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Oct 29, 2020 6:56 PM
an exploratory vessel is stranded in a dreadfully prismatic bit of space
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Yeah he screwed that up.


Kadlawen isn’t feeling particularly inclined to disagree with him.


He curls up into a small little ball on the floor, and he continues crying. 

Ateshai must hate him- no, that’s really unlikely- but it feels true in one of his deeper caverns of consciousness, and he doesn’t have enough emotional energy to root it out, not when it’s being fed by a steady trickle of ‘he couldn’t possibly have communicated casual rejection more soundly’ and insinuous little currents of anxiety. Ateshai must be feeling, if not hate... apathy.

Kadlawen isn’t feeling apathy. He isn’t feeling apathetic in the slightest.


... must have known on some level that it couldn’t possibly work out, when Ateshai only resembled one of his preferred genders half the time, and had a profession firmly associated with regularly going new places, and had a completely different romantic framework and culture-

... had continued on with it anyways- but why did he continue on with it anyways, if he’d known on some level that it would be a disaster- 

... because Ateshai had been so cute and so good and so intensely attractive- and he’d delegated so much of his decision making for so long that he hadn’t particularly thought to worry about things not working out, he just had to be ever so charming and cheerful and obedient- but Ateshai, although mildly charmed, hadn’t particularly wanted obedience, hadn’t particularly wanted Kadlawen, and if he wasn’t being perfectly obedient he couldn’t quite manage to flow in perfect obedience to narratives and fairy tale logic-

... how long had he been operating in adherence to fairy tale logic, where everything would be just fine if he went along with whoever had hold of his figurative collar- ever since he’d accidentally killed his entire family, he supposed, ever since he’d read newspaper articles cooing sympathetically about how he must be ever so sad, ever since he’d been condescendingly patted on the head and told that this was what happened when damsels in distress tried to rescue themselves- and the idea of doing anything else remained terrifying beyond description- 


A wolf comes to sit next to him, once he's been spiraling for a while.

"So. Sorry if I didn't help. And feel free to tell me to fuck off. But you seemed like you could maybe use some support. I can get someone else, if you want, or I can sit here with you, or I can talk."


Kadlawen has, at this point, ceased actively crying, and is instead occupied entirely by continuing to be a silent lump of sadness. He wonders, briefly, how she found him, and then supposes that he didn’t bother making it so that the intra-palace portals wouldn’t lead people right to him, if they asked nicely. He likes being findable, ordinarily.


”This is normally the moment where I’d talk to one of my boyfriends and snuggle,” he says, his voice soft and careful and quiet, “if this were an ordinary problem, but I don’t think Sasha or Dato would react productively, and the wards here block Lalvien’s number. I’d normally call Tasha, then, she gives decent relationship advice, but I already know what she would say, and she isn’t picking up her bamboo. And although I’m going to be fine, although I’m going to get up and go back to having a bunch of perfectly well-functioning relationships which aren’t unworkable in a dozen different ways, I’m not quite ready to do that, yet. So do feel free to talk.”


She settles her head on her paws. "Ateshai is sorry for hurting you. He does like you, a good bit. The problem is... We don't know if this will work out, because our species is bad at figuring out compatibility without trying and failing a bunch, but we don't know it won't. Maybe Ateshai will go on his adventures, and he'll have a sweetheart in this port, and maybe that sweetheart will be a good friend and a little more, maybe that sweetheart will swirl briefly against him like two tides, maybe that sweetheart will be the sort of epic love that shakes the foundation of worlds. We don't know, and we don't know if it would hurt you more to keep trying to be something serious, if you two failed at that trying.

"I don't think Ateshai can settle down, not without hurting himself a lot. I think he's very good at being serious about people, and very good at having friends, and very good at meaning well, even if he's an idiot who's bad at social most of the time. I don't think you want to leave this place to go gallivanting off into the stars, though the Federation - or any ship, there's independent operations aplenty - would love to have you. I think you're good at being kind, and good at being helpful, and good at what other people need, but I'm not sure anyone in all the myriad worlds can be what Ateshai needs. That's okay."

A huffing chuckle, and: "'s why we signed onto the ship of outcasts and fuck-ups in the first place."

She shrugs, and, "Ateshai isn't opposed to trying to be serious. He just thought you might be better with a casual relationship? Because it might hurt less. But I think we do things differently, and he was saying 'let's try and define this thing that's coming up,' because our culture would say you two are still in the roughing things out stage of courting, and you were hearing 'let's reduce this thing we already have,' which is an unhappy thing to hear."


Kadlawen sniffles, and curls up on himself just a tad bit more, and doesn’t immediately reply, otherwise.


"What do you want?"



“I’m... not used to asking myself that question.


I want- to be what other people need. I don’t think I can be that for Ateshai. So I don’t think I will.

like him, but- not enough, to try and be- insufficient. I don’t think I could avoid giving him everything, because I can’t, when I love someone, and it would hurt more than anything to have that be-

I think that we can be friends, eventually. I don’t think we can be anything more.”


"Alright. Friends is a fine thing to be."



And so Kadlawen indulges in a few more minutes of being a sad lump in a corner, and then he gets up, and drifts to a particular bit of wall, and knocks on it; a door opens, revealing the field cleared so that he can produce tornados at liberty, and he walks out.

The door closes, and disappears. 

And that seems to be the end of that.

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