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Slant a Dream

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She could use a drink.

Not because of Tataru. Gods, never Tataru. But after everything that had happened, with the Light and all she had gained and lost- She needed to sit her arse down in a tavern and drink until the bartender decided to grow the balls to cut her off and send her on her way. There were plenty of places on the Source perfectly willing to let her drink to oblivion, not willing to upset their precious Warrior of Light, however... there was perhaps one tavern in Ishgard that would keep her safe from herself.

And if she got lucky, a certain Au Ra would be there too.

It was interesting, her relationship with Sidurgu Orl, Amarant mused as her feet landed on the snow covered steps of Ishgard. He was a prickly sort, but he could see past the polite veneer she put up to deal with the people of Eorzea. He was eerily proficient at knowing when she truly meant the kind words she said, and when she wanted to scream Xaelan curses at everyone she met. When it was the second, Sidurgu mysteriously had a new hunt for them and she was coming along. Once she was covered in beast blood and Rielle was looking over her with concern to injuries, Amarant would find Sidurgu looking proud of himself. Considering it worked, and all the rage she had felt had been battered against a fearsome beast, she never said anything. She merely waved Rielle off, collected her share of the gil, and told Sidurgu she'd see him later.

Today, though, what she wanted him for was not to fight alongside him, but to drink him under the table. And when she entered the Forgotten Knight, spying the dark knight and his young conjurer charge, she could tell he knew. The displeased set of his lips and slight narrowing of his slanted eyes spoke for him as Amarant sat down next to them, signalling to the bartender for a drink. "Don't," she said wearily as the other Au Ra opened his mouth. "This isn't something that killing dangerous beasts can fix."

That made both Rielle and Sidurgu frown as the mug was set down in front of her. "I don't know what you want me to do, then," the Au Ra told her, crossing his arms.

"You can order another beer and drink with me."

"You're not usually like this," Rielle pointed out, her kind eyes worried. "Even the... last time we saw you, you wanted to go out killing things."

Amarant sighed, resting her head on her hand. "Tis a little different this time." While last time she had seen them was after Urianger had fallen, his soul called by G'raha Tia to the First, not knowing if a dear friend and comrade was alive or not was far, far different than what Emet-Selch had given her. Even Haurchefant's death had been... not the same as something deep within herself stirring to life. It hadn't been love or even truly lust that had come alive at Emet-Selch's touch on her skin, but something resting inside her, something even deeper than Fray's presence within her soul, had reached back to him. She had felt something weep inside her, a sorrow born of loss, of knowing what was found could never be. And then what came after...

Sidurgu sighed, signalling for his own drink. "You're paying," he told her pointedly.

"Fine with me." Amarant sighed, rubbing her forehead with the heel of her hand. It felt nice to finally allow herself to be a little... uncouth. While she had come to view Alphinaud as a very close friend, and it was undeniable they would forever be bound by Nidhogg's aether, and Alisaie held her heart in a way she never thought would happen, neither of them had seen the anger she held within. They had only seen her as the Warrior of Light... or the Warrior of Darkness, with the helplessness that came with absorbing so much Light and knowing the only future lay in-

"If you break the table, I'm not helping you pay," Sidurgu told her. "Whatever happened to you while you were gone fucked you up, didn't it?"

Amarant frowned. That wasn't normally what Sidurgu said when he hauled her out for a hunt. "While I was gone?"

He shrugged. "Just heard some things about how no one had seen the Warrior of Light in a while."

"Hm." Amarant drank deep of the mug before her, stifling a burp once done. She wasn't drunk enough to lose that bit of politeness.

"Do... do you want to talk about it?" Rielle asked, the words unsure. "If you do, it might-"

"Rielle." While sharp, Sidurgu's voice held almost no bite. "I recognize that look, Amarant. Wondering why someone had to die and why you were too weak to stop them."

There was no sympathy in his voice, only a deep understanding shared between them. He had lost his family, his teacher, and finally his friend (we were more than friends, she heard Fray chuckle). Sidurgu had no way of saving any of them, and while it fueled him as a dark knight... he knew that pain keenly. But at the same time- before she could stop herself, she flattened a hand against her stomach, as if she could still feel the flutter of life within her.

"Oh." The word came out as little more than a breath from Rielle.

It took Sidurgu a moment, but his eyes finally widened in realization. Then, he turned to the bartender. "Keep them coming!" He turned back to her, frowning. "Didn't think you'd even let that happen in the first place. Must have been one hell of a guy."

"Didn't think I'd need it," she admitted.

He grunted, snatching the new mug of beer off the table just as it was placed. "I guess."

This was why her first choice of drinking companion was her fellow dark knight. Neither him nor Rielle pushed for more details, allowing Amarant to finish off her first mug and start on another. She wasn't quite sure she would be able to talk about what happened anymore without being kicked out for disturbing the peace. Speaking with Alphinaud, Alisaie, G'raha about this... she couldn't start screaming. They expected her to be calm. Collected. The Warrior of Light.

Sidurgu expected her to be a dark knight. If that included allowing herself to be angry, to scream, to fight... well, he didn't expect politeness.

Amarant took another long pull of beer.




"You're a lot fucking heavier than you look," Sidurgu grunted as he helped his fellow dark knight through the door to her room at the Forgotten Knight.

"'m wearing armour," came the drunken murmur.

He rolled his eyes. While he was impressed that she could keep up with him, she was still an Au Ra woman and thus, much smaller than him. Alcohol had stumbled both of their feet as he took her to her room to sleep the rest of the night off, but he could still walk while she needed help staying upright. "Do you need the bin now or later?"

She didn't answer at first. Sidurgu looked down at her, wondering if the alcohol had finally ushered her into sleep. "Can you stay the night?" she finally said, looking up at him with unfocused yellow eyes.

He had heard enough stories regarding two drunken friends and the regrets after they shared a bed to know this was a bad idea. "You can puke on yourself tonight."

"That's not-" Amarant let out a harsh breath. "Fucking hells, Sidurgu. I just need a fucking body next to me to let me know I'm not fucking alone, okay? I don't need your 'I'm too cool for this' shite. So shut up and stay the night."

Briefly, he wondered if any of her other travelling companions had heard her swear like that in such a short amount of time. "I'm not fucking you."

Surprisingly, she could still slap him upside the back of the head with enough force that it hurt through his own alcoholic haze.

"Not what I meant." She sighed, resting her face against his armour. "You're very attractive but I'm not fucking someone with the personality of a constipated chocobo. I just-" The next few words were slurred enough that he couldn't understand them. Finally, she went quiet, her breath starting to hitch slightly. Before Sidurgu could set her on the bed because he did not deal with crying women, she looked up at him. "Just stay the night."

He sighed, frustrated, and settled her on the bed anyway. "I'll help you take off your armour and get ready to sleep, how about that?"

"Did you ever want kids?"

Oh they were going there, were they. "No. Rielle doesn't count."

"Me neither," she murmured as he started helping her out of her armour. "Bad idea to have a kid as the Warrior of Light, you know?"

It was probably time he ignored her, Sidurgu thought.

"I don't even know if I wanted this one," she continued. "But I can't get out of my head the idea of holding a little piece of what the world used to be like and teaching them their history and loving them- And he's gone, dead, so that little piece-"

"Raise your arms." How did this armour work anyway? The way it was moulded should cut into her chest as she fought.

She obeyed, her words steadily growing more and more heated. "That little piece is gone forever and I promised him I'd remember but I can't make others remember, and that little one is someone I never had the chance to save because of the fucking Light corruption and it's... it's my fault I can't hold my child in my arms." She slumped, closing her eyes as Sidurgu finally pulled off the last piece of armour. "Because I saved the world," she whispered.

He wasn't going to even acknowledge she said anything, Sidurgu decided as he rummaged through her pack, pulling out a thin shift that looked like she might sleep in it and helping her into it. Once he was done, he froze as Amarant pulled him into a hug, her horns rubbing against his. "Uh..."

"Thank you for being someone I can be myself with," she told him, her exhausted voice reverberating through his horns.

He patted her back, not sure what else to do. "I... you're welcome?"

That just made her chuckle, letting him go so she could lay down. "Leave the bin by the bed," she told him.

Once the bin was well within grabbing distance, Sidurgu hesitated. Then, he reached out, stroking her blood red hair. "Get some sleep."

She was asleep before he lifted his hand.