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Dagger No More [Leon]

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Dagger No More [Leon] - Page 2 Empty Re: Dagger No More [Leon]

Post by Leon Hoffman Mon Jul 12, 2021 6:09 am



Dagger No More [Leon] - Page 2 18lTu9A

Plump Nut

Leon wished he could say that he was relieved when Percy told him that the assassin was finally off their trail, but that didn't magically solve their most immediate problem. Even though there was an arrow jutting out of Percy, there wasn't a hospital or clinic in sight, let alone a road or train tracks to take them there. The assassin was gone, but now they had to wiggle their way out of this one.

They took their break, and from an outsider's perspective, things were going swimmingly. They had both perfected their craft, after all—Percy and the way he gracefully took pain and inconvenience without fuss, and Leon and the way he made himself and others feel that it would all turn out okay. But he knew that Percy was only human, and that arrow must've hurt like hell, and Leon was one minor inconvenience away from blatantly panicking. Still, he told himself that they'd make it into town and that everything would be alright because if it wasn't, there was nothing left in life for him. He knew that.

But how? He could comfort himself with his own thoughts all he wanted, but that didn't change the fact that they were practically in the middle of nowhere. He didn't know which way was which, and it's not like they had the luxury of a GPS to guide them back to town. Percy's mind wandered, and Leon could tell that much as he sat on the ground. Their situation was becoming more desperate as time drew on, but that's when something unexpected happened.

Popping over the hill was a horse-drawn carriage filled with adventurers as they hopped off of it and started their journey and metal and smiles, bidding their farewells to a kind-looking man as he began to tend to his carriage. Or, well, so it seemed. The beast that drew the carriage was like nothing Leon has ever seen before. Earthland had no shortage of fantastical creatures, but it wasn't like he had ever seen a unicorn before. Not only that, the kind-looking man that tended to it all had ears like a bunny. This wouldn't be alarming in some countries, but people like him were... uncommon, to say the least. At least in Fiore, they were.

Regardless of his surprise, the good thing was that they weren't stranded, and the fact that anyone showed up in his desolate place at all was enough to send a ray of hope and relief into Leon's uncertain heart. Leaving Percy, he ran after the parked carriage with his voice booming and eyes wide.

"Heeey!! Help!" shouted Leon, practically sprinting over to the carriage as fast as he could. This certainly caught the man's attention, turning over to find a dark-haired man running after him with a look of panic on his face. By the time Leon caught up to him, he was out of breath despite the unremarkable distance between them, face caked in sweat as he leaned on his knees. "Please, you... haa.... you've got to help us... hmmph...haa..."

"Help what now, son?" the kind-looking man tilted his head, staring at Leon with this puzzled expression. Well, that made sense. Who wouldn't be confused by this?

"Percy, he... haa..." Leon panted, finally catching his breath before pointing back at his lover down the hill, "He's injured! Can you take us back to town? He really needs to see a doctor!"

"Doctor? Oh my..." repeated the man, following Leon's gaze and looking at Percy with sympathetic eyes, "Here, why don't you take'im and put'im in the trunk, son? We'll get'im a healer in no time."

Without another word, Leon ran back to Percy, eager to help him up to the carriage now that their ride was secured. Every time he saw Percy like this, his heart ached. He had almost lost him one too many times, and now faced with that devastating possibility, he was willing to do anything to make sure his lover got the care he needed. It didn't matter if he'd have to hijack the carriage or threaten the bunny-man. He'd do whatever it took to keep Percy safe, even if it meant pushing others over the edge to do so.

"Hey, hey, hey—hey! I got us a ride. You listenin'?" Leon smiled roughly, attempting to help Percy up off of his feet, "Want me to carry you? I totally will, so just give me the signal whenever. Okay?"

Times like these made it clear that good people were capable of bad things when the ones they treasured most depended on them, and it seemed like Leon's head went to all sorts of dark places in the last few hours.


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Post by Percy Mon Jul 12, 2021 3:02 pm

Percy was awake, but his brain had gone a little fuzzy. There were some thoughts firing, but they were random, chasing between the glaring issue of an arrow in his gut and the unknown journey ahead, but as Leon ran off suddenly, another slow trickle of thought began. Was that a carriage... and a unicorn? The injured man was starting to doubt what he was seeing, only adding confusion to his daze. Yeah, he was seeing things. That didn't make any sense. Maybe he'd lost more blood than he'd calculated.

However, when Leon returned, he certainly seemed excited about something. Sluggishly looking up at his smiling lover, he smiled back almost out of reflex. His whole world didn't smile very often, but he'd already seen two very beautiful ones in the last hour or two. They were so bright, and he was distracted for a moment before it registered what was being said. He nodded that he was listening now, but then he was being pulled up. "Y-you mean... that's real?" he asked, vaguely gesturing to their ride with an expression of surprise and, for really the first time today, a little hope. Were they really going to be okay?

His mind, no matter how mushy, was on board for getting up to get out of here, but his body wasn't. He'd only walked about a yard before his legs started trembling with fatigue, causing him to stumble. That last break might have been the remnants of his strength leaving him. As much as he hated to set his pride aside, he was far too weakened to walk himself up the hill. At least Leon was more than willing to carry him. He'd already offered that a couple of times, hadn't he? "Leon," he prompted, leaning a little harder on his lover as his steps paused. That was his signal. And as those strong arms would sweep him off of his feet, Percy uttered his first cry of pain.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:42 am



Dagger No More [Leon] - Page 2 18lTu9A

Plump Nut

Percy was a stubborn, prideful man, and while pain hurt him just as much as it did for everyone else, he preferred that others didn't know that. Frequently training together had made lifting Percy's weight a simple task for Leon, but it never felt heavier to sweep his lover off his feet and carry him up the hill, just a small ways from the unicorn-drawn carriage that awaited them at the top. That grunt of pain Percy made when he was swept off his feet made Leon's heart ache, knowing that it was his fault that they were in this situation.

* * *

For the entire ride, Leon sat in the back with Percy, holding him close while staying alert for their new and dangerous situation—like a loyal dog stuck to its wounded owner. He wasn't typically a cynical man, but every time the bunny-eared man tried to spark conversation or investigate their situation, Leon became dismissive and looked at him sharply. Until he knew that Percy would recover from his wound, Leon was on edge and glued to his side.

About thirty minutes had passed since they began their uncertain voyage across the meadow, and watching the hills and valleys appear on the horizon made Leon dread the possibility of treading this by foot. Even so, where even were they? The boonies? It seemed so different from the road they were traveling before, Leon couldn't wait to figure it all out when they had the chance. But this was a conversation to be had after dealing with Percy's injury, the assassin, and... the argument they left unresolved.

"How much longer?" Leon spoke out at the strange-looking man, looking at him with those fierce marigolds of his. All he could think about was Percy and how uncomfortable he probably felt. Why was this taking so long?

"Hold yer' unicorns now, son. We're just 'bout there, y'hear?" he'd respond with an almost-laugh, nearly unconcerned with the two men in his carriage. Of course, Leon took notice of his attitude, and didn't appreciate it.

"There?" his eyes sharpened and his gentle and ginger hold on Percy squeezed just a bit.

"Where y'think? Otenshire's finest clinic! Where'd d'ya think we'd be headin', boy? Sinhaven? Pftha!"

Otenshire? Sinhaven? Leon was so puzzled by these names and his heavy country twang that he wasn't sure whether to ditch the ride altogether or to pry for more information. Surely, he wouldn't have to pry all too hard since this man didn't seem secretive at all, but it was still... odd.

Ten Minutes Later

In the end, Leon decided not to ask anymore questions and to let their destination speak for itself. Surely enough, they did arrive at a clinic, but it was in a place like nothing he had ever seen before. The signs, the animals, the people—how far did they walk away from the road?

His surprise aside, Leon only gave the bunny-eared man a grateful nod before carrying his lover into the clinic with a dreadful look on his face. The clinic seemed to match the ruralness of the area, and wasn't too busy and didn't seem as "modern" as hospital in places like Rose Garden or Neutral Grounds. Still, Leon pushed past what little amount of people were there and made his way to the front of the reception desk.

"Hey! You need to help him! Right now!"


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Post by Percy Sun Jul 18, 2021 8:05 am

The ride was agonizing but much more doable than the walking. He was grateful to get to sit and rest his head on Leon's shoulder with his eyes closed. Perhaps he should have been paying more attention to the surroundings, but he was understandably distracted. He hadn't even registered that the man driving them had rabbit ears yet.

The medic had them, too, and that he ended up noticing when he was jostled out of... his daze or blackout or whatever. Percy blinked a few times at the ethereal bunny woman he was honestly thinking he'd imagined. "Uhh...?" he asked, staring at her pale, delicate features before glancing at Leon as if to ask if he saw her, too. She seemed alarmingly real when her hands touched his forehead and cheeks, then pressed around the wound, which earned her a low groan.

"Oh, you poor dear! How did you get jabbed with this weird thing?" she tutted, though there was a curiously knowing glimmer in her green eyes as she glanced between the two men. "Charlie!" she called, and soon a man appeared. He had curly red hair and freckles, and though he didn't look like he could lift much, he'd grown up throwing sacks of potatoes and carrying sheep on his shoulders. He plucked Percy from Leon's arms like it was nothing and hauled him off to one of three back rooms.

***
An Hour Later


The door the three of them had disappeared into opened and the Lapin and Charlie emerged with a smile on her face. "It wasn't as bad as it looked," she said as she neared Leon, warmth in her motherly face. Up close she was older than she first appeared, her ashy brown hair just starting to gray in the front and at the tips of her ears. There was a rag in her hand smeared with red, but there was no iron odor to her. She smelled like freshly cut herbs and earthy flowers, though none were familiar. In fact, unlike all the Earthland clinics and hospitals, there were no scents of harsh chemicals or cleaners at all. It smelled like garden and cedar, the latter explained by the woodsy construction of the place.

"You can see him now. I'll be in once he's rested up a little, alright?" the doctor said kindly before walking off to meet with another patient.

Inside the room, Percy was resting comfortably on a soft mattress in a simple wooden frame. His middle was tightly dressed to keep some sort of herbal mix on the wound, and there was a curious root in his mouth that he seemed to be sucking on, though, by his expression, it tasted terrible. However, the color was back in his cheeks and the sweaty sheen was gone. Other than the bandage, he looked right as rain again, though he was a little tired in the eyes. It was amazing how much better you could feel without an arrow sticking out of you.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:09 am



Dagger No More [Leon] - Page 2 18lTu9A

Plump Nut

The entire time he was separated from Percy, Leon was irritably pacing back and forth outside of the room he was being tended to in. It wasn't like he and Percy never found themselves in troubling, dangerous situations like this before, but Leon had never been more on edge than now. A lot had happened today—most of it bad—and he was at a point where nothing would truly be okay until Percy was okay. He continued to pace back and forth that hall for what felt like hours, brooding over their new situation and the old one they were trying to escape until he heard the strange-looking woman come out from the room.

Even though this woman was giving Leon a pretty brisk debriefing of what happened, he was still constantly glancing into the room and away from her eyes with this eagerness. He didn't want to talk unless it was with his boyfriend, who he wouldn't believe was okay until he saw it himself, even from the mouth of the one who treated him.

"'Kay, thanks!" Leon said in a hurry, shuffling past her and into the room with this intense look on his face. He never had a kind-looking face, but he looked even less friendly when he was stressed or upset. Still, it was nothing Percy hadn't seen before.

Resting comfortably on a seemingly soft mattress, Percy laid there with the color back in his flesh and of sound enough mind to wear this expression of disgust due to whatever he was sucking on right now—a root, maybe.

At first, Leon didn't say anything. In fact, he actually started frowning harder as he walked over to Percy. But as he came closer to the edge, it was as if all the strength that kept him going until now escaped him, leaving nothing but a body weary with relief and exhausted by tension and suspense. He descended onto his knees, burying his head by Percy's lap and sighing with this relieving redness on his face, still frowning. For a while, he didn't say anything, until he finally tilted his face just enough to glance at his lover.

"Hi."


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Post by Percy Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:53 am

Percy was relieved to see Leon when he finally appeared, though he didn't say anything. It was partially from the curiously tangy plant in his mouth to help with the pain, but mostly because he didn't know what to say. He offered as much of a rueful smile as he could, gazing over that frowning, slightly scary expression fondly. At this current moment, everything seemed to be basking in a pleasant light, since he was feeling so much better. The assassin was gone and they were both alive and the arrow wasn't shifting around in painful ways...it was just an overall improvement that had yet to be tarnished by the fear of the assassin returning, the trauma of nearly dying, and where they'd stood emotionally before the confrontation in the forest.

The side-effects of the root probably had a little to do with it too. It was a painkiller but also seemed to have an overall relaxing effect.

The head that landed in his lap was immediately greeted by his caring and fussy fingers, giving Leon the head pats he was so fond of. As his fingers carded through the dark locks, he marveled at how long it was getting and how soft it was. Poor Leon looked so exhausted, yet still so handsome. He couldn't help but mull it over, how someone could make his heart race whether they were smiling or frowning. It was exactly these feelings that had gotten them into this mess, but at this very moment, he didn't feel very guilty.

The 'Hi' got him. After reaching up to pull the root from his mouth, his lips pulled into a grin, making the blackened eye crinkle a little extra from the puffiness. "Hi," he replied back with a hint of humor in his tone. Usually, it was Percy that was being awkward, but this time it seemed to be flip-flopped. It was cute, though. "Would you like to lay down with me? I can scoot over," he offered, wanting the man who had dragged him through so much forest to safety to have a proper rest before they figured everything out.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:18 am



Dagger No More [Leon] - Page 2 18lTu9A

Plump Nut

In perfect weather, it was usually Leon who seemed so keen on the petting and physical comfort, but sometimes their roles would change or even swap. Now seemed to be one of those times, where the weight of their situation finally made Leon collapse, leaving him awkward and eager for those fussy fingers to card through his growing hair. It felt nice, but the rest of his body longed for him. So, when Percy offered nothing short of cuddling, Leon didn't even hesitate.

"Yeah," he'd say, looking up at Percy before instantly making space for himself next to him. Once he was settled in, the first thing he did was pull his lover into a relieved, tight embrace. It was as if he was holding something precious to him, like a treasure he had almost lost.

Leon was a tough guy, though, unlike Percy, he seemed to be upfront and honest about what he was feeling, when he was feeling it. Unleashing what was bothering him in hopes of getting the message across seemed like a no-brainer to a guy like him, but even after all that happened today, he couldn't say a word about what he was feeling. He could say all the 'I love you's and 'I'm glad you're okay's and still mean every word, but it wouldn't be the full truth. If he were being honest, the argument they were having before all of this happened was still on his mind, and even though the assassin was no longer an immediate danger, the threat loomed over him. He was hurt and upset, but right now, the 'I love you's and 'I'm glad you're okay's meant more to him than the 'Why did you lie to me?'s.

"You okay? What were you sucking on?" Leon nuzzled his head into Percy's neck, unwilling to separate from him and clearly finding comfort in their close proximity, "I can smell it from here..."


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Post by Percy Tue Jul 20, 2021 11:33 am

They both needed a good snuggle after the traumatizing events today, even if it couldn't fix everything. It was like a nice, soothing ointment on a burn. Percy put the root back in his mouth, trusting the doctor for now, and carefully rolled into his lover's embrace. Leaning his cheek against the dark head pressed into his neck, Percy cuddled in close. "Yeah, I'm okay, thanks to you," he mumbled around the primitive medicine, arms coiling around his boyfriend tightly. Despite all, they were precious to each other. Even with the calming effects of the medicine, he could feel his eye starting to prickle with relieved tears. He tried not to think about earlier when he'd been certain he'd reached the end of his road, but it was hard to when he was so grateful he could hold Leon like this and it not be for the last time. At least the root was erasing any hint of blood in his mouth.

Speaking of the root, if offered Percy a distraction so he could keep himself together. "I genuinely have n-no idea," Percy responded, voice initially wobbling around an uneven breath before gaining an unusual but more steady tone. He was so used to being the smart guy that knew more answers than he didn't, yet whatever this was had stumped him. "I mean, it's obviously a root... I just have no idea which plant it's from." He fell silent for a moment, his brain leafing through the nearly endless ridges of knowledge, thinking of every plant he could. He knew them well since he'd worked a lot with herbal vitamins and medicines, enough to know their smell, tastes, and properties. Honestly, none of the scents from the plant materials used seemed familiar. "I can't think of any roots that are painkillers that aren't bitter and have anti-anxiety properties. It could even be anti-bacterial. The color is weird, too. See? It's kinda blue, but the root cap is black and the root hairs are pink," he explained, pulling his face away just enough for Leon to see it. "Wanna taste?" the peppermint-head asked, knowing he was babbling a bit but unsure what else he could do to keep things from getting too heavy for Leon's exhausted shoulders.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:22 am



Dagger No More [Leon] - Page 2 18lTu9A

Plump Nut

As Percy rambled on about roots, he probably knew how much it comforted Leon. The dark-haired Hoffman could be so simple and easily understood, but what he was feeling right now felt... complex, and bittersweet. His body, his smell, his voice—he wanted to surround himself with it all, but the longer he lied there, lingering on these familiar sensations that he had grown to love, his mind couldn't help but mull over Percy's lingering words.

"I... wish you wouldn't say stuff like that, like I'm the reason things turned out okay in the end," Leon began to confess quietly, closing his eyes tightly as if to avoid his lover's gentle gaze, "I know that you're gonna say it wasn't my fault, or there was nothing I could've done, but it was you who was protecting me at the end of the day. I'm always the one staring at your back, and after you—"

Leon choked up on the words as they began to come out, remembering the color fading from his lover as his life was slipping past his fingertips. There were many bad memories and nightmarish moments that lived in his head, like Alphonse burning him with cigarettes, or the girls in his class forcing themselves on him, and the scar his grandfather gave him. But that? The sight of Percy's weak, fragile body in his arms was enough to make him feel sick.

"I'm... a lot weaker than I thought I was, and I think... part of me got comfortable thinking that you were strong enough carry both of our weights..." Leon continued honestly, though clearly troubled as he admitted to his own emotions. Gently, he grabbed Percy's hand and guided it to his cheek, holding it there as if asking to be caressed, "...I'm sorry."


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Post by Percy Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:30 am

Returning to the more difficult subject surprised Percy. Normally they were both more than willing to let themselves be distracted from the worst things, at least at first. This must've been weighing heavier on his lover than he'd considered. Removing the root from his mouth again, he let it fall harmlessly to the side so he could give the man he held his undivided attention.

Even if Leon closed his eyes to avoid Percy's gaze, his lover would continue to let his eyes wander over the rugged face that struggled to contain its emotion. It was funny how he could see this face every day for months on end, yet never get tired of it. He'd learned to read it like a well-loved book. He wanted to argue the point that the whole scenario wouldn't have happened if not for the two-toned man but he knew it wasn't the time. It wasn't what Leon needed to hear. It wouldn't make him feel any better. Leon needed his support and his ears, not rationality or logic or deciding who was to blame.

"Oh, Leon," he sighed softly and with warmth, gladly giving the man the caresses he asked for. His thumb rhythmically brushed along his cheek, and after a moment or two, he raised his lips to press gently against his boyfriend's forehead. "It's okay," he mumbled against the flesh there, doing his best to comfort Leon. He was getting better at it. "It's okay... I don't blame you, alright?" insisted the young man who was starting to get a little emotional himself. Though his lips were turned up into a small smile, tears were slipping from the one eye capable of it.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:06 am



Dagger No More [Leon] - Page 2 18lTu9A

Plump Nut

Percy was so much stronger than he was. Even now, Leon knew that he was to blame for all of this, and yet he was the one practically asking to be comforted. Of course, Percy complied with Leon's quiet helplessness, holding him gently as they both laid there, recovering from nearly losing each other.

"Yeah... okay..." said Leon, somewhat unsatisfied with Percy's response, but taken in by his comfort. He'd open his eyes for just a moment, glancing at the bandages with guilt-ridden, angry eyes. How could he let this happen? Well, actually, how could he have known? Seeing Percy's wound just reminded Leon of the argument they were having, and suddenly he felt tormented with numerous different emotions yet again—most of them unpleasant.

As if to keep himself from saying something in their moment of vulnerability, Leon abruptly took Percy's hand and kissed it. Suddenly, everything else that he had been wondering flooded his mind.

"...So, dunno if you could tell, but we're not in Neutral Grounds," he glanced up at Percy, almost instinctively smudging away his tears with his thumb. Leon's face was so rough and naturally grumpy that it'd be hard to convince others that he was looking at the (former) Dagger with affection in his eyes. "annnd we lost the van. And my suit went to shit. Like, it was in pieces a long time ago."

Honestly, it was all so ridiculous and insane that Leon couldn't help but snigger. Their day was just relentlessly shitty, wasn't it?


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Post by Percy Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:34 am

The lovers were in a precarious peace, filling the painful gaps with corks made of kisses and ignoring the other leaks in the barrel for now. What was important was that they were able to lay here and feel guilty and hurt and grateful, sad and happy all at the same time. Life was complicated that way, especially theirs.

A wry smile crossed Percy's mouth as Leon got him up to speed with their situation and sniggered, both of them having no choice but to find humor in the ridiculousness of the chain of events. His eye continued to water, though, as if to release the more of the negative emotions he was suppressing with his usual stubborn grace. "My suit was toast a long time ago... that corrosive magic was no joke," he chattered lightly as if he was commenting on something mundane like the weather. He hated to lose his inventions, but it was a hazard of use.

The loss of the van did bring more of a frown after further thought. It had back up suits that he knew they'd need, plus forged papers to keep them off the radar for as long as possible until he figured out how to truly evade Hidden Blades' all-seeing eye. The loss of all of his tech he'd taken the time to go gather was quite a blow, but he was still confident in his abilities to make new things on the fly. "We can try to find the van later," he muttered thoughtfully, though he knew it wouldn't be him locating it. Without any devices to help him orient himself, he was hopeless.

"I didn't figure we made it to the Neutral Grounds. We didn't walk that far," Percy said, only aware of the last blip on his map before he ran off the road. They'd had quite a ways to go, and making it would have made things a whole lot easier. "Carriages aren't that fast either..." Suddenly he trailed, as if his mind was finally hammering out the details of the things he'd been too dazed to notice before. "...There was a carriage, right? With a unicorn pulling it? And that guy had bunny ears...come to think of it, so did the doctor, right?" he asked, but even as he asked, his expression turned more incredulous as he heard himself. "Am I high? Is this root an hallucinogenic, too?"

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Post by Leon Hoffman Sun Aug 01, 2021 5:15 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN

As Percy chattered away, it seemed that both of them found themselves reflecting on exactly what they saw these last couple of hours. He didn't have the time or patience to really process it before, but now that Leon was finally at ease, their situation was far more puzzling than it first seemed.

"Er... no... actually..." Leon looked off to the side as if he were trying to recall something. The man that drove them here had bunny ears just like the animal itself, and the carriage was definitely drawn by nothing short of a unicorn. Not only had Leon never met someone with such animalistic and foreign features, he had never encountered anything remotely close to a unicorn, even through his work helping Percy with monsters related to Meliora Vitae. For someone with features he had never seen before, they all seemed rather plentiful in this remote village in the middle of nowhere. "Honestly, I don't have a clue where we are or who these people are... or what."

His last words seemed a bit cynical and harsh as they rolled off his tongue, and he was suddenly made aware of how foreign and strange this place began to feel. Even though these people had clearly gone out of their way to not only help them but make them comfortable, the inky-haired Hoffman had gone through too much today to feel at home or safe in a place that wasn't guaranteed to be.


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Post by Percy Sun Aug 01, 2021 8:55 am

It was very unsettling to consider. How could they be somewhere they'd never been, in a country and comparatively small as Fiore? Again, the carriage ride wasn't short enough to get to another country. Percy was aware that there were places that rejected some of the more convenient magical and technological advancements in favor of the simple life, but... it was just a very strange combo. Had Percy not seen his very good friend Dagda fall out of a wormhole he'd been predicting, he would have never started to mull over what he was mulling over. If Dagda could fall into their world...was it possible that they fell out of it?

He'd just opened his mouth to try and logically work it all out when he heard a voice behind Leon's back.

"Anthros."

For a second, out of pure practiced instinct, Percy flinched and started to release Leon once he was aware of her. Well, it was way too late to keep trying to hide it now, wasn't it? It had caused enough issues. The one person he'd been hiding it from already knew and that's why they were there, so, after a second thought, he placed his hand on Leon's shoulder and used his other to prop himself to get a good look at the woman. He'd been a bit out of it when she was in the room the first time.

The rabbit doctor's face was a bit amused. The other expression in her eyes was a knowing look, as if she knew something that the pair laying on the bed didn't know. "We are called Anthros," she repeated patiently in a practiced way, as if she'd said it a million times before. Tossing a look behind her, she seemed to check if anyone was listening, then stepped in and closed the door behind her. "If anything, here you two are the ones people consider a bit weird," she said in good fun, coming closer to stand at the bottom of the bed. "I suspect you two aren't from Vyldermire, since you've never seen a Lapin before...and you had to be extra lost for my husband to bring you here for free. I'm willing to bet you're Otherworlders."

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Post by Leon Hoffman Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:56 pm


 

LEON HOFFMAN

Lapin? Vyldermire? Otherworlders? Glancing over from the bedside, Leon looked at the strange woman with a suspicious look in his eyes. Unlike Percy, Leon's idea of how the world worked was very limited. He knew of other realms and otherworldly creatures, but it was nothing he thought he'd ever experienced or encounter himself. They might as well not have existed at all, so when the 'lapin' woman explained it all to them, Leon tried to make sense of it the only way he could.

"So that's what this town's called? Vyldermire?" Leon repeated to himself. As far as he could tell, he and Percy landed themselves in some remote village with sheltered views about Fiore. He didn't know where to even begin with the whole anthros thing, let alone what otherworlders were and why she called them that.

After brushing off the explanations as the rambling of an ignorant countrywoman, Leon stood up only to dip his head in a bow of gratitude.

"Thank you for patching him up, ma'am," Leon nodded at her with this steely look in his eyes, rough and unapproachable as always. But despite her assistance, Leon couldn't find the desire to stay friendly or comfortable throughout all of this. Actually, he didn't want to talk or meet with anyone other than his boyfriend right now after what had happened today, so he seemed unusually curt. "How many jewels do we owe you?"


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Post by Percy Tue Aug 03, 2021 6:29 am

"Yeah...thanks..." Percy said, though it was clear from his voice that his mind was preoccupied with more than just the woman in the room. He might be horrible with directions and get lost in a corn maze, but he knew all the existing towns in Fiore. He'd taken geography. Even if he could be so stupid in social situations and common sense, when it came to learning stuff in books, he was golden. There was no Vyldermire in all of Earthland. 'Otherworlder' was pretty clear. If he'd been one-hundred percent convinced he wasn't high, he'd have been absolutely certain he had fit the puzzle pieces together.

With more of an impish smirk on her face, the doctor watched the brusque young man for a long moment, as if deciding if she'd say what she was thinking or not. In the end, she decided not to and let them both find out on their own. However, there was one thing she'd lay on them.

"Oh, sweetheart, jewels don't work here in Vyldermire," she said sweetly, having made a game of it at this point. "You'll have to work off the bill if you don't have any vigs, it seems. Fortunately for you, I encounter people who can't pay often, and since I'm more for helping than sending people to jail, there's a simple arrangement," the woman smiled, turning to gather some herbs and roots into little glass bottles and paper packets. "My husband and I have a farm nearby with a small home for hired hands on the land. You can stay there and work for us until your debts are paid. We always need good help and you two seem pretty sturdy other than the arrow hole. Sound fair?" Her furry brown rabbit ears twitched, turning to glance at the two. It was actually a kindness they often extended Otherworlders often, but some people didn't take kindness or change well, so she made it sound a bit do-or-die.

Acting on his hunch, and having a feeling that Leon would turn it down given how short he was being, Percy sat up to speak. "That actually sounds great, thank you," he said quietly, a hand reaching over his wound as it ached from movement. This was the best bet for reliable shelter if what seemed to be evident was the case.

They no longer needed to fear the assassin? It was a giddy thought, as was the notion that his family might no longer an issue. It seemed too good to be true, so until he had indisputable proof, he'd tread cautiously. Different realm or no, they'd need shelter, and either way they had no money...

"Wonderful," the doctor replied, striding over to hand Leon the small satchel of medication for his lover. "As you two leave, head straight across town to the west of here. You can't miss it. My husband's carriage that you came here in should be parked in front of the house.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Wed Aug 25, 2021 4:27 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN
At first, Leon was shocked. When he heard the Lapin woman explain their situation to them, all he could think about was how sketchy it sounded. Leon perked up and opened his mouth, about to vehemently refuse the offer as he customarily did with anything resembling a handout, but Percy intervened and accepted the terms before he could say anything.

"What?" Leon looked at Percy, confused by the sudden acceptance and almost a little upset that they weren't on the same page, but it seemed like the ball had already started to roll. Again, Leon looked like he was about to say something, but the lapin woman went ahead and gave him a satchel full of "medication" and gave them directions to their home.

Growing more curt and cynical by the second, Leon didn't even say anything this time, only nodding. It was only then that his dismissiveness seemed to translate, because after that exchange, the Lapin woman finally made her way out of the room, restoring their privacy once more. Once he was sure she was away, the dark-haired Hoffman hadn't wasted a second in shooting his lover a disappointed stare.

"You aren't serious, are you?" Leon began, fiddling with the satchel he was given, "Let's just sneak out of here. This town is seriously sketchy..."


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Post by Percy Wed Aug 25, 2021 4:56 am

"We don't have any money, not for this doctor visit and not for anywhere else to stay." Percy insisted, his tone flat and oddly even like it always sounded when his stress was starting to build. It was possible he'd never uttered that sentence in his life, and he sure as heck had never felt the type of pressure and panic creeping up from his gut. "We can try to sneak out, but..." The young man fell silent, unsure whether to voice his observations and concerns. As a scientist, he knew to get more proof first as relief and dread warred in his chest.

Slowly sitting up fully and moving to sit on the edge of the bed, his mind whirled so quickly that it was starting to make him dizzy. "Without the van..." he started, trailing off as he accepted that all his preparations for new identities and money supply were gone. They could try and go back to find it, but he was all but convinced they never would because.. "And... there is no town called Vyldermire," Percy muttered, which seemed reinforced by the mention of jewels not being the currency. There was no way they'd driven or walked into another country that didn't accept jewels unless they teleported somehow.

With some effort, the peppermint head got to his feet, finding his strength was mostly restored and his side was merely sore but otherwise no hindrance to walking. "How about we have a look around outside before we decide together?" he suggested quietly, even though he was pretty set on his theory. The theory that was simultaneously a wonderful and awful things. Turning toward the door, he began to leave before pausing and reaching his hand out for Leon to take.

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Post by Leon Hoffman Wed Aug 25, 2021 5:37 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN
"...Alright," Leon reluctantly agreed before tightly accepting Percy's hand. The more they kept on about this whole ordeal, the less sense it made. It seemed that both men were on the same page about how mysterious this place was, but neither could agree on what to do next. On one hand, they were stranded with no means of getting themselves out of here or paying for the trouble. Yet, on the other hand, there were ways of getting by until they hit the next town as long as they were willing to commit to it—even Leon was beginning to consider the idea on their way here.

With that, they began to make their way outside the clinic. From inside, it didn't look any different from a clinic Leon would normally visit despite its unfamiliar medicinal practices. It had a reception area, the air "smelled sterile", and there was the distant chatter of patients in other rooms. It wasn't until they had stepped outside that Leon began to notice things he had looked over before.

The town, from what he could tell, wasn't a busy place. It was quaint, rural, and full of Lapin, amongst... others. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before, and the shock showed on his face. He had missed the little things amidst his panic from earlier, but it was all feeling totally unfamiliar and brand new as they stepped out.

"...What're you thinking?" Leon looked at his lover, eager for his reply without saying anything himself. His gut was telling him that something was really wrong or messed up about their situation, and seeing everything for the first time only seemed to confirm his suspicions. Right then, he wanted nothing more than to drag Percy along until they found a town or village they recognized, and still, he waited for his impressions.


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Post by Percy Wed Aug 25, 2021 6:20 am

Percy peered around as well as they exited the building, taking in the architecture before the people. The construction of the structures was even more outdated than River Village. Everywhere he looked, he saw the distinct lack of technological touches. They had electricity for light, but everything else seemed to be done by hand from the carpentry down to the masonry. Nothing was in clean lines or identical. Nothing was mass produced. It was like stepping into a page of one of his history books, from a time before power tools and modern conveniences and stores that sold pre-treated lumber and identical stones. The road wasn't even paved. The walkways were dirt packed down by millions of foot steps. Everywhere he looked, beyond the few business structures and produce stalls lining the main pathway, there were farm country and barns. Outside of this little town, the landscape seemed to stretch on endlessly with no other man-made structures in sight.

Biting the inside of his lip, his gaze shifted to the people. Perhaps it was because he was a tech junky or maybe it was just how jarring it could be when something that was so normalized was suddenly missing, but there wasn't a smart phone or screen in sight. Why Percy's eyes had went straight to the hands of the passersby instead of their more alarming features was unclear, maybe it was just his hunch kicking his observation skills into overdrive, or maybe it was his gut trying to warn him that his life would never be the same. No phones. No one anywhere was talking on one or texting on one. People were reading physical parchments titled 'The Chronicler' and chatting, haggling over items they wanted to buy. Kids played old-school games in alleys and in the street. Teenagers were hauling boxes of vegetables for their parents and leading farm animals on rope leads, or gathered around the open door of a pub where live music filtered out. Everyone seemed to be in simple clothing like flowing tunics, cotton pants, woven overalls, dusty boots made of real cow hide and stretched by hand. Only a rare few had anything more modern than that, and the style still felt off somehow.

The something peculiar caught his eye. Amongst all the humans and Lapins were other folk. Not just a few other bunny people, but he caught sight of a cat person and some sort of reptile person. A pale person shading themselves with a parasol strolled around sucking a thick red liquid from a small bag, arm-in-arm with a blue skinned person that he could only assume was a demon from the exposed horns. And....was that an elf selling shining bits and bobs on the street corner?

It all felt like a high-fantasy story or game.

Percy swallowed hard. It wasn't necessarily odd to see other races of people in Fiore, but not at this concentration. He knew full well there were other races from other realms, he hadn't even needed to meet Dagda to know that. But...it was the sum of the parts that made it rather clear.

A strange giggle bubbled up from his throat and he had to stop walking as more followed. It was both an excited and panicked sound, which was exactly what he was feeling. All that time spent chasing wormholes and predicting space-time ruptures in the attempt to study and even travel through one to a new place, and it'd happened without him even trying, at the luckiest time. Percy didn't even know how it happened!

"Heh...hehe...I can't believe it!" he whispered through the chuckles he stifled with his hand, tears prickling the corners of his eyes. "I'm not sure you wanna know...pfft-... what I'm thinking," he said to Leon, trying to calm the hysterics. It was honestly all too much. He felt like he was about to crack, if he hadn't already. "I'm thinking we really are in another world. When we woke up in the forest, we were no longer on Earthland, let alone Fiore. How about you?"

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Post by Leon Hoffman Sat Aug 28, 2021 3:58 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN
When Percy broke out into waves of stifled laughter, Leon was caught totally off-guard. It wasn't unusual for the two of them to make light of their oftentimes dark situations, but what Percy said next left his lover utterly dumbfounded.

"What?" Leon barked, staring at Percy as if he was speaking nonsense. He kept staring for a long moment after that, trying to determine whether or not Percy was joking, but as the moment passed and Percy's quizzical yet sincere expression remained the same, it was clear that he was not messing around this time, and Leon went quiet with thought.

His sharp, golden eyes drifted to the ground as he hesitated to respond. Everything that had transpired today had only testified to how tempestuous their lives could be, but ever since a couple of hours ago, it became less of a typical day for them and more otherworldly. The assassin's sudden withdrawal, the blackout, and a melting pot of races and species he had never seen before in a place he'd never heard of before were all things he couldn't explain... but a whole new world entirely? Unlike Percy, Leon hesitated to accept the possibility so freely and couldn't find anything amusing about their situation. Instead, he continued to look suspicious—bitter, almost.

"Well, I'm thinking we just found a cultish-off-the-grid village or something," Leon looked at Percy, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck before glancing around the village again. No one seemed particularly malicious no matter how hard Leon tried to spin it that way in his head. The whole "we don't take jewels here" bit seemed nothing short of a scam, but the more he thought about it, the idea that they really were in another world began to grow on him. When he thought about everything that's happened, it actually made more sense for this to be the case. Still, he continued to remain in denial. "...What makes you think we're in another world?"

The question was pointless. In the back of his head, Leon knew why Percy came to that conclusion, but even so, Leon wanted to hear it from his mouth.


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Post by Percy Sat Aug 28, 2021 6:06 am

Leon's conclusion was natural for someone who hadn't done and didn't know the things Percy did, so he nodded in understanding though he couldn't agree. Finally getting the hysterics choked down, Percy managed to sober himself, though he was still wearing peculiar expression. It was as if he would either burst into laughter or sobs at any moment, or some sort of combination of the two.

"Firstly, time and distance," the scientist started slowly, more than willing to explain as they started walking again in the vague direction the doctor had mentioned. As Leon knew, there was little the two-toned man loved more than chatting about hypotheses and theories. "We didn't drive or walk far enough to get to somewhere like this. Nothing was off-the-grid to my family's network of information. If this place was in Fiore we'd know, and given how long and how far we traveled, it would have to be." Even with his little near-blackout as they walked, he wasn't out long enough to even reach the Neutral Grounds on foot. His sense of direction was trash, but his mathematical abilities were far from it.

"Secondly, there isn't a screen, speaker, or cell phone in sight. No motorized vehicles. No power tools. Even though there is electricity, everything here, literally everything I can see, was made by hand. There's not a shred of modern t-t-technology that I can see," he continued quicker, ticking off on his fingers as if he needed to before gesturing around, which would then serve as an aid for his next point. "Thirdly, d-does this not look like Ultimate Utopia XXVI or Flyrim? Or even something, something from Emperor of the Bracelets?" His still slightly dazed mind went on a small tangent then, nerdy excitement flashing over his features as he gasped. "Actually, that's it! It's just like one of my c-campaigns in Crypts & Carbuncles! If there are vampires and d-demons and elves and anthropomorphism all together, it's just like that!" he exclaimed a bit too loudly as he gestured at examples of each of the race, earning the disgruntled attention of all those mentioned. Percy could be a bit socially dense and even more so when he was flustered, not to mention the knocks he'd taken to the head today.

Not noticing the eyes now carefully watching the pair, he barely took a breath before more words chaotically tumbled out. "We d-do have some of those back home, but not so c-concentrated as this! And we both lost consciousness right in front of the assassin yet he didn't k-k-kill us and we haven't seen him since? And they d-don't take jewels? And I-I can't identify some of the b-botanicals I was given, and frankly, they defy a few things I know to be certain in botany? It's the sum of all the p-parts," Percy blustered, growing a bit winded as his words came out faster and more frenzied. "We could- We could ask someone! M-Maybe?"

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Post by Leon Hoffman Sat Aug 28, 2021 6:52 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN
"Well, that's..." Leon tried to retort, but he was at a loss for words after Percy's thoughtful and detailed explanation. Normally, he loved listening to Percy explain things that he himself couldn't come close to understanding on his own, but his eager explanation only left Leon feeling nothing short of... troubled.

The theory made sense, Leon even glanced around town as they ambled through it, confirming all of the things Percy noticed, but still he felt ridiculous for even considering the idea that they were in a completely different world. The more he entertained the idea, the tighter his chest felt and the deeper his heart sank into his stomach. He felt anxious and confused by the idea, thinking about what this meant for them if it turned out to be true, but the more Percy talked about it, the harder it became to reject him.

"Yeah, well..." Leon, again, tried to come up with something that insisted that they were still in Earthland, but he couldn't muster up a rebuttal that was convincing to both himself and Percy. Instead, when he noticed the unpleasant stares from the townspeople, he could only glare at them back before hastening their chatty amble to a much quicker walk, avoiding both their prying eyes and the conversation they were having. "I just—I don't know, Percy. Working off our bill in your condition? This whole situation is sketchy as hell and I don't like it at all."

Although it was clear that Leon was going through bouts of stress, he seemed only concerned with escaping the town and tending to Percy, who seemed like he was about to exhaust himself more than he already was just by going on and on about the theory. He couldn't even begin to unpack whatever he was feeling about the whole other world scenario, the idea only leaving him puzzled and uncertain.

"And take it easy, man... we're not making another trip back to that clinic if you pass out again," Leon frowned as he scolded his lover, "God..."


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Post by Percy Sat Aug 28, 2021 7:25 am

Gulping down a few deep breaths once his boyfriend pointed out his agitated state, he calmed enough to go through his breathing exercise. Slowly in, slowly out. It wasn’t doing too much good, though. He was feeling the same as Leon was and just wasn’t as good at handling it. “Yeah, s-sorry,” he muttered, though his mind was whizzing away on countless train tracks. Did they even have a train system here?

He wasn’t prepared. Other worlds had always fascinated and called to him, but there had always been the assumption that once he figured out how to make it through to one, there would be time to prepare. He’d have things packed, be able to scout ahead to research language and culture, just the basics of interacting favorably in a world potentially much different than his own. While this one seemed ‘normal’ enough, though basically historical, there were just so many things he didn’t know. The unknown was a constant in his line of work, but... this was a bit much. It was too much at once. Everything except language was an unknown! If it was an equation, it’d be unsolvable in this state, and Percy didn’t like that.

Yet, given the unlikely event that everything worked out fine and they didn’t die due to a faux pas or starvation, this was a new beginning that offered them a life they’d never likely be able to live back home. Yes, it created countless new problems, but it solved a lot of known old ones.

The peppermint head had been lost in his thoughts, his silence only broken by the slow breathing he had yet to stop. It was liberating to be able to slip his hand back into Leon’s in public like he’d just done, his fingers squeezing the slightly larger hand as if to concrete him as another known element in the equation. Starting a new life in a new world, completely fresh and broke and confused was terrifying, but they had each other and he didn’t have to be afraid of his father or suffer the expectations anymore. Did one outweigh the other?

“Leon,” he said finally, trying not to mind the suspicious stares and wide berth they were being given. His mouth pulled into a trembling smile, and though his eyes were bright, they were wide and glossy with threatening tears. “I’m excited,” he confessed, glancing up at his lover before lowering his face to hide it. They’d seen each other at their worst, far worse than this, yet he still had difficulty admitting things like this. “But also... I’m scared.” It felt silly to say given their traumas in the war and the assassination attempt, but it was true all the same. “What do you think we should do?”

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Post by Leon Hoffman Sun Aug 29, 2021 5:34 am


 

LEON HOFFMAN
Although Leon seemed turned off by their situation entirely, his feelings began to change once his saw Percy's struggling expression. He had this fragile look in his eyes, threatening him with tears at any moment of weakness, but there was this look of excitement there as well. His chest tightening and ears reddening, his boyfriend's sincere confession roused something within Leon.

His life up until now had been nothing short of lonely and miserable. His upbringing with his disowned family left him with nothing but scars and a terrible sense of self. Even though his quality of life was affluent compared to others', when he was tossed away to rot in Fiore and lived just above the poverty line, it felt like the only thing that really changed was that he only had to live with his family in his nightmares. But once he met Percy, nothing else mattered anymore. The time he spent with him, the things they talked about, the battles they fought together, and the way they made each other feel—Percy was all Leon had, perhaps his entire world. So why was he so afraid of the idea that maybe, they were no longer on Earthland? Did it matter if they were in Hell itself, as long as they were together?

The possibility of them being in another world was still outlandish to Leon, and he hesitated to accept it even though his lover had seemed to, but after hearing Percy's simple but honest confession, he longer seemed as stressed about it all. None of it seemed to matter as much as he thought it did, because after all, he was standing next to Percy. Percy was with him, alive and breathing. Knowing that, what else could matter?

"Me too," Leon gently replied, stopping in his tracks to give Percy his undivided attention, "I'm scared, too... and to be honest, I don't really know why. But I guess none of that really matters as long as you're with me, right?"

Leon eventually cracked an amused smile when he caught Percy lowering his head, continuing to make his heart throb with that endearing habit of his. They had been through much worse than embarrassing confessions, and today's troubles was just one of many, but it was little things like this that comforted Leon during this confusing moment of uncertainty. Gingerly, Leon raised their entwined hands up to his mouth, where he'd kiss Percy's hand while affectionately staring down at him with those brazen, sharp eyes of his.

"Let's stick with what you said and go to their house. Whether it's a scam or not, we do owe them your life, so let's work off our debt for now. At least until we figure out what to do next... okay?"


WC: 461 | Total WC: 24,614 | WC Needed: ??? @Percy ""  —
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