Challenge: Champagne 9 (peridot), Green Tea 10 (summer), Cream Puff 27 (the spice of life)
Toppings: chopped nuts, caramel, gummy bunnies (trope_bingo round 1 card: curtainfic)
Extras: malt (cream puff PFaH: Vesin : day at the park)
Rating: all ages
Story: Manifestations (Real World AU)
Summary: A day out turns into an important discussion for Vesin and Dhaymin.
Notes: SHAMELESS SCHMOOPY FLUFF ALERT. That is all.
Vesin nudged her shoes from her feet, and let her toes brush against the fresh, green grass, as she lay on her back and stared up at a brilliant blue sky, scattered with a few wispy clouds. Dhaymin lay by her side, one hand under his head, the other in hers.
“Going to tell me what the clouds look like?” he said.
“Like clouds,” said Vesin.
“And the park looks like a park, I suppose?”
“I don’t know how you do these things.”
“I don’t know how you got me to come out here.”
“I know,” Vesin said. “It’s because your only weakness is a quiet day out.”
“Oh, grass!” exclaimed Dhaymin. “My only weakness! Look out, it’s got me!” He waved his free hand in the air.
“No, I’ve got you!” Vesin rolled over, so that her weight was pressed against Dhaymin’s body, gently pinning him to the ground. She bent down to give him a swift kiss, just the lightest touch against his lips. “That’s how.”
“If I admit defeat, will you get off me?”
“Maybe,” she said, but she rolled away, back to his side, and watched the sky go past again. The sun climbed through its arc, shining with the full force of midday, as she let its warmth wash over her. People wandered past, couples out for a walk, children rushing every which way, groups of students chatting over a beer or two. She closed her eyes and listened to it all, feeling that she could fall asleep here, with the sun on her face and the grass below and Dhaymin by her side.
“Hey,” Dhaymin said, after a timeless while.
“You mind if we go have one of those... us talks?” He waved his hand in the air again, in the manner of someone indicating a vague idea.
“After I just got comfy?”
“I’m meant to be the lazy one here!” Dhaymin pushed himself up to a sitting position. “Somewhere a bit quieter?”
Vesin knew what that meant, and sat up beside him. “Okay then. Let’s go.”
He took her arm, and she led him through the park. They passed by a lake, dotted with ducks and a few swans, all puffed up in a display of territory, until someone passed by with a slice of bread to catch their attention. A few people were out on rowboats, making lazy circles across the water. But this was still too busy, so she led him further, into a winding path lined by trees. Their leaves formed a canopy overhead, blotting out the sun’s heat and letting its light filter through, cool and green onto the ground. Here, far from the noise, she led him to a bench in the shade, overlooking the path as it curved toward the open lake, and sat down. “This should do. Is it about last week?”
She hadn’t been there, but she’d heard of it.
“Yeah. What d’you think of kids?”
“I was a teacher. What do you think?” But she already knew what he meant, had harboured her suspicions for some time now. She’d thought of it too, wondered how to ask him.
“There were kids there,” he said. “Kids who’ve got to live knowing there’s more in the world than they ever know. Kids who’ve suddenly realised that all those things in their books are real... sort of real. You know what I mean. And they’ve got to spend the rest of their life pretending it never happened.”
Vesin thought back to when she’d met Dhaymin. She’d seen a few things she didn’t think were real, too, and the idea of pretending never crossed her mind. Perhaps it was because Dhaymin’s world was more forgiving in some respects, perhaps because it cared little for who you were as long as you could hold your own against nameless things in the night. And she’d stood at history’s turning point, once, ensured that there would still be perfect summer days like this one, and so few people would ever know. That, she didn’t mind. But she’d seen what happened to people who tried to turn their backs on Dhaymin’s world. No matter how hard they tried, it pulled back.
“I know, she said. “But I didn’t think you’d be the sort.”
“I don’t want to be my dad, that’s why.”
“But you want to give someone a home.”
“Yeah.” Dhaymin hunched over, his chin resting in his hands, and his blank white eyes caught the hints of sunlight that streamed through the canopy.
“That doesn’t mean you have to be your dad,” she said, and looked up and down the path, but it was still empty. “I learnt enough about your world, and you didn’t push me into it. We don’t have to raise hunters. We just have to raise people who know what’s around them.” She brushed a hand against Dhaymin’s cheek, gently raising his head and tilting it toward her. “And I know what I want, too.”
“You really want to?”
She delivered another light kiss, and thought of him, walking under the trees, a small hand clasped in his.
“Let’s do it.”