Luke Tries to Apologize

(this one comes before yesterdays’ Luke’s Homework ( story. That’s what I get for writing before we finish the RP…)

“I’ve been thinking.” As intros went, leaning in the doorway of Mike’s office with his feet still planted on the hallway floor, it left something to be desired. But he had been, and that had been the best he could come up with.

“I can tell.” Mike smirked up at him. “Come in, feather-brain. Keep doing that and we’ll have an audience in no time.”

Luke came in, closing the door behind him. “It’s summer,” he muttered, before letting himself get back to the topic. “You can tell?”

“Your wings twitch when you’re thinking.”

Luke spread his wings, catching himself after only a hand-spread, and pulled them back in close. “They twitch a lot.”

“But not so much when you’re not talking to people. What’s on your mind, Hunting-Hawk?”

There was something formal about the way Mike used his Name. Luke fought to keep his wings still and his voice level.

None of that mattered if Mike decided to read his emotions, but Mike usually avoided that.

“I owe you an apology.” He let it hang in the air just long enough to know he had Mike’s attention, and then continued quickly, before the Daeva could blow it off with a joke. “For the time when I Kept you.”

“You really have been thinking. Luca, that was lifetimes ago. Centuries ago.”

“You always said I was a bit slow, didn’t you?”

“But Luca…” Mike sounded nearly plaintive. “What for? You got my bacon out of the fire. Not the first time, not remotely the last time.”

Luca was worse than Hunting-Hawk. Luke took a couple breaths. “Because I was an idiot, and I got all messed up about – about you being a Daeva. And it meant I didn’t Keep you as well as I could have.”

“Oh, that.” Mike flapped a hand at him. “Come on, I figured it out a long time ago. Back then, I just didn’t know you’d been raised by Mara and humans. It makes everything make so much more sense. Besides,” Mike grinned at him, “if I got upset every time you were an idiot, I’d always be mad at you.”

“Damnit, Treesap, can’t you take anything seriously?” He didn’t mean to bellow, but he was feeling like everything fit wrong, and Mike just kept smiling at him.

And now the smile got a little sickly around the edges. “No, Feathers. Because if I take it seriously I’ll weep, and then you’ll bellow, and we’ll both be miserable, and that’s not what either of us want. You’re sorry. I hear you. But I don’t know why, and I don’t know what it means.”

“What it…” Luke sat down – there were always backless stools in Mike’s office, even though Mike’s Students almost never had wings – with a heavy thump. “It means I was a moron to push you away.”

“You were a Mara. I mean, I know it’s nearly the same word for a reason, but it’s not like I expect any different. Look, Luca.” Mike leaned forward, chin in hands, elbows on knees. “I accept your apology. I mean, it’s nice you finally realized you were kind of a jerk. But I’m not kidding. You saved my life that time. You’ve saved my life loads. And I appreciate that more than I’m worried about you being sort of, uh, brusque and unwilling as a Keeper all those years ago.”

“But…” Luke sighed. This was not what he’d expected, not at all.

“Think some more,” Mike advised. Somehow, Luke couldn’t even take offense from it. “When you figure out what you want, let me know.”


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