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September 17, 2012 08:57PM
Sylvie rubbed the thumb of her free hand over her fingertips, not because she had to make a decision, but because she needed to consider how to go about it. She stood still before the bridge, continuing the circling movement but barely, then not touching, working a bit of magic. She reached over to Sebastian, but stopped before touching his shoulder. The cloth would be another layer and might be a distraction, so she touched his cheek instead, letting the threads of magic take root in skin and muscle. "Does that itch?"

Nico dumped her backpack a few paces up the slope, where the ground seemed dry, and started digging for something in it.
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September 17, 2012 09:22PM
Considering by his twitching, it more than itched. "...well, a little. Actually, I think it feels like a rash. Is that normal?"
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September 17, 2012 09:34PM
"Shouldn't feel like anything." With an apologetic look, she let the strands dissipate, and leaned closer to examine his skin. No visible effect, at least. She kissed the spot, anyway.
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September 18, 2012 10:45AM
All told, he wasn't sure about that, but he put on a grin anyway and downplayed it. "Felt like a kiss, anyway." Looking around, Sebastian considered the landscape once again. "Let's just do this. I'm curious."
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September 18, 2012 11:18AM
"Give me a minute, I should be able to tack it on something you carry instead."

Without missing a beat, Nico put in, "Or I take the long way around, which has the added benefit of giving you adorable lovebirds a bit of privacy."
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September 18, 2012 11:21AM
"I'd prefer I felt it. You said there's a lim--" at that point Sebastian blinked and looked at Nico, then at Sylvie. His lips twitched once he looked back at Nico. "A part of me worries you might have some sort of looking glass and see what we'd be up to." It was a purely friendly jibe.
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September 18, 2012 11:33AM
"Now that'd be rude" came back in a matching tone.

After an amused look at Nico, Sylvie tried to guess what Sebastian had been about to ask. "I'm not sure about the range. I haven't done this, exactly, ever before. But the top of the slope isn't that far away." She tilted her head. "It would be useful if you can feel if the connection snaps."
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September 18, 2012 11:36AM
Chuckling at Nico, Sebastian glanced back at the red-haired woman. "Well, call that an advantage then; if I can feel the effect, I can feel it if the... connection," he wondered about that choice of wording, "snaps. Yes?"
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September 18, 2012 11:42AM
"If you're certain."
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September 18, 2012 11:45AM
"Fairly." He examined his clothes and decided to ditch the cloak if he was going to out there and scurry along the bushes and terrain. "First, though? Best be hydrated. And rest a bit?"
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September 19, 2012 06:15PM
Borrowing the tone of 'That would be silly', she answered, "That would be sensible."

She balanced over one of the logs - relatively fresh and some kind of fir judging by the bark, and not slippery yet. "You never got any training in magic?"
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September 19, 2012 06:20PM
Ignoring the tone and instead focussing on her question, Sebastian snorted. "No. Never," he said, squatting and examining the ground. "Well. A little. Theory, of course, but I can't work it out in practise. Mind, that was years and years ago. I trust my instinct more than what I learned. I can't do a thing with magic, aside from run away from it if it seems... dangerous."
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September 19, 2012 06:26PM
"It's just that such a sense for it would mark you as a great talent, from what I know." She tilted her head, "Although..."

"That's more about finding talented kids?"

Sylvie nodded at Nico's guess, looking just a tad sheepish. Nico just looked generally amused.
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September 19, 2012 11:37PM
"Talent?" The thought of that alone was enough to make Sebastian look amused. In the end, he coughed out a short laugh. Afraid of how it might be construed, he coughed genuinely immediately afterward. "No, it's not for me. It just seems absurd. Magic scares me. Magic that I could use, well -- that would scare me shitless." He winced. Midara, Shii... who else? The girls at least had trouble with magic. Catastrophically so at times.

He settled for shrugging and examining the ground for a moment. Then he smiled at Sylvie, utterly ignoring Nico's expression (not that he didn't notice it). "Tell you what. I'll leave the magic to you and I'll work with what I've got. Deal?"
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September 20, 2012 01:59PM
Sylvie meanwhile set down her backpack and stretched.

"Deal." Something useful for her to take care of, then. Considering the thought of Sebastian <em>scared</em> of magic made some platitudes about fear of the unknown flit through her mind, but she said, "Thanks for volunteering, then."
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September 20, 2012 05:15PM
He smiled and looked at her languidly, like a cat basking near a warm oven after a cup of cream. Sebastian relaxed, visibly, and glanced at the sky, taking in the scents in the breeze. "Not a problem." He pondered for a moment before seating himself on the ground from his squat, then shrugged.

He closed his eyes and went through memories. Some from far before, some... quite some about Sylvie and Nico. Especially Nico, currently. He opened one eye and looked straight at the shorter woman. Then he stood up again, trying to figure out why he felt restless; perhaps it was Nico?

An excuse was needed. It came quickly to him -- and it wasn't an excuse. "Nico? Do you think we could have a word or two -- if it's okay with you, Sylvie?"
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September 20, 2012 05:26PM
Nico looked at him, eyebrows raised in surprise, and for a change not smiling. "Sure," she said with a half-shrug, turning to Sylvie, whose brows had drawn down in puzzlement.

"Why wouldn't it?" The question was mostly rhetorical.
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September 20, 2012 05:32PM
"Just minding my manners," he said with a smile, set most of his things away and took his water with him. "Be right back."

He led Nico a bit farther away, examining the vegetation as they walked. Once they were far away enough from Sylvie for her not to hear, Sebastian sat down on a rock and said to Nico: "She's a dear."
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September 20, 2012 08:17PM
"I noticed." There was the smile again, but Nico also watched Sebastian closely, a little bit of wariness under her curiosity.

Ah, there it was. He narrowed his eyes in thought, leaned his elbow on his knee and his chin in his hand as he regarded Nico with similar wariness and curiosity. His restlessness was apparent; he wanted to stand up and pace, but forced himself to remain seated. "I'm sorry if this feels awkward, but I've been feeling awkward ever since we left. I can't put my finger on it, other than... you seem to be keeping an eye on me?"

Nico, who was standing a bit lower on the slope, bringing them more or less eye to eye, blinked in surprise and had to seriously consider the question. "Besides general curiosity and liking seeing folks being happy, particularly friends of mine?" She jerked her head in Sylvie's direction at 'friends'. "Wouldn't say so."

His free hand waved it away, but still something, just a tiny thing, kept worrying him. "All right. No, I'm... well, suppose I'm just paranoid, then." He looked at Nico's feet. "If I didn't know she's sticking with me out of her own volition... I worry a lot. I don't really dare say it to her." A snort. "She'd call me silly for worrying so much, I suppose. But you've known her longer than I have."

"Well, I did justify snooping in your background with 'I can warn Sylvie if he's got a habit of killing young women and using their skin for upholstery', in case that makes you feel a bit less paranoid. But, worried about what?" She had two guesses but... "Wait, I thought you were sticking with her, not the other way around."

"Oh, I think we're both sticking with each other," Sebastian said after a chuckle at Nico's comment about snooping. But he grew serious quite quickly. "But I suppose it's like that. As long as I'm wanted..." his voice trailed off. Memories assaulted. And the worry was a coiled snake in his gut.

"So... you're worried she might change her mind?"

That was about the last question he had expected. And yet, it had been bouncing about in his head -- it showed in his face, the shock of that realisation. "Yes," he managed. "And afraid, too." Why was he even saying this? Was it the knowledge that he was, ostensibly, about to finally have a long-term relationship? "Make that terrified," he corrected.

"Of being hurt, or of losing a chance because of your own mistakes?" Nico could not help prodding.

He had to smirk at that even as he looked in Sylvie's direction. "Perhaps both. I've not lived a very stable life, after all. If what was promised is kept by those two harridans... well. This is utterly new. And I worry I'll hurt both of us."

"Sounds like that's something you should be talking over with <em>her</em>, not me." There was a slight raising tone at the end, fishing for a reason for this conversation.

"I know." He pointed a finger at Nico. "I'm rambling, I know. But I'm also damned nervous. You're keeping quiet, watching, making notes of sorts. It makes me nervous. That's something I rarely admit to people. So maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm also very sensitive to moods. She's your friend. I've been trying to put myself in your place and wonder, 'just what the hell is that bastard half-breed aiming for here?' and so on." Sebastian lowered his hand, then facepalmed. "Sorry. That was rude."

Nico chuckled. "Shit, Sebastian, as far as I can see you're both friends and madly in love with each other." She looked him straight in the eyes for emphasis. "And I'm pretty sure Sylvie is <em>paranoid</em> enough to be careful whom she lets herself fall for like that." With a tiny headshake, she took a step closer. "Sorry I'm making you nervous." And she was, but also just a little bit smug. "Want to know the bottom line of my mental notes of you?"

"Well. I can't deny I'm... attached. Strongly. And that I respect her," Sebastian said, eyes wide as he stared back at Nico. There was something about the combination of smugness, staring and the short woman inching closer. Eventually, he just nodded and said: "Give it to me."

"Sometimes questionable methods, heart generally in the right spot. Do Not Anger." She was grinning.

Some mirth found its way on his face, but at least he felt amused. "You're a clown. And my methods are generally questionable."

"Ah." The bottom had dropped out of the joke. "Yes, that would explain the nerves, wouldn't it."

"It would, wouldn't it? But I do wonder -- which story about me gave you the impression of 'Do Not Anger', hm?"

"Oh, I'm working with general averages."

"I didn't think I was that much of an asshole."

"Hey, I'm basically going from rumour, I can only get a rough general picture. So, was there anything else?"

"Not as such. I just needed to get a read on you, if I'm being honest." He smiled and extended his hand. "Thanks."

She took it. "No problem. Fair's fair."

He gave her hand a squeeze, then let go and got to his feet again. "Well. I think I needed that kind of reinforcement. Very fair of you. And... well, I don't know." Pause. "You're one of the few people I can't read proper."

A brief moment of confusion was followed by a stifled laugh. "Wouldn't it be fun if the problem was that I'm too transparent." She half-turned, wanting to return to Sylvie.

"Wouldn't it?" he mused out loud, wondering about that and his own behaviour, turning with Nico to go back to Sylvie.

Sylvie watched them approach, and couldn't help but wonder what that had been about.

Still grinning, Nico told her, "I think he was expecting that I'd give him the Speech at some point, and wanted to head it off."

"What speech?"

"Oh, something along the lines of 'if you break her heart I'll break your legs'."

"Nico!" Nico was obviously kidding, but the suggestion still irritated Sylvie.

"Was that a 'he would never', a 'I can mess him up myself if neccessary' or 'asking that in his earshot is bad tactics'?"

"Yes," Sylvie hissed, glaring.

"Good." Nico considered briefly before she addressed Sebastian. "Do <em>you</em> need some backup?"

Which one was the 'yes' to, he wondered. "...well," he said meekly, "come to think of it, I was halfway expecting a speech like that. Want the truth? I was a bit nervous about that. Nico in general, actually." He blinked.

"Seriously?" From Sylvie's look and tone, he might as well have declared he was afraid of gnats.

After a moment Nico looked a bit less surprised than than - it had to have been a bit weird when Sebastian got her little invitation way back when, considering he hadn't given her an address.

"I'm a cautious bastard," he said with a faint smile.

"And here I was going to say that I don't think I could scare him if I tried." Nico rubbed her forehead. She was starting to wonder if he was messing with her head, and she didn't like being that paranoid.

"How about neither of you tries to scare the other," Sylvie suggested.

"I'll try my damnedest. It's a reflex when <em>I</em> feel worried."

"All right. And I'll try to keep... certain branches of my sense of humour in check." Nico sighed, shook her head, and sat down next to her backpack.

Sebastian shrugged. He felt a little embarrassed.

"I don't remember you trying to scare me, at least." Sylvie smiled at Sebastian.

Nico frowned briefly into her backpack before putting on a more neutral face. "That offer of me going separate when we sweep the valley so you gave some privacy is still open, by the way. Or I could just go and take a walk in a minute. If you like.
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September 21, 2012 11:40AM
"I've never tried. I've just been afraid of scaring you unintentionally, but it seems you're made of tougher steel than I first thought." Then he glanced at Nico and pondered. "Well, I wouldn't mind having a few words with Sylvie in private, but..." he looked back at Sylvie, eyebrows raised as he waited for her opinion.
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September 21, 2012 02:59PM
She turned to Nico instead. "How far are you going to tag along, anyway?"

"Ah. I was going to bring that up a bit later. When we have found the gate and it's not all next year's harvest." But maybe they could wrap up the headaches now. "I'd really like to see your hometown, but I shouldn't put it off. Mostly depending, how much trouble do you think getting your offworld bridegroom here introduced and accepted will be."

Sylvie winced and looked at Sebastian. "I really can't say."
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September 21, 2012 06:24PM
"Search me. I've never been to Eodea," he replied, thinking furiously. "If bad comes to worse...?"
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September 21, 2012 09:42PM
Unwilling to think about worst case scenarios, Sylvie backtracked a bit. "Becoming a citizen by marriage isn't unusual, it's just that I don't know what will be a complication... Me not contacting my school for years may be, I don't know what they're thinking before I talk to them. I don't know if my mother'll talk to me. I don't know if a gate appeared near Yrn and they're at war with 'offworlders'. I just don't know."

She rested her elbows on her knees and her forehead in her hands. The mental images that last thought brought up... Well. So much to not thinking about worst case scenarios.
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September 21, 2012 09:47PM
Sebastian flinched and, not really realising it, hurried next to Sylvie, wrapping his arms lightly around her shoulders. He rested his chin against his forearm, taking a deep breath and looking at Nico worriedly. "Hush, love," he said in Eodean. Then, in Interworld: "We'll see. It won't say it will be alright. I'll say we'll see. I'll..." another switch to Eodean, "be with. Don't..."

What was the word?

"Rain?" he said.
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September 21, 2012 10:06PM
Sylvie stifled a chuckle. Not that she didn't appreciate a bit of a hug... "I think you mean <em>cry</em>. And don't worry. I'd like to wait until we see; it's when I try to look ahead that I drive myself crazy. Too many possibilities."

Nico cleared her throat. "Well. I thought that another offworlder in there might lead to more possible complications, so it might be better to keep my nose out of Yrn. For a while yet, at least."
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September 21, 2012 10:13PM
"...so take me to court, I've only started to learn the language," he said, emotions high and up.

Aside from that, he had little to say.

Funny, that.
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September 22, 2012 02:57PM
"And you learn quickly." Sylvie sighed. "I didn't mean to scare you. I'm just... I'd like to get on with things. Having a real chance to find a way home makes me--" Lost for words she waved her hands, fingers fluttering.
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September 22, 2012 03:00PM
"Anxious, just like after drinking too much tea, after which your mind is trying to go in five separate directions?" he suggested.
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September 22, 2012 03:07PM
"Yes. Close enough."

"Sounds like we should hurry up with the resting," Nico said.
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September 22, 2012 03:09PM
"I agree," Sebastian said to Nico. He was anxious himself, seeing Sylvie in the state of mind that she was -- and knowing that it was contagious. He, too, felt it. Sensed it, more like, that frame of mind.

So he took a sip of water, stayed next to Sylvie, closed his eyes and waited in silence.
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