aragorn: (What. I mean.... what.)
Blues Drive Monster ([personal profile] aragorn) wrote2012-02-03 04:51 pm
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In pursuit of world-building for Old Sabra AUs, so there may be more of these to come. Continuing my grand tradition of never writing from the POV of the character I actually play.

Title: Untitled (King's Year 183)
Fandom: Sabra La Tau
Characters: Noric Pellaeon and Xavier Elder
Rating: G

The first time Xavier sees Noric smile is weeks after their first meeting. He had to admit, Noric was almost uniformly bad company. He didn’t know, of course, what kind of personality the Orionite might have had before he wound up in a ditch bleeding his life away, but he assumed that logically it could have been a bit sunnier than what he’d come to know. The man had gone through an awful massacre, and while he knew that this was something that tended to upset people, he wasn’t sure how long they were meant to be upset for before it became overdone. Honestly he’d become tired of it within a night.

But he had read somewhere that being supportive was the more acceptable response, and because he had nothing better to do, he had persisted in visiting Noric while he was laid up in the Pavonian healing house. This turned out to be terribly boring in the beginning, as Noric was alternately exhausted or sedated for his injuries and was more often than not asleep when Xavier came to visit. Still, it wasn’t so bad; he brought books along from a nearby library, and read about their fascinating architectural bents, and every now and then absently touched Noric’s hand to quell pain that threatened to wake him. It would take weeks for him to heal if he didn’t sleep properly, and he wasn’t quite bored enough to keep doing this for months on end.

It was seventeen books later (or six days) that Xavier would visit and find Noric awake. He still wasn’t much of a conversationalist, and seemed willing enough to let Xavier talk enthusiastically about Pavo’s taste for architectural drawings and notes and how he simply had to make a visit to their capital sometime. But after two more days, Noric would occasionally ask a question, which Xavier was only too happy to answer in extreme depth that no one else could hope to match. On the third day, he left his latest book on aquaduct systems in the room with the man, since he was done and he could probably do with some education.

Twenty-nine books (or eleven days) later, it occurred to him that the book had the added benefit of giving Noric something to do with his time. Because, well, he had no one else to talk to, and while that suited Xavier just fine, he knew Noric wasn’t alone by choice, but by circumstance. The other man was usually engaged in staring at the wall when he came to visit, which couldn’t be at all interesting.

So when he came by again, he was better able to perceive that something in Noric’s emotional texture had shifted. Not a lot, so no wonder he hadn’t noticed before. But compared to the bleak wreck he’d hauled out of a ditch weeks ago, he wasn’t so fogged under with grief. He liked to think he even perked up slightly when Xavier came. (He should, because Xavier was terribly interesting and knew a lot of terribly interesting things, it was just a shame he never got to tell them to anyone.)

“How did you go with the book?” he asked, settling down in the chair. “They have a lot of specific terminology for their constructions, don’t they, I almost needed a key to work them out for the first few pages.”

Noric passed the book back over to him. “It was fine. I liked it.”

“Really! And here I didn’t think you liked anything. Was it the diagrams?” The other man frowned. “Well, they’re very good diagrams, lots of flourish to them, and I know that’s important in architecture.”

“It was the construction method,” he replied plainly. Oh, that was a bit bland, but it was better than nothing.

“Can’t say I know much about construction myself, I’m more interested in theory.”

“Mm.”

“Is that what you do, then? Construction?”

A moment’s hesitation. “My family is... were woodworkers. I know the trade. It’s not the same, but some things are similar.”

Xavier, having been unexpectedly given an actual piece of information about Noric, leans forward eagerly. “Oh no, obviously not the same, but underlying principles of building have the same foundations. Weight distribution, load-bearing, form versus function - of course it’s interesting! I could get you another one, or a few, maybe the library has a section on woodwork or carving, I’ve seen some wonderful little pieces scattered around the town and I’m sure they’ll have records of their best and brightest. Or I could look through the indexes and see what I can find.”

Noric smiles then, faintly. “I don’t need a whole collection. One other book should be enough.” Xavier apparently can’t come up with a reply fast enough, because he continues. “Besides, I’ll be able to walk unassisted again soon.”

Xavier congratulates him on his progress, reminds him that working limbs doesn’t mean he shouldn’t exercise his other faculties like his brain, then scurries out of the healing hall to the library. That had been something different, hadn’t it. Somehow, it was pleasing. He should read up on why that might be.