No one could say that Leon was without kindness. Granted, "kindness" for the sake of itself wasn't the reason. It was sympathy. One of the rare moment of empathy that Leon was honestly capable of, when he tried to. And while the man had paused a bit, he couldn't help the pang of old hurts, things he'd hoped to right rather than cling to.
"People have a right to a more comfortable home. I'd say surviving here is plenty deserving. Bartering isn't needed in terms of a simple notion."
What Leon wouldn't give to be able to see the world through such simplistic terms, see it the way Aerith saw it, maybe Yuffie, even Sora. Things were black and white with them, right or wrong, sure or unsure, solid or not even there. but he never really cold. He wasn't great at connecting with people and often was afraid of what others thought of him... Insecure... perhaps the man always would be. His gaze was neutral, yes, but Leon was tired of the suffering.
Tired of the upset in the balance of everything. And if this was all he could do to hopefully set things in the right direction, then it wasn't so bad to offer what he could.
Munny wasn't the problem, or the issue. If Rook didn't want it, he didn't want it. He was more than welcome to continue to forge his own way. One way or another, Leon had come to realize, even within himself, something that Sora had taught him, that people learned from their effects on others and others' effects on themselves.
Somehow, Rook struck Leon as far too honest for his own good.
The redhaired male gave Leon a nod, a slight, hardly distinguishable smile curling onto the corners of his lips. The first time they had met, it was a form of enemy, looking at one another from opposing sides of a small conflict. When he first saw him this day, he was intimidated. Maybe even scared that his actions in the past would return and cast him out all over again. But now, even after a few minutes of conversation, Rook could feel that fading away into something warmer.
He gave out a light huff, and looked back towards the town, though his eyes overshot it and gazed to the empty lands past it where his small homestead waited.
"You know... it does get pretty cold out there... you think it would be a bother if you had another vagabond walking your streets..?"
Perhaps too bold, he decided, turning his eyes back to Leon. He backpeddled to give the question less force, "Because I might reconsider where I bunk down at night someday..."
Expressions sometimes could mean a lot, even if slight. Leon tended to rely, even when he'd been in SeeD, to read people. Not so much then as now-- but, regardless. He knew people, he supposed, in terms of how to distinguish what was and wasn't something. Yes, they'd been as a sort of enemies, but there had been no holds barred on Rook's part. From what Leon had been able to assess of that situation was that it'd just simply gotten out of control. Such things happened. Rook wasn't an enemy. He was someone, like many, who needed a home...
Watching Rook a moment longer, the gunblader gave a nod.
If there wasn't something that Leon could stand, it was injustice. And while fighting wasn't just about right and wrong, and neither was fairness, but at least Justice was. In the large scheme of things.
Bold? No. Simple of the redhead to ask, in all honest opinion.
"Just as long as you don't plan on sleeping in the streets," Leon stated simply. "Or you might find someone sweeping you up for a meal and a bed." Because that was how things worked around here.
Today, everyday, all the time... We all carry each other.
A sharp exhale fled from Rook's nostrils, what would have doubled for a short, amused, sign of amusement. "That's probably too much for me to think about right now. Entertaining the thought of moving back to civilization is one thing, but accepting that kind of hospitality from a random stranger? Heh, I'm taking small steps first."
He silenced himself at that point, and wondered if he could really move back into the towns, or if he was just trying to show Leon a front for his fears yet again. But would he want to be remembered for a hollow thought conjured for someone's sense of relief? No. This was more than something he would have to deliver thought and consideration to. He was edgy enough just coming into town today.
Damned if he did, damned if he didn't, he gave another look to the town, and issued a long stare. When Jason had shown him his possible destinies, none of the visions included acceptance.
There were two things Leon had come to understand. Everyone was fated for something. Be it dying, or what have you; everyone had a fate. Fate was fickle, and one couldn't change that, no. Unfortunately, that's how things in the cosmic scale seemed to work. Fate... just simple couldn't be changed.
Destiny is something else entirely. It could catch so many by surprise. Destiny is something you forged for yourself. Something you made all your own. Accept it, roll with it-- as Leon had done, so many years before, still did now-- or defy it and make it up as you go. Hollow Bastion was a world destined to fade away. But it was still some semblance of home. Leon and the committee? The people here? They changed that.
Fighting wasn't always about right and wrong, fate and destined, humans and monsters. That sort of narrow-minded thinking only upset the balance of things. Was upsetting the balance.
Leon grunted, giving a slight shrug. "Things should work out. They eventually do." For good or for bad, everything resolves itself sooner or later.
And with that, seeing as there was not much else to be said (and Leon himself wasn't much of one for awkward silences), the gunblader started off again, tossing a wave and some words over his shoulder. By all means, it should have sounded arrogant. If one didn't pay attention, the confidence masking could fool. But... he did feel sympathy for those who, like himself, had lost everything. No one, no one should be destined for that, fated for it. A leader needed confidence, wisdom, the strength to carry that which no one else could.
Acceptance always finds its way into the most unexpected places.
"We all start out as strangers. But that's only if you let yourself be."
Gone, leaving Rook to his thoughts. Leon could tell; the redhead needed time to think, Rook would make the decision he felt best. Who was he to tell him no?
((Leon: EXIT. >>; That um... didn't end like I thought it was gonna. Leon didn't seem to have much more to say, sorry...))
((Fret not, friend. There's nothing wrong with ending a thread earlier than you expected when it opens many more doors for the next step in the story.))
True, a destiny might not give way to fate. But starting from nothing and working your way upwards, as Rook so desperately wanted to do, you had everything to gain so long as you tried. The only things that could stop that rise were destiny and fate. Pulling invisible strings towards something you could not see until it was right on top of you, either helping to pull you up, or grabbing you by the ankle to tug you back down.
For as much as Rook wanted to rise above, for himself, before any one else, that was another of many fears he would have to conquer before anything Jason tols him could come true. Of the three, two had come to pass, and introduced new concepts and directions for his life.
The third... he knew that the day that third became clear in his mind's eye, nothing for him would be normal again.
"We all start out as strangers. But that's only if you let yourself be."
Rook rolled the words around in his head a second time after he heard them and looked to Leon with an open mouth, only to notice him walking away. Just as well. He needed time alone. Preferably away from the city and alone.
Besides, even being alone, he decided, he could do some good. Why did he fear the city? Because that's where his life began its downward spiral towards becoming a lonely outcast in his eyes. The Heartless were drawn to the sheer volume of hearts the city contained and struck without warning, quarter or mercy. And so long as the Heartless were around, crawling in the shadows, they could do so again.
But as Leon has said, the city was better equiped now. No Heartless or Nobody would have a chance to figure out why he had wounds to lick before the defenses took care of them. They were instinctual creatures, the Heartless, and once they learned that the city was impossible to siege from within, they would try smarter routes. And the valley's beyond the limits...Rook's valleys... they would proved a brilliant spot to amass an army out of sight of the town or its Committee.
Rook smiled a bit. He would give the idea of coming back serious thought. But until that time, he still had some use as an unofficial sentry. He looked down at his open palm and realized he had the perfect beacon with which to warn Leon and his team of any approaching hostiles.
Closing his fist and tapping it along the stone rail before him, he gave Leon's direction a last glance and jumped onto the roof ten feet below him, parkour-ing his way from the rooftops to street level, and began the trek home.