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[personal profile] gracefuldahlia posting in [community profile] spira_rp
It had been a long day.

Marluxia had settled Lumi back in his rooms with instructions to rest. Then Lumi could consider the logistics of taking a bath without soaking his dressings, and getting something to eat. Marluxia, meanwhile, had retreated to take a hot shower and sleep himself. It had been a long and uncomfortable night in the infirmary. Szayel hadn't equipped it with overnight visitors in mind, or at least, not ones that weren't patients. If Marluxia thought more of Szayel, he'd wonder if that had been a deliberate choice.

As it was, he put it down to a combination of thoughtlessness, and the type of patients Szayel expected to treat in Khamja.

He'd slept for a couple of hours. Not enough to feel rested, but enough to function through the day until tonight. He'd gone out to attend to his garden with a cup of coffee in hand, ignoring the looks from certain of the Arrancar, and dipped the cannula with traces of Lumi's blood in it into some fertiliser, before feeding it to one of the Malboros. Anyone who wanted it badly enough to retrieve it after that probably deserved whatever they got, and whatever they got would be a mauling from a very angry Malboro.

Once his plants had been attended to, Marluxia went to find Vexen. He went by Even in the Palace, of course, but some habits were hard to break, and much as Marluxia still thought of Ienzo as Zexion, he continued to think of Even as Vexen. Perhaps he was marginally less histrionic than Vexen, the introduction of a heart had changed a few of them in small ways, but he was, to Marluxia at least, still fundamentally Vexen.

He'd done well to choose a laboratory that was at the furthest reaches of the Palace. It was so far at the furthest reaches that prior to Vexen's finding the rooms and turning them into a small laboratory complex, no one had known of them. If Marluxia's estimation was right, the corridor turned into Vexen's laboratory complex somewhere in the approximate region of his own greenhouses, affording Vexen protection from traditional, and non-traditional entry. Anyone trying to break in through the gardens would have to get past the highly territorial Malboros guards, first.

He had a small bundle of papers with him, representing all that he'd managed to retrieve from the house before Xigbar's untimely arrival.

He knocked on the door, suspecting that his reiatsu signature would have already alerted Vexen to his approach. The place was thick with Vexen's reiatsu, though, curiously, if Marluxia paid attention, there was a hint of Kadaj down here, too.

Date: 2016-05-28 06:51 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Side-eye. (I see the world through different eyes.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
The previous day's end had been a little bit of a blur for Even. He remembered the earlier portion of it clearly enough, the part where he had given details and instructions to Marluxia, but the latter half, the end, after he had returned, had happened so fast that wasn't sure that he recalled all of it.

He'd felt Marluxia come back and he'd felt the surges of reiatsu from his partner. He'd watched a bullet extraction that had required the patient to literally be strapped down and he'd witnessed him bite Szayel in such a surprising display of animal-like behaviour that he had difficulty reconciling it with how he usually acted.

He also remembered Marluxia informing him that his house had been destroyed in the retrieval process, but he hadn't had the opportunity to get a full explanation of the reason for that besides the fact that Xigbar had been present.

As such, Even had gone to bed with little in the way of information and a lot of unanswered questions. With Lumi still in the infirmary and Marluxia hovering around him like a guard dog in a strange role reversal, Even had shut himself up in his laboratory to distract himself from all of it.

When he felt Marluxia's reiatsu, he paused, the tip of his pen on the paper. He waited until he heard the knock and then got up to answer it, deciding not to pre-empt his arrival with an open door.

Date: 2016-05-29 11:15 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Neutral. (All that's new.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
Even looked at Marluxia, half surprised to see him looking so fresh considering his ... ordeal. He took the papers in his hand and, before pulling them from Marluxia's grasp, said, "thank you."

Knowing that the discussion was likely to be more than just a delivery, he stepped back, out of the doorway, waiting for Marluxia to enter. Xigbar needed to be discussed. The entire thing needed to be discussed, really. Marluxia's partner had been injured on a favour to him, after all.

His laboratory was in the process of being set up, though there was little visible from the useless little reception room on account of that particular door standing only half open. The entire complex felt like Even, like a cold winter's day, but there were traces of Kadaj. Even had gone out of his way to fortify the closed off and currently spare training room against Kadaj's reiatsu being felt outside of it during training sessions, but it lingered in the reception room slightly, warded as the training room was.

Date: 2016-05-29 11:54 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Szayel, what are you doing? (If responsibilities are ignored...)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
Even had managed to get himself a few chairs, sofa-like, but a little stiff, to take up some of the space in the reception room. He had intended to leave it bare, but inviting people into his office if he wished to talk to them wasn't ideal, dingy as it was, so he had changed his stance on the matter. As such, he indicated one to Marluxia, more as a 'don't stand around awkwardly' than a 'make yourself at home'.

"So you did," he said, giving a nod. "What exactly happened?"

He wasn't particularly angry. The books he had lost in the fire, assuming it had taken the entire house, were less important than they could have been and easily replaced. Instead, he was just curious about the circumstances, and about Xigbar. He hadn't realised that Xigbar would still be watching the house after such a long amount of time, especially if Saix hadn't left the Order also.

Date: 2016-05-30 01:51 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Neutral. (Proceeded by the opposition.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"So he remains unaware that I have joined Khamja," he said, taking one of the other seats, his expression thoughtful. "I expect he thought you thieves, or spies. Let's hope he drew the conclusion that you'd finally discovered where Saix and I lived and saw fit to search the place, instead of anything close to the truth."

If Xigbar was checking for signs that Even had been back, that meant a lot of things. Firstly, it meant that Xigbar had no idea where he was. It was possible he had checked Daguerreo, but Even doubted it, there were any number of academically interesting places in the world and Xigbar wasn't the type to eliminate them all, not unless he had a real suspicion that he was in none of them, but now he might, just in case. Secondly, it did suggest that he had no idea about his new ties to another clan. That meant, conclusively, that Even had not been spotted on his excursion with Clan Skite and Neliel.

If another member of Khamja, or one of the Arrancar, had been found in the house, Xigar's suspicions would likely have been more dire. Given that it was Marluxia and his companion, Even doubted that Xigbar would make that connection, not when there were old disagreements and enmities standing in the way.

Date: 2016-05-30 02:57 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Glare II. (And the wisdom I can't deny.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"I imagine it would take a while for that particular thought to cross his mind," he said.

Xigbar wasn't stupid, though. He would eventually draw a conclusion one way or another and when he did, Even expected him to search. Some of the members of the Order were neutral and trusted enough to do their own thing, to wander around with native Spirans and join other clans and forge other alliances without coming under any real scrutiny. Even wasn't one of them. He, like Ienzo, had fled due to internal issues, not external draws.

"Hopefully," he said, carefully, "the extent of my dislike for Axel should be seen to stretch in your direction. I never made any secret of my abject dislike of you and he should assume that I would seek to keep myself hidden away somewhere, especially after what happened to Ienzo."

Ienzo had left the Order due to the discovery of Saix's involvement in Castle Oblivion. The Order knew that Ienzo had been brought into Khamja, willing or unwilling, not long after his departure from the Order. His circumstances were different, but Even had enough reasons not to want the same to happen to him, most of those being 'Marluxia and his very intimidating friend'.

"He'd never expect me to join, or to put myself in a position where I would be forced to," he said, quite pointedly, his expression flattening for a moment. Xigbar wouldn't be wrong in thinking that. "He would correctly assume that I had gone into hiding to avoid being killed due to a grudge or to prevent myself being put into a situation where you are, once again, my senior."

Even knew that his cowardice would be considered just as strong a motivator as his pride.

Date: 2016-05-30 04:29 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Confused. (Nothing here will be the same.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
Even nodded. He had only fired one shot, so he must have been reasonably sure of where Lumi was in relation to his aim. If Xigbar had been more unsure, he would likely have peppered the entire area with bullets, or, failing that, fallen back on his Arrowguns to ensure he hit the target somehow.

In light of this, Even thought that Lumi had gotten off lightly, despite his clear suffering the day before.

"He'll search Daguerreo if he hasn't already," he pointed out. "Then Central, Alexandria, Gariland, Elysion, Bevelle... that should keep him busy for a while, especially if he does it personally."

Xigbar was invested in keeping the Order together, even when they didn't want to be kept together. He allowed them a kind of freedom, providing they didn't openly defect. That put Even in a difficult position, and he knew it. Xigbar would have little doubt that, after Axel's arrival, his leaving was permanent.

"How is Lumi, anyway?" He asked, seemingly out of politeness. Though he was concerned that an errand for him had got Marluxia's partner hurt, he was also slightly interested in how easily he could be affected by a single magic bullet.
Edited Date: 2016-05-30 04:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-05-30 04:59 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Ticked. (Hold in derision.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"Understandable," Even said. "Szayel is ... unpleasant."

Very unpleasant, some of the time. Even didn't find himself having disagreements as much as others might have imagined he would, but he still lacked any real desire to associate with him on the regular, certainly in a friendly rather than vaguely cordial way.

"He heals quickly enough then," Even said. "I expect any of the rest of us would be down for longer."

Date: 2016-05-30 05:31 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Glare I. (I was given clarity.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"At least he won't be foolish enough to try and obtain samples from him now he's on the mend," Even said, giving a shrug. "He struggled enough with the force of his reiatsu when he was weakened, I doubt he'd withstand it as well at any other time."

Even also suspected that Lumi's loss of control had been a minor one, a partial slip, and not the full force of what he was capable of. Lumi had never shown any capacity for magic, not that he'd seen or heard about, but that didn't mean that his reserves weren't large enough to cause a problem in that regard.

Date: 2016-05-30 06:02 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Crocodile smile. (To the questions of life.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"I think your friend would make short work of him if he decided to up the ante somewhat," Even pointed out.

He had damn near bitten through his hand. If he'd been in better control of his chakra, he might have managed it, an Arrancar's Hierro in the way or not. At full power, Even half dreaded what he'd be capable of. It mildly concerned him that he was usually so calm and composed despite that lurking underneath the surface. He wondered if Marluxia had been aware of Lumi's more obviously vicious side before Szayel had experienced it, ah, first hand.

Date: 2016-05-30 06:24 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Smirk. (Afraid to lose their own esteem.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"To his benefit, in the end," Even said, half amused that Lumi's rule-abiding resistance to murdering the Arrancar had been beneficial in the longterm. "That's fortunate."

Date: 2016-05-30 06:56 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Neutral. (All that's new.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"I thought you must have," he said. "You got back much more quickly than I'd expected. At least we know it's functional and not damaging."

He had initially assumed that longterm exposure to the interior of a Garganta could prove detrimental to those without a Hollow. It hadn't caused a problem to him, Kadaj or Tayuya back in the Vile Peaks, but he had wondered if a longer duration in the darkness would be a problem. Apparently not, if Marluxia had travelled all the way from Lindblum to the Palace with Lumi.

"I assume you used Shunpo, or whatever variation of that technique you prefer?"

Date: 2016-05-30 07:49 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Even. (Big breakthroughs.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"It should be relatively safe, then," he said, giving a shrug. "What I've read suggests that it should be, but there's very little information on the subject, obviously."

In any case, the Ryoka were likely distinct from the natives as a species, despite how similar they appeared to be. Nobody had attempted to learn about the differences and similarities in-depth, or nobody had been allowed to, so it was all conjecture, but even if the natives were adversely affected by the pathways, which didn't seem to be the case, the Ryoka could possibly respond differently anyway.

"Do you think it would be possible to teach Lumi to do it?" He asked. He hadn't experimented with the weapon generation technique as far as he knew, but he didn't have a weapon of that nature before arriving and had plenty of access to normal ones on Spira, so it hadn't been necessary for him to learn. The portal technique was slightly more useful. "Had the events of his shooting been the other way around, things could have gone very differently for you."

Date: 2016-05-30 10:36 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Neutral. (All that's new.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"Perhaps," Even said, tilting his head.

The Nobodies, or Ex-Nobodies, did have it easier in that regard. They had a memory to draw on, muscle memory. Lumi did not. He wasn't very magically inclined at all, from Even's observations. It might not be Elemental, but it wasn't exactly normal, either.

Date: 2016-05-31 09:41 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Neutral. (All that's new.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"I hadn't done much," he admitted. "There wasn't much of value at all. Many easily replaceable books, little else."

He had spent much of his time in that house reading rather than actively researching. It had been important to familiarise himself with the world before launching into anything more proactive. Now he had the laboratory space, he was at that stage.

Date: 2016-05-31 10:37 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Snapping. (Greed will make us fall.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
Even also recognised Saix's handwriting.

He narrowed his eyes at his name on the envelope. It was definitely written in Saix's hand, any of the Nobodies who had seen him standing around with his clipboard would know that and Marluxia was, of course, no exception. He had addressed it to him by his real name, not the Nobody one he had dropped. Was that supposed to appeal to his better nature, assuming Saix thought him to have one? Had he used to to show he'd changed from who he was in the Organization or was it just to get his attention?

He considered taking it from him, albeit briefly. If he took it, he knew he wouldn't open it. He'd put it in his study, between books on a shelf, and never look at it. The corner would be there, sticking out between the leather bindings, reminding him of his stupidity. Marluxia would take it for him being secretive about the contents, no doubt. He huffed a breath through his nose.

"Feel free," he said, words clipped. "I highly doubt it contains anything important."

Date: 2016-05-31 11:59 pm (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Even. (Big breakthroughs.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
"Hn," Even huffed, dispassionately.

Sorry, was he? He doubted it. He'd still ignored him to go to Midgar and Even's reservations had been valid in the end. Whatever Ienzo had done there, using that Alchemy of his, it had resulted in the deaths of the entire population by mysterious means. There were no Hollows there, according to reports, and little chance of the city becoming a Necrohol on a similar scale to Nabudis, which had been considered a serious risk in the early days following the city's Fall. It was curious. Even had narrowed down the possibilities and none of them were favourable. One day, he would have to ask Ienzo exactly what had happened, but he didn't trust his relationship with that Arrancar to colour his words.

Regardless, Axel and Saix had survived it and it was thanks to the girl they had gone to save. That made Even furrow his brow. Had she been more important than a mere acquaintance, then? His frown turned to a scowl.

"We should probably keep that information to ourselves," he said shortly.

Date: 2016-06-01 12:38 am (UTC)
thechillyacademic: Glare II. (And the wisdom I can't deny.)
From: [personal profile] thechillyacademic
Even nodded in agreement, though shook his head at the offer of the letter. He had no need to keep it, not now he knew the contents. It would sit in a drawer, untouched and useless.

"Indeed," he said, though he paused, hesitating before he added, "we should probably keep it from Ienzo, also."

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