ooc: I won’t be online for a while.
My grandmother passed away this evening.
I need some time to get myself together.
Thanks for understanding.
Thana’s humour is very subdued, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t capable of noticing it. It’s darker than what Kira thinks is appropriate for the current situation, of course, but it’s still an attempt at teasing, and he supposes he should at least give her that. He shakes his head from side to side, though, and the grey softness of his eyes belies the inherent kindness in his heart. “You’re a better host than I would’ve ever expected,” he promises her. The organ beats steady in his chest. “Please don’t worry about me. Travel ration stew already tastes good enough.” His lips curve up again, and though the gesture is tiny, Kira’s quite obviously doing his best. His muscles just hurt when he tries to make any expression other than pensive melancholy. His wounds get stretched quite a bit.
Despite it all, the most prominent emotion in Kira’s heart is guilt, even to this moment. He’s sorry that Thana has an additional work load—that she feels like she has to battle monsters in the shadows because she has Kira to look out for. He wants so badly to be of more help to her, but he knows that that day may still be a long way coming. Shorter than if he were a natural, yes, but still long. It hurts even to breathe, and Kira realises that Thana probably didn’t consider internal injury. Alternatively, maybe she didn’t have any means to help upon noticing it. Kira lets out a quiet coughing noise and tries to ignore how much his body is killing him.
He continues to eat his stew, but his pace is rivalled only by that of the horrible garden snail. He still takes small sips with each spoonful, savouring each swallow, eating with the notion that he can’t have it all. There’s an ethereal feel to everything here: a light, wisping material draped over the leaves and the sky and the shadows that stick to Thana’s body. It still feels like a dream, even after finding out that everything is a world behind the world, and he supposes that that’s what a lack of colour does to a person. Or at least to a person who only dreams in black and white.
Travel ration stew really does taste good, though, frustrating introspections on his origins and what’s real or not cast aside. It tastes very good.
"Thana," he begins, because rasping, throaty syllables seem to be his go-to thing when the emotions get too difficult to handle and his hands start shaking. He’s a little afraid to ask, but he knows he has to get it over and done with. “When you found me, was… was there a wreckage site there, too?"
Her brows furrow ever so slightly as she studies his expression and how he smooths it into an almost smile, and she exhales softly, settling for taking an account of her arsenal of weaponry, fingers deftly checking the shafts of her arrows and making sure the sharp tips are secured properly.
The question has her blinking in surprise and tilting her head, studying his face for a long moment.
"….There was. Twisted metal and fires that burned far hotter than I expected. I could still see the smoke this morning." She returns her attention to her weapons, neatly cleaning the blade of her long, thin knife before returning it to its holster at the small of her back.
"When you are well, I will take you to the wreckage, if that is what you desire."
She’s silent for a moment longer. “You should rest, young Kira. Your body…is badly damaged. I am no healer, but I…may be able to get one.” She sighs, and nods to herself before standing. ”You do not need to worry about being a burden. You are the furthest thing from one. I…am glad for the company, even if the circumstances are less than perfect.”
She gives him a warm smile, eyes glittering. “Rest. I will be here.”
[[Worst way to die in my opinion…hmm. Either by fire, or by slow, painful torture. Anything with long-term pain is a horrible way to go IMO.]]
♪ - song you’re listening to
♥ - crush
✔ - single or taken
✖ - virgin/not virgin
☀ - sexual orientation
✌ - favorite color
✄ - height & weight
✞ - religious views
☠ - worst way to die in your opinion
✰ - bestfriend
☢ - most embarrassing moment
❅ - favorite season
♤ - pet peeves
♊ - zodiac sign
He watches intently as she draws her diagram, and at each careful stroke she makes. At first listen it’s a difficult idea to conceptualise, but Kira thinks about it again and deems it to make sense—even if by nature it’s terribly farfetched. The Prime Material Plane. It sounds a lot better than ‘the real world’, for sure, but now he’s not entirely sure if that’s a completely accurate concept.
In his head, he supposes it’s a lot like what they say about mirrors. There’s that notion that if you look away from a mirror, you have no idea if your reflection’s still looking at you. Using that concept, it’s easy to consider the image reflected in glass to be more like a picture seen through a window: identical in everything but direction. He surmises that the only difference in that hypothesised situation is the fact that this place is black and white and not much else. It has all the elements of the reality Kira knows (save for the existence of Thana’s species, and wouldn’t that be a doozy?). If he were incapable of seeing colour, he wouldn’t even be all that suspicious of the place he’s fallen into.
Kira then attempts to take a gander as to whether Thana’s ever seen colour—and, in this line of thinking, if there’s any colour on her body. It’s a question to ponder on. If she went to his plane, would her skin take on warmer shades, her hair turn dark auburn? Would her lips be ruby red? Kira shakes his head before this image consumes him. Thinking like that isn’t going to get him anywhere, though he’ll probably go back to it later. Probably ask Thana about it if they get to know each other. (Then again, the woman has seen him naked and literally sewed him together, so boundaries may very well be an unnecessary concept.)
"I, uh… yeah. I thought it was an exploded star until it was detected as an unknown entity. I was…" He imagines an orange mobile armour revolving in space and clenches his fist. What terrible back-up Kira is, landing himself here instead of being able to fight at the lieutenant’s side. "… I was in battle, and we had instructions to stay away from it. The Gateway. We won, the enemy forces retreated, and we were told to retreat as well. But as I turned, there was…"
He wonders if he can explain the science of positron cannons to Thana. Would she understand? The way she speaks reminds him an awful lot of books of high fantasy; science has no place here. So he furrows his brows and tries to compensate.
"There was a beam shot at me. A little bit like when you collect your essence from your core and finally release all of it in one focused blast—all your power in a single shot. It pushed me forward into the Gateway, and…"
He remembers being swallowed in darkness, but not much else after that. Kira’s hands are shaking again, the stew making sloshing noises with the bowl against his trembling palm. He makes a shaky exhalation, stress beginning to fill him, and then quiets to try and steady his breathing. A long way from home.
"… have you—have you encountered anyone like me, before?"
He takes the information well, all things considered. She swallows her bite of food as he explains his origin to her, and she nods slowly.
"The being who shot you must have been very powerful. You are lucky you survived such a blast." She tilts her head and sets her bowl aside.
"The Gateway you passed through sounds like one my Master would have called ‘unstable’. A temporary and likely uncontrollable one. There is much mystery in the cause of such things. My master once said that these gateways are tears in the fabric of reality." She chuckles softly and shakes her head, rocking back on her heels.
"I have met humans before. Some nicer than others." She tilts her head to the side. "Though that was…some time ago. And in a different place. Under different circumstances." She shakes her head.
"Would you like more stew? I made plenty. I will go hunting later when it is dark again, and then I will be able to feed you better fare than stew made of travel rations."
Her lips quirk into a wolfish smile, her eyes glittering in the dim light. “I must, after all, make certain than the predators who followed the scent of your blood do not make a meal of you. That would make me a poor host.”
She seems nice, at least, and Kira feels bad immediately for the catatonic state he’d been in the day before. Such a patient woman, this Thana, and he wonders just how to show his gratitude. Mostly he’s hoping for an opportunity to present itself, but he imagines that being both naked and horribly wounded would make it difficult to somehow save the grey woman’s life the same way she saved his.
He takes the bowl and the spoon, and he has no idea what the stew is made of, but his stomach quivers with the shakes of hunger. He fills the spoon with soup, and he considers just inserting the whole thing in his mouth. Instead, he thinks better of it, and he swallows it down in little sips, rationing each spoonful like it’ll run if he eats too fast. It’s always been a problem of his, his eating habits, and that’s mostly the reason he’s so thin. The other reason is his emotional distress, but that’s already been touched on multiple occasions. Kira only realises his hand is shaking, spoon halfway to his mouth, when some of the liquid splashes onto his skin.
Hot. It’s hot…
"Long way from home," he begins, gently replacing the spoon as he tries to ease the trembling of his hand, “is one way to put it." He has to pause to take a breath, his throat still a little annoyingly raspy. “I’m not even all that sure this place is…" Kira trails off, grey eyes taking in the monochrome atmosphere—the way everything feels like an old movie with sound. "… real, I guess. And I hope that doesn’t sound inconsiderate of me…"
He tries again and his hand is steadier as he sips from the spoon. It tastes good, actually. It tastes far better than the stew of someone he knows back on the ship, and he doesn’t even know what’s in Thana’s cooking. Kira feels the warmth slide through his insides, and he tries to focus on that instead of the chronic, throbbing pain all over his skin. He hates being burned most. Those always hurt the worst.
"Oh, and—I’m Kira." He looks over to Thana again, managing a small smile of his own. It’s a late response to hers, definitely, but it’s still something. He wishes he could’ve done it while his face wasn’t covered in the scars of explosion fire. But he knows those will go away soon enough. “It’s nice to meet you, but…" Guilt rises up in his chest as his head turns away from her, gaze on the bowl as he takes another spoonful of stew. "… I wish it were under better circumstances."
Thana returns to silence as he eats slowly. Too slowly for her liking, and it has concern welling up inside her again. He’s too thin. He needs to eat more.
And then he’s speaking softly, his voice a little raspy from the injuries he’s sustained.
Her lips quirk into a smile.
"Circumstances are rarely what we wish them to be, my young friend." She chuckles and serves herself a bowl of the bubbling stew, her muscles relaxing slightly.
"This world…is real enough, I suppose. It runs parallel to many." She pauses, her brows drawing together slightly.
"I suppose that does not make much sense."
She sets her bowl down, and instead pulls a long, slender knife from where it rests at her side, and draws in the grey-toned sand.
"This here—" she draws a semblance of a circle, and then continues. "Is the Prime Material Plane…where I suspect you are from." Her lips quirk into a half smile. "Even within that plane, there are many worlds, and many….times." She nodded slightly. "I do not know which is yours. This place, however, is made of shadow. A reflection, I suppose you could say. It touches many planes in many places, mirroring that which is found on the other side." She cleans the knife and returns it to her side.
"A somewhat…complicated concept. I am unfamiliar with how to word it in Common."
She picks up her bowl of stew and takes a spoonful, eating it with relish.
"I suspect that you may have fallen through a Gateway, if you did not intend to land here."
It’s not so much the nightmares as it is the simple fact that sleep eludes him. His body shakes and sweat dots his forehead, and he shivers and whispers even after the pseudo-surgery is completed. His body fights against the threats that plague it; scientifically-engineered cells move in double time and cause more pain than help as they quickly repair the damaged tissue and make up for his blood loss. Kira’s breathing grows heavy, drops of sweat sliding down the curve of his grime-stricken face and his lips trembling.
Then, like a mirage, there’s a sensation against his cheek—a soft, comforting touch. He doesn’t hear the words, but the hand is work enough. He’s still trembling, his knees drawing up as he attempts to get into foetal position, but the expression on his face softens a little. The muscles of his body contract as it continues to heal, but even Coordinators need time for rest. The cuts don’t close yet, and the burns still exist, but the flush on his cheeks dissipates into a soft pink. His temperature lowers. His breaths sound less like desperate gulps of air.
When he finally comes to, he doesn’t know what time it is, and his eyes are hazy and wet. A lifted hand has his fingers brushing against damp cheeks, and he whispers a barely-heard expletive at his weakness. He tries to uncurl from his position, but he gasps and has to exert effort to prevent the noise of pain from ripping itself free from his throat. His body still hurts no matter which way he moves it, and Kira hisses through his teeth as he pushes himself into a seated position. It’s as he moves that he notices the stitches, however, and halfway to a straight back he stops because he’s afraid he’ll rip them. He moves even slower. His nerves scream at him in protest, but he finally gets up and tries to collect his wits.
His surroundings are black and white.
It all comes rushing back: the battle, the fury, the rage he’d gone on as he cut down machine after endless machine. He remembers the explosions and his own heavy breathing. He remembers the cry that had left his throat as he devolved to basic instinct and sought to protect his ship. He remembers the positron cannon to his back and the scream of his name before he disappeared into the anomaly. The tenor of his lieutenant’s voice echoes in his head, and he’s not sure why that of all things makes his heart clench. It was the last thing he heard before he was pulled in. He wonders what the Archangel is doing. He wonders if they’ve chosen to forget him.
But speaking of forgetting, he whirls to look for his saviour—perhaps a little too quickly, because he ends up flinching and wincing, clutching at his side. A whispered ‘damn’ escapes him, but he turns his head to make up for what his body can’t move. He sees her, then: the one who helped him out. There are markings on her cheeks and a pointed edge to her ears, and he knows for a fact that she isn’t human. The first thing he wants to ask is why did you help me, but it’s pushed away in favour of Kira simply staring.
Seconds pass in silence. He has no idea what to do.
Finally, he mumbles a soft ‘thank you’, his mouth and throat dry.
She’s meditating when the human moves, gasping out a soft expletive, and her eyes open to study his face. She can see the flicker of emotion cross his face when he whirls to spot her, hand clutching at his side, and she tilts her head, waiting in silence.
His muttered thank you has a small smile tugging at her lips.
The smile feels…almost foreign. When had she last smiled for any reason? It…had been long ago, it seems. But no matter. She has a guest now, and he seemed…in much better shape than she’d thought he would be.
There was something different about him.
Thana nods, grateful that his language seems to be the same as Common, and leans forward, stirring at the pot that was hanging low over the coals.
"You must be hungry, friend. Your injuries were…are…somewhat severe. I would not move too much."
She pours a thick looking stew into a round bowl and then offers it to him with a rough-hewn spoon.
"I am called Thana…and you are a long way from home, I think."