closed (unless someone wakes up) lunar resorts, room #105 (we won’t leave the suite) – friday night @ 2 am


talmage spends most of his evening in the communal area, picking through his dinner buffet snack hoard & finally going through whatever the *fuck* garbage was in his backpack. one by one, his companions bid each other a good night & filed off to bed – eventually leaving talmage alone.


after a few moments of silence, he makes the regular motions to get ready for bed himself. talmage gathers his things, turns off the lights, waits. listens for any movement from his companions. & then heads for the front door, grabbing the ice bucket along the way.



Ares…unpacks. Which isn’t a lot of anything, and then he takes a very hot bath and pouts at the Nothing in the mirror. Maybe while he’s here he can find some time to…get his eyebrows done or something.


It’s late. Very late. And he doesn’t sleep, and has no reason to be meditating, he has….no one to talk to. So he paces. Quietly, practiced a bit of wall-walking, and then it’s barely 2 and he’s bored. He creeps out into the common area, peeking out the doorway to see who he might have to contend with and sees Talmage….sneaking.



talmage pauses at the door. why is he … uneasy? is it the literal murder mystery they were wrapped up in? no … it’s not that.


he presses a hand against the door, listening for anyone outside. nothing. but the pit in his stomach doesn’t go away.



Ares squints as Talmage makes his way to the door. The fuck is he doing? Buddy system, dumb-dumb. He slides as silently as he can up behind Talmage and puts his hand on the door, over his head, presses it shut as he tries to open it. “Where d’you think you’re going?”



the millisecond in which the door is apparently *fighting against him*, talmage is both shocked & offended. the moment his brain catches up with him, however, he’s scrambling as far away from the voice as quickly as he can.


he thumps against a chair, swearing quietly, & winds up plastered against the opposing wall. he looks back at ares in anger & *fear*, gripping the ice bucket tightly.



Of all the reactions he wasn’t really expecting that one, but in all the Everything over the past few days, Ares forgot what happened when they were fighting the Kraken. He winces horribly and grits his teeth, holds his hands up, palms out. “Fuck, fuck, sorry, uh–“





talmage *knows* ares is his friend. unfortunately, talmage doesn’t know what ares is planning on doing at this exact moment. the bucket remains in defensive mode.


“don’t— *fucking* do that. why are you awake.” not moving, talmage scans ares up & down, searching for any signs of his unique forms of hostility.



“Talmage, I don’t. Sleep.” He squints a bit, assumed that was fucking obvious. “I never have. Why are you awake?” He puts hands on his hips, cocks his head to the side, trying to appear nonthreatening.



“i don’t either,” he deadpans. talmage’s eyes dart between the three closed bedroom doors.



Ares stone cold bitchfaces at him and drops his arms, rolls his eyes. “Excuse me.”



“i was just going– *out*. you *don’t* need to follow me,” talmage snaps.



“Buddy system, Talmage. You shouldn’t go anywhere alone. Especially not at night in–” He cuts himself off at the risk of sounding like an asshole, but, Talmage is a tiefling at a Vale-riddled Spa Resort. He frowns and crosses his arms, pouts a bit. “You know.”



“i can handle things on my own,” talmage pushes. he relaxes his stance a bit, lowering the bucket. “i’m not an *idiot*.” not like *some* people in their group.


Ares gasps with exasperation, more of a scoff, and huffs. He runs a hand through his hair, sputters over words because, duh, but also, they talked about this! “No, I know, you’re not stupid, it’s just dangerous. Duh.”



“*i’ll be fine.*”


talmage needs this conversation to end, asap. he doesn’t even give a shit about exploring anymore, he just wants ares to stop fucking *looking* at him. so he heads back towards the door; stride confident, but avoiding eye contact.



What in the fuck. He can’t just expect to walk past Ares, right out the door, right? Right?? He slaps a hand over the door and frowns. “I’m not gonna let you go off alone.”



ares,” he says in a way he hopes sounds threatening. talmage still doesn’t look at him & goes for the door handle. his heart is pounding. please, please, just fucking move.



His hand darts out for Talmage’s wrist. He’s never felt threatened by him, and maybe that’s not a good thing, but he doesn’t feel like Talmage could…really hurt him.



talmage wrenches his wrist from ares’ grasp as if the touch burns.


fine– okay– i’m sorry–” he babbles before retreating again. talmage’s beady eyes are blown wide. he looks like a small animal ready to bolt.


“don’t–” don’t fucking touch me, don’t ever touch me again



Oh, yeah, that’s about as bad as Ares could’ve imagined it being. He tenses up to match, his shoulders stiff and a line creasing his forehead. Bad.


He hates the feeling of his stomach falling, the guilt involved, which is a different kind than he’s used to feeling and makes his skin itch. “Uh. Sorry.”



“sorry?” talmage mocks, fear never quite trumping his ability to be an asshole. “sorry??” a short, bitter laugh.


“you fucking stabbed me, okay–” he says through gritted teeth. he quickly realizes his face is twisting in a way he can’t control. *god, not now, fuck. *”just– don’t.”



He feels his back hit the door and realizes he’s backed up to get as much distance between them as he can. He suddenly has no idea what to do with his hands, frantically folding his arms across his chest. “I didn’t– I didn’t mean to, you know I wouldn’t do that on purpose.”



“you still fucking did it,” talmage bites back. he’s trying, desperately, to stop the scene from playing in his head, over & over & over. angry tears threaten the corners of his eyes.


“how am i supposed to know you’re not just going to– do it again?



Flashbacks suck. And Ares is having one, back to when he was small and the opposite happened; supposed to use a great and powerful magic, completely incapable. Now he can, and he wishes he couldn’t. “I don’t. I can’t promise that until this sword is gone.” He curls his fingers into fists. Words pour out of his mouth without a filter, finally alone enough to say them. “I don’t have my sword anymore, this one’s all I have, and I can’t just put it down, otherwise one of you might die. Again.”



“well, just– keep it away from me!” he snaps, annoyed that ares’ logic is sound – though talmage does find himself comforted by how uncomfortable the vampire looks. his guilt is obvious.


good. whatever. he deserves it.



Ares laughs and there’s pain in it. He swallows uncomfortably and rubs the back of his neck, exhasperated. “Talmage– it took control of me when I passed out. I don’t get a choice. I didn’t get a choice.”



talmage pouts. “then–” then we should have been protecting you better. his eyes cloud & he swears. the taste of metal pricks at his tongue as he realizes he’s been gnawing at his own lower lip.


he stares at the floor, no longer able to put his frustration into words.



It feels worse when Talmage isn’t yelling at him, or talking nonstop, for some reason. Ares takes a step forward and clears his throat. Which might be a mistake, but, let it never be said he made the smartest decisions. “I’m– working on it. With the Jerry thing. I don’t want this anymore. Not like I used to.”



talmage is very aware when ares step closer. his eyes snap up & his body twitches, as if considering its options. it decides to stay planted where it is.


“yeah, well,” he starts, expecting a witty comment to magically follow. it doesn’t. instead, he stops to think.


“the sword, right, or–“



Ares feels exhasperated and almost snaps his response, but for once. Looking at Talmage, his friend, actually be afraid of him? He bites his tongue. “Yes. The sword.”



“you have a lot of shit going on, okay,” talmage snaps, feeling a little stupid. “i wasn’t sure which one was finally starting to bother you.” he crosses his arms & rolls his eyes away from ares.



The sound that comes out of his mouth is halfway between a bark and a laugh. “Starting to? Fuck you, come on.” He crosses his arms, petulant as always.]



he tch’s, thoroughly frustrated at the conversation – & a little bit at himself. even in all his anger, talmage can tell he was dangerously close to commenting on the whole vampire thing, & that isn’t– that isn’t fair, he knows that. even if it was on talmage’s mind just about as much as the sword was.



Ares adjusts his hair, combs it back with his fingers. “Yes, obviously, it’s bothering me. I know I fucked up, but I’m not about to whine about it when we have bigger problems. I. Guess.” He winces because that sounds like such a nice thing, but really, he knows he’s just pathetic.



his teeth clench. talmage can’t tell if that was a dig at him or not. is he just being defensive? god, why does everything piss him off.


“i wouldn’t call it whining,” he says, bitter, “but that’s just me.”



Ares opens his mouth and shuts it. He was about to say something, but his brain shorts out at that. He’s…pretty sure they’re angry at the same thing. He groans, rubs his face with both hands, and paces for a moment. “I will not be useless, not again.”



“you don’t need freaky demon shit to be useful,” he scoffs, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world.



“Easy for you to say when you made up your own kind of magic.” Ares pouts, crossing his arms.



“yeah, it is!” he says, exasperated – because yeah, he did do that. “and it’s still kind of shit! and doesn’t really do me a lot of good! but you don’t see me— fucking—“ talmage runs a hand down his face & groans.


“no— god. whatever.” he points a finger at ares. “you— i don’t know who told you you were shit all your life, but fuck it, okay? go talk to hot topic & find your new religion.” he pauses. “stop stabbing people.” another pause. “unless we hate them.” (edited)



The sheer exhasperation he feels makes Ares want to throw Talmage as far as he can physically manage, why does everyone just *say * things and expect people to just. Deal with it and do it? He scoffs, then scoffs again, makes several indignant noises and throws his hands up. “I’m not shit! I know I’m not shit! Fuck you!” His voice raises octaves as he snips. “I’m fine! I’m not fine, but, I’m not going to stand around, and do nothing, when. I could be! Augh, this is impossible.”


He stomps a foot and crosses his arms. “What the fuck is a hot topic.”



“then don’t be all poor-fuckin’-me about it and do something before you hurt more people,” talmage hisses, intentionally hushed so ares gets the hint that he’s being too loud. “also she’s a fashion designer, it’s a joke, never mind.”



Very few things have been laid out that bluntly to him before, and Ares sputters a little. “Uh.” He blinks at Talmage like a fucking moron and then sits down. “What. Do you suggest.”



  1. what? advice? ares was supposed to keep yelling at him or one of them was supposed to storm away from the conversation. this isn’t how these talks go. talmage doesn’t give advice.


“uh,” he also says. he sits down as well, though still a safe distance away. “so. um. maybe we find someone else to hold onto the evil sword trying to mind control you?” he laughs suddenly, like someone just told him a funny joke. “hell, give it to me, i’m the weakest fucking one here & i probably can’t even use it.”


then his brows furrow & talmage sits up straight. “hold up, would it still try to eat me if i was the one holding it? while i’m marked? fuck.” uh oh, there he goes. he’s thinking now.



“Uhhhh,” another resoundingly stupid sound. It’s strange for him to feel so comfortable being himself, through and through, in front of Talmage. A little bit dumb, sometimes. To admit he’s wrong sometimes. “I don’t know! I don’t know.” He blinks a little owlishly. “It’s bound to me. Whoever takes it has to– really take it, Kairos was holding it but it came right back when I tried to draw my other sword– It liked Bishop more, though. I think because he’s– well. Strong.” He gestures. Now Ares is thinking, mulling over all the implications of this. “I don’t know, it’s not very nice to talk to. No personality. It’s just hungry.” (edited)



“ok, so … let someone else take it, someone who’s better at telling it to chill the fuck out, or figure out how to— how to do it yourself?”


 talmage stumbles when he remembers that ares had only out-right attacked him after he’d gotten hurt badly enough. that’s kind of hard to avoid. that also wasn’t entirely the sword, right? why is this dude so fucking complicated.


“maybe we can do something to it. or— to you, or give you something, to make it harder? for it to influence you? i don’t know.”



“Uh, yeah, happily. But then I—“ he sighs, and covers his face with both hands. “Chill the fuck out, right.” He looks up at Talmage and for once there’s real vulnerability there, like something’s been carved out of his chest. “What if I can’t do any magic without a bond to one of her swords? That that’s. The only reason I’ve ever been able to do it?”



talmage opens his mouth, but doesn’t really have a good answer.


i– man, i don’t know,” he admits, exasperated. “that’s stupid. i don’t see why you couldn’t just– get it some other way. yeah, you might have to start over, but– that’s just how shit is sometimes.”



Ares rubs his hands over his face, frustrated. “Fine, yeah, fine— I know. Sometimes shit just— sucks. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from staying with you people it’s that.” He flops back onto a couch, sprawls his arms out. “I’ll ask everyone tomorrow— when we’ve got some time. If they have any suggestions. Before we have to fight some fuck off huge demon monster again.”



seeing ares like this, confused and conflicted, is … nice; in a fucked-up, validating kind of way. the guy is always so confident and performative. knowing people like that have just as much insecurities as he does … well.


“yup. shit sucks. seriously, though. that time guy was really into the idea of you and– what, literal death? hooking up? they can probably … arrange … something. probably.” 


then talmage glances at ares – powerful warlock vampire, the guy who tried to eat him and run him through with a sword all in the same day, sprawled out across a couch and moping – and he laughs.



“Not hooking up, forming a warlock pact, it’s very specific– what?” As Talmage starts to snicker at him. Like something about this is funny. “What? What are you laughing about.”



“sorry,” talmage says between cackles, “i was just picturing you with a scythe.”



Ares blinks like a moron all over again and finally finds the mental capacity to close his mouth and reply. “Talmage. I want a fucking scythe.