The Old Story

Nathian glanced over at her once again. She was laughing by the fire, all her attention and energy devoted to Laurent, sitting opposite her. But he couldn’t shake that overwhelming paranoia that he was being watched.

He shook his head irritably. This was stupid. Her eyes were looking the other way. There was no-one watching him. He needed to drop all these pointless suspicions. It was childish. Why would she even be looking at him, anyway? She was clearly happy enough to be entertained by Laurent. They were there laughing together, weren’t they? Why should she be distracted by him? More importantly, why was he distracted by them?

The revelation hit him like a tonne of bricks, and he dropped to the ground. Was he...jealous? He supposed he did feel a little abandoned, but that was his own fault. He had chosen not to join them by the fire. He must just be worried that Laurent might get hurt. That was all. She might be an old friend of his, but he always was too caring and protective of others over his own skin. He was too trusting, too gullible. He didn’t want her to take advantage of that. And so he waited patiently, seated by the roots of a tree, waiting for anything that might happen.

Orrien stifled another giggle. She didn’t remember Laurent being this funny before he went. Maybe being with the pixies had addled his brains, poor boy. He’d been gone too long.

Laurent watched her, his mild expression concealing his true intentions. He saw her blink, heavy-lidded, watched one eye open more than a fraction before the other. He couldn’t imagine that. “Hullo, Left,” he said, still wearing a mild smile on his face. “Have you just woken up?”

“Don’t ‘hullo’ me.” Left spoke in a low murmur. “I’ve been awake for some time now. You’re getting unobservant in your old age. Probably too distracted by my sister, I don’t doubt.”

Laurent answered with silence. It was better to let Left speak by himself. He let more information slip that way.

“I’ve been watching your pixie friend over there.” Left nodded towards Nathian. “He keeps watching us. Why do you think that is?”

Laurent’s smile widened. “Maybe he’s just curious about you, Left.”

A smirk crossed Left’s face. “I don’t doubt he would be, if he knew. But I suppose not all half-pixies are as observant as that. No, I’m rather more worried that he’s watching you, Laurent, with all the dignity of a whore. Dare I ask what’s passed between you?”

Laurent shifted his head to one side. “He’s a little brother to me, that’s all.”

“And you think this will help him in any way? You’ll only confuse him. And you’re betraying the truth of the matter. I don’t care whether or not you care, and you clearly don’t, but he might have something to say on the matter when he finds out.” Left’s voice was reduced to a seething whisper.

“Then don’t let him find out. Simple as that.” The smile faded from Laurent’s face. “There’s no-one else left to tell him. Only me and you.”

Left glared at him. “Then I guess I’ll have to do it, won’t I?”

Laurent’s smile picked up again. “Oh, I wonder if you could. You heard me, Left. There’s no-one else to tell him. I might be confusing him, but if you tell him…I’m fairly certain he’d break. You’re a  fraud and a lowlife, but I don’t think you’re that strong. I’m willing to gamble on that.”

The End

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