13- In which words are the way and, at the same time, aren't...
The Candlemaker tried to talk to both of them. Of course. Good old Candlemaker, always one for balancing things out. After moons of hearing them babble on about one another, not receiving any visits from either of them for full weeks rang all the alarms.
La Muerte was hermetic during his visit to her castle, guarded behind mountains of books and amatl rolls, codexes, hieroglyphs, carvings...it seemed to him like half the content surrounding her in her study was there for the sole purpose of making her look more crowded. She claimed nothing was wrong, she was just busy, so very busy, but he recognized the exhausted, detached way she behaved immediately. It wasn't the first time he saw it either...she had often been like that as a princess, in her younger days, whenever she argued with her parents or her sister. Pouring herself into her work as though to make sure she had no energy, time or space for thoughts of what was actually bothering her. It always ended up just being an effective way for her burdens to pile up within her until she couldn't bear them anymore and he hated seeing her like that, but, alas, so proud and stubborn. She refused to even acknowledge that she was actively stopping herself from dealing with her problems. After she dispatched him, he met a servant boy in the hall and the boy whispered to him, before running off, that the Queen kept having nightmares and that sometimes at night, they could hear her cry out.
Xibalba was much worse. While La Muerte avoided saying anything important, giving him any insight of what was going on inside her, Xibalba was acting up on it to the extreme, due to the same lack of emotional maturity needed to deal with the situation. He was moodier, nastier, generally way more unpleasant than usual, but as it turned out, noise didn't equal communication and his over-the-top manifestations of inner turmoil turned out to be just about as useful as La Muerte's pretense that nothing was wrong. Instead of pouring himself into work, he'd poured himself into self-neglect in a way that couldn't be qualified as anything but alarming. Discarded wine bottles covered the stone floors of his castle, as well as books, cards, cigars, mushrooms and (Disgustingly enough) evidence of female company. The Candlemaker had seen that behavior before as well, this compulsive need for anything that made him feel a bit better because he was anything but OK. But, as he had before, he refused any real help, or even the acknowledgment that anything was wrong.
In view of the situation, the Candlemaker had to retire without making any progress on either front. The Book of Life seemed pretty calm when he vented, back in the Cave of Souls, and that comforted him the slightest. If the Book didn't seemed worried, it probably meant things were OK, but...
Boneheads, the both of them.
The betting pool between La Noche's servants started out being about who's patience was going to run out first, La Noche being ahead by a considerable amount. They watched her pique in frustration just about every single time she and El Chamuco spoke to one another, since the injured God seemingly taking a great enjoyment in making her lose her temper. Not that she didn't also rub his current, helpless state in his face. He couldn't even teleport back to his realm, and when questioned on the matter, he hinted towards it being the result of a forced teleportation, a very rare thing. La Noche had only heard of a handful of cases of it...but then again, even if he could go home, La Noche often told him, who would take care of him, then? The Cursed? So he stayed, much to both the Gods' dismay.
But as El Chamuco regained his strength and it started to become apparent that he would benefit from exercise, La Noche came across a contrariety she hadn't considered: He would have to take walks around her palace and her Realm. The sole idea of letting someone who had done such a ghastly umber on her garden roam freely had put her on edge, and it ended up resulting in her accompanying him during said walks, if only to make sure he wouldn't break anything. With this, the betting pool evolved a bit; now the gamble was on how long it would take for their mistress to come back from said walks without her guest after kicking him elsewhere in a pique of frustration. There were a couple of false alarms, in which La Noche had stormed back into her throne room without him, only for El Chamuco to appear a few minutes later, unable to follow her as quickly in his condition, looking equal parts annoyed and amused. That particular betting pool ended abruptly when one day, El Chamuco said or did something that crossed a line which resulted in la Noche declaring she would never accompany him again and that he could come and go as he pleased around her domain- but if he broke anything, she'd have his hide.
Even then, the servants whispered. It had been too long since they had seen their mistress have this much patience with...well, anything at all. Even her sister. The opinions on the reason she had for being this patient were many: Some said she owed him a favor, however obscure. Others speculated on him having the hold on a particularly juicy gossip concerning La Muerte. The most adventurous ones theorized about it being a way for their mistress to get Xibalba to visit her. It appeared, however, that La Noche didn't have her own reasons very clear either, and that was what got everyone's attention. Additionally, it didn't take long for things to change once more and leave everyone reeling.
Because El Chamuco wasn't content with the new arrangement, it seemed. It became customary to see him prowling around the throne room, albeit pretending to be doing something else, awaiting for her to be done with her business for the day in order to "Casually" run into her just as she was about to go out for lunch or dinner. At first she turned him down, but El Chamuco ended up being as charming as Xibalba (If not more) in his own, callous, dry sort of way, and she ended up caving in. And so, they ended up sharing meals every day, at least once a day, and to everyone's surprise, said meals didn't end up with La Noche stabbing him with a spoon. On the contrary, they seemed to, at the very least, grow able to stand each other in a civil manner. Once or twice, they even witnessed their mistress flushed with laughter and delight at Chamuco's wit. Things had evolved in a way none could have predicted or understood.
"What did you even see in her?" one of them heard La Noche ask one time, as she and El Chamuco stood on the balcony over the neverending fields of stars that were her gardens. The water nymph, for it was a water nymph that was tending to them that evening, kept her eyes lowered and her body immobile, lest they remembered she was there and decided to either stop talking or send her away. El Chamuco kept his eyes on the distance, hands crossed behind him, back very stiff, clearly knowing who she meant even if she didn't say her name.
"I suppose I could ask the same to you" he retorted, an edge to his voice which La Noche promptly ignored. She was too used to what she deemed to be just 'Childish outbursts' to be in any way intimidated by his tone and, additionally, he knew better than to try and yell at her anymore "I fail to see how someone like you would be interested in my brother"
"That's easy, actually" she replied, in the tone of one who states the obvious "We are of the same mind"
El Chamuco eyed her in a manner that seemed almost insulted to hear such a thing.
"I doubt that. I'll admit you have some things in common, but that's about it"
He shifted, seeming uncomfortable...which was a first. All he'd ever allowed himself to feel when she took a topic he didn't like was annoyed.
"I think" he muttered, so low that the nymph had some trouble catching it "I think you're much better than him"
La Noche's face lit with blush at this, but she pursed her mouth and tried to dissimulate by turning away from him to cup one of the white bouganvilles that grew on the stone.
"It's not much of a compliment" she said once she seemed to regain herself "When you consider how poor an opinion you have on him"
"Let me rephrase it, then. You would never stoop so low as to do what he has done to me to your own sister"
"But what is it exactly that he's done so wrong to you?" she questioned, turning to him and crossing her arms. It was usually there where their conversations about Xibalba ended and this time was no different. El Chamuco seemed to let his head sink between his shoulders, seeming somewhat defeated.
"Ask me again some other time" he said. They stayed in silence after that, for so long that the nymph had stopped paying attention when La Noche spoke again.
"For what it's worth, I don't think you and La Muerte have much in common either"
He rolled his shoulders and turned his eyes to the stars again, his face severe and subtly saddened.
"I used to think we did"
"...you don't anymore?" she wasn't mocking him.
"I don't know" he replied after a pause, his voice softer than anyone had ever known he could make it sound "Part of me refuses to believe I could be so wrong...and part of me knows I must have been wrong all along"
"Would it be so bad to have been wrong? She might be my sister, but the more time I spend with you, the more I think you don't need someone like her"
He contemplated her words in silence for a moment and then turned to her, eyes ardent under a furrowed brow.
"What do I need, then, if you would be so kind?"
She rolled her eyes at him and pushed him playfully
"I think you can figure that one out yourself"
He hummed, amused.
Not long after that conversation took place, El Chamuco discovered he was able to teleport again. La Noche and him said their goodbyes on a much more friendly note than anyone would have guessed seeing them mere moons before, but right before he left, El Chamuco said, his expression soft and open in a way others hadn't known he could have
"Is it alright by you for me to visit? I have much I'd like to talk about with you"
La Noche smiled mischievously at him.
"You are welcome here for as long as you can compliment me as sweetly as you do"
He seemed shocked, as if it had never crossed his mind that his compliments were appreciated. La Noche laughed at his expression even long after he was gone.
The human night, Xibalba decided, was about as depressing as his own realm. He sighed, absently pushing a potted plant off its ledge so it fell on top of a man's foot. Even the screaming and jumping of the unsuspecting victim didn't lift his spirits, so he let his eyes wander to the dirt road amongst the trees, going up, up. Somewhere along that rode, a cementery awaited, and there he had seen her for the first time. He forced himself to look away with a hum and spotted a woman walking on her own along the solitary street. Oh, well, he might as well try to enjoy himself to stop thinking. He spun into inky darkness and followed her, brushing plants and window panes in his way, making them rattle. The woman turned and he had to stop on his tracks, he knew that face. The woman that had determined their first wager. She stared right through Xibalba for another moment and then turned to continue walking.
Gods. He really was not going to be freed from her memory, hard as he tried, was he? He turned to the dirt road again. Well, if he was going to be miserable, either way, he might as well go all the way with it.
The road wasn't long, but in the silence and loneliness, it seemed to be. Xibalba mused that perhaps it would have been better not to know her. He had always been alone, but it hadn't been quite as jarring when he hadn't known the difference. Now the empty space of her glared at him like an angry wound.
The cementery, lit by a blue light, looked almost the exact same way it had that night, so long ago, when he'd met La Muerte. He remembered the feeling of her waist between his hands and the fire in her eyes and wished he could remember her more clearly if only to have that memory make him company. Anguish shook him so deeply that he almost sobbed.
He turned to the sound and promptly felt his heart jump.
"Muertita?" he called softly and saw her all but start, body tense, candles sparking, before she darted away, petals on her wake "Wait! I said- wait-! Damn you, woman!" he rushed after her, dissolving in blackness, faster than he'd ever been in his life. Still, it was barely enough to keep up with her. They flew down the dirt road and back into town, and both had to halt for a moment to gather strength and continue, him on the ceiling of one house, her on the neighboring house "Why are you running away?"
She seemed so incredibly embarrassed for a moment -her face became redder than her dress and her eyes so wide and helpless...it reminded him of something he couldn't quite place his finger on but even subconsciously, his heart wrenched at it- before she looked away, hiding her expression under her hat.
"I am not" her voiced sounded trained to stay neutral, not unlike when they'd first met.
"Like hell you are not!" he snapped. Something was wrong, it didn't take a genius to know, did she really think him foolish enough to not notice? "And before too! You've been avoiding me!"
"No such thing!" her voice was getting louder, but instead of her usual fire it felt broken, like the glimmer of an unshed tear on eyelashes or the crack on a glass of wine. It made his guts twist in anguish. What could be so wrong to make her sound like that?
"Tell me what's wrong" he demanded. Normally he would have tried oiliness and charm instead, but he couldn't find the patience or calm within him to even try at the moment. La Muerte looked at him, her brow wrinkled, and he saw the subtle movement of her jaw and neck as she gulped- and it clicked, what she reminded him of.
During his early years, in the jungle of his childhood, he'd often had the chance to see the humans out on hunting trips. They didn't often do it, usually they contented with bugs and mushrooms and fish and much smaller animals. When they DID hunt for the deer, for the boar and, sometimes, even the jaguar, it was a special and complicated matter. It almost felt like a ceremony, or a dance. Xibalba always procured to be there for the killing blow, strangely drawn to the slowing rhythm of the heart as the light left its eyes. But before that, as the heart still drummed madly in its chest, its eyes had a special gleam, and it was that kind of gleam he was seeing on La Muerte's eyes.
Of a scared and cornered animal.
He couldn't bear having her -her, who had never shown any fear for him, who hadn't even shown fear for El Chamuco- look at him like that, like he was preparing the lance that would end her life. He felt as though the words struggled to leave his tightened throat and his voice left him with an uncharacteristic wobbliness., his entire frame shaking
"...I have to go" she muttered, but her body didn't move and he took that as an advantage, teleporting in front of her.
"Don't I deserve an answer, at least?!" he tapped his staff on the ceiling so hard that a couple of tiles broke, but just like that, the spell of stillness had broken. A flash of golden flew from that ceiling and into the sky, petals falling on it's wake.
With a muttered curse, he followed, spinning into a thread of blackness. Noticing him behind her, La Muerte spun away from her original trajectory and down, down to the ground, but if she thought it'd throw him off, she was sorely mistaken. Xibalba spun behind her, predicting her seemingly erratic movement with an ease that betrayed familiarity. They had often raced before. Sometimes he won, sometimes she did, but it had happened enough that he knew her usual movements. Not like the palm of his hand, she could still pull the rug under his feet if she set her mind to it, but enough that he shortened the distance between him and her effectively. He felt rather than heard the curses slipping from her tongue at this and hadn't he been legitimely worried, it would have been funny. Sensing him too close for comfort, she dove between mortals, lifting skirts, whisking hats away, ruffling hair as she flew among them, unseen, hoping to lose him in the multitude heading back home from the evening mass. She underestimated how much he did not care about mortals, specially when compared to her. Not caring one bit about tripping or tossing mortals to the ground, he followed her on a straight line where she had zig-zagged to avoid the people. Her indignant gasp once again was a vibration on her aura rather than a sound and this time he did chuckle. It was three parts relief. Her anger he could deal with, but not that...that crack on her limpid and bright soul that made him feel like his own happiness was being sucked through it. She then took an abrupt turn downward, to where the lake waters lapped at the shore softly. He had a moment of wondering if she was really going to- before she dove into the waters. He groaned, but followed without hesitation.
The water was as cold as it was to be expected given the time of the year and the hour at night. Xibalba was glad he had taken another shape besides his real form; while his feathers were as impermeable as those of birds or ducks, they would have surely ached at the temperature. He could even feel the bones he currently didn't have already aching, but his focus was the flash of gold making its way down, down, hoping darkness would conceal her. He wanted to smirk. Had she forgotten he quite literally lived in the darkness? Whether she had forgotten or just hadn't given it much thought, it soon became apparent that the water didn't give her any advantage as she turned and sank and rose alternatively, trying to lose him, but Xibalba pushed his aching body to the limit and beyond and soon he was hot on her heels. The water vibrated, turning hot for a moment with her curses. She was getting to a point where she would make a sailor blush. Quick as thought itself, she turned towards the surface and shot out of the water, with him still close behind, regaining her shape once she was out in the air so that he had to take some distance to avoid colliding with her.
"Stop it!" she snapped at him, chest heaving, candles sputtering. The water under her hissed in response at the heat.
"You stop it!" he yelled back, wings flapping once "Why won't you talk to me?! What-?" he halted right before his sincere concern was externalized, searched for something else to say and then ended up saying exactly what he meant anyway "...what did I do so wrong to you?"
La Muerte started as though he had pinched her. Her hand flew to her forehead and she actually held her head, as though fearing it'd come undone, eyes once again like those of a prey realizing the hunter is coming.
"What are you- saying?!" she staggered, her voice unsteady. Her entire body suggested she was ready to start trying to escape again, but she held herself in place "What are you even saying?!" Her face scrunched up as though she were holding back tears and he was ready to start apologizing, except he didn't know for what. She didn't give him time. In a flash, she had become petals again, flying across the lake and to the shore opposite from San Angel. Xibalba followed her, musing that she surely was feeling too agitated to think clearly. In any other circumstance, she would have gone home already.
Spinning, she finally landed at the feet of the ahuehuete tree. Xibalba came to land closer to the shore. He wanted nothing more than to be close to her, hold her, hush her until she was calm enough to speak, even if it was to just insult him; but his proximity seemed to drive her on edge, so he stayed away, back hunched the slightest, wings lowered to look less threatening, twisting his staff between both hands. Silence stretched between them as he figured what to say and she breathed hard.
"Was it...something I said?" Xibalba finally tried. She turned to him, seeming pained.
"What are you saying?" she said again, softly. Her voice sounded so tired that he noticed for the first time how exhausted she looked. A couple of times, they'd had their encounters after a night where she'd stayed up doing one thing or another and he could still see her colors a bit paled or her eyes a bit less bright than usual. Tonight, on top of her eyes looking glossy, there were exhausted lines on her face and her frame seemed slightly slouched. The elegant line of her neck and shoulders wasn't quite as proud as usual. Even her flowers seemed slightly brown-ish. Was she ill? His mind immediately reeled to the damage the snake El Chamuco had sent after her had caused. Was she still suffering from that? Had the Candlemaker failed to completely purify the wound? He shuffled his feet, wanting to go to her, but caught himself.
"Then, what is it?"
"I have one free request" she suddenly said, as though reminding herself rather than him, but then she addressed him, her eyes setting on his "From our first wager. If I won, I would have one free request to make to you. No excuses, whatever I asked, you'd grant it. You swore, by the Ancient Rules"
He remembered it, of course. She'd never collected that debt and he had dared to hope she never would, specially not now, when he had a bad feeling about the way she was bringing it up.
"So I did" he said, his mouth numb. She glanced at him, uneasiness in her face, but there was a glow in her eyes.
"If I said my request is for you to never come looking for me again, then you would have no choice but to obey"
His stomach sank, and it must have shown on his face because she stared him a second longer and then started to go towards him, brow knit tightly.
"Oh-! What am I saying?" she hissed, halting mid-stride. Both of her hands raised and she pressed her forehead between them, as though in the middle of a fierce headache "Am I going mad? Have I already?"
"Do you really…?" his voice was hoarse. He felt like when he had been about to cry as a child, but he doubted he even had tears in him anymore "Do you really wish to never see me again?"
She seemed mortified by the sole concept, and he was more confused than ever.
"If that is what you want" he pressed, although every word felt like the tightening of a noose around his neck "You needn't use your free request. I will do it because it's what you want"
She turned to him with that cornered expression of hers and his throat tightened even more. He knew when put against a rock and a hard place, she scratched and bit her way to freedom. He'd seen her do it. Why was she suddenly looking as though he had a sword ready to ram into her heart and she had no strength to fight back?
"Is that what you want?" he finally said, and even if his voice felt as though it had been just a shaky whisper, the words seemed to echo in the vast emptiness of the wilderness around them. Between them. The few seconds before she finally broke down and started running to him again seemed like ages, but by the time she took the first step, he was already teleporting to her. She all but knocked the wind out of him when she hid her face against the side of his jaw, but he surely made her struggle to stay on her feet and keep her hat on with the way he collided against her. He held her to himself and buried his face against her temple, petals tickling him.
"Of course not-! Of course not!" she breathed against him, her arms grappling at the neck of his armor and the back of his head, forbidding him to move away "How would I ever, you- grandísimo pendejo?"
He hoped she knew this didn't make things any less confusing. Quite on the contrary. It didn't matter half as much as it probably should, though. Not while she allowed him to hold her like this.
"I miss you" he muttered without realizing. She pressed closer to him, almost squeezing the air out of him.
"I miss you too"
"Then what are we doing?" she began to move away but he grabbed her shoulders and looked into her face. There it was again, the fear. It made him sick "Will you just keep running from me? After everything we've gone through?"
She pursed her lips, seeming mortified.
"Don't ask. Let it be"
"No!" he flapped his wings once angrily "I have every right to know why I am being treated like this! When have I ever hurt you?"
"You haven't" she admitted, but then pinned eyes on him accusingly "Not yet"
"And I never will!" he whined, indignant "I couldn't if I tried!"
"Just how dense are you?!" she snapped "Do you think I would be like this if that were the case! It frightens me because-! Because you can! You-!" she choked on the words and had to stop, gulp and try something else "Are you really that air-headed!? I'm saying I lost the wager!"
"What the devil are you even talking about now?" her face became so red that for a moment it almost matched her dress and he almost tempted his luck telling her how pretty she looked like that. And just like that, it clicked. Oh "I- wait, are you-? Are you saying-?"
She covered her mouth with a hand, averting her eyes. But her face got even redder. For a good while he couldn't do anything better than stand there, blinking at her stupidly. Truth be told, he had completely forgotten about that particular wager -which would have been surprising hadn't other matters occupied his mind for the past moons. Finally, his face broke into a radiant, toothy grin.
"I did it, didn't I?!" he boasted, happiness making him vibrate in place, and then he reached for her, arms extending in an invitation "Oh, Muertita, mi amor, I-"
"Don't be low!" she snapped, still looking pretty pink.
"Oh, don't be sore! I must say, I am surprised. I had every confidence that I'd manage in the end but I wouldn't have thought it'd happen so soon-"
"Just-" she raised both hands eyes squeezed shut "Stop talking, please"
"I do have to ask, what was it that made it for you? I wouldn't have thought-"
"Gods-! Stop talking. I don't know how it happened. I must be crazy" she sighed, squaring her shoulders "Look, I know when I've lost, and I have. Do what you please with that knowledge"
That stopped him in his tracks, expression souring.
"You sound like a prisoner come to terms with their execution" he said, the slightest bit hurt, reaching for her hand. She let him do "I stand by what I said. I won't hurt you"
"And you suppose I should take your word for it?" she questioned. She might have as well punched him in the gut "Words are nothing to you, just pretty sounds. I've learned not to take them seriously when they come from you" she sighed again and shivered "And yet you can hurt me, so I beg of you. You have won, let me recover my freedom. Let me forget you"
Forget him. She wanted to forget him. He wanted to scream.
"But I love you!" he said, realizing what he had said one second too late. La Muerte looked up at him, seeming absolutely terrified and he repeated himself, somewhat able to breathe better now that he was saying it, putting his feelings into proper words "I love you"
"No, no- oh gods, no" she muttered and began to squirm away from him as though he'd said something gross or unpleasant, without completely releasing herself from him, even though he was sure she could if she wanted to "Don't repeat it, don't- why did you say that?"
"I mean it" he squeezed her hand softly "Don't you see? You have power over me too. We are equal"
"Equal" she laughed bitterly. A pang of despair stabbed him at this "Then we will make each other equally miserable"
"You don't make me miserable. Well- OK, yes, sometimes, but only when you're being impossible- like you are right now! The rest of the time…I'm the happiest when I'm with you!"
Her eyes flashed to him and she ran a hand down her own cheek. She looked like she wished she could believe him. He opened his mouth, mouthing like a fish. Then, the only thing that came to mind came out again.
"I love you"
"Don't say it!" she hissed, squirming as if to get away but never quite actually fighting his grasp. He released her hand to cup her face with one hand, coming closer to her. She didn't fight him "How many times have you said that? To how many? When has it ever meant anything to you? You can lie to me and I may believe those lies but please, don't take advantage of my faith in you- don't toy with my heart!"
Her eyes were still frightened and pleading and he couldn't take it anymore.
"Let me show you" Xibalba dipped his head and kissed her.
It lasted but for a moment, but as he began to move back from her shock-frozen lips, it was La Muerte who pressed forward again, landing her mouth on his in a longing kiss that made his entire frame droop with bliss, wings flapping open.
She kissed him again, and again. It was as though she were still fighting with herself, reluctant to give in despite how much she wanted to but ultimately unable to stop herself. His free hand snaked to hold her waist and then curl at her back, pressing her close. She trembled in his arms and put her arms around his neck, pressing him closer, breathing through the scarce space between their mouths when any. His heart hammered against hers until she finally stopped with a sigh and rested her forehead against his, eyes still closed, her tired body and face relaxing visibly. It made him wonder, with a leap in his chest, just how much she'd wanted to kiss him.
"Convinced?" he asked, barely a mutter, his thumb tracing her cheekbone. She sighed, leaning into the touch. But said nothing for a while.
She only spoke once he had coaxed her to sit on the sand, next to him, eyes upon the stars reflected on the lake and the faraway town, her hand in his. And it was to say it was getting late. Xibalba almost didn't dare to hope for anything until he was dropping her off at the door of her castle and she pulled him down for another quick peck on the lips.
"Is tomorrow night alright by you?" she asked, seeming somewhat sheepish.
"I- wh-? Oh. Oh! Yes. Alright! Perfect- I- I can hardly wait" he blurted out, both taken by surprise and too excited to think properly of what he was saying, she placed a finger on his lips, quieting his rambling, much to his gratitude. He smiled against her finger and she smiled back, her colors and flowers already regaining vibrancy before his eyes "Goodnight, mi amor"
So...I don't know if anyone still reads this, but hi! C.C. (a) the author here.
Welp. What can I say. Life has been kicking my ass and writting is coming with more and more difficulty, but I'm still kicking. I wasn't entirely convinced by the last part of this fic, feeling it was somewhat too cheesy and telenovela-like. But then I remembered these two have a canon telenovela backstory and figured it works as it is. The Chamoche bit is also a bit softer than I would have otherwise liked, but I'm going to give it more edge later on. Even if the reasons they got together are the wrong ones, I figure there must have been some genuine attraction and chemistry in there as well. They DO love each other, according to Don Jorge.
This gets harder and harder to write the more I learn about their canon backstory, 'cause I forget what was headcanon and what was confirmed, but I'm looking forward to bring this to completion soon- stay tuned! More fluff to come! But also some angst because...yeah, there is still ONE bone to pick between siblings with this story and a backstory I've been trying to squeeze in but just can't find the right place XD. Either way, good fun.