A/N: As my computer is down I am transfering everything I have in my notes over, this will make my acount a little chaotic as I will be possibly transfering a few of these oneshotsinto Shard of Regeneration at a later date, but I have no way to save my work now save through here. So just bare with me I guess.
Lloyd Raine bonding.
TOS ficlet, one shot
Hatred… it started as dislike at first. He grimaced as a stinging liquid was poured across his side, the pain jarred him out of his thoughts even as the adults babble around him lured him back in. It was scary, this cold angry lump in him, this building pit in his heart. It scared him, because he knew the gentle warmth of friendship, the fierce fires of love and paternal protection, everything that was good it seemed was warm and this spot of cold that was in so deep in a place that was always warm…. It scared him.
He shivered from fear from cold.
"Shh… It's alright son." A calloused hand patted his shoulder and he felt a bit of warmth surge through him.
Yet there was still that numbing scary cold.
There was a cold part of his heart, an icy part behind a wall. There was a twisted place where the cold had a sanctuary, where the ice had a home. It thrived in that small little nook, and no matter his dad's warmth, no matter the love, it would not be burned away. And he couldn't ignore it, couldn't fully grasp the warmth and be lost in it with the cold. It was like walking on a good day with an ice cube running down your back; it was a small ice cube but it was still there.
He hated that feeling, that cold angry feeling. He hated his hared, but after what had happened he couldn't let go of it. He couldn't make himself not angry, he could not let go of this, not even after the pain went away.
Above him the adults talked, above him and through him they talked and didn't make sense.
"There's going to be a scar.'
"He's going to be alright then?"
"Would I be fretting about a scar if he weren't? I don't know how deep the blade went in, but from what I could see of Ivan's sword it wasn't that deep. What really worries me is how glossy the blade was, I think he dipped it in something foul before he ran Lloyd through. I've already dosed him for the toxins in his blood that I could detect, but I'm going to cover everything to be safe. My magic isn't fool proof after all."
"Ms. Sage… thank you for tending my boy, when can he come home?"
"A week." A woman said with calm authority gathered by years of experience. "He will be safe with me, but I fear for Genis."
"Aye, I'll gut that son of a bitch's son if I…"
"You'll be exiled at best executed at worse." There was a sad laugh; he never imagined someone could laugh sadly. "Oh Dirk, I can see where Lloyd gets it from! Here's what we'll do…"
There voices became whispers, and the hisses hurt and made the gash in his side hurt so he just closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Poor little child, he doesn't deserve this, he's been through enough already isn't not knowing enough?
Raine smiled as the bundle on her brother's bed stirred. Brown hair poked out from under the covers and small hands gripped the blankets. Glazed brown eyes were revealed as the cover went down; he looked at her shyly from the giant eye lid of wool, confused but not scared. It was an interesting reaction.
"Hello." Raine smiled at the boy brightly, she used the exact same voice that she would open class. Not that he'd know, being what she called a "chronically late arrival".
"Hi Ms mean… err Ms. Sage…"
"Well that wasn't very nice!" She put her hands on her hips and favored him with a glare.
To her complete surprise he blinked and nodded. She would have expected some clowning, or an argument, or something… But he was obedient in her home even when he wasn't obedient in her class. It was probably the wound talking, the pain muffling his real personality.
"How are you feeling?"
"My side hurts." He said sadly, looked at something past her. "And I'm a little cold…"
"I'll get you another blanket."
He said nothing, only stared at her and looked around, but was eerily quiet. For someone who she knew was a chatter box, who she knew was antsy, the stillness, the quiet, were unnerving. Still he remained uncharacteristically meek and mild while she tucked him in with another blanket.
"Are you hungry?" She said at last, trying not to reveal how his lacks of enthusiasm, his lethargy, were scaring her. "Thirsty?"
"Un uh…" He slithered under the blankets. "I'm gunna sleep now Ms. Sage."
He had been sleeping the whole night; it was mid day right now! But perhaps that's what he needed to heal. Despite her show of knowledge she knew little. Oh she could tend scraped knees, and small cuts, colds, flu's, and various other small calamities, but this was her first battle wound.
But then it was his first too.
"That boy is a murderer, he hurt my Ivan and…"
"Erick." Raine glared at the man, he'd ambushed her in the market place while she was buying what she needed. She had little doubt that this was how Genis felt when the man's son strolled up behind her and pounced. Still she was no child, and Ivan was only using words, not blows. The experience was still an unsettling one. Grimly she faced him, a basket in one hand, the long handle clutched in one hand, the other hand pinned to her hip. She busied her hands so no one could see how they were shaking. "Your son has a black eye and a bruise on his arm, it's sore, but it's not going to kill him. I on the other hand had to treat a near fatal sword wound from your son. If you want a murderer then look at the boy under your roof and leave the boy under mine alone."
There was a murmur of anger from the crowd, a tension that all but screamed, "how dare a tainted blood elf challenge the human mayor of Iselia!".
"That boy is a menace, he provoked the fight…"
"You lying..." Raine sputtered, and then dropped her voice to a whisper. "You listen to me." She dropped the basket and snatched the man by the front of his tunic. "Your son attack my Brother, then he nearly killed my Brother's friend, and unless you want me to bring Lloyd out and show just how bad those wounds your boy inflicted on him in front of the whole town you will be quiet and leave us alone."
He fell silent, knowing that if his son was branded as violent now he would never have a chance at making the Mayor-ship latter on, thus guaranteeing an easy retirement and life for himself and his blood.
He sneered, brushed off her hand and took a step back.
"I find it funny a foul breed, a tainted blood is taking care of another of their kind."
"Lloyd's human," She grumbled picking up the basket. "And he is our friend."
"Raised by a tainted blood, coddled by tainted bloods, he is a tainted blood, not one of us."
Raine stared at the Mayor who bowed mocking to her.
"Take care of him well Ms. Sage, he is all yours.'
Then he left, he left her alone and went to his home. She had won, he had left, and she was safe. Yet never had victory tasted like defeat.
"How are you feeling?" Raine asked while Lloyd faithfully spooned up the chicken soup that Phadria had brought for them both for dinner.
"My side doesn't hurt as much Ms. Sage." Lloyd said quietly, he took another bite. "And Phadria's cooking's really really good."
"Is it, well I asked the recipe from her so I'll give it a try tomorrow."
"Oh, that'll be nice…" Lloyd coughed something into the soup, a word that sounded like 'not' but she did not call him out on it.
"You didn't answer me, how are you feeling?"
"My side hurts a little less." Lloyd repeated himself, stared at her with troubled dark eyes. "And I'm a little cold."
He shouldn't have been. Lloyd was wrapped in ever blanket in the house, scooted as close to the fire as she dared move the bed, her mana gently coaxing his small body to produce more heat. He should not have been cold. As a matter of fact he was showing physical signs of being hot. Accelerated sweating, a faint red around the face.
"Are you cold really?" She gave him a long look and he flushed, stared at the floor.
"Why are you embarrassed to say that? If you're cold I'll ask Phadria to lend us some blankets, but you don't look cold."
"I'm cold, but not a brrr it's cold cold. I'm cold here." He wormed out an arm from under the covers and touched his chest.
"Your heart is cold?" Raine frowned in confusion, concern.
He said nothing, only looked at her and bust into tears. Startled she put down her food and went to him, held him until the tears ran out.
It took a long time.
"My side hurts and…"
"Lloyd," her fingers were ticklin' his head, petting him. "What's wrong?"
"It's cold and I can't make it not cold." He sniffled into her chest, she smelled like ink and dust. It was a funny smell.
"Tell me about your heat cold."
"Well it doesn't have the sniffles, like a cold cold… but it is cold and it makes me cold when I think 'bout…"
"It's a secret." He whispered, looked into the dark behind his eyes to avoid her gaze.
"Lloyd, if you keep it a secret then I can't help you."
"But it's a secret and I promised… but it's a special secret that I don't know if I should tell someone else…" Lloyd scrunched up his small face in deep thought. "So how 'bout this, I'll tell you so you can tell me if I should tell you?"
The silver haired half-elf's lips twitched real funny like.
"Alright, that sounds like a marvelous idea."
"See I can be smart like you and Genis sometimes."
"I guess you can be."
She petted his head.
"Now will you tell me?"
He took a deep breath and sighed, then looked at her for a long time and then at long last nodded. And he told her, everything.
Rain stared at the boy, not quiet believing as he literally told her everything. From the verbal attacks that Ivan constantly hurled upon him, to the fist fights, to the fact that he had even began saving his brother long long ago. He told her of his home and a little of being raised by a dwarf, he told he of wild rides on a dog's back and a sad stone in the shadow of a house. Lost in shadow it was meant to be forgotten.
It was not forgotten, never forgotten, never forsaken, despite how it was supposed to be.
So many "supposed to be's" and one fall had destroyed them all.
He missed his mother and went outside to talk to her because she could never come in. He missed his human father and he would never come home.
He was home and yet never home, loved and yet missed.
And he was cold, there was a cold place where all of that missing and hurt went and was forgotten.
But never forsaken, he could not forsake the cold because he would forsake the warm as well.
And it was making him cold, that cold steel sword had breeched the wall and some of the cold was coming out now, coming into him, and it was making him scared.
She recalled her own cold places, glimpsed flashes of memory, her holding a child in her arms and begging on the street, begging to be let in. Of cooking a meal through wails and sobs of a baby, a baby that was not her own yet was her own. Her brother Genis, there had been so many cold nights, alone, yet not alone. His cries her only companion, a comfort and a pain.
There was a place, a shadowed place where she was supposed to forget and not remember.
A stone monolith that was wreathed in shadows, it was meant to be forgotten, and sometimes despite the warmth of passion that the ancient relics brought her there was a finger of ice under it all too.
"I think." She said as she held him, as his telling had made him cry again. "I understand about cold heart spots Lloyd. I think we all have them sometimes." Raine tilted his face up and looked up at him. "It's easy to hide them, stuff them in a closet and make them not there anymore. But you want to know what?"
"What?" He looked at her in wonder.
"No matter how cold it is, you bring that ice out into the sun and eventually it'll melt, I just takes time. And then you want to know what's fun about the left over cold water?"
"What?" He looked at her, so earnest and serious it took a lot not smile.
"You put it in a bucket and you take it to someone who makes you mad and dump it on there heads."
He laughed and she smiled, stroked his head, and as he cuddled against her she was able to show to the darkness how relieved she was that he was acting a little more like himself.
Months passed, the wound healed and she was startled one day to find it was snowing. It was a thin snow, a skin of cold white, and she decided to cancel classes so the children could run about in it. She though studied the cold and made lessons around it, made plans and lectures as she watched the fluffy flakes fly.
She was startled when Lloyd came in, willingly carrying a bucket. There was two firsts. One where he had come to class when there was none, and second where he was holding a bucket not against his will.
"Hi Professor Sage!" He grinned at her, and set the bucket of snow and ice by the fire.
"Lloyd, what in heaven's name are you doing?"
"Nothing?" He grinned, and she knew he was lying. "OK something, something dumb, but not dangerous dumb."
"Another prank Lloyd, as long as it's not me that you soak then I won't protest."
He grinned and gave her the shock of her life.
"Why'd I soak my Aunt, that's really mean and I don't think families do that sort of thing do they?"
"Not to my knowledge… Wait… Aunt?"
"Aunt." He said simply. "You like an Aunt to me so… umm it's a little late but can I start calling you Aunt, in private?"
"I don't know what to say…' She blushed, startled by this, certainly he was over stating his feelings or something. "I'm not… not by blood so…"
"So what, sometimes blood doesn't matter right? I mean Dad's a dwarf but I'm not short or anything. So does it matter?"
Raine stared at Lloyd for a long long moment, he was what, twelve? Certainly this was just childish words coming out with little meaning.
"I guess it doesn't."
"Great!" He smiled and picked up the bucket.
"Lloyd… what are you doing with that?"
"I'm gunna dump some ice water on Ivan."
"That's nice…" She said absently, wondering if he had meant it, about the Aunt comment that was. "Go ahead and do that."
"Really, thanks, you're the best Aunt ever… I'll see you tomorrow Professor!"
"Yes… we'll be doing a.."
The door slammed shut behind Lloyd as he all but ran from her lecture.
Less then five minutes later.
"IRVING! YOU GET BACK HERE YOU FREAK!"
"Not a chance Ivy boy!"
"I'M GUNNA SKIN YOU ALIVE YOU FREAK! GET…BACK…Here…" Ivan drifted across her window, he was panting up a storm as he leaned against the wall of the school building. "Damn you, you little bastard I'll skin everyone you and your family alive."
"Let it go Son, he's gone for now."
The mayor's voice, she shrank back into her chair despite herself, shook at the hate in Erick's voice.
"Little bastard." Ivan hissed. "Martel Damned little runt…"
"It's his dwarven taint boy, he can't help it."
Ivan snorted. "I can beat it out of him, first he beat me up for attacking the runt, then he pulls out some crap about me not having honor for fighting his little brother instead of him, then he dunks me. He's a Moon-Touched if I ever saw one."
"Aye," Erick draped a hand over Ivan's shoulders. "And he's not ours to deal with yet, he can coddle the point ears all he likes, eventually it'll get him in some bad spot, just in Martel's time. Then you can finish what you started, just wait boy, right time'll come."
They drifted off, and Raine recalled the tales and the promise and the most recent words from Lloyd's mouth.
The fear went away, the cold fear in her heart went away and she went back to watching the snow fall.
Perhaps being an Aunt was no so bad a thing, there were worse family to have then Lloyd.
She smiled fondly at the image of Lloyd dunking Ivan from behind, laughed, and decided that that was enough lessons for one day.