It was late at night, probably around midnight, when Rahas made his way back to his room. He decided to go through the door this time; he couldn’t be bothered heading for the window. It was getting colder at night anyway, and Lirit was starting to resent the window being left open. Lirit wouldn’t outright say anything to him, as he was polite, but he may accidentally mention it to someone else, who would then mention it to Lynus, who would then chide him for keeping the window open and increasing the possibility of catching a cold.
His mothering had gotten worse, if that was at all possible.
Pushing open the door to his room, he was unsurprised to find Lirit sitting up in bed, also awake. He had his covers pooled at his waist, though, which meant he had been sleeping at one point. The nosy troubadour probably heard him coming up the stairs anyway. His hearing was a little too potent.
“You’re back,” Lirit said for the sole purpose of interrupting the silence.
“Yeah,” Rahas replied simply as he kicked off his boots and began to ready himself for bed.
Lirit watched him for a moment before unexpectedly commenting; “You’ve been hanging around with Simmons a lot these past few days.”
Rahas winced defensively. “Yeah, so?”
“Not being negative or anything like that,” Lirit passively replied. “I’m just curious.”
Nosy, was more like it. “Whatever,” Rahas said dismissively with a sharp shrug of his shoulder.
Lirit, however, wasn’t going to let his short, sharp answers deter him from his interrogation. “It’s good that you’re getting along.”
Rahas shrugged again as he pulled off his coat and slipped on a shirt he uses to sleep in. He couldn’t stop a frown and a wince of guilt from appearing on his face, so he promptly turned his back toward Lirit. “If you can call it that.”
Lirit unexpectedly sighed loudly and there was a rustling noise, as if he was folding back the blankets to that he could sit on the edge of his bed. “…What have the two of you being doing?”
“Nothing,” Rahas muttered as he pulled back the blankets on his bed and slipped beneath them.
“You must be doing something.”
“Is that all?” Lirit sounded disappointed. “You two should so something nicer together.”
Rahas rolled his eyes as he flopped onto his side, his back toward Lirit once more. “No.”
“Don’t be like that,” Lirit said, and Rahas could just hear the frown in his voice.
Rahas felt agitated as he rolled onto his back and pushed himself up onto his hands as he looked over at Lirit. “Look, I don’t do ‘nice’, ok?” he said.
Surprisingly, Lirit seemed to squint at him in disbelief before he sighed in a manner that was a little too close to the maternal sighs of disapproval Lynus would unwittingly emit.
“Yeah, ok,” Lirit said, almost in a patronizing manner. “Maybe you could ease into it? Get him something small. Cheap if you want to. Just throw it at his face and walk off. Besides, this is Simmons we’re talking about. He’ll readily accept anything you give him.”
That could work actually…
But he wasn’t ready for having this kind of conversation with anyone. Especially when they were pushing him into a more...romantic pairing with the landsknecht.
“Go to sleep, Lirit,” Rahas said as he flopped back onto his bed and onto his side once more. As he pulled the blankets up over his shoulder, he decided to add a final touch to their late night conversation. “And if you tell Macerio about this conversation, you will find yourself the bed mate to several hedgehogs. Is that clear?”
… … … … …
As he glanced down at the small, fluffy, bunny-shaped plushie in his hand, Rahas could hardly believe what he had done.
He had actually taken what Lirit said last night into consideration. And he had actually went through with the first part and bought something with the intention of giving it to that blue-haired landsknecht.
He had yet to do so as of yet. And he was honestly debating if he should. If Macerio was to found out, he’d never hear the end of it. Of course, he could counter with something about Lirit, which would quickly shut that gunner up.
It…wouldn’t exactly hurt giving the plushie to Simmons, would it? If it got out, Rahas could just pin the blame on Lynus telling him to do something nice for Simmons for a change. After all, Simmons had given Rahas a tonne of gifts. He was just being polite.
Still, he was going to make sure to give it to Simmons when there was no one else around. Not even his guildmates. Oh sure, Gerald wouldn’t care and Kerri would probably approve. But listening to Tiffany wail about Simmons getting more gifts than she was something he didn’t want to risk his hearing listening to.
After a bit of stalking around the streets and not finding the blue-haired landsknecht anywhere, Rahas assumed that he was out in his usual training spot on the outskirts of town, away from the entrance of the labyrinth to ensure that no one else would stumble across him and interrupt.
…Ok, time to get it over with. Throwing it at him and leave. Yeah. That’ll work.
“Oi, Simmons! Merry birthday or something!” Rahas yelled as he threw the plushie at the unsuspecting landsknecht.
“Eh?” Simmons managed to mutter as he paused in his training, only to have the plushie smack him right in the middle of his face. His head reeled back slightly, more from the surprise than by the force, and his hand immediately flew up toward his face. As the plushie fell, he managed to catch it with his hand and he immediately stared at it with wide eyes.
“What’s this?” Simmons asked as he quirked his head to the side in question.
“Nothing,” Rahas immediately refuted, as was his natural habit, before wincing slightly as he reminded himself that he was tying this ‘nice’ thing that everyone was harping on him about. “A good luck charm or something.”
“Is it yours?” Simmons unexpectedly questioned as he finally looked over at him, confusion etching its way onto his face.
Rahas folded his arms over his chest. “No, it’s yours.”
Simmons blinked at him, his confusion not lifting for a moment. “I don’t remember having this.”
“No, it’s yours now.”
“Huh? But you had it.”
“Yes, that’s because I was giving it to you.”
Rahas bristled in an almost violent manner. “Because I’m a nice guy!”
Finally, Simmons nodded his head in acceptance. “Ah, ok,” he said as he glanced back down at the plushie.
…And he just accepted that excuse?
Rahas ran a hand over his face. He should have known throwing the gift at the guy and leaving was not a fucking option. Simmons would have likely tracked him down and handed it back to him. In front of someone. Either Macerio, Hamza, or Lynus. All three, most likely. With his luck.
Turning his attention back to Simmons, a terse ‘later’ on the tip of his tongue, he unexpectedly paused. Simmons was gazing down at his new lucky charm with a…soft expression on his face. A small smile on his lips, his eyes half-lidded, his expression surprisingly calm and…wistful.
It caught him off guard.
“What?” he asked as he took a half step forward.
Simmons snapped his head up to look over at him, his expression half that of surprise that he was still there and sheepish that he had been caught in thought. “I think...I had something like this when I was a kid,” he muttered.
That caught Rahas’ attention and he unintentionally took another step forward. “You think?”
Simmons shrugged but didn’t answer. He glanced up at Rahas for a moment before turning his gaze back down to the rabbit-like toy in his hands. As he did so, a slight breeze picked up and Rahas noticed something he hadn’t before. Just under Simmons’ hairline, on the left side of his head was a long, jagged but white line. A scar that had been healed years ago. Healed enough to make it as unnoticeable as possible. But it was still there. The scar was still visible, if one was looking.
And since there was a scar…that meant the wound was deep and possible life threatening.
“That scar,” Rahas said as he motioned toward Simmons forehead with his hand, though ensuring that he didn’t physically touch the other. “Where did you get that?”
Again, Simmons shrugged vaguely. “Dunno,” he answered, though he knew exactly what scar he was talking about.
Rahas furrowed his brow, somewhat annoyed with the short answers he was getting. He also couldn’t help but feel that it was somehow…attached to that ‘thing’ he was trying to become stronger than. That ‘thing’ where he would hear a noise that would make his head hurt and essentially black out without memory.
Surprisingly, Simmons sighed loudly and sat down on the ground, his legs stretched out in front of him as he cradled the plush bunny toy with his two hands. “My earliest memory was waking up in hospital with my head wrapped in bandages. I don’t remember much before that. Just some strange dreams.”
Rahas was genuinely surprised by Simmons admission and found himself dropping to sit on the ground near him. He immediately wanted to know more, but he held himself back. It was…none of his business, truthfully. But if Simmons was willing to talk…
“What kind of dreams?” Rahas asked.
Simmons kept his focus on his gift, idly pulling at an ear or picking up an arm to make it appear as if the toy was waving its paw. “I can hear my mom yelling at me to run. To hide.”
He…Simmons didn’t really think it was a dream. Rahas could tell. The look on Simmons’ face; the slight down-turning of his lips, the faraway look in his eyes. Someone must have told him it was a side effect to the head injury or something. Something he didn’t immediately believe but felt to be logical in a way.
B-but what about his father? What about…Shiki? Did he remember him?
N-no, he wasn’t ready for that yet. Not yet.
“...How old were you?” Rahas asked quietly instead.
“Twelve,” Simmons replied, still looking at his gift. “My parents went missing before that. That’s what they told me. I don’t...really remember much of my parents. Just a few things. Cass and Gerald told me more about them after I got out of the hospital.”
Gerald? Was that the reason he was-?
“Hey, Rahas?” Simmons suddenly said as he abruptly turned to look at him. “What about your parents?”
Rahas grimaced internally and externally. He should have figured that question would come up one day. He…couldn’t tell him the truth. Not yet.
“They’re both…gone. When I was a kid,” he answered, carefully choosing his words.
He wanted to say that they were dead in every meaning of the word, but for some reason didn’t want to actually say that word in front of Simmons. Not after learning that he believed that his parents were simply missing. Though there was a possibility that Simmons also felt that they were no longer living, saying the word out loud gave the impression that it was true.
Sometimes…it was better to let someone cling to a small bit of hope.
Besides, answering that they were dead was likely to prompt further questions about them, and Rahas honestly only had a few answers himself.
“Do you remember them?” Simmons went on to ask.
Only one of them, unfortunately. “No,” Rahas said instead.
Simmons gave him a small, sad smile. One that held a sense of understanding to it. “You’re like me, then.”
“Yeah,” Rahas murmured. “Seems so.”
But unlike his own, Simmons’ past was accessible. Gerald and Cass knew. Hell, Hamza probably did, too. The truth of Rahas past was likely to stay hidden to everyone, including himself. And that was fine with him. However, he could learn more about Simmons past, of which seemed to still be haunting and hurting him.
And it seemed a lot more intriguing then he had anticipated. In fact, the landsknecht himself was proving to be a lot more interesting as well.
Rahas was pulled from his thoughts when Simmons suddenly took to his feet. He spent a moment attaching the bunny lucky charm to his belt before looking down at Rahas with a hopeful expression. “Want to train with me?”
Surprisingly, Rahas didn’t find himself hesitating in answering. “Sure.”
The smile on Simmons’ facing was practically beaming.