Author's Notes: This was written because I find the total lack of Adamaï interacting with anyone without Yugo a little sad. And leave it to Tristepin to develop a friendship with Adamaï on their basis of being possessed by shushus and being used to screw shit up.

Breathing Through Stone

Adamaï looked out at the gardens from his not-so-comfy place on the bench. Several of the ornately-placed flowers and mushrooms lit the little garden, as if the sun hung just above the edge of the world. The moon partly hid behind the trees. Back at Oma Island, the dragon would know that it was an hour before midnight. Here in the Sadida Kingdom, it was the same sky, but Adamaï couldn't help but second-guess himself about the position of the moon and stars.

Ever since the incident with Nox, Adamaï had lived in the Sadida Kingdom with his brother to rebuild the kingdom and to keep an eye on the Eliacube. He had left the kingdom not too long after, following Qilby with the Eliacube to Mount Zinit. Now, he sat at the very same bench that he met the madman that had told Adamaï to come with him.

The dragon snorted, wisps of smoke escaping his nostrils as he scooted back to rest his head against the low bench-back. Really, how desperate had he had been? How...?

Something moved in the shadows. Adamaï jerked his head in the direction where the movement came from, slowly standing on the bench. He took in a deep breath, ready to blast a tongue of flame at the monster.

Instead of some ravenous beast, a small piwi hopped out of the shadows. Adamaï sat down in vexation, his hope of a fight to vent dashed as the little piwi poked around at the grass and flowers, taking a weed or two here and there.

His fingers uncurled and curled into his palms as he turned down his head and his blue lips extending into a long glower. With not a soul to focus it on besides the disinterested piwi, Adamaï glared at a stone in the dirt road. He breathed in, deep and loud, only for it to grow into a growl by the time his longs filled with the sickly-sweet air.

Adamaï had almost caused the end of the world, all because he had been frustrated about the fact that a small black dragon remained ornery and stubborn and proud. Possibly even condescending, as if he remembered—knew—that in the past life that Gourgaloragran had raised Adamaï, and little Gourgal thought that it should not be the opposite way around. But then, Gourgal would be like Quibly, wouldn't he?

No, he wouldn't, Adamaï growled to himself. Even if Gourgal remembered every life he ever had, he would never be like Qilby. The little dragon was tenacious and a little audacious, but he knew the difference between what was right or wrong. The same understanding that had been instilled in Adamaï.

Limit death. Strike when the time is right. Always think before acting.

Thinking before acting...

The frustration in his belly boiled again, erupting into the flames he had held back when he first saw the piwi, who ran into the forest at the sudden burst of roaring and fire. It felt good to get it out, as if a chunk of stone had been torn from his throat. As if he could breathe again.

However, as the last flames flickered from his mouth, the dragon curled in on himself, realizing that the chunk was only a pebble. All the released anger had only left behind something else, a small pit of cooled liquid in his stomach that made him shiver.

How stupid could I have been?

Always think before acting. Don't let emotion rule. Don't let it cloud your judgment.

Stupid. Rash. Foolhardy. Could there be anyone more stupid than him?

"Ah! I thought I saw flames!"

Adamaï jerked his head up. Tristepin stood a few yards away, grinning like the idiot the iop was. Ah, by the goddess, why him?

The dragon snorted, turning away from the ginger, not even acknowledging the words or the confused face Tristepin had given him.

"Did what you wanted to get get away?"

He really was stupid. "No," Adamaï said, not meaning to snarl as much as he did.

The iop looked up at the sky, as if scanning for whatever he thought the dragon tried to fry would be somewhere in the treetops. "Nah, you probably fried it, Ad."

"Don't call me that, Pinpin," he said, glancing over at Tristepin. "Only Yugo can call me that."

Tristepin frowned, jerking his thumb back towards the direction he had come from. "Then why are you calling me Pinpin? And why can Alibert call you that?"

"Because..." but the dragon stopped. Why was he even entertaining the iop with an argument? Adamaï shoved himself from the bench, landing on the road. Dirt clouds curled around his feet. "It's late, so why are you out?"

"Well..." the iop began, rolling his head to the side and scratching his head, as if debating on something. "I haven't walked around to think on my own in a while."

Adamaï raised an eyebrow. "Iops are capable of that?"

"Yeah!" Tristepin smiled before the wording of the question finally registered in his head. The iop groaned as he frowned. "Of course we can," he said, raising his voice. He pointed his thumb at himself. "We iops may not use our brains so much, but we do have heads."

"Okay then," Adamaï said, looking away. Oh, if only the common people knew what the famed Ginger Warrior was like. The dragon waved and turned away. "Then good night, Pinpin."

"Oi!" shouted the iop. He really didn't know when to quit, did he?

Adamaï turned back over his shoulder. "Yeah?"

"How are you doing?"

The muscles around Adamaï's eyes relaxed as his frown disappeared, replacing the look on his face with astonishment. The sincerity on Tristepin's face echoed the curiousness in the iop's voice when he had asked that question. The dragon's mind remained blank.

"Wh...what do you mean?"

Tristepin's curiosity turned to light befuddlement. "Er...since being possessed by that Anroth-shushu guy?"

Adamaï's eyes lowered. "Better." The word didn't really match what Adamaï felt, but it was the closest he could come up with.

"Better?" Tristepin asked, still perplexed.

"Yeah. Better. Just better." His feet itched to get away. Adamaï didn't move, though.

Tristepin walked over to the bench and took a seat. He leaned back and sighed, his voice becoming soft and melancholy. "I wasn't better after being possessed by Rubilax."

Now it was Adamaï's turn to be confused. "But you're always possessed by that shushu of yours."

Tristepin knitted his eyebrows, turning his head over to Adamaï. "How can I always be possessed by Rubi if I'm not now? If I'm not possessed now, I can't always be possessed by-"

"It's a hyperbole," Adamaï said, shaking his head.

"How can a bowl be hyper?"

Adamaï resisted the urge to smack his hand into his face. "An exaggeration." He then coughed before Tristepin could even make an look of understanding or another stupid comment. "But what do you mean by what you said?"

"Didn't you ever hear Rubi always make fun of me before we fought Nox?" Tristepin asked.

Adamaï shook his head. Between their first meeting and splitting ways at the frozen end of the world, the dragon hadn't even heard a peep from the sword. Or at least he didn't remember any such thing beyond suggesting a name for the then unnamed Brotherhood of Tofu.

"Well, Rubi and I were never buddies like we are now," said Tristepin.

"I don't think he even agrees to being buddies," Adamaï said, returning to the bench. He pulled himself up as the iop laughed.

"Rubi's still faking it." He wiped away a tear. "He and me are actually buddies, despite what he likes to say." Tristepin then sighed before lowering his arms. "But before fighting Nox, we weren't like that. He always made fun of me for screwing up or being a fail-knight. He egged me on a few times so he could take control of my body a few times."

Adamaï cocked his head, blinking. "How many times?"

Tristepin thought for a moment before trying to count the incidents on his fingers. A few times, he closed his fist as he had lost track of it. Eventually, he let out a frustrated groan that made the dragon feel embarrassed for the poor iop. "Enough times," Tristepin finally said. "The last time was actually when we first arrived here."

He stood up and began acting out a fight. "I was fighting Armand—doing well if I do say so myself—" The iop plugged his nose. "—before onion-breath decided to cheat and pull me back into the fight. I got so angry that Rubi took advantage of me." Tristepin's arms fell to his sides. "I...hurt Eva..." His shoulders drooped as he closed his eyes.

Adamaï's face turned down as well. "I almost killed Yugo because I couldn't take back my body...I was a tool used by Qilby..."

"But you're here now and Yugo's safe," Tristepin said in a half-chipper voice.

Adamaï frowned, looking up at the ginger. Tristepin had extended his arms into the air and a fake-smile had been plastered on his face. The dragon got to his feet, yelling, "That's not the point, Pinpin! I allowed them to use me and I could have caused a lot of damage!"

Tristepin lowered his arms and the smile faded. He stood in silence for a few minutes before he walked back over to the bench. He twisted around on his heel and landed on the stone bench. He wrapped an arm around Adamaï and brought the dragon's face close to his own so that their cheeks touched. "Ad, swords don't kill butterflies."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Adamaï frowned.

"Exactly what it means." Tristepin pulled away, sitting up straight like a teacher. He cleared his throat. "My master always said that because swords can't move on their own, that's why they can't kill butterflies."

Adamaï raised an eyebrow before slowly nodding. "So, we're the ones that make mistakes?"

"No, no, that's not what I'm saying!" Tristepin turned to the dragon, waving a finger at the dragon. "You were the sword at that moment! When Rubi took control of my body, he controlled it."

Snorting, Adamaï rested his chin on his hand. "That's just as bad as saying that I was the one wielding the sword."

Tristepin shook his head. "No it isn't." He stood up for a second time and spun around on his feet and waved his arms. "How about this? We can't change the past."

Adamaï looked up at the iop, opening his mouth to say that Nox had rewound time. He stopped. The xelor had no control how far it had went back. Despite time having been rewound and the wakfu had returned to the Tree of Life, a number of things hadn't changed. Tristepin had still died. A large chunk of the forest had remained barren.

As the silent dragon contemplated this, Tristepin paced as he continued, "Eva kept telling me that. If I think about it, the world would be different if we could change the past, right? And-"

"You're right," said Adamaï, standing up.

Tristepin stopped and looked down at the dragon in partial surprise. He then coughed and folded his hands behind his head. "Oh, y-yeah, of course I am," he said.

The dragon looked at the ground. He bent down and scooped up a bit of dirt before letting it fall from his hands. The grains can never back up on their own. It could be moved again to correct the first action, but the action had still happened. A small smile stretched across Adamaï's face.

"Thanks, Pinpin," said the dragon.

A hand rubbed the top of Adamaï's head. "No problem, buddy," said Tristepin. Adamaï knew that if he looked up, a big and stupid grin had spread across the iop's face. Well, maybe not stupid. Goofy sounded a bit better. "Well, how about a spar? It's good for the soul after a talk like that."

Adamaï shook his head. "It's late and we still have to explain to the king about what happened at the Crimson Claws."

Tristepin nodded, a grin spreading across his face. "Okay. I'll hold over until tomorrow." He stretched a little before disappearing down the path in the direction he came from.

The dragon took a lung-full of the sweet fragrance from the garden, a bit more air passing through the rocks. Sure, this place wasn't Oma Island, but a new calm clung to him like a sweet perfume the flowers emitted, making him feel a little lighter than when he had returned to the Sadida Kingdom.

Adamaï jumped down from the bench before he too left the bench behind in the twilight glow of mushrooms and flowers.