[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The boys concern was quite endearing to the older man, finding his concerns for his mother sweet even if she seemed annoyed that the roles had been reversed. But that was a family dynamic he would leave to the pair to settle between themselves. Instead he found her quite receptive to his little scheme with regards to more intimate times.
[+royalblue “Wait.. really?”] The incredulity showed in his voice, raising an eyebrow as he looked across at her. Truthfully to the man it was still far-fetched that she were even considering this. Yes he had said it in a hopeful but jovial manner but it was entirely his idea just to tease her as was his way. Though they had had a serious moment the night before he didn't want her to think that was what their relationship would develop into. Often he had found it a great relief to be able to relax with his partner and enjoy more relaxing times, ones for unwinding and de-stressing.
Still, he would not pass up on getting Florence to escape the shell she had placed around for so many years, even if he was beginning to realise that she was playing him at his own game. And that last point just wouldn't do.[+royalblue “I have to say, it is quite nice to see this change in you dear,”] stood at her side she would find his hand had come to rest at the small of her back,[+royalblue “you have no idea how much I love to hear you being so receptive to such an idea.”] The hand slid around to grasp her curving him and squeeze just ever so slightly, drawing them that little bit closer together. It was clear in his look and his tone he was teasing her but he was more than happy to see just how far he could press his luck before she inevitably pushed him away and told him to behave. Florence needed to learn that this was how he responded around someone he cared about very deeply. It was rather different to his usual professional demeanour but the mood remained solely playful.
Florence had assumed that if nothing else they talked, it was more what they talked about that she wanted to know. Based off his tone and current meandering, he clearly knew that, but was choosing to have a bit of fun at her expense. Thankfully, it did not go on for long before he let the cat out of the bag. It was much what she expected. After all, it wasn’t as though Augustine had been completely silent before this point. He had confronted her once already, even if the conversation never came to its close. [+mediumseagreen “That boy… He should know by now it is my job to worry about him, not the other way around.”] She sighed. It was a rather strange feeling for her as a mother, but she knew it was only because he was a caring child. She loved him dearly, even if he was a bit of a brat about how he went about things. It went to show that just because he was mature in some regards, that did not mean he was an adult just yet. There was still plenty of room to grow for Augustine.
And after that last addition to the story, it looked like there was room for Nicolai to grow as well. [+mediumseagreen “Oh is that right?”] Skepticism of comical levels reflected in her voice as she poked right back at him. [+mediumseagreen “I would say he has grown uncharacteristically brazen to bring up such a thing.”] Not that she truly believed kissing to be so shameless as she made it out to be, especially in light of how things progressed the night before. And since they both knew Nicolai was only talking about himself here, she would treat it as such. [+mediumseagreen “But I suppose such innocent boldness deserves praise from time to time.”] He would be rewarded with an answer. [+mediumseagreen “I cannot say it is something to be concerned about, but I suppose it would not be wholly unacceptable if we were to share such moments a little more frequently.”] Something about the previous night had been pivotal for her. Florence did not know whether it was because he had taken up a comforting role that was usually reserved only for those she trusted without question, or that they managed to have a serious conversation without butting heads, or if his sweet words were finally softening her, but she found that the idea of being close to him was not completely unappealing or appalling.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat By Augustine’s flushed face and the swiftness at which he moved on to the topic of discussing Flora’s talking, Nicolai wondered if the boy had even kissed the girl yet. Perhaps they were still so innocent, and that led into why he disliked seeing his mother being kissed. Keeping the theory to himself however he playfully pushed the boy in the shoulder.[+royalblue “Let’s get these back to the others, [i Sir]. I am still officially a General unless you wish to revoke your fathers decree m'lord.”] He took every opportunity to bring up his supposed rank and tease the boy, though it was likely revoked before they had even fled the castle.
Still they re-entered the camp in a good mood and he made a quick note to the blonde man that they would be setting off shortly, seeing as the others had readied the horses it seemed. Splitting off to retrieve his pack – no doubt no-one wanting to move his belongings lest he shout at them – he was intercepted by a rather inquisitive Florence. Her first question was ignored as he smiled at her knowingly. It seemed to bring out her true intentions and he nodded.
[+royalblue “It was good. We talked.”] He leaned down to grab his belongings, but clearly that would not be enough for the woman to take. Letting her becoming a touch impatient he stood back upright, moving to her side so that his back was to the others. It was not a secret as such, but a good excuse to move closer.[+royalblue “The boy was just.. concerned for his mother. He just wanted to make sure I was not coercing you into dating me. I merely assured him that you were more than capable of telling me no and putting me in my place.”] Not the strict truth but in a way it was. She was a formidable woman when she wanted to be.
[+royalblue “Though he did query why we do not kiss more often and I have to agree with his concern. What say you?”] Clearly he was teasing her now but the night before and the dreams that followed had fed into a pleasant morning where he could be at his most mischievous.
Nicolai was a little too giddy about all this in Augustine’s opinion. Spouting off in a way that felt like he was trying to be a councilor giving life and relationship advice. [+coral “Yeah, yeah, nobody’s perfect and we should all learn to be imperfect together and compensate for what others lack and whatnot.”] There wasn’t any real irritation in his voice, but he figured he would jab back a little since the elf was taking it upon himself to pull his experience with Flora into this.
His face flushed a bit at the comment pertaining to his affections with his girlfriend. He didn’t have a response for that, so he pressed right along to the next thing, though he was certain Nicolai wasn’t looking for a real solution there. [+coral “I mean, you can always tell her to be quiet, but I don’t advise it. That’s a quick way to get kicked in the shin… and it hurts.”] He obviously spoke from experience, though it had been some time since she last lashed out at him like that. The boy was getting better at avoiding it, he’d learned how to piss her off less and he was learning how best to dodge her. [+coral “Other than that you are pretty much out of luck. She is going to keep talking till the cows come home. It is part of her charm.”] He smiled earnestly at his own exaggeration. Augustine had come to understand that this was just part of who she was. Flora could talk to anyone about anything. It was a fact of life and like anything else it came with its advantages and disadvantages.
Glancing back up in the direction of camp, he thought it was about time for them to get back. They had been shooting the breeze long enough, so he held the full canteens out, [+coral “Let’s get these back to the others.”] Preferably before he got another life lesson.
Upon their return, Florence looked over the pair. She wondered if Nicolai had already jumped at the chance to talk to her son. Based off their expressions alone she did not think so. The woman very much expected Augustine to be more upset, but there was no way to tell for sure without asking. So when they split of from one another she made her way toward Nicolai. [+mediumseagreen “Good morning. Did you sleep well?”] It was pleasantly she did not feel she could skip, though she did shortly get to her real question. [+mediumseagreen “How was your time with Augustine? It looked like all was well when you returned.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustine's points had validity in Nicolai's opinion. He was a caring son wanting the best for his mother but perhaps trying to be too caring. It was commendable but frustrating at the same time, especially when he brought attention to Florence and how she may not 'improve'. Again the similarities between mother and son shone brightly.[+royalblue “A relationship is a two way agreement. I promise to love and support her and she promises to do the same.”] A simple statement but one that Nicolai found great solace in.
[+royalblue “Every relationship has its hardships, its flaws, and I'm sure stood here, right now, even you could list one or two of your own just as I could. But you don't let them rule the relationship. You learn to manage them.”] He was accepting of Florence for what some, including herself, saw as a detriment to any relationship. Yet she had been the one to ask to stay with him the night before, leaning close against him. And she had been the one to lay at his side holding his hand through the night in the ruined building. So for a woman who was fearful of being touched and did not want to disappoint Nicolai because of it, she was the one instigating many of their close moments.
His final comment made Nicolai chuckle and he nodded.[+royalblue “I'll keep our kissing out of sight if you do the same with Flora.”] He had yet to see them really interract with one another, perhaps not feeling entirely confident with the boys mother so near.[+royalblue “And teach me how I can politely get her to understand that sometimes I just want silence.”] It was a light hearted jab at how the girl could talk for days on end. Again, he found it rather sweet given how the rest of the group were content in silence and rather introverted. But sometimes he wanted to just tell her enough was enough and to shut up; in a polite way. Nodding back the way they had come he gestured to head back to the group, grateful to have the young boys understanding even if he did not have his total confidence in his relationship with Florence.
Ruffling up at the analogy of battle and opponents, Augustine did not like that one bit. Was this a game of war to him? A scenario that he had to read and manipulate until he got his way? This all crossed his mind, but his worry was short lived as Nicolai went on to correct himself. At least there was that, though he wasn’t thrilled that the man was trying to make a point after all he had said.
Nicolai admitted he noticed Florence’s tendency to shy away. If that was the case, why was he continuing to be insensitive? Why were they even having this conversation? He did not need to ask. There was more that the elf had to say, and he went right along with it. And unfortunately, it was convincing...
Gritting his teeth, Augustine’s gut had him wanting to tell the other man he was wrong and that their relationship should stop. But actually thinking over it with his brain, he couldn’t come up with any valid excuses that he hadn’t already spoken. It was frustrating, because he could not fully disperse the negative emotions he was feeling, even if he knew they [i might] be unfounded.
Cool green eyes hot on Nicolai, Augustine tried to compose himself at least a little before speaking. [+coral “It’s not that I think lowly or little of you… I just know she often makes decisions based on what is best for others and not herself.”] She would not admit it, because she was much too stubborn, but everyone close to her knew that was how she was. Still, that line didn’t have much traction. Nicolai was right in saying that she should be the one to decide what she wanted. Why she made a choice didn’t really matter, so long as it was hers.
It was the promise at the end that acted as the final nail in the coffin of his argument. Augustine didn’t know that was what they were talking about the night before. Given how cuddly they were, he almost did not believe it, but in the end he decided to take Nicolai as a man of his word. The young man still wasn't happy about it, and it showed on his face, but he would believe him. [+coral "Fine, you are right. She should be able to do what she wants... but I am not sure this is something that will ever get better like you think…”] He was no expert on trauma, but if she had been struggling this long it wasn’t like one decent relationship would fix it. Though he was loath to admit that his parent’s relationship wasn’t built on love. It obviously wasn’t, but he liked to think that somewhere deep down his mother actually cared a little for his father. Or at the very least she got used to him and found him endearing. It was a naïve thought, but it helped them sleep at night to imagine she wasn't suffering her entire time in Wistina. [+coral “Just, try and make her happy okay... and like, keep it away from me. I don't care how much you love her, I don't want to see you snogging my mom."] That was still gross.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+royalblue “Yes Augustine, I was aware she did not like to be touched. I put it down to the circumstances surrounding.. your birth.”] It was a testy subject to discuss so he quickly moved them on.[+royalblue “And I assumed Gregory did that because the only people who showed an interest in her romantically were Vincent and I. Disliking Vincent is obvious, but I knew Gregory did not ever like me. He tolerated me at best, but there was never any chance I would ever win him over.”] That was part of the reason he had waited for them to be on the road before I tried to approach Florence. Though to be fair in that respect, them getting together was a pleasant mistake. If it had not been for the argument, he would have let sleeping dogs lie and understood that she did not want anything like that from him.
The rest of Augustine's theory played out and there were several tidbits of information that the elven man never knew. Hearing about their time in Astoria and how things had progressed out of his view, even when he was in the castle, he was given a much more in depth view of the terrors and fears that she had about being touched. Again, he put this down to the man who sired Augustine and had been caught in her bedchamber that fateful night things had almost become known.
Looking across at the boy as he averted his gaze, not wanting to look at Nicolai for some reason or another, he shook his head lightly.[+royalblue “Do you think so little of me as to think I would ignore her feelings Augustine? Did I not teach you anything about reading an opponent?”] It was harking back to simpler times, where they would practice with wooden swords and discuss the past of Wistina. It was a much sweeter time.[+royalblue “I don't mean to call her my opponent, I only mean it in the sense that the theory remains the same. I saw the small signs she disliked to be close to anyone but you and her father as far back as Wistina. Back at the farm she came out and told me just as much in a blunt manner.”]
It was quite frustrating having to battle the son having spent the last night trying to save the relationship with the mother. Would it have been entirely too peculiar and happen-stance for Gregory to pop out of a tree and throw in his thoughts on the matter?
[+royalblue “You love your mother, that is fair, but I love her too. I have not smothered her or ever forced myself upon her. When this began I made sure she knew where I stood. It is not a relationship of wanting her, not in the sense you and just about everyone else thinks I do.”] Of course physical attraction was there, it was the fundamental and beginning reason for all this when he saw her those near two decades ago. It just wasn't the most important thing.[+royalblue “I want what is best for her and I believe I can help her achieve that. I understand you worry for her and try to do whatever you can in her best interests, but that is where I went wrong because she doesn't need our help Augustine, she can make her own decisions.”] He was rather close to making mention of their talk behind the tavern, when she had discussed the desire to see Augustine and not see [i him], as she put it. But he felt it was said in confidence and so he would keep it such.
Instead, he was quiet for a moment, head dropping a touch as he tried to find some final point to make. It took a few seconds but he found it before the other man could speak.[+royalblue “We are stood here discussing how she fears being touched but I want her to overcome that. I want her to be happy, to finally have a relationship that is born and based on nothing but love, and I think I can give her that.”] Stepping further down the brook, remaining on the opposite bank to Augustine however, he stopped facing the blonde boy.[+royalblue “I think you can agree, that if your mother did not want this, she would be strong enough to tell me so. She almost did so last night. And if she does decide, on her own, that it is too much for her,”] he paused just long enough to get the others attention and gaze,[+royalblue “I promise you both I won't stop her. Just.. let me try and help her, and let her decide what is best for her.”]
It was a little unbelievable that Nicolai stayed silent and let Augustine say all he had to say. He found it commendable, but at the final point the elf’s countenance took a bit of a turn. He did not seem to be happy about what the blond was insinuating. He most likely took it as a personal sight, but he spoke from a more general place.
Features falling, he knew it would be awkward to go into too many details, especially since he did not have them all. But Augustine did press on. [+coral “You can’t tell me you haven’t noticed how apprehensive she gets with being touched?”] He vaguely remembered it being a concern when he was younger. But when she was Queen there was little to no reason for anyone to touch her, aside from his father, the King, so it was just barely there within his recollection. [+coral “Or how weird it is for Gregory to be so concerned about her personal space all the time.”] It had been a point of contention between the elf and the dwarf the whole trip north. For Augustine it may have felt like forever ago, but he remembered that much.
[+coral “Over the years there have been all sorts of little things that stand out… Just shortly after you were brought to Astoria something happened. I don’t know exactly what, but she was shaken by it. She spent all day with Gregory, just sitting with him and letting him comfort her. I haven’t seen her do anything like that since we were back in Wistina.”] Back then he had only happened upon it by accident, but he remembered them spending a great deal of time alone in the gardens together. [+coral “And then…”] His eyes sort of shifted to the side, over toward the flow of water. [+coral “A couple of years back, when I last tried to wake her, she freaked out. All I did was shake her a bit and call to her, but she woke in a fright… She was so scared; I’d never seen her like that before... And you know what she said afterward? She said she thought I was someone else and apologized.”] That had really been the moment it all started to make sense to him, even if he didn’t know the whole story.
[+coral “Obviously there is something there and all signs point to it being something bad…”] As forward as he was being in the moment, Augustine was determined to leave it at just that. [+coral “So yeah, I don’t think she is comfortable, nor should she be forced into a situation where she has to face it everyday.”] Augustine concluded in a matter of fact sort of way, unaware that this was something that Nicolai and his mother had already established and discussed.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Thankfully the boys age was not the only reason or Nicolai would be left arguing just why kissing was okay and that his mother was not 'gross' for doing so. Then again he had already made mention of Flora being here, so there was little worry that something so childish would get in the way. Yet the reason he gave was quite interesting and for a moment he stood there with no reaction save for keeping his mouth shut and the canteens tucked under his arm.
[i Just when was Florence happiest?] Sure Germaine was not the most attentive husband but he was not cruel nor domineering. Not at least more than any other man. And yet outside of that relationship she had been forced from Wistina, attacked multiple times, had her private matters put out in public and that was all before Astoria and its troubles with Adrian and Nicolai's return.
The dark haired man was eager to immediately state she was happiest in a relationship than out of it based on these very simple factors, but being so quick to pass his judgement had been what got him into trouble in the past. Instead he held off from answering and was given an even more cryptic response from the younger man.
[+royalblue “What do you believe she is being pushing into doing Augustine?”] His tone became that bit more serious and the jovial nature at the beginning of their conversation had fallen off quite sharply. Whilst he was not entirely sure Augustine was talking about Nicolai, and perhaps having the viewpoint that he was forcing his mother to be in a relationship she did not want, the older man was concerned that he was being painted as a villain here.
But again he stayed his tongue to hear just what the boy was insinuating. No sense in defending himself when he was not being accused of anything.
So that was what he was getting at. Augustine basically had it put together as he mentioned the disapproval of those outside of the relationship itself. Glancing back to his hands, he noticed that the water container was not fully in the water any longer. His hands must have wandered as he was distracted. Quickly putting it back, his eyes went back to Nicolai. Thankfully the man did not beat around the bush much longer. Though he did draw a sigh out from the young man.
Taking a moment to let the canteen fill completely he replaced the top and stood to face Nicolai. Based of the man’s posture alone he was trying to keep this loose, so Augustine reacted in kind. [+coral “I wouldn’t say I am too old.”] His arms crossed in front of his chest. He did not think there would ever be an age that he was comfortable with the idea of his mother getting plowed, but he kept that thought to himself. [+coral “But that isn’t my only reasoning…”] There were a couple pieces to this puzzle, but since they were being straightforward he would lay them out.
[+coral “I’ve been alive for fifteen years now, the first eight of those my mother was in a relationship and the latter seven she was not. Can you guess which ones she was actually happy in?”] There were a thousand different reasons for that, but this was the one that Augustine clung to. It probably had to do something about the death of his father being the most prominent change for him in that time, however he hadn’t spent the time to try and sort all that out.
[+coral “Also…”] This bit he was a little more hesitant to say. If the woman herself had been present, he would have kept quiet. [+coral “I don’t think she should be pushed to do things that she is uncomfortable with.”] There was an insinuation there that Augustine thought he knew something that perhaps Nicolai did not.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai smiled and nodded with his sentiment about Flora. The girl was certainly a very forward and outspoken girl and it served well to keep morale up and the mood from becoming stale. At times it could get annoying but she was a kind hearted, if nosy, girl and he would not admonish her for being open with the others. Yet Augustine hit the nail on the head of what the elfin man was getting at with talk of Augustus.
Letting his bottle fill up more he found the boy saying exactly what he wanted to hear and he took a moment once he had finished to sip from his canteen, lifting it a little higher and splashing some on the top of his head. The cool water ran down his head and back and he brushed a hand up through his hair with a brief smile.[+royalblue “So, you were friends for a long time, and naturally things flourished into a relationship? I mean, sure, one party was more keen for it than the other at first, but you'd agree that you are happy with the outcome now, right? And all of this despite a third party not approving of your relationship?”]
It was humorous to draw the comparisons between Augustine and Flora with himself and Florence. If he was in a particularly cruel mood he may have continued the little round of questioning further, but instead he replaced the stopper into his bottle and looked down the trickling water towards the young boy.[+royalblue “You're a forward and succinct person, a straight talker, like me, so I won't dance around the topic here Augustine.”] Standing up he kept a light expression on his face. This wasn't a very formal talk, no need to make it so.[+royalblue “I'm curious; what is your biggest objection to your mother and I being together? I'm keen to assuage any and all concerns you might have. Just don't give me any excuse about her being your mother and therefore she just shouldn't be dating at all. You're too old for that defence now.”] If he was younger he could understand. Girls were icky, kissing was disgusting, dating was not even a concept he would understand. But he had his girlfriend here, so Nicolai wanted to address the issue head on.
Augustine copied Nicolai as he went down to the waterside. Crouching down to fill the canteens. It would go twice as fast this way. As he was looking though the crisp water to the colorful stones below, the man switched topics. It seemed rather sudden to the boy. Looking back at the elf who was upstream of him, he blinked wondering why he felt the need to bring Flora and her father into the conversation.
[+coral “Having spent any length of time with Flora, do you really think I am the one who asked her?”] There were tones of humor in his voice, as he didn’t really expect Nicolai to know anything about how he and Flora got together. But even in this short time together, his girlfriend had showed a strong affinity for romance and a determination to insert herself into it whenever possible. [+coral “I really don’t think Augustus was ever fully on board with us being together, but we had been friends for so long that I think he knew it would have been really unnatural to separate us.”] Plus he would have got a lot of complaining from his daughter, which to be fair he probably would have been able to handle, right up until Julia got tired of hearing it and started getting on his case. [+coral “Not to mention there was a long transitional phase for us becoming a couple. I wasn’t really sure I could see her that way, but I guess it is true when people say feelings can change.”] His face reddened a touch at the admittance. Augustine seldom talked about this sort of thing, even with Flora herself sweet words were saved for when they were alone.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The modesty of this boy was astounding. Some would put it down to shyness or embarrassment for being thanked when they felt they had done nothing, but he acknowledged himself what he had done, therefore he was just being a very humble man. Then he ended with a quite cheeky answer that made Nicolai grin as he led them on.[+royalblue “Cocky is good in the right situations, so I'll let you run with that for now.”] Keeping his self-belief up was key to getting good performances from him.
Leading them to the brook he pulled out the stopped of the flasks in his hand and crouched down beside a rocky lip where it would be easier to fill them, placing the first opening into the cool water.[+royalblue “Speaking of Flora though,”] a grin still on his face as he looked over to the young man,[+royalblue “I met Augustus. She's a lovely girl, don't get me wrong, but I can bet you had to win him over first before you plucked up the courage to ask her out.”] The angle he was working wasn't exactly obscure, with Augustine being the protective son to his mother, but he would rather approach it from this way so that he could show the similarities and ease them into a conversation about himself and Florence.
[+royalblue “From how you two interact it seems more than just insatiable desire for one another. Care to divulge just how you convinced him you weren't a purely hormonal child?”] He swapped out his full bottle for the other empty one, placing it atop a rock so he could put in the stopper as he waited for an answer.
It was the sound of the others stirring and the light filtering through the trees that woke Augustine. Despite being in a bit of a mood the night before, he had no trouble getting to sleep. He felt like he was starting to get the hang of this outdoor living, plus the ground here was a million times more comfortable than the slate of the pass. The boy could scarcely image how quickly he would fall to sleep when he got to use a bed again. It was a funny thought, but he did not dwell on it as he rose stretching his arms.
Töka seemed to take it upon herself to wake Nicolai, though she did have a point about him looking a little too happy for a sleeping man. That might have been one of the first times he found himself agreeing with her. That being said, he wished to save anyone else that he could from her rude awakening so he looked about. Only his mother and Marko remained. Knowing that it would be best if he didn’t rouse Florence he called to Flora who was bright eyed and bushy tailed. [+coral “Hey, can you wake my mom up. I’ll get Marco.”]
The vibrant haired young woman looked at her boyfriends slightly confused at his request. She wondered why he was asking her to do it when he was closer, but Flora did not think too hard about it. Smiling at him, she agreed happily and hopped to her assigned task.
Augustine felt like he just barely had enough time to get his friend up before he turned to see Nicolai officially up and at ‘em. The man nodded over to him. He waited for him to come closer before hearing what he wanted. [+coral “Yeah, that should work.”] Whatever got them back on the trail fastest was fine by him.
Following the elf down to a stream he had yet to notice, Augustine was glad the trek was not too far. He did not want to be away for too long, just in case some trouble came up at camp. And since he had a feeling this was going to turn into a conversation, the shorter distance and time to get back were ideal. Not to say he did not want to talk to Nicolai, because he did. There was still a whole slew of knowledge in him that the young man wanted to extract; he just got irritated when he saw the man acting all flirty with his mother.
Surprisingly enough, the first thing out of Nicolai’s mouth was not a reprimand for his actions the night before, but a compliment for a time back at the pass. This threw him a bit, pulling him back from the confrontational stance he was prepared to take. [+coral “I mean, I didn’t do much. Töka and mom took the reigns for the most part.”] Augustine was not one to take credit where it was not due, but he also wasn’t one to shy away from his successes. [+coral “Basically all I did was make sure mom didn’t push herself too far and stop Flora and Marko from freaking out.”] In the grand scheme of things it seemed pretty small. Florence and Töka had taken care of Nicolai and told them when and where to keep watch in the meantime. He had actually felt pretty useless in the moment, but even those small actions were deemed enough for recognition. [+coral “… You are welcome.”] It was polite to acknowledge his thanks all the same, but as soon as that was out he turned to the man with a somewhat cocky grin. [+coral “But I am going to do even better the next time, just you wait and see.”] With a little experience under his belt Augustine felt he knew better how to apply some of the things he had learned. It was bolstering for him.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat That night was quite the peculiar one for Nicolai, and that was comparing it to the last few where he was still troubled from his crash in the battle. It had began with her questioning their relationship and whether she truly wanted to continue within it. A quick interlude from a son wanting a similar outcome and things were looking rather bleak for any positive outcome at all.
So then how did it get to the point of her leaning against his shoulder and pulling closer to him? And how did it then progress to him being given a goodnight kiss? There was no complaint, indeed he was pleasantly surprised and smiled softly at her as she pulled away to wish him a goodnight.[+royalblue “Goodnight dear.. sleep well.”] His hand held onto hers as long as he could, grinning as his fingers finally slipped free and he watched her move back to the fire. A chill ran up his spine on watching her sway back over to the others, though whether it was through losing her warmth or from the wholesomeness of the moment they just shared was anyone's guess.
With her settled down in the warmth he was left to bask in his warm fuzzy feelings by himself and it did make most of his watch pass by rather swiftly. It perhaps wasn't best for the group to have their guard be distracted by playing back a kiss or acting more like a teen than the three currently with them. But Nicolai was professional enough to get up and walk a perimeter around them, taking up spots to watch the way they had come and investigating certain sounds. All in all his particular shift passed without incident. Flora would follow him and so he woke the girl an hour or so after what was agreed. She would need the sleep and they had all been so accommodating with his illness.
Giving her a short talk on things to keep an ear out for – the sounds out of the pass much different to within – she seemed perfectly fine with things and he offered her a final thanks before heading over to sleep. Perhaps she was placed after him to ensure he did not think to lay down beside Florence as when he moved over he caught her watching closely. Not wanting to upset Augustine with an innocent decision to sleep near to his mother, he instead found a spot on the far side and folded his arms tightly about him to fall asleep.
Upon waking in the morning he found Töka staring down on him, a boot resting on his chest lightly as she shook him with her foot.[+firebrick “You had a weird look on your face; I think you were smiling. It was creeping me out.”] A little tense from sleeping rather still he grinned up at her and pushed her boot away, rubbing at his eyes as he woke.
[+royalblue “Unlike you, most people tend to sleep peacefully and dream of pleasant things. Though let me guess; you were in a field of your slain foes, bathing in their warm blood and counting their gold coins?”] The boot returned quickly, striking at his side and she walked off with a grumble, his chuckling following after her as he sat up rubbing where she had kicked. Seeing everyone was doing much like him and just waking themselves up, he saw Augustine sat on a tree stump and decided the sooner they spoke the better. So pushing himself up, a groan much like the night before as stiff muscles fought to move, he wandered across to the young man whilst stretching himself out, stopping for a moment to grab some of their water canteens. Catching his attention he nodded a silent greeting.[+royalblue “Come on. You want to get an early start then we can go grab some water. We can come back, eat, pack up and get going.”] He dropped off some of them at the younger man's feet before continuing on and out their cam knowing Augustine would follow.
Heading for the small brook he had found on his watch during the night, Nicolai kept a slow pace to allow the blonde haired Prince to catch up to him. Once he had, he looked over, waiting a little longer before speaking,[+royalblue “I've been meaning to thank you for back at the pass. I wasn't exactly myself and you stepped up, took charge from what Töka told me. I'm glad to hear you are taking on responsibility and command like that without being forced to.”] He had purposefully left the praise for a time when they were together alone like this, wanting it to feel more genuine and not a show or ceremony before his family and friends.
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