Precious Metals

Chapter 4: Hope

© 2008 by DaHaloChick

This page was last modified: 2008/04/21

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It was almost as if Sober Milo and Drunken Milo were two completely different men. Once Milo had arrived home, Kanon had helped him into bed. He'd then left him to make the both of them some coffee to wind down from the night's disaster. That was when Milo dug up the hidden stash of his best Ouzo from under his bed.

As he sat there, hair tousled and his lips glued to the bottle, Drunken Milo began to emerge, along with all of the pain and loneliness that his darker thoughts always brought him. This time, though, his most prominent companion was guilt.

How could he have treated her like that? Milo could only think of the shocked look on her face when she'd struck him. His fingers angrily laced themselves into his hair.

'You certainly aren't the man I thought you were!'

'You obviously have no respect!'

'Don't touch me again!'

Milo suddenly threw the bottle with a growl, watching the cascading rainbow of glass through muddled vision. He didn't even notice Kanon run into his room at the sound of the crash.

Kanon's eyes widened at the scene before him. He knew his friend was upset, but the sight of him slumped in his bed and a broken bottle of booze on the floor disturbed Kanon in a way he could not describe.

The blue-haired warrior backed up slowly, not wanting to disturb Milo, yet afraid to leave the man alone. Still, he suddenly realized that he could not help the Scorpio Saint. Not on his own, anyway. He needed another source, someone else who would understand the saddened man before him.

Kanon slipped out of the room and quietly closed the door behind him. There was only one person he could think of to help, and he had to find him as quickly as he could, before Milo really hurt himself. He changed his walking pace to a sprint, hoping he could convince the man to come down to Scorpio temple in time.

* * *

"Are you sure you should do this by yourself?"

Camus nodded at Kanon. "The less people there are, the more likely it will be that I can get him up. It is obvious that these problems lie deeper than he is letting on."

Kanon nodded. "Well, you're the best person I can think of to help him, so I trust you." With that, Camus nodded at Kanon in parting and the Gemini Saint made his way back down to his temple.

He walked into Scorpio Temple, feeling no resistance whatsoever at his presence. That was very unlike Milo to not jump to defend his temple, and it struck a haunting chord in the Aquarius Saint that cemented his fleeting notion that Kanon had not been overreacting in the slightest.

He made his way towards the bedroom, making sure not to knock when he entered. He was greeted with the sight of the blue-haired Saint slumped in his bed, holding an as-yet unopened bottle of whisky, staring at the label with a little too much interest.

Camus pulled the chair over from Milo's desk, placing it next to the bed and sitting in it. He folded his hands, unsure of where to begin. "Milo, it's me. Can you put that bottle down so we can talk?"

The glass slipped from his fingers, hitting the soft bed. Milo looked up at him, seeming to snap out of his haze at the sound of his closest friend. "Camus..."

Camus let out a breath he didn't know he was holding in. With the way Milo had looked when he came in, he wasn't sure what kind of state he had exactly been in. He decided to cut to the chase. "Milo...Kanon already told me what's been going on. Still, I want to hear it from you. Who is this girl that has made you so upset?"

Milo looked down in thought, as if he was choosing his words carefully. "It's not her that's causing me the problems." He looked up at him. "You know, DeathMask and Shaina have become lovers."

Camus sat back slowly. He had heard rumors, but hadn't really known if they were true or not. He hadn't even really cared; it wasn't his business after all. Still, this confirmation gave light to his friend's situation. "I heard. So it's true...and this upsets you?"

Milo nodded. He was weary in spirit and no longer wanted to spend energy on trying to hide how badly the whole thing had affected him. "DeathMask of all people has found love, and with the most unlikely woman...the woman I had been pursuing." He looked down. "Camus, I really do think I cared a lot for Shaina."

"Maybe you did. Maybe you still do. always will." Camus looked at him seriously, trying to be as blunt as possible. "Still, she's not yours. She most likely never will be. You need to deal with that, Milo."

Tired eyes glared at Camus. "I don't need to hear this, Camus, I—"

"No, Milo, quite the contrary. You do need to hear this, and I'm going to make sure that you do, whether you want to or not." Milo clenched his jaw, his better judgment refusing to interrupt his friend's wisdom.

"You have slipped into a dangerous pattern, Milo. Kanon tells me you're thinking of finding a woman to settle down with. You are only 22 years old. You don't need to settle down. You have many more pressing matters at hand."

Milo shot up onto his feet defensively. "Oh yeah? Like what, huh?"

Camus reached for the bed, picking up the fallen bottle. "Like this. You're drinking has gotten out of hand, and it needs to stop. This, I think, is probably the source of your problems. You cannot work through this if you're not sober."

Milo grumbled, but he knew Camus was right. His thoughts were too dangerous when he was drunk, and he was tired of the fog his drinking left him in. He sat back onto the bed. "I can't do this..."

"Yes you can, Milo, and you have me here to help." The edges of his lips tugged upwards. "You have Kanon as well, although I cannot attest for the soundness of his advice." Camus decided that it was time to try and delve a bit deeper. "Speaking of, Kanon did tell me just about everything. So, I want to ask...who is this woman that you insulted so badly?"

Milo sighed. "Her name is Roxohnda. She's the new Perseus saint."

Camus nodded. "I think I remember Kiki introducing me to her. She is the girl with the orange hair, is she not?" Milo nodded. "So, what exactly did you do?"

"The same thing I always do."

"Ah." Camus didn't need further explanation. "She didn't go for your tactics?"

Milo shook his head. "She wouldn't. She's...well..." He found he couldn't think of a realistic way to describe her. "She's just...different. Deserving of far more than my crude ways."

"You could always apologize," Camus offered.

"No, I can't."

"Was it that bad?"

"I tried to take her sunglasses off to see her face."

Camus winced. "That is bad indeed. In this instance, you'll need more than a simple apology."

"It's not going to be easy to change my ways, is it Camus?"

The Aquarian shook his head. "Nothing of importance ever is. It will take time, but if it means enough to you, it is possible."

Milo could feel the truth of that statement resonate in his bones. "So...what do I do first?"

* * *

"I don't need to be taken care of, Oscar," Roxohnda explained. "It's not like I'm sick or anything."

The Spanish warrior sighed, running a hand over his closely shaved hair. "You could have fooled us with all the moping you've been doing in the past few weeks. Did Milo really get you this upset?" he questioned. Oscar fancied himself a ladies man, and he hadn't really seen anything wrong with Milo's advances, save for him continuing when the saddened girl before him had asked him to stop. The flare of cosmos coming from Roxohnda prompted him to change the subject.

"Well anyway, 'Jiro and Petey are training with their masters," revealed Oscar, "So that just leaves me to work on you today."

She raised an eyebrow behind her mask. "Work on me?"

Oscar grinned. "Yes! We talked about it and we decided that we're not going to stop watching over you until we're at least anywhere from 85 to 90 percent sure that you're smiling behind that mask!"

Roxohnda couldn't help but slightly give in to his wish at the idea. She could just picture the three of them sitting around a table, arguing over the correct percentage of surety to stop at so that she'd be smiling, but not annoyed at them. Only her Boys would do such a thing for her.

She chuckled. "You guys are too much."

Oscar grinned. "Hey, that's what friends are for. To try and cheer you up and to, when they fail, force you to cheer up!"

Roxohnda felt truly lucky to have such great friends, but the moment she felt her spirits begin to lift, soft blue hair and lustful blue eyes crashed herself back down to the ground. She felt Oscar's eyes turn on her, as if he felt her rise and fall in the air, and his arms welcomed her when she leaned against him.

"I don't know what to do," she said, unwanted desperation bleeding through her words. "I really did like him, you know?" She bit her lip. "I still do, despite what he did. Even so, we've only met a few times, and it seems so stupid to be so upset over someone I know so little of. I mean, its not like I'm in love with him or anything, we just seemed to get along so well...maybe I just wanted, I don't know, his approval or something. Maybe, because he's a Gold Saint, having him like me would mean I'm a better Sa—"

"Now that's just plain bullshit, Roxy." She sighed as he squeezed her gently. "You like him. You're interested in him, in a romantic way, and there's nothing wrong with that, regardless of how long you've known him or how well you know him. You two had...a chemistry of sorts, we all saw it." He rubbed her back gently. "Listen Rox, stuff like that doesn't come along all the time. If you still like him even though he upset you, and if you still feel that connection somewhere inside you, don't let it go. That'd just be stupid."

She sniffed, making Oscar wonder if she was crying under her mask. He frowned at the thought. "Oh, but Oscar, it just felt slimy, what he did to me..."

"I don't think that was his intention," he admitted. "Look, as a guy who admittedly enjoys the pursuit of a woman, I can tell just by looking at him that he's a genuine guy. He didn't mean to disrespect you. He probably just wanted to try and get your attention, but didn't know you well enough to understand that his methods weren't the way to do it. Everyone is different, you know? Normally before you start to make a move on a girl, you'd try and know them a bit so that you'd be able to save yourself from making a huge mistake, sort of like the ones he made with you." His brow furrowed. "I wonder what made him so eager to grab your attentions, then."

Roxohnda suddenly felt something stir inside of her. She trusted Oscar's judgment. If what he said was true, then maybe Milo did have an explanation after all. Her chest ached with the idea of seeing him again. She missed him, she suddenly realized.

She sat up, gently pulling herself out of Oscar's arms. "I think I'm gonna take a bath and relax. I need some time to think."

Oscar nodded in understanding. "Do that. Take all the time you need. If you need anything, you let us know, you hear me?"

She nodded and Oscar ruffled her hair. "Keep a smile on under that mask, alright? Even if we can't see it, do it anyway."

"Maybe one day, you will," she said almost wistfully. Athena was no longer very strict with the rules of the women's masks. She had only begun to wear one under Shaina's encouragement anyways, and Shaina had stopped wearing her mask a while ago. Now that she thought about it, was there anything outside of habit that urged Roxohnda to wear her mask in the first place? Maybe a good way to try and step away from her dependence on the green-haired Amazon would be to find it within herself to show her face...

"Hey Roxy, you got mail."

She turned and caught the envelope that Oscar threw at her. She looked at it oddly. There was no address or any indication of where it was from; it simply had her name on it. Oscar decided to leave his friend to her own devices as he heard the sound of paper being ripped open.

* * *

Milo closed his eyes, letting his skin heat up under the Greek sun. Ever since Camus had first come to try and help him, he had felt lighter, as if he had been smothered in some horrible addiction and he was on his way to recovery. Since then, he and Camus had regular talks, and it has resulted in Milo putting less pressure on himself, which allowed him more freedom to think about his own thoughts and actions and determine what it was he was really grasping for. He felt so close to the answer...

He continued to relax in the sun until he felt cold breeze and light escaping. He opened his eyes. It was sunset, and all was quiet on the mountain. Far too quiet for his liking.

He frowned. It had taken him a long time to get up the nerve to break the ice and make the first move between him and Roxohnda, but it seemed as if it had gone unnoticed. He would have to try and come up with another idea to get her to hear him out...

...or maybe not. As he stood to turn back into his temple, he saw a ripple in the pink hues of the sky in front of him. He felt a smile creep onto his lips as the site of a feminine figure approaching graced his eyes.

Perhaps, he thought, with this sunset, many things would end, but maybe, even more would begin.

The End of Chapter 4 -- Continued in Chapter 5

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