Dragonflies

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There he was. Just sitting. Just sitting with his head in his hand and his elbow propped up on his knee as he sat back against some rock in the dirt. He was going to stain his jeans again and add to the smudges of unidentifiables in the fabric—not that he cared. Not right this second, anyway.

Odin was lost. Again again again, he was lost. Barely seen in the clouds of violet smoke swallowing him from sight, he stared off to some place that was neither here nor there. Nor anywhere. Caught in a dream.

Ava hated it when Odin got like this. Him with that blasted pipe of his. It had to be toxic—poisonous—destructive for that small brain inside his thick skull. It probably filled his head with a fog so dense it leaked out his ears. He probably had that lazy glazed-over look in his eyes too, allowing himself to get sunk in this mellow euphoria as his bones lost all rigidity and caused him to slump over like a punctured sack of flour. Which Ava now saw him do.

He slid down the rock until it served more as a pillow than a backrest, and tucked one arm behind his head for extra cushion. He let out another puff of purple smoke while his eyes drowsily drooped closed.

Ava had half a mind to stomp over to him and smack that pipe right out of his stupid mouth. He'd die if he kept up this bad habit! …Not that she cared if he did. I mean, he did nearly abandon me… So, so what if he sucked and blew his life away? Odin seemed so peaceful though, upon a second glance. She might just leave him.

A bird twittered aloft in the branches of a tree nearby and caused Odin to reopen his eyes. The bird was gone, or perhaps hiding in the leaves, or watching the six or seven lustrous purple dragonflies ambling about his head. One, completely contented, landed on Odin's knee and crawled a bit before returning to the others in the violet haze.

The dragonflies were a gift courtesy of Pedri—the big purple skull monster that has shadowed him since as far back as he could remember. Maybe even before then. And as luck would have it, only Odin Arrow, the family screw up, could see him. Having Pedri around was mostly the shovel that dug Odin deeper into the 'Pit of Family Disappointment' –dubbed as such solely for his use. But having Pedri hovering over him all the time also had its moments. The little purple buggers were an escape, a bet, a chance at something better. Something closer to his heart. Something that made him feel anything other than himself. Just. Something. It didn't have a name yet, this something, but when he felt it—if he felt it, he would know and these dragonflies were that promise.

Odin inhaled, filling his lungs, and nearly choked when it finally registered that Ava was towering over him. His eyes were wide with apprehension and he tensed, braced for whatever slights she decided to run him through with this time.

Ava's hands were on her hips in her wide stance and she had a disgruntled pout in her lip. "You're going to die," she said.

Odin spit his pipe into his open hand and gave it an introspective glance. "Y-yeah I s-suppose so, but here's to hoping," he tipped the spout of his pipe and popped it back into his mouth.

"No," Ava rolled her eyes, "I mean, smoking that thing isn't good for you."

Odin smirked, "Do you c-care for me or s-something?"

Ava felt a hot blush rise in her cheeks. "No, I just think it's dumb of you to do that!"

Odin's stare lost that prideful luster and snapped into shock. "O-oh y-yeah? Well I th-think it's dumb of you t-to c-carry around those pervert glasses b-but I don't say anything!"

Ava's eyes flicked up to the shimmery golden lenses perched on her head like a diadem. "Ugh, do whatever you want," Ava stormed away, slipping the lenses over her eyes, "And they're not dumb!"

Eesh. Hit a nerve with that one. Ava was orange and yellow and hot—as in, radiating with heat. Odin could've sworn he saw the grass beneath her footsteps burn and turn black.

Whatever.

When Ava cooled down, she returned to their makeshift camp only to find the knucklehead had fallen sleep in the same spot she'd left him in. Didn't even budge. Though, the profuse of purple vapor had subsided a great deal.

Ava walked towards him and suddenly stopped. She blinked her eyes and wiped the liquidy star stuff from them. She lifted her glasses from her face and back down again in utter astoundment. Purple bugs. No purple bugs. Purple bugs. No purple bugs. Purple bugs.

Ava could not believe her eyes. These things—they were familiar. She took another tentative step as one of the dragonflies zipped up and around her head, trailing wisps of smoke behind it. Ava reached out and the winged creature landed on her open palm. Its tiny feet tickled her skin and Ava laughed; so happy she almost forgot where she was. She couldn't explain the feeling, but she could ascribe a word to it (though she didn't understand that either): Home.

The dragonfly probably sensed this too, as it crawled up her arm and flew corkscrews around her like it was the exuberance incarnate.

Ava found herself following the gleeful little bug as it flew back to Odin and danced around him as he slept. Ava quietly place herself beside him, sitting on her shins, following the dragonfly in its dance with her hand whilst another dragonfly buzzed by her shoulder. And another flitted back and forth around the crown of her head. And another flying too close to her face, pleasantly tickling her chin.

Odin snored softly, completely unaware of Ava's presence.

When at long last the dragonfly Ava had chased docked itself on her finger, Ava sat back against the rock and pondered this new warmth within her. It was wholesome and tranquil, unlike the volcanic rage that came equipped with Wrathia. Ava felt so comfortably at home that she soon found herself nodding off into a nap…

The afternoon drifted by and the breeze rustled through the trees, gently waking Odin. Groggily, the teenager sat up, rubbed his eyes, and searched for his pipe. Which he lit right away. It wasn't until he was seeing dragonflies that he considered getting up. He should probably go find some food. Ava. Oh yeah, she yelled and stormed off. I should look—

Odin jumped and skid back, his face going notably purple when he realized how close Ava had been sleeping to him. He relaxed when he saw she still slept; her mouth slightly agape, her hands her pillows, and her golden glasses crooked across her face due to the fact that Ava was lying on her side.

Odin picked up his pipe and drew a few puffs, his knitted brow dipping over his sour expression.

A moment or so later, after getting lost in thought, Odin turned to wake Ava. "Av-" He froze.

The small swarm of his dragonflies now encased the sleeping girl in a sort of glowing blanket. Every last one of his dragonflies chose Ava over flight. And Ava just kept on snoozing soundly.

Odin waved them off her, settling himself into a state of confusion. "Get off," he whispered.

The insects stirred, mildly inconvenienced, and went immediately back to covering Ava.

"What the—" Odin glanced at his pipe and shook his head. That's enough for today.

Odin stood, packing away his pipe, and walked off. A moment later, he returned to Ava with his jacket in his hand. Odin knelt down, watching the dragonflies disappear one by one, and all at once when he draped his jacket over Ava. She didn't seem cold but he wanted to make sure.

It was only when Odin had walked away that Ava's eyes opened and she pulled his jacket more snugly around her shoulders as a deep red filled her cheeks. Ava closed her eyes once more, smiling to herself.