Dawn of Hospitality

Interruptions, Part IV

"ORKY BAAAAAAAAALL!"

The Dark Eldar who had been lounging on a float, intent on being lazy for the afternoon, abruptly found himself next to the epicenter of an aquatic blast. Water erupted high into the air like a geyser, coming down on the rest of the pool's occupants who looked on with varying levels of amusement.

"If anyone asks: he's not with us." Xelus said, flinging a large beach bag onto an empty table. Jones, K!113r, Tai, and Michael nodded in agreement; unsure what to think of the greenskin and his odd choice of swimwear. The guardsman unsnapped the restraint, letting the oversized umbrella in the center of the table spring free and offer a respite from the sun overhead.

"You might want to cover up with a shirt; take the Private's initiative," Jones suggested. "You could blind someone."

"Oh, har har har," the Chaos Astarte deadpanned, suddenly noting that one of them had seen a lot more sun than the other. "Maybe grab a flotational device while I'm at it?"

"Hey! It's not my fault I can't swim," Tai grumbled, unabashed by the yellow floaty's wrapped around his arms. "They taught me how to use a plasma rifle and hand-to-hand, nothing on how to… why are you laughing?"

Both loyalist and traitor attempted to stop their sudden snickering, mumbling an apology of sorts. K!113r simply found himself a place to sit and read his newspaper. The others looked around for the rest of their party, unsure of where they-

"ELDAR BAAAAAAAAALL!"

The Dark Eldar, having managed to get back aboard his float, found himself flung free again by a smaller, but just as powerful, explosion.

"I said no running. Was I talking to myself?"

"Oh, give her a break."

The group turned to see the Sisters approaching wearing vastly different types of swimwear. Briana was dressed in a rather exposing bikini that she wore with her typical casualness while Riiana was much more reserved in her one-piece that was a bit snugger than one would have expected.

"You're late." Jones said.

"Better late than never." Briana chirped.

As the Astarte tried to teach her proper timing etiquette Riiana looked at Michael and smiled sheepishly, fighting the urge to cross her arms or run a hand through her hair.

"So... how do I look?" she ventured.

"You look pretty... pretty good," he chuckled lightly, suddenly finding the poolside tile very interesting. She brightened at that, deciding her sisters pestering wasn't just to annoy her.

"Thanks, you look very... handsome," she said.

"Mmm mmm mmm, diabetes." Xelus mused, getting a confused state from both of them.

"Heh, glad to see you join us!" Romminal waved as he climbed out of the water. Briana's eyebrows almost popped off while Riiana face palmed, sharing the sentiment of the men when they had first seen the Ork.

"Is that what I think it is?" Riiana murmured.

"An Orkini?" Briana smirked. "Yup. Looking good, Rommey!"

The Ork let out a hearty laugh and was back in the water, leaving the rest to smile and shake their heads.

"What has been seen..." Jones murmured in mild horror, feeling much more modest in his Astarte issue aquatic gear(a pair of black swim shorts with an Aquila on the front). The Sisters took their place on the lounging chairs next to K!113r, who's gaze was unreadable behind his ray bands.

"Before we do anything you're going to need some of this," Briana tossed her sister a container of sunscreen from their pack. "If you don't want to look like a Daemonette tomorrow, that is. And if you have trouble I'm sure Michael would be more than happy to-"

"I think someone's ready for their first swimming lesson." Michael remarked, grabbing a struggling Tai and pulling him toward the pool.

"Must you torture him like that?" Riiana rolled her eyes as the Guardsman attempted to talk the Fire Warrior into the pool, with less than stellar results.

"Oh please," Briana scoffed, stretching out. "You don't see me keeping him from first base."

Riiana gave her an incredulous look.

"It's a human thing. You should ask him about it sometime."

Michael and Tai stood by the poolside, staring out at the pristine clear waters awaiting them. They turned to one another, one much more entertained than the other.

"See? Nothing to be afraid of."

"I don't want to do this. I really don't want to do this."

"You need to learn."

"I need Wi-Fi."

Michael stared.

"You, my friend, are impossible," he sighed, sitting down at the edge and pushing himself in. He turned to give Tai a triumphant look, who was less than impressed.

"Can't we do something else that's entertaining to Geu'la?" Tai tried. "Tennis? Cards? Watching paint dry?"

"Uh, Tai..." Michael began.

"I mean there are dozens of other things to do here!"

"Tai, you might wanna..."

"Most of them are above water so why must yo-"

Michael craned his neck as Tai was punted off the ground, flying over him and landing in the water in a blur of flailing limbs. Those that noticed the Tau's sudden lesson in flight turned to see a grinning Astarte standing behind where he had once been.

"And it's good!" Xelus held up his hands victoriously before noticing the stares. "I mean… I was just trying to help."

While Michael waded over to make sure Tai wouldn't drown Xelus decided to join them. Romminal and Tali had paused in their own fun to watch, waiting until the Fire Warrior's head came up sputtering and gasping before going back to their own antics. Smirking, Briana leaned toward her sister.

"Pssst."

Riiana gave her a curious sideways glance from behind her book.

"I hate to ask, but am I the only one just noticing Michael's... condition?" Briana attempted to find a diplomatic word for it.

"What do you mean?" she asked, slightly lowering her novel to look out over the pool.

"Oh, you know!" Briana groaned. "Don't make me sound nosy."

"Query: You're referring to his limb injury, aren't you?" K!113r asked, startling the Dark Eldar and making her whip her head around.

"That loud, huh?" she asked, slightly embarrassed.

"Answer: Good ears," the Necron tapped the piece of tape keeping his sunglasses in place. She chuckled at that, but then suddenly looked curiously between the two.

"Wait. So both of you knew?"

"You've never seen him in anything short enough for it to show," Riiana answered. "I have."

"Answer: He puts more pressure on his left leg than his right," K!113r clarified, turning a page of his paper. "Not that rare amongst soldiers who lose a limb. It takes time to adjust to a replacement. You learn to notice things if you spend enough time in healing."

"So who else knows?" Briana asked. "I can't be the only one."

"I'm actually sure you are." Riiana said.

"Really?" she pouted, not liking being out of the loop. "Well... what happened then?"

"Why should I know?" Riiana asked.

Briana gave her sister a 'You know why I know you should know' look. After a few moments she sighed, gaze lowering a moment before returning to reading.

"He hasn't offered so I haven't asked." Riiana said.

"Doctor?" Briana asked.

"Answer: I know as much as you do," he said, folding his paper and standing. "Now if you excuse me I think I'll go for a swim."

The Dark Eldar's mouth contorted, unsure how to phrase her question before giving up and staring up curiously at him.

"Can you actually do that?" she asked.

Letting out a noise reminiscent of a chuckle K!113r gave her a pat on the head before peeling off his sunglasses.

Time passed by and Riiana was almost near the end of her book when the sunlight suddenly darkened. Glancing up, she saw the Guardsman looking down at her with an innocent smile. She immediately knew something bad was about to happen.

"Can I… help you?" she asked.

"You should come have a swim with the rest of us," he said.

"I'm fine," she suddenly noticed Briana was gone but paid it no heed.

"Come on, you'll have fun!"

"I've heard that before…"

"Well, don't say I didn't warn you."

"Warn m-?"

Riiana, typically reserved and professional, let out a surprised yelp as she was swept up bridal-style by the Guardsman. Her book fell feebly from her grasp and her eyes spun a few moments. It took all of three seconds for her to connect the dots as she gave the best glare she could work up on a short notice.

"You. Wouldn't. Dare," she growled.

"You've obviously never met me."

"Mon-keigh, I swear if you don't put me down this istant I'm going to ki-EEEH!"

They landed with a splash, the Guardsman finally releasing her as they both came to the surface. At that moment Riiana could have thought of a dozen different reprimanding or expletive words to use. Instead, she looked at Michael's pleased but slightly fearful expression and simply laughed.

"See? I told you you'd ha-" his words turned to gurgles as his head was dunked back underwater.


"See? I told you everything would be fine."

"I almost drowned. Twice!"

"The key term here is 'almost.'"

Tai shook his head, still not convinced of Michael's supposed good intentions. The gang, dried and clothed, sat and ate at the bar and grill near the pool. Everyone(Minus K!113r) had worked up an appetite with Tali piling up a stack of empty plates as fast as Romminal.

"We… occasionally feed her, right?" Xelus asked.

"She just knows how to eat!" Romminal grinned.

"Looks like someone's got competition, then." Briana chuckled.

Applause broke out around them as another person stepped off the stage nearby, having done an admirable version of 'Roks were meant to fly.' For the better part of an hour the gang had ate and listened to those brave enough to get up and try out their singing skills, with varying results.

"So, what happens next?" Tai asked. "Tell me it has nothing to do with water…"

"I'm sure our 'host' will be happy to supply us with something entertaining." Jones mused.

"I'm up for anything so long as it gets you out of the house and into the world, right Rii?" Briana asked. "Uh… Rii? Where'd she go?"

"Answer: Not as far as you think." K!113r replied.

Music began to play again as a pair of singers stood onstage. The woman smiled shyly at the crowd, but with some unheard encouraging words from her partner her hands ceased fidgeting. With a shaky breath she met his gaze and began to sing to the soft, slow melody.

It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart.

The man brightened as he listened to her sing before beginning his own part.

Without saying a word you can light up the dark.

They took a step toward one another as the tempo rose, singing as one.

Try as I may I could never explain.

What I hear when you don't say a thing…

Briana and Romminal gaped, Xelus almost seemed impressed, Tai was confused, K!113r and Jones curious, and Tali simply grinned as the music grew louder with their voices.

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me.

There's a truth in your eyes sayin' you'll never leave me.

The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall.

You say it best when you say nothing at all…

They stood together, looking into each other's eyes as the music slowed. Both were trying hard not to laugh, neither believing one had been able to talk the other into this.

All day long I can hear people talking out loud.

But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd.

Old Mr. Webster could never define.

What's being said between your heart and mine.

The two circled as the pace grew once more.

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me.

There's a truth in your eyes sayin' you'll never leave me.

The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall.

You say it best when you say nothing at all…

Any hints of nervousness were long gone from her as she sang, loud and confident as it seemed to be just the two of them.

When you say nothing at all.

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me.

There's a truth in your eyes sayin' you'll never leave me.

The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall.

You say it best when you say nothing at all…

The music died away and they turned back to the crowd. A moment passed before Tali squee'd and began to clap loudly, followed by applause from the rest of the crowd. Exchanging looks they gave a dramatic bow before taking their leave for the next group of singers. Both returned to their table like normal, sitting down to a table full of stares.

"Well that was certainly… different." Xelus said.

"Do it again!" Tali urged.

At that Riiana and Michael laughed, unable to hold it in any longer. With a proud smile Briana glomped her sister.

"You got in front of a crowd and you didn't die!" she said, overjoyed.

"It was nothing, really." Riiana chuckled.

Briana cast a wry glance at Michael who held up his hands in innocence.

"She talked me into it," he said.

"And the choice of music?" Briana teased as Riiana pried her off.

"Not all Mon-Keigh music is garbage," Riiana said. "And… it's the only one I know well."

"Uh huh. Now, who's up for skydiving tomorrow?" Briana asked.

"That's it, I'm going home!" Tai announced, making the others laugh at his expense.

Unbeknownst to the others Riiana held onto Michael's hand for quite some time. It was about the only thing keeping her anxiety from making her shake like a leaf. Michael didn't see any reason to mind.

A/N: Sometimes I get the feeling it's just not my day to make any progress with DOH. Technical trouble knocked out my computer for most of last month, and school has sucked up most of my free time this one. Still, through blood, sweat, and faith in the Emprah I managed to make a large chapter for once. Hope this makes up for my absence. I've missed you guys/gals/others!

SeaofFallingStars- Heresy, you say?

Messiah-Emperor- Moe boyz, moe problems...

Inquisitor Azreal- Get ALL the internets!

WolfPaladin- Obviously just more Xeno lies and trickery!

theluckyshot- He might not sing, but you might find out how well he can play...

gatejumper-13- Sounds interesting!

Spirally- A 40k gameroom is on my wishlist.

Lord Farsight- And cake. Delicious, truthful, non-heretical cake.

deadpoolhulk- I would watch that sport.

Kondoru- Guess that means I'm going my job right.

Bradykins98- I thought about a life-sized Titian, but decided it was overkill in ever sense of the word.

Lost Guy- Oppa Crongnam Style?

All American Autor- K!113r dosen't really 'do' singing. He prefers other talents like saving lives, healing the injured, and fencing with his Fire Warrior lady-friend.

not my real name(You don't say!)- Many thanks, friend. Happy to entertain.

Mastadon-King- My laptop got a case of da boyz. It... didn't end well.

RokkitBoyz- It's true! S-Stupid Mon-Keigh and their dirty minds!

LtSolarFlare- Bringing a smile to someones face is all I really hope for when I write.

ArMeGaDon- Slaanesh has had his/her/its hand on this one for quite a while.

The-Obsidian- I try my best.

Imperial Zealot- Fun fact: Whenever Xelus takes off his shirt 'I'm sexy and I know it' starts playing somewhere.

Shanty- Paintball brings back good memo-*BLAM!*

Boo Ghostie- The Emprah protects and gives his loyal servants.

Eipok- A DOH webcomic? Sounds awesome, but I'm lucky if I can draw a straight line... *Wistfulsigh*

JugdementOfCarrion- Chaos can never stay away for too long. Also, awesome username.

Heretic Loyalty- Your name is a paradox... I like it.