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Sah, I have an Otakon recap that has sat for over a week in-progress; not sure I need to write it up properly now given so much time has passed.  Suffice to say, it was good!  Hotel was surprisingly swank!  Food was delicious!  The Mews were awesome!  Amusing to note, I found myself using nonsense filler words for effect and emoting . . . the way I tend to around long-time friends.  So either they automatically slotted into that "I should have known you forever" space in my head or I was just that sleep-deprived.  XD They definitely got me unfiltered; it was like a four-day-long sleep over.

The other thing to shake out of Otakon is my inspiration.  I'd initially gone hoping to connect with the RotG fandom; I knew two other RotG authors at least were going, amongst other fans and cosplayers.  What actually happened is that . . .  I used up my bravery just introducing myself to the authors, and didn't have anything left over to manage an actual conversation with.  It was extremely awkward.  And I basically retreated immediately in both cases.  *sigh*  The more time goes by, the more I feel like I don't belong in the fandom any more, and it's not resonating with me as much.   There's still an active fandom, but I'm not on the right wavelength with them.  And that's okay.  They're not wrong.  But it's not what I'm interested in, it's not what I was writing.   I don't think anyone will care that much either way whether I write more for RotG or not.   I don't like to abandon things and I'll never say never, but right now, it's not happening.

What I did get a kick in the pants for is Odin's Children, as the Mews actually remembered and recognized it.  XD  That just . . .  I floundered for awhile, because - MY OCS.  THE TERRIBLE OLD ART WORK.  THEY REMEMBERED IT FONDLY.   They probably heard more than they wanted to about it for the rest of the con because that stirred up the old characters.   While I had Mr. Feather Mullet Schlagger on my brain the most at the con, Sabre has been the most talkative for me this week. 

So without further ado-

A quick character primer:
Riku is best described as a meat-headed, typical teen-aged boy and former bully.  He’s dense yet not an idiot, but people have been expecting less and less from him all his life.  And if people expect the worst from him, hey, he has no problem delivering the worst.  He’s actually a loyal friend, surprisingly emotionally savvy at the weirdest moments, and a decent human being despite his tendency towards “Holy shit I’m living in an action movie THIS IS AWESOME.”  XD   He has a loooooot of growing up to do over the series.  And uh, he swears.  A lot.

Sabre is outwardly Stereotypical Stoic Badass Biseinen, with an inner core of Deadpan Snarker.  He’s actually an enormous shrinking violet with crippling self-esteem issues; the emotionless facade is his way of putting people off.  He started off vanilla human but got an infusion of DNA from an alien species that looks like a raptor, a drow, and a Geiger-styled Alien had an unholy lovechild.  The man has been through some very bad things, and has not come off as uscathed as he’d like to appear.  Irregardless, he is of the “I will get things done if it kills me” school.  Riku gets right under his skin and pisses him off regularly.  (It's good for you, Sabre!)
 

 

"Who is this?"

Riku couldn't breathe. No one would know if he pissed himself before he died, right? Because he was dead. Fuck fuck fuck--

The traitor (what the hell was he doing with the enemy dressed like that anyways?!) stared down at Riku from where he had one knee down on the teenager's chest, knife blade caught against his throat. Pins and needles were shooting through the arm trapped under him, but he'd take that over feeling the claws pricking the skin of his wrist that the man had caught. This guy could shred him or slit his throat, any second now.

And his face was absolutely blank.

Whatever he said was short and completely empty, but something flicked through his eyes. Regret? Yeah, Riku sure bet he'd feel bad about getting blood all over his fancy coat--

And then he was hauling Riku up to his feet, one handed. (Holy shit, he was strong; Riku knew he was stupid tall but stupid strong to go with it was just overkill.) Riku fully expected to get thrown, disemboweled, shot, something. . . and all Sabre did was sheathe the knife.

He said something mildly disparaging to the watching aliens, and if Riku didn't know better he'd think it sounded like . . . was he dissing Riku before he killed him? Seriously? What, owning him in two seconds in front of an audience wasn't enough?

Riku didn't even notice when Sabre let go of his wrist, trading it for a grip on the scruff of his neck as he calmly hauled Riku along back out the door he'd run straight through.

Riku squirmed to get a good look over his shoulder at the considerably taller man. "Wait, where are you taking me? You don't want blood on the carpet?"

"Cooperate and keep quiet." Sabre at least answered him in English, voice low and still laced with "or else."

Yeah, like that was going to convince him. Riku glowered, "What the fuck is going on?!"

Sabre didn't even look down at him. "I'm saving your life."

Maybe it wasn't smart but Riku hissed, "Who's side are you on?!"

"Yours, unfortunately." Sabre marched him promptly down the hallway and out a side door Riku hadn't noticed in his mad stampede earlier. He all but tossed Riku out into an empty courtyard, finally releasing him. "Why are you even here?"

"Mission. Everything got fucked up and we had to run. We split up." Riku shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck to get rid of the lingering feeling of claws about to tear his spine out. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"My job." Sabre closed his eyes, shoulders still stiff like he could still cut Riku's throat at any moment. He was still glaring when he opened them again, whatever internal calculations done. "It's 14:30 local. You missed the departure window."

"Wha- you knew the mission details and you still asked me what I was doing here?!"

"You should have left three hours ago, and you certainly shouldn't have been in the embassy," Sabre countered.

"Well, shit happens, all right?" Riku lifted his chin to stare the bastard in the face. "I lost my tail and I didn't get caught until I ran into you, so I did all right."

"You're sure?" Sabre narrowed his eyes down at him.

"Yeah." Riku scoffed, "I'm not a complete idiot. When they stop shooting at you, you've lost 'em."

Sabre looked like he couldn't tell if he wanted to throttle Riku or go bang his head into a wall. Or he was constipated, hell if Riku knew. He sighed, then advanced on Riku with a purpose. Riku flinched back but not before the man seized hold of his flak jacket. And ripped.

Sabre pinned him with one hand and effectively tore off his jacket's sleeves with the other. Riku sputtered as Sabre let him go, "What, what the hell was that for?"

"The insignia." The man didn't even blink, giving Riku a quick glance over that made him want to squirm. He tore the sleeves into unrecognizable rags before tucking them into what had to be the alien equivalent of a dumpster. Smelt like it, anyways, even at a distance.

"Take down your hair." Sabre rifled through the utility belt hidden underneath his long coat, and produced something blue and tossed it at Riku.

Riku caught it and stared at the length of blue silky fabric in his hands. "What the fuck is this, a ribbon for my hair? So I'll be the prettiest princess-"

Sabre actually growled at him, then repeated through gritted teeth, "Take down your hair. And put that on your arm."

The man gestured to his own left arm, where a red tie identical to the one he'd just tossed Riku was cinched around his bicep like some sort of arm band.

Riku let the tie dangle loosely from his hands. "No really, what the fuck?"

Sabre narrowed his eyes, "Do you want to be recognized as the human terrorist who just tore through the space port or not?"

". . . Fine." Riku pulled out his hair tie and let the sweaty mess do whatever the hell it wanted. The fabric was slippery and awkward as hell to tie one-handed; he could see Sabre all but gritting his teeth as he waited. "I still don't get what this is for."

"It's a mark of a mercenary on a mission. If anyone asks you what you're doing, you're with me. And you're waiting at my ship until I'm finished."

"You seriously want me to tell people I'm with you," Riku couldn't keep the "You, the crazy homicidal traitor" out of his voice. And like hell he wanted to think about how he was with him given the guy just tore clothes off of him.

Sabre was giving him an equally dubious look in return. "If anyone asks, you're my apprentice. It'll keep you alive until I can get you back to the station."

Riku snorted, "What, people will just step off because of that?"

"I have a reputation." Sabre didn't offer to elaborate, glancing back over his shoulder once like a complete paranoid freak. "Can you actually follow directions or do I need to take you there myself?"

"Can I--hey, I was doing just fine on my own!"

The deadpan glare he got in response for that was clearly an "I'm not dignifying that with an answer." Sabre ground out, "Can you?"

"Can you get that stick out of your ass?" Riku countered.

Sabre folded his arms, visibly restraining himself, "If you're not there when I leave no one will come looking for you."

Riku whistled low. "Jesus fuck, you really can't take a joke."

"You are going to get both of us killed."

Riku wished Sabre didn't sound so matter of fact about that. He scowled, hauling a hand through his mass of hair. "Look, you could at least give me the chance to screw up before writing me off."

"You're still breathing. I gave you one." Sabre met his gaze squarely, "This is your second."

Shit. He was serious.

He didn't breathe for a moment before he swallowed. "Yeah. I've got this."

Sabre tilted his head and studied him for a moment, then nodded.

"You'd better."  

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