I have my exams like now, so this'll be the last thing I update for the next month. Them's the breaks, I'm afraid. So here's the next chapter of Souls. Enjoy.
"Omi! Catch!" Raymundo yelled, piling the force of his wind-mastery behind the ball as he threw, aiming for the little monk's head. Ordinarily, Omi would have danced around the shot, repelling Raymundo's own force against him in a return. Ordinarily he would. Today, the missile struck him full in the forehead, knocking him back a step, but barely breaking his concentration. Seemingly oblivious of the fact that he'd just been blasted in the face, Omi kept staring back at the temple, watching Master Fung leave their sleeping area.
"Omi? You okay, little guy?" Raymundo rushed up to him, gazing anxiously at the red mark that bloomed where the ball had struck. Omi ignored him, staring vacantly into the air. "Omi? Omi! Wake up, dude!"
Finally, the little monk shook himself, blinking up at his concerned friends. The three of them surrounded him, fairly dwarfing the distracted warrior. "I am most sorry, my friends. What were you saying?" They glanced at each other.
Raymundo, being unashamedly garrulous by nature, nominated himself spokesperson. "Omi, dude, you zoned out. Again. Ever since ... Well, ever since we brought the dragon dude here, you've been all spaced out. We're just worried about you, okay?"
Omi blinked. "Zoned ... Out? What does this one mean, Raymundo?"
Kimiko sighed. "He means you haven't been paying attention, Omi. He means you've been thinking about Chase so much, you don't concentrate on what you're doing. He means, Omi, that your mind has been somewhere else for the last couple of days, and we all know it's been in there, with Chase Young. You're ... well, obsessed. It's worrying us. A lot."
Omi looked confused. "I am only worried about him. He is gravely hurt, and I want him to get better."
"But why, little feller?" Clay cut in. "He's our enemy, Omi. We're supposed to fight him, not fix him. I know you don't like seeing people hurt, none of us do, but you gotta be more careful ..."
"Chase Young is not my enemy!" Omi said forcefully. "He is my friend! I promised him I'd help him get better! I promised. I'm not going to lose him the way ..." He stopped, but they all knew what he meant to say.
"The way you lost your family?" Kimiko asked gently.
Omi turned away. "I don't ... I don't even know how I lost them. I don't know what I did wrong. I don't remember. But I don't want to lose my new family that way. I don't want to lose you, or Master Fung, or Chase Young. He is part of me too, part of my family. I ... I don't want to lose any of you! I ...I know you don't like him, and I don't want to lose you because of him, but I can't lose him either! He's my friend too! I ..." He trailed off as the three of them simultaneously knelt to hug him close.
"Omi," Kimiko whispered. "You won't lose us. You can't do anything to make us go away. Ever. We promise."
"Little dude, you're the most annoying kid I ever met," Raymundo laughed, disguising his worried sob. "But Kimiko's right. You're out family too. If you want to bring the dragon dude in, then we'll deal, because we don't ever want to lose you either. Okay?"
"We're here for ya, little feller," Clay added, squeezing the other three tightly as his arms were wrapped around all of them.
Omi sniffled quietly. His head was ducked, hiding what sounded unmistakeably like tears. Raymundo held him closer, in an effort to hide his own distress. They told the truth. They never wanted to lose their annoying, silly, endearing, fragile little friend. And there was nothing they wouldn't do to keep him. Even if it meant putting up with Chase Young for the next whatever. Hell, if it stopped Omi looking so sad, Raymundo'd kiss the bastard! Whatever it took.
"We're with you, dude. Always," he whispered. Looking up, he caught sight of Chase, looking out at them through Omi's window. Caught, the man held his gaze for a moment, then dropped it. The face withdrew from the window. Raymundo stared after it, thinking.
Omi knuckled his eyes as they released him, wiping his face. "We ... We should get back to training, my friends. Yes?" They grinned.
"Yeah, sure," Kimiko nodded.
"I ... ah ... I need a bathroom break, you guys," Raymundo muttered. He had something to do. They looked at him suspiciously, but he shrugged it off, grinning. "I ate a bit too much at breakfast."
"You always eat too much, Rai," Kimiko muttered, but they let him go.
He walked off, moving rapidly into the temple. He bypassed Master Fung, and slipped into their sleeping area. The man was waiting for him. Rai stopped in the doorway, just eyeing him up, as Chase did the same for him. He waited. Chase was the first to break the silence.
"The little one ... Omi ... He is alright?" There was genuine concern in his voice, and Raymundo stopped to think a moment. The other man was stiff, holding himself rigidly with no emotion on his face, but that note of concern had been real. If Chase actually cared for Omi, then maybe this'd be alright in the end. Maybe it wouldn't end in tears.
"He's worried. About you. He ... He really cares about you." Chase looked away suddenly, oddly reminiscent of Omi's downcast look earlier. But the thought of Chase crying was frankly ridiculous. "It's been worrying us. He's a bit ... obsessed, you see. He's afraid of losing you."
"What?" Chase looked up, startled. Rai smiled.
"You've become important to him, and then you got hurt. It's the closest he's come to really losing someone in a way he can't get back, since his parents. He doesn't want to lose you the way he did them."
"Oh," Chase murmured.
"He's really upset, and we don't like seeing him this way. He's not meant to be sad."
"No. That is not how he is meant to be," Chase agreed softly.
"So we'll help him. We'll help you. If it stops him from being so unhappy, we don't mind you staying. We'll protect you if you need it, because that's protecting him. We'll welcome you, if you want it. He's our friend, our family. If he wants, so will you be. That's the way we work here."
Chase looked at him oddly. "Do you know who you are talking to?" he asked. Raymundo grinned.
"Yeah. I'm talking to the dragon dude with the perpetual bad hair day. Maybe you should cut it." Chase clasped a hand protectively over his black hair, and Rai laughed. After a moment, Chase joined him, softly.
"You're welcome here, for as long as you need, for our part anyway," Raymundo said, smiling. Then his face hardened. "But if you ever hurt him, man, we'll bury you. You ever betray his trust, and we'll knock seven kinds of snot outta you, before tying you in a bow and tossing you off a cliff. Got it?"
Chase looked at him, then, slowly, his face split into a grin. "My little one is well protected. I'm glad. But if anyone hurts him, I'll kill them myself. Anyone. Have you got that? Wind Dragon?"
"Yeah," Rai smirked. It looked like they were on the same wavelength. Maybe they could live with this guy after all. For Omi's sake, they'd certainly try.
Well? Some Omi angst here, but he's soooo cute. Forgive me? That'll be it for a while, like I said, so have fun 'til I return. Oh, and could you drop me a review? Thanks y'all!