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Author Topic: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]  (Read 227 times)

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Offline Cheesigator

Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« on: September 15, 2017, 09:26:36 PM »
The blinding sun was merciless with its rays of heat that baked the red sands of the Edanith frontier, even as it sank into the horizon. The skies were clear, and there wasn't even a breeze to be felt, much to a certain runaway's despair.

Leather cowboy boots thudded across the dirt, clouds of rusty dust billowing out behind a dark purple duster as a lone figure darted across the open landscape, a gloved hand up holding his hat to keep it from flying away in his sprint.

Behind him on horses was a gang of slave traders he'd agitated a few moons ago by setting some of their captures free; they'd happened to cross paths again, he'd been spotted, and the chase was on. They were insistent that they were gonna make him pay, and at this rate, they sure were gonna do just that.

He jumped down a sudden downward slope, early arthritis making his legs buckle when his feet hit the ground again; he tucked and rolled with the motion, dizzy at the bottom of the incline and scrambling almost comically for a moment as he struggled to get back up again and keep running. In the distance some of the dying rays of sunlight glinted off of something; a settlement? It might give him a leg up--well, it would have, if he could've reached it.

The sound of a whip cracking through the air was heard first before he felt leather cord wrap around his leg, yanking it out from under him and making him hit the ground face-first, knocking the wind from his lungs.

The horsemen all caught up, circling around him, laughing and jeering as he struggled to get air back into his lungs--he just wasn't cut out for this shit anymore. His whole body ached, he was burning up under the layers of clothing, and he couldn't breathe. A great way to end the day--

The gang leader jumped down off his horse, walking right up, grabbing Chi by the collar and throwing a hefty punch right into his face. Unfortunately, the mask he wore was never one made for protection against physical threats. And this guy was twice Charlie's size.

One by one they jumped in on the action, passing him around like a hackey sack and beating the snot out of him. The pain started to blend together, and for once he was thankful for it. The tang of blood in his mouth was a good wake up call as he fell to his hands and knees to get kicked in the sides; ribs were bruised and cracked. And he just lay there and took it--what else could he do while he waited?

Finally, he conjured up enough magic in him to open up a portal--several goons stumbled and fell into it, exiting some twenty yards away from a tall rocky outcropping, crumpling like rag dolls as they hit the ground. It was enough of a shock to the others it let him get a handle on the situation, as much as he could anyways.

With deft hands he pulled a pistol from one of the holsters at his side, shooting one man in the kneecap, dropping and rolling out of the way as a shot was fired at him. It was a brawl, now--and he wasn't in very good shape for one. He still took a few too many hits, only able to scrape by by the skin of his teeth as he knocked down enough of them that they decided to leave him be for now, deciding it'd be easier for them if they just let him die there in the middle of the barren dirt wasteland, cackling as they rode off on their horses.

Charlie stood there in their wake for a moment or two afterwards, teetering dangerously to one side before he stumbled over and regained some of his balance. He looked over at his mask which had been kicked off of his face earlier; he was essentially a walking black and blue bruise right now. He winced, reaching up and holding his side, glove coming away with some blood. He spat some more blood out into the dirt, wiping his face off on the back of his hands as he looked around, squinting and trying to figure out where to go from here.

He could have been way more smart about that, he knew it all too well.

He just... Really couldn't give a damn less right now.

In the distance, blurred and hard to make out, he thought he saw the building he spotted earlier, but it might've been the heat playing tricks on him. Not that he had a lot left to lose right now if he headed for it; it was all he had to go on.

He took a step and his ankle twisted and he went down on his knees again, coughing and sputtering. He reached out with a shaky arm and picked up his trampled hat, readjusting it back on his head as he started off with the determination of a damn dog.

He made it about half way there before he stumbled for the last time and fell face down in the dirt, out cold.

Way to go out like a nameless chump.

Offline nephero

Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 07:06:16 PM »
Frontier life wasn't easy, but it was peaceful.

Perhaps more peaceful than a man like him deserved. In his more melancholy days, Kelly was prone to thinking exactly that. After all, he was a murderer, and there were plenty of decent, hard-working folks who had earned a quiet existence far more than he ever had.

A lot of the townsfolk agreed with him: maybe not audibly, but he could see it in their faces whenever he rode in to resupply. There was no mistaking the ports in the back of his neck, no mistaking what that meant. No mistaking just what kind of man he was.

Kelly could understand that. Accepted it. Dealt with it. He never went into town unless he had to, and never lingered longer than he needed. In and out, dropping off excess harvests, but never making a nuisance of himself. The first few months out here, he'd had a visit from local law enforcement damn near every day. The next few months it was every week. And so on and so forth until finally it was obvious that Kelly wanted to be left alone just as much as they wanted to leave him alone.

He never got visitors anymore. Occasionally something would go wrong in town and the sheriff would come calling, but other than that, it was him and the great red barrens.

So, it was a little weird to see someone just beyond the (admittedly more decorative than anything) fence surrounding his little parcel of land. It was downright concerning to see that same someone collapsed in the red dirt.

Kelly dropped the toolbox he had brought out onto his porch for the purpose of finally fixing that leaky roof problem, a few nails scattering as they were jolted out of the container. He'd have to go searching for them later, but right now there was more pressing matters at hand. Like the human being just outside the boundaries of his homestead.

Rusty dust clouds trailed behind him as he bolted across the yard, hopped his rickety fence, and over to where the stranger lay. A bit closer, he could see it was a man, but it wasn't anyone he knew or even had seen before. Not that it was easy to tell, because man, oh, man, this guy looked like he'd been on the wrong end of a twenty legged horse. Should Kelly even move someone when they were like that?

Not that leaving him where he lay was any better. It was baking out-- the price you paid for having a piece of land right on the equator in the summer-- and it would take near an hour to ride into town and get help. Leaving this man at the mercy of whatever else was out there in the sands. Not really an option.

So it was only after minimal thought that Kelly crouched down, bringing the man’s arm over his shoulder and hoisted him up, carry-dragging the whole mess back through his gate and up into his house. He supposed if it really did prove to be too much for his minimal first aid to handle, dying in a soft bed was a far sight better than dying in the dust. He'd still need to ride in for a doctor, of course, but one step at a time.

Kelly tried to drop him as gently as he could onto the bed, and began the rather involved process of trying to get off the bloodied and dirty clothes to see just how bad it all was underneath.

Which was…

Wow. Wow.

How was this man even alive? Shit, he was like a walking bruise all his own, and Kelly winced to see several of those bruises had a distinct boot-shape to them. He'd seen this before, of course, back in the pen, when someone was just too mouthy or too cocky or pissed off the wrong inmate or didn't suck off the right guard. It wasn't pretty.

This stranger wasn't pretty. Kelly moved to his kitchen, filled a bowl with water, and brought it back. The first step was getting the wounds clean, and he wrung out the rag before gently dabbing around the worst of it, carefully wiping away the rusty red.

Now, watch this guy be a bandit of some variety, and get him slapped with aiding and abetting. That'd just be great.

Offline Cheesigator

Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 09:35:57 PM »
Somewhere, in the farthest, deepest, cobweb covered depths in the back of his mind, Chi was aware of the sunlight rays burning into him, heating the ground on which he lay. If he'd been even a slight bit conscious, he might have drawn the comparison that he was frying like an egg out here, the red dust beneath him serving as both skillet and seasoning. Pepper, or something.

But even as a kind soul ran through the blistering heat with urgency Charlie himself might not have had if he'd seen himself lying out there, he stayed there, unable to move, unable to will himself awake, accepting the fact that by tomorrow he'd be dead and some creature would come along and eat him. Circle of life and all that.

He'd die the nobody he'd been all his life, and for some reason he preferred it that way. It was comforting, knowing he might not worry anyone or make anyone sad.

But life had other plans, as his limp body was dragged through the red dirt and into the welcoming coziness of a home.

It was the sudden shift in temperatures, and the feeling of something moving him around, jostling the wounds that had started to wake him up, though he certainly wasn't all together the more he regained consciousness. He felt delirious. And no, he was the exact opposite of pretty, which is what a hooker told him he was once. When he wasn't beaten to a pulp.

When he was able to crack his eyes open, crusted over with dirt and blood and sweat, they stung. He couldn't honestly feel very much. The different aches, pains and sores; all a blurry mess. It took a couple of tries for him to keep his eyes open long enough to try and see through the hazy tunnel vision where he was, what had happened and what was going on.

Everything was foggy and smeared; if he moved his eyes everything was slow, making copies of itself, blurring, and making his head swim and reel. He was vaguely aware that he was not doing great right now; hanging on by a few threads someone's god had decided not to cut just yet.

From what he could tell, he was inside. There was a window, somewhere. He couldn't tell where it was in relation to himself; there might have been a doorway. Furniture. Or maybe this was just a ship on a sea populated by blob people. He didn't think he'd been anywhere near a body of water but maybe he'd been mistaken, or this was a dream. A fever dream born from a man's dying thoughts as he lay out in the desert. That seemed highly likely.

So he wasn't sure if he should be surprised, concerned, or indifferent about the shape of what he assumed was a person or person-like creature moving close by, hovering over him and doing... Stuff and things. Poking him and prodding him, possibly. The paleness of the figure's skin made him almost glow in the light that came in from the mystery window floating around nearby combined with Charlie's blurry vision.

Maybe it was an angel. Or a glowing alien.

Could be lots of things.

He was only awake for a few split seconds before he went out again, blackness engulfing him with swift wings, and he let it embrace him without a fight. Whatever happened, happened at this point. All he knew was that this was the worst he'd ever felt in a long time; he was dehydrated, hungry, dying, and his head was pounding like he was being trampled to death by an elephant.

A few hours passed that felt like an eternity, and he started to climb out of the bog of darkness once again; it was almost as physically taxing as actually wading through a swamp. When he opened his eyes everything was too bright and he grunted, squinting and raising an aching and trembling hand up to shield his vision until his eyes could adjust. His hand flopped down against his chest and he winced with a grunt; that was a stupid, stupid idea. That hurt. A lot.

He didn't remember what he'd seen earlier, everything presenting itself to him now seemingly doing so for the first time; a quick check around told him he was in a home, on someone's bed, probably getting it pretty damn dirty while he was at it, which he immediately felt guilty for.

Although it wasn't a house so much as a hut or a cabin, he noticed now that he looked around. It was mostly one room, with a kitchen area and some chairs, and the bed he was currently laying on.

The oddest part was that he seemed to be in here completely alone.

This wasn't his own shabby hut--too well made, furnished and kept for that. And he didn't remember opening any portals, jumping to any other places. There hadn't been any around. Was he dead, was this the waiting room, to... Something?

His brows furrowed; he tilted his head, trying to rubberneck around and see if he was missing something--maybe a hole in the ceiling for an attic, or something where someone could be, but it seemed like ignoring the bursts of pain that ran from the middle of his spine up into the back of his head that made every muscle seize was worthless.

There was no one.

All he could do was lay there in that bed, naked down to the boxers keeping him modest, eyes wide open and staring at that ceiling, thirsty, starving, and wondering

Well, what the hell do I do now?

Offline nephero

Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 04:45:24 PM »
When the local law enforcement didn't immediately ride in with guns drawn, Kelly finally relaxed in the assurance that this man hadn't been on the run and thus would not be bringing a whole heap of trouble down on his head too.

He'd sat near the bed until he was sure the stranger wouldn't stop breathing, but with only Kelly around, well, he had to leave the bedside sometime. If only to refresh the water and go get some herbs to help ease the pain when the guy woke up.

If he woke up.

Kelly sighed, and put down the hand shears. That was enough of that train of thought. He gathered up the clippings, deep violet red like everything else that grew out here, and tossed them into a chipped bowl to carry back into the house.

It'd taste bitter as hell, but the tea from the clippings would help with the pain, and this guy sure as shit deserved that much. So he didn't even notice his ‘guest’ was awake, instead turning directly to the kitchen to get the stove up and the water boiling. Maybe some coffee for himself. Yeah, coffee sounded good. Did he still have sugar? He was sure there had been some left over from pancakes the other day, but after a bit of rummaging in squeaky cabinets (he'd need to ride in for some oil and a couple new screws at this rate) it became apparent that Kelly had treated himself a little too much and left nothing behind. Ah well. He'd gotten good at making coffee over the years, it was actually drinkable without any fixin’s, if he had to swing it. Which it looked like he did.

It was only when he turned away from the stove that he thought to check on his impromptu patient, and made his way over to the bed again. And it was only as he did that that he saw the stranger's eyes were open, and more than a little filled with concern.

“You're awake,” Kelly said, before realizing that was a stupid thing to say, “ah. Right. I've got something brewing for the pain, it'll take a few minutes more. Do you think you can sit up?”

Offline Cheesigator

Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 11:31:44 AM »
It was really hard to tell just how long he'd been waiting there for. He drifted for a bit then woke himself back up, rinse and repeat. He was still hungry, thirsty. Everything hurt--that much he knew wouldn't go away for a few days, or weeks, more like.

He didn't have weeks.

He craned his neck back, painfuly, to see if he could look out a window--he couldn't. Damn. He'd been lying here long enough to figure out that he was in some (supposedly) kind stranger's home, probably the one he'd seen shimmering on the horizon after he'd been beaten black and blue.

But the problem with that was if he actually was in that house, then he wasn't too far from where he'd fallen, and knowing those goons they'd be coming back in a day or two to poke at his dried up, picked-at, coyote-eaten corpse and laugh. Just to make sure he really wasn't gonna come back to be a thorn in their sides again. And if they didn't see him out there, well...

They'd probably come knocking at this poor sod's house. And that was the last thing he wanted to do to someone as their houseguest.

The door opening jarred him awake again, and he followed the sound with his eyes, looking over at the person who had apparently saved him. He squinted.

Guy was tall, pretty average build for a frontiersman out here; he had long hair, and a pretty face to match. Well, pretty might have been the wrong descriptor--handsome fit much better. Charlie's eyes flicked to the odd doohickey he noticed on the back of his savior's neck. He'd seen that before, a mark of a prison or something.

So both of them were criminals. Great. They'd have lots to talk about.

Well he couldn't be that bad if he'd dragged Charlie's ass across the red sands in the blazing sun to his home.

He tilted his head, just slightly, watching thoughtfully as he went about his business. He wasn't sure if he should say something and potentially startle him, or even if he could with how parched he was. So he didn't. Was it creepy if he just laid there and watched?

Guy was looking for something in cabinets that weren't exactly overflowing with food; he started to turn and Charlie quickly looked away, back to the ceiling as if he hadn't just been staring at him for the past few moments. He came over, and when he spoke Charlie looked at him; his throat was too dry to talk so he just raised an eyebrow. Just slightly.

He asked if Charlie could sit up, and well he wasn't sure about it but he didn't want to trouble the guy any more than he already had. So he grit his teeth and started to ease himself up, every bone, muscle and tendon screaming in protest. He was pretty sure even his skin and the hair on his arms hurt, for fuck's sake. A small grunt of pain escaped him but he kept himself quiet, the single noise alone making his throat burn.

Tea sounded great. Absolutely wonderful.

He leaned back against the headboard, reaching up with a hand to rub his head, which was now pulsing with the world's worst migraine-headache combo, probably thanks to him lying still for so long. But hey at least now he was up--the house around him looked like it made a little more sense now that he was looking at it from the right angle.

He couldn't exactly make any conversation though, raising a hand to his mouth and trying to stifle a cough as it was. The desert kind of did that to people; the moment he was handed the tea he downed the whole cup without waiting for it to cool off, the bitter taste reminding him of dirt but fuck it he could care less in this moment.

He coughed again, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand and looking at Guy, for lack of a better name for him right now.

"Thanks." His voice croaked, raspy and strained, but it was something at least. "Thought I was dead for certain that time."

Offline nephero

Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 09:19:12 PM »
Good gods, this guy looked like horseshit warmed over. Kelly had known that, of course, being the one to find the guy face down in the dirt. But there was something about seeing him move that underlined the severity of it all. Ginger movements, swollen skin, bruising in motion. Kind of… really gross. No amount of seeing this kind of beatdown helped you get used to it-- or maybe that was just Kelly.

Somehow, he was more than okay with that.

He watched the stranger gulp down the tea, and made a jerking sort of half-motion as if to reach out and stop him-- because good gods! That was still broiling! Not that the stranger seemed to notice any, because just like that the mug was empty, and all Kelly could really do about it was take the cup and thumb the cracks in the enamel.

“Yeah, well. You probably almost did,” he said in reply, eyebrows raised. He really hadn't expected the guy to live, let alone be able to sit up and speak. Dude either had nine lives or was made out of some kind of fantasy mega steel.

“I was gonna try and ride in for a real doc,” Kelly continued, going back over to the stove for more tea, and perhaps pouring a little something for himself to ease the tension between his shoulder blades, “but I was worried you wouldn't last. Kind of… complicated. When you're, uh, feelin up to it, we could hitch up the cart, get you into town, if you wanted.”

If you CAN, being the unspoken meaning. Kelly knew life on the other side of the law enough to know not everyone wanted that kind of ‘professional’ attention. It wasn't exactly something you could just blurt out all blase, either, but he didn't know this man from the king of Aedolis (did Aedolis even use a king? Kind of made Kelly's point). Better to just simply… give him the option.

“If not, well, I've got some minor meds here, tonics and shit. Room to spare,” (a wild exaggeration) “and not too much traffic. Except when the deputies are feeling twitchy, happens a couple of times.”


If this guy was on the up and up, he'd want to go into town. If he wasn't, he knew he local law liked to visit and wouldn't linger. Either way, Kelly came out okay. Peaceful existence, maintained.

Offline Cheesigator

Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 11:27:12 PM »
Now, don't get Charlie wrong. He was no great magical being what could withstand and element you threw at him, hot tea included. He probably should've waited before drinking it but he was just that desperate for water that even though it scalded his tongue and hurt his throat, the hydration aspect alone made it worth it as his head started to clear up just a smidge and feel a little less like it was being beaten against a furry rock.

Sure, now he wouldn't be able to taste anything for a week, but in this case he felt it was worth it. Now his tongue felt raw though. Oh well.

Charlie watched the man go back over to the stove, eyeing his movements carefully and trying to figure out the man behind him. He seemed relatively simple; wary, cautious, as to be expected. He had no idea what kinda ruffian Chi was, so it wasn't like he could blame him for trying to play his cards safe. He hadn't even introduced himself yet.

"Prolly best you didn't." He grunted, reaching up to tenderly touch at his face and realize that oh no, it wasn't just him, he was kind of swollen. He didn't want to imagine the ugly mess he looked like right now. Boy, what a first impression.

The question of whether or not he should go into town to see a real doctor was one he had a simple and easy answer for as he shook his head no while Guy suggested it. Not because he was particularly wanted in these parts, and if they did have a wanted poster up it'd probably be of him in his mask anyways, but because who knew when that gang of fuckups would come storming through questioning every jackass left and right if they'd seen Chi's ugly mug.

He gave Guy a hard stare for a moment at the mention of deputies coming around, it seemed his memory proved him correct about the little doohickey on the back of his savior's neck. He was a criminal, or a former one anyways. And it wasn't that he was judging him for it--it was more a look that tried to debate with stranger guy here whether it was worth it for him to voice that concern or not.

At least he was being honest about it, and at least Chi was a decent enough person to not go makin' up stories to get this poor fellow in trouble to collect reward money from it.

"Well, I feel mighty bad for ruinin' your bed as it is." He said, eyebrows raising with concern as he glanced down at said bed and sheets, "And if those officers come 'round I ain't gettin' you into any trouble, swear on my own life." He knew the word of a stranger meant nothing, but he knew he was gonna stick to his word, considering how easy it was for him to do so, but here again, stranger didn't know that.

"You can call me Charlie. What should I call you?" He asked, gesturing to Guy, offering his own name up as sacrifice so hopefully he'd feel more comfortable. Even if he gave a fake name, that was fine. Chi wouldn't hold it against him.

Offline nephero

Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2017, 07:52:05 PM »
The headshake was answer enough. Kelly wasn’t about to argue the point, there was no reason to— it was nothing that Kelly really felt comfortable insisting upon, because then that just made it seemed like Kelly was a snitch. Or preparing to be. And if Kelly had learned anything in his life it was to keep his head the hell down. Far down.

Don’t start nothing, there won’t be nothing.

He couldn’t help a soft noise, somewhere close to a laugh, at this stranger’s lament about ruining his bed. Like it were something nice that could be ruined any more than just how it normally would be.

Kelly hesitated for a bare moment before handing over the mug of tea again, searching the other man’s swollen face for any sign of dishonesty. He wanted to believe his word, the word that if the law came walking around Kelly wouldn’t feel any added burn than usual. The last time had been so… tense. Already. Without the addition of a potential runaway criminal. But the way his eyes moved, the way they stared right into Kelly’s own greens, made Kelly want to trust him.

It wasn’t a feeling Kelly had ever expected  to feel, and he wasn’t sure how he felt about that, either. For what that was worth.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said, softly, taking a sip of his own drink and trying not to dwell on anything too heavy. “That bed’s seen worse mess than you, I promise.”

He took a spare chair and dragged it over next to the bed, putting his feet up at the end corner as if to better demonstrate how little Kelly actually cared about the sheets.

“Kelly. Kelly Paule.” Might as well start off on an honest foot, considering the look of Charlie and how long Kelly could expect a recovery to take. “Pleasure to meet you. Or, I guess, most of you.”

Offline Cheesigator

Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 10:08:59 AM »
Charlie waited patiently, his intrigue perking just a bit at the soft noise the other man made, dare he say it was almost kind of cute. He accepted the mug gratefully, murmuring his thanks and wincing at the pain it made to just reach out, take it, and set the damn thing in his lap, as if waiting for it to cool even thirty seconds this time would matter when he'd already murdered all of his tastebuds with the last one. Okay, now he was kind of regretting it.

"Worse than me?" He snorted, almost spilling some of his tea and waiting almost comedically still, holding his breath so it didn't spill. Last thing he wanted was to squander away this stranger's kindness and hospitality.

"See, them's the words that make me wanna hear your stories, friend." He said, impatiently blowing on the tea now and finding that it wasn't magically cooling off any faster, the bastard.

He watched the man with intrigue as the boots were propped up on the corner of the bed and that long hair of his fell over his shoulders all silky smooth-like. He was too pretty to be by himself on this nasty frontier, and yet the size of the bed and his home suggested that's exactly what he was. Alone.

He had some balls for taking in a stranger knowing full well nobody might miss him if something went wrong. Either that, or he was stronger than he looked.

"Good name, I like it." He took a sip of the too-hot tea and now it tasted cold against his fried nerves. Oh well.

"Most of me is prolly an overstatement." He rumbled, voice low and resonating from deep in his chest. "Prolly be dead right now if it weren't for you, guess you could say I owe you my life."

He paused, tilting his head to the side. It'd been a real long time since he'd had an actual conversation with anyone before. It felt... Nice.

"If there's anythin' I can do to pay you back, just say the word and I'll be on it. S'the least I can do." Though he definitely still planned on replacing the sheets for the poor guy later.