Jan 20, 2022 8:32 AM
but naima and elie are, we hope, going to have one anyway
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Élie notices, very belatedly, that he's still holding the tacky necklace. 

"Oh, no – I was supposed to give these to her, wasn't I? I'll go find her." 

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"That would probably be for the best. Abadar be with you," she says, and looks only a little bit like she's trying to ignore something that smells slightly off.

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Naima is sitting by the river nearish one of the river boats, nursing her baby and absentmindedly petting her familiar.

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He should probably talk to her using words like an adult human being. 

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....but he's going to sit down about ten feet away and look approachable like a young spineless jelly. Not that adult jellies have spines. Some of them are poisonous, though. Or corrosive. He's going to try to look like one of the non-poisonous ones. He thinks those are the yellowish ones, or possibly the green. If he's going to be adventuring regularly, he should probably know these things. 

Mentally cataloguing jellies is so much easier than figuring out how to talk to his wife. 

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Oh hey it's Élie.

 

There's probably a much more correct way to say the thing she's been thinking, but she doesn't know what it is, so - "I wasn't trying to trick you. With the vows. I realize I have not come off as someone who's at all above tricking people into marrying me, but I wasn't. It just didn't occur to me as something that might be important."

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Osirians. 

"I didn't think you were trying to trick me. ....I came to give you your jewelry. Here. I'm sorry, during the ceremony things – sort of got away from me." 

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" - oh. Yeah. I guess I do want that."

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He'll put it down so she can pick it up; it hasn't occurred to him yet that they're allowed to touch, now. 

"I suppose some kind of unexpected culture clash was bound to come up." 

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"I guess so." She takes the necklace and the earrings, and puts them on. Normally the groom is supposed to put jewelry on his wife during the ceremony, but she supposes he probably wants to be done with ritual, so she should probably keep any feelings about having done it wrong to herself.

"Thank you again. For, ah. Marrying me."

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He almost says it's nothing, but that would imply that he doesn't intend to honor his commitment. 'Don't mention it' sounds like an order. So – 

"I was thinking that we should set up in Alexandria. It's probably easier for everyone if we're not, ah, underfoot."  

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"Yeah. That makes sense to me." She sounds gloomier about that than she means to; it really isn't gloomy at all, it's just that she still feels rather bitingly humiliated and that's seeping into everything else, apparently.

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Oh, gods, what if she wants to stay in Mut and isn't going to tell him because he might or might not say something that could possibly be interpreted as an order. – On reflection, it doesn't seem likely that she would, what with Mut containing the family she's just mortally offended and the in-laws who want to steal her baby, but, hey, he's not a mind-reader. Well, not unless it's really very urgent. 

"If you want something different, I would prefer that you tell me. Though you're under no obligation to do so." 

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" - no, I want to go to Alexandria. Not, like, to never see my family again, but to never see them for..... months."

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"I think we can manage that easily enough." 

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Nod.

 

"Do you have any further idea what you plan to do once you get there?"

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"In the short term, that depends on what happens when we tell the powers that be about the scorpion plot. Afterwards, I – " 

He hasn't actually thought that far ahead. He could – what, sell spells, keep his head down, don't do anything with any material effect and just generally wait for death to take him? It's a little bit late for that. 

"I'll see. After the week we've had, I wouldn't want to make too many predictions." 

 

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"That makes sense."

She is, actually, planning to sell spells and keep her head down, although she's not particularly feeling morbid enough to think about her eventual death, and also she's planning to round out the list by being a good wife and mother from here on out, even if everyone else seems weirdly convinced that she's not capable of doing this, even though she has done a perfectly passable job of it in the past.

 

At some point the inquisitor will be done with his business here, and they can start back down the river without waiting for dawn to occur.

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The last time they were on a boat together, Élie slept on deck with the crew and the inquisitor while Naima and Catherine shared the cabin. It occurs to him that someone, possibly Naima, might be anticipating different arrangements. 

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She might be, but if she is she's not saying anything about it. 

(She is, in fact, avoiding forming expectations about this particular situation, because she kind of has no idea what Élie thinks is going on with them, and it seems probably easier to just follow his lead about things that are not, actually, very important.)

....but this is her home and the people here recognize her, and recognize a bunch of new jewelry when they see it, and while it's really more likely that she obtained it while wandering around with the inquisitor, someone prepping the boat chooses to half-jokingly ask if she's gotten married recently, and then, well, she's never been very good at keeping her reactions from reaching her face, so now the crew they're picking up here knows about that. (And Catherine and the inquisitor will know soon, if they don't already.)

The crew doesn't even ask them whether they want to room together, after that, they just select a cramped little room for them and tell them that this one can be theirs.

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"I hope you know I don't expect you to do – anything at all, really, and especially not with me. I can sleep on the deck, if it would make you more comfortable." 

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"I don't care," she says, and then is pretty sure that sounds wrong. "I mean - I don't mind either way." Although she's not entirely sure how they're going to - well, it's probably just barely possible for one person to take the floor in this room, if that's what he ends up set on. She's not actually clear on what he's expecting, here. - well, actually, he just said that he's not expecting anything, and that's going to be a bit awkward, if they're both determinedly not setting any expectations about their relationship and therefore ending up with very little knowledge of however that relationship is actually shaped. That's sort of a way of just totally declining to shape it at all, if you think about it, which seems like it might possibly be bad, leaving the shape of something like that up to chance and people's whims.

She is not really sure what to do about that. It probably requires talking. She's so bad at talking.

 

"It does seem like it might eventually cause problems if we're both determinedly not setting any expectations. I'm not sure that's something to tackle before we figure out who's sleeping where, just, noting that as something to think about later."

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Élie thinks he's trying very hard to communicate that Naima can really just live her life now without reference to what any of his expectations might be. 

"I expect that you will want to set up in Alexandria, and sell healing spells, and raise your son. Which you really should be allowed to do without my participation – anyway. I intend to honor my vows. I'll provide any assistance you need. Beyond that – well, I expect us to be friends, if we can. 

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Okay she really genuinely meant that they shouldn't have this conversation right now! Maybe she should have worded that recommendation more strongly? Whatever. 

 

"Where do you think it would be most convenient for you, personally, to sleep tonight."

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Élie's not the one with a cultural prohibition against existing in the near vicinity of opposite-sex adults until marriage! But he suspects if he punts this question any further they'll be having the conversation all night. 

"The floor is fine." 

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