Jan. 17th, 2013 12:33 pm
[personal profile] distractionwolf
It was a little bit like breathing

It was a little bit like breathing, he thought. For the most part, magic was something he didn’t really have to think about. But sometimes it was the hardest thing to make his body comply to. Though Ynes claimed to be impressed by the rate at which Ari was picking things up, the boy simply attributed that particular anomaly to the necromancer’s presence and was stubbornly set on that ideal. Ross, for his part, was unusually silent on the matter, preferring to watch the boy practice. In the very private parts of his mind, where Ari thought Ynes couldn’t hear his thoughts, he sometimes wondered what it would be like if Ross was the one teaching him, rather than Ynes. 

He certainly didn’t have the nerve to ask, however, and Ynes wasn’t about to go bringing it up for Ari’s sake, either. She liked him in her own way, sure, but not that much and to be honest Ari would probably go drown himself in the creek if she did anything like that anyway. So she let it be, and continued to let the boy have that false sense of privacy. 

“You’re doing it again.” Ynes said, sounding immensely bored. Ari let out an aggrieved sigh, making Ross look up from where he’d been idly whittling away at a chunk of bark with his dagger. Ari blushes and looks down at his cupped hands, where the fire that he’d been trying to conjure was slowly freezing. He didn’t know why that kept happening, and Ynes wouldn’t give him any hints, simply telling him to ‘try again, you’ll figure it out’. It was all very frustrating, and the fact that Ross was sitting here being witness to Ari’s failure certainly wasn’t helping matters any. Ari had decided that Ross was clearly a master mage and had probably mastered this particular trick in a matter of minutes, rather than the hours that Ari had been spending trying to keep the fire from mutating into a pile of dirt or a puddle. 

It was all very frustrating, actually, because to the best of his ability Ari was doing exactly as Ynes instructed, yet was having nothing in the realm of success. Ynes had no trouble doing it with his body, and it wasn’t like he hadn’t been paying attention when she’d been demonstrating. His mentality was different, she said, and would say no more on the matter, which was just about enough to drive Ari to tears. His eyes may have been a touch glassy by the time he stood with an angry little noise and stomped away from the circle of light cast by the fire, but he’d be damned if anyone ever thought he was crying. 

It wasn’t even from any errant sense of masculine pride or something equally ridiculous; he just knew he was missing something, and the fact that he couldn’t quite get it was, for lack of a better term, pissing him the hell off. It wasn’t often that Ari got well and truly angry (though it was a slightly more common occurrence lately, what with his life having gone to hell), and truth be told his tantrums weren’t particularly impressive. 

In this case it was more of a ‘let’s go bash our head against a tree trunk until something sticks’ type of tantrum, which was even less exciting than one would be led to believe. Ross was therefore not surprised to find Ari standing with his forehead pressed against the bark of an old tree whose species he really couldn’t be bothered to determine at the moment. The boy had his arms crossed over his chest, and the way he was glaring at the tree was something else. 

As soon as he realized that Ross was there he jerked back and rubbed a dirty shirtsleeve over his eyes, just in case. He didn’t make eye contact when he did finally look in Ross’s direction, instead fixing his gaze somewhere over his left shoulder. Ross gave a very slight roll of his eyes before clearing his throat, which predictably made Ari’s shoulders tremble ever so slightly, as if he expected a slap across the face, or worse. 

Once again Ross had the urge to ask about Ari’s past, though he knew the witch would have prevented any truly important information from slipping out. As a result it wasn’t even worth it. She had a great deal of control over the boy; Ross knew that well. It was also becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the two. Either Ynes was getting better at mocking him in a persona that was a good match to Ari’s, or Ross was just getting worse at telling the two apart. 

He wasn’t quite sure which would be worse.

Out of the corner of his eye Ross caught Ari’s wary gaze finally flicking to his own, then away as soon as he realized he’d been caught. Ross found it hard to be offended by the boy’s suspicion regarding him; it wasn’t as if it was completely unfounded, for one thing, and for another Ross had always seen himself as a very intimidating individual (he would have been offended if he knew that Ynes had long since informed Ari that the boy had nothing to fear from him and Ari had taken her at her word). 

“What do you want?” Ari asked, voice barely above a whisper. Ross immediately opened his mouth to defend himself, but paused when Ari’s arms wound tighter about his middle. An eyebrow crawled subtly upwards for a moment before Ross continued, slightly gentler this time. 

“Nothing. I just noticed you were getting frustrated and thought I might have some advice.”

Ari just stared at him for a long moment, mouth slightly agape, so after a slightly awkward pause while Ross waited for some sort of vocal acknowledgement, he pressed on. “It seems to me that you think a lot. I think what the witch—sorry, Ynes, has neglected to mention is that your magic will mimic your thoughts to the best of its ability. If you’re feeling discouraged, it will manifest as earth. Angry or passionate, fire; relaxed, air; chaotic or overwhelmed, water.” 

The boy frowned down at his feet, thinking. Ross could tell that he was skeptical, though at this point Ari was just about ready to try anything if it could get Ynes to shut up. “What about the ice?” He spoke slowly, as if he wasn’t entirely happy about admitting that he had absolutely no idea what emotions and thoughts could evoke ice as powerful as that which had engulfed the flames on Ari’s last couple attempts. 

“Hopelessness,” Ross said quietly, giving Ari a moment to digest that before giving the boy a small nod and retreating back to the warmth of the fire.



January 2013

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