inventrix: (leofric)
inventrix ([personal profile] inventrix) wrote2016-12-11 12:08 pm
Entry tags:

part one, maybe?

Leo had long ago discovered that there was a space of time between being struck unexpectedly and feeling the sensation of pain from being struck. It was impossible to tell how long; the moment felt as though it both rushed by instantly and stretched out interminably at the same time. But he'd found it useful, giving him an opportunity to assess the situation, determine what had happened and how to react next.

On this instance, it found him struggling to determine what, exactly, he'd done to result in Luke punching him in the face.

Of course, Luke had already been on edge. Cya had punished him (at least in part) by strapping a harness over his wings - not as a visible statement, as it blended into his wings really well, and Leo had noticed it more due to Luke's stifled wing movements than the straps themselves. It was a logical punishment for flying off without notice, but Leo knew (well, he assumed) it must be unpleasant.

Even so, there must have been some trigger. They had been discussing the next moves, Leo had determined their plan of action, Luke had asked why... Ah.

"He's in an untenable position," Cya had said. "He has no coping skills for being the junior to his juniors." And Leo not only hadn't taken his advice, but he hadn't offered any reasons as to why.

The pain on his jaw flared into existance at the same moment the officers in the tent drew their weapons. Quickly, Leo waved them off. "Stand down," he ordered, and looked over at Luke. From his expression, he was under an order he had... well, not broken; Leo was certain even Luke wouldn't be able to keep his composure through that. But bent, at least. Something about attacking or injuring him, knowing Cya.

Leo needed to deal with this... but not here. Resisting the urge to put a hand to his face, he strode out of the tent, waving Luke out with him. "Luke. Come with me."

*****

Luke tried to ignore the guilt and humiliation clawing at him as he followed Leo out of the strategy tent. Was he going to call for Cya again? What punishment would she come up with this time?

He didn't even notice where they were headed until Leo pushed the entrance to his tent open and gestured Luke to enter with a brief "come in". He did, feeling both the urge to pull his wings in out of the way and the unpleasant reminder they already were.

Leo stepped in afterwards, letting the flap fall closed and muttering a Working that Luke realized was to soundproof the inside of the tent a moment before the sounds of the camp muffled and went silent. Without even a slight pause, almost as though he'd done this before, Leo continued inwards and sat down on the wooden chest in the middle of the tent, settling himself with his arms crossed and hands tucked into the loose sleeves of his kimono.

"Do you want to yell at me?"

Luke's wings tried to flap in surprise, which didn't help his mood any. "What?"

"I'd ask if you wanted to hit me, but if I let you do that, Cya would be angry at both of us." He smiled crookedly. "But yelling should be fine. So, do you want to yell at me? Nobody else can hear."

Luke took a breath. His wings twitched. "It's humiliating," he snarled. "It's bad enough that she treats me like a child. I'm not some idiot teenager who doesn't know what I'm doing. I know what the world is like! I know how dark it can get. But first she slaps me down in public like a private gone AWOL for his girlfriend, and then this." His wings twitched hard against the restraints. "Like some naughty child who doesn't know how to behave. I know how the world works," he repeated. "I know what I was signing up for, but what I was signing up for didn't involve being treated like a child. And you! If you're not even going to listen to me, if you're going to pick the stupidest plans, why even pretend that I'm your adviser? Why not just call me what I am and let me be your fucking fetch-and-carry boy? I mean, that's all she's going to let me be anyway."

All through the entire tirade, Leo sat motionless, his eyes trained on an arbitrary point on the floor, and stayed that way for a short pause after Luke was done. Then, finally, he sighed.

"You know, you can always ask for an explanation, in private, and I'll give you one. I just can't have you questioning my authority in front of my army."

"They won't turn on you." Luke had rarely - maybe never - met soldiers so unbendingly loyal to their commander.

Leo looked up and shook his head. "You really don't understand your position. No, no," and Leo waved him down before he could retort, "let me explain. You flew in out of nowhere a couple months ago, landed unknown and unannounced in the middle of my army. I, the leader of this army, allowed you to stay as a guest. An honored guest." Leo met his eyes. "And then you attacked me."

Luke nodded, his wings twitching against the harness. "I remember. I was there."

"Then you remember how I stopped my army from interfering? How I allowed you to nearly kill me? How my army did not execute you on the spot?"

"...I remember." Why was Leo bringing this up now?

"Because that is what I told them they're supposed to do. It's what I would have done. My army tolerates you because I tolerate you, Luke. They respect you - some of them - because I respect you. And I only successfully talked them down from attacking Addergoole in retaliation by convincing them I didn't want to. I lead them; I don't control them. Which means, in front of them, I can't argue with you, I can't be angry with you, I can't show any hostility to you, and I definitely can't defer to your authority." He paused and took a deep breath. "So, no, I'm not worried about them turning against me. I'm worried about them turning against you."

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