"Oh!" Griffin startled out of his victory riot, and immediately noticed it was very quiet. There had been other people in the park before, hadn't there? "Sorry buddy, gimme a sec," he rifled through the chips. His combination online shopping spree and raffle blitzkrieg hadn't yielded anything like ScorchMan was looking for, but tucked nigh-forgotten in the back of the PET case were two little half-sized chips. The PET swallowed them eagerly, spitting the cases out inert, and he watched the Navi lean back and groan in relief. "Better?"
"Much." ScorchMan tipped back until his shoulder vents hit the ground. Kicking his legs idly in the lava, he mused, "At some point I want to inventory that chip folder of yours, I swear it's changed every thirty seconds since I jacked in."
He heard Griffin laugh nervously. "Ahaha, yeeeeah," he stared down at the modest pile he'd managed to accrue, only for the PET to chirrup that it had another ready to load onto a blank. "Well, now's as good a time to start. That one that just downloaded is called DollThunder, and I just got a new one in the mail called AquaDragon." He almost held them up to the screen for visual inspection, only to remember and fumble them across the bench. "Then there's a Guard, something called SkyShoes, and that's everything new so far. You remember the rest, yeah?"
ScorchMan's brow furrowed invisibly under his helmet. "HeatShot, FlameLine, HammerToss..." he murmured. An artifact of spending so much time around humans showed itself in the Navi counting the mental list off on his fingers. "So we've got fifteen?"
Griffin made the count and grimaced. "Fourteen..." he admitted, puzzled. Had he traded something? It was a little embarrassing how quickly he'd forgotten, when the Chip Trader BBS was still open in four different tabs on his PET. "Hang on...right, I traded a PileDriver...I think? And this definitely isn't the Guard I started out with, the colour's different. Uhhh..."
"Way to Operator, dude," ScorchMan snarked, but there was no bite to it. Not when his voice was thick with relief, or when his pose brought to mind nothing so much as a vacationer at the poolside. Tension visibly bled from the set of his shoulders; he grabbed the lip and flexed both legs, taking the moment to feel the difference in sensations as they kicked and swirled against the pleasant burn of the lava. The right leg was a seamless machining of all the data that went into sustaining a Navi's form; one could look as deep as they pleased into ScorchMan's code and find not one byte out of place. Moving it was, the Navi suspected, a very different sort of feeling to the biological symphony that was a human body flinging itself through space, exerting its force against that of gravity and inertia and its own physical limits. A properly-crafted Navi could conceivably run from one side of the Net to the other, and never once stop to catch their breath.
The left leg was marred with rents along the outside of the knee. A long series of raised lines protruded from the gaps in the armour, incongruous against ScorchMan's carmine bodysuit. The smallness of the wounds belied thick coils of venom that had burrowed deep into the joint, with a few tendrils running up and down the leg for good measure. What code they had melted through had been altered, somehow; Griffin was still trying to figure out exactly what had happened.
It hurt, sometimes. Usually when ScorchMan was running, or taking a fall on his bad side, or a million other things he and Griffin thought sounded like fun at the time. Now, sunk deep in a lava pool and safely wrapped in ScorchMan's inbuilt fireproofing, his leg was feeling good in ways he scarcely had words for. Good in ways that seemed to mean he could finally take his mind off his life's perpetual annoyance, and relax for once. It was novel to say the least - just ScorchMan and his thoughts, and what was that noise? "-man? You're kinda freaking me out, dude. Dude? Duuuude." Oh. Right.
"Yeah?" ScorchMan mumbled, sounding downright sleepy.
Griffin tried to stifle a grin, and very quickly gave up - ScorchMan would just hear it in his voice anyway. "Well, you asked for healing instead of just jacking out, so I figured you were gonna keep going, yeah?"
ScorchMan thought about it. "No," he decided, huffing a laugh, "no, I think I'm just gonna stay right here. See what finds me, you know?"
"Aren't you always razzing me about staying in the tub too long? Hypocrite much?"
"This is clearly different," ScorchMan kicked at the lava, making it splurch. The noise was more gratifying than it had any right to be, so he did it again, "I highly doubt I'm going to wake up so soaked full of cold water my-"
"That was ONE TIME!" Griffin screeched with the indignity of one profoundly roasted.
"I could have gone the rest of my existence blissfully unaware of that oh-so-lovely aspect of Operator cohabitation, but no, you had to start carrying on about your anatomy for the next three minutes! That image is in my head now, Griffin, I'm gonna have to live with those three minutes forever!" ScorchMan was shaking with mirth and belly-laughs, a hand coming up to drag down his face.
"No, you're right," Griffin kicked back, happy to have a partner in his carousing. "You're just gonna sit there so long the lava cools, and your feet get stuck in the ground, and next thing you know some big ugly virus monster is gonna roll up on you all 'oooh, I didn't know snacks grew outta the ground!' And then you're gonna feel reeeal silly, aren'tcha?"
ScorchMan got very quiet. Griffin was half-expecting him to get up and walk away, only for him to shrug and quip, "Still better than a wrinkly ass." He smirked as Griffin started back up, though he did lift his feet out of the lava before it could cool overmuch. He made no move yet to get up, sitting by the lava and enjoying the heat and the moment while they lasted.
<(MiniEnergy x2 used, HP: 100/100)>
<(Waiting patiently in place for Battle #5)>