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Borne a Year Early

Chapter Text

A baby yowled in the distance. Down the hallway inside a lavish study, a nobleman let a shaky breath rattle the march morning. A flute of bone-dry wine pinned down a certain letter of correspondence. A message directly from the King and Queen of the Goa kingdom. Within it, the Royals of Goa Kingdom confirmed that it did not matter whether he, Outlook the third, was the infant’s father. In fact it was preferable for his family's future success and status that the child was not his by blood.

In any other circumstance, such incidents were practically political suicide. The trash (an unclean, unsanctioned child) and dross (the gossip, the shame ) generated by an affair were to be discarded immediately. However, the current situation acknowledged the fact that his wife, Lady Tremaine, had gained a young Teryūbito’s favor. And while the Teryūbito had the celestial right to bestow blessings upon their favorites, the Royal couple were entitled to the first pick of any demigod offspring born in their kingdom. Should the child take after his or her mother and gain favor with the young Celestial God at the age of presentation; The Royal couple would quickly demand an arranged marriage to one of their immediate family member’s.

A knock. The doctor entered. Outlook the third looked at the Teryūbito’s servant expectantly.

“The babe is male. Your wife wishes you to verify the naming documents.”

Outlook examined the birth certificate. Proof of a living and healthy infant. A special seal verified that the doctor had confirmed that the boy was a Teryūbito demigod, “Outlook T. Sabo.” Outlook the Third signed the document with a flourish.

Chapter Text

The ground grumbled under the forest’s rhythm. A triumphant snarl sent prey animals scattering before the hungry predator lugging it’s meal back to it’s den. Yet, not even five meters away, the six-year-old nesting in a tiny cave continued snoozing in tune with the melody of dreams.

A thundering cr-ACK !

Birds screeched, fleeing flock-mates as they sailed away from the dismissive hunters. Startled, the young child woke mid motion, groaning as he nursed a bruised head. Outside the men’s thunder sticks fired once more, bringing down the lion.

“How much do you think his nobleness will pay for a pelt of this size?” A rough voice chuckled.

“And the deer?”

“Either leave it or eat it.”

Blonde locks blended in with the mud-splattered leaves. Cautious round eyes observed three men circling the dead alpha cat, grunting as they shouldered the weight before tossing it into a handcart.

“Oy! You’re leaving now?” A fourth man, halfway done with setting up a fire pit, squawked.

“Do you think his nobleness only employed us louts? His pint-sized nobleness wants the lion as soon as...” One of his companions with darker skin scoffed, quoting, “I want it now!”

“Fair point.” The bald man abandoned the deer to catch up with his fellow scavengers.

 

Once the small ears could no longer hear the rough musclemen lugging their prize away, a blonde head popped out of the bushes. The boy tried to brush off the hardened dirt off his clothes with no success. Skin scuffled the dirt behind him. Sabo froze, slowly turning around…

“Hey!” Sabo stomped over to the similarly sized human. The black-haired boy hissed at Sabo, pointedly dragging the deer’s corpse further before confronting the prince of Grey Terminal. “I saw that first!”

The poorly-dressed youth eyed him with angry eyes, “Mine.”

“It’s outside my cave!”

“Mine.” Angry Eyes was practically daring Sabo to move closer.

“The deer is mine.” Sabo launched himself at the feral child.

The two tumbled, biting and scratching to assert their claim. Sabo yelped as he stumbled over a raccoon. Instead of pressing for the advantage against Sabo, the black-haired child barked at the smaller animal. When the raccoon skittered backward, Angry Eyes turned to face Sabo, eyes glittering with satisfaction. Out of the feral child’s sight, the black and grey creature crept closer. Before Sabo could point towards the sneak, Angry Eyes and dropkicked the raccoon. Sabo’s mouth dropped open as he watched the flying furball sail towards the Grey Terminal.

“Whoa.”

Angry Eyes made an inquiring mew, followed by a explosive sneeze.

“You don’t really talk much do you?” Sabo mused, “My name is Sabo,” and held his hand out to shake.

Angry Eyes’ glanced down, snorted and ignored the gesture, going back towards the deer.

“Okay then, so let’s make a deal. We cook-”

Angry Eyes perked up, “Cook?” he chirped, swinging back to face Sabo with interest.

“Cook and share meat.” Sabo bargained.

“Cook... meat.” Angry Eyes repeated, pointing to the dead animal.

“Yes cook meat. Half yours, half mine.”

“Mine.” Angry Eyes hummed, lugging the deer towards the half-dug firepit.

Sabo shrugged and started gathering tinder. Angry Eyes watched his every step,  still wary of his competitor. Sabo pulled out a dingy looking box, snapped the lid open and fumbled as he hit the tiny ticker. Leaning down, the dry handful of grass coaxed the liquid heat to spread. Feeling rather pleased with himself, Sabo yelped as the lighter was snatched out of his hands.

“Wait!” But the feral child Sabo had mentally named ‘Angry Eyes’ paid no heed in his sudden fascination. He yipped in pain as his fingers touched the flame.

The battered device fell out of the surprised dirt-encrusted hands, landing on the dirt between them. Sabo rushed to scoop the lighter off the ground, fumbling as he struggled to get a spark. The weak flame reassured the blonde-haired child that the device still worked, “Be careful!” The noble runaway scolded, “With no light-snap, I can’t make fire!”

Angry Eyes had tilted his head, looking rather unconcerned about the light-snap that had bit him. Instead he sat on the opposite side of the fire pit, waiting for the meat to start hissing and spitting blood.

Sabo quickly realized that the feral boy was settling down for the enduring wait. Angry Eyes kept watch on their surroundings, still as a predator in the first stages of his hunt. Yet, after a few minutes of uneasy quiet, Sabo was shifting in discomfort.

“Is it done yet?” Sabo blurted out.

Angry Eyes glanced at the deer, shaking his head, “Meat squishy.” And proceed to ignore Sabo.

Sabo could only draw pictures in the dirt for so long before becoming bored again, “Do you want to spar?”

“Sp-aar?” Angry Eyes sounded out the word.

“Yeah spar, like fighting- only play fighting.”

Angry Eyes shook his head, “Cook meat. No stealing mine meat.”

“I wasn’t going to steal your meat. I just want to play.”

“Play?” Angry Eyes sounded incredibly uncertain, shrinking away from Sabo, “No play bait. Have meat.”

“I want to play fight, not bite.” Sabo was confused, had Angry Eyes never had anyone to play with before? Sabo previously had the servant’s children and underground Coal-san as friends before running away, but maybe Angry Eyes hadn’t had anyone, “I want to be friends.”

“Fury-ends?” His utter cluelessness confirmed Sabo’s theory.

“Friends.” Sabo corrected.

“Furyends.”

“Fr-i-end-s.” Sabo pronounced

“Fr-i-end-s.” Angry Eyes finally managed to sound out word.

“Yeah, like that.” Sabo cheered

Angry Eyes mouthed the word thoughtfully, “Wat friends?”

“Did you mean what is a friend?” Sabo clarified.

Angry Eyes nodded.

“Um… someone who plays together,” Sabo looked around for examples that the feral child might comprehend, “fight and eat together… like those sparrows.”

“Birds?” Angry Eyes looked unimpressed, “Spar-birds not meat birds. Meat birds peck meat birds.”

“Or deer or cats.” Sabo shrugged, “Like…” Sabo floundered, “Like… us. No, I mean yeah, we fought earlier but now we’re going‘ta eat together.”

The other boy twitched, poking their meal with a claw-like nail, “Meat,” flipping it over the fire coals with some major effort.

“Why’d you do that?”

“Cook meat.” a series of grunts explained. A dismissive once-over had Sabo bristling, why that savage! “You no cook.”

“I can learn!” Sabo retorted, “I love to learn. I wanna-want” Sabo corrected himself, “I want to go on adventures! It is my dream! So I listen about the stars and maps. And if I gotta eat- I will need to cook if I have no chef.”

Angry Eyes blinked. On all fours, he tilted his head as if to view Sabo from another angle. Question marks were almost visible in the air as the feral child parroted Sabo’s last word, “Chef?”

“Someone who cooks for a group of people like in a restaurant.”

“Rest-taur-ant?” Angry Eyes carefully echoed out.

“Oh, you have never been before, have you? One day I will have to show you how to dine and dash.”

The prickly being huffed, “Spar-bo loud.”

Automatically Sabo withdrew, “Well we will part ways soon enough.”

Angry Eyes shrugged, “Loud two.”

“Did you mean that you are loud too?” Sabo brightened, “You will let me stay?”

“Spar-bo say.”

“It is Sabo, not Spar-bo.”

A glint of mischief in brown eyes flickered in feral child’s eyes, “Spar-bo.”

“No, it is just Sabo.”

“Just Spar-go.”

“Say-bo”

“Saw-bo”

“Sabo”

“Saw-bone.”

“Huh, that actually sounds cool. But my name is Sa-bo”

“Sabor.”

“Sa-bo, no ‘r’”

“Sa-bo, no ‘raur’”

“Now just say Sabo.”

“No jus’ say Sabow.”

“Arg!” Sabo shouted.

“Arg!”

Sabo stomped off. Several minutes passed and there was no sound of a similar-sized pursuer. Sabo sniffed the air, suddenly reminded that he had left the deer alone with Angry Eyes. He dashed toward the firepit.

Upon reaching the clearing there was only a growing fire spreading. Sabo rubbed his watery eyes.

“Sabo?”

The runaway yelped, falling backwards onto his posterior. “Angry Eyes? You stayed? …wait did you just say my name right?”

“Sabo?” Angry Eyes leaned over the sitting blonde, looking as curious as a cat. Probably a bad analogy seeing as the last cat that had come down this path was dead.

“Yes!” Sabo cheered, “That is my name.”

“Nay-me?”

“Yeah, it is a word that means me. Sabo is me.” Sabo sheepishly rubbed his head, holding out his right hand, “Ah, sorry for calling you Angry Eyes. What is your name?”

“Me name?”

“Yeah, what is your name?”

“Ace is me.” Angry- ah, Ace stared at Sabo’s hand.

“Good to meet you Ace!” Sabo tried to reach for Ace’s hand, but Ace recoiled. Angry Eyes hissed, backing up a few steps. “Okay, okay. No touching, I gottcha. I mean- I understand.”

Well Ace had yet to run off, so Sabo figured he was safe to keep talking, “Is the meat done?”

Ace swung his head to look at the fire pit, sniffing. Sabo yelped as Ace ripped the carcass apart. Quite a bit was brown, streaked red and pink, but not as bloody as one might have expected. “Meat good.” Ace decided. The feral child pounced on the upper half of the deer, shredding the fur and bones as he ripped, chewed, and devoured the herbivore.

Sabo instinctively realized after a few moments of gaping horror, that if he didn’t start eating Ace would be more than happy and able to chow down on the deer’s lower haunches. A rumbling stomach reminded Sabo that he hadn’t eaten more than scraps the day before. So disregarding the missing knife and fork, Sabo set to work gnawing on the chewy meal.

In the end Ace ended up eating half of Sabo’s half anyway because Sabo couldn’t stomach another bite.

The two boys laid on the ground in happily bloated piles.