(This first installment is essentially an edited log of an RP between myself and Oniichan. All you really need to know is that previously Kite attempted to convince Mercutio to swim, and then Yadali showed up and made both of them rather uncomfortable.)
I. Family Secrets
The day started off well, with the warm sun quickly warming the island. The Tourists take the relatively enjoyable morning to explore the more 'exotic' locals of the island before retreating to the beach to allow the natives to come to them. Meanwhile, Mercutio has already awoken and is on the same deck as last night basking in the warm sun. He has also acquired what he has deemed authentic early morning breakfast of the island. Itâ€™s the same eggs, meat, and bread he has eaten his entire life, but now with a side of pineapples in delightful shapes.
Kite, however, is still curled under the blankets, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that morning has come and thus she needs to get up. At the smell of food, however, she slowly lifts one corner of the covers and peers out from under it for a minute before retreating once again. Muffled grumbles and groans come from under the blankets before they're flung off in one motion to puddle on the floor. Stretching, she yawns and walks over to the table, snatching a few tropical fruits from the bowl there before making her way over to where Mercutio is standing on the balcony. "Mornin'" she mutters.
"Morning, Lil' Miss Sunshine." He leans back in his chair. "Not too hung-over I hope; that would be simply terrible."
"Mmph. Not hung-over, jus' tired. 's too early for the sun to be this bright," she replies, biting into one of the fruits. Her hair, it should be noted, is sticking up in several different directions and possibly one or two separate dimensions.
"Kite, it's almost noon."
He paused, then commented, "Your hair, it's doing the..." He put his hands on his head. "You know the uh... dangerous weapon thing that it does."
"Mm. I'll fix it later." She continues to munch on her fruit, finishing one and starting on the second.
"Whatever, not my parents we are seeing." He went back to eating his food. "You do remember that's what we're doing today, correct?"
"Mm-hm. Like I said, I'll fix it later, when I'm actually awake."
"Youâ€™re no more of a morning person on vacation then you are at home."
"...what's your point?
"I dunno." He poked at the dish. "Have any good dreams?"
"Hm... not really. You?"
"One involving the weird elf from last night."
"...somehow that's not too surprising."
"She was good looking in that psychotic kind of way."
Kite shrugs. "I guess. Tended to make too many assumptions for my comfort."
"That we were naked?"
"That we weren't naked, and that that was somehow weird."
"So nothing to do about her assuming we were dating?"
"That tooâ€¦ But then that seems to be a common assumption lately. Remember the lady at the front desk when we checked in?"
"How can I forget? She tried giving me tips."
Kite boggled at this, almost choking on her fruit. "Wait, she what?"
"Tips, some of them might have been pretty good. I wasn't paying attention to most of it but there were a couple that I should probably take into consideration....and I can keep going if you don't get ready to leave."
"...yeah, I think I'll take that bath now," Kite says quickly, tossing the pits of her finished fruits over the balcony and into the foliage below. Grabbing a towel from a stand near the wall, she waves and heads towards the door. "Back inna bit."
Mercutio smiles and waves as she leaves. "That was easier than I thought."
Some time later Kite came back from the baths, the towel over her shoulder, wearing lighter, more summer-appropriate clothes and sandals. Her hair had flattened out somewhat into its more typical touseled mess.
"Ah, there is the girl we know and love!" He gave her a golf clap and stood up stretching. "Only took you to oh....um.." He shrugged; he'd never owned a watch.
"It wasn't that long, and 'sides, the baths were nice. I took the time to enjoy them a little. After all we are on vacation."
"And all that hot water? Crazy, eh? When was the last time we saw hot water back in Doma?"
"Not recently enough. You're right, I'm starting to wonder why I ever did leave here."
"Heh. Probably. But maybe we should set up shop here for awhile."
"We'll see what happens." He opened the door. "Time to make our exit I do believe."
"I believe it is."
"Onwards!" He exited the room and then stood there. "Kite, where the devil are we going anyways?"
Kite laughed. "We'll go see Moth first, I think. She lives pretty close to here."
"Lead the way, good chum!"
Kite led them out of the hotel and down to the beach, weaving a path along the shore. Mercutio followed along behind, once in a while stopping to admire the view or hand out a business card to a random passerby. "So what's she like, this Moth?"
Kite considered. "Hm... she's one of my more normal relatives, for starters... she's nice, friendly. Pretty smart, for a younger sister. Does some sculpting in her spare time, too. Her garden is full of the sculptures she does--You'll see them when we get near her place."
Leaving the beach, they headed up into the more forested parts of the island, following a stone road that narrowed as they walked, eventually becoming little more than a footpath. Just as Mercutio opened his mouth to complain, Kite grinned and spread an arm. "We're here!" she declared.
"Here" turned out to be a wide clearing that was almost completely filled with garden, bright flowers and plants everywhere on the ground and hanging in pots. Mixed in the middle of all these were stone sculptures of various animals and sea creatures, including a pair of dolphins taller than Mercutio that formed an archway into the garden proper.
"...Wow. She keeps herself busy." He strode up to one of the dolphins and whistled in awe. "Pretty damn fancy, she must eat and breathe sculpture."
"She does pretty well. She makes a lot of smaller ones for the tourists, and they're pretty popular from what she says. Anyway if we make our way around here..." she lead him through the garden to the door of a small cottage. A large orange tabby cat was lazing in the sun in front, which opened one eye as they approached. Convinced after a moment that they weren't invading ninjas, he went back to sleep.
Mercutio can feel a plan brewing in the back of his mind. "I see. So where is this sister of yours?"
"Inside I'd assume, since she's not out here puttering in her garden." Stepping over the large cat, she rapped sharply on the door. "HEY! MOTH! YOU HOME?" she called.
Mercutio stared down at the cat. "Ello Cat."
The cat rolled over, not even bothering to open its eyes this time.
Kite frowned, than rapped on the door again, "Oi, Moth!"
There was the sound of quickly approaching footsteps and then the door opened, revealing a shorter woman (though still taller than Kite) with messy, light brown hair that was pulled up into a high ponytail.
"Yeah, yeah, who is it- Kite? What are you doing here?" Her gaze flicked to Mercutio. "And who's your friend?"
"This is Mercutio," Kite said. "And I was in the neighborhood so we decided to stop by. Aren't I allowed to come by and visit sometimes?"
Mercutio frowned when Moth came to the door. "I thought she was your little sister!" He walked up and looked down at her. "Doesn't look very little."
Kite scowled and crossed her arms. "Yeah, well, some people get all the good genes."
"Aww, you're just jealous, 'little' sister," Moth grinned, reaching out to ruffle Kite's hair before her hand was batted away. "Anyway, if you're visiting, you might as well come in, and I'll make some tea or something-- don't mind the mess, I'm in the middle of a few projects and I haven't had time to clean up..." She opened the door and Kite and Mercutio stepped in, following as she lead them to the kitchen. The house was indeed a mess-- books and papers were stacked everywhere, with any number of strange-looking tools gleaming in between them. One table was piled high with small blocks of stone, which surrounded a larger, further finished sculpture in the center. Dust covered everything. Mercutio tried not to sneeze.
Mercutio would comment about how he'd tried to help Kite with that short problem but he currently enjoyed his legs unbruised and was never sure what kind of weapons she might be carrying in those pockets. "This reminds me a lot of home..."
"Yeah, well, it's the start of prime tourist season so all the shops are sending me orders... I don't even want to think how many penguins I've had to carve already... I don't know why they're so popular, it's not like we have them here in Tristes..." She sighed and cleared away enough of the clutter to reveal two chairs. "Make yourselves at home. Kite, you know where the cups are... go get a few while I try to remember where I put the canister of tea leaves..."
Mercutio takes a seat, lazily pushing through the papers on the table, it was habit that even he couldn't kill. "It's a nice place you have here, Moth. Quite a nice house, on a nice island. Maybe not too nice of a sea but the island makes up for that."
"The sea would be a lot nicer if you'd just calm down and relax around it," Kite said, grabbing a trio of glasses from one of the cabinets. (Mercutio was amused to note that she needed to step on one of the blocks of stone to do so, but wisely said nothing.) "I told you, the monsters are not going to eat you."
"So you say." He reaches into the pile and takes out what most likely is something private. "So, Moth, that cat have a name?"
"Hm? Oh, his name is Ben," she said, rummaging through various cabinets. "He just kinda showed up one day-- Aha!" she cried, finding the tea at last. "I don't really feed him, but he seems to stick around anyway."
"Ben, eh?" He continued to flip through the book and paused to look at a particularly long entry. "So besides old Ben, you live here all by yourself?"
"Oh, I have enough people coming in and out to keep me company. Usually little Chana and Kuli come by in the evenings to watch me work and chat a little, and Zeke comes in the mornings to help haul the finished sculptures down to the shops... and that's just family. I've friends from town who'll come up and drag me out with them at least once a week. They say it's to keep me from becoming a hermit... and they're probably right," she smiled.
Kite smirked as Moth rattled off the list. "So Zeke helps you out, huh? What about Tsuyo? He's the older one, he should be doing the work."
The younger woman rolled her eyes at that. "Well you know how he is...too proud and lazy to do anything like real work. He'd much rather tomcat around the island and torment the local girls with his affections--not that he ever gets that far."
Mercutio slouched back in his chair and let the girls talk about family. He was doing this for Kite after all, might as well make the most of it by reading up on Moth's family life when her sister was away with him.
Moth chattered on happily for a little while while the tea was brewing, but once the kettle shrieked and the tea was poured she turned her attention on Mercutio.
"So," she said, setting a cup in front of him and unearthing the sugar pot from underneath a small book. "What brings you along here, Mercutio? You're not Kite's boyfriend, I can tell that much. But she dragged you up here anyway, so you must be special. Why don't you tell me a bit about yourself?"
"Finally! Everyone seems to think that. I'm Kite's business associate, we are here on holiday to escape the rather unpleasant feelings in Doma at the moment." He spooned sugar into his tea. "I'd say we make quite a killing."
"Oh? And what is it exactly that you do?" She looked at Kite. "I know I send you shipments of the junk that Uncle throws out every few months, but you never really did say what you do with them..."
"We are mostly traders, importers of fine goods, et cetera." He drank from his tea and tried to defer all questions to Kite.
"'Importers of fine goods', huh." She raised an eyebrow, and Mercutio did his best to look completely innocent. Moth rolled her eyes and looked deadpan at Kite for a moment. "...you pass them off as magical amulets, don't you?"
Kite shrugged. "Well it's not like the same thing doesn't happen here. And in Doma, who's going to know the difference? All they know is that it's something exotic and strange, therefore it must be, if not magic, than Really Really Cool."
Moth sighed. "Kite, you're hopeless."
Kite grinned. "Yep!"
"She's also talented."
"Hm, well you would know I guess," Moth said.
"I am but an innocent pawn in her devil's grasp, I wouldn't." He said smiling.
"'Devil's grasp'? I don't know what you're talking about," Kite muttered. She opened her mouth to complain further, but just at that moment there was a rather loud crashing sound, followed by what could only be described as scrabbling on the roof.
"What the-?" Moth muttered, setting her tea down and looking out the window. "...it looks like one of the smaller sculptures got knocked over..." she frowned. "Dammit, if it's the Twins again..."
"Twins? Just how large of a family, do you ladies have?"
Still scowling, Moth ignored Mercutio's question as she headed towards the door, leaving Mercutio staring curiously at Kite, who shrugged. "Don't look at me," she said, "I have no idea who these...Twins... are...." She blinked. "Actually, I think I might now."
Turning, Mercutio saw two medium-sized spotted cats (ocelots, if he'd known the term) perched on the windowsill above the sink. Strangely, they seemed to be grinning at him.
"So would it be offensive to call your sister one of those crazy cat ladies?"
"I don't think these are necessarily hers..." Kite said slowly.
"That's right!" said the first cat--or rather the scruffy looking little boy that had replaced him.
"You're funny!" said the second cat--who turned out to be an equally scruffy little girl--as she hopped down from the sink and peered at Mercutio. "Why're you wearing that big heavy coat when it's so nice out?"
Mercutio looks rather pale for a second. "...Is your sister into hallucinogenic teas by any chance?"
"Ah, no..." Kite said. "Remember I told you this island was the home of several tribes of Bastets...?"
"Oh, natives." he sipped at his tea more.
"Well, yes..." Kite said, but was interrupted as Moth came barging back into the room.
"There you are, you little rascals," she muttered. "Haven't I told you a hundred times to stay out of my garden?"
The two cat-children clung together and affected that watery-eyed expression only children and puppies can truly master. "But it's so fun..." they pleaded.
"And you two shouldn't be wandering around on your own anyway. What would Zeke say if he knew you were here, hm? I know he doesn't want you coming over here by yourselves..."
The two children sniffled. "...but... but... Auntie Moth... please...?"
"We just wanted to see if you had made any of your special cookies," the little girl whined.
"Yeah! Yeah, we just wanted to see..."
"...Aunt?" Mercutio said. "Moth, your brother married into a Bastet family?"
"Er..." Kite dodged the question for the moment by turning her attention to Moth. "These are Zeke's kids? You didn't tell me he'd had kids..."
Moth looked at Mercutio a bit strangely. "Zeke's our cousin, first off, but... married into? No, no. Except for Kite and I's mom, we're all Bastets in our family. ...Didn't Kite tell you that?"
Mercutio went back to that white color. "Excuse me a moment..." He drank in a good sip of his tea and spat it out. "WHAT THE DEVIL IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?!"
"I...well...you see..." Kite fumbled for a moment, casting her sister a glare that clearly said now you've done it. "It's..."
"Yer a feckin' cat!"
"Of course she is," Moth said.
Mercutio slapped his head. "Great, I'm partnered with a cat girl?"
Kite scowled at her sister and slumped in her chair, arms crossed. "I don't see how that really changes things," she muttered. Mentally she added, of course I do. That's why I tried not to mention it. Merc's not exactly the most tolerant of other races...
"I...er. Damn it, Kite! Ya got a nice thing going on and then one of your partners turns into a damn cat." He slammed the table. "Why didn't ya damn well mention this before?! You know what, I don't want to know." He stood up and began to stomp out before pausing before the tabby. "Let me guess, youâ€™re a tiny old man as well!"
"Nah, he's just a normal lazy cat," Moth said, though she's not entirely sure Mercutio is listening.
The twins watched all this carefully, not sure what's going on and whether or not they're going to be yelled at again.
"At least somebody makes sense in this house." He stomped out... then stomped back in. "I'm going to the damn beach!" Then he stomped back out with great gusto.
"Dammit," Kite shouted, slamming her fist on the table. Then she curled up, her hair falling into her face. "Dammit dammit dammit," she said again, more softly now.
Moth frowned as Mercutio left, then looked back and forth between her sister and the Twins. "You brats run along home," she said, "and I won't tell your dad you were here." There was a threat in her voice that belied her quiet tone. They nodded quickly and dashed out the way they had come. "And don't knock any more of my statues over!" Moth called as they disappeared. Then she turned to her sister. "Kite..."
Kite was silent for a long moment before she finally replied. "What," she muttered, not raising her head.
"You are going after him, aren't you?" was all her sister said.
That got a reaction. "What?" Kite asked, turning to look at her. "But-"
Moth looked at her. "Go after him, you idiot. It's obvious you like him, even if you're not really 'together'. So go after him. You're not going to fix anything by sitting and moping here."
"I... I guess you're right..." Kite said slowly.
"Hmph, of course I'm right. Now go on and get out of here, or he'll outrun those short stubby legs of yours."
"Hey!" Kite started, but Moth just smiled at her. After a moment, Kite smiled weakly back.
"And make sure you come back and see me before you go, mkay?" her sister grinned as she nudged Kite out the door. "No leaving without a goodbye."
Kite nodded once, and then, slowly, somewhat hesitantly, started to follow the trail of destruction Mercutio had left in his wake.
Meanwhile, Mercutio was busy smashing his way through the undergrowth. "FUCKING! Women so! Grah! Damn it. Damn it!" He picked up a large stick and beat his own path through the plants. The tourist child saw him before he saw the kid. "What? You think youâ€™re better than me? HAPPIER? Bwah! Get out of here you little snot!" He brandished the stick and the child ran for its life. "Run you snot! Run you damn happy snot!"
He paused from his rampage once terrorizing the young and helpless no longer was making him feel like less of a bastard. He paused looking at the ocean, his arch-foe of all arch-foes. "Damn it! Damn you! Damn every last piece of this damn stinking island! Damn me." He through the stick into the surf. "Think your so damn happy and then being a cat makes you feel sad, boy? Grow a spine, boy! Get a job, boy! Get a new damn destiny, boy!"
Out of steam at this point, he sat down on a volcanic rock and resigned himself to cursing unintelligibly and trying to not it let sink in that he just severed connections with his only best friend.
Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) for him, Kite padded up to him a few moments later. Walking slowly, she climbed up on another rock some ten feet to his right and curled up there, hugging her knees. For a while she just sat there, not really sure what to say, her gaze flickering from him to the ocean and back.
The silence was driving him mad, something needed to happen, something that wasn't just the pounding surf. So, slowly, he took off his hat and placed it with great care on the rock and then slid off his sandals.
"Hey, letâ€™s go swimming, eh?" He took off his overcoat and then his undercoat. Mercutio looked towards that ocean and then he took off his shirt.
...is he really going to go swimming? Willingly? Kite wondered. But... he hates the water...
"Hey," she said, uncurling a little. "Hey, wait, Mercutio..."
"Hey Kite." He nodded towards the girl.
"..." She stared at him a moment, then slid off the rock she'd been sitting on. "...is that really all you're going to say?"
"Oh, I have a lot to say, I could say lots of nasty things. I could probably make you cry. And at first I really did, but why bother with that now, eh?"
Kite blinked. This wasn't how she'd planned on this happening at all. Then she smiled. Well, if he was going to be that way about it, what business did she have worrying so much?
"Well fine then, if we're going to go swimming, let's go swimming," she said with a grin. "And I mean proper swimming, not that wimpy wading you were doing yesterday!" Kicking off her sandals, she headed down to the shore, until the waves were licking at her toes. "I'll race you to that big rock over there," she said.
"That sounds like a very proper way of doing this. In fact I accept your challenge." And with that he began dashing for the water with out giving Kite a chance to retort.
"Ha! Think you can beat me at this..." cried Kite as she chased after him.
"I don't know but one of us can always be pleasantly surprised!" He began to splash into the water.
Kite dove in more quickly, then started to push her way through the waves with a swift freestyle. She swam hard, easily cutting her way through the water towards the semi-distant rock that was her goal.
Mercutio kept after her, though he was already falling behind the tiny woman, even with his head start his lack of technique and lazy strokes were getting him nowhere fast. He tried to yell things at Kite but soon learned that he loathed the taste of sea water.
Resisting the temptation to look back and see just how her opponent was doing, Kite kept on, and within a few minutes had very nearly reached the rock. Just a little farther, she thought.
With a few more strokes Kite reached the goal and, seeing Mercutio was rather far behind, climbed on top to wait for him.
Time passed and the surf came in and left as Mercutio finally reached the rock, then climbed on beside her, grinning.
"Took you long enough," Kite said when he finally clambered up beside her.
He shrugged. "Never said I was a fast swimmer, surprised I didn't drown. Terrible stuff to drown in by the way, give me liquor above it any day of the week."
"Yeah, I know. Ya did good for your first real swim." She hesitated a moment, than said, "...and I wouldn't have let you drown, you know."
"...I know. But when I first decided I wasn't really expecting to be swimming with you." He looked over at his wet friend. "So you won, dinner on me then?"
"...yeah, I guess so."
He nudged her. "Whaddya want? I mean anything you want, you won after all." He slouched down. "Booze, food, one of those singing things we went to once."
"Hm... the singing thing was pretty fun...but I think I'll stick to the basics. There's a seafood cafe down the street from the bar we were in yesterday. Let's go there."
"You like seafood? I mean not trying to say something about you becau... I didn't know you liked it."
"Well, when you grow up on an island... there's a lot of seafood around, you know? Liking it is kinda compulsory."
"Ah yeah, I wasn't thinking because well." He shrugged. He was just going to keep dancing around the subject. "What are we going do about this, Kite?"
"...I don't know," she admitted. "What are you going to do?"
"Were you ever going to, you know, talk about it?"
"I guess...If I do, are you going to try not to freak out on me?"
He held out his left hand. "Ain't even shaking yet." Of course his right one was, but might as well let the girl feel a little better.
She sighed. "All right then. Dinner first, and then you can interrogate me all you want. Sound fair?"
He shrugs. "I just wanted to know that, I mean, what if I did something wrong and I didn't know this. I'd rather hear it from you then at a city morgue or from yer damn sister."
"Yeah... my sister. I'm going to have to have a word or two with her later," Kite muttered. "Anyway, let's go and get that dinner, and I'll try my best to explain."
"Well if youâ€™re so eager to go." He put his hand on her back. "I see no reason why you don't get the head start this time." He pushed against her. "SWIM FREELY MY LITTLE FISH!"
"Bwah!" At the shove, Kite tumbled off the rock and into the water with a splash. She surfaced a few seconds later, spitting out water and glaring at Mercutio. "Sneaky, sneaky," she grumbled. Then she grinned. "But I can do that too," she said, grabbing his leg and pulling.
"Assassin," He shouted, tumbling into the sea water alongside her. "You know this calls for revenge of the highest order," He smiled. "The most terrible kind as well."
"You started it," she said, but stopped at the grin on his face. "...what are you plotting."
"Nothing, I promise." He began to paddle back to the shore. "Mwahahhaha-blech! Ech!"
"...sure. And it's just salt, you know," Kite commented, swimming alongside him.
"Which makes it anymore appetizing, how?"
"Well, there are worse things, is all I'm saying."
"Nun soup?" He splashed her with water. "I thought it was pretty good, wish I could find the recipe in all those papers."
"Well, if you didn't use every scrap of paper as a bookmark or a grocery list..." Kite said, splashing him back, "Things'd be a lot easier to find."
"Well maybe if you didn't always collect more and add it to the pile so I have to read through it. I mean honestly what are we to do with all those love letters and memos for ink pots?"
"...use them for paper-mache?"
"Hmmm, you are the one collecting them right?" He thought about the idea that the love in their home was reproducing through ink and paper.
"They just seem to appear around the house. I have no idea where they all come from," Kite said airily.
"Perhaps there are greater things at work then we thought, Kite. Maybe those Nuns were right...OR THAT ELF!" He felt a fish, (he honestly hoped it was a fish) swim below him. "Perhaps I should start believing in gods if they are so intent on believing in me with their hocus-pocus and destiny."
"Perhaps... who knows what's out there?" Kite said, swimming a little faster now. "We've certainly seen some strange things."
"Elf breasts count as strange?"
"...I was referring to things more like the attack porcupines and the dancing pigs."
"I thought the pigs were quite good..." He started kicking a little faster. "I see your point!"
The shore seemed to have caught up with them surprisingly quickly, as Kite gave a few more kicks and then began wading up out of the water, wringing out her hair in an attempt to get some of the wet out of it.
Mercutio went post-haste to his hat and clothing, putting them on even while wet. "So to that dinner?"
"To dinner!" Kite agreed, retrieving her sandals and putting them on.
He fished the tiny baggy out of his pocket and tossed it on the sand before walking down the beach. "Come on, last one there has to buy the drinks."
"Ha, you're on," Kite said, jogging ahead of him.
(To be concluded)
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