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Title The Oak Tree: Wyatt
Author [livejournal.com profile] brightedelweiss
Words 4,102
Rating PG-13 (language)
Summary This is sort of AU in the future, but not really. I suppose you could say that it is INSPIRED but that it won't work out quite the same way. Simply put, this is the story of Emrys Grey, and this is where he meets Wyatt Crawford.

This chapter has been a long time coming *wink to the person who KNOWS I'm winking at them*

Chapter 1
Chapter 2



Wyatt

Emrys made a few mistakes in the beginning of his travelling. The first was deciding to bring a mountaineering back pack. The second was putting anything in the pack, and the third was deciding to get off the train and walk from the station to Wadeview by foot.

“Never again.” Emrys said to himself and winced as he took off his shoes. Clearly, one was not meant to wear trainers and walk, or at least, not walk a great distance. It had been nice at first, the countryside was very beautiful. It had a lushness about it that Emrys might have seen when he was younger, but hadn’t really appreciated until now. Everything was vibrantly green, and the mist that had settled over the gentle hills, along outcroppings of rock, had only made the colors appear more saturated.

Then he got a blister. Two actually, though, from the way that they throbbed, it was as if his heels were conjoined in pain. All he really knew was that they hurt like hell, and that the walk – no matter how beautiful – had been something really stupid.

“Entry number one: I’m an idiot.” Emrys mumbled as he took the journal out from the backpack, and flipped through the pages. It was a beautiful book, blank, but beautiful. The crisp pages were bound together and covered by polished leather. Grey was inscribed on the front of it. It was all his, but still Emrys sighed as he looked at the blank pages.

What was he doing?

This wandering and travelling thing was beginning to seem like a mistake. He had expected to achieve some sort of acceptance amongst his fellow travellers, but he hadn’t. Not at all. If anything he felt more alien. His inner compass hadn’t suddenly latched onto a coordinate either, and instead had opted for more spinning. Great, just great.

Of course it was just the first day. Wearing a back pack without looking like a proper backpacker also did a trick or two on people’s first impressions.

Emrys cringed as he made his way to the bathroom. The inn he had booked a room in was quaint. It had an overgrown quality about it that Emrys had liked from the pictures. From the outside, the inn was very much a cottage. There was only one floor, but Emrys guessed that it probably had a cellar. His room was small, but comfortable, the walls were white-washed with faded photographs of the area hanging on them. There was nothing particularly special about the room, and he liked that. The anonymity was something different. It was not particularly soothing, but not distressing either. It just was. For all intents and purposes, the White Sunrise Cottage, was a place to stay and relax. Emrys wasn’t looking for anything else and he wasn’t about to start.

After managing to soak his feet, and applying band-aids (rather poorly) to his feet, Emrys sprawled on the bed. Lying on his back, he stared at the ceiling and found various shapes among the knots in the wood. He drifted in and out, and then gradually fell asleep.


He dreams he is in a field. It is long, and is surrounded by a mixture of spruce, pines, and other evergreen trees. They stand tall, proud almost, and Emrys is struck by his insignificance. Apart from the wind and the rustling of grass, the field is silent. He cannot hear his own breathing. He stands in the middle of the field and looks at the sky. It looks like any other sky, but Emrys sees real figures amongst the clouds. There is no need to squint or tilt his head, they are just above.

Emrys tries to concentrate on each cloud figure, but finds that he looses interest in them, even though he does not want to. He finds himself staring up at one figure in particular: a bear. In looking at the bear, Emrys realizes that he is different, that he is not like himself in waking life. As he looks up at the bear, he realizes that he is not Emrys Grey, he is just Emrys.

In the dream, Emrys raises his hand to the sky to touch the bear. A bird flies to his hand. Its sharp talons dig into his fingers, but he does not cringe, nor wince, if anything he is distracted. The bear in the sky disappears. Blood flows from his fingers, and Emrys knows that it is his own. In the dream he thinks falcon as he looks at the bird. He knows that is not quite right. Emrys is captivated, and knows that despite the bird’s size, it could kill instantly. He stares into the golden eyes of the creature digging into his hand and is transfixed by them. He cannot break its gaze, and as he realizes he cannot look away, he also knows that he does not want to. The bird closes its eyes. Emrys realizes that his own eyes have closed as well.



When he woke, he was on the floor. The room was still, and Emrys noticed thankfully that nothing had been destroyed, or was even out of place. Groggy, but strangely refreshed, he fumbled for his watch. It was just past five in the morning. He tried to remember his dream, but could only picture little vignettes that were already fading. A field. Clouds. A bird.

God, he needed some food.

Emrys changed the band-aids on his feet before he left the room. The blisters stung and ached, and the second set of band-aids didn’t really seem to do much for the relief. If there was one thing he was going to do today, it was buying a new pair of shoes. Hiking boots preferably.

Naturally, he didn’t know where they could be bought, and seeing as how he’d have to live with new footwear for the remainder of his wanderings, they needed to be more than decent.

Emrys left the room after taking a shower. He ate breakfast in the small lounge the inn had. The innkeeper pressed a mixture of eggs, sausage and toast on him, and he was more than happy to oblige her. It probably had something to do with the overwhelming surge of hunger he experienced as soon as he saw the slightest bit of food.

The Innkeeper, Miss Bates, recommended several activities for him as he ate. None of them were very appealing or interesting for him as they were all centered around tourism, and as much as looking at the historical aspects of Wadeview, and of Cornwall was fascinating, Emrys really did not want to explore it from the atypical tourist point of view. He had no interest in tours, cheap souvenirs, or taking the same photographs that every other damn person took. Emrys was awful at feigning interest, and as a result there was silence. Miss Bates’ recommendations and a corresponding conversation easily failed thereafter.

Until, of course, he itched his foot and remembered the blisters.

“Ah, Miss Bates?” He asked after wincing.

“Yes, Mr. Grey?” Miss Bates looked up from a stack of magazines she was organizing on a coffee table a few feet away.

“I was wondering, if you could recommend a good outdoor clothing store.”

She laughed at the question and Emrys furrowed his brow. Had it been an unusual question?

“Wadeview only has one backpacking store and that’s Wolf and Eagle. I hardly think it counts as a recommendation if there’s only one to pick from.” Miss Bates replied to Emrys’ questioning looking. He smiled back, but didn’t quite share her amusement on the matter. While the quaintness of the tourist town, or tourist area was sweet for a moment, good shoes were priority number one.


Emrys left the cottage with nothing more than a wallet in the front pocket of his jeans. He never put anything in his back pocket anymore, not after he had heard someone go on about pick-pocketers. The short version of the long story was that people went for the ass when the grabbed shit, they never went for the crotch.


Wolf and Eagle was relatively close to the White Sunrise Cottage, and Emrys found it soon enough. It was a small store, and the first thing Emrys noticed about it was the Hindu prayer flags waving madly in the wind. Pushing open the door, he was greeted by a tinkling bell, and the site of a very cluttered, but somehow welcoming store. Mountaineering gear was everywhere, and where there wasn’t gear, there were black and white photographs of high topped peaks in regions he had only seen in books.

“Can I help you?” Emrys tore his gaze from a photograph of a grinning sun-burned man standing next to great rock cairn on the side of a snowy mountain, to look towards who he guessed was the store owner, or at least a worker. The man was if anything grizzled. He sported a well grown (but unattended to) beard, was quite large, and looked like he had been in plenty of rough situations.

“I’m ah…” He forgot for a second what he was looking for, and the owner gave him a look. “I wanted to buy a pair of hiking boots. I didn’t realize how much walking I’d be doing, and I’d rather like to have proper shoes.” He looked down at his faded trainers and held back a wince of any kind. It was embarrassing enough that he had gotten blisters, no need to let everyone else in on the secret. The owner squinted, and Emrys felt the need to avoid the careful inspection he seemed to be receiving. Miraculously, Emrys managed to hold the store keeper’s gaze, as cautious as was possible. The tension between them lasted for a few moments, and then Emrys felt a slap on the middle of his back. It sent him stumbling forward

The owner chuckled heartily and grinned. Emrys felt as if he had passed some sort of test. “You’ve come to the right place! Barnaby Mitchell, welcome to Wolf and Eagle. This store may look quite small, but we don’t have any useless shit you’ll get at a major complex.” They shook hands, Emrys wondering what sort of down-the-rabbit-hole person he had found himself in the company of. Then the owner – Barnaby Mitchell – led Emrys towards the back of the store where he was greeted by a wide variety of shoes, accompanied by an even greater amount of boxes. “Now, what’s your size?”

“Sorry?”

“Shoe size. They big or little?”

“Ah…ten. Size ten. Shouldn’t I look at the shoes before you ask me what size they are?” Emrys scratched the back of his head, making his hair stand up as he did so.

“You don’t know shit about shoes. Especially not those of the hiking variety.”

Emrys opened his mouth and then closed it shut. He stood rooted in one place and looked around the room. Barnaby was shuffling through boxes and Emrys didn’t dare move or sit down anywhere until the shopkeeper had found what he was looking for. As welcoming as he now seemed, Emrys wasn’t willing to make any wrong moves.

“Here’re a few to start with.” Emrys looked up to see Barnaby with three boxes under one arm, and two under an another.

“Start with?”

“You’d surprised at how hard it is to find a shoe that’s the right sort of comfortable.”

“I thought this store didn’t have any useless stuff.”

“Useless shit. We don’t, but that doesn’t mean that some of these won’t be useless to you. Shoes can be testy. Well, go on, sit and start trying them on.”

Emrys moved awkwardly to the bench, not really sure what he was supposed to do. As friendly as this Barnaby Mitchell seemed to be, he: Emrys, was a creature of solitude, and to be suddenly tossed into this sort of situation was disorienting. It wasn’t the need for rapid responses – Emrys was fine at that – but, rather, the fact that he knew absolutely nothing about anything in this store at all, and had to own up to the fact. He was used to knowing most things. He had done excellently in school, always had, and as a result had always thought that there wasn’t much he couldn’t do, or that he didn’t know inside and out. Not knowing anything about mountains, or boots, or hiking…it was peculiar, especially when he wasn’t around anyone that knew less than him. There was no opportunity to bull shit and get away with it.

“You’ll be buying these.” Barnaby said, as Emrys was opening up the first box. The older, crazier man was holding a pair of socks.

“I already have plenty of socks.” Emrys responded dumbly.

“Boy, what did I tell you? You don’t know shit about hiking boots, which means that you also know shit the sort of socks to wear in said hiking boots. These are the sorts of socks you wear.” Barnaby rolled his eyes, tossed the socks at him, and then disappeared behind a stack of shoe boxes and through a door.

“Alright then.” Emrys mumbled to himself, as he unfolded the socks. They were thick wool, but somehow or another soft. The bell attached to the door tinkled as Emrys examined them, but he didn’t really hear it. Instead, he was much more focused on the task at hand: taking off his shoes without whimpering out loud. He bit his lip as he took off the first trainer, noticing that even through his thin socks he could tell that the band-aids he had applied had fallen off. The blister itself seemed bigger than before, almost as if him walking just to Wolf and Eagle had been damaging. He didn’t dare touch it, and instead focused on taking off the other shoe and sock. There was more pain, and then a grimace. “Bane of my fucking existence.” He spat out as he began to pull a sock onto a foot.

“No no no no! Ugh what are you, some sort of idiot? Who tries on a pair of new boots with blisters?!” It wasn’t Barnaby. Emrys could tell that by the voice, but a look up confirmed it. In truth, Emrys could have probably handled the words coming from the eccentric shopkeeper, but this man was different. Barnaby came off as knowledgeable, this one just came off as a prick. That and he was blonde, and whether or not Emrys would admit it, it was the hair color mixed with the somewhat conceited tone of voice, that produced his glare.

“What are you some sort of reference guide on trying on boots?” Emrys asked, pulling the sock over his heel – which was where the blister was – quite rapidly. It hurt like hell, and as Emrys was crap at lying, his face showed it.

“Clearly a better one than you are.” He smirked, this man. The person in question was leaning against a shelf of books just grinning at him. The man wasn’t much taller than him, they were actually probably about the same height, but where Emrys was gangly, this man was built. The first description that came to mind was bear-like. It stuck. The man was dressed in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and was wearing a light fleece jacket. Emrys spotted something shiny pinned to the jacket, but didn’t get a very good look at it. His displeasure increased when Emrys noticed that the man was wearing a pair of boots not unlike those in the boxes laid out before him.

“Oh, really. What makes you say that?” Emrys pulled on the other sock as he said so and bit his lip so as not to wince.

“Well for one, I’m wearing Asolo, and they just happen to be a major brand as far as hiking boots. You happen to be trying on Asolo-”

“I didn’t know a similarity in brand meant you were an authority.” Emrys cut in, pausing in the process of trying on the boots to concentrate on glaring and being appropriately sarcastic. The man laughed and rolled his eyes.

“Look, I’m just telling you, that it’d probably be wise to pop those whopping blisters of yours, before you try to decide which of those shoes is the most comfortable, because I’m sure you’ll find that you’re going to be concentrating a lot more on the pain in your heal, than on which shoe is better.” The man smirked and blinked. Slowly. Emrys ground his teeth, sighed, and then took off the socks.

“Right. I suppose you know how to pop them too.” It came out as a smart aleck comment, but apparently the man did happen to know.

“Well usually I use a needle, but I don’t have one on me, and not to judge or anything, but I don’t think you’ve got one either. So I think that leaves this.”

“No. No fucking way.” Emrys’ eyes widened as soon as he got a look at the Swiss Army knife that the man had flicked open so adeptly. Objections abounded.

“Afraid there’s no other option.” The man said, and though Emrys could see the smirk, he could also hear it.

“A Swiss Army knife? I’m pretty sure that you carving into my foot isn’t going to solve any problems.” He tossed back nervously.

“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not touching your feet. They look disgusting. Besides, I’m quite sure there’s an unwritten law somewhere about not touching the feet of people you don’t know.”

“I’m sure there’s an unwritten law about being an ass to people you’ve never met too, but you broke that one.”

“Nice, way to insult the person with the knife.” The man twirled the Swiss Army blade in his fingers and grinned wickedly. “I’m saving you from your own stupidity. I’d hardly call that ass-like behavior.”

“It was the way you went about it.” Emrys spat back.

“So you admit I saved you?” If it was possible for the smirk to widen, it did so.

“Can I just have the knife to pop the blister already?” Emrys held out a hand, ignoring the remark and the smirk.

“Names first.”

Emrys let out a frustrated sigh, but submitted.

“Emrys Grey.”

“Your real name.”

“It is my real name!”

The man, who had yet to introduce himself, gave Emrys a questionable look as if a look could suddenly change someone’s awareness of a name. Eventually he gave up.

“Wyatt Crawford. Here, just don’t stab yourself. A light puncture ought to do it.” Wyatt handed over the swiss-army knife, watching carefully, as Emrys tapped the blister lightly until a little bit of fluid started to come out of it. “Is your name seriously Emrys?”

“Yes. What’s wrong with Emrys? It’s not that odd of a name.” Emrys paused in his blister popping. “It’s Welsh after all. There are plenty of Welsh names. Besides it’s sort of a family tradition. Every third generation male in my family has been called Emrys.”

“For how long?”

“Dunno, a while.” Emrys shrugged and looked at the floor. To be perfectly honest, as far back as there was record of his family, there was record of a third male being called Emrys. They all had different middle names, but for some reason, a family tradition had been established centuries ago. When he looked back up, he caught Wyatt giving him a peculiar look, but as soon as he realized that Emrys was looking, the look disappeared. It was as if it had never been there at all.

“Nice to meet you then, no matter how idiotic you are.” Wyatt grinned, and Emrys expected it to be a smirk, but was surprised that the smile was laced with nothing more than honesty.

“Pleasure.” Emrys’ own words came out sarcastically, and somehow managed to turn Wyatt’s happy smile into a smirk. Emrys easily forgot that the blonde was capable of a smile that didn’t border on a sneer. Wyatt nodded at Emrys’ feet, and recognition of the use of the knife returned to Emrys’ face.

He popped the other blister and then pressed his hands against both heels, squeezing the fluid that had developed in between the layers of skin. It hurt a little bit, but it was a good pain, the sort that was followed by relief.

“Thanks for the knife.” Emrys handed it back after the next blister was popped and slid on the socks.

“You really are hopeless –”

“Here we go. One of these will work…and if they don’t, well, consider yourself a bit freakish.” Barnaby interrupted Wyatt (who was rolling his eyes) by returning with even more boots. “Back for something else, Crawford?” Barnaby turned towards Wyatt, who stopped leaning on the bookshelf. Emrys didn’t know why he was surprised that the two knew each other, but he was.

“Not really, no. I just thought you’d like to know that a preliminary skim of the book you recommended has yielded some excellent results. Not as good as first hand experience of course, but then, nothing is.” Wyatt smiled and titled his head towards the elder man in thanks. The genuine smile Emrys had seen earlier made a return. It threw him off. Again.
Perhaps Wyatt was more than just a prat. “You should know that your customer, Mr. Emrys Grey, is a complete idiot.”

Then again, maybe not.

“You have a beautiful way with compliments.” Emrys deadpanned and then glared. Wyatt responded with yet another smirk.

“He knows shit about shoes, but I’d hardly classify him as an idiot.” The back-handed compliment, or was it a back-handed insult, made Emrys direct his grin in the direction of Wyatt.

“Ah, but then you didn’t see the massive blisters on his heels. Get this: he was going to try on brand new shoes without having popped or bandaged them.” Wyatt laughed as he said so and Emrys felt two gazes shift to him, and though he had previously withstood them both at separate times, combined he wasn’t quite up to either of them.

“I thought getting off a stop earlier might be aesthetically interesting. Turns out it’s quite a distance.” Emrys said quietly, coughed and continued to avert the stares. He had called himself an idiot upon collapsing on the bed yesterday, but to be called one was quite another circumstance.

“On second thought, idiocy is becoming with you.” Emrys looked up quickly to see Barnaby staring down at him with raised eyebrows, head shaking. “Never fear though, Wyatt here’s told me enough about the Red Cross first-aid training programs he’s been through to ensure the fact that he’ll be able to patch you up.”

“Clearly that’s going a bit too far –” Wyatt attempted to object.

“Don’t be a hypocrite, Crawford. Can’t go calling a man an idiot, if you’re not going to put in the time to make him a bit wiser.” Barnaby gave Wyatt a look, and Emrys wondered what he was missing in the exchange. Wyatt sighed and shot a minor glare at Emrys (who was only kind enough to return it). He considered objecting to the entire idea of having Wyatt play medic, particularly because they hadn’t seemed to get along all too well, but then decided not to. God knew he wasn’t going to properly bandage his heels.

“You’re buying a pair of boots first.” Wyatt pointed the Swiss Army knife, almost menacingly, at Emrys, as he said the words.

Emrys didn’t object, and put up his hands as if to show it. Buying boots was, after all, Priority Number One.

“Right, I’ll be in the bookstore down the street. As much as watching you try on pair after pair of boots could prove to be entertaining, I don’t have the patience for the pay off.” Wyatt sighed, offered one last smirk, and then with a tinkle of the bell, left the store.

It was several minutes later, and well into the lacing process of the boots, that Emrys realized something. He had been inexplicably confused after Wyatt had left the shop, and he hadn’t realized why. He knew now. It was the dream. The one he had had the night before. He could remember it: the field, the bear in the clouds, and the bird that had dug into his finger. The bird! In the dream he had thought falcon, but had known it wasn’t quite right.

It wasn’t.

The bird, though falcon in breed, had a much more defined name. It had a much more defined nature, actually.

It had been a merlin.
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