August 8, 2016

In Which Abrich Does Not Frown Upon

December 8, 1201


"Sister." Abrich leaned in for an exchange of pecks to the cheek. Among the three siblings alongside whom he'd mostly grown up, he'd always had himself pegged as the least remarkable, with Lorn being the heir and late the duke, Xeta being the clever one with the auburn curls who'd been poised to become Lady Veldora, and Rona being... well, Rona. He'd suspected that Lorn and Rona, at least, agreed with him there; they'd never disregarded him, exactly, but their wants had always taken precedence in their relationship with him, feeling it wasn't much in his nature to be passionate about anything other than girls he couldn't have.

Xeta, though, had never asked a thing of him. It may just have been that she could get whatever she wanted for herself, but she just gave and gave and gave some more. Even now, when she was in the not-exactly-respected position of 'widow with three bastards living with another widow with whom she may or may not be engaging in sapphism', much of any conversation he had with her ended up focusing on how he was, because she kept drawing him out of her shell in that earnest, gentle way she always had. If she had any grievances of her own, she made no show of it to him.

He wished she would. She may have been the best sibling to him, but he'd been a better brother to Lorn and Rona. Abrich could give, but he had to be prompted--and Xeta was too kind to do so.

And not just to him, if the woman he'd crossed paths with just outside the door had been any indication. "I didn't know you and Lettie still visited, what with Jadin gone and her divorce from Searle."

"Well, we didn't used to visit much, to be honest. We always got along, but I already had an established group of friends by the time she arrived in Naroni, and she's something of a loner anyway." She shook her head--as if Camaline hadn't already proven Xeta's soft spot for 'loners'. "But after she had Sparron, Raia pointed out to me that she might need someone to talk to--who understood somewhat."

"Oh." He'd forgotten that Lettie too had a fatherless child. But... "You at least have Camaline, though."

"Hence the 'somewhat'. But I know enough about getting curious looks from strangers and hearing hushed whispers that you just know would be said to your face if it weren't for the fact that you have powerful relatives." She rolled her eyes--blue eyes, like their father's. Abrich remembered little of his father, apart from Xeta's blue eyes. She'd been the only one to inherit them. "Anyway, we bonded over that, then we started discussing politics and sciences and other things we both find interesting, and we ended up becoming quite good friends--even if I doubt she'll ever be as much of a social butterfly as Lyssie or Rona."

Abrich shrugged. Not being one himself, there was a self-preservative urge to add to that. "That's not necessarily a bad thing, though."

"It's not, no. In fact, she's sometimes a refreshing contrast. I just wish I could do more to help her, for all she'd insist she didn't need it."

Abrich frowned. His sister--giving, and giving, and giving some more. "I'm sure you do what you can."

"Well, I can empathize to an extent, and I know that's better than nothing." And yet, that sigh suggested she didn't. "It's her living situation that worries me, mainly. She only has Sparron and Severin, and then when Severin marries, there will be his family. She has no one her own age there--no one with comparable life experience, no one who's lost people like she has."

"Hmm. I suppose." But even then, not many lost people like Lettie had lost Searle--and that had made her a pariah long before her mystery child existed. A pity, though. It shouldn't have been frowned upon, cutting ties with someone who made you miserable.

Lord knew he wouldn't have blamed Meraleene if she'd ever wanted to cut ties with him.

Not one day had passed since his wife's death that he prayed he'd done right by her for at least a little while before the end. He'd made progress--even loved her eventually--but it might not have been enough. She might have wanted more. She'd certainly deserved more.

What a cruel thought it was, that denying something so clearly inadequate yielded such a hopeless chance of ever attaining better.



Van said...

And so the violently inconsistent weather continues to wage war on my body... :S

S.B. said...

"What a cruel thought it was, that denying something so clearly inadequate yielded such a hopeless chance of ever attaining better." This I am going to keep and remember.

Xeta does get something out of giving. There's a return and maybe she needs to give, or wants to give, more than she wants or needs to receive. I really really like everything here. She has enormous and probably self-dangerous empathy. Not a word but still.

Van said...

Xeta does get a lot out of giving--like her mother, actually. She doesn't have too many needs that she can't satisfy herself, but she does have a need for bonds. But, those bonds can be achieved through her helping, so... all's good, for the most part. Giving too much is always a concern, though.

(And yes, word! Everything is words!)