Dec 02, 2022 1:23 AM
branches off from no promise of freedom to explore new and exciting variants of dubcon
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Leareth chuckles. "It is inconvenient, yes. The gods in Velgarth do not seem to be trying to minimize inconvenience." 

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"How inconsiderate of them. Maybe the Valar can explain some principles of being a god to them."

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"Maybe. I do not really expect that to work." 

Once the sun is properly up and the various interesting colours have given way to a clear blue sky, Leareth wants to resume working on the house until sunset-watching time. 

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He wants to go around picking things up and holding them up to the sunlight and worrying about how the colors will go together.

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Leareth thinks they all look fine but it's very - Quendi-appropriate - for Maitimo to want to check anyway. 

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Maitimo thinks that Leareth's house, which they weren't using paints for, should mostly work out all right but he's worried about the city, which will have to rethink the color schemes of several areas. It was sort of rude of the Valar to do this without notice.

He is not very helpful with the house all day but he sings a lot and seems very happy. 

And then the sun sets and it's even more beautiful than the sunrise. He's delighted.

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Leareth is so pleased! It's a bit silly to feel this much satisfaction about Maitimo enjoying the sunset, it's not like Leareth personally invented sunsets, but he is nonetheless so delighted to be watching Maitimo experience it for the first time. This is the most he's smiled since his rescue from Angband. (Possible the most he's smiled in Maitimo's presence ever, it's not like he was very expressive before.) 

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Maitimo smiles back at him. - reaches out and takes his hand, again. 

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It's not that Leareth doesn't like it - he does, a lot - but he's still confused what Maitimo is trying to express with this, and sort of thinking himself in circles about it. And - longing for something, but he doesn't even know what.

It finally occurs to him that he can just ask, although it's still hard to figure out what the right question is. :What are you thinking about?: he goes with, eventually. 

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He's thinking about Leareth, who looks - better, closer to okay, happier, and he's glad of that, and the last thing he would possibly want would be to screw that up somehow, so he's been mostly ignoring how - 

- how Leareth also looks like he wants him, the way it never quite looked like he did, before, and that means it's tempting again, though it hasn't been for a long time -

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Oh. 

Leareth is (and this is still not unusual) confused about what emotions he's having and what they mean. He wants something. He's mostly been ignoring it, so he hasn't tried unpacking it into words even to himself, but - he keeps feeling like he misses Maitimo. Which is stupid because Maitimo is right there, and yet. He's been remembering, sometimes, how Maitimo would hold perfectly still while Leareth kissed him. And he has a newfound appreciation for how hard that must have been, how much patience it must have taken, because he's finding it hard not to - keep wanting things he really shouldn't have, at least not for years or decades, he's proven himself too irresponsible with it. Something about it feels unfair, but he can't really pin it on anyone except his past self for coming up with a terrible plan. 

...He's thought about how he should probably try to stop wanting - that - because it seems unhelpful. He has not successfully formed an intention to stop, though. Maybe it requires all the various parts of him to be - pretty aligned on what the highest level wants. Which was trivial before Angband, enough that he was barely conscious of the process, and it wasn't trivial at all during his terrible plan but it still felt doable at all. He's not sure it is now. When he thinks about leaning away from those wants, several parts of him are clamouring that no, actually, why should he have to stop noticing that good things are good. He's settled on ignoring it instead because that at least is doable, it's mostly not a loud shouting kind of desire, and he can redirect it into wanting to build things with Maitimo which is also wonderful. 

He's been thinking about asking Vanyel for advice but - honestly hadn't even considered asking Maitimo, that felt very off-limits. It does seem like a relevant answer to Maitimo sharing his thoughts, though. 

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Quendi consider the wanting - an important part of the experience of being in love. You want while you cannot have, for a while, and it forces you to - notice more, appreciate more, get clearer in your own head on what it is you're even looking for - and then when you can stop waiting it's better for it. I don't know if it would work like that for humans. 

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:No, that makes a great deal of sense. ...Is it considered all right to talk to the person you are in love with about what you want? I - normally go to you. When I am confused about emotions: 

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It is not exactly traditional but several other features of this situation are not traditional. If it helps you I would be happy that you came to me.

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:I apologize for - fitting so confusingly into your traditions: He is expecting Maitimo tell him not to be sorry, that he prefers it that way or knew this was who Leareth is or something in that vein. 

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I cannot have - anything traditional anyway. I go back and forth about how much this saddens me.

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:I do not think I was very good at fitting into any traditions back in Velgarth either: Leareth admits. 

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The sun vanishes entirely below the horizon, leaving a smear of reds and purples across the horizon, mirrored by the sea. The stars are coming out.

"...I said something to Vanyel once," Leareth says suddenly. "About stars. In one of our dreams. I was - trying to comfort him? During their war with Karse, he was so tired. I wish I remembered what I had said."

It feels important. Like it's somewhere adjacent to the part of himself that he lost, when he tried to tear down the core parts of himself faster than Melkor could rebuild them, because it was too late to win and the best he could hope for was to stop doing things. He's been trying to do things again for a while and it's nice, it feels good, but whatever generator used to drive all his tireless efforts is still missing. 

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Leareth nods. He's suddenly feeling very tired though; unclear if it's because thinking about how much of himself he still needs to piece together is exhausting, or because it's dark out now. He yawns. "We should probably go back now." 

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"Mmhmm." He's still holding his hand and can pull him to his feet.

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"Thank you." Leareth accepts the hand up, leans a bit on Maitimo's shoulder. "...Thank you for everything. Especially for teaching me to build a house. That was such a good idea." 

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"I wish I'd thought of it sooner. It does seem to be - good."

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"I feel more like myself when I have goals. Even if they need to be very small ones for a while." Leareth is experiencing some sort of hard-to-name emotion again. He has a go poking at it anyway. "I...really want you to like my house. It feels good when you are impressed with something I did. Even if it is not objectively very impressive." 

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