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A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

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A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:05 pm

It had been a week since it ended, yet, despite that, it was impossible to keep what he'd seen off his mind. The claws, the hissing, the fire, the stabbing, the sheer brutality of the matches... Even the less heated ones gave him reason to cringe. He paced rapidly around the library, spindly fingers clutching at his head, eyes intent only on the path before him. Sure, the rules dictated that there must be no fatalities... But were the residents that obedient? And what if there were accidents...?

It foretold dark things, certainly. He felt a shiver of unease every time he'd seen one of the competitors enter the library. True, it wasn't as if they'd caused much ruckus before, but the plantperson now knew what they were capable of. No, that might not have even been the extent of it - perhaps, outside the tournament, they could be so, so much worse...It had left a bitter taste in his mouth.

There was one face he'd not seen since the end of it though. One face he'd either managed to avoid, or she had just not visited yet. He couldn't tell if it invoked relief within him, or just a heightened sense of dread. He couldn't tell anything. That was the worst part. There'd been so much faith---

Suddenly, something tripped him up, and he found himself stumbling directly into the stack of books he'd set up just hours ago. The whole thing came spilling down, with the librarian following suit. Blinking, he observed the newly created mess... How had he not seen it? Was it not just before his eyes? How terribly inept--- With a chittering sigh, he made to scrape the books back up, shame prickling down his spine. It would be better, for everyone, if he just forgot about what he'd seen.

If he could.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:19 pm

Every move brought with it a shock of pain, every breath an effort she had to steel herself for. But laying around, doing nothing, was even worse than that, and she'd burned through all the books she had at hand. Thankfully, the library was close - but the distance she'd normally have covered in a minute now took her too many to count. Her gait could only be described as lumbering as she made her way through the corridors with several books in her arms and a pained grimace on her face. Her face felt the worst. With Esha's punch, the cat's bite and Ambrose's stab, it was a vortex of burning pain and swollen flesh. As if she needed discouragement for talking.

Sighing, the ratgirl pushed open the door to the library and limped in, first aiming for the desk to turn in the books. Then... she'd probably ask Tony to find her what she wanted. She did not like bothering people for help, but the pain overrode that kind of sentiments.

Squinting ahead, she noticed the librarian's desk was vacant-- and then, a noise of books falling a few aisles away grabbed her attention. Normally, she would have ran to check out what it was, but right now, even turning her head made her neck hurt. She let out a low whine, then decided to continue trudging on to the desk. She'd just wait there.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:34 pm

Hopeless, hopeless-- He stacked the books hurriedly, as if uncaring for their tidiness, before tossing a quick glance up to see-- he froze. He hadn't needed more than a millisecond to recognise the figure standing at his desk. Why was she here? And to his desk specifically - did she require his attention? Were there books? He had a vague recollection of borrowed books - but why was it vague?! Shouldn't he remember? He pressed his palms against his eyes, honestly wanting nothing more than to toss the books into the air and head back to his room.

...No. There was no doing any of that. After a few seconds, he composed himself, lifted the stack of books, and began to totter towards them. He acknowledged the ratgirl with a brief look as he shoved the books atop the desk.

"Good morning, Audi," he said, making an earnest effort to keep his tone light and friendly. "I, uhm... I hope you are well." Why couldn't he stop his voice from wavering....? "Is... Is there something you needed from me?"
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:30 pm

Once she had reached the desk, Audi dumped the books onto it with a sigh then leaned against it. Now, for the waiting... She stood, looking around, absent-mindedly scratching around the cut on her thigh. It was not the biggest wound -- that honor went to the stab in her side that required stitches -- but it was the one that got infected. She just wanted to bite into it and scrape at the pus-oozing flesh with her teeth until it stopped its horrific itching. The bandages felt very weird, too. She had never had her wounds dressed before, and the fact that she had to have her fur shaved around them made her strangely uncomfortable. The weather was getting colder, but all she was wearing was a light, loose, flowery gown, as any kind of heavier or tighter garment rubbed against all the wrong places in all the wrong ways.

Searching for something to take her mind off it all, Audi first glanced at the books, then all around the library again, stepping from one foot to another impatiently. Maybe she should yell for Tony... but before she did, there he was, scrambling up to her. She smiled. "Morning." His tone was uncertain enough to make her tilt her head curiously, but she pressed on. "I am... so-so. I brought books." She tapped her hand on the desk next to the tomes. "I would like your help getting new ones... It is hard to walk," she explained, apologetic.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:03 am

Books, yes... He squinted at them, eyes skimming over the titles, before turning towards the ratgirl again, bowing his head slightly. What a difference to be seen here - an unyielding warrior on the battlefield to a meek, wounded girl. He'd been prepared to flee at the slightest sign of aggression, but now he wasn't sure what he was supposed to think. It made him wonder if it was even the same girl at all.

"A-ah, yes, of course, I'm always here to, um, help with books." He laughed weakly, before dusting at the book covers.  "I'll put these away later...  We'll see to what you need, yes?" He turned away, but still kept an eye out for her, taking both her difficulty in walking and his own uncertainty into account.  The extent of her injuries was something that still eluded him, but it didn't mean she wouldn't...  well, he didn't know what to expect, frankly.

The pace he set wasn't challenging, given that he wasn't even a fast walker in the first place. "Is there anything in particular you're seeking...?" His tone was lightly curious. "Or... more of the same?"
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:52 pm

Audi nodded with a slight smile, but it faded and she blinked owlishly as he turned away, apparently expecting her to follow. She had been hoping he'd bring the books himself, but... it was a lot to ask, so begrudgingly she pushed herself off the desk she'd been leaning against and limped slowly after the librarian. Mentally, she went over the books she had returned.

"I need more about insects," she said. "Maybe spiders as well. If there is anything about geology that I haven't read yet, I will have it too." If she took more books, they would last longer -- but if she did that, she would have to carry them. With a sigh, she rubbed her forehead. Winning this was harder than the fights.

If there was anything more to Tony's skittishness than usual, Audi did not notice.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:38 am

He went over the books in his head, recalling their exact positions in the library... He was sure there were a fair few things she hadn't read about them yet, though he'd made sure to only push his own personally recommended best towards her. If she sought more, he would not complain.

He looked towards her, noticing her awkward limp and her apparent exhaustion. The poor soul, she must've been so torn up in the whole fiasco.  It wasn't like he'd quickly forget those squeals of pain - even if she'd won, her opponents had still done damage. Yet, why had she continued to fight regardless...?  He found himself staring for longer than he intended, and before he could stop himself, the question lingering on his mind had already escaped his jaws.  "Was it worth it...?"
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:33 pm

With her eyes half-closed and her mind elsewhere, Audi did not notice him staring. Her gaze was groggy as she directed it at him when he spoke, but when his words actually registered, her expression turned sharper. It took her a moment to figure out which 'it' was he talking about.

The first reaction was indignation -- how could he even ask? How could he question the worth of her victory, when she stood there with her wounds, having given so much into it? Her fur bristled slightly and she quickened her pace. But then, the doubt came. Outside of personal satisfaction, little really came from it as of yet. She didn't care about the bigger room, and while she treasured the favor, she hadn't found a suitable use for it yet. And there was no appreciation come from anybody.

Audi let out a grumble, staring straight ahead, above Tony's head. "Yes." In the end, that was the answer. "I won. On my own." There was bitter pride in her tone. If only she didn't have to celebrate on her own as well.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:00 pm

He didn't know how to feel about Audi's response. First, there was a sort of weight in his chest, a pang of clear disappointment. It wasn't the answer he'd wanted to hear, for some reason. Then came self-negotiation. Perhaps he was supposed to be happy for her. She'd won, after all, through her own abilities and resources. He'd certainly seen the effort she'd put in, shouldn't he be pleased for her?

Yet, he struggled to convince himself. It was one of those few moments that he was happy not to have a very expressive face, because he certainly had no idea what would be showing there. "I offer you my sincerest congratulations," he said, unsure if it was even his most sincerest. He tried to ignore the mild irritation he felt at not being looked at directly, and continued.  "Did you enjoy it...?" There was an attempt at friendliness in his tone.  An attempt.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:53 am

At his words, her gaze slid down to his face; and though they were nice, the tone hinted otherwise. She squinted mistrustfully. How frustrating. Talking was such a dishonest and needlessly complicated way of communicating.

"Thank you," she said, aiming for offhandedness and coming out sounding more just sad. "Yes, I did." There was no doubt about that, at least. Fighting was fun -- when she knew she actually stood a chance, that is. The fact she was not going to be killed was a factor, too... and when she had entered the arena, she thought she would not be injured permanently, either, but the memory of Ambrose's fork coming at her good eye was fresh and sharp in her mind. The fur along her back bristled a bit and she looked away again, touching the cut side of her muzzle where the fork landed instead. "But I did not enjoy others breaking the rules."
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:50 am

He found himself internally wincing at the second answer. Had he wanted her enjoy it? Perhaps if she’d hated the fighting thoroughly enough, then she wouldn’t want to do it again… The hope had been small, but it was eventually smothered. An impoverished sigh escaped between his jaws. Perhaps he just didn’t want to accept that his perfect student was not entirely what he thought she was.

He looked towards her, but was unwilling to look at the wound too closely, lest he gross himself out. “You put yourself at that risk,” he said automatically, before his usually complacent inner voice reminded him that that was probably not the best thing to come out with. “I mean- rule breakers are- they’re completely unacceptable,” he stammered, hastily trying to amend himself. “…What happened, anyway? Who was responsible?”
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:08 pm

Her head turned sharply in his direction at the first thing he said, but her expression mellowed out again as he continued. She scratched around the wound lightly, feeling the stubbly trimmed fur there. "Ambrose," she muttered vengefully. "He tried to take my eye out." She still could not believe it. She would not have called him a friend, per se, but a pleasant acquaintance, a fellow resident... and he would go and try to hurt her like that. The thought made her feel hollow, hollow with a little orb of pain in the center of her chest that radiated to her throat and made it tight. A feeling of betrayal.

Audi shook her head, then walked forward, as to keep herself and her expression out of Tony's sight. "Where are the books."
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:40 pm

Ambrose, Ambrose... His mind reeled over the name, desperately stringing it to a face. Red-haired, acted odd, and had never passed him much the way of words, if he had many to say at all. Someone who he simply did not know enough of to construct much of an opinion. He remembered their fight-- it had definitely been one of the more violent, unforgiving ones, at the very least. Who had been more to blame, it had been uncertain, but Audi's accusation did bring a new light. "I'm sorry," he said, and was about to follow it up with some promise of justice, before the ratgirl continued with her demand.

"Uhm..." He hurried his pace, trying to squint towards her face, but was unable to catch much of a glimpse. "... Right this way."

He led her to the edge of the circular area where his flower grew, towards where bookcases lined the wall. With a hum, he skimmed over the titles, before he started to clamber up the shelf, tugging free a rather thick, drab book, caked with dust. He brushed it off, tutting and muttering something about needing assistance, before looking towards Audi, with the book outstretched. The In-Depth Analysis of the Arachnid. It was rather plain, aged and rather boring looking book, it seemed. "Does this satisfy your needs?" he asked. He seemed half-hearted about it, quite different from the eager service that he would usually provide.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:38 pm

Audi limped after him in silence, then stopped as he chose the shelf, watching him with tired eyes, her shoulders slightly slouching. As the librarian offered her the book, she accepted it, but her gaze lingered on him in hesitation for a moment before she nodded. "Yes."

She could tell something was wrong.

But what was she supposed to do about it? Ratfolk weren't ones to talk about their feelings -- what was the point? If one was feeling unwell, there was always somebody to comfort them with touches, grooming and cuddling. There was no need for the other to know what was the problem. But humans -- and those who acted like them -- did not do that. They used words for everything. Audi drew her hand down her face, realizing how much she missed the warmth and welcoming silence of her own people. However, they weren't hers anymore, and she needed to act like those she now... belonged to, she supposed.

A sigh escaped her. "What's wrong?"
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:26 pm

It felt like his innards did a backflip at the question. ‘What’s wrong?' Why was that question so terrifying? It was innocent and well intentioned, surely. One way or another, she'd noticed that he was less than his ample self. Goodness knows how, but she'd always been so incredibly keen.

He knotted his fingers anxiously around each other. It seemed to progress, until he was wrapping his hands around each other, and then his arms. He could not deny how awkward it felt - she was the resident, he was the staff. The barrier between them had always felt loose though, especially given the project they were to be researching.

Finally, he forced his gaze towards the ratgirl, his eyes tracing over the scarred muzzle.  "...I-I'm afraid," he finally forced out, shrinking back slightly.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:41 am

Usually, she could understand the plantperson pretty well - for a member of a different kingdom, his body language wasn't unpredictable or hard to read. Probably a sign of how inching closer to humanity in intellect unified behavior as well, she noted. But sometimes, he just went weird and those tics of his threw her for a loop. Like now. Audi leaned forward with an intrigued squint and a twitching nose as she watched his twiggy hand-arms coil around himself.

Afraid. Huh.

She tilted her head. "Why?"
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:23 pm

Even though he was standing still, the librarian seemed to be painfully restless. He twitched and coiled his limbs around himself, as if his movements were controlled by a meticulous puppeteer. 'Why,' she'd asked. 'Why' and not 'who'. Not 'what'. She knew, she must've knew.

There was a considerable effort to contain himself, but finally, Tony could take it no longer. His frantic spluttering tumbled out all at once. "B-Because you are a frightening creature! Your fangs are adept enough to tear me asunder, and your fires shall ignite whatever remains of me!" He tightened, shying away from her as if afraid she would pounce him at any given moment. "And what became of that sweet student of whom I cherished my moments with? Your path has led you astray into the worlds of chaos and destruction, and with it you've wrought yourself with scars that might never fade! You have aligned with teeming hordes of barbarity!" His voice cracked off with a high, unpleasant screech. Then he stopped. His trembling and twitching finally stopped.

"...I'm sorry," he said. "I just... n-never anticipated seeing you like this."
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:19 pm

What?

As his first outburst registered, Audi leaned away, ears swiveling forward. He... she was...?! She stared at him with wide, bewildered eyes -- a little pleasantly tickled that finally somebody acknowledged her formidability -- but mostly bewildered. Soon, his words merged into one incoherent, accusatory babble. Why-- why was he doing this? Sure, she was dangerous, but... was that reason to not trust her?

She inched away, turning her head so that her blind eye was away from him. "But I would not hurt you."

In that moment, she did not feel like a champion at all.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Tony Sharp on Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:26 am

As soon as her words registered in his head, he looked up with wide eyes.  "You wouldn't...?" He winced at his own words- they had escaped before he thought to control them.  "I mean-- of course you wouldn't! You're a well-behaved student, you wouldn't dare to go against the rules, would you? You're kind, you respect authority, and- and--"  He sounded more like he was trying to convince himself.

As he trailed off, his hands waved meaninglessly in the air, before he offered another desperate glance towards the rat-girl. Start again. Try to make things clear.  "I like the Audi now...  I like the sweet and thoughtful Audi...  not the savage and brutal Audi. Not the one bent on domination and violence...  Don't you see...?" His fingers intertwined each other as they made a begging motion in the air, willing her to understand.
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Re: A Bitter Taste [Tony & Audi]

Post  Audi on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:32 am

The shock slowly wearing off, her fur smoothing out, Audi found herself with eyes narrowing at the small librarian as anger welled up in her chest.

"And I'm your friend," she finished bitterly.

Maybe she wasn't, though. He clearly didn't think of her as one. Nobody here really did, did they? Nobody here had any concept of loyalty, of being on the same side until whatever end came to be. Everybody was out for themselves only. Her tail thumped irritably against the floor. Tony was no better than Ambrose, dropping all pretenses of camaraderie as soon as he felt threatened. What right did he have to tell her what to be?

She stared down at him, her eyes thin slits; one dark and glistening, one white and dull.

"And I am both of those Audis."
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