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Exiled to the Couch
Fic Draft: Push a Friend Towards the Grave
Fic Draft: Push a Friend Towards the Grave
I seem to be having a very good month in generating
~X X X~
Hiram Menthe dropped into a chair with a heavy sigh.
"What's wrong?" Bartido Ballentyne joked. "Find out that someone was going to live?"
The necromancy student glared at his fellow apprentice.
"Have you nothing better to do than mock people?"
"Not really, no. Dr. Charteuse and I finished most of the heavy lifting, and he doesn't want my apprentice's clumsiness putting his delicate equipment at risk."
"I'm glad to see that he can show wisdom," Hiram returned Bartido's earlier jibe.
There was very little that was similar about the two young men beyond their age and the fact that they were both senior students at the Magic Academy at the Silver Star Tower. Hiram was slightly taller, with pale hair pulled back in a queue, light skin, and spectacles. He wore clothing of good quality with the casual ease that suggested he was born to high rank—he did not seek the finer things so much as assume that they would naturally be present. He was studious, earnest, forthright, and serious—and in Bartido's opinion, a bit of a tight-assed stick-in-the-mud. Bartido, on the other hand, had dark hair, a hint of olive in his complexion, and a wiry, athletic build that hinted at regular use instead of a gentleman's exercise at hunting or fencing practice. He preferred slightly drab colors, browns and beiges. Though obviously intelligent or else Dr. Chartreuse's exacting standards would never have tolerated him, his manner was causal, even irreverent, and he had an eye for the ladies—and in Hiram's opinion, couldn't be bothered to have any respect for anyone or anything.
And yet despite the differences, the two had become friends, or something like it, even though it was a friendship spiced with snark and the occasional vitriol.
Bartido chuckled. "If you ask me, he hasn't had that good of a couple of days, but that's something else entirely. "What's bothering you?"
"I was supposed to have a lecture and practice session with Ms. Opalneria's today, but she cancelled it. We've just started in on the theory and practice behind the Acheron grimoire, and I was eager to hear about summoning Charon."
"Not to mention summoning the fair face of your professor?" Bartido said with a grin.
Hiram glared at him.
"I've told you before to stop talking about her that way."
"Really, Hiram, you wander around this place with your heart on your sleeve and you object to me saying the object of your crush is pretty. Did you want me to complain that she's an old hag, instead?"
"I'd prefer that you didn't talk about her at all!" he shot back.
Perhaps inconsistently, Hiram waited less than ten seconds before he brought up the subject of Ms. Opalneria again himself.
"That's two mornings in a row that she's cancelled. Come to think of it, I didn't see her the day before yesterday, either." He rubbed his hands together in a nervous little gesture as if he was washing them. "There wasn't a lecture scheduled, but I usually have some occasion to see her."
"Wow, that incident with Dr. Chartreuse must have hit her harder than I'd thought."
Hiram looked up at him.
"Sure. You know how she's always coming around bothering the Doctor, getting in our way?"
Hiram scowled at him, but didn't rise to the bait. The corner of Bartido's mouth twitched in a half-smile, acknowledging the moment.
"Anyway, it wasn't at all like usual. She was in a fury, smashing things, really it was like she'd completely lost it. I guess Lujei's ghost had told her to give it up already or something like that. Well, we managed to keep her from destroying anything
important, and then Dr. Chartreuse turned her down flat—more than he usually does, I mean. Like he'd given up and wasn't willing to play nice any more. He wouldn't even say he hated her, just 'I do not need you.'" Bartido let out a sigh. "Man, that's awful."
"You think it's better to be hated?"
"Sure. If someone hates you, at least they're thinking of you, they're keeping you in their hearts. Ms. Opalneria seemed to want that; when she was breaking stuff she was shouting about how Dr. Chartreuse could hate her for her deeds, like she figured that if she was going to suffer the emotion, she'd at least earn it." He shrugged. "What he said to her basically boiled down to saying that when she wasn't there in the room she wasn't even in his thoughts, couldn't get his attention. Her love amounted to an annoying piece of lint to pluck off his coat sleeve. Not that he said it like that, of course. Now, compare that to that new girl. She went so far as to tell me to my face—without being asked, mind you—'it's not as if I like you or anything,' and to give me a dirty look when I mentioned that I liked how Ms. Opalneria looked."
"If you ask me, she showed good taste for disapproving of your leering."
"Yeah, but that's just it. Was she disapproving of my leering, or of my leering at
? At the least, she's paying attention, thinking about me. She's cute, too, just my type."
"'Female' being your type?"
Bartido grinned. He was young and unattached and hardly going to feel any guilt over being interested in attractive woman!
"We were talking about
type, Hiram, namely tall, straightlaced, curvy necromancers."
Hiram was silent for a long moment.
"Do you really think that she's taking it that hard?"
"You know she's been interested in Dr. Chartreuse for at least as long as we've been here, probably a lot longer. And now both Grand Witch Lujei's ghost and Dr. Chartreuse himself have shut that down once and for all. That's got to hurt."
The fireplace popped and crackled, the only sound that could be heard for another long pause as Hiram once again digested what Bartido was telling him.
"You...may be right," he said slowly.
"Of course I'm right." Bartido was nothing if not confident.
"I should go talk with her." He pushed himself up out of the chair. "Maybe there's something I can say to help lift her spirits."
"I'm sure she'd appreciate a friendly face."
And maybe one that's more than friendly
, he thought to himself. Now that the lady's interest in another man was quashed, Hiram might not feel constrained by honor to keep his own feelings a secret.
Well, not secret, since everyone knows, but now he might confess it in words.
Had it been Bartido himself, he'd have spoken up months ago and let Ms. Opalneria reject him herself if she was so inclined, but Hiram's chivalry ran by different rules.
Dr. Chartreuse didn't need her, but who knew? Maybe the extended hand of someone who cared for her was exactly what
Bartido hoped it worked out for them. Not only was Hiram his friend, but he owed Ms. Opalneria a good turn. After all, her little explosion meant that today he was completely free of any obligation to Dr. Chartreuse—which gave him a full day to work towards his real goal in attending the Magic Academy.
He picked up his book, a history of the Archmage's rebellion, and once again began to examine it for references that might suggest where in this tower he might have secreted the Philosopher's Stone.
I cleaned up a bunch of (hopefully all, but that can probably be filed under "pipe dreams") the typos and
posted the story to fanfiction.net
"Yeah, but that's just it. Was she disapproving of my leering, or of my leering at another woman? At the least, she's paying attention, thinking about me. She's cute, too, just my type."
Oh poor misguided Bartido ;D
Fuyu no Sora
In his defense, our young mister Ballentyne doesn't know that Lillet's heart belongs to Amoretta already.
Which of course makes it even more hilarious, but still.
Hey, if he didn't have confidence, he wouldn't be Bartido!
(Plus, it lets me hang a lampshade on his status as the resident Straight Option...'cause if you decide that Lillet and Amoretta's love is platonic, then Lillet's lines with and about Bartido come right out of the Tsundere Handbook*.)
*Which is why, even more than my card-carrying status as a yuri fanboy (or how good a couple Lillet and Amoretta make), I will never go for that particular pairing...I really dislike tsundere. I tend to ship Bartido with Margarita, though I may never get around to showing it because the story idea that goes with that pairing is novel-length...
hehe I don't understand tsundere. Why is it attractive? I can understand flustered, but tsundere-type characters seem to be constantly antagonizingly annoying for no apparent reason.
In other news... *does a happy dance mentally* I HAVE TIME AGAIN!!
Tsundere used to be a lot better. It wasn't about going back and forth between irrationally mean and adoration on a particular target. It was someone who was prickly becoming less so, either to her/his friends or to everyone.
Now it's just thrown in as an archetype because it's expected more than anything else.
*nod* The old days when a tsundere was a Defrosting Ice Queen were kind of interesting, but now they tend to be
overdone. The worst offenders, IMHO, are the ones who are portrayed as being spiteful and sometimes abusive to their love interest because they're too cowardly to face what their feelings really mean...in other words, they have the maturity of first-graders who play pranks on members of the opposite sex that they're interested in.
Heh. I was trying not to use the Trope name. Silly me.
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