September 7, 2014

In Which Alina Is Years Away

March 6, 1187

"So you actually got your brother to leave his residence!" Leina shot Sev a wink as he grudgingly seated himself. In truth, their mother had threatened to reduce Severin's living allowance if he didn't go out and socialize at least once a term, but as much as Alina loved her brother, Severin could be embarrassing enough without everyone knowing that little detail. So, she wasn't about to make it common knowledge. "Pandora owes me five coppers."

"Then at least somebody benefits from this." Severin drummed his fingers against the table, no doubt trying to determine the minimum amount of time to constitute an outing. His agitation got a pout out of Leina; despite her increased flirtations with Adwyn Wythleit, she'd always had an inexplicable attraction to Alina's grouchy brother, who probably had no idea and and even less interest. "Why did we have to get here so early?"

"And here I thought Alina was kidding when she'd said you'd never been here before!" Oh Leina, with her far-too-optimistic misunderstanding of just how antisocial Severin was. But objectively, Alina would admit that it wasn't a bad guess. Everyone else on campus frequented Artan and Maddie's inn, so why should any uninformed party just assume her brother to be any different? "It's Friday night, silly. Show up too late, and good luck finding a free stool, much less a table."

Severin's eyes swept the otherwise empty room, unconvinced. "I think we're all right."

"Just wait a half hour," Alina promised--or, given who she was speaking to, 'sentenced'. "As soon as the next person gets here, we should probably order drinks. Poor Artan's bound to be swamped once the crowd pours in."

"Crowd? God. I knew you couldn't have been serious when you said this would be fun." Face scrunched in obvious pleasure, Severin's right hand took to rubbing his left arm in an anxious habit, the seam of the sleeve all the more obvious. That was what he got for buying the cheapest clothes he could find that weren't outright falling apart. "Whatever. Who are we waiting for?"

"Oh, most of the girls in our dorm, plus their boyfriends. Just not Alina Indruion. We invited her, but she turned us down." Leina laughed. "Good thing she's planning on becoming a nun. Seventeen and she's already an old prude."

"Leina! That's mean. Not everyone is into boys and partying." To prove her point, she jerked her head over at Severin--and for once in their lives, he nodded in agreement. "Anyway, the it's the usual crowd: Pandora and Primus, Riona and Nythran, Meraleene and Conant, Cladelia and Arkon. And all of them are nobles--hell, Conant is a prince!--so try not to be too..." Too what? Aside from his excuses for not pursuing Rina, Severin had never cared about class distinctions, and who knew which quirk to blame there. ""

"And there's also Adwyn and Jothein," Leina added with a wink, leaving Alina to fight a blush in vain. "They're not nobles, but unless you want your sister and I to end up as old maids, you'd better be even nicer to them than you are to the others."

"If you think Adwyn Wythleit is your only chance at a ring on your finger, it may already be too late." Severin rolled his eyes. He did that so often Alina was half-astounded that they weren't permanently pointed at the inside of his head. "Besides, if we're getting to the only reason anyone who isn't kidding themselves gets married, you don't actually need to be married to have sex."

"I--I know that!" But clearly she didn't want to discuss it! At least Severin had had the tact not to bring up Leina's mother--though, one of his plus sides may have been that he saw no issue there. "But I want romance too!"

"Also independent of the prospect of marriage." Severin slumped over, bored with one of his least favorite topics. "But oh, joy--me and six couples. Did you actually want to see me, or am I just a chaperone? Because I'll tell you right now, I couldn't care less what any of you do with your genitals and I'm not going to pretend otherwise."

Much as Alina appreciated the sentiment (poorly phrased as it was), Leina shot her a pitying glance. "So much for the protective older brother, huh?"

"I'm only older by nineteen minutes. And excuse me if respecting my sister's sexual autonomy is such a grievous crime. All I ask is that I don't have to know about it."

"But don't your parents--"

"Have better things to worry about? Yes, I'm sure they do. My mother still has four kids and one on the way at home, and my father's trying to declare our house a sovereign nation again. They don't care if Alina and Jothein are fucking."

At the bar, Artan glanced over. Alina slouched. "Severin!"

"Oh, sorry. 'Making love'." Another eye roll. "God, why does everything have to be so damn--"

"Oh. I'm not the first one here."

Thank God. A new person would change the conversation--hopefully for the better. "Hello, Arkon."

"Alina. Leina." Arkon nodded to them both, but paused when Severin turned his head. Due to the demographics of the current student pool, the men's dormitories filled at a different rate than the women's; Severin and Arkon weren't far apart in age, but sophomore Arkon lived at the established Gemini House while freshman Severin was at the still-filling Leo House. If the two shared no classes and Severin never went out, then were would they have met?

"...I'm sorry, I don't know who you are."

"Arkon, this is my twin brother, Severin. He's kind of a shut-in." She patted her brother on the shoulder and smirked. "Though, you might have heard about him from your sister. They're quite close."

"Oh. So, you're that Severin."

Severin stood, knuckles twitching into a fist. "And you're Rina's brother."

Alina too rose from her seat. Much as he annoyed her, there was no one on the planet Alina knew quite as well as she knew Severin, nor did she think anyone knew him better than she did. And knowing him like she did, she didn't think this was leading anywhere good. "Severin..."

"She did mention you."

"She mentioned you too."

Neither said anything more. But tense silence was rarely a symptom of peace, and this conversational halt was no exception.


There would come a day when Alina would gleefully gather her children about her and revel in their laughter as she recounted the time that their Uncle Severin had slugged the future Count of Tagrien across the jaw. But that day was years away, and those years would begin with months and months of anything but amusement.

"What the hell is wrong with you?"



Van said...

...I forgot how much I hated Sundays when Sunday actually meant something.


Emma said...

Yay :)
You're back :D

Weeeeeellll, I like Severin. Considering that he knows nothing about Arkon' thoughts... Maybe that punch will get Arkon to finally talk to Rina *hopes for the best*

Sorry for any kind of typo. I need sleep and don't wear my glasses... I don't really see what i'm typing :D

Still, I'm glad you took up those crazy inhabitants of Naroni so quickly again :)

Van said...

Yep! :)

No, there's no way Severin could have known about Arkon's recent change in position without someone telling him, so... yeah, punch justified. If nothing else, it could hammer the point in just a little more.

No worries. I swear that half of what I write is typos. XD

And heh... I guess I can never stay away for too long. ;)

Penelope said...

WHOAH! Severin's all old and stuff! Heheheheh, he's my new favorite dude. I hope he doesn't get in trouble for this, because it was a well-deserved beating.

Van said...

He IS all old and stuff! XD

Methinks he'll get away with this some way or another. Arkon probably knows he deserved it.