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Picturesque (Secret Santa for RiversD!)


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Gah, I apologize for how late this is. Working two jobs has been a little hard to balance with the holiday season, BUT I was so excited when I found out it was you I'd be gifting. I tried to intertwine fantasy and historical settings, although left the latter a bit... vague, but, imagined that it's somewhere around the 1870's. Also there is a second part coming because no way I'm leaving this thing on such a cliffhanger, that'd just be cruel! But I hope you enjoy this first bit! Lemme give a little background info: 

Orbiscores: A typical magical creature, type C; they rarely show themselves, being shy in nature, but their physical form is usually similar to a glowing ball of fuzzy light, ranging in size from the palm of someone's hand to a soccer ball. 

Then, there are the human/magic hybrids. They actually aren't categorized as anything like wizards or witches, since in this world that sort of thing doesn't really exist? In the organization that's working towards equal rights for magical creatures, they're simply referred to as "The Bestowed". It's usually during the early childhood stages that a person's magic starts budding, but it can be earlier or later depending on factors like home environment and general development (mental/physical). But one of the norms is that once a person is discovered to possess magic, they have someone appointed as their guide of sorts (someone who is well-versed in the particular abilities they display) to aid them in honing and learning to control their power. 

The past year has been quite grueling - more so on the side of magical beings, once forced to hide in the darkness of caves and sewers - now gradually coming out in droves, to the light which should have been shared between species long before now. It's still a work in progress, though; only five states in the U.S. now allow "Magicks" (As the term has been coined). Our story takes place in the home of the Owens', a family who has a long standing history of fighting for equal rights for magical creatures and magic wielding humans. As for our cast, I'll leave the physical descriptions vague so you can see them however you'd like:

Eleanor Owens: Twenty-six years old, an avid pro-magic member along with being a guide for Tobias. She's sharp, feisty, and can be a tad blunt - things which might put someone off at first or seem "inappropriate" for a lady; she doesn't believe in not saying what's on your mind, bottom line. But overall, she is incredibly compassionate, loyal and only wants the best for her family and friends. She and Tobias have a considerably deeper emotional connection than most guides do with their charges, which can sometimes be an aid, or be a hindrance depending on the situation. He is also one of the few people she can show long standing patience with.

Tobias Blackwell: Twenty-five years old, a Bestowed who possess telepathy, teleportation, and conjuring (the latter being something still in the works of honing). For the most part, he's a rather care-free individual, giving off a devil may care attitude - but underneath he's very anxious about how others perceive him, especially where it concerns his magic. He's incredibly grateful to Eleanor for sticking by him through the entire process of honing his abilities.


Hhhh'okay, I think I covered most important things!? Okay okay, yes, we're good. Alrighty, without further ado:



It's as picturesque as can be. 

The entire home gives off an aura of coziness, candle light causing the shadows of people to dance along the pale yellow walls, pine needle garlands strung against every wall, the scent pleasingly aromatic. Mingling alongside the hearty broth of vegetable stew and savory baked chicken floating in from the kitchen. But Eleanor's favorite room, without a doubt, has to be the parlour.

If not for the christmas tree standing proudly adjacent to the roaring fire place, then it's the scene now playing out before her.

Elias, standing on tip-toe, fingers pinching a modest, tin ornament in the shape of a snowman (one he was proudly proclaiming in having crafted himself earlier in the evening) that he's straining to hang on a branch just an inch or two out of reach. Before she can even get a chance to take a step in his direction, a small, glowing pink orb swoop down and around Elias. The light flits about for a bit, communicating in a way only few can understand, but one that most at the party could decipher almost immediately. Frustration gives way to a beaming smile as he is effortlessly lifted into the air, triumphantly hooking the star before floating back down to the carpet.

"We make quite the team, don't we? Elias and Aerios strike again!" This garners a series of emphatic, but silent flits about the young boy, and soon the prospect of new year's cookies to celebrate a job well done has them making a bee-line for the kitchen.

It makes her heart swell with joy to see the duo racing about - change the scene to the beginning of the year, and it would have been a crime of utmost magnitude for a creature like Aerios to be seen in public, let alone be welcomed into a place of gathering alongside humans with open arms. 'But,' she recollects silently, gazing down at the rose-pink, mint-green and grey tinted pin adorning her party dress with a content sigh, 'We've all come a long way,'

"Indeed we have,"

The unexpected baritone beside her would have given quite the fright a couple of months ago, but now it only earns the owner with a playfully stern gaze. "Honestly, Tobias - you know how I feel about eavesdropping,"

He responds with an amused chuckle, low and yet traveling light on the air before them. It releases a flock of butterflies in Eleanor's stomach, although, she can't help but note how there's an unusual... quality to his laughter. Something she can't quite place just yet.

"My apologies, Ms. Owens. Although I must admit it's quite difficult to keep my proprieties in check around the owner of such a vocal mind--"


"Well, you haven't even let me get to the positive of my statement! At least allow me that, won't you?"

Her lips purse as though contemplating the offer. "I suppose. I do hope you plan on utilizing heavy flattery in this "positive", however,"

 She's almost certain his grin would split the face of anyone else, impish and wide as it goes. And yet, oh, there's that bothersome... quality again. As if something is off in his features, or perhaps himself entirely? 

The thought is swept aside as his familiar baritone is heard once more. "Only the highest of praise, I assure you. As I was saying, vocal as it may be, your mind is one I can honestly say I don't tire of listening to. Every thought is... meaningful--" A flash of panic flickers across his features, "Not that I make a habit of eavesdropping, mind you. Or to suggest that I'm not in control of my abilities, in which that would be an unintentional slight to yourself-- Oh, I apologize if that may have come across as such--"

Eleanor is quick to raise a hand, discouraging any further words on the matter. If there's anything Tobias is capable of, it's over-apologizing to the point of frustration. She still finds it rather endearing, fingers resting atop his shoulder in a gentle squeeze. "Please, no more fretting on that - not when you've already fulfilled your promise of large flattery. Flawlessly, might I add,"

Yes, she recalls a few times where Tobias' control has, for lack of a better word, 'slipped'. Certainly not an occurrence that happens often, but enough that it would give anyone pause to wonder what on earth (or above, maybe even below?) could have caused it. But she knows him better than to think that he would purposely invade the precious space that is her mind on habit. It's simply not in him. Not after the tireless amounts of hours they've spent together on this journey to justice for beings of magic; and they've both grown to be better in the process. Him, in honing the abilities others simply lacked patience in aiding him with, becoming comfortable and maybe even content with this side of him. 

And her? 

Well, there are a multitude of areas where she's thankful to have met Tobias. It wouldn't be at all accurate, naming just one.

Feeling his muscles relax beneath her touch, that feeling churning in her gut, rather irksome at this point, re-surges. Frowning slightly, her fingers raise to graze along his neck, his curious eyes following even as they drape across his forehead. "You're warm," It comes in a soft gasp, frowning deeper as she moves to cup his cheek - which, now that she's examining him, is considerably pale. And for someone whose skin tone is noticeably pallid on a normal day? Concerning, to say the least.

His eyes flicker to the side, and Eleanor swears he resembles a child who has just gotten caught with their hand in a sweets jar. But he heaves another chuckle, heavier - raspier - gently lowering her hand with his own. "It is rather humid inside, don't you think? I was spending a bit of time conversing near the fire place earl--"

"Fire place, indeed, you're close to broiling!" Although her expression is obviously frustrated, her fingers curl around his, thumb rubbing against his knuckles - chilled, in comparison with his upper body. "Oh, Tobias, you were preparing for the festivities all day! Surely you must be exhausted by now," She bites down on her lip, torn between wanting to scold him and comfort him at the same time. "You're an impossibly stubborn man, are you aware of this? Always pushing yourself... Are you even listening to me?" 

Eleanor would have easily continued her rant, all while guiding her friend upstairs and into his bedroom for some much needed rest. But the vacant expression he held gave her pause, which slowed to a halt as held up his free hand in a signal of waiting. "I... I'm terribly sorry, if you-- I-I have..." Her worry increases alongside his broken speech, lips parting despite his admonition.

"Is everything alr--"

"ihh--! iihhischHHUUue! ihhd'SHHhue!"

A multitude of things happen at once following Tobias' outbursts. Firstly, there's a distinct shift in the air around them, almost like the sharp gust of winter wind upon opening the front door. Secondly, a chorus of bless you's sounds off, accompanied by a pair of shrieks as a flamingo - which was definitely not part of the entourage seconds prior - appears in the room. And third is the muffled voice of Tobias close to her ear, hand clasped tight around the bottom half of his face. 

Before she can note anything else going amiss, the same sensation from before whisks around them, this one considerably less violent - an autumn breeze, and the pair are in the exact place Eleanor had been planning to march Tobias up to mere moments ago.

Well, more than one way to skin a cat, right?

It's soon apparent that Tobias is still... having a difficult time keeping it together. He's sat on the edge of his bed, fingers secured tightly around his nose, although the uneven rise and fall of his chest reveal that it does little to help. Eleanor is certain that a smidgen of chaos has broken out downstairs, but her immediate attention clings to the man before her. She's sure the rest of the party can handle things. This sort of mishap isn't unheard of, after all - not common either but, besides the point. 

Her movements are slow as she sits down beside him, not tentative but careful. It's not so much caution from fear of breaking his concentration - if he's going to sneeze, he's going to sneeze. Rather, it's out of consideration for the embarrassment she can practically feel churning and building inside of him. This, unfortunately, isn't the first time Tobias has 'lost control'. 

"iIiihhh... hiihh, oh g-good God..." His fingertips go white as a sheet as his grip tightens, and Eleanor bites down on her lip nervously. He's going to end up hurting himself rather than gain any sort of control from this. It certainly doesn't help that the bigger a panic he finds himself in, the easier it is for his control to slip. 

"I know, I know," Her slim fingers press against his lower back, working gentle, purposeful circles around and around. "Focus on the sensation, Tobias. Focus on my voice. Can you do that for me?" 

Through his sneezy haze, he manages to give her a side glance that suggests she's asking him to go to the moon and back on foot. And, it is a considerable difference from their normal sessions - anger, sadness, emotions are something they know how to work through. Throwing an involuntary reaction into the mix? Dangerous waters to tread. But she has faith in him, even if she's doubting her own ability to help him stay afloat. 

Her teeth dig further into the flesh of her cheek as a tear slips over his fingers. Trembling fingers. His breath is essentially reduced to hiccups at this point, lips twitching into a deep frown as they ghost past, seemingly without end. She can't stand to see him in this state for a moment longer.

"You'll have to forgive me for this," She murmurs, reaching over into Tobias' jacket pocket to tug out a light blue handkerchief. As if he can sense exactly what she plans on doing, he loosens the grip on his nose - just enough for her to tug his hands down and replace them with her cloth-clad fingers. A surprised hitch steals the last of his sporadic exhales, and she can feel his nostrils give a fierce twitch before he jerks forward with a ticklish fit.

"ihh'schhuue! hih'iiischhhuuh! h-hhidd'SHHUuh! 'iiHHSHH'Hue!" There's a pause, nose wrinkling as he pants desperately towards that last, teasingly stubborn sneeze. 'Stubborn as he is', Eleanor idly muses, hesitating before gently brushing her thumb against the tip of his nose.

And that does it. "ihhhhHHH-- iIHHRASCHHUUue! Ohhh..."

She would be lying to say the moan, absolutely, positively spent, doesn't send a shiver down her spine. The poor Tobias all but slumps against her, too momentarily exhausted to bother protesting as Eleanor gently pinches off the dampness from around his nose. He does offer a congested, "Mby apologies," however Eleanor shushes him, securing a dry patch of handkerchief and speaking to him softer than she has all evening.


She waits patiently as he seems to ponder the request, no doubt clinging to that remaining shred of pride and dignity keeping him from immediately complying. He's embarrassed, and the last thing she wishes to do is heap on any further shame - however unnecessary his feeling shame for such an involuntary action is. 

Apparently, it's a shred too precious for Tobias to let go of. Sniffling thickly, he slowly rights himself, taking the handkerchief from her grasp. "I deed to go downstairs. God knows what all... that might have done to the rest of the house," His cringe is painful, distress and shame evident in his features as he makes to rise. It's all the more reason for Eleanor to place a firm hand on his shoulder, effectively pushing him back down onto the bed.

"What you need to do right now, is rest. From the sound of it, you've caught something nasty and the last thing you should be doing is working yourself up even more,"

It doesn't surprise her when he shakes his head, a wince accompanying the action. His head must be pounding after such a beating to his sinuses. "I cad't have anyone else cleaning up after my mistakes. I should have been more cautious, I... I could have--"

"What else could you have done?" She's exasperated, almost desperate to calm his steadily growing anxiety, "You certainly can't help being sick, and if you even so much as think about suggesting that you could, than I swear--"

Tobias suddenly stands, and the next words that leave him stun Eleanor to silence."But I can help my magic. That - that is the one aspect of my entire being that I should, and can control, and tonight I failed to do so. And that fault is entirely on me, Eleanor," 

His heavy breathing, rapid, gradually begins to even out. A trembling sigh tumbles past his pale lips, "What if this would have happened in the court? Or, if it hadn't been something as harmless as animals appearing out of thin air? What if I had hurt someone or, God forbid I hurt..." 

Eleanor feels a sharp pang in her chest, her eyes keenly on him even as Tobias refuses to meet her gaze.

"We're not discussing this," he finishes in a choked voice, his adam's apple bobbing with a more than likely painful swallow. "I need to... I'll be downstairs," 

She doesn't even try to protest. After that, she knows that she can't. Shouldn't. There are certain moments with Tobias where she knows, he has to simply work through things on his own. And even though it pains her to the very core of her being, she'll swallow her own pride for the moment, knowing that without fail, she'll be the one to catch him if, or when, he falls.

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Ooh, I'm enjoying the premise here. People losing control of their powers while ill is always great, and you manage it very nicely indeed.

I also love the concept of realising someone has a fever through some unassuming moment of physical contact. There's something very intimate about it, and that moment between Eleanor and Tobias made me feel all soft and warm inside.

All in all,lovely job of establishing the closeness of their relationship firmly and early. It got me all happily immersed in fluffy thoughts ready for you to completely undo me when Tobias *ahem* 'lost control'.

His stuttering first build-up was delicious, and I really liked the spellings you used for the sneezes that finally took him over (throughout the fic, actually, nice job :thumbsup:)

I think I forgot how to breathe while you were describing his struggle on the bed, because nnff. Poor Tobias, just making things worse by panicking. Just accept that you're ill, lad. I liked how matter-of-fact about it all Eleanor was, especially since that meant I got to read:

14 hours ago, Grey on a Sunday said:

if he's going to sneeze, he's going to sneeze.

Which for some reason got me all tight and fluttery inside.

And than there's this bit of unfairness:

13 hours ago, Grey on a Sunday said:

"iIiihhh... hiihh, oh g-good God..."

hnnnff.Indeed. Excuse me a moment, won't you? I have some composure to collect.

14 hours ago, Grey on a Sunday said:

Her teeth dig further into the flesh of her cheek as a tear slips over his fingers. Trembling fingers. His breath is essentially reduced to hiccups at this point, lips twitching into a deep frown as they ghost past, seemingly without end. She can't stand to see him in this state for a moment longer.

... you know what, never mind, that composure is gone.

Fortunately, you have Eleanor come to both his rescue and mine.

14 hours ago, Grey on a Sunday said:

she can feel his nostrils give a fierce twitch

arglespghffghl. My weakness. Seriously, I'm going to need to take some time with this sentence.

Mind you, the fit that follows is just lovely, as well.

14 hours ago, Grey on a Sunday said:

She would be lying to say the moan, absolutely, positively spent, doesn't send a shiver down her spine.


And then poor embarrassed, ashamed, worried Tobias, and Eleanor just trying to look out for him.

14 hours ago, Grey on a Sunday said:

"We're not discussing this," he finishes in a choked voice, his adam's apple bobbing with a more than likely painful swallow. "I need to... I'll be downstairs," 

She doesn't even try to protest. After that, she knows that she can't. Shouldn't. There are certain moments with Tobias where she knows, he has to simply work through things on his own. And even though it pains her to the very core of her being, she'll swallow her own pride for the moment, knowing that without fail, she'll be the one to catch him if, or when, he falls.

My heart. I've known these two characters for a very short time, but I already want to bundle them up in my arms and make it all better somehow.

Thank you! Honestly, I would have been delighted with this as is, but I'm super excited to hear you plan another part. Don't stress yourself about timing- I'm no stranger to fluctuating schedules and brain co-operation levels (I mean, my Secret Santa from last year's still in progress, and that's not the half of it...) I'm really happy you put so much thought into something for me, and thank you again for being my Santa!

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Nngh. This was beautiful. The strain of a magic user losing control while ill, especially with so much civil rights struggle riding on him, hits all my buttons. 

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