Finally i made a kaiju girl
test. test. test.
“But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?”
test. test. test.
test. test. test.
test. test. test.
test test test test
Gwyn: Here's a fun idea: we hang mistletoe, but instead of kissing the person, we have to fight them.
Nesta: Honey, we're not doing that.
Azriel: *runs to grab daggers*
A Breath of Winter
I saw some really pretty winter pictures and i just had to draw something inspired by it. So trying to stay within the color scheme i drew Owen leaning up on a roof of a building with Nakia nearby. Both enjoying the snowfall.
Unpopular opinion: bakugou isn’t a tsundere
the journey to self acceptance is not easy, and i’m so very grateful to be where i’m at now :’)
i’m thinkin about spiget and zubin. i’m thinking about how they thought they were alone on earth and met eathotjer. i’m thinking about how spiget would be protective over myi and call her “MY HUMAN!!” … even though zubin woukndt hurt her because she’s pretty cool
i’m thinking about zubin getting his own little friend. his eyes would turn cyan because he didn’t understand this new emotion of love
i’m thinkin about spiget popping into myi’s house, but only his head can fit through the door. she comes out and zubin is standing up looking down at her. ..at about 16 ft in height? wow.
i’m thinking about zubin and spiget being best-big-alein-boy-friends-buddies. they’re not boyfriends ,, they’re buddies whom are male :D
there are so many sweeneys popping up and it is wonderful
Mentioned before that I’m collecting borrowings from my everyday life and planning to make a to-scale borrower/Mina’s home and/or smoke spot.
Occurred to me, would borrowers be superstitious about decorating their homes when they first move in and just in general? Don’t want to put too much work into decorating the new home, or you’ll very likely have to move again for sure. Borrowers might have to abandon their homes at any given time; the more they decorate and personalize their spaces, the more evidence of their existence they’ll have to destroy. Or worry it will be discovered…
But art is so important for people, especially those who are more shut-in
So I was re-reading @unicornofgt 's fic GTMS (and weeping at my favorite chapters) when I had a realization. I kept reading Obermann's dialogue in Angelina Jolie's voice, specifically her playing Tigress in the Kung Fu Panda movies. A voice as calm as it is intimidating, her tone distantly kind yet also blunt and guarded. Even the way Tigress speaks is a touch robotic and awkward, with simple sentences and direct, to-the-point delivery. Despite Tigress being an aggressive hardass, her voice outside of fight scenes is surprisingly soft, somewhere between a hushed tone and a whisper. I kinda think it's perfect for Obermann, imho
So I look up some clips of Tigress on YouTube to confirm, and come across a compilation of scenes she shares with Po, and... oh no. OH NO. Tigress ALSO has a himbo fighter bf/bestie that she would die and kill for. Oh NOOOO who does THAT sound like
And so whoops, my hand slipped... for like a week straight– so much so that I made my first animatic. Oops
For the record, I don't think Jack Black sounds a thing like Bagley in my head, but Obermann's voice here is pretty close to how I imagine it (especially the lines "...and this bothers you?" And the "I was-" at the end, those really click for me)!! Seth Rogan as Cass is perfect and now canon
Massive shout out to @unicornofgt / @gt-mech-suits and @chamomile-g-tea 's for the inspiration! Yall's work gets me thru the day lately istg
I sat in the darkness of the cavern that contained me. Pitch black. There was comfort in the darkness; a solitude rarely found in the world. There was also a bleakness. It was barren. Lonely. It let me dwell on my failures in peace.
In my youth, I loved the light of day. Running among my friends and family brought delight to my heart. Those fond memories kept me sane. Now when I saw the light, there was a harshness to it. The light brought by the guards was accompanied by pain and suffering, unending torment in a language which I now could peace together.
It wasn’t until recently that the splash of light from the cauldrons brought a spark of joy – hope. The light brought by the Factotum, Raina, was soft and thoughtful, gentle like the ocean breeze. I liked that light.
I thought about our conversations from a few days ago. Was it days? I couldn’t tell. I measured time in the comings and goings of my small companion – my friend. I wondered how she could be so compassionate, so caring, toward someone who had contributed to the destruction of her peoples’ town. Could she not see that if I had been a better man – a better father – this wouldn’t have happened? How could she not blame me?
You are good.
Her words warmed my heart.
Trust me. Trust me, Steele.
How could I not? After all this time, how could I blatantly ignore the words of this marvelous woman? I smiled to myself and leaned against the wall; the cold chains heavy on my arms. I tilted my head to adjust the collar around my neck. The chains rattled with a dull clanking sound.
She did not see my guilt. She did not think me guilty. This thought was a new phenomena for me. Where I was from, all was tied to who you were. Your successes and failures as well as the deeds done by those who you were related to. I could recall dozens of families still struggling to free themselves of some action done by their grandparents generations before their existence. Needless to say, the same could be said for your children.
There were many times where I wondered what I had gone wrong, and every time I struggled to find an answer. Perhaps I was too close, too blind, to my own son. Perhaps it was an act of rebellion from him which had no reflection on me. It was a dangerous thought, especially for me. It went against my entire culture and everything I knew. Still, the thought was appealing – each individual being autonomous and their faults falling on them.
Even if this were true, he was still my son. I should’ve known. I should’ve done something more.
I looked around the darkness surrounding me.
Well, I thought to myself. Perhaps this is all I can do. Perhaps that “something more” has yet to present itself.
My attention was suddenly caught by the sound of The Lock whirring into action. It was faint, but I had heard it enough to distinguish it from the other sounds in the Turret. My heart pounded as I listened to the sound getting louder and louder.
Could it be her?
I felt myself smile as I sat up and kept my eyes focused on the ledge. I stilled my breath as The Lock came to a halt and the door creaked open.
I felt my heart sink and features harden before I even could see their faces. It was the guards. They carried their torches high as they approached the cauldrons of oil and set them ablaze. My curiosity peaked when I saw more than just my two tormenters enter the chamber. There were a few new faces among the crowd that entered my prison. There was one, however, who I recognized immediately.
He was there when I was brought to this foul place. There was something in his eyes as they narrowed and glowered at me. It was unwise, but I returned the look.
“Orion!” His demanding tone reverberated off of the walls. “Wake up!”
The cauldrons of light illuminated my eyes, casting dark shadows along the bridge of my nose and along my brow. I stared at the collection of them all huddled around. He began speaking again, slowly and overexaggerated in a mocking and demeaning tone. Nothing like when Raina helped me with my words.
“Do. You. Un-der-stand. Me?”
This was one of the first who had tormented me – belittled me. The moment I arrived, he had always been a present even if he didn’t come by every day like some of the others. I barely managed to stifle the growl I wanted to unleash to send them all scattering. Instead, I simply stared. Thanks to Raina, I now understood nearly all of their words.
“Ser Anfroy, I do not believe he understands our tongue,” mentioned one of the guards holding an additional torch in their hands.
“Ser Gervis!” Ser Anfroy, the menace to my life, called to one of the guards. He stepped forward and I knew this one instantly to be one of the guards who threw Raina off of the ledge. I possessed a special loathing for this guard, but maintained my silence.
“Yes, Ser Anfroy?” he asked. I strained my ears to hear their faint voices.
“You said the Factotum was spending an unusually long amount of time with the Orion. You said you thought she was teaching it to speak. Are you certain or mistaken in your assumptions?” demanded Ser Anfroy.
“It… well… it was, Ser, an assumption of mine. Perhaps I was mistaken,” said Gervis.
“Well,” snorted Ser Anfroy. “No matter. It still may be of use. Orion! Can. You. Fight?”
I stared at Ser Anfroy, still holding my tongue, until I earned a hearty scowl. It brought me immeasurable pleasure to see that wretch frustrated.
“Yoo’cur brevendoraye v’eyen knixie.” I let the words curl from my lips. It was an old phrase spoken to enemies and one I hadn’t spoken except once before in my youth. It meant, “Your frustration delights me.” The guards spat at the dirt and left, muttering to themselves about it being a waist of time speaking with a mindless Orion.
As they left and The Lock activated, taking them away, I couldn’t help but think about the guard’s question. Could I fight? Certainly, I could fight. Did I enjoy it? I used to when I was a younger man. Why would they ask me this?
My mind twisted as I thought about the horrid possibilities this could be used for. Did they intend to use me for entertainment? Fight for my freedom? Did they intend to use my strategic mind? No. They said fight. Fight what?
I let my mind stew over this for some time until, at some point, I heard The Lock reactivate. I tensed and listened to the clattering of chain until it came to an abrupt stop. I paused and listened, keeping my breath as still as possible. My ears were not what they once were.
It was only a few seconds later when the metallic door flew open with a horrendous clattering sound. It was so startling it brought some of the hair on my arm standing on end. I braced myself to see the guards, but was relieved and confused to see Raina.
What was more concerning was that she was panting, breathing so heavily even I could pick up each individual breath. She practically threw herself down the stairs and ran all the way across the ledge toward me.
It was then that I realized something I hadn’t before.
She wasn’t just breathing heavily. She was crying.
Her small features were stained with tear streaks down either side of her cheeks. Filled with concern and my insides dropping with worry, I lifted my left hand to the ledge and extended my fingers to show support.
“My friend… you are crying? Why cry? You are hurting?” I said as softly as I could. Raina did not answer immediately and instead ran between my fingers and threw her arms around my thumb, nestling herself in the crook. I dared not move. I dared not breathe. All I could do was listen to her cry until she had calmed her breath.
“Steele,” I heard her say as she looked up in my eyes. “I need your help. Please.”
It was the end of another good and long day. Steele was in a very conversational mood today, and his words and sentences were getting better daily. It was almost impossible to believe that at one point he didn’t understand our language. It was also almost impossible to believe that I had been terrified to be alone with him.
All of this time later, I had grown so close to the giant so many others had feared - who I feared - needlessly. It wasn’t to say there weren’t some who we should fear, but Steele was not one of them.
So, as I stood cooking my evening meal over the stove, I let my mind reflect on our conversations. Some of them were about his son and my daughter. Others consisted of him talking more about his home. Turns out our culture and the Orion’s culture were vastly different.
Families were all connected to one another and a fault of one reflected on the entire family for generations, for one. Another difference, which was unfathomable to me, was that women could study the old scripts and debate with the elders. They held positions of power beyond that of guards and captains of ships.
The more he spoke and explained, the more intrigued I became. Part of me almost wanted to see this world across the water that he spoke of. Then again, did I? Did I truly want to go to some place full of beings so much larger than myself who may or may not see me as a sentient and autonomous being?
I had other things to worry about at the moment because finally – finally – I had saved enough sheqels to bring my daughter to the city with me. I had written to the family at the inn in Creewood, the small town where we were living before, and everything was prepared. All I needed to do was go out and spend a few days to retrieve her.
I would have to arrange something with Steele, but I was certain he would understand. I even held the inkling of hope that I could bring Terrilyn, my daughter, to meet Steele.
I was only a couple of bites into my meal when I heard it.
Not the bells of the faith.
Not the bells of celebration.
Warning. They were meant as a warning.
I hurried and stood, peaking out my window. There were others who had my same idea and were peering out of their windows and doors. There was a rider galloping down the way shouting over and over, stopping every few streets. Finally, they were close enough for me to hear.
Instantly, my stomach dropped as their words rang out across the streets.
“Be advised and stay in your homes! Shelter in place! Orion spotted along the Spireling Timberland in Creewood. Orion spotted along the Spireling Timberland in Creewood! Be advised and stay in your homes! Shelter in place!”
I couldn’t breathe. I fell to my knees, hand clutching my chest. An Orion? Another Orion? Spotted near Creewood? What was going on? What was happening? My heart wouldn’t stop pounding. I felt the relentless throbbing consuming my senses.
What was going to happen to the people in Creewood – to my daughter?
My throat constricted and my breath came in rapid gasps. My mind instantly jumped to the terror brought on by Steele’s son, Mithos. What did happen to his son? Steele didn’t seem to know. Was he arrested? Did he return to his home? Had he returned? What if this was another Orion with more sinister intentions?
I sat there, collapsed on my knees, in absolute shambles. I couldn’t breathe. My mind was thinking faster than I could register individual concepts which threatened my sanity. All the while, my heart relentlessly pounded against my chest.
All I knew was the mortifying fact that I could do absolutely nothing.
I could do nothing for the people of the city which I had grown so fond of.
I could do nothing to help the people in Creewood.
I could do nothing to help my own daughter.
A new thought struck down all others.
I could do nothing; but Steele could.
Abandoning my room and all sanity left to me, I hurried down the stairs and began running as fast as I could to The Turret.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had run so fast and not lost my breath. Had working as the Factotum changed me so much? Now was not the time to wonder such things. I crossed over the threshold and leapt onto The Lock, throwing the lever into place and plunging into darkness. My stomach dropped before hitting the top of my throat as the wooden platform lunged and plummeted into the darkness.
I barely threw the lever in time to stop The Lock before I threw myself toward the door. The metal clanged against the cavern. The oil was lit? Why was the oil lit? I didn’t have time to wonder.
Instead, I raced down the stairs, not realizing until now the cold tear tracks lining my face. I didn’t care. Seeing Steele, his violet eyes brimming with concern, broke me into a round of sobs I had not let myself feel in so long.
“My friend… you are crying? Why cry? You are hurting?” Steele asked softly, his voice smooth like a summer rain. It was involuntary, truly, when I ran into his hand to seek the giant’s comforting embrace; even if it was just from his hand.
I tried to get the words out, but each breath was constricted and shattered the words before they could form. Embarrassment was immediately overturned by determination. I needed to do something. I had to do something. I looked up into Steele’s eyes.
“Steele, I need your help. Please.”
Continue | Coming Soon
Author’s note: Surprise! There’s a new chapter!
Summary: Janus has been banished from his pod for crimes that he did not commit. However, this merman’s bad luck is far from over. A mer is not meant to live on their own in the open ocean, and as one would expect, things do not go well. Enter: Florida Man.
Chapter Warnings: censored swearing, injury mentions (burn, cuts), banishment mention, murder mention, fainting, Remus being his chaotic self, weapon mention, arguing
Word count: 4126
Sadly, Logan was the sort of driver who obeyed all the traffic laws. He didn’t even speed. Not even a little! So, Remus’s drive took a little longer than usual, since he wanted to at least keep Logan’s car in sight in his rearview mirror.
Was that strictly necessary, given that Logan already knew where he lived? No. But also yes.
Thankfully, even with Logan’s tragically legal driving style, they made it back to Remus’s house before Remus’s anticipation made him buzz right out of his skin. Remus pulled to a stop on the curb, suddenly enough that the new buckets of sea water he’d collected sloshed dangerously. He hopped out and bounced towards Logan’s approaching car, barely remembering to actually close his own car door. While Remus waited, Logan carefully lined his car up on the street, turned it off, and finally stepped out, apprehensive.
A neighbor stood on the other side of the street, watering their plants and watching the pair. Remus jauntily waved, drawing Logan’s attention to the neighbor as well.
The neighbor scoffed, turning off their hose. They tossed it on the grass and crossed the street.
“You’re not planning on making more of those obscene costumes of yours out here, are you? Those things are disgusting. Just last week you covered half the street in glitter and rotten sea weed!”
Remus frowned for a second, then gasped and put his hands on either side of his head. “OH! I completely forgot, my swamp monster costume!” He sighed dramatically. “Damn, that party was supposed to be tonight.” Maybe he could still make the costume? There would be future parties to crash. And it would be fun to just wander around town, dressed up like the lost city of Atlantis’s worst nightmares. Maybe he’d accidentally dress up as someone Janus knew!
The neighbor was still scowling, looking between Remus and Logan while Remus’s imagination threatened to run away from him. “Who is this? One of your weirdo friends?”
Remus put away thoughts of terrorizing the town and put an arm around Logan’s shoulders. “Oh this? This is my friend with benefits.” Remus winked.
Logan’s brow furrowed. “What?”
The neighbor’s expression was overcome by revulsion. “Why the hell would I want to know about that? Ugh! You’re disgusting. Do I even want to know what you wanted that old aquarium for? And why did you leave so much sand in my mailbox?”
Remus smiled innocently, his arm still around Logan’s shoulders. “I put a 20 in there, too!”
“I didn’t ask you for that.”
“It’s for the tank.”
“It was covered in sand!”
“You don’t like your money crunchy?”
“Yeah, crunchy.” To illustrate, Remus took a sandy dollar from his pocket and popped it in his mouth with no hesitation, chewing on the salt-soaked paper. The sand grains crunched audibly in his teeth.
At that, the neighbor took several steps back. “What—just—what the hell are you two doing in there? I know you’re up to no good.”
“None of your business, dork!” Remus said, his voice slightly muffled by the dollar. “Now go away before I sick my new fish on you!
The neighbor looked confused and disgruntled, but they threw up their hands and walked away with another loud scoff, stomping across the street. Their front door slammed shut. The hose was still lying on their lawn, forgotten.
Remus leaned over to stage whisper to Logan, shoving the sandy dollar to one side of his mouth. “Logan. Logan. I called them a whale p*nis.”
“I am aware.”
Remus spat out the soggy, sandy dollar, cackled, and grinned like the Cheshire Cat. “Anyway… onward!” he announced, pretending to brandish a weapon. Swords were overused, so he liked to picture a huge, jet black morningstar instead, covered in jagged spikes longer than his thumb. Maybe not practical, but it sure would have that intimidation factor.
“That would be preferable to remaining outdoors,” Logan commented, looking at Remus’s brandished arm with a furrowed brow. Unfortunately, he could not see Remus’s objectively bad*ss morningstar. “I was under the impression that that was why we were here.”
“Don’t want to admire my curb appeal?” Remus joked, putting away his imaginary weapon and turning to the other man.
Logan squinted up at the lime green house. “I’m not sure you know what curb appeal is.”
“Fair enough!” Remus said, marching up to his house. He unlocked the door and swung it dramatically open, his fun-hating neighbor instantly forgotten. “Jan!” he called. “I brought Logey to see you!”
Remus entered the living room first, Logan following behind more slowly. He paused in the doorway, while Remus trotted right up to the tank.
Janus was awake—if he hadn’t been before, yelling someone’s name was usually a good way to wake them up—and was now leaning on the edge of the aquarium, watching them.
“Hey Mr. Taser Fish—feeling chatty today?” Remus asked. Janus had still been asleep when he left earlier, so he hadn’t gotten to ask.
Janus, his eyes still on Logan, slowly reached up a hand and tapped twice on the aquarium glass.
Remus’s shoulders dropped. “Aw. Oh well. I guess we’ll get to play charades a bit longer—that’s fun, right?”
Janus shot him a skeptical glance before returning his gaze to Logan.
Logan was watching their interaction with a conflicting mixture of fascination and apprehension. Remus could practically hear the rapid spinning of gears in his head. He stepped back, gesturing between them. “So, Janus, meet Logan. Logan, this is Janus.”
Despite his clear interest, Logan didn’t seem inclined to come any closer than the doorway where he currently hovered, keeping Remus solidly between himself and Janus.
When Logan finally spoke, his voice was an oddly high pitch. Remus graciously decided not to call him out on it, even if it was amusing. “You, uh, look improved,” he said.
It was true. Janus still looked tired, and maybe a little feverish; but the only other time Logan had seen him, Janus had been visibly sicker, and pretty out of it. The swelling in his face had gone down noticeably, and his neck also looked less red. The injury to his arm was hidden by his capelet, but Remus knew that it already looked much better, too.
The capelet, of course, had not escaped Logan’s notice.
“Did you give that to him?” Logan asked, looking to Remus.
“It’s his,” Remus said. “Found it on the beach, with some other stuff. I did give him the pillow though—it’s my raincoat!” he added proudly
“Oh.” Logan looked back to the tank, seeming to notice the other items as well. He swallowed, turning to address Janus again. “Ah… do you remember me? I know you were rather… unwell, when we first met.”
Janus seemed to consider, then slowly tapped on the glass, with clear hesitation.
“He does,” Remus supplied. “Kind of, I think he means.”
Janus’s nail tapped again on the glass in confirmation.
“That’s what that means?” Logan clarified, his eyes flicking to Remus.
“Yeah. One tap is yes, two is no.”
Logan nodded. Another long moment passed. Logan had a look on his face like he couldn’t quite believe what was happening. And he still hadn’t ventured past the entrance to the room.
Remus smirked a little. “Jeez, Logey, no need to be such a scaredy cat. He’s just a fish man.”
Logan shot him an irritated look. “I’m not afraid,” he argued, even as his gaze drifted to Remus’s bandaged arms. Obviously in an attempt to prove it, he straightened his back and approached, walking right up past Remus and up to the edge of the tank.
He stuck out a hand, and Remus did not miss the way his other one was clenched in a fist, or how he set his jaw. Remus scratched at the edge of one of the bandages on his arms, waiting to see what would happen.
Janus looked warily at his hand, then back up at Logan’s face.
“You shake it,” Logan blurted out. “You take my hand in yours, and shake it. It’s a hand shake.”
Behind them, Remus danced from side to side. “Shake, shake, shake,” he sing-songed to himself.
“It’s a gesture meant to be part of a greeting,” Logan continued, ignoring him.
Janus frowned, but then he deliberately fastened his small hand around Logan’s. Logan jumped slightly despite expecting the touch; but Janus didn’t shock him, and didn’t try to scratch him with those nails that were just a little too sharp to be human. He shook Logan’s hand, from side to side.
A little smile of delight appeared on Logan’s face, his mouth twitching up to reveal very white teeth. He quickly recovered, though, smothering his expression into something more neutral. Remus resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Logey took himself too seriously. It wouldn’t kill him to let himself smile.
“Generally, you, um, shake hands up and down,” Logan said. He still sounded nervous. “Like this.” He carefully shook their hands properly.
Janus furrowed his brow, then retracted his hand.
“So, are we all best buds now?” Remus asked, grinning.
“That seems premature,” Logan commented, sounding a little breathless. Based on Janus’s expression, he shared a similar thought. Now that Logan’s handshake of bravery was done, he took a few steps back.
Remus pointed at Logan. “It’s only premature with that attitude,” he said, accentuating his words with his pointed finger. He turned back to Janus. “You want some lunch, new best bud?”
Janus tapped once on the glass.
“Great!” Remus left the room, heading towards the kitchen.
He only made it about five steps, when there was a loud thump from behind him, followed by a splash of water.
Remus stopped, frowned, and spun around on his heel, going back into the room.
Janus had pushed himself up so that his whole torso was above water. He looked like he regretted the sudden motion, but still his hands gripped the edge of the tank, his eyes wide with surprise. Water dripped down the sides of the glass.
Logan, meanwhile, was not standing where Remus expected to see him. Remus blinked, then looked down.
Logan was sprawled out on the floor, unconscious.
“Huh.” Remus looked at him for a second, then back up at Janus. “Well, sh*t.”
Remus walked into the living room with Janus’s lunch in one hand, and a glass of water in the other. “Alright, Jan Jan, I actually got your food this time! This is for you,” he told the merman, handing over the fish with a flourish.
Janus accepted the food and sank to the bottom of the tank, where he started eating, never taking his gaze off of the humans for long.
“Aaand this is for you,” Remus said as he handed the water to Logan, who sat on the couch, his face still flushed red in mortification. The fact that Janus kept looking at Logan was not helping him feel any less flustered.
Logan took the glass with a small nod. Janus had started to pick his meal apart, tearing off scraps of fish and eating them one at a time. Logan slowly sipped from the glass of water. He’d insisted he must have been dehydrated or something, from work, but he got the sense that Remus did not believe him.
Remus plopped down beside Logan. “So, you sure you’re good? How’s the head?”
Logan took another sip of water. “I’m fine.”
“Really? I mean, I took one step out of the room and you conked right out on the floor.” Remus cackled. “Is Janus really that scary? I know he’s got fangs and stuff, but he’s the size of a little kid.”
Logan’s mouth thinned, his hands tightening on the glass. “W-well, in my defense, it’s not every day that I am pressured into meeting someone whose existence is so improbable, especially one with fangs and the ability to electrocute me—”
Remus put his hands up, interrupting Logan’s justifications. His expression had fallen, and he had the grace to look sheepish. “Hey, hey, I’m sorry. Not judging. But your head’s okay? I don’t want any cracked eggshells. This is a whole eggshell household.”
Logan put a hand to the back of his head subconsciously, even though he had already carefully checked for an injury. “It’s fine.”
Remus looked him up and down, squinting, before he seemed to accept that he was telling the truth. He clapped his hands together. “Excellent! In that case, I’m going to go grab those buckets from my car.”
He started out of the room, only to pause and point a stern finger back at Logan. “No more fainting,” he said.
“So, how do you want to do this?” Remus asked, pacing back and forth with a hand to his chin. All of the buckets of sea water were lined up along the wall, and the remains of Janus’s meal had been taken away. Now they just had to clean the tank and switch out the water, but Janus was still in there, and he probably wouldn’t want to be in there for the whole time. Plus, they should probably check his injuries.
“Your arms are still burned,” Logan reminded him from the couch. “You shouldn’t pick him up. Your bandages will get wet, at the very least.”
“I’ve done it before,” Remus shrugged. “He’s not heavy.”
“It would be better if I did it,” Logan said.
Remus turned, giving him a disbelieving look, and tilted his head. “Ah…”
“I’m fine now,” Logan insisted.
Remus wasn’t convinced. He glanced at Janus, who looked uncertain about the whole idea of being picked up at all. Remus doubted he wanted to be picked up by someone who very well might faint again and drop him.
He considered. “I could cover up my arms. Like for the shower, but less naked.”
Logan let out a frustrated sigh, shaking his head, but he seemed to realize that neither Remus nor Janus were going to let him pick up the merman that day. “…Fine.”
Five minutes later, freshly adorned with two large plastic trash bags, which were taped in place around his arms with duct tape, Remus walked back into the room. He swung his arms as he walked so the wrinkles in the plastic caught the air and made them puff out slightly.
“Like my new digs?” he asked. “How do I look?”
Logan set his empty glass on the table. “You look like you taped a pair of 13 gallon trash can bags to your own arms. With… is that zebra print duct tape?”
“I’m a trendsetter; you can just say it.”
Logan frowned his confused frown, and Remus grinned before he turned to Janus. “Alright, Mr. Taser Fish, ready to go?”
Janus looked reluctant, but didn’t fight Remus as he lifted the small merman from the tank, dripping water. Remus carried him out into the kitchen, setting him down in the kitchen sink, which was half-filled with saltwater. He’d grabbed some towels to pad the side of it and make a pillow.
Janus looked around uncertainly as he shifted to get more comfortable. He looked up at Remus, who could tell he wanted to ask a question. Remus could guess what it was.
“This is where we fixed you up,” Remus explained. “Is it comfy enough?”
Janus took a moment to assess his surroundings, before carefully tapping once on the counter.
“Great—I’ll just take care of the tank. Just yell if you need something. Or drop a plate on the floor. I got the whole set at a yard sale just for promising I’d leave, so it’s no loss! Maybe I’ll actually go buy those ones I’ve had my eye on. They’ve got this octopus on them, and he’s got a top hat and a bunch of knives. Which is just top tier design.”
Janus stared at him. Remus grinned, saluted, and bounced back to the other room.
Cleaning the tank took a while, but it wasn’t too long before Remus had finished pouring the last bucket of seawater in, tossing the empty plastic container into the haphazard pile of other buckets, to be taken back to the beach the next day. He returned to the kitchen for Janus, who wasn’t pleased about being woken from his nap; but he let Remus pick him up and carry him back to the tank readily enough.
“Oookay,” Remus said once Janus was back in the tank. “Logey, you ready to go?”
“Ah… yes, I suppose I ought to return home,” Logan said. He got to his feet. “I’ll see myself out.”
“I could drive you.”
“I require my car. I’ll be fine on my own.”
“No, no, no, congrats on your new stalker, buddy. If you won’t let me drive you, I’m going to follow you home, to make sure you get there okay.”
Logan frowned. “That is unnecessary.”
“Well, what if we stop somewhere for some food? Then I’m not just following you, we’re going to hang out. You have to eat lunch at some point, right?”
“…That would be acceptable, I suppose.”
“It’s a date!” Remus turned to Janus. “Butt—” he waggled his “—before we go, do you need anything? More food? My offer of a bedtime story is still open, even if it’s noon.”
Janus had seemed to be attempting to follow Logan’s and Remus’s conversation, with limited success. At being addressed, he straightened slightly, then mulled over the question for a long moment.
He glanced down, steeled himself, and stuck out one of his hands.
Remus blinked, confused. Did he want a handshake? Maybe he wanted one from Remus and Logan.
But when he reached to shake the merman’s hand, Janus yanked it back with a look of frustration, only to hold it out again. Remus realized he was actually offering the metal cuff on his wrist, the one with the bandage wrapped underneath.
“Are you giving that to me?” Remus asked with a frown. “The cuff?” It was pretty, sure, shiny metal despite being from underwater, and etched with symbols, but it was a little small for Remus’s wrist.
The merman hesitated, frowned, then tapped on the tank.
“Oh. You don’t want it?” Remus wasn’t sure what he’d do with it, but if the merman really wanted to give it away, he wouldn’t refuse.
The merman tapped what seemed an overly adamant no. Remus got the idea he was missing something.
“Okay. Does it… do you know how to take it off?” The cuff didn’t appear to fit over his hand, and neither Logan nor Remus had noticed any way to release it. The cuff seemed featureless, other than some symbols that decorated it, symbols that resembled Janus’s writing the day before, but which might as well have been gibberish to Remus.
Looking frustrated, Janus tapped twice again, another firm no.
Ohhh. “So… you want help getting that off? Like the garbage, the other day?”
The merman tapped loudly on the glass. There was a desperate, yet utterly hopeless look growing in his eyes, one that alarmed Remus. It was just a bracelet! A thick bracelet, sure, but it couldn’t be that bad, right? Maybe it had been stuck on him for a really long time or something.
Remus hesitantly took his wrist, which Janus allowed. He turned it this way and that, inspecting it. He thought of the bruised skin around the cuff, currently hidden by bandages, and realized that that was probably the result of the merman’s own attempts to remove it. “How did you even get this on?” he wondered aloud.
Remus heard shuffling steps as Logan came over to see. “He doesn’t have it on by choice? I thought it was decorative.”
“I guess not?” Or if it had been, it wasn’t anymore.
Janus let out a frustrated sigh through his nose. Remus considered trying their pizza box alphabet again, but then the merman took one of his fingers and traced a line along the cuff, from one side to the other. Remus leaned in closer, making Janus twitch uncomfortably, and finally saw a near perfect seam in the metal, which followed along some of the symbols—letters?—etched there.
“I see,” Remus said, and Janus relaxed imperceptibly at the small amount of progress. So, it did open somehow. Or had, at some point. He considered, inspecting the cuff further.
“Does it unlock?” Logan asked. “Is there somewhere a key goes in?”
Janus reached out with his free hand and motioned to a portion of the cuff. Remus squinted, and realized that he could in fact see a small hole there. But it was so small, there was no way his lockpicking tools could fit inside.
“Hmm. That’s way too small for a paper clip.”
“You don’t have the key, do you?” Logan asked.
Janus sighed and didn’t bother answering. His body language, and perhaps the fact that the cuff was still on his wrist, were answer enough.
“How’d you get this on here in the first place?” Remus asked.
Janus, of course, said nothing.
“I guess I could try my lockpicking kit—”
“You have a lockpicking kit?”
“—but I really doubt it’ll work on this.”
Logan held out a hand. “May I see?”
Remus glanced at him with an exaggerated amount of skepticism. “Only if you pinkie promise to stay conscious.”
“Shut up.” Logan brushed away Remus’s proffered pinkie, and very carefully took Janus’s wrist from the other man, at first touching it only with his fingertips. The merman looked uncomfortable, but there was a faint, guarded hope in his eyes.
A silent moment passed as Logan examined the cuff. He ran his thumb over the symbols. “Are these letters?” he asked. “What do they mean?”
Janus’s hands clenched suddenly, and Logan quickly let go of his wrist, practically scrambling away.
Nothing else happened, so Logan shakily cleared his throat. “W-well, It… it looks like it is made of rather strong metal, and as… as Remus said, there is no obvious mechanism by which we can remove it.”
Janus wilted in bitter resignation.
“So… the only option may be to cut it off.”
Janus lifted his head, eyes wary. He put his free hand over the cuffed one protectively. Logan didn’t seem to notice.
“He means the cuff, not your hand,” Remus interjected, before that misunderstanding could become disastrous.
“I—yes, of course I meant the cuff. I know someone who can do it safely. If-if you’ll let him.”
Janus stared between them, disbelief written across his features. He opened his mouth, closed it, then tried again.
“You can remove it?”
The words were very quiet, hoarse, and clearly painful to get out, but they were understandable. Logan’s eyes widened. Remus managed to keep his scream internal—barely.
“I believe my friend can,” Logan said slowly. “Will you allow me to contact him?”
“Only if my lockpick doesn’t work!” Remus assured. He was 99% sure it wouldn’t, but he’d still try.
Janus’s hand wrapped around his wrist. He still looked incredibly doubtful, and the silence went on long enough that Remus almost thought that that was their answer; but then he reached forward, and tapped once on the glass.
This was a terrible idea.
Janus knew it. He knew he should be absolutely against any more humans finding out about him. More humans meant more unpredictability, meant more danger.
But if it meant the end of this f*cking cuff on his wrist, he’d do almost anything.
Remus’s ‘lockpick’ hadn’t worked—sharp metal tools that he struggled to fit in the near-perfect seam in the metal, with the only effect a sore hand and a new scratch in the cuff’s surface that didn’t do anything towards weakening its structural integrity.
So, now he and Logan were gone doing whatever they were doing, and Logan was going to reach out to this ‘friend’ of his.
Maybe he actually didn’t know anyone who could get the cuff off. Maybe he’d hit his head when he fainted, and wasn’t thinking clearly. Maybe this was a waste of time.
At least Logan didn’t seem nearly so scary anymore, after what had happened.
Janus leaned his head on the cool glass, letting his eyelids close.
Maybe it was a waste of time to even try to get this cuff off, but undeniably, there was still a part of him that desperately wanted to go home. If not back to his own pod, who would know of his conviction with or without the marker of his banishment, then to another pod. One who had never heard of Janus, the vicious attempted murderer who got off easy.