The preset sound wasn't familiar, but with a start he remembered why he had set the alarm. Looking quickly at the time, he lifted a foot and shoved off the edge of his work table, rolling backwards. Spinning around, he caught himself on the main spread of the room; a half-circle table, covered by an unmarked, dimly glowing touchpad, and layered vertically with blank holographic screens. Grabbing the headset from its hook to his side, the yellowblood pulled it on and slid the visor down, twisting the knob. Immediately a flood of images covered the banks of screens before him, a myriad of symbols spreading across the invisible keys at his fingers.
A brief dance over the keypad pulled up the security feed from across the ship. It only took a moment to find the troll he sought, but seconds were precious and he felt them weighing on his shoulders when he finally spotted the highblood. It was impossible to tell if he would have it with him, so close to his match, but...
[03:47] -- theVirtuoso [TV] began trolling headShot [HS] at 15:47 --
[03:37] TV: HhyadeS?
Lifting his gaze from the husktop he'd set on his lap, the Virtuoso watched the holographic feed, waiting for the lack of response that would indicate Hyades didn't have the miniature husktop with him. Instead, the highblood reacted briefly and drew it from his pocket, giving it a look before replying.
[03:37] HS: -»»―Yeah?―˃
[03:37] TV: 0hh. I waSn't Sure if I w0uld catchh y0u in time.
[03:37] HS: -»»―Almost-did-not.-I-am-getting-ready-now.―˃
[03:38] TV: I wiShh I c0uld have helped y0u.
[03:38] HS: -»»―It-is-alright.―˃
[03:38] TV: Hh0w iS y0ur m0irail?
[03:38] HS: -»»―I-do-not-know.―˃
[03:38] HS: -»»―I-did-not-watch-her-match.―˃
For a second he didn't move, before quickly pulling up the roster. Her match had been the previous one, and guilt struck him suddenly as he saw the verdict. Five hours ago Hyades had lost his moirail, and he didn't know. All he knew was that he was being sent in to fight her matesprit.
[03:39] HS: -»»―I-do-not-think-I-would-have-been-able-to-bear-it.―˃
[03:39] TV: I underStand.
[03:39] TV: I wiShh I hhad been thhere. I d0n't kn0w, maybe juSt t0 hhang 0ut withh y0u s0 y0u weren't al0ne. But maybe y0u wanted t0 be al0ne.
[03:39] HS: -»»―It-is-alright.―˃
[03:39] HS: -»»―I-appreciate-the-thought-anyway.―˃
Another moment passed, his fingers hesitant over the keys.
[03:39] HS: -»»―I-should-go.-I-need-to-get-ready.―˃
[03:39] TV: Yeahh.
[03:39] TV: JuSt.
[03:39] TV: Hh0ld on.
[03:40] HS: -»»―?―˃
Rubbing his face, the Virtuoso sighed under his breath before beginning to type.
[03:44] TV: I'm n0t uSed t0 hhaving friendS. It'S never been S0methhing I thh0ughht muchh ab0ut. C0nSidering thhe circumStanceS, I really Shh0uldn't be thhinking ab0ut it S0 muchh righht n0w eithher.
Flexing his fingers, he sighed and raked his fingers through his hair, staring at the screen. The truth was, he'd suspected that his attachment, this sentiment, was a way of making himself feel worse; a medium for honing his guilt into something more potent that he could reflect on. Even if he was already suffering from the moral consequences of what they were doing, how could anyone claim to ever feel guilty enough about such an atrocious act?
[03:46] TV: N0 0ne deServeS thhiS. ESpecially y0u.
[03:47] TV: Good luck, Hyades.
[03:47] TV: Come back.
For a little while there was silence, and the Virtuoso looked up at the screen to find Hyades staring down at the device. Typing, backspacing, typing again, erasing, then nothing. Finally, a message appeared.
[03:50] HS: -»»―Thank-you.―˃
[03:50] HS: -»»―I-plan-on-it.―˃
Running a hand down his face, the Virtuoso was silent, before sitting up and reaching for the lid of his husktop, closing it. Setting the visor aside, he lost the image of the holograms and stood, returning to his work table, even while he knew he wouldn't be working. Not until the next announcement.
"Aveste Vidarr versus Hyades Istiop, the eighth match, has ended." The apprehension of hours roused his attention, and for a second he was still, waiting. When a breath came over the intercom, though, the yellowblood abruptly covered his ears and dug the heels of his palms into them. The verdict was muffled, blessedly enough that he didn't hear it. After several moments of remaining like that, the Virtuoso lowered his hands and exhaled shakily. He would inevitably find out. But right now, he didn't want to know.
Lifting the lid of his husktop, he left the chat client open, waiting for Hyades to message him. An extra line of purple showed up from the previous conversation, though, and he leaned forward.
[03:50] HS: -»»―I-am-happy-to-call-you-my-friend.―˃
[03:52] -- headShot [HS] ceased trolling theVirtuoso [TV] at 15:52 --
The finality of it made him bite his lip. Standing, the Virtuoso walked to the motherboard of his room and slipped the visor on, looking to the screen with the roster. He was many things, but a coward was not one of them. A weakened immunity to the stress of the emotions this endeavor was wreaking on him was making him act oddly. He didn't care. Seeing Hyades' name crossed out made him sit down, hang his head, and let out a long, slow breath.