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Poseidon's fury
The room was trashed. Tony was going to be pissed. In the middle of the chaos of thrown furniture, smashed glasses, and shredded curtains stood a shard of black. Elias flexed his fists to balls, breath heavy, eyes scrunched to sightlessness.
“ARGWW!” He roared and literally kicked a throw pillow left on the floor. It smashed to the wall in a fluff, adding to the mess.

“This is a waste of time!” he yelled at nothing. The excursions down the river were absolutely worthless. They found no signal. The creature no longer attacked. He was made to be a fool in front of everyone. Including…

“Asha?” He turned at the rustle of someone entering. Probably climbing over the mess. Maybe it was Tony coming to yell at him? Nah, that guy was sure to keel over from a heart attack next time he raised his voice.
Her palms squeezed. Anger and frustration buffeted through like a storm, tightening her chest with misery. Asha was not naturally given to such violent emotion, and the assault pounded her heart and left her breathless. Generally speaking Tony’s place was inoffensive -- easy to cope with, anyway -- and she still had Aria’s apartment to return to when she needed a refuge. Lately El’s bitterness over their continued failure was like a constant fog; something she would seek to escape from, usually. Had it been anyone else she would have. With him, though, she was afraid to let him drift too far into that tide, torn between wanting to sooth and the need for self-survival.

She fought her way to the source, like a flag ripped by wind, trying not to let the leaked emotion shadow her expression with the same. This time he was yelling. Her hands clenched tighter, trying to channel away the fury. The room was an utter ruin. She shifted her way through the debris of broken furniture until he turned, and with the question of her name the smallest dip in the blast of his emotion came with the promised balm of relief. She almost stumbled, half-smiled, and propelled herself into him. Her arms wrapped. It would make him unbearably strong to her senses but she was also certain it would quell the roughness of his anger to calmer seas, knowing how considerate he was of her abilities. Her eyes clenched tight against the flat of his chest. Something else fluttered outward, unnoticed by Asha herself. Calmdowncalmdowncalmdown.
Sighting Asha washed a trickle of shame, but the lock of his jaw remained tight. The power continued to pulse, but the currents dissipated. She washed upon him like a tide, and the next thing he knew, he was holding this delicate creature close. Only a growl labored from his lips. Her breathing rolled steady rhythm, and Asha's mere presence seemed to erode what fury had previously flooded all senses. 

"What am I going to do, Asha?" He asked. 

He wouldn't allow himself to admit defeat. Not yet. He pat her on the back of her head, she was trembling, and he felt like a true jerk for what must certainly have drowned her senses. 

"I'm sorry I did that to you," he said through grit teeth. 

Yeah. Fuck.
His sails caught a softer wind. Asha sagged against his chest, relief palpable. Waves of his anger still trembled out, washing her through with hollow weariness as it passed and began to dissipate. El cupped the back of her head in an awkward pat. Frustration still simmered, but these days that was as familiar as her own shadow. “Idon’tknow,” she mumbled into him. For a long moment she did not move, clinging on as if he were a mast in a storm. When her arms finally unwrapped there was a pink tinge to her cheeks. She brushed the hair back from her face and glanced around plaintively at the mess he had made.

The search had been fruitless. Asha herself enjoyed the fresh air and sway of the boat beneath her feet as they trawled the river, often to be found watching the scenery pass. She avoided the captain’s company when she could, but between Tobias and El that was not hard. Sometimes she let her senses press out into the waters, curious to see if she might feel anything momentous, but she never did.

Frowning, she began an attempt at straightening the room. Asha’s habits were neat, and it was not so much condemnation of his temper as it was something to do. Her arm poked whole through the ruined curtains, and she bundled them to her chest. Perhaps she could do something with the material, but they were no good for hanging anymore. “It’s okay,” she said, and meant it. A brief smile fluttered. “Sometimes when my uncle was… away, he would come back frustrated. When the trail was difficult, sometimes we did something else for a while. A clear head helps. Putting your mind to something else for a while?”
When Asha pulled away, a small swell of disappointment followed, but it was quickly locked away for fear that she may notice the disruption. What was a storm brewing on the horizon seemed to vanish without explanation, and he was calmer for it. She brushed aside her own hair, and his fingers twitched to brush it behind her ear, but instead they submerged into a pocket while she moved about the room.

Something else to do. He frowned. He’d not considered anything of the sort. When he wanted to get away in Utah, he took off on long walks, but the landscape was a barren hell. ”What do you mean? Like a puzzle or something?”
“A puzzle?” Her head tilted to consider it, amused -- mostly by the unbidden notion of her uncle sat stoically at a table, frowning over a jigsaw. The laughter bubbled out of her as she folded the curtain and poised it on the arm of a righted chair, then set about hoisting a table back to its wobbly feet. Feathers from an exploded throw pillow tickled her nose. That had been one of her purchases. Tony didn’t really have an eye for interior.

“I know all of it disappoints you, El. I wish there was something I could do to help.” She swept her hand over the tabletop, scattering feathers everywhere, and made a face at the thin coat of dust left on her palm. Didn’t these boys ever clean anything?

“I taught my uncle how to make gulab jamun once, though I don’t think he much enjoyed the experience. That was probably the other women though.” She smiled a little. The memories of him still stung a little, though she never seemed to mind talking about him. “What did you do to unwind back home? Tell me something that makes you happy.” Her expression was open and hopeful as she perched on a chair, though she wondered if he might struggle to articulate something. Elias was many things, but frivolous was not one of them.
He rolled his eyes. “Unwind at home? I had a hundred siblings and we all lived in one house. I shared my bedroom with three other boys. There was no unwinding. The only time I ever felt content was-“ he stopped. It was during his time in New Zealand learning from his Uncle, going to Uni. Studying outside on the beach, annoyed by the sea spray misting his study materials.

Those days were gone. Just like Asha’s uncle.

“I wasn’t exactly a happy kid,” he finally finished. A shrug followed by a grumble carried him to the kitchen to get a glass of water. As he tipped it to his lips, he told a story. “There was this peninsula that jutted out into the ocean. It was all rocks and miserably uncomfortable to sit on, but at the end, you could dangle your feet over the edge as the waves rolled past up toward the shore line. If you didn’t look behind you, it felt like you were in the middle of the ocean. That was—” his voice trailed uncomfortably. “It wasn’t terrible.” He took a drink. They were a long ways from that part of the world.
Asha laughed. “El, I can barely imagine living in a house growing up.”

He’d stopped himself, and she noticed, but said nothing to dig at those wounds. She experienced enough of what he felt without pushing him too close to the edge of a cliff. Instead she drifted after him as he sought a glass of water, glancing back at least once for the mess they left behind. It could wait, though.

She leaned on the counter while he spoke, and her large eyes soaked up the image with a smile. He humoured her well enough, but that lingering sadness spoke louder than his words. His greatest love twined so closely with his greatest pain. It shuddered through her quietly, though she did little to betray it. “We’ll go one day,” she said. “When I’m less broke. You can show me your not terrible peninsula.”

She straightened when she felt the warmth in her cheeks. They’d not spoken of what would happen after he had his answers, any more than they had about what it would mean when she finally had enough cash to replace her car. Moscow was the longest she’d stayed rooted since Leh as a child, but when she’d mentioned that he hadn’t seemed concerned about her leaving. Maybe he would not appreciate her inviting herself along on some hypothetical trip.

“I don’t think I can find you an ocean in Moscow, but come on, let’s take a walk before Tony sees what a mess you made of his favourite throw pillow.” Her smile returned and she offered an outstretched hand.
"I'll trade you lives." It was a joke. He knew Asha was miserable growing up. It didn't take a sentient empath to figure that out. Tony was going to be pissed again, but he was either always pissed or too high out to care about anything. There was no middle. 

It was still cold outside. He grabbed the duster jacket on the way out the door. It was warm enough. He was more like Michael than Tony in that regard, always cold in Russia. Seriously annoying.
Asha grinned, not really for the words, but for the brief fluttering of humour she felt inside him. A joke? From Elias? But she knew poking at that would only recede him back into his shell.

It wasn’t cold out. She wrapped a pashmina loose over her shoulders, one she’d bargained for at the market. It was threaded with swirls of blue paisley, and edged in dark gold. The design reminded her of waves. El was a silent pillar of black beside her, clad throat to heel in his long coat, and for a while she was content just to be moving. It beat the claustrophobia of the house and the strewn evidence of his stormy temper. A car would have been better, though they would have needed to negotiate out of Moscow’s congested city centre first. Rolling, open highways would have been worth it, though.

She braided her hair to one side as they walked. It had been winter when she arrived, but now spring’s arms had opened to summer. Warmer weather always made moods lighter and more joyful; for most people, anyway. It worked the other way too, when the heat turned sticky and tempers frayed, but these streets were a far cry from the sweltering press of somewhere like Mumbai.

“Do you remember the cafe I told you about?” Where she had met Tobias not so very long ago, the latest in a long line of nowhere leads. “The proprietress read my cards. She was… intense. Do you suppose that magic is real too?” The memory made her flush, not the question. Her mind had long since cracked open to the possibility of all sorts of strange supernatural things. She hadn’t told Elias what Rowan had said, though. “I don’t want to go back there. But I’ve seen stalls at the market.”

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