Asked by thejillsequence
As tempting as it was to make comparisons to howler monkeys, that anguished wail was quite worrying. Niall hurried along the forest path, trying to follow the sound of Amir’s cries. Along with the yelling was the noise of snapping twigs and rustling leaves, along with an odd, arrhythmic thump kept occurring. The search was frustrating; no matter where he went, Niall seemed to be going in circles. Amir’s voice sounded near, then far, but there was no exact indication of where it was coming from.
Until he looked up.
Amir Malik, third son of the all-powerful Malik Industries and the frankly terrifying Jalila, was hanging upside down by an ankle, red in the face and trying desperately to swing himself towards the nearest branch so he could get a good grip on it. Niall stared up, trying to make sense of Amir’s bulk suspended in such a strange way, and Amir spotted him.
The man could win awards in Galaxy’s Most Plaintive Wail right now.
"Okay! Okay!" This was so not what lab work had prepared him for. Niall assessed the situation as best he could and worked out that Amir had stepped into a snare. The rope could be released but the binding end was around a limb a good climb up the trunk. Niall sighed and rolled his sleeves up before unwinding his tie and draping it neatly over the nearest bush. He started to climb. "How’d you get yourself into this situation, anyway?"
Amir had stopped wriggling like a fish on a hook, for the moment, and was just dangling upside down, his fallen t-shirt covering his face and revealing way too many abdominals for Niall to climb entirely safely. He swore as he felt splinters dig into his palms. “I saw some ripe berries,” Amir said, miserably. “I went over to pick them off the ground and this happened.”
Niall paused in his ascent and blinked at him. “Off the ground? Not off a bush?”
"It was a low bush! It wasn’t a completely obvious trap!"
Niall snorted and reached the limb where the tree was tied, where he faced a conundrum. Unwrapping the rope would send Amir plummeting to the ground, head first. Leaving him suspended much longer would do dangerous things to his brain. “I need you to swing over, Amir. I’ll catch you and pull you to the branch, and once you’re sat I’ll get the rope off you.”
He hoped. He wasn’t exactly built for dragging Amir anywhere, unless Amir wanted to be.
"Yeah, okay. Let’s give Newton’s cradle of Amir a go." Amir swung his weight forward, setting the branch he was suspended from creaking. Niall eyed it nervously.
"You might want to be quick."
Amir grunted agreement and swung forwards, his fingers reaching out for Niall. Niall grasped a branch for support and stretched out, but didn’t quite manage to reach him. Attempt two resulted in a frustrating brushing of fingertips before Amir swung back again, and this time Niall managed to seize Amir’s wrist and tug. Amir had gone past red and was now almost purple, which was worrying. Hauling him up to the branch almost dislocated Niall’s shoulder but after some scrabbling, Amir managed to grab a branch and support his free leg on the limb which Niall was standing on. This put him in a pose like a ballet dance en point, one leg stretched out behind him.
Amir grumbled. “No letting anybody know about this.”
Niall flicked open his penknife and quickly cut Amir free. Amir slumped against the trunk, huffing out a breath as his colour went back to normal. “Oof. Thanks, Niall. I thought I was going to pass out.”
Niall smiled at him. “Anytime. Just don’t go picking fruit up off the floor again, alright? Let’s see that leg.”
As expected, the rope had done a number on Amir’s skin, but the thick material of his jeans had mostly protected him. Just some friction burning and purple pressure marks. Niall pressed his fingers to the wounds, and they closed up under his touch. When he looked up, Amir was staring down at him with admiration. “Still not over how you do that.”
Niall grinned a little. “I’m quite fond of it as well. Now, are you feeling in need of some tender loving care?” Amir nodded quickly, his grin growing as Niall knelt up, keeping himself in place on the branch by holding the sides of Amir’s legs. “I’m just going to check your reaction times are normal.”
Judging by the much happier noises echoing through the trees that followed, Amir was going to make a full recovery in no time.
Asked by thejillsequence
Siali looked down at her fingers threaded with Peetah’s. It might be a very long time before I can do this again. After Druka, Peetah would go to Maqabim, a place Siali had absolutely no desire to be. They’d find ways to see each other but Siali had grown used to the idea of permanence during the time she’d been in the villa, of knowing that even when she couldn’t see the people she cared for they would be in close proximity.
It would be hard to say goodbye, even with Kathil by her side.
"You could join us." The offer is softly-spoken, because she knows that Peetah won’t accept. She’s loyal to Bela, Z, the Call, Nicolette. And besides she knows Kathil wouldn’t be thrilled with the idea. Peetah knows it too, but the other woman smiles regardless. Her worn fingertips touch Siali’s cheek.
"Thank you for saying that." Peetah cracks a grin that doesn’t even slightly touch her eyes. "Besides, we can always meet up. Crack a few heads in bars, for old time’s sake."
"That’d be good."
They don’t have very long now and Peetah needs to be back on board, making sure the Siren’s Call is ready to depart. Siali looks down at her, a deep ache pressing against her insides, before cupping her face and bending down to kiss her.
They sink into it a long time before Peetah pulls away. “It was all good, Siali. Keep safe.” She unwinds her fingers from Siali’s. “Don’t go messing with any more ghosts, now.”
Siali snorts, feeling like she’s mimicking herself. “That’s a promise. No magic shit.”
Peetah takes a step back and Siali straightens up. They look at each other, and Siali opens her mouth to say something she turns out not to have words for. Instead she watches as Peetah nods at her and turns to go.
Siali returns to Kathil and they wait in the docking bay, hands folded together as they watch the Call launch. When it’s out of sight they look at each other and hug each other tightly, neither needing to say a word.
Named for the brothel in which she was conceived, Pearl has always been blessed with the sense of humor (and lack of morals) her namesake would suggest. Having been tossed from place to place in her childhood, Pearl would say she’s seen it all. From the age of 10 she could rob you blind with a word, or kill you and make it look like a very comical accident. She likes shiny things, card games, and the few, very rare people who can hold her attention for more than five minutes.
Asked by thejillsequence
SPOT ON WHO’D THUNK IT. :D
Asked by magesmagesmages
Oooh very good about eight and a half out of ten! I’m actually bi/pan and I quite like mushrooms as long as they’re with something else or garlic-fried. Also EEE you and tanya both said you like my art I’m blushing and clearly I need to draw more