Tide blushed deeply at warm comment.
" I don't know. I don't have a fork. I don't know how can I possibly eat by myself without it, if I don't want to ruin the bandage..." he said innocently, as if setting up a punchline." Do you know, perhaps, some romantic solution to my predicament?"
"We don't want you to get dirty the bandage that we will change just in a moment, right?" Senecio grinned, and took Tide's part of tbe cake and started to break it into smaller pieces and feed him with it between taking bites from his part.
Senecio enjoyed doing that when he saw that Tide liked it, and the cake was also very good, despite a bit dry. "Do you have any idea when Hans might be expecting me? He didn't tell me anything yesterday..." he asked when they finished the cake together.
" I can't quite guess what he is thinking, as I don't know what happened yesterday. I hoped I could find from you. " Tide bid slowly, as they continued snacking on rest of sweets and cheeses from plentiful tray. " If you would be kind to tell me what happened, I think that I could predict, his intentions, but like this, I don't know.. All you told me yesterday was that he made a list, and all you told me today is that he seemed to have led you somewhere to eat, probably. " He tried to find a nicer point of conversation, as he prompted shyly. " Was it somewhere nice? Was the food good, or was he.. picking on you by giving you something rotten? Was it... that bad? " he bit his lip, hoping he can figure out what was so sour, as he knew not any details.
"I wanted to tell you, but I didn't get to it," Senecio grinned. He then told Tide how they found the incomplete script and didn't have time to stop for his things, according to Hans. The he said they went to a nice restaurant, but he didn't say which one, wanting go to surprise Tide with it if he takes him there. He said that the food was very tasty, although Hans made him wait for it long. Then he told him about the list, although not about the deal, just that Hans wanted him to promise to not go to those men again, and insisted him to say why it was complicated, but he was not willing to tell anyone else but Tide. "He was angry with me when we parted, I fear..."
It was good that Senecio waited with this until morning not to sadden Tide, because worry crept into gentle creature 's brow.
" It's not like him, to ask for promises randomly. He never asks serious stuff without offering in return. Asking something without means to return it with something leaves Spirits uncomfortable, with all their obsessions about deals and order and it beingengraved in Spirit laws. And yesterday, you was one that made big deal about how we both think you need help, so he had to offer you something helpful. Are you.... being honest with me, Senecio? Because I can always ask Hans, you know. He would tell me. " He whispered carefully, seeming somehow confused, that actor was dancing around this." Something just.... doesn't work out. " He said slowly as he tried to voice what." I don't... understand. If he * asked * you, even out of blue, just but to be faithful to me...." he looked down on the cheese with some vulnerable confusion." What was complicated? Why you were not able to promise it to him? "
"I'm sorry, I see I did not explain it properly," Senecio said, seeing he confused Tide. "He indeed offered me a deal. He offered to teach me more about your culture, and about what you like, so I would not hurt you unknowingly ever again. I wanted that... He asked for the promise to be faithful and not sell myself like this for roles. I told him that I already gave that promise to you, and I don't want it to seem that I want to be faithful to you just because of some deal, and that it was more complicated than just for roles... I shouldn't have told him the other part, because he insisted I tell him why it was more complicated, and I really didn't want to speak about it with him. I wanted to speak about it only with you... And he withdrew the deal until I tell him..."
Tide understood it a little better now, but like Senecio yesterday, he did not seem to dare relax until he understood better.
" But... I don't get it...." he whispered." It was important to Hans, otherwise he wouldn't have asked. He is a veey good brother. He always looks out for me..." creature gulped vulnerably." If you planned to be loyal to me... then what was complicated at all? I do not... understand, either... it doesn't seem complicated to me.... "
"My tastes. Why I was coming back to them..." Senecio murmured, with some deeply ingrain shame. "I did not know if you would accept it... And that you would learn about it from someone else seemed an even worse option to me... Not speaking about the fact that it's not something I would like to discuss with someone I don't trust fully. Do you understand?"
" A little.." Tide said slowly, as little was indeed, little." But it is just... he did not ask you of your tastes, at least from what I understand. He only asked you to be faithful to me. There in no gray area in faithfulness. You either are faithful, or not." It was all very simple, in Tide's mind." You have history of abuse." He noted quietly, watching the actor, without shame, only some sad compassion." Your abusers trained you and confitioned you to keep returning to them.. and such patterns are forged tightly and extremely hard to break through. If anything, you need love, support and care, to break through that pattern without process being too hurtful. You need support, not uncertainty.It's easier to return to something familiar even if toxic, sometimes, than to deal with something scary and new." He whispered." But it has nothing to do with your intentions... Why was it hard to promise... to be faithful to me? Unless you had doubts about your power to resist returning... that would make you fail it.... I don't see anything complicated, in this..."
" But you understand how it must have looked, don't you?" He whispered." Not making the deal... it looked like you are not sure of your faithfulness. When somebody tells you something is complicated... you don't immediately think, oh, he has unusual tastes. You think, he must be hiding something, there has to be something shady going on here, when he can't promise sincerely." Tide whispered quietly." If you did not speak to me about your tastes, and if I didn't see with my own eyes how vulnerable it is for you, to admit those desires... I probably would have reached the same conclusion... From point of view of someone who doesn't understand how vulnerable you are, before that particular discussion.... it is hard to naturally come to conclusion. * It's more complicated, I don't just do it for the roles*, you told him?" Demon inquired quietly, perceptive in subtleties of being hurt and threatened, unlike in sarcasm." Not only for roles... if you told me that, and then refused to talk about it further.... my mind would jump to something grave, surely... if you said you would want to be faithful, but that it is complicated.... it would seem to me like you are in some kind of trouble too scared to share... Doing it for something more than roles? Nobody would think first, for pleasure. I certainly would think there is some blackmail involved. That you are forced to sleep around in order to keep something quiet.. that you are forbidden to speak under threat of something ill. Me and Hans have long history, of being hunted, blackmailed and threatened..." he told man simply and quietly." You can't blame us, for immediately thinking of it... Pleasure would literally never come across as something sinister and secretive to us. Pleasure, like joy, is sacred. As long as there is conscent and no harm to either side, to us, there is no shame in pleasures we feel. It's extremely pleasant for me to eat, and to Hans, it's extremely pleasant to have many lots of love making in his schedule. It makes me no glutton, or him a whore.. It is literally just pleasure, simple and sacred." He shook his head." I understand you have more complicated relationship to pleasure , I am but telling you how it is for us..."
"I know how it looked like..." Senecio sighed. "It was a slip. I could not take it back, and I did not feel I can tell him, eiher, so what was I supposed to do? I told him I need to talk to you first, and you will tell him if you find it proper, but he was still angry..."
" I would be angry too, if you mentioned and then got defensive about something so suspiciously. Or do you not think that I would worry greatly, for you, if I feared something dangerous was going on in your life?" Tide bid simply." I know it doesn't look like it... you don't know him or our customs well, after all... but, while I am sad you saddened him so, I am .. glad he got angry... aren't you?" Tide asked with little wonder." If he insisted you tell him, what is wrong... so intently... he wouldn't do it, if he doesn't want you good. It would be very easy for him to just stay aside, from his perspective, and wait you end killed or me to leave you if you grew to cheat on me behind my back. But he insisted so much to help, and he made a list of people that hurt you, so he can have an eye out for them.... he wished to protect you... help you..." Tide shook his head vulnerably, rubbing his hands nervously." Why couldn't you.. at least...refuse him gentler, if you had to refuse? Spirits offer help once, and if you refuse, they offer not again, till you are one to humble youself and beg. They are proud folk, at most. Yet he offered anew and anew, and you refused to humor him?" He gulped, as it seemed something incredibly rude in subtext. " I.. am not sure.... what I can do about this.... to make it better..."
"I did not refuse him," Senecio emphasized. "I just told him that it's private and I need to talk with you first, that you might consider it private as well. I tried to explain as reasonably as I could, and he was far from gentle himself. He pretty much set the tone of the talk with some insults for the beginning..."
Tide trembled vulnerably with it, well enough able to imagine, how cruel Hans's words can be, lowering down his gaze and avoiding actor's look, as if in shame. " I am sorry... I let you go with him. I pleaded for him to try to be kinder, and I dared hoped... That maybe you two could work it out. I asked him to try to look out for you, if he can... to try to see you as someone dear to me, instead of someone untrustworthy... " he gulped, ashamed. " Even though I knew how he felt. I knew, that he was terribly angry, when... when you made me cry, the night before. He was not happy, at all, and he wanted to get back at you for that, but as I forbid him to hurt you, there were no weapons he could hurt you with, but words... It's my fault. " he murmured tamely and tensely, bowing his head down, as if to accept the blame. " I shouldn't have put my hopes on luck, in this... I shouldn't have let you go alone with him. For what it's worth... I am truly sorry... I put you both in bad place, in my desire for you to get along... like I put you and Erdel the other day... " he winced as if at painful memory. " It was... rude... from me..."
"No, I deserved it," Senecio said. "I do not mind the insults. We could have worked on getting long as well, it seemed we were actually on a good way. But what I mind is that assuming... again. I told him it is something private that I honestly don't need his help with, and I just need to talk to you. He automatically assumed I'm lying and I need his help bud don't want it... I'm tired of people assuming things about me..."
Tide was quiet for a moment. It seemed he tried to figure out how he feels about it, and find words for it.
" When people don't know you well enough to be confident in predicting your guessing your feelings... Only way they can have control over situation... Is to be on guard. And when you're faced with someone who didn't prove yet trustworthy to you, then you can't help, but make assumptions and fear the worst. " he said quietly then. " When you told me, you should be on that list... I would have never in my eternal life, thought, that it would be, for your tastes and pleasures. I wanted to give you benefit of doubt... But my mind immediately raised red flags. My heart froze with dread - if you had told me, that you are like those men, going around and forcing yourself on little children, blackmailing them for roles... I don't know if I could take it... I probably couldn't... " he whispered with some shame quietly. " I am so relieved, that I waited for explanation... that I didn't accuse you of anything... But... don't you see it's normal? That people that don't know or trust you, when you add some grave subtext you don't want to explain, assume the worst and most sinister thing they can imagine? "
"And that's the difference, you see?" Senecio asked. "You waited for explanation... That's all I asked from him. To wait until I had a chance to speak to you about it. Even if it would be blackmailing or something like that, would it be so hard to accept that I'm not comfortable talking about it to him and would like to speak with you first? He seemed to accept that in other things, and didn't ask for details, although I didn't tell him anything about being uncomfortable with speaking about then. Then why in this one thing, that I told him is private, he just insisted no matter what?"
Tide was quiet for a moment. It seemed he was trying to decide, if he should delve deeper into that question, or not say much, no to reveal too much about his dear friend. But then, he seemed to decide, but he spoke slowly, not wanting to reveal anything too personal about him.
" I am not defending his harshness... But I desire for you, to understand him better. Hans needed... to be in control. " he whispered. " He always was bossy, and needed to prepare for everything... he had to, to keep us safe. I admit freely that he always got me out of trouble, when my desire to help would cloud my reason, and I'd get endangered by Spirits. But in last centuries.. he grew even more so. He has a very soft spot, for people that are that suffered and were defenseless... he always had it, and helped them. But when empire fell, he felt on his own skin how it felt to be defenseless. He was tortured, and I could not protect him. I was not with him, but tending to Sage at a time. It was so grave for him... That he lost his voice, and never found it anew. " Tide shook his head. " No powers, no blessings... He can not help me with anything, but wits now. He is no more powerful that a mere human. Since those times, after I rescued him, he grew quieter, and he grew more obsessed with control... He needs to prepare for everything, because now he can only use his wits and schemes to help, no music or song. When you spoke of men on list, it was easier for him to respect your privacy - he knew those men hurt you and that was enough for him to be prepared for dealing with them. But when you hinted at something he felt was sinister, but wouldn't tell him what.. it is a red flag. It is a danger, for someone in his care, danger that he does not know. If he doesn't know it, he can't prepare for it, and if he can't prepare, he can't protect, and if he can't protect - he feels helpless. " Tide whispered quietly. " You of all people should know, how it feels, to be helpless... He was upset on same way as well, when he jokily ordered Svarik to write him a report letter when he gets back come, and Svarik refused on grounds of not being under his service. When control is denied to him, it makes him agitated and reminds him on unpleasant things... He has been deeply offended in past, so now he offends easily. He is more sensitive soul, that you give him credit for..." demon smiled sadly, his voice hoarse, as if he was fighting tears. " Like you are more sensitive, than he gives you credit, too, alas, my dearest... "
Senecio sighed. "I don't really blame him... I just do not know what I could have done differently. After the insults he gave me when he thought I was just doing it for the roles, I just couldn't tell him... I was afraid the insults would be much worse if he knew that...."
" I understand... I don't know what you could have done differently, either... Sometimes, there's no right way to do something right from right away. You threatened his family, hurt his nephew, and made his best friend suffer. I knew it was lot to ask from you both, but is there guilt in hoping your best friend and boyfriend to get along? " he whispered, though he knew it was lot to ask, ashamed by it. " I am sorry he insulted you so. I can see it was very deep. Can you forgive him on my behalf, please? " he still avoided actor's look, as if feeling the blame of this was his. " I couldn't help the way I felt, but I know Hans through and through - he would never randomly offend someone, who had been through what you have been through, even in this situation. Like me, he has enormous soft spot of children, as most helpless creatures, dependent so much on adults. I am sure he only did it because... because I cried over you when you hurt my feelings. Lorenzo, he could deal with that, as he was content enough you left Lorenzo alone and could hurt him no longer... But he could not take, seeing me distraught like that, you whom I decided to date and have in my life, blaming you for my pain and fearing for me. " he sighed. " I am sorry... But I just... Had to allow myself, to feel the way I felt. Denying your true feelings, only leads to corruption and illness. I can't fight against how I feel at times and I regret not, letting my feelings flow and crying - but still, I am grieved, that he hurt you so deeply. It was me, who had unarmed him with my pleas, and left him unable to use any weapon against you to punish you for my tears, but words... "
"You don't have to apologize," Senecio smiled sadly. "I do not mind the insults, although they hurt. I deserve them... I guess it was better that he didn't have any weapons. And I can imagine getting along with him, too. I do not any apologies on his behalf, and I don't want you to give him any on my behalf either. Could you just tell him one thing though? That I was telling the truth yesterday... that it really was private, and that I do not need his help with it... You can tell him as much as you want, if you think that he won't tease me about it, if he finds out..."
" I never had secrets before Hans. He knows everything about me. " Tide whispered uncomfortably, and he did not say anything, but it seemed he felt very vulnerable, with all these news he found out about two of them hurting each other, when he knew not how to help. " I told you, he was cruel, on my behalf, but his actions speak of his intentions. He was harsh in words, but he wanted to help, in deeds. I wished it didn't end, like that... " he sighed. " To be honest, he'll probably be worried of what you like, because he knows my strengths, rather than because he'd deem it foul. I don't know about teasing... He likes to tease.. But shaming, I know he would not do to you, specially once he found out we are already intimate, for your tastes would be in my domain of satisfying. And I think it would help him understand, to know this was problem you spoke of last night, nothing graver.. But you are putting me in bad place.. " he bit his lip. " I have no inhibitions. I am so happy for last night. I am restless, and wish to giggle with joy. I could literally talk for hours, about every shiver, every moan, about every way, you melted in my hands... Come on, I am a demon, and joy and pleasure is sacred to me as much as to any of us. I have no shame and I am very proud of us. " he admitted shyly. " Yet, you ask me, to figure out measure, of what should I say or not? I am too happy, that I figured out at last a best way, how to build better trust and relationship between us, and can treat you with proper respect you deserve. I am too giddy, I'd be too excited... too talkative... " he looked down shyly, despite pain of what was happening between Hans and Senecio, not able to hide a smile with memory of last night. " I would wish to say, too much. I would wish to tell him everything, about how whole world trembled, when I kissed you on places other than your lips. No... It would be better if you talked with Hans... that way, I would know he would not learn anything you don't want him to know... But if I talk him of this... No.... You wouldn't like it... too... excited... "