February 27, 2014

In Which Alina Is Not Rosy Either

September 21, 1184

"You really didn't have to walk me home."

Of course Alina hadn't had to--but Lady Xeta had asked, and her twin brother gave the poor woman so much grief that Alina couldn't help but give her a hand when she needed it. Rina had always been out of sorts, but ever since Severin ran off, she'd become even more so. Today had been particularly rough, given the stress of the history test--Rina's worst subject, according to Severin. Rina had nearly been in tears by the end of the day, and that hadn't escaped Lady Xeta's notice, so she'd asked Alina if she'd see that Rina got home all right.

As for why it was she who'd been asked, as opposed to one of Rina's cousins or one of the baron's sons, Alina guessed it was solely because she was Severin's sister, though that brought complications of its own. Knowing their mother might react poorly to yet another child failing to return home, Lady Xeta had written up a quick note herself, which Alina gave to Teodrin when they met after class--along with a promise to their parents that she'd head home immediately after getting Rina home.

And even now, she pictured her mother slumped in her chair with her head on the table, Teodrin's cat brushing against her legs in search of a scratch, Esela struggling to occupy all the children on her own. It wasn't much fun, being the responsible one. Still, someone had to be.

"It's no trouble. Actually, I've kind of been wanting to get to know you a little better. You must be interesting if my brother prefers you to books." Though, honestly, she'd yet to see why. Didn't being interesting require... having interests? "Plus we're only a few months apart, so we might be housemates at the university in a few years."

"I guess so."

"Plus my family's been asking about you--kind of big news, Severin having a friend and all." Not as big as Severin disappearing for no apparent reason, but still up there. "My mother kept pestering Severin to invite you over for dinner. Actually, maybe you should come tomorrow; getting to meet you might cheer her up for a while."

"I don't know if I'd feel right about that."

"Why not? It's just dinner." All right, dinner with a bunch of strangers who happened to be kin to a runaway friend. But perhaps they could commiserate? "I mean... my parents are going to be worrying about Severin whether you're there or not. It might be good for them to make an effort."

"But it's my fault he--!" She cut herself off with a gasp, hand flying to her mouth. Her face matched the bone white of her undersleeve.

Alina doubted she was rosy herself. "What?"

"Shit. I, uh... well, I told him something I shouldn't have. I had a problem, and he might have... maybe thought he could solve it."

"Oh." Non-specific, but that did sound like Severin. He did pride himself on being smarter than everyone else, whether he actually was or not--and Rina didn't seem like the type to ask for favors. Alina decided she wouldn't blame her just yet.

That said, if Rina had information, wasn't she obligated to pry it out of her? Severin was her twin, after all. "Do you think he can solve it?"

"No." There went any idea Alina had of recapping this conversation to her mother. "I just hope he doesn't do anything reckless."



Van said...

Yeesh. How is it almost March?

Penelope said...

Reckless? Severin? Naahhhh! *snickers*

Hey, totally unrealated, but how is Tavrin these days? I miss his nudity and broken English.

Van said...


I'd assume that Tavrin is doing all right. I have a storyline on tap for the late 80s in which he could potentially show up.