Character building: Rand (a drabble)

This story contains allusions to non-consensual everything


End of Year Five.

Rand didn’t go out to Maureen’s much, but the day the Second Cohort left, he found himself leaning on the fence with a bunch of other dads, trying to pick his kid out of the tumbling toddlers. She’d be blonde, probably. That didn’t narrow it down all that much. Maybe about, what, a year old now? How big were one-year-olds?

A hand slapped across his back. He didn’t need to turn to know who it was. He’d always know her touch.

“Cheer up, kiddo.” Acacia was laughing at him. She spent a lot of time laughing, she always had. “You’ve got two more years left. You’ll find someone who holds still long enough.”

Rand bristled. “It was just-“

“Or,” she continued, that way she had of talking right over him, “it’s not like you don’t know what to do to make them hold still. I thought we taught you that much, at least.”

And she was gone, leaving Rand staring off into the Village at her ponytail. Following after her, the way he always seemed to.

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