Participants:

Seren_icon.gif Valentin_icon.gif

Scene Title Hard Lessons
Synopsis Valentin delivers a hard lesson.
Location Mage Wing
Date 31 August, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Angry Healer
Logger Seren

Seren usually isn't his room at this time of day. Ordinarily he finds things to do to fill in the spaces between the things he's assigned. Today? No. He's sitting on the floor of his room working on something that still looks a lot like the piece of wood it started out as. The door is still open, and there's a rather feather-ruffled looking nightwing watching every move he makes. If birds could glare? She'd be glaring.

Valentin had tried, really he had. He had tried to settle down and be less angry before he came down here. Really. It didn't work. Not even a little. The longer he had sat thinking about the whole situation, the more upset he became, and eventually… Well, eventually that meant that Valentin was walking the few doors down the hall to Seren's room. And when he hears the sound of carving, he invites himself in, closes the door behind him, and frowns. "Seren, we need to talk." And there's no joy or playfulness in that tone, though he hangs near the door and doesn't actively try to be threatening.

"Come sit. You may as well relax while you yell at me. However, before you begin? I think that my answers to the questions I was given were misunderstood. Not that it matters. All that really matters is that you feel better and that Garou is made more comfortable. You can join Revas. She's already scratched me twice today." Ordinarily, Revas is fairly good natured but even she makes a grumbling sound as Seren speaks. "You see?"

"I would rather stand." Valentin says simply. As for this contrition? Valentin doesn't bite on it even a little. "This has nothing to do with me feeling better. And it has nothing to do with Garou being more comfortable. You are going to give me answers, and they had damn well better be true." He says, and he's hissing. It's been a long time since Valentin was this angry. "If you think he so misunderstood you, then tell me what it was you were trying to say. Because telling someone that you told someone known to be unstable about things that you know would make them uncomfortable? Inexcusable, Seren. Heinous."

"Fair enough," Seren replies, and there's not really much there in his voice. There's still the steady scrape of a blade on wood, but it helps him focus so he hasn't put it aside just yet. "I don't know what I'm supposed to have told her. I've told her that there are people I trust here, that there are at least a couple of Templars that I know won't hurt her. I'm trying to show her that it's possible to live and not be in fear every second. I honestly haven't told her anything beyond my experience and if I have, then it's something that I perhaps saw differently. I also don't believe she's unstable. Scared. Lost, perhaps. Definitely afraid to live, or was. I honestly thought he was asking me another question entirely, and where we were…" He brushes the shavings off into a bowl before continuing to work. "And that was the question I answered. Poorly."

Valentin takes a deep breath then. "Then what," He begins, "Are these things that you said that would 'make him uncomfortable,' because that is really the heart of my issue. And… Frankly, Seren…" Valentin pinches the bridge of his nose, "Depending on what you told her about why you trust people here… Her having that kind of information is dangerous. Garou being close to mages here? Dangerous for him, dangerous for us. For you, for me. If she decides that the best way to defend herself means proving she is loyal, and you tell her the wrong thing…" Another sigh, "He trusted you. I TRUSTED you." He laughs then, bitter and a little hysteric, "You came and you apologized to me. You came and you had this moment of openness and understanding and vulnerability and even if you thought you were answering some other question. You apologized, used the emotional openness to be in my bed and then you go and do the exact thing that I expressly told you NOT to. How dare you?"

"I tried to avoid it. He asked me! Unless that's not the question he was asking me at all." Seren falls silent aside from the scrape of metal on wood that has been the backdrop for all of this. "I didn't use it, I didn't… I didn't want to answer his question, Valentin. He asked me… No, I thought he asked me if I included you in this thought. I answered that, and I should have told him to ask me in private where I could be more direct. He could have corrected me. Because I THOUGHT he had the idea that I meant something other than lethallin for the two of you. He wasn't asking that at all." He swears under his breath. "Of course he wasn't, he was worried for you." The scraping falters and he swears again before healing the finger wounded through his lack of attention. "I have caused you nothing but hardship." There's a bit of silence where he shifts to make a grab at the bag the nightwing is sitting on, but she snaps her beak in warning.

"Oh, shove the self pity up your ass." Valentin says, shaking his head. "Nothing but hardship? Seren, if you had caused me nothing but hardship I wouldn't be half so hurt. It would be expected." Leaning back against the door, Valentin tries to settle his rage, but it's not working terribly well. "Do you have any idea… Any at all… How hard it is to get him to trust? How long I have worked to convince him that people won't just hurt him? That closeness has value? You've done so much more than damage your own interactions with him, with me." But this is quieter, more desperate, less angry. "Now. I have asked it twice, but I will ask it again. You said, that you had told Macenaya things that would make Rou uncomfortable. What did you tell her that you thought would qualify as that?" Bit between his teeth, Valentin isn't being distracted from the heart of his problem.

"It was more of an accusation, Valentin," Seren replies. "That he was like family to me. Before you yell, I want you to know that Maceyana is Dalish. I expect that she would take that as we would mean it. The word literally means cousin or clansman. In a clan we may not even have close ties with someone, but they can be trusted. … to tell you the truth, I'm just desperate for her to live. I should have kept her at a distance. I told her that he had a sense of his duty, that he was a good man. Those things do tend to make him uncomfortable. I promise you that if you have heard otherwise, it's not something I can bring to my mind right now."

At that, Valentin sighs, but this one is more sad than anything. "Seren…" He says, much more soft, "This isn't a Clan. And while she is Dalish, she isn't part of your Clan, either. She is a girl who has lost, and lost, and lost, and will likely keep losing, if we're really honest about the scenario that we all find ourselves in." Shaking his head, he sits finally, sliding down the door to sit on the floor there. "I know you're desperate. We all want her to live. And I understand that need, as you've taken her on to heal her… But Seren, I need to be able to trust you. Please, do what you can for her, but leave Rou and I out of it, unless we offer her information ourselves. He'll do… What he does. He always does. Just… Seren, you push. And sometimes that is exactly what is needed. But you need to learn to not. Not just for me, or Rou, but because if you push like that in a Circle, it will get you killed."

"Valentin, if it were just about her, I would have waited to see if she could live and then acted on that. Sometimes it's better to let someone have peace," Seren admits. "If it were only about her life… To be honest, I should have come to you for advice from the beginning, since we are in this place. But really? My being killed will have to wait until she can stand on her feet again and go on and until my other obligations are fulfilled. So, for what it's worth? I apologize. I truly am sorry for causing this."

"Well, see, that's the the thing, Seren. It won't wait. This place doesn't care who is depending on you. It doesn't care at all." Valentin says, shaking his head. "It's not me you need to apologize to. Just like it wasn't last time, though I could see then why you thought that perhaps trying to talk to Rou again would be pushing too much. But apparently you don't know the first thing about what is pushing too much, so I'm not sure why I got that apology either." This whole thing is just a mess, and Valentin pauses. "I'm not his keeper." A very different use of that word than Seren was probably used to. "And you're right, it's not just about her. Though I am sure you mean that in a very different way, but this… Gods, Seren, do you not understand at all?"

"I know I need to apologize to him, too. If he wants to hear it, but do you think he'll want to talk to me? I do think it would be pushing too much. You got the apology because I owed it to you, and because you thought…" Not that he's finishing the sentence. "I admit, I am floundering at this." Seren finally reaches out to Revas, picking her up instead. "Don't bite me again," he warns before settling her in his lap. "I think I'm beginning to. Not that I shouldn't have asked this before, but can I ask your advice? Should I ask him to come here so that I can just apologize honestly? It's not that I don't think there will be consequences, but it should be said."

"No, Seren, let him come to you." Valentin says, "You've done enough." Oh there is venom there. But all he can think about is his lover in the corner of his room with a bottle of brandy. Of the way his voice his carried through the door, telling him when he had knocked to go away. Of how he had so silently unlocked the door. The stiff way he'd finally managed to coax him to bed. How he had not slept. How neither of them had slept. "Gods, I had you in my bed." He says then, shaking his head, looking disgusted with himself as he pulls himself to his feet. "But I wasn't even talking about him anymore. You can't…" He sighs, "Do you think you can protect anyone here?" He asks then, "Because, if you do, let me make one thing explicitly clear. You cannot."

"No, you're right. I can't. I can try to make amends. I don't even know how to begin that. It's not as if I can convince them to transfer me, even if I thought I could leave Maceyana on her own. I can't ask you to take over with her. Running seems like a poor way to do it anyway, no matter how many times I've gone over it in my head." Seren takes a moment to run his fingers through the nightwing's feathers. "Let me ask you this. Is there a way to earn your forgiveness? I expect not, but it's important I try. I really don't want to leave this place with this … I'm not sure what it is, so I won't assume."

"Gods, Seren, the only reason I would want to see you transferred would be because this place is actual horror." Valentin says, shaking his head again. "I don't hate you. I just want you to understand. And you don't. If you're so focused on earning my forgiveness, then you don't understand." There is more of that bitter, hysterical laughter. It's dry and hurts his throat, but he can't stop it. And with it comes the sting of tears, because anger always makes him cry, as much as he hates that fact. "If you don't learn, what to say, to who, when, the fact that there is nothing you can do to protect anyone here, then you will go from well intentioned but wrong to ruinous before you can blink. You can't earn my forgiveness, because you've not stopped doing the very thing that scares me."

"I do think I am beginning to, but I do need to learn these things. It's something I've never had to know before, and not realizing that I needed to is… not something that anyone can afford. And yes, it's not like living with my clan, because I would already be able to do it if it were." Seren falls silent, picking over his thoughts as he waits on Revas to make her way to his shoulder. "So I need to learn, and possibly not let Maceyana goad me into showing my teeth because I've slipped in that as well. Despite my magnificent show of being one, I'm not really an idiot. I can … I WILL do this. I don't want anyone hurt for my sake. I can't let my own selfishness be the reason anyone else is hurt."

"Good." Valentin say then, taking a deep breath, "Then remember this. Because if your not knowing this hurts the man I love, Seren, I am not a violent man but I will kill you myself." He says, and though he is serious there is not an active threat in his tone. It's more imploring than that. "And when you've shown that you do remember and that you've learned, we can address the issue of forgiveness. And as for Rou? It may mean something very different to you, but family…" Valentin sighs, "Just, don't. Think what you will, because everyone's world is a different place, but just… Don't." And he turns toward the door then, "Have a good day, Seren." And unless stopped, he's leaving.

"Valentin…" Because, yes, even if it's not a threat, the very idea makes him want to shut down and Seren's not really good at keeping that out of his voice. "I'll remember. I want to know…" He reaches up to Revas- who has apparently decided to stop trying to teach her elf a lesson- but even when he speaks it's hard to get any volume into his voice. "Can I ask you? While I'm learning to actually live in the place I am- because that's what this is- before I fuck anything up? I'll watch the way things happen here, but there are some things that I'm lost on." Because the other healer absolutely can NOT get hurt for his mistakes.

The sound of his name, broken and quiet like that, makes Valentin pause. "Yes, Seren," Valentin says then, more gently, "You may ask. Needing to ask is not something I would punish you for. Everything about how we have to live here is wrong and I understand that. I understand how unnatural and uncomfortable it is. And what it takes to learn it." He was angry for many reasons, but Valentin was only so mean because this was the nicer way for Seren to learn this lesson.

"Thank you," Seren replies, and the gratitude encompasses more than just the yes. "I think even living with humans outside of Rivain would have been difficult enough. This place…" Well, it's everything that Valentin just called it and probably a little more.

"I know, Seren." Valentin says, shaking his head, "I know. But I should go…" And he is, then, unless physically stopped. Because he just… He'll help, but he can't stay here right now. He's still upset and he has things to work through, and inevitably more comforting to do. And writing.


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