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Bittersweet Lovers

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There was always something about N’Doul that drew Hol Horse to him. Out of everyone in the mansion, he was the only person the cowboy really paid attention to. Even though all of Dio’s Agents had come to a near-silent agreement to stay out of each other’s business, Hol found himself trying to get to know the mysterious Egyptian.

The first time Hol attempted to talk to N’Doul ended in an awkward tension neither man could quite describe. They met in the kitchen, N’Doul humming along to nonexistent background music as he, with Geb’s assistance, made a cup of tea. Hol sauntered in, N’Doul clearly bristling in discomfort as his ears picked up that annoying little clicking sound the cowboy’s boots made on the tile. Before Hol could announce himself, the Egyptian turned to face him. “Hol Horse, I presume. What do you need?”

“How could ya tell it was me?”

“I can tell by the sound of your boots. Everyone in this mansion has a different sound as they walk. Yours just happens to be the most annoying.” N’Doul replied, not a hint of interest in his voice as Geb stirred honey into his tea. He smiled, sensing Hol’s offense, sipping his drink with a hum. “Want some tea, cowboy? I wouldn’t mind making you a cup.” Hol scoffed, giving N’Doul a look that said, “Are you kidding?” (Only later realizing that he couldn’t see.) N’Doul merely raised a brow, brushing a stray lock of hair out of his face. “Well? I don’t have all day.”

“No thank you. I only drink coffee.” Hol replied. It was obvious that he was still pissed at N’Doul’s earlier comment, which only pleased the former even further. “If you insist. Though, I don’t believe that’s a healthy decision.” N’Doul smiled, the faintest hint of smugness on his lips. He sat down in one of the chairs at the dining table, Geb pulling one out for Hol as well. “Well, you obviously came to me for a reason other than starting a fight. Why don’t you sit?”

Hol, despite his stubbornness, sat down, kicking his feet up onto the table. N’Doul made that, now familiar face of discomfort yet again. “Hol Horse, I don’t believe Lord Dio would take kindly to you scuffing up his table like that. I advise you sit like the rest of us and have some respect.” The cowboy only laughed, even going as far as to make sure he got dirt on the pristine white tablecloth as well. “Oh, come on, don’t be so worried about Lord Dio. He ain’t gonna do anything to us!”

Hol’s laughter was short lived as he felt something grab the back of his chair. Geb, the stand Hol had only faintly noticed at first, took hold of the chair and knocked it onto the floor – bringing the cowboy down with it. With a loud crash and a string of swears, Hol was splayed on the floor, bruised from the chair hitting his legs. “Ow- What the hell did you do that for?!” He yelled at the Egyptian. N’Doul reveled in the sight (not that he could see it), listening to Hol’s anger. “Well, I told you to get your feet off the table. You didn’t listen, so I acted accordingly.”

Hol Horse only stuttered in response, trying to find the perfect words to use against this asshole. Why did he even come in here anyway? All he found in the end was a new enemy and more bruises on his ass. He forced himself up, shoving the chair back into its rightful place. “You know what, I changed your mind. I don’t wanna talk anymore.” Hol growled, starting to exit the kitchen. N’Doul snickered to himself, taking another long sip of his tea. “Whatever floats your boat, cowboy.”

With their first impressions of each other done and over with, both Hol Horse and N’Doul had gained an opinion on the other. They didn’t hate each other; there was something that kept them from pulling this into a full-blown hatred. But they had a nice petty rivalry brewing. Something along the lines of Daniel and Terence’s usual brotherly quarrels. They weren’t ever teamed up, but Dio always made them work just close enough together so they’d have to meet in passing. N’Doul would catch the cowboy’s eye as they crossed the same street in Cairo. Or Hol would see the Egyptian’s familiar stature in the distance as he traveled. But no, there was no need for them to have any true contact with each other. Everything past their first meeting was small glares, occasional smart remarks, and the like.

The aforementioned remarks and looks became so commonplace, however, that the other Agents began to notice. It was Mariah who offhandedly mentioned it to Terence as they were preparing for another mission. Dropping another magnet into her bag, she looked over at the younger D’Arby brother. “Hey, Terence, have you noticed how Hol Horse and N’Doul have been acting?” Terence laughed, picking up a handheld game console and putting it in his pocket. “What, you mean like how they give each other “fuck me” eyes whenever they pass?”

“Terence, I’m not sure what you think “fuck me” eyes look like, but it’s certainly not that. They look like they’re planning to kill each other.” Terence scoffed, hopping up onto Mariah’s suitcase and sitting on it, swinging his feet back and forth. “Yeah, that too! Wonder why they’re being like that… On another note, do you really need all these clothes? This bag is way past full capacity by now.” Mariah crossed her arms, glaring at the other. “Get off my suitcase! Of course, it’s necessary. I only need the best outfits for this trip!”

Terence rolled his eyes, getting back down onto the floor. “Whatever! You’re gonna be a pain to deal with. Plus, I hear Dio and Vanilla Ice saying he might send Hol and N’Doul along with us! It’s gonna be pure torture!!” Mariah threw her bag over her shoulder, pushing Terence out the door. “Quit your whining! It’s just a one-week trip. I’m sure they won’t be that hard to deal with.”

Oh boy was she wrong.