Leareth is lying in a stone room, and nothing in particular is happening right now, and he is mostly succeeding at not having any thoughts. It's a fine moment. He is not, literally this second, being tortured. This is not useful at all for predicting what the next moment is going to be like, of course, or for whether 'quiet stone room' has any particular resemblance to reality, but Leareth has gotten pretty good at not being curious.
Bella, when she leaves, goes back to working on house plans. Should we even have separate houses or is that a little too fast for 'just started kissing'?
I thought I'd maneuvered this very nicely by agreeing that Fëanáro's house would be a library in between our houses.
We can do it that way if you want but it's no longer actually necessary to do clever maneuvers about exactly what distance you want me at.
Would you like to just do one? I think I'd like that.
It'd be nice! I think mostly people where I'm from wait before moving in with their boyfriends but probably they aren't, like, already best friends who've known each other for twenty years and are jointly responsible for a small child. I'm thinking a little loft for him above the bookshelves, come look and help me make sure it's pretty enough.
He will do that, and kiss her along the way.
A couple of days later, when they're more caught up on cleanup and things are falling back into a routine and Angband Leareth seems more settled, Vanyel goes looking for Bella. It's been in the back of his mind for days that he probably needs to do this, and - he doesn't want to at all, actually, but it's important so he steels himself and does it anyway.
"Hey. If you're, um, not busy, I think we should talk."
"How long do you need? I can put this down for now."
"I'm not sure." Right now he's wanting to say his mandatory apology and run, but - that probably isn't going to fix the actual problem, here. "Could be a while - I can come back when you're done for the day...?"
"I'll knock off in two candlemarks until around bedtime."
"All right." And he goes and sings to Leareth from the doorway of his room for the next couple of candlemarks, it's his most common downtime activity right now, and then heads back to meet her.
She is sitting on the roof of her new bungalow watching things happen around her but hops down to meet him. "Come in?"
He nods, a bit stiffly, and comes in. Looks around. "This is really nice."
"It has to be. Elves. Go ahead and sit down. What can I do for you?"
"- I wanted to apologize for, um, probably being kind of rude to you in the debrief meeting." He takes a deep breath. "And...I feel like we haven't started out on the best foot, here, and it seemed good to - try to address that."
"- address it how?"
Aaaaaaah can she possibly make this easier instead of maximally hard Vanyel is aware that this is an uncharitable thought, he's been having them for days.
"I don't know. Just - with the things you were frustrated about, I think you must've been coming into this with - pretty different expectations from what I would've had? I mean, it...makes sense, that you were upset, we put you in a tough position. I, just..."
Possibly he is not as ready for attempting this conversation as he'd hoped, because he still has no idea how to put the thing he means into words.
:You can do this, Chosen: Yfandes sends, reassuring. :Just try to relax a little, it'll help:
Vanyel feels like this is easier said than done and not the most helpful advice she could give him, but the wordless reassurance does help a little.
"Yes, it's been made clear that my expectations were incorrect."
Vanyel tries not to grit his teeth, or get too defensive, it's really not going to help. "I'm sorry. That - must've hurt, to find out after the fact. And, I'm not sure how but we probably could've been better at communicating, somehow. There's a concept Leareth has, of - how people tend to assume other people are like them unless they've explicitly noticed otherwise? And I guess I assumed, you've worked with Heralds, you'd have the same - general priors - that I do..." Helpless shrug. "In hindsight that's not actually obvious, and - I don't know. I'm sorry things went the way they did."
"I worked with you," she says. "Your younger self. I didn't know the exact contents of your conversations with him, and I guess I assumed too much - rapport transfer, based on how I'd think of it if I met someone who was me."
Vanyel finds his shoulders tensing. He forces himself to relax. "I did - update on that. But - hmm, well, it'd be different if you knew another me who was my age. I remember myself at eighteen and I do not have much faith in my eighteen-year-old self's judgement. Maybe you at eighteen were less of a mess than me and so it'd be different..." Vanyel lifts a hand and lets it fall. "He mostly talked about the therapy you did with him. Which - I'm so glad he has you, he's going to be much happier than I've been, but - it's sort of the case that you're helping him grow in a different direction than the one I did, and that makes it harder to compare, right?"
"Yes, that makes sense."
"I've changed a lot in the last - gods, fourteen, fifteen years? And - part of that was the war with Karse. You know, I guess I changed in ways that I didn't necessary like, when I noticed them happening at the time, but - that I think were adaptive, for fighting wars, and that I'm glad I had when this war dropped on my head. And - some other things happened, that shifted how I think about trust. Honestly I look back at myself from the early 790s and it feels like I was way too trusting of the people around me. I - hadn't seen, yet, how you can have a whole lot of people who're basically on the same side, and trying really, really hard to do the right thing, and still screw it up in each other's eyes, and harm each other's goals..."