Discussion in 'Archives' started by Paladin_girl, Mar 19, 2011.
'Why?' the bear asked, 'are you intending to die?'
The gunslinger grunted a laugh. "It ain't on my to-do list, no. But since the moment I first met Niscar my plans have had a habit of goin' to Hell in a hand-basket."
Korm smirked, glancing away to glare into the sands once more.
'As a warrior looking into another warrior's eyes, you should know then, exactly how she feels.'
'There is only so much I can do. I only ask that you don't make this … favour an option on your list.'
Jack offered the berserker a nod. "Trust me, it ain't one I'm too keen on fallin' back on."
Korm nodded faintly.
'You do not … kill. An odd concept. I intend to meet you again, if we part, Gunhand.'
He straightened, 'Be wary of what I've said. I am going to keep watch a while longer.'
"Lemme know if you need a break'n I'll take over." Jack raised a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose, rubbing at the corner of his eye with a bandaged finger. His body was exhausted, but his mind was running at a mile a minute. "I'm headed below to check on Nis."
Korm's smirk returned again, rubbing his jaw with the back of his hand, eyeing the grime with mild suspicion.
'You're like a damn nanny,' he mumbled before returning to his post. Despite his humour, the Midgardian knew that something was wrong – and it took the presence of a stranger to realise it.
He also realised that it was already too late.
Paladin had remained awake, hugging her knees to peer at the roaring mural of the red dragon. Like Korm, dark patches sat beneath her eyes like a balcony, seeking refuge away from her exhaustion. Even if she rested, she knew that she would find no respite.
Instead, she gazed at the images within the Galley, taking in the legends that had once captivated her young mind. She surprised herself on how her thirst for tales was still living, even when the ancients that could tell the ones here no longer existed.
"Still awake?" The gunslinger frowned from the doorway, scratching at the back of his neck with what few fingers remained on his maimed hand. He crossed the remnants of the room slowly, running a thumb gingerly behind her ear when he reached her. "C'mon. I ain't one to brag, but I'm not half bad as a pillow." He smirked, lowering himself beside her.
Paladin glanced at his entrance with a slight smile, raising her hands to gently cup the one that was held gently against her head.
'That's very true. I'm …'
'Is Korm all right?'
Jack grunted, nodding. "Grumpy as ever, but he's holdin' up alright considerin' where we came from." Or at least better than either of us. He moved his arm about her waist, pulling her against him gently. "To be honest, reckon I'm more worried about you."
She lifted her head to stare at the gunslinger, stiffening slightly against his grasp.
'Why? I'm fine. Really, I'm fine. I'm the one dragging … I-I mean I was dragging you across a desert. We're going to stop soon. We are.'
His smirk faded, his eye narrowing as regarded her skeptically. "Can't bullshit a bullshitter, Niscar." He nudged her softly with his shoulder. "And I can't wait for when we do... but we'll get there when we get there. Right here, right now, I'd rather just know what's on your mind."
Paladin looked away, chewing her lip, nudging the man back gently. Eventually, she glanced back hesitantly, her eyes travelling up the length of his cursed arm.
'I have caused a lot of problems for you,' she replied, 'and … and I know I shouldn't feel the way I do. I know that … you didn't regret coming with me – but now I wonder if … if I've …'
Her eyebrows furrowed with annoyance.
'Damn it all. I should have protected you. I just have this horrible feeling that we're missing something – that everything is too right. That everything is leading from one thing to another – and … I should have done more. All I've done is weep and complain. You didn't deserve that. You don't.
'I am … sorry. For putting you through this. All of it.'
"Don't." He shook his head, pulling her closer. "I chose to be here. You didn't make me. Ya couldn't have." The gunslinger forced a smirk. "Just like ya couldn't make me leave. Already told you; you're stuck with me."
'So what would happen if I suddenly left?' Paladin clenched her fists tightly. She could feel a cold dampness across her skin, 'What if I couldn't help you?'
Jack raised an eyebrow. "You plannin' on goin' somewhere?"
Paladin rose her eyes to meet Jack's singular one, trying to stifle her growing fears – the ones that she was starting to hate – in her voice, her thoughts. It was surprisingly harrowing.
'No. Consider it hypothetical. Until I have the energy to hit myself.'
The gunslinger smiled at that. "I'd find you so I could hit ya myself." He raised a hand, flicking her forehead lightly with a finger.
Paladin flinched when his digit flicked against her head, making her blink before she folded her arms promptly, jostling him gently with a shoulder as she lifted her nose with an air of mock superiority.
'If that's your worst, then I've taken you for granted.'
Jack grunted when she prodded him with her shoulder, smirking. "You know damn well that ain't the worst I can do." He leaned forward, kissing her lightly on the side of her neck before shifting back into a comfortable position. "Now do yourself a favor and kick your feet up while you can... who knows the next time time we'll get a chance to catch a breather."
Separate names with a comma.