Hopefully, it hadn’t been obvious why Gwendolyn had been hanging out at understone keep more than usual. The dragonborn liked to at least pretend she was subtle- whether or not that was true, that remained to be seen, but perhaps Calcelmo’s nephew, Aicantar was Just oblivious enough that her own subtlety didn’t really matter.
The Breton ran her fingers through short brown hair, nodding her head along to what was being said. Preferably she would soon be asked to run an errand however- perks of loitering without the job of having to actually listen to someone droning on. Ever since she had killed Nimhe for him, he had been more or less accommodating to her general presence being around, hovering if you will.
“Uncle Calcelmo.” Ah, there he was. Suddenly Gwendolyn tried to look as interested in the topic at hand as possible, what was the topic again? She wasn’t really sure, probably something about dwemer ruins. “Do you need any help?”
Calcelmo looked up, “What? No. I don’t need anything.” A dismissive hand was waved in the general direction of the younger Altmer. Naturally Gwendolyn purposefully didn’t look at him. Embarrassed was she to admit, fighting dragons was a lot easier that thinking of anyone as even remotely more friendly than friend. Anything past potential friend made her freeze, not that she would ever admit that outloud to anyone, it wasn’t a very dignified personality trait in a normal person, much less a Hero. No, she would simply banish those thoughts and just never look at him again and call it good.
“Are you sure you don’t need anything?” Pleasantly concerned for his uncle, it was nice and very in line with him as a person. She balked at the thought, a small grimace showing itself on her face, not that anyone had noticed.
“Yes I’m sure, quit bothering me.” The hand waved even more dismissively, however that was possible. She snorted softly in amusement, this was a constant that she had noticed hanging around the keep. The poor unfortunate man had the bad luck at asking at inopportune times, generally interrupting trains of thoughts-not that she had plans to admit how many trains of thoughts he had interrupted from her whether or not he was around.
“Okay, I just wanted to help.” He said. His tone was mildly dejected. Gwendolyn felt a little pity, but not enough- while polite, in her mind he was the biggest asshole in skyrim for a crime he doesn’t even know he committed, the crime of making her feel something.
A momentary consideration before she spoke up softly. “If you like, I need to go to the Hag’s Cure to
even offering, now she would be alone with him if he agree which was the opposite of her goal, but the other half of her mind was about to fall asleep if she continued staying around calcelmo much longer. It was too late now to rescind the offer. Curse her inconsistency.
“Oh alright, sure.” He hadn’t even really registered there fully until this moment, but it was at least nice. Aicantar didn’t really mind having her around. “I’m ready whenever you are.”
Now she really was in trouble, he had accepted the offer and she had no one to blame but herself. She didn’t even really have a pressing need to go now or even today, she really wasn’t sure why she had offered, probably a form of self sabotage. Most people probably liked being around their.... .whatever word she wasn’t going to assign to this feeling, it just made her nauseous, but she would endure.
Her lips curved up in the best smile she could muster, which wasn’t too hard- she was very good at offering a sincere and sweet smile even when she was a breath away from figurative death. “Alright, I suppose let's get going then.” Luckily she travelled light, all she needed to grab was her sack before turning to leave, Aicantar on her heels.
“Thank you for letting me come along, being idle for too long makes me feel like I don’t help enough,” He admitted with a sheepish grin. Oh how she hated him for that, it should be a crime upon the aedra to be that cute. Maybe handsome would be a more appropriate word, it didn’t matter, all she knew was that she was mad about it.
“It’s not a problem at all,” She said in the same soft tone as she pushed open the keep door. It was hard to tell the time of day when in a giant stone structure, but it was already later than intended. The sun was peeking from just above the horizon. It would be dark soon. “Oh, it’s lovely.” She said more to herself than to anyone really.
“Oh it is.” Ah right, she was with Aicantar, which means she was viewing her favorite thing with her favorite mer. Disgusting. “I don’t think I leave the laboratory to see the sun setting enough, perhaps I should do that more.”
Quit talking was all that she could muster in her mind. It wasn’t so much that she hated him talking, it was just him talking made her predicament worse. Every word he spoke and she was a little deeper in. “Oh definitely, it’s lovely even here in Markarth, or perhaps especially in Markarth. I’m not sure yet, although I do know this is probably my favorite place in all of Skyrim for some undecided reason.” Gwendolyn let out a cheerful laugh, light and airy. She really wasn’t sure why she liked it here, Aicantar notwithstanding. Perhaps it was the structures, or maybe the general atmosphere, she wasn’t sure. It didn’t really matter. “It’s why I decided to buy Vlindrel hall, so I could simply stay around.”
Aicantar, ever gracious, nodded along genuinely interested in what was being said as they descended the steps outside of the keep and made their way towards the apothecary in town. He liked listening to Gwendolyn speak, so the more she did the better. It also meant he didn’t have to carry the conversation which was also nice.
“You know, I almost considered living in White Run before coming here.” She said, looking at him.
“I’m glad you decided you liked Markarth, then.” He looked back with a smile.
“Yeah, I am too.” The sun setting was casting a heavenly glow to his already golden skin. Part of her was a little bitter that other people were even on this plane of existence with them, she wanted to be the only one who could see it. A small, smug part of her was glad he was wearing his hood, because that meant the chances of people invading the moment he probably wasn’t aware they were having, not that she would actually do anything about it, that would be unfair, but oh what a beautiful altmer he was. She let out a soft sign, before turning away. They were almost there, now she almost regretted not picking an even further destination.
Upon reaching the Hag’s cure he opened the door for her and she bowed curtly in gratitude before entering.
It was short business in the store. Their arms full of ingredients and potions, they were making their way to her home. “I really can’t thank you enough for helping me with this. I could have probably carried them all myself, but this is way more manageable.” Perhaps she splurged, but she had the coin and she preferred being prepared. It was now darker out, and as strong as she was, she wasn’t super fond of walking around Markarth alone at night.
“Anytime you need help just ask.”
“Oh don’t make that offer, I might actually take you up on it.” A gentle tease.
“Please, do take me up on it.” Apparently he missed the joking tone, not that she was gonna make this- or him, a habit. Nevermind she pretty much already had hanging around, but that was neither here nor there.
“Well it seems we’re almost home, to my home I mean.” Woops, slip of the tongue that went unnoticed thank the divines. “Again Aicantar, I think I can take it from here.” The were walking up the steps to Vlindrel, his help was no longer needed, and despite her earlier lapse into basically gawking at him in the sunlight, she was ready to be free of the agony of her own feelings, not that him leaving meant much, she’d just think about him after anyway.
“If you’re sure, but it probably is best I get back to my uncle soon.” He handed over the purchased items he had cared, standing there for a moment aimlessly before waving and turning. “I suppose I’ll see you around soon. Bye.”
Gwendolyn stared after him as he walked away. Leaning against the door, she watched until Aicantar was gone, a little sad that she was alone again.
No sense in standing around. She entered her home, depositing her things on the nearest flat surfaced before entering her room and lying down face first on her bed in absolute frustration. “He’s not even that great.” She muttered into her pillow. ‘Even if he was handsome, kind and helpful.’ She wouldn’t repeat that last bit out loud at fear of solidifying her feelings for him, a fruitless effort considering she was already thinking about him too much. Thankfully, Argis wasn’t around to see her bratty display.
Deep down, she felt like a bit of a fraud. What's a small crush on an altmer compared to Alduin? A lot apparently, too much for her. Somehow she would push it down and try not to think about it again for a few days. “Asshole.” With a sigh, she picked herself up with the intentions of grabbing a book to read, any book that would get her mind off it was fine. Maybe reading Feyfolken I would help it, doubtful- it was rather boring, but she didn’t really have the energy to look past the first thing she yanked off the shelf without looking.
The great sage was a tall, untidy man, bearded but bald......
Gwendolyn barely got through the first sentence before her mind wandered back to Aicantar. He was- soft was the only word she had for it, which stressed her further. He was also kind and patient, something that was rarer than it should be in Skyrim. Too bad she never intended for him to find out she felt that way, that would be too embarrassing. Her eyes were getting heavy, and her head laid on the book open on her bed before her, mind still wandering where ever it was going to go. So much for swearing off thinking about him for a few more days.
Eventually, book open, Gwendolyn managed to fall into a deep sleep, undisturbed by anything around her.