Check your five senses to ground yourself. It was something Aymeric had been teaching him back on the Source before he left. Check your five senses so you can bring the racing thoughts to a halt and gather yourself.
Kori was laying on his back staring up at the bright blue sky above himself. He could feel the grass prickling at his tail as the tip of it flicked quickly back and forth. He could feel the warmth from the sun soaking into his skin. He could feel his own hands clasped behind his head as he used them for a pillow. All good calming sensations. He was fine. He was in the here and now.
Kori closed his eyes and flicked his ears around to focus. He could hear a bug buzzing somewhere nearby to his right. He could hear the faint sound of Pixies laughing in the distance as they undoubtedly were playing games with some poor soul. He could hear footsteps crunching in the dirt getting louder as its owner get closer to the spot where he lay. Footsteps?!
Kori shot up right, his pulse racing back to where it was before he started his count. He twisted around, ready to grab the sword that lay at his side and confront his attacker.
“Whoa, whoa, sorry I didn’t mean to startle you,” A smooth familiar voice washed over Kori and he looked up at the face of one of his lovers, shoulders relaxing somewhat.
“So there is where you’ve gone off to,” Thancred said as he looked around the secluded hill Kori has perched himself on.
Kori allowed himself to lie back down on the grassy knoll, his heart still trying to beat itself out of his chest.
“I needed to get away for a moment. I did promise G’Raha I would relax once everything was said and done,” he said, patting the grass beside himself as an invitation to Thancred.
Thancred accepted and stretched himself out beside Kori on the hill, also turning to stare at the sky.
“So, like the cat you are, you decided to find the sunniest spot to lounge,” he chuckled.
Kori snaked out a hand towards Thancred and entwined their fingers as he spoke, “What can I say. There’s something about having true sunlight hit your skin after months of nothing but the Light beaming down at you.”
“It is a nice change of pace,” Thancred agreed.
They laid there side by side in silence for a moment. Kori going back to his counting, trying to remember where he left off.
He took a deep breath in. He could smell the aromatic flowers that bloomed in this area. He could smell Thancred’s cologne so near to him and inviting. He could smell-
“I can feel your pulse racing, love,” Thancred eventually broke the silence and turned on his side to face the other, “What’s on your mind?”
Kori sighed and pulled his tail in to wrap around himself. What was on his mind? The fact that he had to kill one of the last remaining survivors of a race of people long dead? The fact that he himself was a self-same survivor of that race, albeit shattered into pieces? And on that note, apparently his soul is not his own. Every thought and feeling he has had, was it all real or was it this person he was supposed to be? What did it all mean? Who was he really?
“I guess...I’m just trying to digest everything that has happened. I have been to hell and fought the devil.”
A snort sounded from behind and above them.
“Quite literally in fact, I would say” Alisaie spoke.
Kori craned his head back to get the upside view of her and she smiled down at him before moving to sit at his other side, “How…”
“I’m going to be honest, I just followed Thancred here. He’s always been the better tracker,” she nodded to Thancred who smiled, definitely not denying that fact. Kori just shook his head.
“I guess you’re right, though. I quite literally fought the devil, or at least someone who believed he was the devil. It’s a lot to take in,” Kori said, following her movements and then turning his head to meet Thancred’s gaze.
Thancred looked pensive as his eyes flicked from their new companion to Kori’s face, “I can’t even imagine what you must be going through right now.
“Can’t be much different than what you all are going through,” Kori reached for Alisaie’s hand and tugged it towards his chest, clinging tightly to it, “You were all there also.”
“Perhaps, but we weren’t the ones who had to make the final choice,” She spoke softly but firm.
“The final choice…” Kori repeated.
Emet-Selch’s face flashed in his mind for a moment, whispering those words to him.
Remember...that we once lived…
They had all lived once, had loved ones and family, hopes and dreams. Those were all lost to time now. As far as Kori could recall, there was only one ascian left. One survivor of Amaurot’s tragedy. One last worshipper of Zodiark hell bent to cause all of humanity on all 13 stars to die to bring back those they had lost.
Would he have done any different were he in their shoes? Something deep in the back of his mind screamed that of course he would, he would know better. Those that he has lost are gone and there is no way to bring them back. But another part of him remembered Haurchefant jumping in front of him to take that spell, lowering his body down into that frozen grave, mourning him for weeks to come. That part of him begged for there to be a way, any way, to bring back everyone. He would do anything.
“You’re thinking too much.”
Alisaie pulled him back to the warm sun and the buzzing bugs and the fragrant blossoms.
‘You’ve got a wrinkle right here,” She leaned over and poked in between his eyebrows with her free hand, “That is just gonna keep getting worse if you keep thinking like that.”
Thancred gave a dry laugh from his other side and squeezed his hand, “I think Aymeric would be proud of that wrinkle. His warrior of light actually learning how to think.”
Kori let go of both their hands so he was free to swat them away, “Rude as fuck, the lot of you. See this is why I have to run away to find some peace.”
He sat up, grinning despite his words, and leaned back on his hands instead.
“Well if you ever need someone to talk to when the thinking gets to be a little too much for your brain you know we’re always here for you,” Alisaise said as she leaned against him and rested her head on his shoulder.
“With the shit we’ve been through it’s a wonder the Scions haven't thought about adding a physician to the payroll,” Thancred mused and he scooted over to curl up again Kori’s other side.
“Something to take up with Tataru once we all get back,” Alisaie responded.
They continued their chatter, the conversation turning into musing about just what exactly they will do when they get back to the Source and into their bodies.
Kori closed his eyes and let them talk. He knew they needed to head back to the Crystarium so G’raha could send him back to the Source. He knew he needed to go back to finish up the work he had there. But after all that he’d seen and done here on the First. He figured that the Exarch wouldn’t mind if he took a few extra moments to bask in the sun and current company.
One. He could feel two of his loved ones skin against his own, warm and calm. Two. He could hear their breathing, steady, as the conversation lulled. Three. He could smell the hint of tomorrow on the breeze as it flicked at his braid. Four. He could taste affection, both his own and that of the two he was with. Five.
Kori opened his eyes and wrapped one arm around each of them, pulling them down onto the grass in a cuddle pile. He looked from one face to the other, smiled, and closed his eyes again, ready for a nap.
Five. He could see the faces of those he knew would always be by his side, no matter how hard things got.