#9 - Stiff Upper Lip

DreamWidth Mirror
Mood: accomplished
Location: at our desk
Music: Control / Autoheart

Recall a time where your fictomere had to be calm in the face of adversity. Was it a success, or a failure, and what was learned in the end?
31/12/2021. total words: 1531

   :Becoming a Spectre is never as easy as you think it is. It sounds simple, at first, and it is and it isn't. Cut your humanity away with a knife, make a deal with whichever Celestial Star you're face to face with, become a beast, and learn to channel your cosmos to the darkest parts of neuron stars and black holes.:
   :This isn't a story about that process. At least, not really. It is, but it isn't. What can be said upfront is that this isn't a story about war. This is a happy story. Just a little crazy and more than a little overwhelming, at least, at first.:

   :There's no guide to learning how to be a beast. You'd figure there would be, considering how much of hardasses the Griffons are about paperwork and thorough documentation, but there isn't. You don't shapeshift wholly into the form of a beast unless you're under significant stress and you lose your grip on your human form. For most, and for me, this is an involuntary process. For some, like my mate, it's wholly voluntary what form you want to be in. There's no way to learn, if you're not a voluntary-shifter by nature.:
   :Which is fine, really. You learn how to walk on hooves when you're a furry lizard from the waist down, you learn how not to hit your brother-in-law in the face with your tail eventually, you learn how not to breathe fire on your sister by accident. It's a learning curve.:
   :But when you're twenty-one and the Holy War is inching ever closer, and you're a Saint by day and a Spectre by night, still not sure where your heart really lies, there are questions you don't ask, because they've never come up, and they're not really on your mind.:
   :I mean, really. Most twenty-one-year-olds are focused on where their next meal will be coming from, whether the guards have done their job and aren't sleeping on the task, and whether or not their boyfriends love them.:
   :But Mabon came calling, and that's something that doesn't really need to be explained. Harvest festival, opposite of the Ostara festival and Ride, settle down with whoever you're already fucking and fuck them some more. Do that for a week in beast form, be prepared to not sleep and eat only when you're too tired to keep fucking like... Spectres.:
   :They certainly don't bother to tell you that when you're a dragon that's the cross of a wyvern and a minotaur, and your mate's a phoenix, and you're both men, it's still wholly possible to end up expecting children.:
   :I thought Kagaho had just caught a nasty cold. We went to Luco about it, surprise surprise, somehow he's pregnant and neither of us actually knew that could happen. Lesson learned immediately: nothing is impossible where the Meikai is concerned. Second lesson learned immediately: this means I am going to be sleeping even less than I already was, so I should probably make friends with my fellow Gold Saints in hopes they can cover me for when I inevitably need to crash for a nap because I haven't slept in six days.:

   :Kagaho, of course, took this news of 'surprise you're pregnant even though you are male in every way and this definitely shouldn't be possible' incredibly well. And by 'incredibly well' I mean he turned into a bird and started trying to bury himself in my shirt.:
   :Luco was not at all phased. I think she's delivered more kids than I've ever met, her own and others', so this was probably the status quo for her.:
   :But news travels quickly. I told my dear sister Ivy, and Kagaho told his brother Sui. Sui informed Hades Alone, and Lady Pandora overheard that conversation, and it didn't matter that neither of us remembered in the chaos of "Shit fuck sweet Persephone's grace whaddoweDO" to inform Aiacos that Kagaho was going to have to go on maternity leave right before the Holy War.:
   :My feelings on Aiacos are complicated at best, but he did allow me to spend most of my Spectre time either sleeping or taking care of Kagaho, and only putting me on the field if he had no other option. The rest of the division stepped in as well, taking their parties elsewhere when it was late and showing up four times a day with food. We ate quite well while Kagaho was expecting, although I can do with less of Leona's idea of cooking.:

   :I don't even know why, after all of that, I expected our children to be born live. I'm a dragon. Kagaho's a phoenix. Neither of those give birth to live young. I suppose I was still under the illusion that we were more human than we were. I learned better, later. But I was significantly more surprised than Kagaho, or Sui, or Ivy, when we ended up with three eggs that looked...:
   :The closest thing I can say is like dragonfruit, but black with a slight shimmer of red. Eggs covered in very large dragonscales, all pointed towards the top. Kagaho has said he doesn't remember most of being in labour, and to be honest thanks to Libra I don't remember much either, but it was sure something.:
   :They hatched about a month after that. Shigeru was first, and hatching took all of his energy and then some. He looked around, confirmed his entire family was watching him, and went straight to having a nap. If one thing has been consistent in his personality his entire life, it's that he's perpetually down for taking a nap. A very good trait to have, when you are small and there is a war going on. Your father will be glad to put you on his chest and also have a nap.:
   :After Shigeru was Xinghūa, my darling daughter, and if she was the only one to do anything the way I expected a baby might, well. She stood up on her four legs and stumbled her way over to her mother and promptly bit his hand and started trying to chew. I think it was the only thing we were actually prepared for: 'what do baby dragons eat' was a question we'd asked early on. We weren't sure if they'd be birds or dragons, but we'd prepared both.:
   :So what do baby dragons eat? Well, a better question would be what don't they eat. We'd prepared a platter of different foods, unsure if they would be carnivores or herbivores or only eat fish or insects or eggs of other species. Xinghūa ate the entire platter and then started gnawing on my hand for more food. When she was halfway through the second platter, hastily put together, she passed out and joined Shigeru in the nest for a nap.:
   :And while she was inhaling food at the speed of Kardia when told there will never be food again, Maitēng was hatching, and if his first thoughts were something along the lines of 'my sister is getting more attention than me' and he never forgave us for it, it would go a long way towards explaining his behaviour.:
   :Maitēng's first act upon being free of his egg was to yell as loud as his scaled beak and tiny lungs would let him yell. His second act was to belch fire and scorch his sister's rump while she was munching her way through a fish fillet. She yelped loud enough to wake Shigeru, who yawned, looked at both of his siblings; and in the spirit of every exhausted eldest sibling I've ever met, promptly tucked his nose under his wing and went back to sleep.:
   :It was not the last unexpected thing those three would come up with in their lifetimes, ongoing as they must be and adults as they are now. But it was the last time I was surprised by their personalities. The foundations of them had already been set, and those recurring themes of 'tired and not dealing with your nonsense', 'hungry', and 'likes explosions' continued through to adulthood and beyond.:
   :I don't recommend having kids at twenty-one, especially unplanned. It was hectic and I got no sleep, even with two siblings, my mate, and an entire division determined to help at any and all costs. I wouldn't trade my children for the world, but I would recommend planning and preparing slightly more.:
   :After all, if you're going to fly by the seat of your pants, growing wings would probably help you. Contrary to the commercials, six cans of Redbull do not help you with this.: