-The noise I let slip was accidental and high.-
The paperwork was simple, just a pile of papers that needed reviewed; as expected of the NCR in Freeside. Passing through the large doors that separated the Fort from the rest of Freeside. Stepping into his small personal tent he was shocked to find a pair of lips against his. Backing up to breathe he gasped out, he recognized the man who had kissed him.
Major Knight being in Freeside was a rare enough treat, one that Arcade wasn’t entirely willing to miss. When Julie mentioned she needed a stack of papers regarding what soldiers they’d treated recently delivered he volunteered bemusedly enough, getting direction from several other soldiers he knew along the way.
And certainly the look on the other man’s face was well worth all the effort when he walked into his tent and into that kiss. "Miss me?" He raised a brow slightly, tone simply teasing, before he reached out to proffer the papers he carried to Knight. "On more serious news, I’m the over glorified delivery boy for the day. Here, these are from Julie."
"You’re not a bad guy you know?" It was quiet but for some reason Holden felt like it needed to be said. There was something he didn’t get, but whoever Arcade is or was… He didn’t seem bad.
Holden’s head quirked to the side, “Yeah… I try and keep it to myself really.” No one really needed his shit, least of all someone he had just met, “Things I can’t change and all that.” Then he got curious, “What did you dream about?” Things that could change the world for the better.
He was really curious.
"No really!" There was that thing again, where the other downplayed things, and Holden didn’t like it, "You’re good with words." He just wished that Arcade speak more highly of himself. A shy smile formed across his face. "I think you’d like it. It’s nice to slow down every now and then."
It looked like the other needed something like that.
"I-" Arcade’s voice wavered and faded towards those words, uncertainty burning across his face. How was he to respond to that? It wasn’t as if the blond really thought of himself as a bad guy, per say, but to explain things out would delve more into things than he was honestly comfortable with yet. Maybe someday in the future… but now now. He’d just met Holden after all. "Thanks. I appreciate the thought." Truthful enough words - he really did.
"I do much the same anymore." After all, ideological words and thoughts didn’t necessary have much of a place here. Not with many of the people he worked with - it was better to keep his mouth notably shut over such things unless necessary. "Nothing important." Avoidance tactics, but the Medic sighed thoughtfully. "Humanity cannot change the world unless we first learn how to change ourselves… which goes against all our basest instincts. The likelihood of that happening is slim to none, which has been proven over and over and over again throughout history. We don’t learn from it, our pasts and our mistakes, and simply continue to repeat them." It was damn disappointing really, wasn’t it? "Dreams are a nice thing, something to keep hold of, but they’re just that: dreams."
If only a dream really could change the world.
"More like I talk too much and oft lack a necessary filter between mouth and brain?" Arcade was teasing mostly there, bemusement in his voice. "The amount of trouble such simple things as words has landed me in through the years..” That was putting it rather mildly. They had almost landed him here, led him to this conversation with the Scout… and he supposed for a change it wasn’t a bad outcome. The younger man was enjoyable to speak with, for all the differences of age and the fact they were from two different walks of life.
After all, when only one man is the almighty ruler over the others. When the chants repeat his name over and over—there is only so much that they can do. Replacing a name doesn’t replace the symbol that had unified them together in combat and in belief, or it might even weaken it for they no longer had an actual being to latch onto. Adore and serve like they always had. In the name of Caesar, in the name of a man who no longer stood with them. He had been ill for a while and Vulpes knew, oh he knew that good things never lasted forever. His little life before this with his tribe, the serene nights spent laying on the desert ground and staring up at the stars with a friend who hadn’t made it through the training like he did.
But just like that.
Like the fond memory of a close friend.
It was all gone.
The legionary straightened out his shoulders in an attempted to broaden them, obviously feeling threatened by Arcade’s mention of him being the one to deliver news that had absolutely no importance to him. He fell silent and glanced at the slave, letting out a soft huff of breath when he thought about it. But in no way would he ever tell the blond that he was right. At least now he knew that the both of them were on the same page in seeing how all of this change was going to unfold. Nothing was written in stone yet but the Mars was standing and observing the ever seeping terror and anguish infecting the troops. Slow and steady, like a flame burning through a pyre, leaving nothing but ash in its wake.
They could be saved. Or they could not.
“Finding a new master, for one such as you, it might be difficult to find somebody willing to deal with your constant… prattling.” Vulpes turned towards the tent’s exit, “Anything that you could do, the healer woman can do as well, prove your worth and I’ll have half a mind to save you.” The other half, however, madly disagrees.
Perhaps, in some strange way, even Arcade missed Caesar. He hated the man - loathed the man that had become his tormenter in more ways than he’d even thought possible - but the old tyrant had been a familiarity that he could contend with. His temper had been sharp but died fast, was something he was able to predict [even instigate at times] and avoid. It wasn’t the same with the new ruler of course. Lanius was just that - unpredictable, a monster crafted out of flesh and blood, and no matter what the slave did he always seemed to trigger what the other viewed as likely necessary punishment.
He was so sick of it.
So sick of the life he’d been sold into by someone he’d damn foolishly trusted.
The movement really only made the former-Follower suspect that the other man was logically leaving - that, combined with the silence that stretched poignantly. His back remained to him as he moved to store away everything carefully, making certain everything was in place. Ah work. Busy work, although he was really mostly numb to the task by now - it took nothing, no strain, and the repeated actions were all but ingrained by this point. Automatic. Boring. He missed having something challenge him, being able to wrack his brain and work on things that made him focus, made him think. Just another thing gone, stolen away, and perhaps audibly he sighed aloud… stained fingers uncaringly palming through his hair for a moment as he tried to force the tremble that suddenly shook through them to subside.
Still, the words had been almost shocking. Arcade laughed, bitterness tracing through it, but it rapidly died in his throat as a tightness there seized hold and he steadied himself against the table momentarily. “You?” It was almost comical, really. "If it’s one thing I’ve learned concerned you, much less any other legionary I’ve come across, is that you do nothing without it benefiting you in some way." A shrewd observation but let’s face it, it’d been what had been proven to him from most of the Legion as a whole. "Do tell me. I’m actually curious - how would such a thing benefit you?”
Although it too remained an almost curiosity on how to prove himself useful - his skills lay in healing, not in warfare, and he had no intention to assist in any combat-based campaigns and the like. The slave held his tongue on that matter though even if it was an idea his brain batted back and forth idly. More time meant more chances, and if he could lull a lesser master into a false sense of security it meant he might be able to actually escape…
It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go.
A thrum of fingers but blue eyes settled on the unfamiliar woman, tilting his head slightly in consideration. “You’re in the Old Mormon Fort in Freeside.” Chems perhaps, could lead to such memory loss but she wasn’t exhibiting any other outward symptoms of such.
Holden listened to each word carefully, not missing the bitterness. “Hey… It’s… Okay? I mean, maybe he just couldn’t see it. My brother couldn’t see that I was helping so I’m sure your… person was lost too, couldn’t see that you wanted to help?” He didn’t like when Arcade was like this, it wasn’t bitter, it was sadness.
A snort left him again, “Well I hope you do. Singing is something you gotta… You gotta be feeling something for it to work? You know what I mean?”
Although Arcade heard Holden’s words, although he knew and understood what the younger man was saying, a part of his mind was just too damn tired to continue on further with the explanation. The man he’d spoken about hadn’t been a good man, despite his own best efforts, and there were only few good memories that he carried from that time. "It doesn’t matter anymore, Holden." A wavered pause. "It was several years ago, and he’s no longer around. It’s not anything important." Hell, the Medic didn’t even know if the man was alive or dead at this point… and it was simply better that way anyway.
"Yes… yes, I know what you mean." It had just been a long time since the blond man really felt like singing for any reason - and he didn’t suppose that was a factor likely to change anytime soon. Still, he offered the Scout a slight smile… trying to take away what he’d said prior. He’d said too much. "You’ll be the first to know, alright?"