January 19, 2014

In Which Asalaye Cannot Promise

June 24, 1184
How was it that the summer break was half over already?

The university ran in four terms, with a two-month break between the spring and summer, then another between the autumn and winter. The exception had been this year; given that some of the students would need remedial work, what with many of them not having had a substantial childhood education, the university had opened in January--normally half the winter break--for a thorough month of general studies. Since the school was to follow the university timeline as closely as possible, Camaline and Xeta had opted to open in January as well, which had meant a five-month stretch as opposed to the would-be-standard four months. By the ended of that, Asalaye had more than needed the time off.

Of course, her father and brothers and sister worked year-round, so Asalaye supposed she couldn't complain. And now that she'd done the five months, four months would surely seem no problem in the future?

And she did still have a month left before school resumed. There was plenty of time to pursue her hobbies, see her friends, enjoy her family... and to rest. Rest was crucial--especially now that Arydath had confirmed that Baby Number Four was to make her appearance in January.

And now that Baby Number Two had just burst into the room, face scrunched and his shoulders in a shudder, his bottom lip quivering as he fought to keep his mouth shut. "Adonis? Sweetie, what's wrong?"

Asalaye frowned as her younger son stopped just short of her footboard. It was not so short a distance that she could miss the tears in his eyes. "Adonis? Addie-my-laddie?"

"It's that--" As his mouth opened, they pulled his eyes with them. He buried his face in his hands; neither Asalaye nor Lonriad had ever told their sons that boys didn't cry, but no parent could prevent their children from picking up such things elsewhere. "That s-stupid Tad..."

Asalaye rose from the bed and approached her child, wrapping an arm around him. Of course it was Tad. Tad was one of the maids' sons, a nightmare of a little boy with a knack for destruction and a love of bullying. Had his mother had any relations or friends who were able to take him for the day, Tad would not have been welcome. Not after the stolen fish, not after Lonriad's mother's broken vase, certainly not after picking on the other children!

But Asalaye did, at least, want her children to be better than that. "It's not nice to call people stupid."

"But he is! And he's m-mean! Sevvie punched him, but he still... he still..."

A sob. Poor little kid. Most of the children in the family's social group were kind enough--or at least suffered the wrath of their parents when they weren't--but Adonis was an easy target and he couldn't help it. Or at least, Asalaye didn't see why he should be the one who had to change. "Was he teasing you about your clothes?"

Adonis nodded. Asalaye pulled him closer and wiped some hair out of his face, and a streaming tear from his eye. Lonriad's parents and Asalaye's father alike had agreed that kids liked to costume themselves, and sometimes the costumes got worn past playtime, and sometimes the clothing wasn't an accepted fit to the child's sex. Asalaye herself had sometimes dolled up Congren and Sev and pretended they were her little sisters, and Lonriad admitted to having endured more than one ladies-only tea party with Vera. It was by no means unheard of, young boys wearing dresses.

Granted, Adonis took it a little further than most. For the sake of his own security, they'd convinced him to wear tunics to school and on outings, but he could wear what he liked at home--and more often than not, what he liked were hand-me-down dresses from his older female cousins. It was beginning to seem a little long-lived for her and Lonriad to be reminding each other that it was "Just a phase", but why should their boy have to suffer for it? Clothing was an artificial thing, was it not? There was no law of nature that stated only certain people could wear certain things. And was a dress really so different than the longer tunics and robes worn by men in other places and ages?

"Aww, don't listen to him, Addie. He's just jealous because he knows he'll never be as handsome as you." If anything, that spurred the crying a little further. Maybe it hadn't been a tactful thing to say. Adonis was not stupid--and alas, while their father was a god from a long line of gods, he and his brother both took after Asalaye's less-than-pretty side. And Tad, little brat though he was, was not an aesthetically displeasing child. "Or as confident."

Sniffling, her son shook his head. "I'm not c-confident, Mama."

"Yes, you are." She pulled him closer and kissed the side of his head. "You know who you are, and what you like, and you don't have a problem showing it. You're true to yourself. Bullies like Tad wish they could stand out, but they're too afraid, because fitting in is easier. And then they see you, all good and genuine, and they feel bad about themselves. That's why they want to make you feel bad too."

"And they do a good job of it!"

Asalaye sighed. Damn kids always did. "Yes, some of them do. But just remember that their insecurity is never your fault, and while it's all right to feel sad and insulted, never feel like you have to be guilty or ashamed. Can you promise me you won't blame yourself?"

Adonis swallowed. But then, after a couple seconds' hesitation, a nod. "All right..."

He didn't sound too sure, but what five-year-old was? She couldn't promise that the world would ever be a kind place. There was no minimum age for cynicism.

Regardless, she needed him to know that not everyone cared what sort of clothes he preferred. She, for one, would always love him all the same. "That's my brave boy."

NEXT CHAPTER:

7 comments:

Van said...

So, Winter and I are modding a new Tumblr directory for Sims stories and challenges, found here. Feel free to submit your own work, or someone else's.

Ann said...

Okay, how soon can I get Ann over to Veldora to give that Tad-brat what's coming to him? Also, I think he may be missing an o in his name, don't you?

Gotta say Asalaye handled that pretty well. (So did Sevvie. Nice job punching that brat! Right one!) And Adonis is so brave. Also, adorable! Can't wait to see him all grown up. ^^ He'll be such a man! I can already see the ladies stand in line. And that will show the Toad what's what. :D

Van said...

Alas, I don't know how soon Anna will be getting back to Naroni. But in the mean time, Tad will be nursing a black eye for a few days, courtesy of Sevvie's big brother mode. ;)

Yeah, I think Asalaye handled it as best she could, given that Tad has nowhere else to go during the day and she can't outright ban him from her home (though she will certainly be talking to his mother about his behaviour!).

Adonis is going to be a lot of fun when he gets older. A lot, a lot, a lot.

Winter said...

Tad better watch out. Adonis is going to look amazing in those gowns Ann made when he gets older. And those arm braces will work well for throwing mean left hooks.

Even if Asalaye and Lonriad are going to have to see this as more than a phase soon enough, it seems like they'll handle it well enough. Asalaye definitely has the right perspective - they're just clothes. (Though having Adonis wear tunics in mixed company is a good idea, at least until he can fight back, if he wants to.)

Van said...

Adonis is going to wear those gowns very well. In fact, since he'll probably be one of the few characters who won't spend his life suffering from Limited Wardrobe, I'm sure he'll be rocking all the different colors at some point or another.

It's getting close to the point when Asalaye and Lonriad will have to look each other in the eye and admit, for sure, that it's not just a phase. But yeah, I don't think either of them will struggle too much with making peace with it.

Adonis will be wearing tunics in public for a few years yet. But when he gets to a certain age, he can decide for himself whether he wants to keep that up or not.

Kayla nunes said...

This settles it, Lonriad and Asalaye are my two favorite characters. Such smart and caring parents <3

Van said...

They're fantastic parents, for sure! :)