Edward rolled one shoulder and cricked his neck. He had given a lot of thought to it, especially since there was little else he could do while he waited for his ribs to heal up. Cyan had (finally) given him a clean bill of health (and even if she didn’t, he would be up and about anyway). Besides, he wanted to get this taken care of sooner rather than later anyway.
Finding Donovan was not particularly difficult; it was not as if the village was all that large in the first place. The former pilot was cheerfully splitting logs behind the smithy, working up a sweat as he swung the axe shirtless. For someone whose job had been to sit on a chair flying planes, there was a distinct lack of flab to his physique.
Edward approached Donovan in a fairly neutral posture, his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his trenchcoat. “Oy, Donovan, care to take a break? I need to talk to you about something.”
"Sure," Donovan replied, as he let the axe swing down to bury itself on the stump he was using to prop up the wood.
He grabbed his shirt from the ground to wipe the sweat from his face and grinned at Edward. "I was chopping some wood for Vidar in exchange for him telling me what he knows about the world and people. The more we know about this place, the better chance we'll have when it's time to move on."
Donovan headed towards a nearby bucket, filled with clean water. He grabbed the cup hanging from a hook, filled it from the bucket and drank. "So, what's on your mind, Ed?" he asked, smiling.
Edward watched the axe sticking out of the stump and shrugged his shoulders. “Well…” he began slowly scratching the back of his neck as he thought about not what he wanted to say, but how he was going to say it. “It’s about what you said the other day, before we went off and hit those giants. About going home.” His posture changed just slightly as he gathered himself. “The fact of the matter is, I don’t. Want to go home that is.”
Donovan's smile turned rueful as he nodded slowly, looking not at all surprised at the announcement. He waved the cup in his hand to encompass the village around them, "It's like a dream come true, isn't it? Clean water, no pollution, everyone's healthy and drop-dead gorgeous. A man could make a pretty damn good life for himself here, assuming he's willing to give up on his old life entirely."
He sighed. "Look, Ed," he said, soberly. "I have no idea how things were like for you back home, whether you have family, friends, loved ones wondering what happened to you. Hell, I can't even guarantee there is a way to get back, never mind finding it.
"Just giving up and staying, though, well, that's a decision that deserves some serious consideration. You need to think about how that decision affects not just you, but everyone who's a part of your life, past, present..." he glanced meaningfully at a lithe young Hunting girl walking between the huts, "and future."
Edward shook his head and raised his hands defensively. “I never said anything about giving up. I’m too stubborn for that. But the fact of the matter is that I don’t have much back home. I’ve got my work and I’ve got anime… that’s it.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I’m just saying that I have nothing to really go back to and…” he paused as the Hunting girl passed, while he did a reasonable job of not staring unlike some others, it was clear what was going through his mind “…and you’re right. This is a dream come true for me.”
Donovan tilted his head back to empty the cup and carefully replaced it on the bucket's hook, giving himself time to think about what to say. "Tell you what. Whatever happens, we won't be making a decision for at least a couple of weeks. Promise me you'll think about it, I mean really think about it. If after that, you still want to stay, I'll respect your decision."
He held out his hand to Edward. "That sound fair to you?"
Edward took the offered hand with a nod. “Yeah, sounds fair.”
Donovan gave a firm shake, then his grin grew wider. "So, have you talked to Dalla yet?" he asked, with an arched eyebrow.
Edward’s face took on a slight shade of red at the mention of the warrior catgirl... Hunting Person. “Ah-heh… no, not yet.”
He scratched the back of his head. “I…’ve been waiting to heal up a bit before getting into any hard labor. I mean, not that I don’t want to… it’s just that I don’t think I should do anything until I’m able to properly contribute.” He paused for a moment and continued. “Which shouldn’t be a problem now, I think everything’s set and about as good as it’s going to get.”
Donovan gave Edward the classic "you bullshitting me?" look. "That wasn't what I was talking about."
Edward caught Donovan’s look and shrugged his shoulders. “Trust me, the thought did cross my mind, but I’m not like that. I mean, if she’s interested in a guy like me then sure, but I’m not about to use my so-called ‘status’ to do whatever I want here. That ain’t cool and it never ends well.”
Donovan nodded agreeably. "That's an admirable attitude. Thinking with your head, not your dick. Keep in mind, though, even if Dalla shows an interest, it's not going to be more than that. From what Mister Grimm has been telling me, cross-species liaisons aren't unusual or discouraged, but aren't expected to be long-lasting."
He cocked his head slightly to assess the trenchcoat-clad man. "Did Cyan clear you for active duty?" he asked, his tone sobering as he changed subjects. "And don't give me any of that 'it's only a flesh wound' BS. In case you haven't noticed, there isn't a hospital around, so if you end up puncturing a lung or busting a gut because you're playing macho..."
He didn't finish the statement, but his look of concern spoke volumes. "Staying here isn't that attractive if you end up doing it six feet under."
Edward shrugged his shoulders in response. “Still a little sore, but I took worse hits in Fallujah. I figure if I ain’t dead yet, then it ain’t my time to go. Not that I’m tempting fate or anything, just that I’m tired of sitting around when there’s work to do is all.”
"That's as may be," Donovan warns, still serious. "But the point stands; we don't have evac to a medical facility if you start coughing up blood, so try to at least take it easy at first, okay?"
Edward gave an amused smirk “Yeah, yeah. Roger. Got it…don’t do stupid shit. I know.” He turned to go then and paused. “If you don’t have anything else, I’m gonna talk to Mister Grimm… see if he has anything for me to do.”
Donovan ambled back to the stump and grasped the ax to pull it out. With a totally innocent face, he casually suggested, "Well, I happen to know Dalla's down by the storage barns cleaning and fixing weapons. Sounds to me like something worth learning and I'm sure she'd appreciate the help."
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