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BEACHY

Inspired by: Playing through the Pandaria arrival on my pally, and muttering "...It would have been so much cooler and scarier if the landing went like THIS--"
Warnings: My usual peeing on Canon's rug. Semi-spoilers for the landing on Pandaria except not. AU-of-an-AU!

I want to expand on this later hence no formal title block. :B

***

There was sand up Garrosh Hellscream's nose and sand in his boots and sand in his teeth and sand was trying to get into his eyes but he wasn't going to let it because it was everywhere else. So the sand could just deal with it.

...Was he really thinking that sand could act out of malice and plot against him? Seriously?

Damn, but his head hurt.

Slowly, carefully, he sat up--and bit back a loud curse when he put weight on his left arm. Great. His shoulder was all screwed up. It hurt to breathe--he'd probably choked on a hell of a lot of water after the zeppelin went down...

Garrosh shivered and that reaction had nothing to do with the chilliness of the night air and damp sand.

The zeppelin went down.

The zeppelin went down like a ton of bricks after that--thing--that thing that looked like it'd spawned out of the waves' shadows and the creepy bioluminescence of deep-sea fish and the pitch-black of a yawning cave lunged out of nowhere and all hell broke loose. That formless horrible surreal vicious thing that was at first nowhere and then suddenly was VERY, VERY THERE and surging forward and upward swiping impossible translucent claws and flashing unreal teeth at their zeppelins and the Alliance's ships and tearing sails and rupturing fuel lines and generally wrecking everyone's shit thoroughly.

He was lucky to be alive, and he didn't know if anyone else was, and damned if this wasn't Northrend all over again. Only instead of corporeal enemies, they had freaky zeppelin-squeezing ship-biting ghost things with too many claws and teeth and claw-teeth. Another unforeseen disaster--and another zeppelin crash! Not only was he reliving Borean Tundra, but the Twilight Highland fiasco as well!

Swell. He was three for three, this was spectacular.

"Saurfang's gonna kick my ass so hard," he groaned, and got to his feet.

He found a sturdy piece of driftwood a few paces down the beach, which made walking easier. The moons were rising, now--he'd been out long enough that sunset came and went.

A skinny-legged bird, startled by his approach, leapt to her feet and ran down the beach, dragging one wing as if it was broken. A ghost crab scuttled under a rock, and a moth drifted past in wobbly flight. It was so damn quiet, so still...

...But it wasn't the stillness of death on a large scale. Garrosh knew that stillness, knew how the very air felt after hundreds died. That wasn't here.

His stomach unknotted.

He hadn't gotten everyone killed. He wasn't a complete washout. There would be casualties, certainly, but he wasn't the only hapless clod left alive.

Now oblivious to the bird scolding him, Garrosh tried to recollect a little more about the disaster. If he could do that, he'd have a better chance of locating survivors and doing the job he was given.

...The thing came at them. Right. It smacked the zeppelin...and the shamans on board got on the ball right off, calling on the wind and water. The air got cold--Proudmoore was doing something below, and of course she was probably fine, she was basically part boat by birth.

He let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding.

Proudmoore was--he didn't exactly like her, but he didn't hate her. She was a strategist on par with Saurfang and Windrunner. She wasn't a warrior in the sense that he usually thought of it, but she was the one who walked into Icecrown Citadel side-by-side with Windrunner...and beat the Lich King around the head with her staff when he got to be too much of a jackass to deal with. And then when he cornered them both and started harassing Windrunner, Proudmoore basically set him on fire. It didn't take, but still!

Fire--speaking of fire--he should make one. It'd keep him warm, be a beacon to the lost. He needed to make a fire.

When he smelled woodsmoke, he started to get a little bit concerned (what, was he suddenly shamanic out of nowhere), but then he pulled himself together and shook the weird thoughts out of his head and looked down the beach to where the scent was drifting from: a smallish driftwood fire, and seated near it an equally-smallish figure.

Huh. That was fortunate. Possibly.

Garrosh didn't know if that was a Dwarf or a Goblin or a hunched-over Blood Elf or what--the blanket-lumpiness of the other made it impossible to work out. Either way, he figured it was smarter to try to share a fire and provide backup protection against more what-the-hell-was-thats , even if he was doing so for one who was technically an opponent of even an enemy.

Slowly, he made his way along the beach to the fire, and almost faceplanted once he clapped eyes on the other survivor.

"Oh, you have to be shitting me," he mumbled.

Prince Anduin Wrynn looked up at Garrosh, wide-eyed.

Garrosh tried to look harmless and not loomy because enemy or not this was a kid and only oathbreaking creeps like the dead warlock attacked kids. Plus Anduin was actually good at making fires. Garrosh hadn't ever got the hang of it.

Anduin spoke then, making Garrosh startle, because he spoke some of the best Orcish Garrosh had ever heard since Fordring and Proudmoore.

"Your arm looks funny. Sit down and let me fix it?"

Uh. Crud. It was that obvious?

Garrosh said, "You sure? I'm your father's opponent."

"Opponent. Not enemy." Anduin grinned and offered a hand.

How much DID this kid know? Wrynn himself was pretty sharp about Orcs what with his stint travelling with Rehgar and his roadshow of showboaters, but the kid GOT Orcs in a way that Wrynn didn't quite scratch the surface of, and probably would never.

Garrosh sat down. "You win," he said. And, "I...can I keep speaking this way? My Common is shitty." Yes, let's swear in front of Wrynn's kid. Good going, Hellscream. Wrynn probably heard that from wherever he was and was planning to run clear across the ocean and teach Garrosh's teeth to fly.

"Go ahead? I need practice." Anduin stood and set his palms on Garrosh's shoulder, getting a feel for what was awry where. "...Oh wow. Did you land right on your shoulder? This is a gigantic bruise and it's way out of joint."

"I guess I must have? Wish I'd landed on my head, my skull's thick enough to take the impact." Garrosh grinned. "And if it wasn't, no loss, right?"

Anduin gave his shoulder a small poke. "No. It's not better if you're dead."

Garrosh squeaked. "Hey ow. Quit that."

Another poke. "Then quit saying it's better if you're dead. And quit thinking it. I've seen the stuff you do."

"How would you even know, you're a--I have red pox scars older than you, short-ass."

Andiun gave him this flat-eyed are-you-stupid look that reminded him of Proudmoore. "Warlord Hellscream," he said, "look at what my dad did after Bolvar disappeared. The only difference between what he did then and what you're doing now is you're trying to go out smiling."

"So?"

"SO, you and he were both foolish and could have cost us a lot before, but...against whatever that enemy is that we saw? We're going to need all the help we can get. And you know how to fight."

With that Anduin gave his shoulder a sharp, precise push. Pain flared all up and down Garrosh's arm right to the core of his bones, but his impending bellowed profanity never had the time to coalesce into anything at all; the pain was gone in an instant, banished by the light under Anduin's palms.

"...Ow," wheezed Garrosh. "Aren't you supposed to warn people before you do that?"

"Anticipating the pain makes it worse," Anduin replied. "Does it feel better?"

Garrosh rolled his shoulder. He paused mid-roll. He blinked. He blinked again.

"...It IS better. How did...you just...I...wow. Wow. Kid, you're on par with my guardian, you know that?"

Anduin grinned again. It was a little smug, a little shy. "Thank you."

"I'm the one who should be giving thanks, I'm the one who had his arm fixed."
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