A/N: Expelling this from my brain because I would like to focus on Externality and/or my writing workshop homework and this is quite distracting.
Also, I know Adrik goes by Korak in the Dawn Republic and I will tag as both but the above heading is just so that people are clear that in no way will Saito ever meet/fall in love/start a relationship with a literal murdering slaver that is actual!Korak.
Anyway, have this random brainstorm.
New Tricks, Old Dogs
Saito has already had the loves of his life: a wife who he will always cherish and a son who he will never forget.
Jiǔtóu is not his family’s replacement, he is just a tiefling looking out for another tiefling. His fondness and protectiveness for her now doesn’t rewrite his past, but it is a good reminder that, for all that he’s lost, his heart is not completely dead.
He has no idea what the fuck that overgrown lizard has to do with anything.
… if ever I do write this (which I probably won’t because… um… well. Even if it were on my list of things to write, it’s a pretty long list) I’ll probably rewrite that summary, but for now that’s what the gist of this is: two old dogs bafflingly/grudgingly falling in love despite all the odds of, you know, the understandable hostility from Saito’s end.
Basically, despite very much not wanting to go to Talis’Val which is ruled by a dragonborn and has awful parallels to the life of slavery he barely escaped, Saito’s not going to let Jiǔtóu do the same without reluctantly being there in case she ever wants to leave immediately and never return, what do you say, kid?
And he has enough gold to retire and do nothing, yeah, even in the nice neighborhoods of Talis’Val, but that gets really fucking boring really fucking quick. There’s only so many times he can get shitfaced at the nearest bar and amaze people by his literal endless amounts of gold before that gets old.
He’s a fantastic dungeoneer because he’s clever and enjoys puzzles and he likes the thrills even more than the treasure (or, rather, now that he doesn’t need the treasure, he still likes the thrills). So he becomes a sort of adjunct member of whatever guild of adventurers the main party eventually create and does more consulting for them whenever there’s any ancient tombs or whatever that need exploring.
And it lets him keep an eye on Jiǔtóu in case, hey kid, that offer’s still open, I know you’ve got a sweet deal here but you know what’s really great? Not being potentially enslaved again by that dragonborn bastard running this place.
Anyway, Saito’s reputation gets pretty good. He becomes the go-to guy for weird dungeoneering problems–even without the main party being there, he starts to offer his services to the various people of Talis’Val. There are, after all, a lot of unexplored temples and such under the city which the various religious sects would be interested in. And the various schools of magic would appreciate someone with a deft hand at retrieving magical artifacts or even just translating some ancient texts that reference *insert cool spell here*
He doesn’t mind the city so much, even if it is clearly ruled by a bunch of incompetents at best or traitors at worst. (But doesn’t that just figure given who the Champion is)
And of course, at some point Korak shows up at their guild hall–where Saito kind of hangs around like a feral old tomcat–probably looking for the main party, and instead finding an old tiefling who would like nothing better than to stab him in the eyeballs but refrains because Jiǔtóu would be disappointed in him.
Hm… that seems a bit of a too hostile beginning. Let’s try that again…
Korak finds, instead, an old tiefling who makes snide insults and is of no help whatsoever in saying where the main party are and basically disrespects Korak as both Champion and a person.
It is, somewhat, refreshing in comparison to all the bureaucracy and talking in circles. All of Korak’s friends disrespect him and snark at him–that may be where the confusion starts.
And then the whole enemies/rivals (for Jiǔtóu’s daughterly affections?) to friends to lovers schtick, you know how it goes.
Just two old bastards who have seen too much and are tired but not dead yet somehow falling in love.
Frankly, I’m not sure why this has been plaguing my brain because if ever I’ve shipped a rare pair, this must surely be the rarest.