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Messages - Marco Bott

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Wall Rose / Re: Through the bristling trees. [Marco/Seb]
« on: October 22, 2019, 10:18:05 PM »
Marco's gaze travelled as he listened to his comrades discuss tactics. The forest was an ideal setting for this aptitude test; the wide, tall tree trunks and their innumerable sprawling branches offering a multitude of places to anchor their hooks. It was easy to imagine them darting through the canopy, using bursts of speed to build their momentum. If they were clever, and mindful, they should be able to conserve gas. The terrain did mean they were faced with endless obstacles, however. They would need to exercise caution and, as Sebastian pointed out, be mindful of one another. Armed with lethal blades and relying on wires that could all too easily become tangled, any contact could spell disaster. And that was to say nothing of what might happen if they fell. Sprains and breaks, indeed.

Axel's plan was sound, and confidently communicated. It opened up space between them, reduced the chances of collisions and would surely make them appear professional to their instructors. The Titans were dummies and, while this did feel like a game, they could only score points for taking it seriously.

Naturally, Axel wanted to attack. He was agile and decisive, made for the role - so no qualms there. "I'm happy to distract. I'll go on the flank, if you want to spearhead?" Marco nodded at Axel, an eyebrow raised in askance. Vaguely, the freckled cadet wondered if he would be marked down for taking a more passive position within the team - until he reminded himself of exactly that, this was a team effort. Helena muttered her preference for acting as an attacker, which sat less easily with Marco. She took unnecessary risks that didn't always pay off, and she had a terrible habit of losing track of what was going on outside of her own bubble. He didn't say any of this aloud, not wanting to hurt her feelings, but he hoped the other attackers would have the sense to keep an eye on their unobservant companion.

Marco's attention shifted to Sebastian then. "What about you, Seb?" As he asked the question, he rolled his wrists, loosening them for the challenge ahead, and began checks on his ODM equipment.

Training Corps Barracks & Grounds / Re: Thoughts of home. [Marco]
« on: October 22, 2019, 07:12:11 PM »
They'll be talking about Marco Bott making a difference for years to come.

Marco blinked in surprise, chuckling low and shy as he scuffed the back of his neck with a freckled hand. Somehow, the thought of any sort of renown was almost embarrassing. He was too… nice to be made for greatness. And he meant that in the sense that nice was often synonymous with bland or predictable. "Oh, I don't know," Marco murmured, smiling faintly, touched by Axel's kindness and enthusiasm. People were more likely to remember how someone made them feel, rather than anything they had done or said, right? That was good enough for him, if he could only bring the world a little happiness and encouragement. "It just… it takes many pairs of hands to turn the wheel, you know? I'm just happy to help."

The letter went forgotten once more, Marco listening closely as Axel told him of his family and their military connections. The freckled cadet was genuinely interested, and sincerely impressed. They had led very different lives. To him, a boy from Jinae in south Wall Rose, even Utopia felt like half a world away. "Your mother is right, I think. Doing and being your best is the most important thing," Marco agreed, tilting his head thoughtfully. "Competition can be ugly, when there's too much one-upmanship." He paused, hoping Axel wouldn't think that was a comment directed at him. The boy was undoubtedly driven and determined, but there was nothing nasty or corrosive in his competitiveness. It all seemed based on a genuine desire to improve and to be the very best he could be.

"My feeling is that you'll meet your expectations. Exceed them, even. Your family must already be very proud of you." How could they be anything to the contrary, when their boy had entered the Training Corps of his own volition, brave and eager and capable? Axel's sheepish smile was answered by one that was warm and steady. "Do you think you will join them? Your family. In the Garrison, I mean…" Marco hesitated a little, finding the subject of preferred regiments bordering close to intrusive. Besides, it was no secret that Axel considered the Survey Corps a viable option. "It's early days yet, I know," Marco added, so that Axel could easily shut down this line of conversation if he desired.

Training Corps Barracks & Grounds / Re: To Write is Human
« on: October 22, 2019, 05:46:26 PM »
Jean seemed keen to maintain that the letter he so stubbornly mantled was nothing more than a complaint. "Hmm," Marco hummed, his response noncommittal. He was confident that his fellow cadet was lying - honestly, what grievance could he possibly have to make against Eren, besides a clash of personalities? - but didn't want to push the matter. Jean was being evasive for a reason, even if that reason remained a mystery for the time being.

You write letters to your mom?

The question was asked sincerely - at least at first - then an increasingly familiar smirk tugged on Jean's lips and he tilted his head back. Was he… was he holding back laughter? No, that didn't appear to be it. Marco frowned a little in his confusion, folding his arms and protectively clutching the bundle of papers to his chest. The question came again, leaving him to wonder whether there was supposed to be a correct answer. Whatever that might be, he only possessed the truth.

"Uh, yeah," Marco answered plainly. Although he couldn't be certain, it felt as though Jean might be about to tease him. Which seemed a little odd, given that they were alone and there was no audience to feed into the ridicule. Besides, Marco was sure most cadets - at least those who were halfway literate, and had family they were in any way fond if - wrote home with some frequency. Some didn't get the opportunity, he knew, thinking momentarily of Eren. This small bloom of sorrow compelled him to speak on. If Jean was going to mock him, he would weather it with dignity. There wasn't anything this boy, or anyone else, could say to dissuade him from his letter writing.

"Every other day, usually. I guess it'll get less as time goes on, and as we get busier with training, but for now this seems to be what works." Although Jean hadn't actively invited him to sit, Marco slid onto the bench opposite, and unburdened himself of the stationery, which included a small bundle of envelopes, bound carefully together with twine. Every cherished letter his mother had sent thus far.

"It's good for both of us, I think," Marco continued earnestly, cheerfully even, unhurriedly catching a runaway pen as it rolled across the tabletop. "She's on her own and, well, I've never been away from home. It's taking some getting used to." Then his focus shifted to Jean, trying to get the measure of the boy sitting across from him. He smiled again, kindly, and perhaps with a touch of concern. "What about you? Do you… do you not write home?"

Training Corps Barracks & Grounds / Re: To Write is Human
« on: October 21, 2019, 10:01:13 PM »
No. I'm not.

The response was unexpected, so much so that Marco blinked in surprise. Discreet though Jean tried to be, observant brown eyes detected the hand splayed protectively over the top of the page, and the subtle movements as the cadet furtively tried to pull his palm free. Normally Jean's voice dripped with self-assurance but now there was a tightness to its cadence, and his smirk failed to muster its usual swagger. The freckled cadet couldn't quite make sense of what he was seeing - or hearing.

"Really?" Marco's eyes widened at first, initially taking Jean at his word despite everything to the contrary. "Jean, I know you two have your differences, but there's really no need - " Marco paused then, a low groan rising in his throat as realisation struck. His free hand rose to his face, pinching the bridge of his nose in embarrassment. How foolish… why didn't he think for just a moment longer before speaking? Either this was a jest or an attempt at a smokescreen. "No, of course you're not making a formal complaint."

Marco's expression softened and, as his hand fell away, he nodded to Jean's paper. Beneath that hand, fresh ink was smudged and sticking - he was sure of it - though he didn't yet understand why Jean had reacted so strongly. Unless he was writing a love letter? That certainly seemed to be a possibility. But did Jean really think he was so nosy as to read over his shoulder?

"Do you want a fresh page? I brought plenty spare…" Marco reached to pull a sheet free from his small bundle, then hesitated. "Do you mind if I join you?" He tilted his dark head in askance as he uttered the question, wondering vaguely if he was intruding. "I shouldn't be too long, I'm just planning to write a quick letter to my mother." He smiled fondly, wide enough to reveal the dimples at the corners of his mouth. "She worries, you know?"

Training Corps Barracks & Grounds / To Write is Human
« on: October 21, 2019, 08:32:15 PM »
There was a certain rhythm to the days, and pattern to the weeks, that was becoming increasingly familiar to Marco. He was glad of that, finding it had taken some time to adjust and settle into the strict structure of military life. How fortunate he was that Mina had enlisted at the same time as him, the kind-hearted girl a little piece of home and a friend in a sea of strangers. Slowly though, he was putting names to faces, getting acquainted with his comrades. They were his roots, giving him a sense of belonging.

In the short time he had been with the Training Corps, Marco had penned a letter to his mother every other day, unabashedly pouring his heart onto parchment, recalling and sharing little details of his days. Ever optimistic, he told her of his fellow cadets and their instructors (naturally, not wishing to worry her, he omitted the beration he had received from Commandant Keith Shadis). Responses came regularly, though not quite so often as to match Marco's frequency. After all, life in Jinae ticked on as it always had, and Ms. Bott had less to say than her son.

How he missed his mother. How he missed home.

With a free hour between classes, some cadets trained - riding horses in the arena, or running laps of the training grounds - whilst others chose to lounge in the dormitories, the barracks pleasantly warm with the afternoon sun. Marco, however, seized on the opportunity to write, his boots carrying him to the mess hall. Between mealtimes, it was likely to be empty.

Only, it wasn't.

Stepping inside the room, Marco's earthy eyes landed almost immediately on the figure of another cadet, sitting at one of the benches. "Hey Jean," he greeted brightly, though he did not know the boy well. His first thought was that Jean was studying - making the top ten took some graft, after all - but as he moved closer a half-glance told him it was letter paper on the tabletop, rather than books or notes. Marco smiled wide and warm at that, readjusting his grip on the parchment he carried, several pencils clutched in his freckled fingers. "Oh, so you're writing home too!"

Cadets / Re: Pigtails Needs Pals! (Mina's Plotter)
« on: October 16, 2019, 09:03:31 PM »
► Mina and Marco

Wonderful, I do love a shared past and the potential for childhood threads! Goodness knows they'll both be glad to have a friendly face in the crowd of cadets. I know you mentioned a scenario pre-military, when they're talking about joining the Training Corps. Do you know roughly when Mina decides that's what she wants to do? I'm looking forward to getting a thread started! :)

Training Corps Barracks & Grounds / Re: Thoughts of home. [Marco]
« on: October 14, 2019, 05:01:29 PM »
The kind words came unexpectedly. Sincerity laced Axel's voice, indicating this was no idly made compliment, and Marco's face split with a warm, surprised smile. "Ah, that's a nice thing to say," he remarked gratefully, dipping his head shyly. A gentle voice and kind heart might not be the most desirable traits in a cadet, or a soldier, but they were attributes Marco valued immensely - and he was genuinely delighted to think Axel thought of him in such a way.

Determination burned bright in Axel's stormy grey eyes, and Marco had the distinct impression he was sitting across from a boy who would leave a mark on the world - one way or another, and no matter which regiment he chose to join. "That's what I want, more than anything," Marco agreed, finding both Axel's enthusiasm and resolve contagious. "To make a difference, to do good, to serve." It hadn't occurred to the freckled cadet, at least not in a conscious, apparent way, that their intake was different to those that had come before. The catastrophic loss of Wall Maria had shown them all what happened, and what was lost, when the Walls were not adequately defended. Though what could be done to protect them from a 200 foot tall Titan? If the rumours were to be believed…

Despite his darkening thoughts, a hint of a smile lingered on Marco's lips as he wrote the words Dear Mother at the top of his page, in meticulously neat and delicate handwriting. "I imagine you're better prepared for training than most of us, what with your mother being in the Garrison." Having at least addressed his letter, he paused, focus shifting back to the cadet across from him. "Did she have any advice? Besides working hard, I mean."

Cadets / Re: Pigtails Needs Pals! (Mina's Plotter)
« on: September 14, 2019, 10:31:17 PM »
► Mina and Marco

LOVELY MINAAA!  It's taken me far, far too long to get around to posting in here, sorry about that.  I hope all has been well with you, Quiet. <3

With these two both being from Jinae, there's a chance they knew one another before they joined the Training Corps (I would really like that, if you're agreeable, as shared history is always a pleasure to explore).  In any case, I do feel that they would get along well, particularly as Mina is good-hearted, loyal, friendly and kind - all traits that Marco admires and holds dear.  Potential close friends?  Possible love interest?  You posting rare-pairs on Tumblr put Marumina on my radar, haha, and I can totally see it, to be honest.

I also have Dalton and Struna, if either of them appeal then we can certainly plot them as well. :)

Wall Rose / Re: Through the bristling trees. [Marco/Open]
« on: January 29, 2019, 08:54:39 PM »
There had been copses near Jinae, swaths of woodland that striped the landscape and bordered the fields.  They were nothing like this place, however.  Here the trees stood taller than Titans, their thick, evergreen canopies blotting out the sun and ensuring the forest floor remained in a cool, perpetual state of shade.  Here and there, the odd shaft of light filtered through from above, but there were few and far between.  All sound was muted by the thick carpet of pine needles and deadened by the sea of trunks that surrounded them.

Glancing to Axel, Marco returned the nod, and smiled.  This would be a challenge - a test - but the height of danger came in the form of tangled wires, scratches, falls or a bad score.  Nothing life-threatening, hopefully.  It lent the expedition a simultaneously lighthearted and competitive edge that was likely lacking in actual military operations.

“Sounds like a solid plan to me,” Marco responded agreeably, his gaze flickering between Helena and Axel.  The conservation of gas would surely be vital, he just hoped that he was able to keep up with the pace set by his companions; after all, it would be accurate, and fair, to describe his approach to ODM manoeuvres as steady and methodical.  That fleeting concern brushed aside, there was only one other thing the freckled cadet could think to add.  “Be sure to shout ‘Titan’ if you happen across one of the dummies.  I imagine we’ll do better if we take them down together.”

IC / Re: Welcome To A Land Full of [Murder] Mystery! [Marco]
« on: August 22, 2018, 08:59:57 AM »
It was with almost boyish excitement that Marco stepped into the district’s Military Police headquarters.  Brown eyes surveyed their surroundings, alighting on the emerald green unicorn of the regiment.  Marco felt a bloom of pride - and perhaps trepidation - at the sight.  He was still aspiring to join their ranks, and had worked hard these past three years to be the best he could be, all the while hoping to be worthy of the MP uniform.  Come graduation day, he would know if he had been successful.

By the time Annett stepped away from the desk, she had a file wrapped triumphantly in her arms.  Their mentor’s exuberance, passion and dedication were obvious and while she might strike as eccentric, there was nothing wrong with being a little offbeat.  Her face was tipped forwards now, eyes eagerly devouring the contents of the dossier.  Following in their mentor’s wake, Marco was glad to have Jean at his side; his friend and fellow cadet was a pillar of familiarity in this placement.

Break-ins.  Near the gate.  Fifteen houses.  Stripped of valuables.  Forced entry.  Marco echoed the details in his head as Annett flicked through pages with a deftness and confidence that was surely born of experience and practice.

The first clue?  Marco hesitated for a moment, casting a curious glance at Jean.  Unlike any questions asked in the classroom, this one didn’t have an obviously correct, preordained answer as far as he could tell.  “That… that the break-ins have all taken place near the gate?”  Uncertainty coloured his softly-spoken voice, lending it a lilt that shaped his response like a question.  “I mean, assuming the crimes are all related.  It seems risky, that a thief would keep targeting the same area over and over again.  Lightning isn’t supposed to strike twice, never mind fifteen times.  The residents would be on their guard…”

Trost District / Re: Break New Ground
« on: August 21, 2018, 09:38:48 AM »
How lucky he was, not to have simply found someone who could help but to have located Arkin Holt himself.  The Garrison soldier looked tired, his face kind, smiling and framed by fair hair.  A little surprised, perhaps, to be pounced on by a cadet, but who could blame him for that?

Marco had the good grace to look a little sheepish in response to the first question.  “Oh, I don’t have class today,” he explained hurriedly, eager not to be seen as shirking his duties.  Belatedly, it occurred to the freckled boy that Arkin might have meant something else - that perhaps he wasn’t authorised to wander around the Garrison Headquarters unaccompanied.  “The guards at the door let me in.  The name’s Marco Bott, I’m a first year cadet.”  The uniform emblazoned with the crossed swords of the Training Corps obviously gave away the regiment, but Marco saw no reason to withhold how junior he was.  A first year, green as spring grass.

As Arkin spoke on, Marco blinked in surprise, then his expression shifted into a warm smile.  “That’s very kind.  Tea would be wonderful, thank you.”  His shoulders rounded a little as he relaxed, going on to explain what brought him to the healer’s door.  “A stall-keeper in the marketplace recommended you.  I’m actually here on behalf of a friend, a fellow cadet.  He… he doesn’t sleep well.  Or much at all, really.”

Utopia District / Re: Team Two: Supply Runners [Assault on Utopia]
« on: August 20, 2018, 01:41:30 PM »
The touch of Tobias’ hand was light and reassuring.  It bolstered Dalton, the young man’s heart swelling with a sense of overwhelming gratitude.  How fortunate he was to have been assigned to a team with the likes of Mara, Tobias and Marco.  Although the youths had not yet graduated, and had yet to officially choose their respective factions, they were a team and this was their first mission.  They were soldiers.  To Dalton, it seemed a little taste of what it must be like to belong in a squad, a close-knit team of people dedicated to serving humanity and to helping one another.  However frightful the Titans might be, however dire the situation, there was something invaluable in that.  They weren’t alone, not a one of them.

Wordless and emotional, Dalton smiled at Tobias and Mara, the expression warm and unforced.  The fear was still there but now, far from being close to paralyzing him, he felt he had curbed the rising sense of trepidation and panic.  We have this.  Tobias spoke with such confidence that it was easy to believe the delicate, red-haired boy.  Green eyes drifted over to the freckled cadet conversing with one of soldiers currently replenishing supplies, whom Tobias swiftly moved to join.

“Saw a black flare a while back… somewhere a little west of here, maybe?”  The woman answered, dragging a hand over her face.  Dirt clung to the sweat that shone on her cheeks and brow.  “There’s been that many…”  Rising to her feet, she huffed a deep breath and tapped her gas canisters with her fingertips, seeming satisfied with the metallic sound they made - it indicated they were full once more.

Marco regarded Tobias from the corner of his eye, as the restocked soldier readied herself to leave.  “Do we linger, or should we keep moving?”  The question was asked quietly, but with urgency.  There were others out there in need of their assistance; it was a case of either holding tight and expecting the battling squads to come to them, or to keep looking for those in need.  A black flare meant there was an abnormal Titan in the vicinity and, while supply runners could engage as necessary, the four of them were undeniably inexperienced.  Marco wrestled inwardly with his own question and found there was no clear-cut answer.  He turned his speckled face towards Mara and Dalton, wordlessly inviting them to also give their input.

Trost District / Re: Where There's a Whisk, There's a Way
« on: August 17, 2018, 02:06:42 PM »
The escalation was almost dizzying, the shift in Armin’s disposition nothing short of remarkable.  Thoughtful, clever, gentle, determined, kind and timid - these were all words Marco would use to describe his fellow cadet - but now a fire sparked into life and burned bright within the blond boy, its sudden appearance heralded by the damp sound of the rag being thrown down.

“Whoa,” Marco breathed, more out of surprise than anything else, his dark eyes widening as Armin closed the distance between himself and Axel to jab the boy with a defiant finger.  Had the elder cadet been closer, without a wide, long stretch of table between them, he might have darted over to coax the boys apart, or to at least wedge his broad body between them.  How could the situation calm when they stood glowering at one another, exchanging heated words, tempers flared and emotions running high?

Instead, he splayed his freckled hands against the bench, his teeth gritted.  The flurry of words was brief and sharp, ending when Armin peeled away, returning to his cleaning with renewed fervour, while Axel focused again on kneading his dough.  The dark-haired, wintery-eyed boy possessed a fire much less discreet than Armin’s, his spirit reminding Marco somewhat of Eren’s.  Perhaps that was why the pair often butted heads.  By comparison, Axel and Armin at odds was much more surprising.

Marco was the last of the trio to return to work, tentatively lifting his knife while wondering if there was anything he could say, or do, to salvage the earlier camaraderie.  That was when Armin offered him an answer to question he had almost forgotten he had asked.  He was glad to have a tendril of conversation to cling to, one that might return them to something resembling normalcy as the rush of adrenaline and emotion faded.

“It sounds remarkable,” he responded quietly, trying to imagine the book as Armin described.  Strange parchment, pictures like paintings… what technology produced such a thing?  Axel spoke up too, his train of thought giving the freckled cadet even more considerations to mull over.  There was sincerity in the boy’s musings, but Marco couldn’t help but also see it as an olive branch of sorts.  There was enough squabbling in the world without the likes of Armin and Axel falling out, particularly when they had so much in common.  Their shared dedication to the Survey Corps, for one, and their disdain for the Military Police for another.

Trost District / Break New Ground
« on: March 20, 2018, 11:18:22 PM »
Even if he had desired it, Armin would have been hard pressed to disguise his sleeplessness from Marco.  They were both relegated to bottom bunks, their beds running parallel, mere feet apart.  For one as attentive as the boy from Jinae, Armin’s tossing and turning was as obvious as the dark rings that circled his intelligent, azure eyes during the hours of daylight.

Sleep evaded those who wore familiar paths through their minds, thinking racing thoughts all the time, it escaped the traumatised and the anxious.  Marco couldn’t guess with confidence what was at the root of Armin’s insomnia, but he was determined to help.  At first he tried the herb bundles of his youth; dried apple blossom, lavender and camomile flowers, bunched up in small squares of linen and placed beneath the pillow.  But still the restless nights continued.  A letter to his mother availed of a mysterious tincture, delivered wrapped in brown paper that was decorated with sketched studies of leaves and petals, and tied with fraying string.  The handwriting on the note attached was written in a neat and sweeping script: For Armin. x

It didn’t work either.

In the interregnum, while Ms. Bott worked on another remedy, Marco looked for other apothecaries close to the barracks.  Browsing the stalls of a bustling market one warm autumn afternoon, the freckled cadet was pointed in the direction of the Garrison Headquarters by a helpful vendor.  Feeling oddly nervous at the thought of entering a military building - even though he had the crossed swords stitched onto his cadet jacket - Marco might have balked and turned heel.  But this was for Armin.  Above all else, it was the needs of others that motivated Marco and gave him courage.

Supplying his name to the guards at the front gate, he wandered the corridors of the interior, more lost than he would like to admit; the directions he had been given were imparted hurriedly, with one of the guards regarding him with something akin to suspicion, the other arching her brow in what could only be surprise.

The click of boots against worn stone told him he was no longer alone in this maze - another soldier was coming his way!  Marco immediately seized on the chance of help.  “Excuse me,” he began, his gentle voice tinged with apology.  Military personnel were busy people and he was loath to distract them from their duties.  “Do you know where I could find, ah, Arkin Holt?”

IC / Ready, Aim, Fire!
« on: March 19, 2018, 10:37:59 PM »
Early Summer, Year 845

Don’t pull, just squeeze, Marco reminded himself.  Exhaling tremulously, he did just that - and promptly flinched in anticipation of the loud sound that was to follow.  Fragments of thatch exploded from the straw target, indicating his shot had landed outside of the desired circle.  Frustrated by his failure, Marco huffed dark hair out of his eyes, the musket dropping to point harmlessly at the ground.  Normally cheerful, his expression had crumpled into one of disappointment.  It didn’t matter that he was normally keen-sighted, not when he couldn’t quite translate that talent into the ability to shoot with accuracy.

Panic fluttered in his chest as he suffered a crisis of confidence.  What if his score in this class dragged him down, and cost him a place in the top ten?  If his dream of having the iconic green unicorn emblazoned over his heart was to be realised, he had to master firearms.  Trouble was, until he joined the Training Corps, Marco had never held a gun in his hands, and already he hoped he would never have cause to fire with the intention of causing harm - at least not at another human being.  But that was no excuse for mediocrity.

Disheartened, he cast his honey-brown eyes along the row of cadets diligently making their own shots, with varying degrees of success.  One stood out head and shoulders from the rest.  Young but tall for his age, his expression was one of absolute calm and concentration.  Bertholdt Hoover.  Marco knew his name, if only from roll call.  The boy was blazing through the practical as though it was childsplay.

After what felt like an eternity of struggle, the instructor signalled the end of the lesson.  The muskets were discharged of their ammunition, and the youths sloped off to the armory, returning the weapons to their rightful place.  Marco used this moment to close the distance between him and Bertholdt, weaving between the chattering cadets who seemed to have already put the matters of range and accuracy out of their minds.

“You’re really good,” Marco offered the compliment with unshakeable sincerity and warmth; his own failure didn’t mean he would begrudge another their success.  With deft, careful movements, he placed the firearm back onto the rack.  The room smelt of wood polish and gunpowder, an oddly pleasant combination.  Turning to Bertholdt - though they had yet to be formally introduced - Marco smiled.  “Beginner’s luck?  Or have you done this before?”

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