At long last, when she jumped into the indoor ocean, Kanthi was relieved to finally have a chance to relax. The last couple of weeks had been really stressful - and, honestly, probably bad for her skin. She felt dry and ashy and gross, and though it wasn't like the salty water of the beaches in the water wing was any better for her skin, to be honest, but at least it was cool. After slowly baking in the heat of Mt. Vesuvius, cool was good enough.
She floated on her back, keeping her eyes closed to keep the sun out. Only every so often did she look towards the sandy shore, just in case her friends decided to join her. She'd sent them a quick comm mirror invite before heading into the water, but they hadn't given her a definitive answer.
Elias looked down at his feet, twirling his toes in the cool sand. The colder temperatures were nice on his feet. He really craved anything cold if he was honest. He hadn't immediately agreed upon Kanthi's invitation; he was still mulling things over with the latest events. Never in his wildest nightmares had he imagined to return here. The confrontation with everything from years ago had been difficult, as well as the effect it had had on himself and his friends. The confrontation with the one called Aotamat had clearly shaken a lot of people, the ones who had faced him directly even moreso. He shuddered at what he had seen, and the destruction the evil spirit had caused.
Which, Elias figured, is exactly why he needed some distraction. Sitting in his room thinking would only overload his brain and send him off in a spiral of anxious thoughts. Once again he was glad he had a water spirit as his first companion. The environment always soothed him.
He looked up, seeing Kanthi further up ahead, floating in the ocean. He smiled, as the scene was quite serene. He lifted his hand in greeting, slowly making his way over to the shore, savoring the feeling of the sand on his bare feet.
Kanthi leaned her had back a bit as she once more glanced to the shore, and when she saw Elias standing in there, she leaned her head back a little too much. Salty water got in her eyes, and as she jerked her head away at the sting, water got in her nose. A no-win situation, she submerged herself into the water fully before surfacing again with a cough and a loud harrumph, trying to clear the water away from her windpipe. She moved so that her feet could touch the bottom, approaching the taller praetor slowly.
"Hey, E." Cough, wheeze. So much for serenity. "I didn't know if you'd come. Glad you could join me. You getting in the water or just getting a suntan in the shore?" She snickered. As if anyone wanted to suntan after spending days burning up under the Italian sun.
"Always the picture of grace," Elias teased with a good-natured smile as Kanthi nearly drowned. He tapped his head briefly in hello as she called out to him.
"Funny," he commended on her remark of getting a tan. Frankly, because of his father's genetics, Elias barely needed 5 minutes in the sun to break out into a tan. He didn't need much. But Kanthi's train of thought was right, he didn't need any particular warm things right about now.
"Yes, I figured I'd take you up on your offer," he explained, walking up to the shoreline and letting the water gilde over his feet. The feeling was lovely. "I feel like, what any of us need more than anything, is a sense of... normaly so to speak. Some quiet and leisure."
"Oh, you know me," she posed, now out of the water, with one hand at her hip and the other behind her head. "Graceful as a swan, and just as willing to fight whoever thinks otherwise. I have secret admirers to please, you know," She dropped the hand behind her head and bent her knees just enough so she'd reach the water just enough to splash him. "Tbh, what I needed the most was like, a 3 day long shower," she kicked at the water now that it reached her knees, but it didn't do much. "I really need to get myself one of those personal bathrooms, like Viv. I'm not digging having to stand in line if I want to get some hot water around here. Do you know how long it takes to wash my hair?"
She didn't expect him to answer, however, and elbowed him lightly once she was close enough to do so. "But how you doing, by the ways? Sleep well, now that we're out of the fire?"
Elias kicked at the water in turn when she splashed him, grin on his face. He was wearing shorts for the occasion, expecting he might take a swim himself.
"They are quite nice," Elias admitted upon Kanthi's observation of private bathrooms, being a proud owner of such an abodes himself. It was, for sure, one of his better investments to date. His eyes glazed over for a second as she mentioned the fire wizard, but had little time to let his train of thought take him away as Kanthi went on.
Elias didn't answer her right away; usually he would have shied away from the question, but found a kind of relief in the fact that Kanthi knew about his fear of fire, and the reasons behind it. At least he didn't have to pretend, or leave. He released a long sigh through his nose, and inhaled the salty air. What a difference after the weeks of scorched air and scent of smoke and brimstone.
"Alright," Elias answered simply. He stared out over the ocean. "Better, now that we're back. All things considered... horrible as it was, the first time we were there was... awful." He didn't elaborate on that, Kanthi had been there after all. "Definitely easier to sleep, now that we don't have to sleep on the ground, in the ashes."
Elias looked down at his feet again, watching how they got swallowed by the water. He raised his head to look at Kanthi again. "What about you?"
Kanthi got a slow look of realization on her face as she processed his comment. "Oh right, you got one, too! Dude, you gotta let me borrow it." She stuck two fingers inside her bathing cap and brought out a strand of her curly hair, which looked a bit flattened and lackluster."Look at how sad my hair looks. Be my hair's hero. I'd offer to trade you my room in the meantime but that might be more of a punishment than a tradeoff."
As he answered the question of how he was feeling, she shoved her sad looking curls back into the bathing cap, flattening her hair out as much as she could before piping up again."I'm doin' alright. Glad to be back and out of babysitting duty. My bed welcomed me back with open arms and I couldn't be happier about actually sleeping on a mattress. I missed my bed more than I missed certain people and that's not even a joke."
"Sure," Elias complied as she asked to use his bathroom. He had no qualms about this and he would gentlemanly vacate his room to offer Kanthi all the privacy she needed. Truth be told, Elias saw nothing wrong with her hair, only noticed its lack of regular volume, but he was definitely not the judge of hair character. "As long as you make quite sure to leave the premises as impeccable as you originally found them," he added as an afterthought. Which would probably be a challenge, not because Kanthi would make a mess, but because of the immaculate state Elias left his bathroom in every time. "...And don’t go snooping," he added with a mildly wary tone and a small squint.
The Water Praetor sat down, stretching his legs out towards the water, sticking out like two long arrows. The water leapt up to his calves, the sensation soothing on his skin that had been overheating for eons prior.
"Be nice, Kanthi," he responded gently to het babysitting comment. "We all did a little more than that. Everyone helped out." He closed his eyes briefly as a soft and salty breeze brushed his curls to the side.
"You won't notice I was even there," she said. You know, like a liar. "I'll even take my sweepathon with me. It'll be cleaner than before I showered." She knew she was probably overselling herself since Elias was a neat freak, but hopefully Elias knew that, too, and wouldn't hold it against her if she was less than stellar in her cleaning.
She gave an over exaggerated gasp of fake indignation. "Me? Snoop? Who do you think I am?" She snickered. "Nah, it's fine. No snooping. I doubt I could find any dirt on you, anyway. Literal or figurative."
At his comment to be nice, though, she rolled her eyes, taking a few steps further into the water, kicking up again and splashing herself with water. "Yeah, yeah. Sure." Her lips were pursed tight. "Just glad they didn't get hurt through all that because it would've sucked to explain why the tweens didn't make it back home. I still dont think it should've been an option for them to go out there."
"Maybe two Sweepathons," Elias suggested, a winning smile on his face. As she mentioned finding any dirt, he merely lifted his eyebrows and nodded, leaving whether or not there was any dirt to be found to the imagination. Though it was probably true that there wasn't any.
"Yes, me as well," the Praetor responded to the others being alright. "Truth be told, we would have done a pretty terrible job as three adult Praetors and two juvenile wizards if one of them had been seriously harmed." He consciously stressed the word 'adult,' feeling like Nibal did not need to carry nowhere near as big a responsibility as his seniors. Elias went quiet at the notion, trying not to reel into a scenario of what would have happened if they hadn't responded as they did. Which, somewhat nicely, also lead to the following conclusion: "We did a good job. We strategized and kept a level head. ... Mostly," he added, not forgetting his little episode where he had to unleash his pent up aggression on a tree. At least the tree had not been alive.
"I think they got discontinued. The twins ain't the best at stocking up the store with the same ol' same ol'. I think they do it on purpose to raise the prices. They probably have a huge back room with a chockful of crap to sell that they don't want us to know they have. They always try to get me with the same ol' 'It's the last one, you know' circus."
Kanthi shuddered. "I don't know which one was worse, the two actual children, or the teenaged daughter of our teacher, who'd skin us alive in our sleep if something happened to her, no doubt. At least," she made a move to lower herself into the water, leaning back to let the waves wash over her, "I'm pretty sure he'd skin me alive. I think he actually likes you and might've spared you."
"A shame," Elias stated, whose cleanliness was above average and therefore thought that any kind of removal of cleaning equipment was unfortunate.
He was quiet for a second, letting Kanthi speak while he observed how the foamy ocean water lapped at his lower legs and soaked the hem of his swimming shorts. Elias exhaled a mirthless laugh as his friend mentioned their Water Praetor Master. As if he hadn't been stressed enough in Pompeii, the responsibility he then had over his Master's child had certainly added to the weight on his shoulders.
"I'd rather not think about it," Elias admitted, deeming Isurus quite capable of murder, especially the one that left not traces. He laughed a little as she mentioned Isurus liking him.
"Tolerates, perhaps," he added with a good-natured smile, wondering if Isurus would ever admit out loud that he liked someone. Even imagining him saying it to his significant other seemed otherwordly.
"He's not so bad though, I think," Elias said while getting to his feet. "Surly, perhaps. But not bad." He pulled his shirt over his head and left it in the sand, before walking out into the water, up to his thighs. He scooped up some water and rubbed it on his chest and arms, acclimatizing himself to the temperature. It felt good on his cooked skin.
"Perhaps we can make it a spa day," Elias suggested, this time gently falling back in the water and doing a couple of back strokes. "Hot springs later, and then cool off again in the ocean."
Kanthi loudly snorted. "'Tolerates' my ass," she laughed. "He tolerates me, because he has to. It's not like he can throw my ass at Bianca to teach - though I'm sure he would if he could." She lowered her head into the water and let her body grow loose, effectively allowing her to float at the mercy of the waves. As he moved further into the water, she pedaled lightly with her feet so she could float on by relatively close. When she spoke again, she raised her head a little so she could actually hear for a response. "What does ''surly" mean? It sounds like 'sour', and sour sounds about right."
When Elias suggested the hot springs next, Kanthi actually sat up from her positon, though she was at a spot where the water actually covered over her head as she sat up. She had to shift to kneeling instead. "Yooooo, that sounds great. Let's do that. God knows we need some relaxation for once." She glanced at the beach but there was still no one else there. "Leon's jut gonna have to miss it, I guess. I bet his ass is asleep right now."
"That is more or less the essence of it, yes," Elias replied as Kanthi wondered what surly meant. A small smile had curled onto his lips as he stared idly at the sky above them. Even in all his years of being here and the sporadic visits as a child, it still baffled him they were still inside of a house. And here he had been as a child, thinking Hogwarts was magical. It hardly held a candle to Dulce Domum.
He did a couple of lazy backstrokes, choosing to enjoy the water rather than doing any excercise. Elias had cut back a little for now, feeling he'd had enough excercise the past few weeks. Just a little bit, of course. After this, he did the dead man's float, trying to keep as still as he could.
"I don't blame him," Elias added to Kanthi's musings about Leon. "Most likely everyone's sleeping schedules are off. It was quite a draining experience." He uttered a small laugh, "I'm surprised you didn't choose to sleep instead."
"After being ashy, dry and half burned, I need water more than I need sleep. I can go conk out after this." She doggy paddled towards him, trying to disturb the water as little as possible. "I'm just glad there won't be lessons for a while. I don't think I could do a morning run after not sleeping on the ground for weeks. But didja hear about the curfew tho? We have a curfew now. Just like being back in high school."
"That seems fair," Elias murmured, still staring up at the sky. He left his floating position and got back to his feet as Kanthi approached, the sand tickling his feet. He chuckled as she mentioned the curfew.
"I suppose it is a bit like being a teenager again," Elias said, "Even though I never really had any issues with it. Mother always set curfews, so did my military superiors. I'm not particularly bothered, though I see how it is strange given our ages." He paused for a second, his hands idly stroking the water. "But I'm sure it's the best thing to do for our sakes..."
Elias stared out across the water, lost in thought. Then, his demeanour shifted like and he lifted a fist, bumping it good-naturedly against her shoulder. With a beaming grin, he said: "Can't slack off though. Race you to the hot springs!" And with that, he dashed out of the water with his friend, laughing as he went.
Deni: 1218 words
Jas: 1568 words