Anders reads from the book, casting happy, knowing glances at his kids. "Primal class comprises the elements: fire, ice, lightning, earth. It is the class that causes the most destruction."
Karl pauses, mid-explanation, too look over at his only slightly-glowing boyfriend.
"Yeah, Justice. Like that. Sharing the space, not controlling it."
"It is...an unknown," he rumbles, quieter than his usual booming voice.
"Not an unknown," Defiance disagrees, a little coolly.
"I do not believe I wAS TALKING TO YOU, DEFIANCE!"
Well. There went Anders' tenuous grasp on Justice.
Karl, after living with their little family for so long, is used to this.
He grabs Anders' face, staring Justice down. "You threaten them, you put Anders' in danger, and the Fade itself will not stop me from hunting you down."
Ilska is on her feet, definitely not happy with Justice's response.
Blaise has skittered backwards away from the anger.
“I AM ANDERS!”
“No. You wear him like a coat. When you can come and go like Defiance, or make a body like Blaise, then you can demand to be Anders all you like, but until then- Give. Him. Back.”
"You win yourself no arguments or favours this way," Raeli says quietly. "You prove the Templars right, no matter how wrong they are."
“Raeli is right. Every time you do this, you’re betraying what you both stand for. And we’re not going to let you do that to Anders.”
For a moment, it seems that Justice would turn on them all-
-but then there’s the sharp smell of ozone, and Anders blinks clear eyes.
Karl changes his grip so it’s cupping Anders’ cheek instead. “Hey. Hey, you’re okay.”
Anders leans into the touch for a moment, then brings up his hand to take Karl’s away. “I- I need a moment.”
He turns to head upstairs, but as he passes Cia and Ilska, he taps the book of magic schools. “Read. Pick something.”
Cia watches him go. "Sure thing, Dad."
He stops, turns back, wraps an arm around em, and kisses eir temple. “I’m sorry,” he murmurs.
Then he’s gone.
"Justice is getting worse," Raeli says quietly.
“Yeah,” Karl agrees.
He looks back down at the paper, covered in his calculations and notes. “This will work. It has to. I’m not losing him a- Maker, what are we up to? Fourth time?”
"Possibly better to approach it when Def and I aren't around. Maker knows Justice seems to have a bug in his bonnet about Def."
“Well, Justice and Anders have that whole ‘hate being wrong’ thing in common,” Karl says, a little bitterly.
He then looks over at Blaise, realising how startled the boy must be. “Hey, Blaise, I’m so sorry about that. Are you okay? Can I hug you, or would you rather not be touched?”
"-Ah. I don't-" He looks lost, obviously not knowing the answer. (And desperately trying not to give someone else's answer.)
“Okay. One hand. Tell me if it’s okay.”
He grips Blaise’s shoulder gently.
...Okay. He leans into the touch. That's okay.
"Why don't you guys go somewhere with less people? Us three'll be just fine."