A fishing rod stretched over a small bridge over a stream, swaying left and right gently due to the current. Lino hummed a low tune, seeming detached from the world, one of his hands holding onto the rod while the other was gently caressing a bundle of crimson hair on his lap. Hannah laid still, her eyes closed and breathing calm, enjoying the warm touch.
The tender wind would occasionally graze the two, chilling them momentarily. Neither spoke a word nor made a distinguishable sound past the low hums; they seemed ethereally detached from the world around them, as though they lived in an entirely different dimension, cut away entirely from the reality.
Lino suddenly looked down and met a pair of shining, emerald-green eyes which curled up lightly in the motion of Hannah’s lips into a smile. He smiled back and lowered his head, kissing her forehead gently.
“... damn, your lips are really dry,” she frowned. “Do you bite them?”
“Why would I bite my lips?” Lino asked.
“I don’t know, a habit? I’d seen some people do it.”
“... not following.”
“Apparently they do it when they’re nervous,” Hannah said. “To calm down. Are you nervous?” she smirked strangely.
“Not exactly nervous,” Lino replied, grinning. “More so horny than anything else.”
“I’d told you already: no.” she said firmly.
“Yeah, yeah, I get it. Doesn’t make it any less difficult, you know?”
“If you’re a man you’ll endure.”
“... you clearly don’t know a first thing about men, do you?”
“And you do?”
“... I sure hope I do,” he said. “I’d been one for nearly thirty goddamn years.”
“I said a man, not a kid.” she chuckled.
“Tease away,” he shrugged. “Just don’t be surprised when you see me hunched over behind that shack, trembling.”
“....” her cheeks faintly blushed as she sighed. “I... I didn’t need to know that...”
“Oh, I know. Just wanted to save you an awkward question later on.”
“What makes you think I’d ask?”
“You always ask,” he said. “It’s like your thing or something.”
“Ah, whatever. Do what you want with your dick, it’s yours after all.”
“... aww, it’s no fun if you give me permission.” he chuckled.
“I sense some attempts at guilting me into doing something I’ll regret later,” she smiled dubiously for a moment. “Do you really think so little of me?”
“Not guilt per se,” Lino said, stroking his chin for a moment. “More like trying to make you pity me.”
“... and that makes it better... how?”
“Oh, I didn’t say it makes it better. It’s still a scummy thing; I just wanted to clarify the exact specifications of the scumminess.”
“... ha ha ha ha,” she suddenly burst out into laughter as she rolled over, causing Lino’s face to contort. “You really are something.”
“Uh, you... you should probably stop shoving your head in there.”
“My dick. Stop shoving your head onto my dick.”
“Oh. Sorry.” she coughed lowly, hiding her blush as she got up and sat next to him, wiggling strangely for a moment. “You did well not to scar me for life.”
“I-I didn’t mean it like that!! Dammit!”
“... khm, I suppose I could go celibate,” Lino mumbled, his head lowered. “I mean, whatever, you know? I’ve handled worse stuff in my life.”
“... ugh, fine, alright? I’ll tell you.”
“Tell me what?” Lino glanced at her, confused.
“Why... you know...”
“... you won’t blow my brains out the only way brains ought to be blown out?” he said.
“... you can never say something like a normal person would, can you?”
“It’s all about showcasing I’m different.” he grinned. “What’s my use if I’m just like everyone else?”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. So, anyway, the reason is... it’s... because I’m---you can’t ignore it any longer, can you?” a robotic voice suddenly superimposed over Hannah’s, startling Lino till he nearly fell off the bridge.
“I had hoped they would manage to contain her,” Lino’s voice turned robotic as well, causing him to roll his eyes inwardly. “Clearly not.”
“Can you tell who it is?” Hannah spoke out.
“It’s Umbra,” Lino’s voice replied. “I hadn’t expected her to awaken so soon.”
“... Umbra, huh? It’s not the worst possibility,” Hannah’s voice said. “Should at the very least be easy to contain if not outright put to sleep again.”
“How much strength can that boy exert?”
“About half of his peak,” Lino’s voice replied. “Though if he fixes the Wings and the Armor he should be better off.”
“Alright, Hannah can provide him with materials. How long will it take him to repair it, though? We can’t delay much further.”
“He can repair on the way over.”
“Oh, not bad,” Hannah’s voice exclaimed. “It’ll get us there quickly enough.”
“...” Hannah and Lino stared at each other for a moment, both disgruntled.
“Hey, next time warn us you pieces of shit!” Lino growled. “Getting my soul ripped out of my body isn’t exactly the most thrilling experience, you know?!”
“... are you really angry about that or because I got cut halfway through telling you something you really, really wanted to hear?” Hannah commented, grinning.
“You can keep some of your revelations to yourself, you know? Save me some dignity and all.” Lino said, chuckling bitterly.
“Yeah, sure.” she glanced at him dubiously. “Anyway, did you get any of what they were saying?”
“Something woke up,” Lino shrugged. “And if my instincts are correct, it’s this bastard’s child or something like that.” Lino pointed at himself.
“W-wait, you mean a fucking Prime?!!” Hannah suddenly exclaimed as she bolted onto her feet, her expression that of terror. “Don’t even joke about that shit, Lino!”
“... well, it’s good to see you’re more terrified of whatever that is than having sex with me.” Lino remained as calm as he was ignorant. “Kind of a confidence booster, actually.”
“... this isn’t really time for jokes,” Hannah forcibly calmed herself down, breathing in deeply. “Do you even know what a Prime is?”
“... this bastard’s child?” Lino pointed at himself again.
“... they’re the first of Creation,” Hannah explained, barely holding herself back from slapping him squarely across his cheeks. “Practically as old as the entire World itself -- older than Gaia herself at that, even older than Fate. They were the first life forms to inhibit the world besides the Writs and the Scripture.”
“What’s with that sheepish look?!”
“... I’m just not following.” he shrugged. “So what if they’re first? Seeing as they’re not ruling over the world, isn’t it safe to say that, you know, they’re kind of pathetic?”
“... did you eat a strange fruit or something?”
“I’m kidding,” Lino chuckled as he saw her aggressive expression. He slowly got up and walked over, patting her. “I’ll have you know I’ve already met one of these Primes, and I’m still alive. So how bad can they be?”
“... it’s not that they’re incapable of taking over the world,” Hannah explained patiently. “It’s that they’re in a perpetual state of sleep. Since they’re the Empyrean Writ’s direct creations, they are almost entirely made of Chaos; and due to the passage of time, the Chaos grew more diluted, especially so once the Empyrean Writ was no longer near them to provide them nutrition. That’s why they fall asleep, billions of years at the time, as they instinctively store as much Chaos as they can within themselves so when they wake they won’t flop over and die. One of the greatest taboos in the entire world is waking a Prime; practically every Holy Land has at least one in their Defensive Reserves, yet waking one means automatic expulsion from the Holy Lands, and most-likely extermination of the entire Sect or the Clan.”
“... how the fuck do you know all this shit?” Lino asked, somewhat aggravated over how he’s still being kept in the dark in regards to most of these things.
“I grew up in a Holy Land, duh.” she shrugged.
“... lucky bastard.”
“Do you understand the gravity of the situation now?” she asked, somewhat agitated.
“Nope!” Lino exclaimed with a beaming smile as he whipped Grim out of the Dimensional Pouch; the bird cried out joyfully into the sky to the point one could almost see the tears festering in its eyes. “Anyway, we’re wasting time just sitting around here and sucking our thumbs. Give me those materials so I can fix my shit and so we can go over and fix that shit.”
“... you sure are confident for someone who barely lived just over half a month ago.”
“If you want to survive in this world, I’d learned,” Lino said as he climbed on the hippogryph’s back. “You need confidence more than anything else. Self-doubt is practically a suicide.”
“... aren’t you worried about your friends in the city?” she asked, climbing on top of the bird as well.
“Of course I am,” Lino said. “But, I trust them.”
“Nah, their life talismans are still lit up like my certain desire.” he grinned, turning around and facing her.
“... jackass.” Hannah mumbled, sighing and taking out several rows of materials which immediately caused Lino’s eyes to light up like lanterns. “Wow... you really are a blacksmith down to your bones, aren’t you?” though she said it in a somewhat mocking tone, she couldn’t hide a tinge of warmth in her voice.
“And you’re a fucking treasure trove!” Lino leapt with excitement and hugged her tightly, repeatedly kissing her despite her feeble attempts to set herself free. “You’re a freakin’ angel, you know that? Nah, no! You’re a goddess! A Blacksmith Goddess! No, wait, you’re more like a Material Goddess. Wait, that just makes you sound cheap. Uh... you’re... you’re... ah! I know! You’re my personal Guardian Angel! Heaven-sent one at that!”
“... ha ha, stop you asshole! It tickles!” she pushed him away as gently as she could, still unable to control her laughter. “Fine, I’ll be your Guardian Angel. Now show me just how good you are, alright?”
“He he, just sit back and enjoy the show. I promise you you’ll change your mind on blowing my brains out after the fact! Oh, right, by the way, what’s the reason?” he seemingly suddenly remembered the very important detail he’d forgotten.
“... are you sure you want to know?” she asked somewhat bashfully.
“Very much so.” Lino nodded expectantly.
“... ah, whatever.” she smiled contently. “I suppose it’s the right thing to do.”
“It is, it really is.”
“... it’ll be my first time.”
“First time what?”
“... oh.” Lino exclaimed softly as he withdrew, his expressions switching faster than Hannah could keep track. “And... I bragged about all.. of...”
“... ‘cause I wanted to impress you,” he spoke to himself more so than her, trying to rationalize everything. “And let you know, you know, I’ve got experience and all that. Hah... ha ha... yeah, see you later.” Hannah screeched for a moment as she bolted forward and grabbed at his arm before he managed to throw himself off. “Let me go!!” he whined like a child. “This is too embarrassing! I want to die! I will never live this shit down! I can’t!”
“Oh my god, stop being a fucking kid!” she slapped him angrily, finally waking him up from the interpersonal madness.
“... I’ll just start the repairs.” he said dispiritedly.
“Yeah... that’s the... spirit...” she chuckled awkwardly, shaking her head and wondering when would it be the next time she’d see him as flustered.