from_the_west: ([mac lugh] lilimin-deamhan's child)
[personal profile] from_the_west
...annnd switching gears. one of 3 requests for stone and lilimin.

****

"Oh Frigga." He gasped--they were far enough above the waves that she heard him clearly, and then a whispered curse that was also a fervent prayer, and the distressed groan after that. She looked down at the boy that was clinging to the cliff-face in the grip of an inexplicable terror. Only the lower half of his face was visible beneath the brim of his hat; his chin and nose, and she could see the thin film of sweat on his upper lip and collecting along straining forearms bared by his rolled-up sleeves, with eyes as sharp as her hearing.



The earlier comments were followed up by a shaky chant of "Don't look, don't look, don't look--Aw, fuck, my hat!" As it was whipped away by the wind. Even more curious, as clearly he didn't care to lose it in that manner, tá? So why didn't he make it stop? She left her perch, swooped down and caught the hat in her talons, and swept back, shifting as she went, hovering at his level, her wings spread and the wind tossing her hair, and then sweeping the mostly translucent layers of brown and gray against her otherwise bare legs and feet a moment, before easing to let the gown billow around her.

He stared at her. She took the moment to admire the striking green of his eyes. "How'd you talk me into this again?" He asked.

"I didn't, nil hea. I don't think I did? I asked and you said, yes, and then you followed me. If you didn't want to, you should have said otherwise." She helpfully reached over and tried to set his hat back upon his rumpled blond hair.

"Jus' hold on to it for me, okay?"

"Se maith." Such a strange boy, with much too impressive a will to let the wind take such liberties with him as this, or to stay so helpless hanging onto the face of the element that was rightfully his to master, clinging like a lover and yet at odds with it at once. So human. Why? She hung there in the air beside him, fascinated by this moment, and then found it all too terribly endearing for words--she bridged the space between them and gave him a gentle kiss. He tasted like honey and smoke. "You've only a little further."

He stopped trembling immediately, stared at her again with something much less like fear. Then he turned his face upward and started feeling for the next handhold, and squinting past his unruly hair that had started the morning carefully combed back, and now hung in his eyes. He might at least have spared the will to fix that at least--she supposed this might have something to with pride? She'd been told that pride often led to falling--and this was a long fall, tá. She shifted the wind to blow the hair out of his face for him. It wasn't worth all that. Then she floated back to her perch, and put a hand down to help him the rest of the way up.

He missed the offer entirely--he was too busy frantically scrambling to safety. He dragged himself up on the sheltered ledge, belly-crawled away from the edge, and then rolled over on his back, panting. Deep in the shadowed cleft of the cliff-face, she could take stock of the damage he'd done himself. There was a hole in the knee of his pants, through which a scraped and bleeding knee protruded, and the front of his shirt was smeared with filth and missing several buttons; one of them hung by a last stubborn thread. "Gods. Finally." He started to laugh shakily. "...What the fuck was I thinkin', Mina?"

She hadn't the least idea. She was a little disappointed he didn't know, because she was hoping he'd explain it to her. She liked "Mina," though. Most called her Lilimin, and the "min" part was only supposed to mean "small", but "Mina" all by itself had many more meanings, in other languages, and all of them flattering. It spoke of her eyes, and the sky, and a flower. She glided over and settled near his head, her legs curled mostly beneath her, and looked down at him, smiling just a little--all her smiles were small and fleeting. He seemed to like making her smile, though, which seemed a strange thing to take up for a hobby. Did she mention he was strange?

He was a very bright and shining sort of strange, though. Mostly gold and green, to her, and it was pretty, even with the shadows she sometimes saw layered in, which were intriguing, and his near-constant wearing of her colors, somber colors, on strange fashion that covered him all up head to toes--white shirt, and dark brown, or gray or black pants, and the dark striped straps that held them up, that went over his shoulders, and a strip of dark silk--black or red or blue or gray, knotted at his throat and held with a tiny pin. Not today, though, she'd convinced him to leave his shoes off, and then he'd lost that strip of fabric shortly after they'd left the house, but he'd managed to keep his hat. She remembered, then, to return him his hat. She made a careful attempt to put it on him--but he was still laying flat, so all she could do was place it on his face.

He laughed into it, and took it off, and let his arm fall wide, with the hat in his hand. "Thanks, babe." And then impulsively, he rose up on his elbow and reached up and put it on her head. "There." He shifted it around a little, one way or another, and lightly brushed the hair away from her shoulders and out of her face, and then he grinned. "Perfect. Looks cuter on you, anyways."

"I brought you to show you the Short Sea and the Main the way I see them." She said, "and you are still only looking at me?"

"I like lookin' at you. But yeah, I guess since I went through all the trouble, I should check out the other view too. You'll totally forgive me if I don't look right away, though, right? I'm still kinda queasy."

This was also funny and strange. "But you are still on the ground. You see? All rock. All still Tirnanog." She patted the ledge.

"Uhhuh. I can still feel the sea smackin' it. And all that pretty view's gonna be ruined by my thinkin' about how I'm gonna get back down from here."

She shook her head at him. "Nil hea, we get down by climbing further up. Then we take the long way down, on the road."

"That's uh...that's uh, real comfortin', that is--An' you had me climb up here when we could've just took a road?"

"It's faster, tá?" She smiled and poked his arm. "I did not know you would choose to do it the way you did."

He rose up on both elbows and tried to turn his head to look over at his back, which was even funnier, because his head couldn't turn the way hers did. "...Nope! No wings! How were you thinkin' I was gonna get up here?"

She tilted her head at him. "By telling the rocks to bear you up, I imagined."

"...Oh. Right. I guess I could've done some kinda elemental re-arrangement, huh?"

Ah. Not pride then. Nothing more than his thinking turned by spending too long on the wrong side of the veil. She nodded at him solemnly. "But you climb very well."

"I'd ask for in comparison t'what, but I think i'll jus' take the compliment an' run." He grinned a crooked, charming grin.

"You can't steal my flattering words and run." She pointed out. "As I have you trapped in a tower, surrounded by water and air."

"Oh, yeah." He pondered this a moment, still resting on his elbows, his head tilted against one of his shoulders. "So what's my ransom, then?"

"...A ransom." She dropped down beside him on her belly, and propped herself up on her elbows too, and her chin on her hand, and the other hand traced his fingers, where they rested against the stone. "...I would demand... the wind at my beck and call always. The sea foam at noontime to sculpt at midnight. My own constellation of stars on a string. A summer night in a jar, so it's always handy. A whippoorwill chorus, a hedgehog circus, and... hmm." She pursed her lips vexedly. "I forget what it's called, but it's marvelous rare and shiny." She eyed him thoughtfully for a moment. "What else?"

He chuckled. "Sorry to tell, babe, I know I'm an Ard Rivut an' all, but I don't think I'm worth that much."

"You don't fool me, Freyresson." She ruffled at him. "I have some idea of what a soul's worth--my maidre taught me. I'd have all of my ransom, and much more, if I decided I didn't have a care for what hands you wound up in, and opened it to the highest bidder--Come to think of it, that'd be rather tempting, wouldn't it? Think of what all we could get." And then she quickly added, "I did remember the "we," in that, didn't I? I wouldn't actually turn you over, of course, it would be like that bait-and-switch game you showed me, that you played with your Gaia-friends..."

He'd stopped smiling and was looking at her rather strangely. Not that it was a particularly different look from any of his serious ones--just very intense, and quite unexpected, and she couldn't quite figure out what it meant.

"...What?" She asked, wondering if there was something perhaps she ought to be apologizing for. She often said things that seemed to disturb people.

"...Thanks."

"What?" She repeated, confusion flattening most of her feathers and raising others.

"Nuthin'. Forget about it. You're just... kinda amazin', y'know?"

She didn't know, that was the thing, and didn't understand what he was going on about, and sometimes the puzzle he presented was fascinating, but now he was a bit frustrating--she had lately been accustomed to being able to figure these things out, by now. She'd watched a lot of people, her family, and everyone else here on the Isle, and the Main, and even on Gaia, when she flew past the veil. Of course, he had been on Gaia for longer than was probably good for him--long enough for some to think him dead, despite the reassurances from the Winter Court to the contrary, and Alistar had mentioned that his cousin seemed to have returned to Faerie much different than he remembered him, harder, of course, that's to be expected, forgetful of his power, which she had just seen and which also made sense, tá, but somewhat strange in other ways too, maybe a little broken, maybe even a little mad--maybe that was why she couldn't understand him now. She wished Alistar could've explained how he was different in a useful-to-her sort of way; she'd never paid Freyresson much attention until now. There were only hazy memories of gold to which to compare to the here-and-now.

She supposed she should ask him to explain himself, but that might take a while, since he didn't seem all that inclined to talk about himself in general, and he still hid distressingly well. Well, most things. She did notice that he might want a kiss, and that was in the range of things she understood and was all too willing to be distracted by. A kiss, and a return to the taste of honey and smoke and a harmless sip of that bright-sparking aura that left her head warm and fuzzy like a glass of Gaian champagne.

He lingered for a moment, and it was clear he wanted another kiss, and then perhaps another, but the hat he'd put on her became an impediment; he took it off again.
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