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Paper Cranes

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She's still very new to this... being the Duke's fiancée and all its ridiculousness, and though she's passed every lesson with flying colors so far, she is brought up short on this particular rule.

"I--is this really something a Duke's wife must know?" She asks Gideon. Gideon's nod is stalwart.

"Yes, Miss. The partner of Duke Wynknight is expected to have mastered this art in its entirety."

She stares at the scissors and piles of colored paper on her desk. "You're absolutely sure..?" She tries.

"Mr. Wynknight insists."

Now she knows Noah is just fucking with her. "Is that so?" She says, from between her teeth. "Well, far be it from me to not be the perfect Mrs. Wynknight."

"Exactly, Miss." Gideon agrees, pleased. He pulls out a file with papers and instructional material. At the very least, he isn't settling in for another historical lecture.


It's harder than it looks. Eunha had never been particularly talented with her hands. She'd been often called clumsy, by her idiot brother, and never did well in craft class. Raeliana McMillan, on the other hand, this body remembers years worth of embroidery and needlework. Her fingers move on their own, cutting and crafting.

And yet, the best thing her body can make is a single crane.

The first had been exciting, but after the twentieth, she's grown tired of it, and as has Gideon, she is sure. Though he is too principled to show it. Instead, he subtly passes her a page on roses, and then, when she fails that, another on a cat, then a dog, then he sticks to birds, a dove, a raven, but only the crane is successful.

He has gotten quiet tired of her, and Raeliana is quite dissatisfied with herself as well.

At this point, she could care less about what Noah thinks about her, it's her reputation at stake.

"Is it that I lack imagination?" She wonders aloud, walking in the garden in the back of the Wynknight estate, accompanied with her usual entourage of Adam.

Adam tilts his head curiously and she waves him off. "No, no, I'm just wondering. I've never been talented with crafting, and it seems the only thing I am capable of is a paper crane. Not even the simplest rose comes out successfully." She stares at her hands, thoughtful. "Perhaps this body is at its limit."

Adam doesn't say anything, he usually doesn't, but he does take one of her hands and inspects it intently. Surprised at his sudden inclination to touch, she lets him, until he gently returns it to her. He nods at her, and though his expression is still blank, she has gotten used to reading him now, and he seems to be insinuating that she has done quite well for herself as is.

She is happy he thinks so, but she is disappointed regardless.

Not because she'll be disappointing Noah, certainly not! It's only... this is the first test that she will have to admit that she could not pass.

That does not sit well in her stomach.


She spends the next few nights staying up reading and practicing, but to no avail. She just doesn't seem to have the knack for paper crafting, and her talent has met its limits in the culmination of a crane.

It has gotten to the point where she has something of a collection of them, and despite herself, they have grown on her. She has begun experimenting with different paper, instead of solid colors, she makes a crane made of blues and greens, then a crane with strands of several colors.

They become more and more elaborate, and it's quite a calming process, in fact, that she doesn't even notice when her space is interrupted by the presence of one Noah Wynknight until he speaks,

"I've heard from the staff that you'd found yourself a hobby." He says, startling Raeliana from her concentration.

She jolts and hurriedly hides the creation she had been in the process of finishing. It doesn't do much. Noah is lounging on the loveseat of Raeliana's room, a book in hand, as if he had been there for some time, and the evidence of her "hobby" as he calls it, are scattered about the room. In fact, there is a purple and white crane alight on his knee.

Raeliana stands, flushed. "What did I say about entering my room without my permission!?"

He raises an eyebrow. "Didn't I say you would need to give up your privacy upon living here?"

She darkens further, this time with annoyance. "And I thought we'd discussed this."

He closes his book leisurely, unconcerned. "We had. You are correct, but I was curious about this hobby of my wonderful fiancée's." He picks up the purple and white crane from his knee, inspecting it.

She strides over to him and takes it abruptly from his hand. He doesn't seem surprised by this. "I--it's not a hobby! I'm just trying to study this lesson you've insisted I undertake."

He smirks. "And what about not being the perfect fiancée of mine?"

She scowls at him. "At this point, I'm rather more concerned about my reputation than your opinion."

He hums and stands. She hurriedly puts distance between them. "You've been working hard." He says, looking around the room.

She side-eyes him. "I'll admit this doesn't come... easy to me. I'm just trying to play the part, it isn't anything else, Noah."

"Of course." He doesn't seem daunted. "Have you decided what you will do about this, thought? You'll flood the room at the rate you're going."

She had been a little worried about that, if she was honest, but she didn't have the heart to throw them all away. It would be such a waste of pretty paper. "I hadn't thought about it."  

He sweeps the room with his eyes, taking in her embarrassment, the piles of colored paper cranes stacked on her bed, piled on the floor, covering her desk. "Perhaps you should start to give them out as gifts."

She blinks. "That--I could." She thinks about it. "I could give one to Sir Taylor, and Ansley, Gideon too, and possibly the other knights and maids."

His mouth curls up. "And one for me too, of course."

Her head jerks back. "I--I'm not going to give you one!"

"But wouldn't it be strange if all of my staff receive a crane, and yet I have not?" He points out and her cheeks color but she stands her ground.

"I could say they are gifts from me for appreciating the work the staff does in helping me settle in." She argues, raising her chin. She smirks, coyly. "But I may be persuaded to change my mind, but you would have to earn one."

Amused, Noah takes a step towards her. "Hmm, as tempting as that offer is, I am an impatient man--" which is a ridiculous notion. She's known him well enough now to know he's as patient as men come, and that's not just because of her knowledge of the novel, "--then if you won't give one to me, I'll just have to take one."

He reaches for the purple and white crane in her hand, "this one," he says, taking it from her in her surprise, and letting it sit up in his palm. "I've grown fond of it. As I have of its creator." He glances at her with a sly smile and then proceeds to exit the room.

Incensed, Raeliana raises a fist and then runs for the nearest pillow, beating her frustration into it until she is satisfied.

Why must he always have the last word!?