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"Let me give you some advice and a few dozen clues. You need it more than I do," said Trollaxor, grinning from his seat of boxes in the alleyway.
Ignis laughed and crunched up his forehead at Trollaxor. "I need it more than you..." he said in an incredulous tone.
Trollaxor stood up slowly, drunkenly, as Ignis watched. He grabbed Ignis by the collar of his leather jacket. The same kind of leather jacket that Trollaxor wore...
"I saved your ass once, boy, now I'm saving your ass before it needs it again. Don't argue. Don't argue!" Trollaxor grew a vicious sneer across his lips while the rest of his face took on the look of a funeral-goer's, full of anguish. "You know I'm right. You may not like to acknowledge my existence, you may like to think you don't need me, but the fact remains that I was born to make sure you lived."
He sighed. "And even though I may not have to do that now, I still can sense when you're in need. So here, asshole, take my warning. You're going to need it-- like I said, a lot more than I will."
Ignis knew in his heart Trollaxor was right. He felt that if he denied it enough, though, it wouldn't be true anymore. But even deeper in his heart he realized that this, too, was (to put it simply) bullshit. Ignis closed and opened his eyes slowly, and finally met Trollaxor's gaze again.
"What's going on? I've been feeling fine. What the Hell are you sensing?"
Trollaxor grimaced as if in pain.
"You never learn, do you? Don't you remember the other times, you felt so good, couldn't see anything wrong? You can't and don't see it until it's too late, just a few moments before it begins." Trollaxor spoke in a strained voice, painfully full of frustration.
"You have a cruel mind when it comes to self-preservation. You can see what's going to happen only when it's too late and only right before it starts. Well, however it works, I'm here now and I am telling you about this before your 'early' warning system picks it up."
Now it was Ignis's turn to be gruff. "OK. Enough with the lectures. I asked what you were sensing. Tell me what's going to happen."
Inside of a minute they were sitting comfortably in a dark corner of the Reflex, a bar that was a block away from the harsh cold of the January night and the gritty, dark alley way they'd been conversing in until now.
Trollaxor pulled slowly on a cigarette and stared at the table. The varnish had been nicked and burned through years of wear. Trollaxor related to the varnish. He slowly ran his finger over a dent, probably caused by an absent-minded drunk and a set of keys.
Ignis jarred him out of his trance. "So, let's talk about what you've been feeling. In case you hadn't noticed I have quite a vested interest in this."
Trollaxor looked up sullenly. He sighed and took a deep draught of his Massala tea. Now that he was in a position to discuss the topic, he felt tired.
"I feel something building. I've felt it for a while but it's not always indicative of disaster. But lately it's much more sinister in feeling and I can tell it's coming from places you can't tap into. In other words, you have no clue. You're not conscious of it at all."
Ignis looked like he was about to say something for a few seconds, started to say something, stopped, and sat there in repose. Finally he looked up and spoke.
"What is it? What am I doing wrong? I'd like to avoid descending into insanity again."
Trollaxor took another draw from his cigarette and smiled.
"I wouldn't worry about that this time. I'm here now. Me being here means you have a much better chance of not going insane."
Ignis didn't let Trollaxor continue.
"You just said not fifteen minutes ago that you're not around for that anymore. You're a separate entity now. You polyped off of me after you had your chance to manifest. Your being here at this point means nothing as far as me keeping sanity."
Trollaxor was silent for a few moments. He noted the rocky, uneven nature of the conversation, but sat still for a solid minute before he said anything.
"I still... I'm still... Eh. I'm still bound to you. I can tell when you feel the wild urges, the nasty wants and needs that you usually ignore. To be quite honest I'm as much with you as ever. I can play around on my own now is the only difference. And even though I'm so free from you... I don't want to think about what would happen if you lost it again. I don't know what it'd mean for me and I'd like to err on the side of caution. Get me?"
Ignis responded. "Yeah. I get it. Let's move on to what exactly this means for me then. What's going on? I don't like the word 'sinister.'"
"We both know your mind. I was a part of it once. It'll kill your body every time, hands down. I can't say exactly what's happening to you, but something's stirred up some very nasty sediment sitting at the bottom of your tank, if you get my drift. You could clue me in on this if you want to. This is something that's going to fuck you even as you think things are," Trollaxor gestured quotation marks, "OK."
Ignis started, "After I healed the last time you stuck around as a safety valve. And now you're telling me that even though you're no longer even that to me anymore, you still might suffer consequences if I lose it again?" He didn't quite understand Trollaxor's place in all of this. "What exactly do you think could happen if I lost it?"
Turning a bit pale, Trollaxor smashed his cigarette out and leaned closer to Ignis.
"I've evolved on my own since I left you. As crazy as it seems, we're still tied, and if you lost it, we might both lose our independence."
Ignis cocked his head, and spoke at the same time Trollaxor did.
"We might become worse than the last time if we were to merge again."
Nothing was spoken for a long time. Both sat staring at the table. Both were thinking similar thoughts. Ignis was the first to speak his.
"You're on a rubber band, a very long one, and if something were to go wrong, really really wrong, the rubber band would snap back, and we'd find ourselves together again, the very worst parts of us merged, parts that have grown on their own courses since we separated."
Ignis followed quickly with a question, "Am I getting you right?"
Trollaxor signed and began, "Your analogy works. You've got it clear as crystal. Not pretty, is it? Kind of a potential disability waiting to happen. But on the other hand, it lets us get together and try to prevent this shit. I'd really like it if you told me what was going on, maybe there's a game-plan or something we could make. You're not the only one with a vested interest in this."
Ignis stood and said, "I've got to get out of here, get back home. I'll let you know soon. I'll be in touch."
With that, Ignis left, disappearing into the bar's crowd on his way to the door.
Trollaxor sat and stared at his hands. He felt it ironic that he was the evil demon that had to look after the angel.
He shook his head and left the bar.