It’s amazing at first, the rubble hitting her and spectral summons dissipating around her. Defeating the monster, and being the hero; All eyes on her, for once. But then those eyes shift. They all scan the room, and the two other women catch what they are looking for. A small dark skinned halfling woman, dirt and grime all over, body splayed out against a broken school desk. Her high ponytail almost completely undone, and a few broken mannequin legs at her side. A rip in her cape and a skinned knee accompanied her coughing and tears spilling over her cheeks. Basil instinctively raised a fist.
“LEGZI!” Ryjinah unsummoned her last remaining bone spears, Rah’õxah cracking her knuckles and jaw, both running towards their companion. Basil tightened her grip on her clenched fist, the tightness in her chest matching.
It was Ryjinah who got to Legzi first, scooping her up, and holding her against her chest in a tight embrace before spinning. Legzi being tossed in the air, both giggling like children. Ryjinah catching her with a flourish, not unlike her magical bone weapons, a blush adorned their cheeks as they stopped spinning, but continued to hug. A look shared between the two Basil knew wasn't for her to see.
“I thought we lost you.” She assumed Ryjinah didn't mean to say that too loud, halfway muffling it with Legzi’s shoulder. Basil’s breathing got heavier, the feeling in her chest twisting like a dagger.
Rah’õxah ran up a second later, barreling towards the two, wrapping herself around them, a soft chuckle escaping her mouth for just a moment. After a short, tight, squeeze and a thumbs up, she picked Legzi up like it was nothing and put her on her right shoulder; just as she had done with Basil hours before. Legzi exclaimed, gripping onto Rah’õxah’s forehead for stability. Ryjinah full heartedly laughing, watching their smaller friend stumble. The dagger in Basil released slowly with a familiar mix of resentment and sadness.
‘Of course they didn't actually want me here, they got their real friend back…’ The small tabaxi monk looked down at her feet, not wanting to see the display of affection in front of her, and not wanting them to see the tears welling up in her eyes. She took a few deep breaths, her thoughts and memories betraying her; used to being used and forgotten. A few teardrops landed close to her tail, she wanted to crumble, she wanted to run away, to punch something, to scream, to be angry, but she stayed silent and calm as ever. She tightened her fist more, her claws digging into her palm.
“Hey, Basil, right? Thanks for saving me, you didn't have to, but that was amazing, shooting that weird crossbow thing!”
Her whiskers twitched, before looking up, Legzi in her personal space. “Y-yeah… I usually do like a Flurry of Blows, I like to call them a ‘Purr-y of Blows.’”
Legzi laughed, grabbing her own crossbow from her back. “Mine shoots out fake legs!”
“Mine shoots out multidimensional creatures!” Basil lifted her new crossbow with her right paw, the feeling in her chest disappearing, a new feeling overtaking it.
Legzi put her crossbow back, the other's following behind her. “Thank you, really,” Legzi looked down at the ground before looking at her again, new tear marks cascading down her round cheeks before she pulled Basil into a warm embrace.
Basil was frozen, shocked, and vulnerable, returning the hug, left hand still balled. She was inclined to not trusting anyone, giving them as little as information as possible to go on. ‘Don't get close.` is rule number one. ‘Don't die.’ is rule number two. ‘Don't get angry.’ is rule number three. Her guard was up, not wanting to show any emotion aside from chill and collected, she cracked. First a small laugh, then new tears forming at the corners of her eyes. And then she felt new pressure against her, Ryjinah and Rah’õxah forming a hug around them, all three of them enveloping her. The wind was taken out of Basil, she couldn't take it anymore.
“I… thank you.” Basil whispered as the rest of the group let go. “I haven't done that in a while.”
“What, fighting or hugging?” Ryjinah cocked her head sideways, placing her hands on Legzi and Rah’oxah’s shoulders.
Basil rubbed the back of her neck with her right hand, left still clenched at her side, just in case. “Both, really.”
“Well we gotta catch you up!” Legzi moved fast and picked up Basil, squeezing her tight.
“We can practice fighting on the beach.” Rah’õxah suggested. “If you need to. Even if you don't, I'd love to punch a shark again, that was fun.”
“You punched a- Rah’õxah, you punched a shark? Without me?!?” Legzi laughed as her friends started dusting her off, not letting go of Basil.
“It was pretty cool.” Ryjinah knelt down to Basil and Legzi, hugging them again as well.
“Yeah, from what I saw, it was cool.” Basil added, scrunched up against Legzi and now Ryjinah, the feeling in her chest was now becoming clear, a sense of friendship and belonging.
Rah’õxah rolled her eyes, picking up both Legzi and Basil. “Alright, one of you’s gonna have to backpack it, and the other can get on my shoulder. We're going back to the beach!”
Basil wiped her remain tears as she was lifted into the air. “I'll backpack it. I can do this thing where I can go vertical on surfaces if I keep moving. Maybe I can trick my powers and just kick my legs a lot!”
Ryjinah cut in, helping Rah’õxah put Basil on her own shoulders. “If you don't mess up my hair, I'll piggyback you, and you can sit with Jonathan and Boneregard.”
“Deal!” Both Legzi and Basil exclaimed, high-fiving each other, Ryjinah and Rah’õxah doing the same.
“Now hold on tight, I'm not as strong as Punch Queen over here, okay?” Ryjinah maneuvered Basil so she wasn't in the way of too many bones.
Basil looked to her left, over at Legzi and Rah’õxah, already talking animatedly about what just happened, and their new trip to the beach. She looked down at Ryjinah giving her a thumbs up and a soft smile before holding hands with Legzi. Legzi, a smile on her face even after all she had gone through, sitting on her friend’s shoulder, trusting both of them completely. She looked over at Basil and gave her a big smile, trusting her too.
“Okay…” Basil looked down at herself, holding onto Ryjinah’s forehead, finally unclenching her fist, breathing.