October 14, 2016

In Which Dani Does the Bare Minimum

July 31, 1202

"You don't think--!"

Did it matter what Dani thought? Celina, at least, got that it was a possibility.

As for what Dani thought... well, exactly that. A possibility. "Calm down. I'm just alerting you to the situation. The baby could just as easily be Oswald's. Everyone knows that those two could never keep their hands off each other, so who's to say they didn't conceive the night before his death?"

"Nearina, maybe?"

"Given the timing, I doubt it." Good God. How did the idea that a woman could somehow know or control everything about any child she carried still exist? Whenever Celina had last switched the rest of her body back to female, she must have forgotten about her mind. "Besides, I'm sure she'll be telling herself it's Oswald's no matter what. This would be his last child, after all, and you know better than anyone how much she loved him."

"Don't remind me. But I hope you're right." Celina sighed. She, of course, wouldn't be convinced of that unless the baby was the unmistakable spawn of Oswald. That wasn't Dani's problem. She'd passed along the warning, lest Celina reveal herself in a moment of panic if she heard from anyone else--because if Nearina didn't know what had happened that night, then she was better off not finding out. She'd done the bare minimum required of a decent person, which was all she ever made a point to do. She just wasn't the sort to go the extra mile.

"You ought to add to that the hope that it is, indeed, Oswald's."

"Well, yes. Obviously. Er, for Nearina." But for herself too. Dani wasn't the only one for whom altruism was a struggle. "What if it looks like me, though?"

Dani shrugged. "She probably took you for a Kemorin anyway--some bastard of your father's, or some descendant from your grandfather's bachelor days. You and Oswald were... second cousins, once removed, I believe? His mother was first cousin to your grandfather. It wouldn't be the strangest thing in the world if Oswald fathered a child who looked like you, or any of your siblings or cousins."

"And if it looks like Nearina?"

"Then that would surprise nobody, seeing as the one thing we can all agree on is that it's hers. Nearina will tell herself it's Oswald's, it'll be in all official records as Oswald's, and no one will ever be any the wiser unless your secret becomes not only common knowledge, but actually believable common knowledge."

"You didn't have any trouble believing it."

"Only because I happened to see it. Nearina hasn't--and for the sake of both of your best interests, I hope you keep it that way."

"Do you really think I won't? I've barely worked up the nerve to go and see her again as a friend--and yes, I remember what you said about her needing a friend." She ought to have. It had only come up in every conversation they'd had since. "I'll go see her some time in the next few days. Just to see how she's coping."



Van said...

...Blah. Fall is such a gross season here.

Ann said...

And now I'm wondering if these two wouldn't make a rather good team... is that strange?

Van said...

Dani does keep Celina in line, and Celina does make Dani's life a little more interesting...

Ann said...

So, I'm not seeing things that aren't there? Good! I hope there'll be more of that! ^^