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Nov 17, 2019 6:21 PM
democracy at work
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"There's a bit much for a short summary," he says, mildly, taking a seat. "You're well yourself?"

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"Yes, thank you. Family matters attended to."

He'll be telling the rest of the world that an uncle died and Deina had to be present for the settlement of his estate. But he's not going to insult Valentine with so obvious a lie.

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"I'm glad to hear it."

Apparently he can't keep himself from looking just a touch curious. He does not, however, ask.

"You're planning to return to the chamber, then?"

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"As the people will it."

(This, of course, means yes.)

"I see you've got your boy, still. He's been well also?"

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(It almost seems to startle him, to be pointed out.)

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"Oh, yes. Very."

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"That's good to hear."

Deina stands, fetches wine from a side table.

"A neighbor of my family in Sicani fell on hard times and was selling off his cellar. You'll have to tell me if he cheated me."

He pours for Valentine. It should really be Cato's place, but it's -- not quite unacceptable.

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Valentine watches his hands, for a moment, more than his face.

"I suppose I can assist."

He picks up the glass, takes a careful sip.

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"–absolutely a cheat. Unforgivable. I will buy it all from you as a favor."

Sip.

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Deina laughs, pouring a second cup.

"You're too generous."

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...he considers the second cup, for a moment, before walking over and offering it silently to Cato.

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He reaches out, hesitates, takes it.

"...thank you."

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"Well," he says, quietly.

 

"...perhaps the three of us have something to discuss."

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"It's possible."

He pours a third glass of wine for himself, steady-handed, and reclines with it.

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"...Cato, if you'd like to come sit."

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He does, slipping his shoes off and tucking his feet up beside Valentine, sipping cautiously at the wine in his hand.

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"...this is good."

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...of course Valentine's boy knows good wine.

Despite all his nerves, Deina can't help smiling.

"I'm glad you like it."

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"You weren't buying it for me."

He cradles the cup carefully in his hands.

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Deina is reasonably certain that everything, right now, is a test.

He's also fairly sure that they're not actually talking about wine.

"No. But I'm glad you like it regardless."

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He nods.

 

"...I give up. You want to sleep with him or start a revolution and I can't fucking tell which one it is."

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"...just ruin the atmosphere, why don't you."

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"Well, I was aiming for the first, but now I find myself distracted by the possibility of the second."

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