The man behind the counter was this tall, dark-eyed figure with a weather-worn face and so many tattoos it was hard to see his Warlock’s bond. Reynault hardly noticed him, but I did. I did, and the first thing I thought was that my Guardian was about to make a horrible mistake.
Reynault pointed at a picture in a book on the counter. I say pointed, but it was somewhere between a point and pounding his fist on the table. There was that audible thunk that made my rear nodes do a whole quarter-turn.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“A griffon,” said the Warlock.
Reynault pounded the book again. “I like this. Can I get this?” He gave the book two more, gentler taps, as he looked up at the ceiling in that way he always does when he’s drunk and waiting for his mind to catch up. “Just…I dunno. Just put a big ol’ griffon on my butt. Yeah. Do that. Just, like, all over one butt cheek.”
“There’s Light in this ink,” the Warlock warned. He had that tone of voice that was more like he was required to say it, not someone who was actually trying to warn off anyone. “It’s not gonna come off with your next resurrection.”
“Yeah.” Reynault nodded several times. “Yeah, I’m down.”
I’d tried to warn him before going in, I really did. But Titans can be determined, alcohol is a heck of a drug, and if there’s just one word to describe my Guardian, it’s inertia. Once he gets something in his head, it’s really hard to stop him.
Samsid put glimmer down on this happening, and he only makes sure bets. I guess that should’ve been my first warning. Trying to stop this was pointless, so the most I could do was make sure Reynault somehow didn’t regret it.
“You waiting out here, Ghost?” The Warlock was talking to me now. I blanked for whole milliseconds before I came up with something.
“Do you do…paint jobs?” I blurted. It was the only thing I could come up with. Maybe if I got the same griffon on one of my nodes, I could be supportive and show some solidarity. Besides, I could always get it painted over, or get a new shell.
The Warlock nodded once, and my fate was sealed.
The next morning, Reynault woke up and then decided to spend two hours with the blankets over his head (there’s that inertia again), until finally his biological processes forced him to get up and think about food.
“Torch, be honest with me,” he grumbled out as he staggered to the mirror. “What happened last night, and why does my butt hurt?”
“You got a tattoo,” I replied.
There was a brief delay as he reached the mirror and twisted around to get a good look at the griffon. “…C’est quoi ce–?! What’s this thing?” I could see the regret written all over his face. I knew it.
“A griffon,” I offer, a bit more gently.
Reynault turned to look at me, really look at me, and his eyes immediately snapped to the new paint on my left front node. A full two seconds later, his face split into one of the biggest, brightest smiles I’d ever seen. It was his first-time-eating-a-warm-meal smile, his first-completed-set-of-fieldplate smile, the kind of smile you see on small children in the City.
It made me feel brighter, too, because to be honest, I wasn’t expecting that kind of smile.
“Holy…!” He briefly covered his grin with both hands. “…You look great. Really great. I think you wear it better than I do.” I just had to laugh at that, and he laughed too.
Then he sighed, running a hand through his mess of blonde hair, wobbling a bit from the hangover. “…Right. I’m grabbin’ some food.”
He melodramatically rolled his eyes and batted at me. “Uch. No, I’ll get pants.”