lightlag: Jade in her 3 in the Morning dress, glancing to the side in surprise (hs tag)
[personal profile] lightlag
"if we could sail through the wind in the dark..."

"Dearest Kanaya," you start, nervously swirling the martini in your right hand. "Dearest Kanaya, I have to tell you," but you don't finish your sentence. There's a half-finished scarf spilling out near your feet, knitted in different colors of jade green, and the olive in your drink is one of them. Olive, yes, and a dark forest green, another bluish hue but not so dark that it becomes teal.
"Kanaaaaaaya, lovely, I have a matter of importance I wish to discuss with you."
The fire crackles in the mantle, quietly so far but with a loud pop every five minutes or so that startles you and sends you into a fit of tipsy giggling. Kanaya is not in the room or even the house. The yarn at your feet is tangled enough without your interference, and stepping on it or kicking it off would probably make it worse.
You decide that you, Rose Lalonde, are decidedly and definitely tipsy enough.
But even so, you're still rehearsing the speech. You'll be damned if you don't talk to her tonight about it; it may be slurred but you're still hoping you can get through to Kanaya Maryam with her troll culture and troll language and all her customs and--
"I want to tell you," you giggle absently, and that's when Kanaya walks into the room. "About love!" you exclaim, before noticing her presence and promptly dropping your martini into the folds of the scarf.
"Rose? Are you consuming those human soporifics aga-- oh,
no," she nearly groans, when she sees you've spilled said human soporific all over your Christmas gift for her. Maybe she doesn't know it's hers, you think absently, detachedly, but then she sits down on the sofa with you and scoots the two or three bottles on the side table further away from your reach.
"Sorry, Kanaya," you hiccup faintly. She just sighs, so prolonged that you think it might be some sort of troll breathing exercise, and then picks up your little project and holds it up for a better look.
"It still looks marvelous," she nods, "but admittedly I am not particularly looking forward to smelling like this substance every time I wear my matesprit's Christmas present."
"How did you know it was yours?"
"When you made one for Jade last year, it was black. I suppose this color is for my blood color, and not for Jade's given name."
"Oh, right," you say, internally kicking yourself for your failure to match Kanaya's logic. "Jade's blood isn't black, though. Is it?"
"It is the color of her God Tier outfit," she says, pretending not to notice the absurdity of your drunken comment. "Although I always questioned your choice of black-on-black. It seemed quite unfashionable. Strangely uncharacteristic of your designs." From the corner of her eye she sees your right hand inching toward the side table, and pulls it back. "Rose, I cannot let you drink any more."
"Never again?"
Kanaya doesn't answer immediately; instead she threads her thin fingers through the loose stitches at the needle. "Do you mind terribly if I finish this pattern? It seems to be long enough."
"Go ahead," you nod, and watch her pointed nails separate two tangled threads. "You always make it neater anyway."
She faintly bobs her head in agreement and with a flourish of her wrist she ties the loose ends.
"I pity you," she says, and you're still not used to it.
Your heart feels a little heavier than your bones now. You know what she means, and you should have seen this coming if you intended to date her in the first place. In your unorthodox xeno-girlfriend-matespritship-thing there was bound to be a small disconnect, and although you see it in her eyes when she laughs at a snarky comment you make, or the moment just after a kiss when it feels like you're attempting to catalogue how every muscle of her face pulls when she smiles and simultaneously trying to not prick your lips on her teeth, she never says the word "love."
Pity. Whatever sort of romantic troll emotion that is, the sound just grates now. It reminds you of a euphemism, or like she knows what she's trying to say but never quite gets the word.
Before she can react you grab the bottle and take a sip directly from the mouth of it. It's almost a gesture of bravery; bravery that you need.
"I wanted to say something to you," you begin, still holding the neck of the bottle tight as if it could anchor you, a crack in your voice that may be from the alcohol or from the nerves. She continues to tie the stray bits of yarn into a neat line, her fingers diligent at the work as if there was nothing important on her mind at all, and purses her lips.
"I also had a matter I wished to discuss," Kanaya says, setting down the scarf once she's slipped the needle out, and your heart jumps. "Although I presume we may be speaking of the same matter?"
"The word," you say, a little resentful, but you hope she doesn’t pick up on that. It seems selfish and you don't want to upset her, but it still affects you somewhere you don't want to place. You feel the intoxication wearing off as her voice jolts you back into reality, and it's much gentler than you ever expected.
"With all due respect, I know the concept of human pity upsets you, but... hm," Kanaya says, and you can sense in her contemplative expression that she's trying to find you an example. "Rose, I know you talk of love, and I want to affirm that in Alternian terms, my feelings for you are essentially identical to the human concept."
It makes your heart jump when you hear that. One point down, a hundred other little troll nuances to go.
"However, troll culture does not have that concept, opting instead for... hm, well. When you glimpsed Alternia, what was your main impression of the atmosphere?"
"Aside from weird gases," you say, gaining a chuckle from Kanaya, "it was very... warlike. And it was hard to place whether anyone liked or hated each other, really."
"Case in point. Alternian trolls are used to a harsh social climate. Every troll for themselves, if you will. Traditionally, pity is not often felt other than between friends or the flushed and pale quadrants. Pity in a troll context is more," Kanaya articulates, "er, a deep care for someone's well being."
"So in a society that doesn't allow much concern for others there is a much more profound meaning to it..." You nod, a couple of pieces clicking in your head. This could take some getting used to, but you feel the gears turning again; although rusty with alcohol, they still function well enough.
"Precisely," Kanaya smiles, brightly and warmly. "Although pity is different in human culture, yes? More negative, I assume."
"Well, for some people, it's fine," you admit, with a shrug. “But I’m not one of those people.”
She tilts her head to the side, questioningly.
“Pity as a human concept implies condescension. Like, looking down on the person you pity,” you continue, and her expression changes into one of surprise. As if she never understood why in the first place, or can’t believe that the emotion ever contained that negativity. “If you pity someone you think them lower than you, even though it’s affectionate, and… you know me. I don’t like people looking down on me.”
Kanaya heaves a long, understanding sigh. “Ah, so it was that, then..."
You squint, fiddling with the tips of your thumbs, and lean your head gently towards her shoulder. There's an easy, calming silence, punctuated only by the pops from the fireplace.
"You're tired, Rose," Kanaya finally says, in her just-barely questioning tone. "I would tuck you in for the night, but alas, you still have a scarf to finish."
"When do I ever have a lack of scarves to finish," you comment, without missing a beat, and Kanaya giggles, hand over her mouth, gently, lilting like a princess. She's looking at you daringly, and that's when you realize Kanaya has been knitting the scarf since you started talking, and she has finished it already.
You feel silly. Very, very silly.
"Okay, so maybe I don't have a scarf now," you say pointedly, "because it's resting in the hands of my dearest matesprit."
"Alcohol-scented and all," she quips, and you poke her in the side. "Rose, I still do not know how to express the feelings I hold for you-- since love and pity are different things, how should I--"
"Shhh. Just kiss me, Maryam," you grin, and she does. Her lips part to meet yours and you nearly hook your bottom lip on her right fang. That could have drawn blood, you think dazedly, but it's not like you would mind if it did. Her hands drape over your shoulders, loosely meeting behind your neck, and she leans into you, and God you can feel her smile when she notices your hands scaling down her spine, and before you know what you're supposed to be doing you unhook the small clasp at the back of her red satin dress and she actually laughs. She laughs, and you open your eyes to hers, your lips still lightly touching.
"Flushed for you," she murmurs, her hands now running through your hair, separating the preened curled ends, and you know that phrase is probably the closest you're going to get, and it's enough. With her like this pressed to you and her face blushing green and her cool skin balancing your burning human blood, it's most definitely enough.
"Flushed for you," you reply, and your right index finger runs gently up the outside of her hooked horn, and she shivers. "How did you just remember that?"
"I believe that when I am this close to you I tend to become less eloquent," she admits. "I would not be able to find the words if someone held up a cue card, I think."
"I... think I will take you up on your offer to tuck me in."
Her face turns an even darker jade color and she laughs, delicately, but you can tell she's a bit flustered.
"I also believe I will join you in that pursuit," she mumbles, and you grin.

It's more than enough, you decide, this is not just the closest you'll get, this is a completely different chart, a whole other map all parchment and paths.
And you're so okay with that you can't tell the difference.