After the storm passes, all he can think is in how everything seems to be alright. The wooden chair beneat him, the breeze on his face. Peace. After years of having an ice thread around him, Gran offers him a gentle hand and a smile, melting Karn’s grasp on him with ease. The quiet feels like a luxury Seox didn’t thought he would be able to taste for himself.
He hopes Nehan can feel the same as him, breathe free from their legacy and the thorns it left around his hands. Mugen at his right, Seox at his left; maybe they can be the family their past denied to them.
His mind keeps diving into this new scenario so Seox doesn’t notice when fingers rest on his shoulders. His hands go immediately to his claws, trepidation dying instantly when a chuckle betrays Gran’s presence.
“I thought you would go to sleep, Seox. If anyone is tired after this long day is you” Gran arrives, he still has some of that content glow after Ladiva’s dinner and the trade of stories on her bar. He may not be old to drink, but everyone gravitates towards their young Captain.
He’s not an exception.
The hand on his shoulder stays and it doesn’t itch. Not like Seofon’s overwhelming presence or Feower’s spikes of anger. He’s a calming stream. He leans into the touch, he knows Gran won’t make a huge deal of this closeness. He understands.
“I cannot sleep, Captain. I feel restless. Not having a noose around my neck is...odd”. He closes his eyes and thanks everything that’s holy that no one is here but Gran, because the Captain just let him be, let Seox hold his hand hostage on his shoulder, not filling the space with endless chatter.
He sits next to Seox, removing his hand “If you want to sail the skies with me, you’re always welcome to come” rests his back against the wooden plank of the surface of the Grandcypher, relaxed. Seox aches to capture this moment inside his memory with flames and ice.
Maybe the fragilty of it makes it a treasure.
Seox wants to say so many things: About Gran’s father and how he shaped his escape from Karn and how his son now is freeing him from the last chains of it, he admires him, he cherishes Gran, a treasure under a blade and a smile.
Seox decides to rest agains the same wooden plank Gran’s leaning to.
“So he knew your Dad? That’s great!” Lyria tries to cheer them up next morning when they arrive to the Eternal’s island, Terra near mowing a few trees. Everyone is still trying to piece what happened with the mafia and Stardust Town and how it tied, strangely, with Seox and Uno’s past. They’re dealing with the fact their leaders knew someone who could solve their problem by only asking and it seems only Seofon and Uno acted knowing the big picture, but that small snippet of information takes them by surprise.
“Seox knew Gran’s Father?” The swordsman’s tone gets jovial but Seox glances at him with a silent warning. Seofon ignores it. “To think Seox could’ve met you before, a world of possibilities, you could’ve been part of the eternals! Can you imagine, Gran!” Tien chuckles at Seofon’s intensity.
Ah. They’re about to begin
Seox steps back, standing against the wall of the room. “You’re been trying to recruit Gran since you met him, Seofon” Seox shuffles uncomfortable in the backround as Tien continues “He could’ve been a nice member. However the struggle would’ve been the weapon he masters. He’s good with a gun, I’ve seen him with a harp and a staff and he even has some mastery with the blades, even daggers.”
Robes prickle, Seox can taste the spite.
“He’s good but not a Master, Sister. You’re better than him with a gun” Feower cuts swiftly and Seox, while knows the other Erune does care for the Captain, this is the banter between eternals: Half companionship, half competition. “And even if he cannot find his head lost in his ass, Seofon is better than him with the sword” Seofon smothers Feower with a hug, (I knew you like me!), companionship turns awkeard, Feower obviously rattles from the leader’s arms and Seox notices the dynamics.
The differences, that is.
For the entirety of the interactions between his crewmates,
(Can he still call them crewmates? Isn’t he in Gran’s crew now?)
Gran has been eyeing them with a raised eyebrow and a small question on his brow. Lyria claps at the antics but Vyrn also looks at them curiously, then at Gran. Without meaning it, Seox slides near Gran as the young captain digests how the Eternals behave when they’re ‘social’.
He notices Seofon’s playful gleam beneath Feower’s angry hisses.
Gran’s side is quieter. So Seox stays there. He knows Seofon will chew him after he’s free from Feower’s claws.
The twins leave with Gran, still discussing how, in a different time, he could’ve been an Eternal when Seofon looks at Seox and he knows what’s coming.
The smile the swordsman has feels like an iron gate for all purposes.
Here we go.
“State your piece, Seofon. You’re not an erune, do not act like one” He has the audacity to chuckle. “I know you want to talk to me, please state it”
When Seofon snorts, Seox turns towards it, tense. Seox knows his leader’s habit to tease. The sparkle on his eyes tells him everything he needs to know. “Spit it out, Seofon. I know you want to speak, so say your due and leave”
There’s no venom behind his words. Seofon just chuckles harder. The swordsman reads him like a book. “Other than I can see light back to your eyes, I’m happy for you. You never let anyone see your scars, but everyone can note you are lighter in your step, my friend!” The light behind Seofon’s eyes turns tender. “You feel whole. Content, my friend. Like there’s a wind beneath your feet”.
Whatever lightness his leader saw is lost in Seox. "What’s your point, Seofon?”
Seofon laughs. Seox wants to hit him. The fact he knows his Leader has his best interest at heart doesn’t diminish the annoyance. Suddenly the smile tenses. The silence after the chuckles extend, changing the tune of the talk. Seofon does this when he wants to be absolutely sincere, leaving any sugarcoat lining behind.
Seox tenses, fearing he wanted them to be in private to give him some news, maybe Karn is still there, waiting for the bomb to dr---
“He’s good for you, Seox. He’s important for you. He adores you. Please, take care of him.”
Seofon looks like a proud friend, years and years behind his pupils. And just as fast as it appears, it goes away. The ludic tone is back to his Leader’s voice, leaving Seox even more confused. The smile is back in place, the clumsy bufoon persona back to the swordsman. Seox clicks his tongue. He knows Seofon doesn’t mean bad, but this is a bait and Seox hates himself for falling right into it as his ears flatten.
“Of course he’s good to me, he’s good to everyone. In case you have missed it, he has a crew based on his empathy” Seox’s voice raises and he cannot control it, he keeps talking, agitated. “I see him surrounded of primals, beasts and all type of people, everyone depends on him, of course he’s important!”
Seofon raises his hands in surrender, pleading silently with his eyes and interjects “The grumpy coffee addict calls him ‘Singularity’ with the other primals. That brown haired man with red eyes who seems to follow Gran with his band of primals." Seofon makes small wings gestures with his hands. "You know something about his Father, the Crew of Enforcerers treated him like he was a bomb. As if they couldn't fool around him due to his lineage and people also address him as the son of that man. Gran seems to be in the eye of the storm each time but” his Leader makes hands gestures, trying to land his idea but he gives up mid-point “but you care about him, no?”
Seox hesitates “I---I guess? Stop talking in circles, Seofon”. His leader sighs and Seox feels like they’re having two completely different conversations. Seofon only hands him an envelope. “What is this?”
“Gran invited you for a small Holiday celebration. I’ve handed everyone theirs. I waited until you felt better to give you yours” He can feel how Seofon is summoning all the patience while he speaks and Seox feels lost. “Go, give him something nice. And remember my words from today, maybe they’ll help you once you realice”.
Seox receives the small envelope and looks at Seofon with trepidation: He’s not making warnings, grand declarations nor pulling his leg. Maybe he’s really worried for Gran and the fact it was his Father the man who saved Seox from Karn... and left his son far, far away.
His back was hunched, a small figure on the rail of the ship.
He knew Gran’s Father. Someone who abandoned him but gave Seox the world.
Seox wants to speak to Gran about him but he doesn’t know if it will be well received.
He wonders if he can hold his hand between his and speak of the greenery of Karn instead.
Will that make Gran happy?
Maybe Seofon is also worried for that.
“I will go. And I will take note of what you said. You like to talk, but you never waste your words” Seofon smiles.
Feower's voice getting too high means the Holiday celebrations are reaching a turning point. He never was able to handle alcohol and all Eternals made a point to not give him any. Maybe someone from Gran's crew made a mistake. Tien is glued to his side, petting his ears to stop him to duel half of the ship. Tweyen gives it a try petting the back of Feower's head and the erune stop complaining and let himself be petted. Eahta gives a hearty laugh and Fif follows him while she sits on his horns.
"I'm sorry, I should've told the Lowain brothers to serve him the fruit punch. I forgot" Gran appears next to him as he watches the scene with him. "Do you think he would want to stab me as he sobers? I should hide behind Katalina" When he looks at Gran, Seox's eyebrows rise: There's a rose around Gran's cheeks, as red as the hideous sweater he's wearing right now, the hot cocoa on his hands doing wonders during this cold day. There's mistletoe around and on Gran. The cheap fake one, with plastic berries and golden ribbons fancied as a crown on his head. The Captain chuckles at Seox's fixed gaze "Lyria's idea. Something about the holiday made her made mistletoe crowns for many and no one had the heart to tell her what they mean"
They both sit next to each other as they watch the Eternals. Feower is now laying on Tien's lap, not minding Tweyen's coos.
"Do not worry, Feower won't be a problem and Tien seems to have a good time having her brother wanting to be pampered. Feower doesn't like anyone to know he likes his ears being petted"
"He looks like a big house cat, huh? He really only needs the tail" Gran turns to him, curiosity on his eyes. The same rosy cheeks now puffed. "Do you also like it?"
He looks like a deer in the highlights as he turns slowly towards Gran "I do like it, but d-don't remove my mask while at it"
Gran puts his had over his heart in a mock salute "I swear it on my honor I won't do it"
Seox leans towards Gran, inclining slightly his head to give the Captain access. "Y-You could try it, if you want" Seox hopes he's not giving his Leader's words more weight that he should, but by the way Gran's eyes widen, maybe he's in the right track. Gran sets the hot cocoa aside and tenderly touches his ears. Softly he pets them.
"They're so soft! And so pretty" Seox absorbs the attention, closing his eyes and enjoy the ministrations. Gran slightly scratches behind them and he feels a purr behind his throat. His head feels made of cotton, of clouds and gentle winds. The sound around Seox mute to just let space to those fingers treasuring his ears. His chest feels warm and wide. Calm. Comforting. Seox is resting his head on the table while Gran pets him. He feels as if nothing else exists but this small table and Gran next to him.
"It feels...nice" Seox let slip in a small voice and yet he knows Gran won't make fun or use this as leverage. He enjoys it.
Gran kisses the top of his head and Seox opens his eyes with a start. He doesn't want to raise his head even as his heart now hammers furiously against his ribcage and his breath catches. And yet... he wants more.
He adores you. Please, take care of him.
"I--" The Captain, Gran, the son of that man, stumbles with his words. Seox isn't the only one who struggles with this.
"Please continue" Seox admits, closing his eyes and hoping he isn't overstepping. Wishing Gran does overstep and give him more."Please". The hands return to thread on his hair and ears now accompanied with small kisses and Seox wants---
He wants everything, he wants this moment to last forever.
Go, give him something nice.
The Eternals are still with Feower. No one is looking at them, maybe. Seox rises his head and looks at Gran, dazed yet decided. The Captain is crowned by mistletoe, Seox touches it and now Gran tenses. "May I?" Gran nods.
Seox puts down his mask and with both hands he cradles Gran's face and kisses him lightly. He's never done this before so he keeps it simple. Gran answers in kind. One becomes two, becomes four and then they stop count the times their lips meet. Seox supposes they make a strange image: they're just sitting next to the other, sharing butterfly kisses like kids and yet Seox wants to combust and burn next to Gran and let him carry his ashes everywhere.
It's Gran the one who pushes more into their kisses and Seox lets him. He received so much, so he lets Gran take, take and take. In the back he knows the rest of the people on the room are not there anymore, but all loses meaning with those lips kissing him.
After a while they stop. Seox hasn't felt the need to keep holding someone as long as Gran right now.
Gran also seems to be in a daze.
"H-Happy, Holidays, Seox."
As he holds now Gran's hands on his own, he knows they will be the best.