|A Friend's Duty|
|Summary:||Sela tries to find out if Nathaniel likes Aylene.|
|Date:||28 July 2012|
|Related Logs:||Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?|
|Alley, Terrick's Roost|
|The alleyway between the Roost's inn and a random building. No chance of eavesdroppers. Right?|
|July 28, 289|
The sun is still moving across the morning sky, shortening the shadows with each passing hour. Sela Hill — or perhaps when she's wearing the boy's clothes, she's Sela Shale. Whoever she actually is today, she is moving across the support beam of a thatched roof house that neighbors the inn. Her steps are fleet and silent, barely disturbing the straw work. As she comes to the end of the roof, she leaps to land on the more solid slates of the Roost's inn. She dances across this rooftop, moving along the pitched sides until she can drop with ease into the alleyway. She starts to look around, decidingly moving toward the front door.
Nathaniel is wearing his usual attire of dark green shirt, brown pants, sturdy boots, and gray traveling cowl. His destinaton door from the more direct route of the street. He is frowning darkly, and his quick strides are leading him along the final street that he must travel to reach the inn where Aylene is staying with her master. When he passes the narrow gap between the inn and the house next to it, he sighs heavily and mutters under his breath, "Please be here. Please!"
"Nathaniel?" Sela inquires as she steps into sight, spying him with those brilliant blue eyes. She critisizes his state a few moments, striding toward him with her hands in her pockets. She glances toward the inn and then back to the boy with a tilt of her head. "I don't think Aylene is in," she says, though she really has no idea. Her brows arch a bit over her brilliant blue eyes.
Nathaniel turns when Sela calls from the shadows. She is especially easy for him to recognize, having seen her quite often now and in many different lights, both literally and metaphrocally. And unlike some now who might defer to her as Mistress or even Lady, he feels no need for such formality, particularly at this moment. He glances from her to the door of the inn, and then back to those captivatingly brilliant blue eyes. "How do you know?" he asks. He bites his lip again, and then adds, "I need to talk to her."
"Because she's always busy this time of day," Sela states. "I was going to hang around and wait to talk to her." She tilts her head a bit, casting some of those lush dark curls against her cheek and jaw. Her curiosity is still quite evident on her pale, freckled face. "Is everything okay?" The question is, at least, asked in earnest.
Nathaniel shrugs. "That's … not an easy question for me to answer at the moment, Sela," he admits. Then he adds, "It's … something that you suggested last night." He waves to indicate the open street. "I don't want to talk about it out here."
Something she suggested? Sela offers an inquisitive tilt of her head before she offers him a small smile. "Come on." She reaches out to take his hand, the fingerless gloves she now wears hides the brand but keeps her digits bare. She begins to guide him toward the alley that she just fled out of. Her smile is still worn gently, and she only smooths it out into a small frown once they are in the subdued alley. "The Septa idea?" She inquires, tilting her head a bit.
When Sela, very forwardly takes his hand, Nathaniel looks down at the result. Instead of protesting, his fingers close gently around hers and he follows her into the alley. This might be far from proper, but at the moment, bigger concerns are weighing on his mind. When she guesses the topic, he nods once, firmly. "I went to the sept near the tower. I intended to speak to someone there about that … test, to learn about it if I could so that I can persuade Aylene to go to them. Instead, I found Lady Murienn Mallister and Mistress Dorsey there." he takes a slow breath before he continues. "I must have looked concerned. Lady Mallister asked me what was wrong. Believeing that, as someone who deals with medicine in her own way, and being with Mistress Dorseey, I could trust her. I told her my reason for being there."
Sela listens dutifully, though she has her fingers still twisted around his — soft and gentle. Her brows arch meaningfully over her eyes, and she offers him the smallest purse of her lips. "What did Mistress Dorsey say?" She asks, tilting her head once more to cast those curls and forelocks against her cheek and brow. "Does she think she could prove to Master Faulon that Aylene is still… pure." The word has a hint of amusement in her voice, and causes her to add with a small smirk, "I still think that he shouldn't be so judgemental. Common girls are allowed to have a bit of fun now and then."
Nathaniel's eyes focus on Sela while she asks about the interview, and then, with her usual candor, offers her own opinion and thereby draws a sympathetic smile to his lips. "Mistreess Dorsey spoke little, deferring to the lady except to hint that her opinions on such things were different. The lady advised that Aylene should talk to Mistress Dorsey. I know from first hand that the mistress can be … stubborn to the point of lacking gentleness at times, I believe that Lady Mallister's counsel is good. That is why I came here, to find Aylene and persuade her, if possible, to speak to the healer."
"I don't think you will have to persuade her all that much, Nathaniel," Sela points out. "I think she is eager to prove she has not given up her maidenhood." She does snort again, as if suggesting she still doesn't know why its a big deal. Her fingers finally release his hand, and she crosses her arms languidly at her chest. She slumps back into the wall of the inn, her gaze searching his own. "Do you like Aylene, Nathaniel?" She inquires. "And I don't mean as friends…"
Nathaniel looks at least slightly releaved when Sela assures him that Aylene probably would agree to his suggestion. When she unlocks his hand from hers, props herself against the wall with her arms crossed under her small breasts n a way that might be an attempt to enhance their presence, he raises the same hand to rub at his forehead. "That is another difficult question, Sela," he confesses. "Are you asking if I am attracted to her?" he enquires, searching her striking and youthful face carefully.
"No… well, yes," Sela explains. She narrows her eyes a bit as she pushes off the wall again, swinging her arms behind her back as she advances on him. "Being attracted is one thing, but would it upset you… if I did this?" She tiptoes several paces, arching up onto the balls of her feet as she presses her lips suddenly to his. The kiss is soft, but quite deliberate. It lingers, as if gauging his reaction to such a sudden and blunt exchange.
Sela catches Nathaniel completely by surprise when she boldly and swiftly moves. As is often the case, instincts prevail at first. His hands rise to touch her upper arms, and his head tilts to one side to welcome and answer the lingering kiss. Then, reason begins to object, and his hands press against her arms to push her back far enough for their lips to part. He gasps, and he blurts, "Sela! What about Darek?"
The thief is pushed back, and her eyes open with a steady measure. She doesn't look particuarly surprised by his reaction — in fact, she looks quite satisfied. Though, as he mentions Darek, she scoffs a bit. "What about Darek?" She asks sternly, though she does appear to be on the brink of a full-blown blush. "The kiss had nothing to do with Darek."
Nathaniel takes a few breaths to regain his composure before he counters, "It has much to do with him. When I last saw the two of you on the Green, you seemed eager to have his attention and affections. Now, you're here, kissing me." He taps his own chest. "Why?"
Sela snorts, retreating several steps from him as she crosses her arms at her chest. "Darek has no claim on my affections, nor where I put my attention from day to day." She gives her curly head an indignant toss, turning her profile away from him. "Though, I suppose since all you are worrying about how Darek feels instead of how Aylene feels, you've answered my question." She casts him a glance, one brow neatly arched over those blue eyes.
Nathaniel watches while Sela retreats and folds her arms over her chest in what normally would be a manner to signal self-protection. When she disavows any commitment to Darek, he bites his lip, and asks, "Who, if anyone, would hold that claim?" He watches her face closely for subtle hints that she might give without knowing it. "As for Aylene, I am … struggling, Sela."
There is a pause from Sela as she regards the young courier, turning fully toward him now. Her brows are now fully arched in unison over her eyes, and she blinks almost owlishly. "I hold that claim," she says, though with a touch of uncertainty. "I decide who I am affectionate with. I haven't been courted by anyone since I was up at the Fingers, if that's what you're actually askin'." She purses her lips a bit. "Well, you should maybe talk to Aylene. I think she likes you." She looks as if she is starting to step away.
Nathaniel agrees, "I think that she does, Sela. In truth, I like her very much, but … she says that music is her life and she will not leave it. She does not want to settle in one place." He shakes his head, sighs, and then frowns. "I understand that. I have told her that I would travel with her if she will ask. Her only response is 'We will see.' Should I devote years to waiting on a 'perhaps'?"
The thief turns, slowly walking backwards as she does — still quite intent on fleeing, it would seem. She does stop at his question, however. "Well, no. I wouldn't wait for years over a perhaps. Then you might miss out on other girls who are happy to be with you." She shrugs her shoulders a bit. "You should find out if she likes you, and if she does, then that's that. If not, then… well…" She seems a bit loss, shrugging her shoulders. She chews a bit at her inner cheek. "I think she's an idiot if she doesn't decide to be affectionate with you."
Nathaniel steps toward Sela, slowly. "Is that why you kissed me, Sela?" he asks, questioning gently.
"What?" Sela asks suddenly as he starts to step toward her. It stalls her footfalls again. She tries to casually scoff, shaking her head. "No, no. I just… wanted to see if you liked Aylene."
Nathaniel bites his bottom lip and nods. "And you wanted to see if I'd welcome your kiss," he guesses. "Is that right? It won't hurt you to answer, Sela, unless you're afraid of that answer. IF you are afraid, why? I want to know."
It is about at this point that Sela thinks its time to go. "Just, talk to Aylene," she insists before she turns to the wall. She is familiar with this one, using the window sills as footholds as she heaves herself up along the exterior. Soon, she is scaling up to the roof of the inn so she can go slipping over the roof. Few boys can chase her up this way, it works out well.