They were good friends for a while, but... Scops was just too friendly, too accomodating- Asio really couldn't help himself but push his friend into the blank space he'd kept emptied for so long. Scops was nothing short of a genius. Asio was the one training to be a teacher, but for the most part, he was the one being taught. So many theories, so many late-night discussions, so many mornings waking up with his best friend just inches away from him, so close he could reach out and touch his feathers-
Honestly, he should've seen it coming. He should've stopped himself, but by the time he'd realised, he couldn't bring himself to. So soft, so warm... Scops was everything he lacked and even though he'd never admit it, he adored him.
A gentle kindliness and understanding- it was so pathetic of him to allow such simple behaviours to worm their way into him, to warm his bones and his cheeks- by now he was envious of Scop's feathery form. At least he wasn't so easily read. And that was the thing; even though he and Scops knew eachother inside out, even though they'd spent years living in the same room, eating the same food, learning the same things, he could never quite work out what was going on in his head.
Which, of course, made it all the more shocking when he spoke of someone else.
He'd came back into the dormitory, feathers ruffled and sporting a purple bruise on his cheek- he touched it, cradled it so fondly with a smitten expression- Asio didn't know why he felt such disgust. He just... Did.
Scops spoke of a human woman; taller than he, and twice as stong. He spoke of how she berated him as if she'd recited a beautiful poem. It burned. He understood when he saw her, though.
They were as different as the sun's brutal warmth to the moon's gentle glow, but it... It worked. It worked and it frustrated him to no end. The burning hadn't gone, but it had mellowed. Lettia was impossible to despise. And he tried, he tried hard to hate the stupid girl that'd swept his friend off of his feet and smacked him down on the floor, but...
He saw the same kind of traits exhibited in her. The very ones that had drawn him to his friend in the first place.
She allowed him to follow along. She even taught him the proper combat stance; whilst physical combat, he found, was sloppy and inelegant, even she managed to pull it off with some kind of brute grace. It was utterly contradictory, but... It worked.
It worked and he just found himself troubled, burning the wick at both ends, no ounce of time left alone for fear of thought. Instead, he spent his days with them both. It was a bad idea. It was a very, very bad idea, but both of them were charming in their own ways, and damn it all, he was utterly smitten.
He never said a word. They bore a son. A half-breed, just like he was. Asio was not good with children. But this one made no sound. It only sat, and stared, and he found himself equal parts unnerved and endeared. The child grew, as did Asio's respect for Lettia and Scops, for planning it all out, keeping themselves afloat; a mixed race couple faced no end of adversity.
Lettia took back to her adventuring. He occasionally came along to accompany her when Scops kept the house. She'd pull him into dark corners, giggle when he found himself lost or confused, and valiantly stabbed anything within a five foot radius of him.
In anyone else he'd be furious. With Lettia, he was only furious at himself, for proving himself such an unworthy companion. The next heist was going to be the biggest yet- an abandoned owl settlement. There had been reports of machines, still functional in the area. Lettia was thrilled. Scops was sceptical. Nothing new.
Except... They took longer to return.
One week. Two weeks. Three weeks. A month.
Young Otus found himself alone, and Asio was forced to step up, to keep an eye on the child. But... Every time he looked, he saw someone else's face. God damn it- why couldn't he have gone with them? Why them, not him? It was their child! His anger looped in circles, ever growing. He was angry at Scops' shortsightedness. He was angry at Lettia's lack of preperation. He was angry at himself for being so utterly useless when it mattered the most. He took the child under his wing, but it was only until he was older that he finally saw him as Otus, not just Lettia and Scops' remains.
Sometimes, though, when the lighting was poor and his judgement was off- he saw Scops' eyes staring back at him, or Lettia's face, or-
A lot of people in Vellie had their own ghosts, he knew. But he found his own a lot harder to shake than most.