anywhere after finishing that whole bottle of wine alone." A second yawn, this time covered by his arm.

"As tempting as a hotel bed would be and the bath I assume would go with it... But I've slept in worse places." Laven wasn't sure why exactly Menel was worried about his safety. He was terribly tempted by the idea of a big fluffy bed. And getting to snuggle up with a warm body in one. But Laven was pretty sure he wouldn't be climbing off this roof of his own power any time soon. Not without at least a nap in him. And he had no intentions on letting Menel make an attempt while still under the effects of the other half of that wine bottle. A nap would do them both good, even up on an exposed rooftop.

So Laven tugged gently at Menel's hand before it could pull away from his face, laying a hesitant kiss on the rough palm before looking up at Menel's face.
"Lay down and rest for a while. I can promise if someone else tries to make their way up here I'll be awake. I'm not going anywhere."
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Menel on Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:17 pm

Telling him no only made the mischievous smile on Menel's face broaden. Illogically it made the idea really tempting. He found himself wondering how much of a fight Laven would really put up, or would even be able in his condition to put up considering how tired the elf was. It was hard to actually argue though. Particularly when there was a very real chance that he could accidentally drop Laven off of a roof.

The swordsman hummed out loud at the thought of a bath. He hadn't actually been considering much beyond just falling face-down on a bed. A bath was such a nice thought that it was almost painful to think of it.
"Drinking makes the ground move." The half-thought slipped out of his lips before he could even consider that it was a sort of odd and disconnected thing to say. Even drunk as he was it only half made sense. Why would the ground move only when he was drunk? There was no good reason but it obviously did.

Laven kissed his palm and Menel sighed, scooting closer to the elf. Menel shifted around a bit, making himself comfortable without much consideration for small details like his swords which rattled at being moved around so uncaring. He pressed himself close to Laven, laying his head beside the elf's on the little pillow they'd made.
"You're still cold." Menel's voice rose up almost unexpectedly, and was punctuated by the swordsman scooting even closer so that he could warm Laven up a little. He of course was still unreasonably warm. Menel had always run a bit warm but in the cool early-morning air he was like a living heater.

"I'm not afraid Laven..." Blue eyes slid open. He hadn't even realized that he'd closed his eyes while making himself comfortable, but it made him smile lazily to see Laven so close. Menel let out a little breath and tilted his face so that he could run his nose over Laven's cheek to his hair. The motion stopped just beside Laven's ear. "Mmmm I should tell you... something... but I don't remember what it is."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: The Longest Day [Menel & Laven]

Post by Laven on Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:49 pm

The petulant tone whining about the ground moving under his feet only gave Laven another chance to laugh, shaking his head a little at the predicament Menel seemed to be pondering. "Yes, I suppose it does. I promise it'll pass." Laven closed his eyes again with a grateful sigh, letting Menel scoot close and only shifting to avoid being jabbed by the hilts of his swords. He was too tired to argue they be removed, so he held his tongue and didn't grumble as he might have any other time.

Laven grasped one of Menel's arms and draped it over his middle, soaking up the heat the human was radiating. He ignored most of what the younger man was saying as the wine on his tongue speaking, but when Menel tried to recall something he wanted Laven to know the elf opened his eyes once more, turning his head a little so they were eye to eye. Menel seemed adamant that he express the thought even if he couldn't grasp it in the moment.


"If you remember when we wake, tell me then." Reaching out he thumbed Menel's cheek before resting his hand against Menel's arm and resolutely closing his eyes again. "Now, love, sleep." And then Laven followed his own advice and drifted away, pressed close to someone who was a stranger yesterday and a comfort today.


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