Torshael and Tayne's Story: Between Missions
When Torshael appeared at Vienel's office in the great library, she didn't seem particularly surprised to see him.
"Come on in," she told him, settling at her desk-- human formed, her preference because of its dexterous hands and no-nonsense appearance-- and motioning him to sit where he pleased. He chose the human-sized chair, shifting down obligingly to be on the same level as she, and folded into it with a sigh.
"I hear you had an exciting tour these past few years," she began, which was of course an invitation to tell her all about it. There hadn't been much chance to so far, really, with the funeral arrangements, the funeral itself, and then Torshael's moving. It had been a busy week. Still, she always found time to quiz him about his missions; he expected she was writing them down after he left each time.
So he launched into the tale, starting with his bonding. Vienel had been one of the many to give Haiiro curious looks, but Torshael didn't begrudge her them as much, because she tended to give everyone curious looks, and she at least had intelligent questions for him. Hearing about his hatching and bonding directly, and about his parentage, brought out those and more. Torshael found himself willingly, even smilingly, sharing with her everything he could remember. He hadn't realized that, while he'd missed home, he'd also missed his sister.
Bonding led to the search for infernals, which led to Ahraosa and her brother-- and she, like he had been, was fascinated by the idea of "good" infernals. "Wait until I get to when we got to Kynn," he smirked at her. She raised her brows at him curiously, but didn't pressure him to jump ahead, and patiently and interestedly listened to what interesting parts he could remember from the search. Sometimes it was quite dull, waiting for Haiiro to come back with information, or searching out information themselves, but there were then the confrontations at the end of that waiting or search. Vienel was particularly interested in piecing together tales of the rift in the realms through which both infernals and supernals were slipping, though she seemed as lost as he was after he'd shared what he knew as to how it had even gotten there to begin with.
"I'll look into it, though," she promised him.
"If you want to," he shrugged back at her.
Then he told her the story of Kynn, and Ishtar, and Zu, while she listened avidly and interrupted with questions now and then. She was properly aghast hearing about Zu, and properly impressed at how hard they had finally defeated her and Ishtar, and properly amazed at hearing about Tekasynos and his forced alignment shift. She was also far too shrewd, though-- either that or she'd been talking to Tayne, as well-- for after hearing him out through to his return to the City, she gave him a narrow-eyed look and said, "There's something you're not telling me about this infernal fellow, isn't there?"
Torshael blushed a bit. "It's not really important, Vienel."
"Tell me, Torshael," she ordered. "What is it?"
She'd always insisted on acting like the "older sister" whenever she wanted something-- it was true, though only by about ten minutes. Unfortunately, it usually worked-- but he'd be damned before he told her about Tayne. Haiiro was right, that was his business, and he wasn't going to be the one responsible for letting it out. All she got to hear was about his own run-ins with the Tekasynos, and she'd have to be happy with that. Sighing, he said, "It really isn't important, but if you must know, he is-- he likes men. Males. Like that, not just... you know. And he thought I...." He was blushing more than a bit now, he knew it, and he couldn't go on, staring fixedly at a painting on Vienel's office wall so he didn't have to look at her.
"Well, you're gorgeous, and really rather girly," Vienel snorted, sounding amused. "I can't say I'm particularly surprised. He got over it, I assume."
"I suppose so, he didn't seem uncomfortable or unhappy with me when we met up again in Shu-Riin." Torshael shook his head. "I wasn't expecting it at all, you know.... I actually thought he didn't like me."
"That doesn't surprise me, either," Vienel answered. "Sometimes I wonder if you've got any kind of sex drive at all."
"Vienel!" Torshael blinked at her, a little shocked.
"See?" she grinned at him. "You can't even hear the word without being offended. Sex, Torshael! Sex sex sex!"
Red and a little annoyed, he waved a hand at her to stop. "You've made your point, I'm uncomfortable with it. And romance in general, for that matter."
"That's going to make life hard," she pointed out, giving him a pointed look.
"You noticed?" he said miserably. "Vienel, I don't have any idea what to do...."
Vienel huffed at him. "It probably isn't nearly as bad as you're making it out to be. I mean, honestly-- everyone in the world has kids, don't they? Or most people. Even complete idiots, and complete prudes."
"Thanks," Torshael grumbled at her.
But Vienel was on a roll. "If you just went out there and did it-- talked to a girl, got yourself married and got busy, it wouldn't be near as scary. It's all about instinct, right?"
"I don't see you getting married," he shot back at her.
"Yes, well, it's harder to find someone interested in a city full of Pures, who are more interested in finding someone else like them than someone like me." She shrugged. "I'm probably better off alone, anyway." Her philosophical expression turned to a calculating one, looking him over. "I bet you'd be happy, though, if you gave it a chance. Father was happy, and he was married to a dunderhead. I'm sure you can do much better."
"Vienel, don't talk about Mother like that...."
"Well, she is a dunderhead, even if she is sweet," Vienel countered. "And you're changing the subject."
Well, yes, he was. "I'm still nervous about it all, that's all.... I've thought about it, and I just... I don't know if I can do it." He missed having feathers to fluff anxiously; he clasped his hands tightly, instead, half-tempted to wring them. Spending so much time in his usual form lately made it harder to remember just how to get nervousness out in this one.
"Maybe you just need some practice."
Torshael stared at her, human-formed mannerisms forgotten. " ... practice?"
Vienel looked pleased with herself. "Yes, practice. Someone to woo who won't necessarily expect you to stick around. Maybe who can give you some pointers if you're really bad. It could help you get over this whole fear thing."
"I bet I know how you can do it, too. You're not the only one who knows a little something about other worlds, you know. I did some of the research for your whole trip, and kept looking into it after you left since it was interesting. Did you know that dragons in other realms take casual mates, for one clutching, and then often times take completely different ones the next time they want children?"
"Vienel, that's not quite--"
"It would have to be something special, though," she said thoughtfully. "Where you wouldn't be likely to not be chosen, and where infatuation is less of a problem. And that you won't be gone very long for. I'll have to look into this."
"Vienel, you don't have to--"
"No, no, don't try to thank me!" she spoke over him, though she was probably quite aware he wasn't trying to do any such thing. "It's something any good sister would do for her little brother. Besides, it'll be fun," she added, grinning. "Now shoo, we've spent the whole day chatting, now, and I have work to do!"
And with that, Torshael found himself outside her office, feeling even more nervous about the whole affair than he had, before.