Skeff’s favourite part of the whole affair was oft-repeated and easy to identify: practising how to gather the leaves with the assistance of air currents was all very well, but the part that made him laugh the loudest was when the leaves were piled and perfect for jumping in and rolling about upon. Tol could not very often be prevailed upon to join the younger boy’s romps through the dead leaves, but he would sit on Leysa’s stoop and hold the sack and watch as Skeff gleefully exhausted himself, first building and then destroying the fragile cairns.
Tol’s favourite part of autumn would be more difficult to judge. He took cold more often in autumn, alternately burning and freezing as his body fought the illness, which was arguably better than feeling like his brain would leak out his nose, as he so often felt it would in spring. Between fevers, though, he might well have loved sitting there with a cloak around his shoulders and hessian heavy on his legs, waiting for the moment when Skeff would declare – and it took longer every time – “The only wind I’m moving’s from my lips, my nose, or my ass.”
Waiting for the moment where he would stand, slowly and carefully, and toss the sack to Skeff, scolding him for language not befitting the house of his mother, and reach for the rake. Waiting, and watching, while Skeff’s face flushed and broadened with every smile.
Admittedly, he tries to devote as little thought as possible to the Fire Lord’s progeny, but he doesn’t understand why she wears so little clothing, and yet carries enough fabric slung about her hips and wound through her hair to clothe three lesser fae. When he makes mention of this, on one of her many trips to bring him, and persuade him to wear, something pretty, she stares at him for a moment before a wicked smirk graces her impish face, and she asks, low and lascivious, whether he’d like her to be wearing less clothes.
Kondekir’s first response, to his everlasting horror, is, “Less clothing,” followed swiftly by, “or fewer clothes,” and shortly after that by a rapidly-becoming-flustered, “and that was not what I meant, and you know it.”
She never exactly explains it to him, and he is forever appalled that he did not devote any time to discerning the nature of the symbols scrawled down the length of the cloth strips of her skirt, before the battle that required the sacrifice of every lock of her magnificent hair, in addition to the cloth that held it away from her face, and the skirt itself.
Fuel, he realised as he watched her battle, watched her burn. It was all fuel, and it all burned much too quickly, and despite her blackened, flaking skin, she grins at him and greets him as a ‘pretty’ and he can do little but cool the air around her as gently and obligingly as he knows how.
He begins to wear her baubles when he begins to wear the scarves, the strips of cloth heavy but reassuring in their weight. He carries enough fuel with him, now, to ensure that she need never sacrifice so much of herself again, even if she wants to. Not for him.
“I don’t know what you’re worrying about,” Sanga tells him, less soothingly than if he had not been grinning from ear to ear. “She’s like our mother.”
Sanga has not met Hiru’s mother; if he had, perhaps he would have found a slightly more reassuring thing to say. As it stands, Hiru approaches Aundin with his heart in his throat and spots of terror in front of his eyes, trying to keep in mind exactly why this is important, why he’s doing this.
Aundin turns her attention upon him like a spotlight, and her darkly painted lips flex and part in a smile that darkens rather than brightens her entire face. She is thin and angular like a pixie, and barely taller than him, but the power rolls off her in waves and it feels like Auberon all over again as he sinks to his knees before her and bows his head.
It feels like Auberon all over again until Aundin says, warm and bright, “So, this is the bug that so dazzled my Water Master!” And there is a palm against his cheek, a finger applying pressure to his chin, but the hands are soft and gentle for all their sharp, black-lacquered nails. She tilts her head as she looks him over, and there are no stars in the depths of her eyes, as there were in Auberon’s. Still, he sees them flicker, and watches her lips lift at their corners, watches her slim, pale shoulders lift, too, in a shrug.
“There is black blood in you,” she says, but not as though it matters, not as though it is a crime, and her teeth glitter as her crown does not. “The Night Court is ungentle, but you will not find cruelty here unless you ask for it.”
When he returns to Sanga, he is no longer shaking, and the spots have disappeared, for the word of a monarch of faerie is the word of faerie, and truth is all they may speak. Sanga holds him close and murmurs into his ear, “Our court is not what your court was.”
Hiru can only agree, and reply, shallowly, that no one promised safety to him there.
- ! public service announcements
- against the moon
- all in moderation
- antique bakery
- battle royale
- cowboy bebop
- death note
- faith and feather
- final fantasy vii
- final fantasy x
- five things
- fruits basket
- good omens
- harry potter
- kingdom hearts
- kyou kara maou
- legal drug
- master list
- mercy street
- music meme
- my*boss my*hero
- never meant
- not really one-liners
- one piece
- ouran highschool host club
- petshop of horrors
- short story
- the difference
- the legend of zelda: ocarina of time
- third gift
- tokyo babylon
- tsubasa: reservoir chronicle
- what flowers remain
- wolf's rain
- yu yu hakusho