February 17, 2017

In Which Nato's Niceness Counts

June 10, 1203

"So, uh... you can redecorate the room if you want." As he said it, Nato couldn't be quite sure why he'd chosen to start with something so trivial. Aspen had given no indication that she disliked the room as it was, so why had he bothered suggesting she might? It wouldn't have sprung from his own reservations. He had plenty of thoughts, concerns, even fears about Aspen moving in, but the physical state of his home featured in none of them.

As he settled onto the bed beside her, Aspen shook her head. "Your mother has a better eye than I do for that sort of thing."

Nato's vision darkened under the weight of his brow. His mother, the proud daughter of a clan infamous for their love of all things chaotic and scandalous and irreverent, was not a woman of poor taste--but, she lacked both the interest and the attention span to give her home's decor more than the minimal effort. Aspen's comparing herself unfavorably might have answered the question of his non sequitur. He wanted her to have a focus. A hobby. A career, if she cared for one. Something. Anything.

Anything to keep her going.

"If you say so. I just thought you might like that sort of thing. You studied art, right?"

"Textile arts--and I wasn't much good at the design part of it. I studied it for the practical aspects."

"Did you like those?"

She shrugged. He took that to mean 'As much as I like anything', and hated himself for judging her because that was exactly his opinion of his own field of study. "Not enough to make a career of it, if that's what you're suggesting. I know you'll fight me on this, but I still feel like I should be using my... abilities on more than just the occasional scrape or cut my siblings bring. And not just for my sanity."

"All right." But if only because he didn't need Aspen's help to be melancholy, Nato nestled up to her with a teasing grin. "I suppose that makes sense, given that you're a nice person--but you can't expect me to understand that, given that I'm not."

"You're nicer than you think you are."

Nato smirked. "To you, maybe."

"And since you insist I'm not nice enough to myself, that's exactly what counts." She leaned into his shoulder and took his hand, her fingers trembling somewhat in spite of her firm grip. "Are we ready for this? I mean... I know you were at my parents' place often enough that I guess we've been living together for a while now, but we never really did much. Just... talked, sat, slept."

"Don't admit that to Aldhein. He'll make some stupid joke about how we went from not even courting to being an old sexless married couple in the space of a month."

"And here I thought you'd enjoy seeing your sister punch him."

"Hmm. You're right. Do admit that to Aldhein." But he regretted it, adding to the joke, as her lashes shut to hide a green glimmer of an ache. "Sorry. Really, I... I don't know. I'm sure I'll still remember that morning when they're piling dirt on my grave, but I wish I remembered actually sleeping with you."

"You ought to be glad of that. I hadn't done that before, so I couldn't have been worth remembering. I'd never even kissed a man before that night." She cocked her head to the side, possibly under the weight of her grimace. "How pathetic is that? It takes me so long to finally kiss a man, and then I don't even remember it. I don't remember my first kiss."

He nudged her upright with an arm behind her shoulder until their noses met and all he could see were green eyes and thick lashes. "Remember this one."

NEXT CHAPTER:

3 comments:

Van said...

This one took longer than intended to get around to. It's been a weird few days. Not bad weird, but weird nonetheless.

empireofmeliora said...

Maybe Aspen could try volunteering for something if she feels bad about using her powers only to keep sane.
At least than she's also doing something good, right?

Van said...

That would be the logical way to go about it, yes. It's important that she finds a way to do that without her secret going 100% public. Keep the opportunists away.