okumen: D2 (Carl Adler) | Alive: The Final Evolution (14)
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Drifters
Toyohisa/Butch; Butch, Toyohisa, Sundance


The boards of the carriage were hard and cold, but sleeping on the ground here was too ridiculous to even try, what with how uneven the ground was. There was the option of sleeping inside as well, but they had slept outside for so long by then that the both of them felt a little like caged animals indoors.

Butch turned over in the bedroll, felt his shoulder bump into a crate, and raised a hand to rub his eyes clear of sleep dust. Running his hand over his face he felt that he needed to shave, and rubbing at his hair he looked up at the sky. Dark curls was visible at the edges of his vision, and he tugged at his bangs. In silence, he stared at the curl, a shadow against the blushing morning sky. Black wasn’t that different from the gray, really. Seeing black was going to make it a little harder to see in the dark, he knew. But it was just deeper, thicker, than gray was. Adapting quickly was one of his strong points, though nearly 43 years of never being entirely blind in the night suddenly changing from the gaze of another was still something that would take some practice.

He let go of the lock of hair, and rubbed his hand over his eyes again. When he suddenly heard the sound of stones moving underfoot though, he froze, and his other hand still hidden in his bedroll carefully reached for his gun. Another sound, a twig snapping, and Butch quickly sat up, gun drawn.

“I just wanted to see if yew were awake,” Toyohisa said, his surprised eyes staring into Butch’s. Butch sighed, lowered the gun and returned it to its scabbard.

“Son, ya can’t just go creepin’ up’n people like that,” he said, and he dropped back down on his back and released the tension that had settled in his shoulders. His eyes never left the samurai.

“Sorry,” the other man said. One of his hands rested on the edge of the carriage, and he leaned against it. He wasn’t all of what he was wearing, Butch noted as he watched him. The red bits and the armor bits were missing. “Why’re yew calling me that?”

“It’s a figure’a speech, ‘s why.” He crossed his arms over his chest, pulled a leg up, shifted to look at him with a raised eyebrow. “It ain’t like i’m implyin’’ you’re my son. It’s a way’a callin’ people, nothin’ else.” Butch saw the frown of confusion on Toyoshisa’s face, and he wondered how it actually translated to Japanese.

“You lookin’ for somethin’, are ya?” he finally asked, to distract the man. Why was he nosing around this early? It wasn’t time for the rooster to cry yet, so it must be something important. If it was about the soulmate deal though, Butch wasn’t ready to talk about that yet. He had way too many things about that to process before he could talk to him about it.

Toyohisa nodded, and leaned a little closer still, part of his body leaning over the wood. There was an intense look in his eyes, and it made Butch wonder what kind of serious thing it was that he wanted. “Do yew speak Japanese?”

“Um?” Butch blinked a few times, then shook his head. “No.” He pushed himself up, so they got to a closer eye level. “D’you speak English?” he asked in return. It wasn’t an important point to him, they had the translation charms from the Octobrists, and he had already learned Spanish at a not-so-young age.

“What?”

The look on Toyohisa’s face had already given him the answer to the question, he looked as if he had never even heard of English, which he might actually not have done. “I’ll be a’takin’ that as a no,” he said. “That important?”

Toyohisa was surprisingly silent for a few moments, but then he shook his head. “No.” There was a look on his face that told Butch differently though. The man was clearly not a guy who had a good poker face. The brief thought that Sundance should teach him cards passed through his mind. Butch wasn’t sure if he should question him though. He wasn’t one from the owlhoot, so the unwritten rule to not pry didn’t really apply to him. But on the other hand the way he reacted was unusual. As unusual as Butch could tell, at least. He hardly knew the guy, after all, so he couldn’t know for sure.

The man turned though, that look still on his face, and wandered off in the direction of the ruins. Butch watched him go, a frown of his own on his face.

“That was weird,” he mumbled. A few moments later he freed himself of the bedroll, and started to roll it up. He didn’t like seeing people troubled, but he didn’t know what was on the kid’s mind, so there wasn’t anything he could do. And if he had stuff to work through too, then that would mean that Butch had some time to think through his own things for a while before Toyohisa sought him out in those regards again.

Packing away the bedroll, he walked across the small space of the carriage to his partner.

He kicked Sundance in the leg, and the other man grunted. “‘t’s rude’a wake people’n that way, boss,” he grumbled. “It ain’t like ya were asleep fer real,” Butch commented. He continued to the edge of the carriage, picked up a bucket from the corner, and jumped down to the ground. “You’re enjoyin’ this too much, Harry.”

Sundance sat up, his short blond hair sticking every-which-way, the way it only did before he had had the time to run a comb through it. Which he usually did pretty quickly after getting up each morning. The man liked to look good, kept his hair straightened out and his mustache trimmed the way he liked it. Butch ran a hand across his face again, rubbed his cheek and felt the stubble against his skin. He preferred to keep his face clean-shaven. Unlike Sundance, who looked good with facial hair, Butch looked ridiculous with a beard, he was probably never going to be able to pull that off. With Sundance though, the ladies seemed to fancy him much more when he had that mustache. And Sundance enjoyed their attention.

“You did good’n your own, Robert,” he said. “That’s all, really.”

Butch raised an eyebrow at him.”Really,” he repeated, his voice full of doubt. He rested the hand grasping the bucket handle against his shoulder so the bucket rested against the back of it. “Oh yes, the esteemed Sundance Kid ne’er done laughed at another man’s expense.” Sundance snorted. “That’s right,” he said. A few moments of silence passed as they watched each other, then a grin made its way on Sundance’s face, closely followed by one cracking Butch’s. Quiet laughter shook their shoulders, and Butch shook his head. “Watch it or I kick ya harder next time, pard,” he said with his grin still in place, knocking his knuckles against the board beside him. “I’m goin’ fetchin’ some water, you find some beans or somethin’.”

“Awright,” Sundance rubbed a shoulder, tensed and relaxed to get the stiffness out of them. “Then I’m gonna sleep some more.”

“Harry,” Butch narrowed his eyes. It wasn’t a serious look though, only a fake one. “you ain’t doin’ that right now. We gotta see iffen we can stock up’n some provisions an’ ask ‘em elves iffen they have any maps ‘round the area. We got things t’ do.” Sundance grinned back at him in amusement. Then he waved a dismissing hand at him without another word. Butch snorted, shook his head with a corner of his mouth quirked up, and he turned, heading for the well.
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