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Author Topic: Leap of Faith  (Read 413 times)


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Leap of Faith
« on: December 07, 2019, 07:18:17 PM »
He considered diving after her, for a moment or two.

If he wasn’t used to this by now, sitting out in the evening sun and watching the bubbles on the surface disappear as Tahara dipped under the waves in pursuit of more shiny treasures, he might have. There still was a moment, the seconds of complete silence after her shadow drifted past his view where it tempted him to drag her back up himself - but if Kyra’s little exercise had proven anything, then that maybe, just maybe he had to have a little faith once in a while.

As if the resolution was to be rewarded, the shadow under the surface grew until Tahara broke through the surface with a triumphant, excited grin and another clam in her hands. “Got one!”

Tagrok sighed, forcing himself to clap in a well-meant but ultimately unenthusiastic expression of approval. He couldn’t wait to get out of here, well past the point of worrying into what shade of purple the sun had grilled the back of his neck today.

Tahara hefted herself up the ruined wall that once marked an ancient troll temple, or some such, turning on it and grabbing the knife at her belt to shuck her latest find. “Come oooon…”, he heard her muttering to herself… only to let out a disappointed sigh as she opened the clam to find, again, no pearls. Tahara flopped backwards, sighing dramatically. “I give up.”

Tagrok couldn’t keep a snort out of his voice. “What, already? We’ve only been here all day.” He motioned over his shoulder with his thumb, where the sun was dipping behind the horizon line.

He had no real idea why she suddenly cared about anything shiny, or valuable. And it wasn’t that he didn’t bother to care - Tahara was an oddball, but he had found that spending time and paying attention, she often made more sense than most people he’d met in his life. That didn’t mean she was without any excentricities and he was willing to bet good money this was one of them.

Tahara scowled at him as she wrapped up the clams in the cloth she had prepared, to use as a bag, all tied up. “I wanted to find just one pearl…”, she whined, looking about as sad as a lost kitten in heavy rainfall. Just… tougher and orcish. “We can probably find you one ridiculously overpriced in Booty Bay.”, he countered, with no small part of exhaustion in his own voice. He would be happier as soon as they were back on solid ground, even if it was fun and… oddly enough filling him with a bit of pride watching her put her heart and soul into this pursuit of hers. Not that the sad look on his…. mate? lover? partner’s…? On Tahara’s face didn’t bother him. He nudged her shoulder playfully. “Come on. Kyra’s probably eaten dinner by herself by now.”, he said, hopping back into the water, all too eager to get back to shore. He could see Tahara sighing and hesitating, clearly not wanting the day to end on such a disappointment. He didn’t have a pearl, or amber, or anything else “shiny” that she so desperately wanted to find on this trip… but he had one way to get that frown off her face. “Alright…”, he grunted, making a big show of the serious expression on his face and immediately watched her notice, following his motions attentively with suspicion clear on her face. “If you won’t come willingly…”

She had a second to utter: “Wh-” before he grabbed her by the ankles and pulled her into the water.

Tagrok didn’t remember the next part as clearly. All he would be able to recall the next morning, was that somehow, he ended up with his back on the sand, laughing and sputtering out salt water, still tussling with Tahara who had somehow managed to get the upper hand. His vision was still blurred from saltwater as he fought off her swatting arms, hearing her laughing above him and for a moment forget about war and void and the blood on his dagger… until her laughter faded out. He rubbed his eyes, trying to find her face somewhere to the left and above him.

“Hey, you alright?”

She was staring at him. She was rubbing her own face dry, trying to clear up her vision, but had that look on her face, like she was trying really hard to divide 26 by four. Tahara gestured quickly, vaguely and not in any way he could easily understand, the scowl she wore drawing deep lines into her face. “Just - shush!”

For all that he might have tried, his temper flared a little, with a frown of his own. He could hear the voice in his head - the one that was his conscience, not… the other ones - screaming at him that this was no time to ruin the fun and lighthearted mood of five minutes ago. And yet he could feel himself doing exactly that. “What do you mean ‘shush’? If something’s bothering you, you could at lea-”

He scowled at the hand that suddenly covered his lips, smothering his protest as Tahara almost growled at him. “Can you just-... shut up and hold still for five seconds?.”

Tagrok might have lost his cool entirely in that moment, if Tahara hadn’t pulled back her hand and replaced it with her lips.

There was a moment there, brief but poignant, where everything just stopped. More than the breath in his lungs, it was his own mind coming to a screeching halt as her lips, warm despite the dip in the ocean, soft despite the salt he could taste, brushed over his. Not that it wasn’t awkward. Tahara was slow and careful and just barely finding the courage to even move. Her breath tickled infernally and her teeth clacked against his twice before he recovered and started returning the kiss like he should have moments before.

He would like to have said that he was a patient man. That he’d fisted a hand in the sand and let her take the moment at her own pace. That he’d controlled himself and not taken that hand and fisted it into her hair instead. That he hadn’t sat up and taken over, almost shoving her off his lap in the process. That he’d been kind and gentle and careful, like he wanted to be.

He would have liked to.

Instead, they were both breathing heavily by the time he had gotten his wits back and remembered who he was, who she was, what they just did and how in the world they’d even-

Tagrok was about to come up with some kind of apology, something, but he barely opened his mouth before he heard:

“Did I do it right?”

Tagrok blinked, Tahara coming into focus, still half sitting in his lap, half hanging off of it, one hand on his chest the other frozen in mid-air likely for the past minute and a half.

“Y-... what?”

“Did I do it right? The… I mean I knew what it looked like and stuff but I didn’t… do people practice? W-was I supposed to… ?” She couldn’t finish the sentence, gesturing even more vaguely, probably not truly understanding her own point.

He just kind of sat there, dumbfounded. It took him a heartbeat to realize that he likely had to thank Kyra’s ridiculous “trial of trust” for… whatever this was. As he watched her face, not the shy nerves of a young woman in love but the cold, persistent undercurrent of fear it finally hit him, that Kyra’s test had banked on them trusting each other with their lives. Maybe that had been the motivation, the courage to try this, but he could see that Tahara was struggling to trust him with something that scared her a deal more than just death.

It then took him another heartbeat to reign in the sarcastic answer that was waiting on the tip of his tongue, replacing it with breathless laughter. “Yeah. Yeah, I’d say s-”

Tagrok had about a second and a half to watch her face melt into a pleased smile before a fish hit him square in the jaw.

“Ya two about finished, den? Dinner ain’t makin’ itself!”

There would come a day, sometime far away in the future, where he was just going to kill Throatrender, Tagrok thought as the fish slid off his face. The varog’gor was grinning with the kind of face a cat had, right before it let go of the half-alive bird it caught, right in your tent. Tahara had jumped up like she heard canon fire, of course, scurrying to a socially acceptable distance with her face redder than the sunset. “N-... coming, sister!”, she yelped as she got to her feet and grabbed the bag of mussels and clams. She reached out a hand, still flustered, to help him up to, as Kyrazha was already sauntering back to the hut, mighty pleased with herself. Grunting he took the offered hand and got up, picking up the offending missile with a sigh. Of course the moment would be ruined. Somehow. If not by Throatrender’s antics, then by himself. “W-we should probably-... I am kinda hungry.”, Tahara muttered, waiting anxiously for him to follow. And still, he couldn’t help keep a smile off his face when he nodded to her.

As they walked back to the hut, he was beyond glad it wasn't in companionable silence as usual. Instead, as he listened to her talk about hunting and swimming and watching her get distracted by any plant or fruit she didn't recognize, Tagrok realized, perhaps for the first time since this all started when he first saw the blood trickling down her jaw and thought "Majestic.", that he could do this perhaps every day for the rest of his life.