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Batteries and Holy Ghosts

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Indrid Cold, Seer of Sylvain, has an incredibly difficult choice to make. He’s received a premonition, one that could very well change the entire way that Sylvain is run, and he has to decide whether or not he’ll let it play out.

There’s an assassination set to happen for the Interpreter, a well hated man in Sylvain. Most of the ministry hates him, and the civilians that know the snippets of gossip that have come from the court loathe him. He makes bad decisions for the people based around the “will” of Sylvain, a dubious idea. It’s known that Interpreters are born once a generation, one in a sea of people, a needle in a haystack. They almost always get found eventually.

If he warns them, he’d be promoted, loved by the Interpreter, held in a higher regard. But only by him and his few followers. News would get to the public and he’d be on their shit list as well for not letting him die his destined death.

It doesn’t even have to be destined, he thinks, to be righteous.

If he keeps his mouth shut, they’ll know he saw. He has visions constantly, can look forward with almost perfect clarity. There are two outcomes for that. Exile or death. Because of his rank, exile is far more likely, though some would say death is kinder. He knows vaguely what’s on the other side, just like everyone else in the ministry and the court. Humans, mysterious creatures that don’t really do the Sylphs any good. They believe in dumb superstitions and are frightened by practically all of the people he knows.

Indrid could keep his cushy life, keep his thick robes that lock out the ever present chill he has, keep his place in the court, keep his friends and his visions and everything he knows.

Or he could do the right thing.

It’s not really a question in the end.

Janelle knows something is wrong, even with her head half stuck in her books.

“You see something big?” She asks him, marking something in the text.

“Depends on how things turn out,” he says quietly. “Nothing bad. I think it could be a change for the better, actually.”

“Anything Asmia needs to know about?”

“Nah,” he says, lying through his teeth. “Nothing that serious yet.”

Janelle gives him a look but doesn’t question him. He’s usually honest with her, at least. They’ve known each other a long time, keeping each other company through this terrible leader they’ve got currently.

The date creeps closer and closer and he’s still a little confused on whether or not he’ll be killed or exiled. It’s leaning very heavily towards exile, but there’s still a little part that wants him killed. He packs a bag, just in case, and keeps it at the court, a few items he cares about, some clothes he knows will be helpful just to keep the cold out. His robes do a lot, but he doubts that they’re practical for life through the gate.

The day comes and he has jitters in his fingertips and his antennae and all through his wings. He’s nervous and he knows it. Janelle knows it too, but she can’t know. She can’t know that this will happen.

The Interpreter is walking the town with the council, something performative to be done, something to quell the masses. Indrid knows it’ll be a woman, smaller, quick, wielding a knife and nothing else. It’s purely luck that she’ll land in such a critical spot before being shot dead where she stands.

And then, just like he sees in his head, it happens. She runs up from the crowd, silent, clothes billowing in the air, and gets between two of his guards to gut him. Asmia shoots her dead, crossbow bolt sticking out of her chest as she collapses, and the crowd is wild.

“Indrid,” Janelle says quietly next to him, book forgotten in her hands. “What did you do?”

“Nothing,” he answers truthfully, and then they’re all ushered quickly back to the court, medics swarmed around the Interpreter almost instantaneously. It’s hectic, everyone trying to save the Interpreter, but it’s no use. He’s been dead for minutes, and soon he’ll be unrevivable. They’ll be a world without a leader, no new Interpreter found yet. And when they do, they won’t be ready to lead yet. They won’t have a solid, healthy, long lasting Interpreter for a long while.

Asmia comes up to him and he looks at her with a level gaze. She slaps him hard across the face and he can taste the blood in his mouth from biting his cheek. There’s shackles around his wrists, cold, unyielding.

“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” She asks him, eyes cold.

“You know it’s for the better,” he says, spitting blood onto the floor between them. The guard holding his arms jerks him back but Asmia holds up a hand. “He did more harm than good. It’s better that he’s dead.”

“Be that as it may,” she says, steel voiced. “You willingly kept life saving information about our leader from anyone with the power to do anything. Your actions, or lack thereof, have you blatantly guilty as a helping hand in the murder and assassination of our Interpreter. You know the punishments, yes?”

“Oh I’m well aware,” he snarks out. ‘Don’t worry, exile or death, right? Which one, Asmia? You gonna hang me for doing what’s best for our people?”

She slaps him again and he laughs around the blood in his mouth. “Come on, keep going. You think you’re gonna wear me down into an apology?”

She considers him for a moment. “Exile,” she says without breaking eye contact, “is known to be worse than death. You would rather live out your increasingly shortened lifespan going slowly crazy than dying quickly?”

“A whole new world to get premonitions for,” he says lightly. He can see Janelle in the background, staring at the both of them. “Do you really think I’ll lose it?”

“We all thrive off of Sylvain. Take that away and it’s almost guaranteed.”

“Are you giving me a choice?”

“No,” she says. And then she pinches the bridge of her nose. “Dammit, Indrid. I don’t want to do this.”

“Sure you don’t,” he says with a bloody grin. “But you will.”

Hurt flashes on her face and he grins harder. “Exile,” she says decisively.

“What, no fair trial?”

“You’ve admitted you knew, would you like us to debate some more?”

“Nah, I already packed a bag. You gonna let me grab it or just kick me out like this?”

“I’ll send someone to get it. Janelle!”

She runs up, hands clasped in front of herself. She looks between the two of them, hurt and betrayed, and Indrid feels just a little bit bad.

“Would you grab his bag? You have to give him his Earth item anyway. Might as well give it together.”

“Sure,” she says carefully. “Where—?”

“Under the third floorboard in my room. You know where.”

Janelle sighs and nods. “I’ll be back.”

They wait there in awkward silence. Asmia waves a hand and they uncuff him. He rubs his wrists, sinking them back into his robes. The metal was cold and even the heavy material of his clothing couldn’t keep out the chill he got from it.

Janelle takes her time coming back, and Indrid wishes she would just get back already so he could untie the knot of nerves in his stomach. When she does walk back into the room, she looks a little jumpy, a bit shifty. She has his bag slung onto her arm and both hands holding a pair of bright red lensed glasses.

“Could I have a moment?” She asks Asmia, and her voice is scratchy, watery, part whispered.

“Just a little bit of time,” Asmia says, and her and the guards walk a ways away, far enough that they won’t be able to hear what she says.

“You’re an idiot, you know that?”

“I’m well aware,” he tells her, still rubbing at his wrists to try and warm himself back up. “You gonna tell me you’ll miss me or what?”

And then he sees something odd, something that shouldn’t be happening. She gets a bit closer to him, hands him his bag, and then holds out her hands.

“Take this,” she says, and she shifts the glasses to one hand, opening the other. Inside is a crystal, orange and glowing a bit. It’s on a woven cord and she holds it out to him. “Don’t let them see it.”

She frowns as he finishes the sentence with her. He takes it and drops it inside the pocket of his robe discreetly.

“What is it?” he asks her.

“Keep it on you always,” she says, not giving him any details. “It’ll keep you you.”

“Cryptic, I love it,” he says, grabbing for his bag. She hands it to him and he pulls out a scarf and a pair of gloves, wrapping himself up further. “And the glasses?”

“Your Earth item,” she says. “Not sure what you’ll look like with them on, but you should look relatively normal in their eyes.”

He takes them and hooks them on the front of his robe. He’s not sure how soon he’ll need them, but they’re right there if it’s immediately. “You gonna be alright?”

“I’ll miss you,” she says, scowling. “You’re an idiot. You could have told them and—”

“And then I’d be the second most hated man in Sylvain. I’d have hated myself more and you would’ve resented me for not letting us move forward. It was for the best. Everyone knows it, but the laws are still the laws.”

“I wouldn’t have resented you,” she says quietly, sadly.

“I can see the future, ‘nelle. You wouldn’t have been outright with it, but it would have been there, just under the surface.”

She pulls him into a hug, short stout body pressed tight to his tall stick-like one. He wraps her up in his arms too, wrapping his wings around them for good measure.

“Don’t you get kicked out too,” he says quietly.

“I’ve got no plans to,” she says, and she sounds watery again. He sighs. He’s anxious, but he can’t show it, not right now. Whenever he’s forced through the gate he will, but not in front of Janelle.

“Alright,” Asmia calls out as she walks over. “We have protocol to follow through with.”

Janelle steps back and wipes at her face briefly. They don’t shackle him up again, but there is a spear pointed at the middle of his back as they walk, poking at him slightly. It’s not like he’ll try to do anything, Asmia knows that, but he guesses exile is exile and there’s no special “stop poking me” treatment for those in it.

The gate sits in front of him, glowing slightly, blurred out image of the world beyond it. He doesn’t step forward, just stands and stares. The pit of nerves around his stomach tightens up and here, right as he’s about to leave, he finally feels scared. He can’t see anything after stepping through the gate, has no visions of what’s out there, and he wonders if he’ll get any premonitions at all out there or just live in the dark like the rest of them. His brain is quiet for the first time in a very long time and he hates it.

“Will you go willingly or do we have to force you?” Asmia asks him. Her voice sounds a little strange. It’s not often they exile people. It’s a high offence, there’s a reason the other option is death.

“I’ll go willingly,” he says quietly. “Just give me a moment.”

She doesn’t push him forward, and neither does the person behind him with their spear shoved against his back. He stares at the gate, fuzzy white and brown and green, and he has exactly no clue what’s on the other side.

It’s terrifying in a way he’s never felt before.

Indrid shivers and takes a deep breath. Whatever. He’ll deal. If he doesn’t move soon Asmia really will force him through the gate, which neither of them wants to happen. He takes a tentative step forward and that helps him catch his bearings. The nerves loosen just enough for him to grin and turn around, walking backwards towards the gate.

“Have fun picking up the pieces,” he says in a remarkable steady voice. “Hope I don’t see you on the other side.”

And then he steps through the gate. And then Sylvain is gone. There’s not even the blurry image of it like there was of Earth.

The first thought he has is that it’s cold. Ridiculously so. The second is brief panic that gets squashed by the third, which is actually an uncountable number because he gets hit with a swell of visions, all of Earth, nothing for Sylvain. So many people, so many humans, all disgusting politeness and everything.

He stumbles backwards and his back hits something hard. He sinks down onto the ground, cold be damned. Actually not because now it seeps against his legs, and he can barely see through all the visions, but it looks like more cold is falling all around him. Oh good, it’s snowing here for his first day on Earth. Indrid Cold, perpetually chilled, has to deal with this planet’s winter immediately. Great.

There are so many images that he’s having a hard time concentrating on them. His head swims, throbs behind his eyes. He wraps his wings around himself to get some kind of warmth back, but it’s no use. He’s chilled through.

A person’s coming, a human he thinks. They’ll be there soon. Tall, imposing, a possible danger, maybe, if he does the wrong thing. Indrid shoves the glasses on his face and goddammit all his wings disappear, leaving him with no cover from the snow and wind. He shivers, robes hanging loosely around him now. Has he shrunk? Is he smaller? God he has no idea what’s happening, he can barely see what the person will look like through all the mess in his head.

A twig snaps in the woods, and he knows it’s whoever is coming to see what’s happened in the woods. He can’t really breathe, his lungs feel like they’re collapsing inside his chest, dark spots livening up the snow in his line of sight.

Holy shit,” Indrid says with the stranger, unable to help himself. He doesn’t say anything for himself, just sits there, staring at the person in front of him. Everything’s so red, and then he remembers the glasses.

“Are— are you the seer?” Indrid can’t even comprehend how he would know that. “They kicked out the fucking seer?”

This gets an uncomfortable grin out of him. “Oh they sure did.”

There’s a reasonable answer to why this person knows he’s a seer, and how he knows what the seer even is, but it isn’t coming to him right now. Instead of thinking about it more, he tries to push himself up, limbs shaky from the cold. He collapses back into the snow, taking low, shaky breaths. The man comes up and offers an arm, pulling him upright easily.

“Come on, it’s freezing,” he says. Indrid sees a very small house in his head, but it’s warm inside of there, so he nods, wincing when his head swims again. He shouldn’t be going with a stranger, he can’t even see what’ll happen clearly yet. He’s in a vulnerable position and he’s weak and feels like he’ll pass out at any second, and yet here he is, arm on this person’s shoulder, full weight rested against him as they stumble back through the woods to this person’s home.

The small wooden house comes into view, nestled in the trees. He opens the door, and when it shuts Indrid finally feels some semblance of warmth. He’s sat at the table, fitting into on of the two chairs there. The warmth of the fireplace is small, but it’s something. He thinks he might be shaking, maybe, but he can’t really tell. Everything’s so swimmy.

“You can take off the disguise,” the person says, and then he takes off a bracelet he hadn’t noticed before and grows a good two feet, sprouting a lot more hair, eyes darkening.

Indrid stares, eyes wide behind his glasses. That’s— that’s a Sylph. A live on. A talking one. One that can understand him and has comprehensive ability and seems fully fucking present, right in front of him.

“You… are a Sylph, right?” He seems suddenly uncomfortable, as if realizing for the first time that it’s possible the person he’s taken into his home isn’t like him. Indrid nods, still dumbfounded.

“Yes,” he says hoarsely, and then he remembers to take the glasses off. God, he hadn’t realized how small and uncomfortable that body had felt. So different, missing limbs integral to his whole personhood.

“Oh thank god,” he breathes out, slumping. “I thought I’d brought some unsuspecting human here for a moment.”

There’s a silence and then he brightens up again. “I’m Barclay, by the way.”

“Indrid,” he says, holding out a loose hand. Barclay shakes it.

“Sorry, I would’ve done introductions earlier but you did not look great.”

Indrid hums in response to that, brain finally quieting down. Things are sorting themselves into present and future, finally. Some things are distant future, some fairly soon. He can ignore the ones that are far off for now, mind remembering how visions work. He doesn’t need all of this.

“Are you alright?” Barclay asks, as if he doesn’t know Indrid just got exiled to Earth of all places.

“Fine,” he says, scrubbing at his eyes. “Premonitions for this world went a little off the walls. Had to get used to the differences.”

“Does it really come all at once?”

“No,” he says in a clipped voice. “Usually it’s much more spread out. I think I just got hit with everything because I’ve never been here before so my head wasn’t sure how to categorize it all.”

He finally feels warm on the outside, still chilled on the inside but that’s nothing new. He really looks at Barclay for the first time now that his head’s quieted down. He’s most likely from somewhere in the southlands, possibly mideast. He’s not been recently exiled, Indrid’s seen most of those.

“So,” he says, willing his body to stop shaking so much. “You’re… a Sylph. On Earth. And you’ve got full sentience?”

“Ah,” Barclay says, and his whole demeanor changes. He looks a little more guarded a little less willing to talk. Indrid tenses up. “Well, there’s places on Earth that give off similar enough energy to Sylvain that it’s sustainable. They’re hard to find, but they exist.”

“But that’s not what you do, is it?”

“Can you already tell?” Barclay fiddles with something around his neck, another piece of jewelry he hadn’t noticed before. “Do you know what I’m going to say?”

“Up in the air right now whether you tell me or not, so not quite.”

“This,” he says, moving his fingers. Around his neck is a crystal very similar to what Janelle gave him before he left. “It’s from Sylvain, it’s got the energy in it, so I’ve been using this.”

Indrid reaches into his pocket and pulls out his own crystal. Part of Sylvain, then. He won’t go feral, at least.

“You’ve got one?”

“Janelle gave it to me,” he says quietly. “Good to know what it does, at least.”

He can feel himself flagging, everything about the day catching up to him. He’s alone, or not quite alone. He doesn’t know Barclay too well yet, but it’s in the cards that he could. Right now he’s in a warm house away from the snow and he doesn’t have to wear those glasses right now. His brain’s as quiet as it usually is and he can concentrate, or he could if he weren’t so drained.

“Oh,” Barclay says, fumbling. “You should get rest. Please, take the bed.”

He looks at the bed in the corner of the room, warm and inviting looking. Indrid shakes his head. “I can’t impose on you like this—”

“I’m asking you to,” Barclay says. “I’m fine, I’m not tired right now. You look like you’re about to drop. Please, take it.”

Indrid debates putting up a fight, but he can see that it’s useless. Barclay seems stubborn, at least in his visions. He won’t give up on this point. Indrid sighs and nods, pulling himself up and shuffling to the bed.

“Do you need clothes?” Barclay starts rummaging in his drawers and Indrid holds up a hand.

“You seem like you run warm, so I have to assume any clothes you’ve got are gonna accommodate that. I have clothes in my bag, but really what I’ve got on is fine. Thank you.”

“Alright,” he says. “If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Thank you,” and Indrid hates this formality. He never has to deal with it, but this is someone who’s taken him in, so he has to play the polite part. It’ll pass, he thinks. The two of them will reach at least something less than this, which he’s desperate for. But right now all he wants is a nap.

He drops into the bed, pulling the quilt up to his face. He debates covering it up when Barclay drops another blanket on top of him. The heavy pressure of the two coupled with the little pocket of warmth he’s in send him off to sleep easily. He doesn’t ever see the future when he dreams, which he’s grateful for, but his dreams this time all just feel like guilt.

Barclay doesn’t ask him why he’s here, and Indrid does the same. There’s something about it, two exiles living together, never knowing why the other is there with them, that’s comforting. It’s almost like a home, living together, joking together, Indrid doubling up on Barclay’s words sometimes, much to his disapproval.

“It’s not that it’s weird, because that’s just what you’re like. I just like my words to be my own, you know?”

“Not really, but I’ll try to save it for special occasions only.”

The premonitions he gets here on Earth, at least a majority of the big ones, are bad. These people aren’t good. Or at least the ones in power aren’t. Practically everywhere is liable to falling apart at the drop of a pin, and they do, often. Humans live for such a short amount of time, and yet they love to fuck everything up with the limited chance they get.

“This world is sick,” Indrid says one night, sketching out premonitions.

“I wouldn’t say that. I think Earth’s thriving pretty well. I can’t really feel it, but I think it’s alright.”

“No,” Indrid says, scraping the pencil against paper. “No, not the planet, though it’ll get there. The people. The whole attitude. It’s sick. They’re so close to self destruction constantly, one tragedy right after the other, wars, property digs, all the killing.”

“You act like Sylvain never had problems,” Barclay says quietly. “I know you were in the court so you weren’t in the thick of it, but Sylvain was just as much a mess as Earth.”

This gets him thinking. Him and Barclay had drastically different experiences on Sylvain. Indrid had been in the court from practically the moment he started getting visons. Barclay had grown up in the southlands, like he’d thought. While it wasn’t horrible there, it had its messes, rife with fights when the right altercation arose. Indrid remembers a lot of people from there being at the front of openly hating the Interpreter.

Maybe they’re all sick and he’s just never had to deal with the consequences before now.

Barclay’s open and friendly and so giving compared to him, and he wonders if it has anything to do with the conditions they lived in. The court was cold, yes, emotionless to the public and full of gossip on the inside, but he wonders what it would have been like had there been actual communication between them and the outside. Would either of them even be here?

Indrid’s never really questioned his worldview before, and it’s interesting, it’s fun. It puts a whole new spin on every little thing he gets broadcast in his brain.

It also presents him with a problem. He’s not used to this, this close quarters living with someone so different from him, a person who will challenge him on his opinions and who he can challenge right back.

Barclay is not an unattractive person, and Indrid doesn’t know what to do with that information when he thinks it. The future isn’t helpful because anyway he looks, he’s still an anxious and awkward son of a bitch that doesn’t have the best social skills and never dealt with anything romantic in the courts.

He’s not sure what to do. He could ask, could mention it offhand, could do nothing and suffer. Or he could be impulsive and awkward and uncomfortable like he loves to be.

“What’s your opinion on romance?”

He furrows his brow and looks at him. “Romance?”

“Yeah. Romance.”

“I don’t really know. Not like there’s a bunch of options here on Earth. It’s not something I’ve really thought about.”

Indrid hums as a response, not looking at him.

“Why? Do you have an opinion on romance?”

“Nah, never really dealt with that on Sylvain. The court wasn’t the best place to try and get together, you know?”

“I wouldn’t, but I’ll trust your word.” Barclay’s quiet for a moment, and he can feel him looking at him. “Why do you ask?”

“Just wondering. I didn’t know if you’d have an interesting answer.”

“Indrid…”

“What, is wondering a crime now?” he snaps.

“No, but in some places lying is.”

“Are you calling me a liar?” He is, he always has been. Lying comes so easy to him, even with all the truth splayed out in front of him. He never lied about premonitions before the one that got him exiled, though.

“Depends.” Barclay still seems to be considering him. “Are you lying right now?”

“No,” he says, lying yet again. Barclay gets in a bit closer, not too far away from him. Both of them are in their human guises, less cumbersome in the small space.

“Hmm,” Barclay says, hand coming to rest at the junction of his neck and shoulder, and Indrid feels his breath still. “That doesn’t seem to be the truth.”

“No?”

“No,” he affirms, and then he leans down closer, brushing his lip against Indrid’s. “Would you say I’m right?”

“Yes,” he breathes out, and Barclay kisses him properly. His beard is kind of scratchy, and neither of them are especially well practiced, but it feels good all the same. He rests a hand on Barclay’s chest, closing his eyes, and Barclay wraps the hand not resting on his shoulder around his waist and back.

There’s something about it, the secrecy of their pasts, they way they’re both disguised as humans, the way Indrid feels a desperate sort of want encompass him as he kisses back harder, gripping at his shirt. It throws him off kilter, puts need on the backburner in favor of want, and god does he want this.

Barclay’s arm wraps all the way around him, the other hand cupping the back of his skull, fingers gripping into the hair there.

He holds him like he could love him.

That thought slams into him full force, wrenching him out of whatever reverie he’s pulled himself into. He opens his eyes and wrenches himself backwards. Barclay looks surprised and worried and hurt all at once and Indrid scrambles to find something to say.

“I’m sorry,” he says first. “Fuck. Fuck. It’s— I don’t—”

“Indrid?” Barclay asks in the smallest voice he’s ever hear him use, and he can’t help himself but to ask.

“Why are you here?”

He rears back like he slapped him and Indrid almost feels like he has. He’s quiet for a while, staring at him, fiddling with the crystal around his neck.

“You… god Indrid, you ask that now?”

“Please,” he cracks out, and Barclay slumps.

“It’s dumb, really.” He scrubs at his face, pulling at his hair. “I was, well, you know how the southlands were. It was fine until it wasn’t, and then no one ever mentioned the times that it wasn’t. The Interpreter wasn’t… I didn’t agree with him on a lot of things, not like I ever actually met him. I didn’t think he really agreed with what Sylvain wanted, so I found people who agreed with me.”

Indrid watches him careful, feels the anxiety in the pit of his stomach lessen with every word.

“We weren’t even that loud about it, but word got back to him, and I think he got scared. Wanted to make an example out of someone, and I was technically the leader. I wouldn’t have made anyone else go through with exile, never in a million years. It wasn’t even technically illegal, just fear mongering by him and the court at the time. You weren’t the actual seer then, but some of the people that are still in the Ministry were there.”

Indrid lets out a nervous laugh and Barclay stares at him. “What?”

“It’s just— really ironic. So ironic. I got a vision of an assassination of the Interpreter and instead of telling anyone I let it play out. I knew it would happen, I’d known for months, but it was better for Sylvain if I let it happen, so I did.”

The tenseness in Barclay’s shoulders goes away, and he drags his hands over his face. “God, look at us. Keeping what’s essentially the exact same thing from each other. We’re real good at this.”

Indrid feels the nerves hike back up, and he fists his hands to keep the shaking down. “I…”

Barclay looks at him again, eyes gentle, body gentle, everything so gentle, and he doesn’t know what to do with it.

“I don’t know how to do this,” he says.

“Do what?”

“This. Whatever happened just before I freaked out. I don’t know how to care about people like this.”

“Indrid—”

“No, I know what you’re going to say and you’re wrong. I didn’t— I didn’t have any of this in Sylvain. I had friends, I mean, I don’t know what else I’d call Janelle, but nothing like this. I know what everyone is going to do and say at any given time. It’s all so disconnected. And I still know what you’ll do, but it feels different? I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to care like this.”

Barclay’s quiet for a moment, and then he shrugs a bit. “Trial and error?”

Indrid snorts and he smiles. “I guess.”

“Well, what does the future say about it?”

“A whole lotta different endings so I’m not really certain I should look for guidance there.”

“Look,” Barclay starts. “You don’t have experience with this and I’m so many years out of practice. We’re both going in pretty blind here. I think you don’t need to think so hard about it and we can figure things out along the way. We’re still learning about each other, Indrid. There’s so much time.”

That’s… That’s reasonable. He can deal with that. He’s not the most go with the flow person, but with so many different paths in front of him here he kind of has to be. Barclay takes a tentative step forward, eyebrow raised, and Indrid nods. His hand fits on his cheek, brushing a thumb on his cheekbone, and he shivers and closes his eyes again.

“I should’ve asked before,” Barclay says quietly. “Is this alright?”

“Yes,” he says, confident in his answer. “It’s very alright.”

The kiss is less desperate this time, more relaxed, more personal. He feels that want dragging him in closer and he embraces it. Both of them want this. Indrid’s going into this with exactly none experience, but it’s fine. Maybe he can learn to rely on something other than his visions for once.

Barclay holds him close and he gets that same gut punch feeling again, the feeling of being wanted, and he embraces it, leaning in deeper, letting himself get lost in the feeling. The want, the wanting, the being wanted, it’s all very good. It’s something he’s never felt before, but it feels very natural once he bites down his anxieties and lets himself feel things.

Barclay pulls back and Indrid reluctantly opens his eyes. “Good?”

“Oh, very good,” he says dumbly, grin splitting his face. Barclay lets out something between a giggle and a snort and Indrid smiles even bigger. “Very very good.”

Good,” he doubles up with him and Barclay smiles at him. “Good.”

Indrid leans up and presses their lips together again, just a brush of a touch, before kissing him harder and pulling him back in again.

Sylvain isn’t going to be his home again, Indrid thinks to himself. He can never go back, not that he did much enjoyable there anyway. The least he can do is make himself a home for the meantime, before things get messy again like they inevitably will. Even as unclear as the future is to him right now, he thinks Barclay being one of the foundations of that home isn’t too bad an idea.

Barclay nicks him with one of his teeth accidentally and he jerks back, Barclay already fussing about it, brushing the small bit of blood off with his thumb, and Indrid smiles again, something softer this time.

Yeah, he thinks. Not too bad an idea at all.