Umi folded the summer curtains while Shiori sat watching. The winter drapes were long overdue; the windowpanes were gray with fog in the morning and had been every morning since Umi had arrived.
“Alright, stop.” After the fourth curtain sheet, Shiori exploded off the bed, stormed over, and shooed Umi away. “You’re doing it wrong. Go sit down. Go. I’ll do it.”
Umi ambled agreeably to the spot Shiori had left. The priestess surgically undid all the folds Umi had made, and redid them along creases Umi hadn’t seen. He heaved a new stack out of the drawer.
“Put these up,” he instructed, and Umi rose again to take them.
The solar months had been gone for no small time. Only two lunar months remained—two months before the war was gone from Lumis. Umi rarely was angry, anymore. These moments of peace settled over his turmoil like the coming snows. They numbed him, and quieted him, and left him not quite sure he hadn’t lost his way. Umi missed the travel; he had never been this undistracted from the world around him.
Now, Umi simply appreciated the new curtains. They were thicker and brighter than the old ones, sheer white spidered by an embroidery of textured baby’s breath. Umi hadn’t known Shiori could tolerate so much white, but then, he hadn’t known he could tolerate such banality, either. The season had changed them.
Shiori shook more corners straight, the fabric hiding his face from the mirror.
“So,” he said. “Are you staying?”
-The Stars Went Out
There’s a lot to fix in this bit, but the eye doctor needed to stare into my soul today, so my pupils are dilated and my vision is whacky. “Wears off in an hour,” indeed. Story surgery can wait until the end of Nano. So close. Anyway, enjoy this weird interlude about curtains. (You might have already noticed, but Elyan likes things. Things are Elyan’s favorite things to make scenes around.)