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Ashur A man rests within a bed shrouded by curtains. He slumbers as the giants in the mountains slumber-- with fitful rumbles that set the earth to quaking. Upon his brow is an old bit of stitching finally healing over; it is partially obscured by a rain of thick black braids that fall over his face and shoulders, the serpentine coils adorned by bits of bone and feather and leather straps.

A blanket lies over him. Beneath it, his torso is a nightmare. A thousand fossil wounds torment flesh as perfect in sculpting as a Greek god-- an artful rendition of a master's sadism. In the darkness of rooms where Celeste has seen him before, even felt him, perhaps she never noticed-- it is so easy to overlook. But here he is bare. The raised knots of flesh slither across him like snakes; tough where it should be tender, beaten like old leather, his body lies in broken testament to a lifetime of pain.

See the winding gash from sternum to navel: old slash from a knife. See the way his left ring finger, relaxed as it is, bends in the wrong direction just a little-- a old break that healed funny. The small patches of flesh where hair no longer grows from old burns, the lumps in the muscle from bone fragments that splintered off and healed over.. top to bottom, the man is mangled.

And those are the old ones. Atop all of this are the healing-over signs of a fresh war, predominantly the scorch of laser and the sting of tooth.

He rests there, the man known as Ashur, wrapped in scars.
Celeste     When tough battles occur, word gets around fast. People in town have been talking, and as Celeste heard the news of who was in the medical center she headed right over. Good thing people talk, else she wouldn't have known.

    The curtain around Ashur's bed is tugged back and in peeks Celeste, her eyes widening as she sees that mountain of a man there, as she sees the scars and damage done by fighting. She hesitates there at the curtain, then slowly moves farther into the small area. Celeste stops at the bed and looks down at Ashur, gazing over the wounds old and new, looking them over slowly as if the scars alone would tell the stories of how they were earned.

    Celeste looks up once more, gazing at Ashur's face, and she lifts a hand to move it and rest it atop one of the man's. She gives a gentle squeeze, but says nothing. It's best to let him rest.
Ashur He awakens! The eyes stir, the muscles rouse, and before he has growled away the sleep his hand has turned to hold her own. "Hello, my little Celeste," he croons, in a voice thick with dehydration, a low rumble-rasp darker than usual. "You came to see me."

He scoots up, forces himself into a seated position, and cradles one arm across his midsection. The bruised fingers brush against a moist bit of gauze covering an area where dead skin was cut away.

A look at her. A smile. The hand rises, the arm extends, and he brushes his finger along the corner of her eye.
Celeste     "You.. don't have to sit-no, please.. Ashurrrrr," Celeste growls in a soft tone as he sits up. That earns a soft pout and an attempt at a mean look, but it softens a moment later. "I came as soon as I heard about the fight.. Did you really kill off a few super mutants?" Her brows lift at that. News travels fast, but it also gets twisted along the way. Who knows what the story will be tomorrow.

    The blonde steps closer to the side of the bed and she lifts her other hand so both are holding one of Ashur's, hugging it close to her chest as she looks at him. "You look better than expected.. I heard you were nearly killed. Is that true?" she asks, brows shifting closer together in worry. There comes that gentle pout again. Celeste lifts the hand she holds, kissing over his knuckles before rubbing her cheek gently into the back of his hand.
Ashur The man's laughter is the bark of wild dogs. The broad arm cradling his stomach flexes in support as that movement brings him pain, but the sight of his woman's ensuing pout forces him to smoothly lower that arm and suppress the wince in a casual motion. "I fought a ghoul almost twice as tall and wide as me," he corrects. "As a small horde of radioactive ones glowing in strange colors healed it and assisted it. The battle was well-fought, and we triumphed. I took only mild injuries."

She clasps his hand and brushes her cheek against it, kissing the knuckles-- battered things, swollen and bruised. The open and sincere affection brings a smile to his face.. such blatant and unrestrained intimacy is something he has essentially never had in his life. It disarms him. "My injuries come mainly from my single-handed murder of a Paladin of the Brotherhood in power armor, as his men blasted me again and again with high-powered lasers."
Celeste     "A ghoul that large? How.. How do they even get that big?" Celeste asks, looking surprised and didgusted at the same time. That story? It sounds scary! "That's.. why I don't really go into the wastes. Too many things out there that can kill you.. I am surprised you made it back at all."

    And then she is hearing the second part. Silence. Celeste stares at you, blinking slowly. She has nothing to say for a while, just.. silence. The hold on your hand remains the same, lifted and lowered now and then before beind held close to her chest again as she says, "How.. on earth did you manage to pull that off? What.. Ashur. You could have died.." She frowns a little more at this. "How are you alive?" she whispers.
Ashur "It was a filthy thing," he tells you, seeing that nauseated twist of your features. "And who can say? Ours is a dangerous world-- the rads work all kinds of magic beyond our understanding. All that matters is that it was that big." His golden eyes never drift from your lovely face, no matter the sorrow and concern it wears.

You whisper a question and he is silent for a long moment. "After we felled the ghouls, Paladin Grant, another in power armor, and nine other Brotherhood members came upon us. They demanded we hand over the man we'd come to rescue; waste all our effort. He insulted us. Degraded us. Degraded me." As your hand holding his falls, he slips an arm around your waist and pulls you in against him, sliding his legs around you and holding you there. "As he laughed, I charged him. We traded blows, and I emerged the victor-- crushing his skull to pieces before his men. They wounded me, but fled when our reinforcements arrived. The militia stabilized me here."
Celeste     "You were lucky this time," Celeste says, her tone not hiding how you make her worry. She steps closer to lean up against you, and she makes sure not to press against you too hard. Aggravating your healing wounds wouldn't do much good. Celeste slips one arm around you and gives a gentle hug, going quiet again for a bit.

    When she looks up to you she hmms gently, looking thoughtful. "Well.. Did you at least get to keep his power armor? Not easy to come across those.." She keeps her eyes on you, serious about that question. "Seems only right."
Ashur "There was nothing," the man scoffs, and his irritation is writ plain upon his features. "I lost consciousness and the rest fled-- Brotherhood, NCR, traders, militia. A crashed vertibird, a dead Paladin, and who knows what else.. and the damn fools wasted it. I've nothing to show for my conquest save the reputation for slaughter."

Admittedly, that isn't a bad trophy. What would Ashur even do with power armor? He doesn't know how to use it.

He returns the hug and glances at you. He opens his mouth as if to speak, then quiets it, and looks away. His expression is.. shy.
Celeste     "Wow.. All of that and nothing?" Celeste looks grumpy at that. "Who was out there fighting with you? What a bunch of.." she stops herself, but you can see by her expression that those people are a bunch of something.. bads. Celeste hmphs softly and gives a shake of her head, and she then buries herself deeper into that hug, pressing her cheek to your chest.

    She closes her eyes for a moment, just listening to the heavy thump of your heart beating in your chest, and when she glances up she notices how you look away. Celeste starts to grin slightly, and as she watches you in a curious way she chuckles and says, "You okay? I don't smell, do I?" she asks, sniffing the air slightly. She doesn't. Celeste giggles then. "How much longer will you be here? Few more days?"
Ashur As you speak, he is quiet. While he can be vigorously communicative when his emotions are aroused or he is telling a story, silence is nothing unusual from the man-- yet this is. This is not a stoic tight-lippedness. There's a downward slant to his eyes. A closed body language as he turns without thinking about it, crosses his legs. Folds the arm over his chest. All subtle signs of guardedness, hesitancy. His lips are pursed, the brow furrows, and he speaks. "I.."

He falls quiet, and remains quiet even after your question. "Before a month ago, I did not know what it is like to be touched with affection. I do not remember the faces or names of my parents; I do not know if they wanted me." A long, pregnant pause. "The Legion is unkind. It makes strong soldiers, but weak men; it kills the part that is man. My life has never been of concern to anyone, even myself."

Now he is looking at you, his body opening up more. "I am different from others here, and ignorant of much that is common knowledge. I do not know if I love you or if I am falling in love or if there is another word for the sentiment entirely. But you frowned when you saw I was hurt, and smiled when I touched you. You have become precious to me."
Celeste     Celeste's little smile begins to vanish as you turn away, though she stays by your side, head tilting ever so slightly as she keeps her focus on you. Her eyes roam your face for clues in that silence, and when you speak she gives a small nod of understanding. She tries to keep a small frown from forming, but she cannot. The girl bites the inside of her lip then, a better way to keep herself hushed as you explain. While you speak she leans into your good side, arms gently wrapping around that one of yours, hugging it against her chest the way she had done with your hand, and she closes her eyes, cheek to your shoulder now.

    Celeste is calm as you speak, quiet as can be, and then you say such sweet things. This makes her face go pink, and she slowly opens her eyes to look down at your arm. She smiles faintly, swallowing lightly before whispering up to you, "I.. like to be precious.." She smiles more now. Her eyes slowly lift and she says in a soft tone, "If you say that.. If you say you.. care about me like that, it's going to be hard when you don't come back some day. Everyone eventually fails to return.. You got lucky this time, but.. what about the next?" She looks to your eyes finally, and she lowers her voice to whisper, "Don't you dare say that to me until you're ready to not go.. fighting a man in power armor like that!" she hisses, smile returning in an insant, her laughter following. Celeste blushes. Her eyes dart low again and she hides against your chest, leaning slightly over the edge of the bed and into your frame.

    "And.. you know, I think your parents wanted you. I don't see how they couldn't have. Even after all the time you spent with the Legion you are still kind. You are a good man. You are a loving man.." She looks up again, her smile soft. "You've done things for me that I doubt others would have ever done. No one but you did what you did. That was you.. You are a person worth of love, whether that be from a woman or from your parents.. so.. Yes, I think they wanted you. I don't see how they could have just.. given you to them," she whispers.
Ashur You shy and shrink against him in such cute fashion; he cannot help but feel a rush of affection that compels him to smile and swell with a powerful pride, sliding the arm you're not crushing your soft little body against over toward your head so that he might muss your hair, scritch-scratch the scalp, and lay a drylipped kiss to your adorable crown. His golden eyes shimmer with a warm light, cutting lazy sweeps through the air until they settle and rest on your blushing features.

"This is how I make my place," he rumbles, the bass growl of his voice reverberating through your body, pressed to him as you are. "I am a warrior. Perhaps not Legion, anymore.. but a warrior, all the same. A man needs to be heroic." He blows at your scalp playfully, stirring the locks of hair there. And kisses your brow. "But I will not die just yet. What sort of man would I be if I left the girls waiting for me crying over a grave?"

A finger curls beneath your chin to lift the pink face and claim the mouth and claim the breath and claim everything a kiss can with a sudden ferocity of possession.

"You are mine, my little Celeste. Thank you. I don't think they gave me away.. but I can't help but think if a man came to my home, and demanded my family serve and die for him, I would fight to the last."

He trails off and then sighs. "Besides. I could only kill him because he was in power armor. He made a tactically unsound decision."
Celeste     Celeste is lifting onto her toes to press into you and return that kiss, and once it ends she hides her face against your arm once more. You can feel her smiling against it, though. The blonde whispers to you, "Do not leave.." Us? Sounds a little odd to say it that way. "Do not leave so soon.. You are still very young." She slowly looks up to you then and she starts to blush. She gives a little crooked grin, laughs, then looks away once more.

     "Maybe your father wasn't a good fighter.. Maybe he did fight. Maybe he fought until he couldn't any longer. We may never know.." Something causes Celeste to pause then, and as she looks to you she asks, "What made you leave? Why did you decide to?
Ashur "The memories I have of that time are vague. I speak of reclaiming my tribe, rebirthing it through womb and spirit-- but that is a delusion. I would not know if I was doing it right. I would not recognize it done wrong. The way we spoke, the things we knew.. they are lost forever." There's a sadness there, a resignation-- wrapped in a steel core of indomitable will. "Perhaps they did fight. Maybe my parents went out desperate to spare me the life I led. If so, they failed.. and I will not follow in their footsteps. Whatever I do, it will be greater than them."

His fingers brush through your hair. "The Legion.. ? I've mentioned it before.. I could not bear the insult of slavery any longer. I woke one day and realized I was in my prime, healthy and strong-- and that I had nothing. I was simply waiting to die for the Legion, and my name would not be remembered. Only Caesar knows glory." He tosses his braids aside with a shake of his head and snorts like a bull. "It enraged me. I resolved to escape or die escaping."
Celeste     "And look at you.. You escaped. You survived." Celeste smiles more, and again she is silent. She hugs your arm with one of hers while she lifts the other hand up, brushing the back of it against your cheek and down to your jaw, up again until her fingers pull away after brushing over your lips.

    "What can I help you with now? What do you need?" She smiles. "Will they be able to release you sooner if they know you have someone to take care of you?" Not that you need anyone to. You're quite the capable man, but Celeste.. it's in her nature.
Ashur "They are releasing me today," he says, disengaging from the hold you have on him to stretch his arms, roll his shoulders, and then seize you with a strong hold. "They wanted to ask some questions, make sure my wounds were not fatal. After I pulled through the first night, it was clear I wouldn't die. All that's left is natural recovery."

He cracks his neck with a twist, then flashes a smile down at you, bright and cheerful despite the pain with his cute little girl so close. "I'll need to spend time at the clinic, and likely should have someone with me most of the time, until I fully recuperate. Staying alone at the hotel would be.. unwise."
Celeste     Nodding to this, Celeste says, "I'll stay with you.. Just in case. I'd hate for you to take a sudden turn for the worse and not have anyone there to help you.. Natural healing, yes, but.. Bandages need to be changed. Cuts and burns need ointment.. I doubt you can walk around comfortably, so you'll need help with food and water.." She pauses there, looking at you. "Are you hungry now? Thirsty?" She eyes your lips for a moment. The need for water is clear. She frowns.
Ashur "Anything would be appreciated, little one," he says to you, giving your head another pet. He's spent a long time being a stoic, no-nonsense badass; surely, being devastatingly wounded and slaying a Paladin all by his lonesome, with his bare hands, in full power armor has earned him enough street cred to want to be pampered.