Vasha and Double Oh are enjoying a Saturday night in, or so it seems. He's wearing track pants and socks, an athletic cut shirt and his silver chains. Oontz-Oontz, manifested in human form, is in his usual raver get up. JNCO jeans and all. Both of them are playing Mario Kart on the N64, and Vasha is taking it way too seriously to be competing with a spirit that can just cheat at any point and win. It might all be an act, of course. It's funnier beating him when he cares, after all.
Some people have children they spend quality time with. Vasha? He carves time out to share in his familiar's special interests.
It's a lovely evening, and as such, Fox has been out flying, as per the usual. She comes swooping in from the outside -- as an owl -- her feathery wings fluttering as she alights. There's a split second in the transformation back to a human form where her arms sweep back as wings, and she looks -- for just a moment -- like an angel. Which surely is not deliberate, with Mei in the house. Not at all.
The little Thyrsus stretches their arms up over their head, shakes their head back and forth to make their spine crack and settle properly. "Ah!" she declares, a delighted sort of sound, and then aims for Vasha for the traditional smooch. This may in fact carry her in front of the TV. Brat.
There comes a flood of digital and Ukrainian cursing, gesturing, and perhaps a tossed frito or two. They both begin gesticulating at the course and making all manner of accusations and excuses for what is presently happening to their respective leads and slash or deficits. In any case, it has the desired effect of disrupting the game so that Vasha can offer the desires kiss, albeit with a little scowl of mostly feigned annoyance. "You are lucky I was losing," Vasha remarks with a low chuckle. Oontz-Oontz buzzes like a beeper on a formica tabletop, but is otherwise nonverbal.
"Mmmhmm," agrees Fox, slinging herself into Vasha's lap lazily. "I am lucky you were losing. I checked before I crossed in front of the TV." (She did not do that. She is a bad liar and isn't even trying.) Her arms flop around Vasha's neck and she zerberts his cheek loudly after the kiss. "How are you both?" Of course she addresses Oontz Oontz like he's just another person in the room.
Oontz conjures a blue shell made of light and chucks it across the room at Fox's head. It's utterly harmless, and just poofs into a suitably cartoonish puff of smoke upon impact. But the message is clear. He's annoyed with Fox for ruining his game, for he loves nothing more than trouncing his mage and master, it is known. Cranky spirits are cranky.
Vasha gives the spirit a significant look that goes a long way to dimming much of the spirit's annoyance. You're only allowed to be so annoyed at Fox, you see. At least in Vasha's presence. "Good. I promised him we could play some games this weekend. He's been a good boy doing surveillance for me. Which is dull work, you know. Waiting around in wires and cameras and so on? Boring for the little guy." Vasha leans over and tosses Oontz's hair as though he really were his utterly mismatched kid. "So he's maybe a little more touchy than he might be otherwise. You offer to play him, though, I bet he'll forgive you."
Vasha offers his controller to Fox with a little nod.
Fox mimes being hit in the head, and flops said head onto Vasha's shoulder, when the blue shell hits her. She flops dramatically, as this is the way that she normally communicates with Oontz Oontz. When Vasha gives the spirit a Significant Look, however, she just kind of ignores the whole interaction, since that's like ... between the spirit and its boss.
She curls up on Vasha's lap when she is handed the controller, not giving up that prime real estate easily. In fact she will probably have to be physically removed if Vasha wants said lap back. "Am I allowed to ask what you had him surveilling?" she queries, glancing sidelong to Oontz and winking at him. "I'm terrible, but I can try."
"Because I had a series of questions that could best be answered by passive surveillance. The comings, the goings. The whens and the how longs. The patterns and coincidences. He's very good for that sort of thing. Being just a very little fellow, after all, and of a ubiquitous court here in the city. He might be a better spy than I am, actually." Vasha gives the spirit a proud glance aside, and gives him one firm pat on the shoulder and a little shake. Oontz-Oontz has the good graces to look as awkward as a twenty-seven year old man would if Vasha were his dad and had just done that.
"Do or do not. There is no try. Hmm." That's Oontz's response, in Yoda's sampled voice passed through a short range autotune. Then a sound clip from Tombstone, "What's your poison?" He lets her pick the track.
"I said what, not why," Fox offers with amusement, leaning her head on Vasha's shoulder and watching the interplay between Guardian and spirit. "He does have patience and talent for it." And she gives Oontz a wink, a wry little twist of her mouth as she watches the interplay more. The awkward little expression seems to delight her, gold-green eyes glittering.
She squints at the list of tracks, and answers, "Oh, Rainbow Road, for sure. It's very glittery." That's the reason to choose things.
"It's your funeral," comes the digitized response from the spirit, amusement visible in the LED expression behind his giant glasses. It's very uwu. The count down happens and the karts are off. Oontz has the text book start and is rocking Princess Peach for whatever reason. He's got a weird hold on the dpad, holding it in almost a two handed pistol grip. It seems to work for him, though, as he's dancing through the crowd towards the lead almost immediately.
"Oontz," Vasha warns playfully, "no cheating when you're playing with Fox. She's not very good with technology, you know. You wouldn't want her cheating at a game of competitive chicken sexing, would you?" That's a sport, right? He gives Fox a little sidelong look and shrugs his shoulders. He's trying. Then he gives her a squeeze, repositions her on his lap, and settles in to watch her race.
Fox picks up her controller and doesn't seem so bothered when Oontz Oontz skips ahead. "If he's cheating, I could start cheating, too," she responds somewhat drily, having picked up Yoshi, because Yoshi is fun. She gets moved, and isn't bothered. "There are about a thousand ways I could cheat at this, if he's cheating. But I thought that wasn't in the spirit of good sportsmanship."
A pffft at Vasha's comparison point. "That's not even a competition. I can just see that."
"I think he spent too much time gaming in the Korean chat rooms. He's got this hyper competitive streak that I've only ever seen in made men and Korean eSports players. Not entirely healthy, you know?" Vasha shrugs his shoulders a bit in apology. "But it restores him, you know? To win? So what is it to lose a silly game? Nothing. To me, anyway, it's nothing. I know there's a dozen futures I could pick where I win. I choose to try hard and fail. Keeps him happy. About the only thing I found that can keep him that way for long."
Vasha considers Oontz-Oontz for a long while before wondering aloud of Fox, "Do you ever think maybe I should let him go? It's hard to know if you're doing right by these things, it's not like they come with users manuals or ... you know. Are even my species."
Oontz is entirely engrossed in the game, so much so that he might not actually be paying attention to what's being said around him. Vasha certainly seems to think it's not going to be a problem, given his frank speech. Oontz is having a very clean run. He knows the course well, the shortcuts, and makes decent use of the boxes he picks up along the way. He doesn't live in first, but he's rarely out of the lead for long.
Honestly, she could not possibly care less about winning. The whole point of the exercise is to make Oontz Oontz happy -- and making spirits happy comes naturally to the Thyrsus. The concept of paying a bit of tribute to a spirit in order to keep it happy? That's very normal. Must be Saturday. She stumbles over the bananas that Oontz drops, and curses softly but exaggeratedly.
"No," Fox answers simply. She holds her breath going around a certain turn, concentrating on it, and then giggles when Yoshi goes over a tall hill and takes flight briefly. "He may not actually express it very well, but for a spirit of his Court, it's easy to get swallowed up and be indistinct, or to get eaten by a larger spirit. He's safe with you, and he's happy, in his way. You give him a job and then you reward him. You have an instinct for how to keep him happy." The Thyrsus doesn't seem to be bothered talking in front of him, either. It's nothing she wouldn't say if Oontz were an active part of the conversation. "If you want to learn better how to take care of him, I could teach you. But I think you have good instincts, and you provide him safety and opportunity he wouldn't otherwise have."
"It just made me mad. That someone would take a spirit of something good in moderation and make it into a weapon. He was very poorly used and mistreated by one of us, and I felt I owed it to him to make amends." Vasha's brow furrows a little as he glances just a hair to the side, enough to put his familiar in his vision, if only in the periphery.
"I don't think you know or understand just how much having you in my life has changed me. Changed the things I value. The things I believe are worth fighting for, or killing for, or dying for." Three separate and distinct things to him, it seems.
"Anymore, I am fighting for a world where something like you can exist without people like me being a necessary evil. In that world, no one would ever turn something as harmless as this one into a trap. It's a far less nuanced morality than I am used to, but it's also rather liberating."
She listens, cuddled up to him, barely paying attention to the game anymore. Pretty much just enough to keep from falling off. And then, there's a moment -- a breath -- where he can feel magic curl around her and suffuse her, and then her playing gets much better all of a sudden as she separates out the train of thought which involves itself in playing the game, and the train of thought having the conversation. "It should make you mad," Fox agrees. "His Choir is not inherently anything except what it is, you know? What was done to him was ... objectively wrong." She wiggles a little bit, settling herself into his lap a little more, and just listens.
Vasha can't see much of it, and Oontz Oontz is (hopefully) paying too much attention to the race to see how much Fox starts blushing when Vasha starts talking about how much having her in his life has changed him. She turns several shades of pink, and her hands continue to move almost of their own accord, tapping buttons and moving the joystick. "I'm supposed to do that," she finally says, quite quietly, her voice all soft and a little wobbly at the edges. "That's the whole point of me."