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Thread Contributor: Kailani MahelonaLove Warriors
Marvel-MCU-1

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#1
Kai worried her fingers at the edge of her braid. Starting here was as good an idea as any, but that didn't mean that she was enjoying the idea of walking up to a total stranger and asking for magic tips. Still, Jake had told her to listen to her ring, and to ask it when she needed help, so that's what she was doing.

When it told her to seek out the incredibly hot elf male at the tavern inside a tree, she had made plans to do just that. Admittedly she was ever so mildly concerned about how her ring had adapted to her personality so quickly- Hell. Kai had almost considered the possibility that someone had hacked her ring- and she was pretty sure that wasn't possible.

Taking a deep breath, she landed right in front of the door, before pulling it open and finding the silver haired elf with the good looks. Striding up to him, she blew a few bits of hair out of her face before speaking. "Hey, I'm Kai. This is going to sound weird but my magic ring which is powered by love told me to look for you for advice on how to use love as a weapon."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#2
Using love as a weapon.

Arjay, who had been going about a fairly normal day in his inn, turned to look at the (admittedly lovely) girl in the delightfully revealing outfit that had uttered those reasonably alarming words to him. He would give her the benefit of the doubt that she hadn’t meant to say something that sounded quite so blasphemous to him, but it was difficult to reconcile what she had said in his mind. It sounded alarmingly like something he’d expect from those whores who he was sure were enchanting their clients to say… but he didn’t think she seemed like one of them.

Instead, he turned his attention to the ring she had referred to, gazing at it for a moment. He couldn’t feel its touch, he didn’t think anyone aside from the wearer could do that, but somehow he knew it held a power like his sword did. Perhaps it wasn’t quite as personal a power as the sword, but still similar… and it hadn’t rejected her. She wasn’t unworthy of it, which was reassuring. And, in that light, the question was rather a typically human one to ask. ‘What is this power? How can I hurt something with it?’ They always wanted to use the power that lay before them, always wanting to know what it could do to advance them. Well… she would learn, he supposed.

Gesturing for her to follow, he walked over to his usual seat next to the fire, indicating for her to take the one facing it. Picking up the guitar that sat next to it (his only souvenir from the excursion to Luthien’s world), he began to strum idly and quietly as he considered her. “What is love?” he asked. “We must begin at the most basic question, and this is one answer I cannot simply give you.”
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#3
Kai followed behind comfortably enough. Apparently her magic ring wasn't worried about her speaking to Arjay, and she'd take that as good enough for now. She watched him take a seat- and indicate she ought to do the same. With a small shrug of why not, she floated into the seat, choosing to let her feet leave the ground.

Sitting cross legged (rather than showcase how far her feet hang above the ground) She listened attentively. Kai frowned slightly as she considered her response. "Well that's one of the questions isn't it. Life's great mysteries. Love is something different to everyone I'd think." She started, unintentionally playing with the green needle of crystal that she had found after her rescue. She was inclined to believe it had gotten a little bigger, but she was decidedly not measuring it to see if it was a millimetre bigger than yesterday.

"For me- Love is-" Kai started before she paused again, uncertain about how to phrase it. Finally she let out a deep breath and spoke quietly. "Love is running from my universe with my sister, knowing we'll never be able to return, and knowing that it was the only way to keep the rest of our family safe. Love is doing everything I can to teach my sister the things she needs to know in life, accepting that she needs me to guide her- but that one day soon she won't anymore." She smiled softly. "Love is cherishing every single time the idiot ghost that she is gets in trouble, because it's another time I can be there for her. Love is knowing that I will always be there for her."

Kai paused and ran her fingers through her hair with a chuckle. "As for romantic love- I haven't got a fucking clue. For twenty two years I was pretty confident I wasn't capable of romantic love. Still not entirely convinced the other way but perhaps a little more open to the possibility." She continued to play with her hands awkwardly as she allowed him to reflect on her answer. "And I'm sorry, what's your name? Cause I was just told to seek out a silver haired elf- and I suppose it's rude of me to assume that's you just because you look like one. I mean, I look human so I know better than most how much appearances can be deceiving."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#4
The girl did, at least, have the basics, he supposed, although she was looking at it solely in her own perspective. Her answers, though, were satisfactory. He listened, nodding quietly, and then cocked his head when he was told that she hadn’t even been given his name when she had been told to seek him out. “My name is Arjay Lo’Ran, milady, and yes, I’m quite sure that it was me that you were sent to find.” While he didn’t like to brag on his goddess’s behalf, he was (in her words) the chosen of the goddess of love, after all.

“Love is not a weapon,” he said, simply, and he let that one sink in. “It can, and does, hurt, of course, and can cut a person more deeply than the sharpest sword. To actively use it against someone in that manner, though, is an act of cruelty that can harm you nearly as much as the one you wish to harm. No… Love is the driving force behind nearly everything that people can do. It can make us stronger than we can imagine, or weaker than a newborn field mouse.”

“I believe that it may help if you put out of your mind the supposed different kinds of love. Love is, simply, love. It may inspire us to do different things in different situations, but it is still love, and everyone is capable of it.” His eyes fell on the ring again, and he found that there was only one logical way to understand what she needed from him. “May I see this ring that sent you to me? Just for a moment, obviously.”
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#5
Kai nodded in acknowledgement when the elf introduced himself, completely unsurprised. She hadn't really been second guessing whether he was the person she was seeking out or not- some part of her had known, if only the part of her that was becoming in tune with the minute vibrations of her ring. She had mostly been asking for the elf's name.

She ducked her head with a sigh as he acknowledged her poor wording- something that she had hoped would have been glossed over. She waited patiently while he elaborated before offering a sheepish smile. Kai cleared her throat slightly. "Describing it as a weapon was a poor choice-" She rubbed her temple, letting go of her uniform, and powers, dropping half a centimeter to bounce on her seat. Now that her pohaku had returned to their natural colouring, and her clothes to their more covering state. Shrugging off her leather jacket, the stones took orbit around her. "My- uh. My Jake, refers to his ring as the most powerful weapon in the universe- so I just automatically referred to mine that way. His runs on willpower however, otherwise I wouldn't need outside tutelage." She explained, before her pohaku moved downwards in an abrupt movement and formed long blades extending across the back of her hand and past her knuckles.

"I don't really need help with offensive capabilities. I'm about four times as strong as you'd expect from a human my size- perhaps a little stronger depending on how weak you think I ought to be- but I don't have any use for more weapons. Especially not one that I'm capable of losing- since these stones are physically part of me." She explained with a laugh, waving a stone hand in a 'what can you do about it' movement.

Kai sighed and rubbed her temples again. "I understand that fundamentally, but in practice it's not so clear. It may as well be two different kinds of love- Or perhaps two forms of the same emotion. One of which I believe I am almost fundamentally incapable of. It may be easy for you, but in my culture we have just started to properly accept that not everyone is capable of love in the same fashions. I would ask that you not question my stance on the matter." She offered quietly, having talked time and time again about being aromantic to any number of folks who told her that she was wrong. Just like the people who told her she was just greedy by not choosing one gender to be attracted to. That her stances could be changed by a few fancy words- and that she hadn't tried time and time again to be different.

To only find men attractive. To have a crush on someone. To know what it means when someone says their heart was fluttering. To understand the feeling of warmth that came from being loved and loving in that way. But- Kai had accepted that she just... couldn't. She couldn't be something she wasn't. And if someday she met someone she could love that way- she'd be overjoyed, but she didn't hold hope for it. Well. She hadn't- until she had met Jake. But that was neither here nor there- Hope for potential, didn't spell out actual capability.

Clearing her throat, Kai flushed slightly. "Anyways, Knock yourself out. Ring only works for me." She replied, eager to focus on something other than her ranting. She pulled off the pink ring and flipped it through the air towards the elf. A number of hours spent playing quarters meant that it sailed pretty easily through the air.
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#6
Arjay caught the ring neatly out of the air, then held it up in his hand. “Oh,” he said, apparently impressed with whatever contact with the ring revealed to him. “Oh, I see. Yes, that does make this a bit clearer.”

He held up his hand, and the ring hovered over it, wreathed in violet flame. Regardless of whatever she’d said about it working for him, he seemed to be able to communicate with the thing just fine. “Yes, I see. One of many, all- yes? No, slower, this is quite a lot to process. No. No, I do not. N- Actually, yes. Yes. Hm? Yes, much easier if you show me.” And, with that, he put the ring on. For the barest of moments, his outfit seemed to change, looking like intricate violet chainmail, but she didn’t get much time to examine it. It was just a flicker, then he was back to normal. More telling, though, was the look of surprise on his face, something resembling shock, mixed with ecstacy, touched with agony, which lasted for a longer moment as he stared, eyes glowing violet, past Kai in wonder at something no one else could see. Then, as suddenly as it had started, it ended, the ring slipping off of his finger and hovering again, wreathed in that purple flame again as he recovered himself, one hand unconsciously clutching at his heart as he quietly shivered as if in a daze.

“Yes,” he said, this time to her, “A very impressive ring indeed.” He plucked the ring out of the air, and the violet flames seemed to flow back into his hand as he held it back out for her to take. “Technology that my world could not replicate, although… I suppose with magic… but no. Much better to not try to meddle in such things. That’s what we have gods for, I suppose.” He waited until she’d taken it, and seemed relieved to have it out of his grasp again.

“That ring is a weapon in the same way that an archmage is a man waving a funny staff about. The description might be accurate, but it by no means does the matter justice. The ring is capable of great things, but the more profound things it can do can only be managed by someone who truly understands the force that powers it, which is to say, Love.” He studied her a moment, remembering what she’d said, remembering the missteps in what she’d said, the things she’d pointedly not said. “I can help you with that, yes. I can’t say that the effort will be without its hurts, though.”
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#7
Kai waited patiently as he started babbling at the ring- she had to wonder what he was actually learning from the ring- his end of the conversation was doing very little to make that clear. Then his gear changed and Kai's eyes narrowed quite a lot.

Perhaps it was only a moment. Little more than a flicker really- but Kai's advantages in processing power made it more than long enough for her to understand it. Hell even if she wasn't powered in a way that made it exceptionally easy to do most things- she was IT, it was her job to gather information from things that could last fractions of a second.

In this moment however, she responded by pulling on the bond she had with the ring- though she didn't know whether or not that was the reason the ring slipped back off his finger. All she knew was that the moment it flew back onto her finger, she felt remarkably more at ease with the situation. It didn't matter to her that it was an impressive ring- but it was her one physical proof of a connection between her and Jake and that was an absurdly ridiculous thing to care about, but she did. Adding in that it was the only way she had to go see him that didn't require her to sit around and hope for him to show up- the ring was important to her to say the least.

Kai processed the comment he gave her slowly. She didn't want to rush in blindly to a situation that warranted quite a bit more concern than that. Anything that could cause pain could usually do an awful lot more than just a small amount- and it could hurt the ones she cared for. Hell, for all she knew, it could make her entirely ineligible for the ring.

But then- this was what she wanted. Folding her hands in her lap, a sad smile formed on her lips, her clothes dissipating into the ether as a pair of capris and a bikini top replaced them. (Which almost made her change her mind about the ring. Though at least she had pants now.) "What growth comes without pain?" focusing, she summoned a small crystal construct into one hand, as a matching shaped one floated above the other. "I nearly died in awakening as an inhuman. People have hunted me down with the intent to erase my kind from existence since. Even in coming to the hub, one of my dear friends was killed in the act of escaping with my sister and I."

Kai clenched both hands- one of the crystals dissipating in a flash of violet light. The other absorbed into her palm and encircle her fist in jagged stone. "I am no stranger to pain. And I am not frightened of it."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#8
Well, the girl knew that this was going to hurt, he’d give her that. And dressed like she was, this was at least not going to be without its little benefits for him (much as he’d not show it). However, he knew that she didn’t really understand what she was about to go through. Who could, really?

“Pain is an old friend to all of us,” Arjay said. “Anyone who claims otherwise is either coddled beyond belief or a liar. That’s not the question. The question is, are you a stranger to love? Do you know the rules?” A quaint phrase, not quite accurate, but a phrasing that most could understand better. Arjay peered around the room for a moment, then shook his head. “No… not here.” He reached into his pocket, withdrawing a small portal carved from ivory, which he held up toward the wall, chanting a spell. A portal appeared against the wall, a space of shimmering light that spread from floor to ceiling, as wide as a doorway. “This will be much better. We won’t want to be disturbed during this.” Standing, he beckoned her through.

On the other side of the portal, they found themselves in a richly decorated foyer, apparently of some vast mansion made of marble and polished wood. A great polished staircase led up to the second floor, and other stairs they could see the barest hint of told that there was at least one floor beyond that. All of the doors were closed right now, though, not giving much of a hint to the other rooms. As she entered, Arjay closed the door (and thus the portal), thinking it best that no one be wondering too hard about a portal against the wall of his inn.

“Yes, much better,” he said, leading her up the stairs and through a set of wide double doors. They found themselves in a wide sitting room, though it felt oddly empty with just the two of them in it. “Now… as we were saying… love.” He made a little twirling gesture with his hand, and those purple flames appeared between them. “Love is passion, inspiration, motivation. It is joy, pleasure, lust, and desire.” He flicked his fingers at the flames, and they glided through the air, entering her chest with a little ecstatic shudder. “It can make us foolish. It is everything irrational.” As he spoke, the flames seemed to fill her chest, a warm, heady feeling that made her heart race, swallowing up her voice in its intensity.

“So, warrior of love… you say you are not capable of romance. Love, however, is truth. So I ask you, in the name of Love… when was it that it hurt you?”
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#9
Kai listened to Arjay speak, unable to stop herself from humming along when he asked her if she was a stranger to love. It took a solid gnawing on the inside of her cheek for her to not start laughing as she thought of the song. "I am and I'm not. I do and I don't." She offered vaguely, worrying her lip between her teeth as she tried to think of a way to explain the first statement before deciding to focus on the latter. "A popular saying on my world is that 'all is fair in love and war.' So I would be inclined to believe that love has no rules. That it defies restriction and does as it pleases."

Following him through the door, not even bothering to uncross her legs, she simply floated through. It was... An incredible place. The kind of place Haoles bought to hide away in when they came for vacation- but not actually live in. It had an air of formality that the surfer had never found comfortable. Less so when she wasn't dressed for the situation.

She almost flinched as the flames neared her. Kai was afraid of relatively little- and fire wasn't among those fears- but she did have a lot of unprotected skin. Forcing herself steady, she shut off her fear for just long enough for the flames to sink in to her skin.

It was then that she noticed how absurdly cold she had been- the growing warmth in her chest so comforting that all of her skin felt like ice in contrast. Her heart was in fact racing- to the point that she almost wished to cover her chest lest it be physically apparent.

When he asked his question, she opened her mouth to spout something pretty but untrue, but found herself unable to speak. And when Kai had her voice back, she had changed her mind to speak the truth. "Never. It's never hurt me. That's my problem. I have been left... Empty. There was no love to hurt me. I love my family, but I was lucky enough that the family I have is a functional unit. We're one family, though we all have our own ideas. So the only pain I've felt from that is the relatively minor bits that come from being separated. For a short time or a long time. But I have never loved in the way people speak of when they tell stories about the emotion."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#10
The Heartfire was a wonderful, and somewhat frightening power. He wouldn’t be surprised if she felt embarrassed after this, that she’d said more than she wished to. People often wanted to lie about what was in their hearts… he knew that he was really no exception to this, but there was something freeing in speaking one’s heart, in revealing that truth that you tried to hide from the world.

“You’ve been afraid,” he said, not asking, because the answer was obvious. “Your heart burns so brightly, but you’ve run from it. Perhaps you’ve cheapened what you could have done, rejecting loves, rejecting the possibility of loves. Maybe, maybe not, that’s for you to know. Perhaps your reasons have been good, I don’t know. But you have a choice in life. Love… is a risk. It can leave you full, fulfilled, complete, just like you feel now. And when it goes wrong…” He took a step toward her, an apologetic look in his eyes as his fingers made a little twisting gesture… and suddenly that warm, pleasurable fullness grew hot, like a knife pressing into her heart, like lances driving through her chest, though again, there was no real harm done to her. It would take a moment to realize that this wasn’t a physical pain she was feeling, but a hurt of the heart, possibly even of the soul, so acute that it felt like a physical pain.

Arjay stepped forward again, stopping any struggling she might have done, his eyes locking on hers as he caught his hand behind her head, his palm pressing over her heart. As soon as he touched her, the pain didn’t stop, but seemed to ease somewhat, kept from taking its full effect by that old remedy, human contact (if Arjay could be called human). “Look at me,” he said urgently. “Don’t fight it, you have to understand! Yes, it hurts… and if you travel down this road, if you champion love, you will hurt. You will care, and be pushed aside. You will love, and that love will die. It happens, as much as we hate when it does. It will hurt every time… but that pain can only happen if you love, if you are loved.” For his part, Arjay had even learned to find a bittersweet beauty in that pain… but that was something that the girl could only come to after a much longer experience than she had. “What you need to learn is if it’s worth it to feel that pain, when the alternative…” He pulled his hands away from her, backing away… and as he did, the fire went out. That warmth that had filled her, that fullness, that energy, was gone, and the emptiness, the coldness, was even more pronounced now. If emptiness could be a palpable thing, she would be filled with it, like a lead weight dragging her down, that heart-crushing feeling of being completely alone, a heart beating only for itself, with nothing to even reach for.
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#11
Kai listened patiently while Arjay listed many pretty things about love- the kind of thoughts you had when you stopped living in the moment and stood so far back you barely saw yourself any longer. Perhaps Kai was self centered. Perhaps she cared more for the things directly around her. But she was never so detached from the world as this elf seemed.

It made her wonder how often this man had been hurt. She was the way she was because her heart was empty and unbroken. It seemed to Kai that Arjay was the way he was because his heart had been filled and then torn until there was little left than scar tissue. It was probably a wonder that he still loved at all. She opened her mouth to speak when the warmth inside her chest turned sharp.

It was darts all over again. That heat that Jake had supplied her with- that made her realize how cold it was- and had left her feeling as though each touch left burns in its wake. The sensation that had started off as little more than when he was pressed against her- but had of recent become something she felt from his gaze alone. No matter how far away he stood. Sometimes, it took nothing more than the thought of him.

The contact did soothe her- though she'd be the last person to call it human. He wasn't. She was partially- a few years ago. Not anymore. If she had known to do so, she would have explained exactly how thoroughly inhuman she was. That the awakening was akin to a complete rebuild of the body. In other words- every part that was human was replaced.

She almost laughed when he suggested that she not fight it. It wasn't that Kai believed him ridiculous for suggesting she give in, rather that it was absurd to fight it into first place. Certainly, her muscles twitched uncontrollably in an attempt to fight the phantom pain, but it was no worse than drowning. And fire- she had burned before. Kai had dealt with acid. With gun wounds. With stabbings.

This pain was different. Inside of her rather than outside. But that didn't mean that she couldn't handle it the same. And... If she closed her eyes and let herself think that the hands on her skin were Jake's- it stopped seeming painful at all.

She nearly sobbed when he pulled away- but Kai could be stoic in the face of emptiness. It was a sensation she knew better than almost anyone else she had met did. There was little that was comparable to the feeling- or lack thereof. It never mattered at the time of course- but it was uncomfortable at the least to remember it later. To know who she was without guilt, or joy, or anger, or many others to motivate her.

Kailani considered herself unbelievably lucky that she didn't hate that version of herself. That she didn't become someone she didn't like.

No. The reason she nearly sobbed was that she had allowed herself to think that the hands were those of the guy she.... Cared for. And for a brief second Kai had thought it was Jake pulling away from her- and that. That hurt.

She cleared her throat to recompose herself. Fixing him with a gaze that was in no way uncertain, she finally spoke. "How do I go about that though? I don't know how to fall in love." She said, voice much softer than the steel in her eyes.

@mike
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#12
Arjay smiled a little at that, laying his hand over her heart again… and with that, the cold, aching hole eased, a faint purple glow showing under his hand. That done, he walked over to a chair by the fireplace, taking his seat in it. He made a little waving gesture, and a servant appeared- literally appeared- standing before him, silent, attentive, and ghostly translucent. “Wine,” he said. “And whatever the lady would like to drink. Are you hungry by any chance? Some food, too, nothing too heavy.” The instructions given, he dismissed the spectral servant to his duties with a wave of his hand.

“As to that? You’ve given the answer to your own question. Love is not something that one can simply summon up at will… not in its best, truest form. It’s something that we simply do. There’s a reason that it’s called falling in love, rather than, oh, climbing carefully into it.” He made a little gesture toward her ring. “That is all the evidence you need that you are capable of it. I could sense it as well in my own way. Your heart doesn’t just contain the spark that could set it ablaze. It contains the that fire in all its fury, simply held within. You can give it as freely as you wish, to whomever you wish, you can feel that affection in its various strengths for and from everyone you care to. Whatever that ring can do… you certainly have the ability to power it. In order to understand the full depths of what it can do, though, you simply need to let go. Let your heart love, without trying to hold it back or second guess. If you feel that fire, don’t try to control it as you’ve done… feed it.”

“However,” he said, as the spectral servant returned with their drinks and a small plate of sandwiches, “I’m just a silly elf who can wax poetic about love until the sun runs cold. The important thing, I suppose, is how honest you are with your heart.”

@moon
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#13
Kai didn't hesitate with her answer. "Scotch. Single malt. Bring the bottle as well." Kai mumbled, brushing her hair back from her face with a shaky breath. She had been expecting pain. She was perfectly capable of handling said pain- but merciful ancestors did it take a lot out of her. Her whole body was shaking from the sheer stress of it.

"I don't suppose pizza is an option." She offered with a dry grin as she finally made eye contact with the elf. Kai listened quietly to his words, anxiety driving her to endlessly twist the ring on her hand. His words echoed in her mind- and if she took a deep breath and was honest to herself- she was already falling.

Not quite fallen. Not hit the final state of affection. But somewhere along the line of jumping from buildings and falling with Jake, that had become falling for him instead. Kai bit her lip, much harder than she intended, unsurprised when blood welled up.

She was still getting used to her strength, and it took only a moment before it sealed up, though healing would still take a bit. Clearing her throat, she tried to deny the blush that was fighting it's way up her cheeks, her voice cracking in her throat. "Okay. So say there's.... Someone. Who I've been sleeping with, and spending time with... How do I ask them what we are, without ruining it?" Kai asked, trying to keep her voice strong and steady, but all too tempted to let her words trail off into nothing. She took the welcome distraction of the Scotch to take a long drink, and feel the steadying burn.

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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#14
Arjay considered her request, then shook his head sadly. “Unfortunately, the spell can provide food common to my world, and while I think that they could improvise something, it would take far too long for them to do it. Now… the kitchen back on the other side,” he said, gesturing back in the general direction of the door to the mansion, “Knows quite well how to make pizza, and would be more than happy to once we’ve returned.” He shrugged, smiling apologetically. “The limitations of magic, I suppose. At the very least, you should be happy with the whiskey.”

The girl was agitated, which was… well, it was rather cute, he had to admit. Humans… so young, and generally so silly about matters that ought not be complicated. Arjay leaned forward, reaching out and closing his hand over hers, stopping the twisting of the ring and smiling slightly. He waved his hand, letting a spell wash over her. It was probably a waste to use a magic for a simple matter like a bit lip, but why not? If nothing else, she was probably going to do so again, and the regeneration spell would leave her feeling at her best when they finally left regardless of how much she accidentally hurt herself.

“You take a very deep breath,” he said, “And you ask yourself what would be worse, finding out that your love isn’t returned, or lying to yourself and always having to force yourself to think that you’re sure of it?” He didn’t really wait long for an answer, he didn’t need one. “Sometimes, the most painful thing in the world is to tell someone that you love them and to not hear it returned to you. However, sometimes it’s exactly the sort of kick that a person needs to begin thinking about what they feel, to begin being honest with themselves about what it is. If the feeling is there, or is growing there, it can’t be ruined by being acknowledged. Tell me… would it ruin things if this person told you tonight that they loved you?

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#15
Kai paused, listening to the explanation. Eventually she wrinkled her nose with just a twitch of annoyance. Not at the elf who was being kind and helping her- but at the stupidity of magic rules. Which was entertaining since most anyone who had interacted with her might call her abilities 'magic'. More so now that she wielded a ring that took her thoughts and made them real. But she was decidedly science based.

And she'd fight anyone who claimed otherwise.

She did take the Scotch with a nod of gratitude, tossing back the first cup entirely. Then refilling it and doing it again, the soothing burn helping to center her. She still laughed somewhat maniacally when he healed her. "That was very thoughtful Arjay. And also a complete waste of magic." Kai offered, squeezing her mouth shut as she tried to hold back a massive grin.

She lifted her hand up in explanation, taking a small sliver of crystal and dragging it across her palm, leaving a scratch that beaded up with blood almost instantly. Before quickly sealing shut, a scab forming easily. "It'll be healed up before long. Likely before we finish conversing. Benefits of not being human." Kai explained, giving into her desire to grin.

Listening to his reply, she waited as patiently as she was capable. It seemed better to just not comment until the end of his monologue. It didn't help that her tongue felt as thick as a pillow in her mouth, and she was uncertain what words to say. Finally she forced a swallow, her throat altogether too dry and managed to reply. "No."

Glancing up, and burning at the very thought of those words being put in Jake's mouth. "I don't know that it's love just yet- but I would like it very much if he felt that way." Kai squeaked, pausing before her eyes went wide and she fumbled on her person for her phone.

Without a second pause, she started fiddling with it, and began typing out a text with shaking fingers. Glancing up at Arjay, her impudent 23 year old nature became decidedly clear. "Thank you for your help- but are you done for now? Because there's someone I need to talk to."

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#16
Arjay waved off that accusation that it had been a waste of magic. “Do you know how much magic I can use, and do you know how much I end the night still able to use? Hoarding it when some good can come of it is hardly the best policy, at least not when I’m home and not in need of defending myself.” He cocked an eyebrow. “I’m not going to need to defend myself, am I?” he added with a playful little smirk.

The girl’s answers were, once more, adorable, as was her sudden need to deal with things. She had all the signs of someone who, no matter how adept with physical affection, was very new to the secrets of her heart, something he rarely saw in any but humans, and usually those who were very young. “Almost,” he said, standing up. He might be a magic elf from a medieval world, but he’d been in the Hub for a good while. He knew what she was doing, and could guess the intent. He walked over, putting his hand on hers to halt her for just a moment. “Just one last thing, my dear.” Gently, he pulled her hand from the phone, then took it and set it on the table next to her… mostly because he didn’t want it accidentally sending a half-completed message or something as embarrassing as that. How many times had someone been laughed at for a Sending that was cut off early by someone surprising them and making them use up the words early?

“If you’re going to do what I think you’re about to do, you need to remember one thing,” he said. “You may not know what this is, that’s fair. We rarely know something is love until after it has already become love, and sometimes well after it. But the most important thing to remember is that whatever it is, it is. It will not change by labeling it. If you have love, if you have love growing? Then it is there, it doesn’t need to be named for it to be.” He crouched down, sitting on his haunches in front of her so that he was roughly at eye level with her. “Realizing what it is may be powerful, may strike you harder than any blow you’ve ever felt… but that change is within you, yourself, not with what is between you and another person.” He squeezed her hand, then released it to do whatever she wished. “The point, I suppose, being to relax. Whatever you have, if it is good, is already there.”
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#17
Kai laughed automatically. "I was being facetious- I didn't know you had a hard limit on how much magic you could use." She remarked- before grinning wildly. "But are you really telling me there's nothing more fun you could use your magic for?" Being completely honest, Kai had no idea what the limitations on magic were, what it could do, what it couldn't. All she knew was that if you couldn't do fun things with it than what the hell was it worth.

She laid her phone down barely willingly, glancing at the elf's eyes hesitantly. Once again, she left her mouth shut, listened attentively, and waited for his speech to end. Rudely, it occurred to her that this elf was rather long winded. That didn't change how much Kai appreciated this short little strange conversation they'd had.

Because yes, love was love, whether it was named or not. Yet, it was unbelievably important to her- the little sprout of knowledge within her that she was capable of having more from her life. That maybe, possibly, she could have real, full, meaningful relationships. Sure- she thought that there was some parts of what he said which was lovely bullshit. To be specific, she didn't think she had run away from romance in the past.

Sure she had tried to run away from Jake- but he was beyond doubt an outlier. She had never felt this sort of tightness in her chest- this panic that if she didn't end things, it was just going to be downhill for her. The fear that she'd want things that didn't coincide with who she saw herself as- and that she wouldn't be able to have those things.

Which was why she had thought she wasn't capable of love. Kai figured that meant both of the love warriors in the room were wrong- that in incredibly rare situations, she could have more in her.

Kai was scared shitless, even now, that the good memories would not outweigh the bad ones. She knew that if she continued what she was planning, if she took what she could, lived in the moment, maybe even loved, than when things ended, she would have no coping method. No way to recover from that pain.

Yet here she was about to ask Jake to maybe be more than a recurring bootycall.

She didn't bother setting her feet on the ground, just floated upright and tossed back another glass of scotch for courage. (Not that it would really affect much. She'd have probably completely processed the alcohol by the time she saw Jake.) "Thank you Arjay." Scooping up her phone, she paused at the door that he brought back into existence before tossing one final grin over her shoulder. "Ancestors willing, I won't need your guidance again within the next few days- but I hope you'll be willing to lend me your tutelage in the future." Then, she shot out of there, as fast as she could without destroying everything in her path. She had a lover to woo.
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