For Cal: This comes after a number of things, including Jeska and Carew wandering around the city talking, Convincing each other to tell their Keepers that they were jealous of… (in Carew’s case, Leo, and Jeska’s case, the cat)… and Carew doing some thinking. Sword/Lady timeline
She hadn’t been angry with him.
Carew wasn’t sure if it was the long talk with Jeska or the fact he was pretty sure Leo – sa’Lightning Blade – was probably still mad at him – but he’d really been expecting Cya to be angry with him. Punish him, even.
(Even if his punishment would probably have Jeska rolling his eyes and very politely suggesting it wasn’t punishment at all.)
But now that he knew she wasn’t angry… now he had something else to ask.
And she was distracted, doing paperwork, frowning at something. Not the best time to ask questions.
He cleared his throat. “Cya? Ma’am?”
She put down the ledger she’d been working in and gave him a smile that looked about half worried and half affectionate. He’d told her he was jealous of sa’Lightning Blade, and she’d told him she’d pay more attention to him. That wasn’t how it was supposed to work! That wasn’t – well, it wasn’t what he’d been expecting, but it was the only way to get Jeska to agree to talk to Leo about feeling second-place to the cat, which really had to happen.
Are we friends? Jeska had asked, and, well, if they were friends, friends looked after each other. Even if…
“What’s up, Carew?”
Sometimes she talked like she was out of one of the movies she liked to watch, pre-War things that made no sense at all to Carew but made her laugh and cry with no rhyme or reason that he could see.
He cleared his throat What’s up meant what’s on your mind?
“Ma’am, is sa’Lightnin – is Jeska a Nedetaka?”
“Why do you ask?”
Why do you ask wasn’t no, it was show your work. “Well, for one, he talks about ‘Shenera Endraae’ things like they’re unfamiliar to him. He grew up being taught that what he wanted was irrelevant, that half-breeds are impure, and I’m pretty sure that humans are useless. His idea of punishment is – I’m not sure, but it sounds bad. And, um. He’s not an Addergoole grad, he’s a decade older than I am – he thinks – and he’s twitchy like he just got out of a bad Keeping. And his crew whipped him.”
He watched her eyebrows go up as he ticked off points. When he ran out of things, she nodded slowly.
“We – no. Leo. Leo stole him from a Nedetakaei camp. I found him someone willing, and he got him out of there – although he hasn’t been forthcoming with the details. So yes, Jeska wwas raised and Named Nedetaka. Now Leo has him.”
Carew considered that. He considered the way Cya’s eyes were on him. Judging him, he thought. She did a lot of that.
He cleared his throat. “He asked me if we were friends.”
“And are you?”
“…Yeah. Yeah, we are.” He lifted his chin. It was worth getting punished for, to have a friend, to be Jeska’s friend.
She kissed his cheek. “Good. I’m glad. I think that’ll be good.”
Carew relaxed as she looked back to her paperwork, more confused than ever.
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