Fifth in a series of character-building vignettes following a bunch of characters through their time at Addergoole & beyond.
We have not seen Tiana before; Gerulf we have seen as a kid in the Baram’s house-Elves stories.
“Didn’t your family have Kept?”
Gerulf was looking at Tiana as if she was some sort of strange creature he’d found in the bottom of the ocean. She, in return, was trying to fold up into a ball.
“My family are human. Normal, safe, everyday humans.” She couldn’t stand the way he was looking at her, and he wouldn’t stop. “They do normal, safe, everyday things.”
“It’s ten years after the apocalypse. Nobody’s doing ‘nice, safe, everyday’ things.”
The inexplicable urge to apologize and grovel was beginning to piss her off more than even his attitude was. “Because you’ve been all over the world in the ten years since the world ended, have you? You know everything everyone is doing, everywhere.”
“Watch your mouth.”
“What?” The urge was getting worse. She scooted back into the corner. “That’s like my mom telling me to watch my tone when I’m just saying the truth. What do you want me to watch?” No, seriously, because I’d really like to do what you want… what the hell is wrong with me?
Gerulf growled. “What I meant was, there’s no need to be disrespectful.”
The tension eased. “I don’t even know you. And you’re telling me I’m lying to you.”
“I’m not saying you’re lying.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. She resisted the urge to do the same.
“You said that ‘nobody lives safe, ordinary lives now.'”
“I’ve never seen it. I don’t know how it can be.” He frowned. “All right. You win that one. I can think of ways it could happen.”
“Thanks.” The tension eased a little more. Then he turned it all around.
“Of course, you’re not human, and neither are your parents.”
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