"A drink and a fight. You're too kind to me."
The corner of Dia's mouth quirked upward into a small smirk as his eyes found his partner's form sprawled in a chair across the room from him. Perhaps at a different time that smirk would have grown into a good humored smile, but this wasn't that time. Despite the joking tone of Set's voice and languid drape of his body over the chair, the blue-haired man was far from relaxed. Dia had always been observant and those skills had only sharpened each time he'd been returned to life, so it was no challenge for his amber eyes to pick out the slight twitching of Set's arms or the subtle flexing of his fingers. It was almost as if his partner was trying to restrain himself from moving, from taking an action he might regret.
He probably was.
Dia set the bottle he'd brought down with him onto the counter by the door and stepped fully into the room catching and holding Set's blood red gaze as he did.
"Well even though you only 'lost' your keys so that you could get me away from the computer long enough to see what I was up to, in the end you didn't actually do anything to mess with the journal. That's actually showing restraint for you," Dia couldn't help but let the smirk slide onto his face again. "Consider it a reward for good behavior."
Set returned the smirk with one of his own, though his had a bit too much tooth in it to be comforting, "How very lucky for me, though I'm pretty sure there is something else I'd much rather be rewarded with."
That was really all Dia needed to hear to know that there would be no talking The Beast down tonight. Sometimes a few drinks and a long chat were all Set needed to regain control over that rogue part of himself, but with how thoroughly--how aggressively--The Beast's personalty was already bleeding through Set's any attempt to try and talk him down would only end up angering The Beast more.
"A spar it is then," Dia knew a normal person would probably not be looking forward to fighting someone as dangerous as Set was when The Beast was loose, but then again, neither of them were anywhere near normal and it wasn't every day that one got to fight their hero. He just wished that fewer of their spars were tainted by worry that The Beast would berserk beyond what he could handle. It wasn't that Dia was afraid of being seriously hurt or even killed by The Beast. No as out of control as the creature was, it could think and both he and Set knew it cared about him as much as Set did. That was what made The Beast different from the monstrous savage that Set had become during the spasms he'd had in his first life. And that was what made it more dangerous. If it could think, it could reason, but despite being able to do so, it only cared about one person and if that one person couldn't keep it contained....
Dia shook his head, breaking his train of thought before it could become any more negative. He wouldn't fail the people living around them and more importantly, he wouldn't fail Set who depended on him to make sure he didn't end up adding any more regrets to those he already had.
Despite knowing that the time for talking was passed, as he watched Set pull himself up out of the chair and slink over to where their sparring weapons were stored, he couldn't help but ask, "Did the journal really upset you so badly? If so, I'll get rid of it and find another way. I'm sure there's something else I can use."
"No," Set's voice was rougher than usual thanks to The Beast's influence, "it wasn't the journal. You know that. It was the bastard from the Mage's Association who called afterward to 'beg' us to come in like good little pets so they can continue their experiments. They still think that the only way to get things back to 'normal' is going to be found by pulling apart a Servant or twenty to see how we work with the Throne. And on top of giving me that stupid little song and dance he had the gall to ask to speak to you after I made it extremely clear the last time someone called that they were not going to be speaking to you ever." Set turned to face Dia, his eyes flashing in anger, "They are lucky I let them get away with trying their little game when they talk to me. I will not let them play it with you."
A normal person would have flinched away in the face of the murderous intent that was rolling off both The Beast and Set at that moment, but not Dia. How could he be afraid when he knew it stemmed from Set's--and by extension, The Beast's--need to protect him?
No, Dia didn't feel fear. What he felt was responsibility and it was that feeling that led him to unconsciously raise his left hand and let it rest where his right arm should have been. It had been during the lifetime before this one that he'd lost it to yet another master's betrayal. Once he'd returned to the Throne and been reunited with the main soul of the Heroic Spirit that was Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, his body should have been restored and his memories erased. Yet, that hadn't happened. In fact, not only had his body not been restored, he still had memory of each war he'd been in. It would be easy to assume these things had been a result of the Throne being ready to shatter, but while assumptions might have been okay for some people, the Mage's Association had proven it was certainly not okay for them. That was why, despite having 'allowed' the Servants who had survived the war that had followed the Throne's shattering to live as normal humans as long as they 'behaved,' the Association continued to call and 'politely' ask them to return for some 'testing' to see what exactly had caused the Shatter in the first place. To say they weren't above causing 'misbehavior' in Servants so that they had an excuse to detain them would be merely stating the obvious.
A low growl pulled Dia back from his thoughts and he started when he noticed that during the short time he'd been distracted, The Beast had slid fully into control. The hard gaze The Beast had on his shoulder was what finally made him realize his earlier movement, and he pulled his hand away from his shoulder so abruptly it was if he had been burned.
"I'm fine! It's fine!" The words were a useless plea, one Dia knew wouldn't work, but he had to try anyway. "You know I've learned to fight without it! It's not a big deal anymore!"
"It's. Not. Fine." The Beast's words were short and clipped. Weapons forgotten, he slowly started to stalk toward Dia. "You're. Not. Fine."
"And this is what they want!" Dia wasn't angry; he wasn't scared. He was frustrated. "I know you feel like they are trying to take advantage of my weakness, but we've talked about this! You know they do it on purpose to try and set you off so that they have an excuse to take you in. Please," His voice dropped into a more genuine pleading tone, "please don't give them that."
The Beast stopped his advance, but the strength of the gaze that swept over Dia made him feel as if the other man's hands were already on him, "I'm not going to let them hurt you. You've suffered enough."
"You can't protect me if they have you locked up in a room somewhere! You know that!" The words were barely out of Dia's mouth when he found himself flat on his back on the floor with The Beast crouching over him, clawed hands holding his shoulders down hard enough that they had already drawn blood.
"They aren't going to take you from me!" The eyes that bore into Dia's were hard and unwavering which put them at odds with the very slight tremor in The Beast's--in Set's--voice.
Slowly Dia reached up and wove his fingers into his partner's hair, pulling the other man's head down to rest against the crook of his neck. He didn't expect resistance despite the tension in The Beast's body, and there was none merely silent acceptance of the offered comfort.
"You're mine," The words that broke the silence weren't a question, but a statement that was followed by the sting of The Beast's teeth against his throat.
Dia didn't respond verbally. Instead, he let the relaxing of his body and the further exposure of his throat say all that needed to be said.
It was a message that The Beast got loud and clear. Dia felt more than he heard the small happy hum against his neck. After one more slide of teeth across the dark-haired man's throat, The Beast settled his head into his partner's shoulder and shut his eyes.
And just like that, it was over. As if someone had flipped a switch all of the anger and tension evaporated from the room and Set was Set again.
Dia remained still stroking Set's hair as the other man finished pulling himself together. It usually took a little while for him to do so even when, like this time, the fight with The Beast was short. The time was something Dia didn't mind giving him and he certainly didn't mind having Set's weight on him. Despite what had just happened, Set's weight did nothing but comfort him.
"You know I could really use that drink now," Set said quietly several minutes later, though he made no motion to move from where he was laying.
Dia chuckled, "Well as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, that probably means a trip upstairs. The one I brought down is going to be warm by now."
"Bah," Set grumbled and settled his head back against Dia's shoulder. "Guess I'll just have to stay here then. Pretty comfy all things considered."
Dia smiled softly and then gently kissed the top of his partner's head, "It's not that bad from my end either."