Sep 22, 2021 4:48 PM
Naima and Elie
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"Yeah. Fortunately, Rahim has lots of friends." 

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"Yes. He's very good at that."

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" - so I think I'm going to have to get back to you on a specific list of other things that I consider to constitute 'Naima has gone mad and is plotting evil plots and must be stopped', but I would think that the specifics don't particularly change the calculus in terms of whether and what kind of marriage we'd expect to have? So I think before that we were on - you were saying that the thing that's most important to you is knowing that your spouse will be loyal, in the sense of not handing you over to tyrannical secret police. Which I think I can manage."

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"You do seem like you'd be good at that."

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"I do try. But I assume that's, uh - not a complete picture of what you'd expect marriage to consist of?"

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Oh, no, he's going to have to come up with an answer, isn't he? 

"I –  I suppose I want a partner. Someone who can share my work, and my values, and who will help me raise – not Good children, but children who are prepared to follow the dictates of their conscience. Someone I can always be honest with. And who doesn't mind that the only thing I can cook is lentils, that's important, I went to boarding school and then I was a professional revolutionary and I'm not really any use at all domestically and now that I'm saying this of course we can just have servants but I'm not used to thinking of myself as the sort of person who can just have servants, and – " 

Gods. He's babbling. 

"....who won't be too disappointed in me when I come short." 

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"I think I can manage that. I - also do know how to cook, although, yeah, I'm not actually entirely sure that it's going to be the most, uh, efficient thing to spend time on going forward. I guess. But I do know how."

(It's honestly very relieving that she isn't the only one who obviously doesn't know how to have this particular kind of conversation.)

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"That's. good." He's. an. idiot. "I don't know if I'll be a particularly good husband. I've never done it before" – idiot!! – "but – I will try. I can try very hard, when I put my mind to it."

And when exactly in this conversation did he start thinking of marrying Naima as something he will do, not something he might do? He's not sure. But he's also not sure he minds. 

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"...yeah. I know you can. I think that's - a lot of what it takes, honestly, just being very sure that you're going to try your best to make it work no matter what happens."

It is not fair that people can be so cute while you still really probably shouldn't touch them any more than you absolutely have to.

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Oh no. Oh no. She's smiling. Did he say something right? He must have. Or maybe he's just endearingly pathetic, like three-legged dogs or Felix after a rainstorm. Good news either way either way, he hopes, and tries to sound more confident than he feels. 

"Well, then. Shall we order the wedding breakfast?" 

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She blinks at him, trying to figure out what specifically a wedding breakfast is, which is hard because she's mostly distracted by the fact that it sounds like something you only do if you're saying there's going to be a wedding. "I'm not sure I know what that is? But - does that mean yes?"

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"It's a traditional thing in Galt, you have a small ceremony, and then the next morning you invite everyone you know over" – and then he hears the second part of what she said. 

"And – yes. yes."

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"Oh goodThen - we should get back to Osirion, so we can get my father's permission and then tell everyone. Which I guess gives us lots of time to discuss specifics like that. But - I actually might need to take a break and be happy before barreling ahead to any logistics conversations. I think."

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So he's slow on the uptake. So it hasn't really hit him until just now that Naima really, truly, in her heart of hearts wants to be married to him. Because he makes her happy. He knows that's not what she cares about most in a marriage – it's a little  bit of self-indulgence, after the protecting and providing and committing to safeguard her children against sudden and dramatic personality changes. He'll take it all the same. 

And then, suddenly, it occurs to him – deep breaths, now – 

"....may I kiss you? It's perfectly respectable, for engaged couples. In Galt. I don't know if it's different in Osirion, of course if it would make you uncomfortable – " 

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AUGH, this is why you're supposed to have chaperones when you talk about these things, so that you don't get all carried away in having enormous amounts of feelings that you really did not expect to have so many of and then rush headlong into something before you are actually married and it is actually okay.

"Um - so I definitely don't want to give you the impression that I don't want to do that, because I do, and I very much expect and look forward to that being an element of being married, but, uh, I don't actually know how it is in the cities but in Mut people don't really kiss in public even after they're married, it's, uh, it's kind of - private?"

Augh.

"........but if you wanted to, uh - sometimes people kiss on the hand, right, is that a thing? I think that would be - sufficiently proper. Probably. Not any more improper than spending a week alone in the jungle, anyway."

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No the most suave moment of his life, but he does have his pride as a Galtan. 

"I would be honored." 

And he bends down, takes her hand, and slowly lifts it to his lips. 

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Eeeeeee. 

She's not entirely sure she always makes the best decisions. But this? This is one of the better ones.

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