January 3, 2017

In Which Aldhein Squints at a Second Gleam

April 29, 1203

"Good morning, gorgeous." Aldhein spun his wife into his arms and dipped her down for a kiss. It was a rare thing, his coming down for a bit of breakfast before she'd barricaded herself in her study for the morning, so they'd both come to welcome the rare morning greeting with a newlywed fervor.

And it was especially welcome now, given the presence of their... um, house guest. The children, at least, had bedtimes.

"Morning, handsome," Shahira obliged as the kiss ended and she stepped back to meet his eye. He knew that look. That was the look of someone very much in need of a passionate night. She was half a Kemorin, after all. "We really did have the worst timing last night."

"In our defense, you can't really plan for someone banging on the door to complain that our kids stole his bow and quiver."

"But we did try, given the hour." As she rolled her eyes, the signature creak of the front door sounded from the foyer. The children wouldn't be up for a while yet; the offender must have returned. "So much for a wake-up call on the kitchen floor."

Sure enough--

"My God. Are you two ever not touching each other?"

Annoyed, Aldhein scratched at the side of his nose as his brother-in-law, fresh from the training grounds and probably trailing dirt all over the floor, barged in. The fallout from his unwitting nuptials still up in the air, Nato had thusfar avoided the prospect of settling it by bouncing from residence to residence every few days, trying to stay one step ahead of anyone who might chase him down and make him face the problem. Given that Aldhein saw Nato's parents every day and could have turned him in at will, he thought he'd been generous enough in indulging him to merit the minimum standard of visitor etiquette, but Nato apparently didn't see things that way.

Particularly if his route to the basin included a swift cut between Aldhein and Shahira with no more courtesy than a kiss to his sister's cheek. "Is he keeping you from your work, sis?"

"No, but if you're planning on recovering here for a while before heading out again, I suspect you might try." Lip between her teeth, Shahira retired to a seat at the kitchen table, probably more to distance herself from the several hours' worth of sweat housed in her brother's tunic than any actual need to sit. If one of them snapped and told him to cut them from his rotation, Aldhein wasn't sure if it spoke well or poorly of him to know that it would probably be Shahira--but, not wanting to debate his own worth as a brother-in-law or a person in general at the moment, he just sighed and joined his wife at the table.

"He'd better wash more than just his hands later. Maybe lock him in the bathroom before you leave, and make sure there's soap."

"I can hear you, you know." Nato took to scrubbing his hands with a new ferocity. "Can't a man go for a piece of bread and an apple before he takes a bath? It's not as if I plan on walking around the market smelling like this."

"No, just other people's houses." Aldhein flexed his wrists beneath the surface of the table. He'd never been a violent sort, but no one could avoid the urge to strangle another person forever. "Going to the market today, then? Instead of--oh, I don't know--talking to your wife?"

Some line of sibling loyalty crossed, Shahira kicked him under the table.

Nato, however, froze for a second before busying himself with the towel in considered defeat. "Aspen doesn't want to talk to me."

"Probably true, given that anyone I know who's had much to say about it says she's barely spoken since the wedding, but you have to talk to her at some point. If I were you, I'd rather do so of my own accord than because my parents made me."

"My parents aren't-- it's complicated, all right?" Nato whipped back around, hands dry to his standard despite the gleam of wet flesh still upon them. "I know, I know, the church says we're married because we did technically consummate it, but there's bound to be something to contradict that. Surely you can't be legally married when you're as drunk as we were. It's just a matter of time before someone manages to find grounds for an annulment."

Aldhein squinted as a second gleam--a different gleam--bounced off Nato's hand as he swatted some hair out of his eyes. Not necessarily the sort of gleam he expected to see from the finger of someone who claimed to be a bachelor.

"So you just... feel obliged to keep wearing your wedding band until that happens?"

No kick this time. No freeze. Just a startled twitch, followed by a silent glare, rooted in more emotions than Aldhein deemed worth the bother of listing.

That, and a bitter groan from Shahira. "Aldhein, go to work. Nato, take a bath--then either go to your next house, or go talk to your wife."



Van said...

One of those "I should really post-- actually, I'm tired, it can wait-- actually, no, I'm okay, I'll post-- ah, no, it's too late to start, I should probably-- eh, what the hell, I will post" kind of posts. :S

lyricalnerd said...

Oooooooooooooh. Well, I'm glad you did post it, and I'm very much looking forward to the next post!

Van said...

Thanks! :)

Winter said...

Nato and Aspen are going to owe their friends and family one of Laralita's armless statues when they finally admit they love each other and abandon the angst. They both could have gotten out of this marriage already if they really wanted to. I just hope figuring out she secretly loves Nato is enough to keep Aspen healthy and at home...

Van said...


Yeah, it's kind of weird that neither of them are being more proactive about getting out of the marriage, thinking it'll sort of just take care of itself through some relation or another. Nato, at least, has people around him willing to point that out, but Aspen's been given a little more space over the issue by her family. Odd that she hasn't left the country yet, though, when she was planning on leaving right after she graduated.