Eyes of Silver, Faith of Gold
Happy Homecomings [Mikoto and Gerard]

dark-haired-swordsman:

“…No, it’s alright.” He relaxed at Father Gerard’s apology, in fact feeling slightly foolish for voicing a complaint to begin with. “It’s not important.”

“Ah? I’m glad he’s taking interest in such things. No… I do have good memories of that place, and I would be more than willing to share them with him. Perhaps I could tell him about the cherry blossom orchards… I must confess, they are much grander there.”

“…Indeed. I have seen first-hand their ability to destroy, and it troubles me.” He looked down into his tea thoughtfully. “I would like your permission to investigate their territory directly…”

He smiled, thinking about Kelsey’s aspiration to learn as much as he could about just about everything. “That would be very kind of you. Both he and I would appreciate it! Quinn might also like to hear…for all the playing outside and trouble she gets into, she does enjoy things more associated with femininity.” He took a sip of his tea. “What worries me most, of course, is when she talks about wanting to be a bride someday! I suppose I can’t help that, but I do so hope I can guide her and teach her well.”

Gerard stayed silent for a bit longer than any point before. Looking into his teacup, he recalled the Empire’s love of destruction. The more devastating the damage, the better…it was part of the reason they recruited children so often. Since they were still so young, they were easily manipulated and highly impressionable. The first group of selected children was experimental…all orphans or children who wouldn’t be missed if taken away. He remembered the case of one who had been brought in as an alternative to prison, who went on to be Lieutenant Commander-

No, he was drifting into his memories again. He couldn’t do that. Looking up at Mikoto, he finally replied.

"If I recall, Selphia is closest to the border to the frozen lands. If that’s the case, well…" He sighed. "Do you have any experience applying the skills necessary to such a mission in snowy terrain?"

Happy Homecomings [Mikoto and Gerard]

dark-haired-swordsman:

“I have had little opportunity for prolonged baths, Father.” His tone had a slight edge to it, though unintentional. “It would be rather inconvenient for me.”

“Oh? How lovely. Do you think – that they might like to see me, later?” He never really knew what to say to the children, but it didn’t mean he didn’t like them. That sort of innocence had always been rather charming to him. “Perhaps I’ll look for them.”

“Hmm.” It was tempting to deflect the man’s questions with small talk, or lie about some inconsequential reason for his questioning, but it would be an insult to his duties and to Gerard’s intelligence. “I imagine from your reaction you have heard something of the recent activity in the area.”

He took another sip of his tea. “It seems that bulletless guns are in fashion as of late. The mechanisms are rather crude, and they don’t cause as much damage… but they are far simpler to use, requiring no reloading, and are still capable of causing significant injury, particularly at close range.”

“Security is also higher than it used to be. The entire territory is on edge, and I… find myself meddling in their affairs. I apologize for any attention I may have drawn to myself.”

At that moment, Gerard realized how silly his comment was. “Ah, of course. My apologies.” He smiled. “I meant nothing by it. I’ve just…never had to think about such a situation in regard to myself. It was a rather self-centered thing to say, unintentional though it was.”

He nodded enthusiastically. “Of course they would! To be quite honest, Kelsey has been asking me about your home country as of late, and I have to tell him I don’t know the answers most of the time. He might try to ask you now that you’ve returned. Assuming it won’t bring back any unpleasant memories for you, in which case, I can simply tell him you might just…not want to talk about it.”

Again, his expression turned more serious. “Yes, though not very much at all.” He frowned. “I see. I never did like firearms. The same can’t be said for the military. And ones that don’t require reloading could be quite dangerous indeed.” Sipping his tea, he listened as Mikoto hesitantly explained the situation. “Assuming you aren’t putting yourself or the island in danger, I don’t see how it could be too problematic. Though ‘meddling’ is a bit of a vague term…” He paused for a moment. “But I’ve no doubt you’ve been keeping vigilant about the matter. I trust your good judgement.”

Happy Homecomings [Mikoto and Gerard]

dark-haired-swordsman:

“Ah. Well… perhaps another time, then. It had only been a thought.” It wasn’t as if his own comfort was his priority.

“I suppose so.” He nodded, acknowledging but not smiling at Gerard’s attempt to validate his actions. The tea was good, though a bit odd to his tongue.

He drank in silence, mulling over the reason he had come here. It was nothing urgent, and yet he had begun to wonder… “Have you heard of a place called Selphia?”

Gerard took a sip of his tea. “Still, I do so hope you’ll get some rest. You’ve gotten some time to sit down, as well as something to eat. The last step should be a good night’s sleep! Oh, and I do find that a bath can help one to relax.” He looked down into his teacup. “However, I can’t have that anymore! A bath starts my day, after all. So, I have to be perfectly attentive! Which I don’t mind. It makes sure the children are awake and ready to start their busy day!” He smiled, then took another sip of his tea. “Kelsey, especially, loves to have his morning bath. He only just recently learned to properly wash his hair all by himself, and he was so much less shy that day as he told people so!”

Gerard couldn’t help but do one of his excited wiggles, even within the confines of his chair. He really did find joy in Quinn and Kelsey’s every accomplishment. “It’s easier on me, too. Whenever he tried before, he’d always end up with soap left in his hair. Sometimes, I didn’t notice until much later on.”

Taking in Mikoto’s question, his tone turned considerably more serious. He’d heard rumors of what had happened in Selphia as of late. “I have indeed. Why do you ask?” He took another sip of his tea, genuinely curious to hear what Mikoto might know.

Happy Homecomings [Mikoto and Gerard]

dark-haired-swordsman:

“Undoubtedly. I would almost be concerned if you did not.” “Father Gerard” and “understated” were not concepts he could easily marry.

“I hadn’t spoken to Odette, but before I left I asked her to let others use my room. It would be inconsiderate to eat into her profits even when I wasn’t in town. And Violet…” He frowned slightly. He respected Violet’s practices, but still had little wish to step into her clinic without adequate reason. “I’ll consider it.”

“Sugar?” He raised an eyebrow, then tested a sip of the tea. “No, it’s quite good without. Better to cleanse the throat after something sweet.”

"Hmm…" Gerard thought it over for a second. "Well, if you do not wish to trouble either of them, I doubt my own offers could measure up. My own bed will be unoccupied, but I’d imagine I might disturb your rest while I practice lifting my weights. And I doubt I could get full cooperation if you wished to rest in one of the children’s beds, as I’m sure you might guess." Kelsey might not be too happy with his sister’s idea to give Mikoto a makeover while he slept, and that could be quite disruptive.

"Ah, of course," Gerard replied. He smiled, thinking of another point. "I’d imagine that comes from the east? It sounds like an example of a traditional idea that is still very useful, don’t you think?" He filled a teaspoon with honey before mixing it into his tea and sitting down with Mikoto. "However, since I haven’t eaten anything sweet just yet, I think a little bit of honey should be fine!"

/Approaches him, flourishing dramatically/ Azel! Oh, it is SO very wonderful to see you!

rhymeswithgazelle:

Oh, h-has it really? I, eh, hadn’t realized it’d been all that long. Time, uh, gets away from me, y’know.

My gracious, but you wound me! No matter, though. You’re too much of a kind, thoughtful, and generally delightful young gentleman to go about breaking hearts left and right!

Now, I must know, how on earth have you been occupying yourself? I want to know about all of your heroic tales!

Happy Homecomings [Mikoto and Gerard]

dark-haired-swordsman:

“Goodness. With you as my designer, I’m afraid I might come out with far more than a crown.” He smiled slightly.

“So long as it suits you, I have no complaints.” The concept of a diet had always baffled him. At his birthplace, the men ate well so that they would have energy for their training, and the women ate little because it was polite and their stomachs were smaller to begin with. There was never any need to forcibly eat less.

“I may not eat very often, Father Gerard, but what I have is sufficient.” He was not one to fill his stomach, particularly when he was on the road. He ate what he could forage or hunt, as, when abroad, he had no income to support a more extravagant way of living. “I must confess, though, it is almost odd to settle down like this, after so much time elsewhere…” He sighed and leaned back in his chair. “Perhaps I will stay a while. I can’t remember the last time I slept in a bed.”

He laughed. “Oh, well I can assure you, I’d do my very best to create a more understated look. However, I do believe I’d get carried away!”

Gerard nodded. “Of course. And with the exercise I do, I should be back to my usual self in no time at all!”

He looked over Mikoto’s expression for a moment before accepting the response. “I’m glad to hear it. It is important to regularly eat, as I’m sure you know.” Upon hearing Mikoto’s desire to rest, it took him all he could not to hop up and demand that he get some rest. But that would be a bit too hasty. Besides, he still had to ready the tea. “Ah, will Odette have your usual room ready? If not, I’m sure Violet wouldn’t mind you taking a rest at the clinic.” He stood up, going to the tea kettle and pouring two cups. He brought them over to the table before returning to the kitchen counter again. “Would you like any sugar or honey? I’m going to add some to mine, so I thought I’d ask.”

Happy Homecomings [Mikoto and Gerard]

dark-haired-swordsman:

“I suppose not.” He had been troubled by allegations of sexism in the past, and he had had little to say for himself. “Oh? Perhaps I’ll try out a crown at some point, see how it fits me.” He chuckled.

“Hm. I hope you will be there to correct me when it happens.”

He chewed on the tart thoughtfully. He would not have minded shoving it into his mouth, if he was alone – but he had too much dignity to do it in front of Father Gerard. “A diet? There’s no need. You are, as always, the picture of health. It is your decision in the end, however.”

He finished the tart and dusted off his hands. “I do believe that was the first thing I had eaten for leisure in…” He thought. “A very long time. Perhaps since the last time I was here?” He looked away a bit guiltily. “There always seems to be something else to do…”

"And I shall help you select it! You do know how I simply love to accessorize!” He smiled. “Of course, I shall do my very best. Though I’d imagine any foolishness you’d get into wouldn’t be terribly serious.”

"Ah, but these robes are very forgiving. And it is ever so easy to make delicious juice drinks with plenty of nutrients to get me through any given day!"

His expression turned a bit more serious. “But I take it you’ve been eating sufficiently otherwise? Skipping meals is a good way to end up in some trouble.” He’d learned that the hard way from his military days. He had a tendency to be chatty during mealtimes, and sometimes, he wouldn’t be able to finish eating. It was a good thing he’d learned about the helpfulness of blended drinks, otherwise he might have collapsed more than just that one time. The way the Sechs trained their soldiers was no laughing matter, after all.

Happy Homecomings [Mikoto and Gerard]

dark-haired-swordsman:

“And it is a duty you do well.”

“I…” He frowned. “I believe I still struggle with that. I know I have come off as old-fashioned to some…” He did not doubt that he had many enemies.

“Is it, now? I can only hope that I am right. I wonder sometimes if my youth prevents me from making sound judgments.” He looked to the tart and examined it quickly. “Perfectly-made, as always. Will you not be having any?” He took it and nibbled at it. “It’s quite good, of course.”

"There is nothing wrong with a bit of a traditional approach to living," Gerard replied. "In fact, I think it is a very good thing. And it certainly suits you well! It gives you an additional air of nobility."

He pondered the question for a moment. “While it is true that younger people are a little more prone to making silly choices than older ones, I don’t think that you struggle with it as much as others. But we all have moments where our judgment or thoughts temporarily lapse.”

He smiled, glad Mikoto liked them. “Oh, that is so very wonderful! And I shan’t be joining you this time, my dear. I’m on a diet once again. But soon we shall indulge in some tarts as two friends having a leisurely snack!”

I sense…

…A blessing that will soon be approaching!

Happy Homecomings [Mikoto and Gerard]

dark-haired-swordsman:

“…Hm. I’m afraid we don’t see eye to eye at the moment.” It was only his self-restraint that prevented physical confrontations between them.

“Hmm. It has never been difficult work for me, and I leave for such long periods of time… but thank you for your kind words.” He thought for a moment, uncertain whether or not to keep speaking. “What you have given me is… perhaps less tangible, at times, but no less valuable.”

“No, no. It’s important to speak your mind, particularly when dealing with someone as stubborn as me.” He chuckled softly. “It’s gotten you quite far in the past, after all.”

"I see," Gerard said, nodding knowingly. He supposed that with such different viewpoints and pasts, it would take more than just his words for Mikoto and Pandora to suddenly become the best of friends. Realistically, that would probably never happen, but he still hoped they’d get along better someday. "Well, I do hope you’ll keep your heart open. I’ll make sure Pandora does the same. After all, it is my duty to offer guidance to the people of this island."

With a pair of frilly potholders, Gerard took the kettle off the stove to pour some into a teapot. “I am glad to know you think so, Mikoto. As I’m sure you know well, one’s past does not ever go away. But the important thing is to try and change what you didn’t like about those times to the very best of your ability.”

He smiled as he put some of the tea bags into the teapot. “Ah, but your stubbornness is a good thing, at its very foundation! You hold strongly to your beliefs, your sense of right from wrong, and you are determined. For those qualities, among others, I am quite thankful for how stubborn you can be.” Since the tea was still rather hot, and still in the process of brewing, Gerard made his way over to the refrigerator and took out one of the tarts, putting it onto a small plate matching the tea set he was using. “Here you are. I hope you’ll enjoy this while waiting on the tea.”