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Love Language

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They're traveling in the rain, using it as cover, when Nott notices the flowers. They're partially hidden by the tall grass at the side of the road, and only someone of her stature would be likely to notice them – they're a kind of pale yellow most would dismiss, but Nott regards fondly. 


Sneaking a look at her companion, who's walking steadily but a bit slumped over, Nott darts over to the flowers and grabs a handful. It's been a long time, but one of the only nice things about being stuck in this horrible, nasty, alien form is that her fingers are smaller and definitely more deft than they ever were as Veth. 


Caleb doesn't ask until they're a long way down the road. When he finally brings it up, his voice is hesitant, as if he's afraid he's intruding. 


"Nott the Brave, I see that you have been– ah, fiddling, with something, for some time now–"


"Oh, this?" Nott asks. She holds up the mess she's made of the flowers. They certainly stick together (mostly because of the wire she slipped in,and the rain that dripped onto it despite her best efforts), although the petals have gotten a bit mangled and soggy. 


She holds the crown up to Caleb. "It's for you," she says shyly. "For good luck."


He takes it, and turns it over in his hands for a moment. For a moment, Nott thinks she spots his mouth turning up at the corners before his expression returns to its normal vaguely depressed neutrality.


Caleb places it gently on his head, and the yellow blossoms stand out nicely against his grimy hair. Nott grins at him, pleased.


"Thank you," he says, audibly touched.


"No problem!" 





"For good luck!" Nott exclaims, jumping up onto the inn's table and slotting a bright pink flower behind Caleb's ear. She grins at him and jumps down, running back out of the room before he can react properly. 


Beau, sitting across the table, stifles a giggle at Caleb's poorly disguised startle. He flushes a bit, and adjusts the flower so that it won't fall out.


"She does that," he mutters. "It's..." 


It’s what? endearing? adorable? more than he deserves? something he can't stop thinking about?




Beau laughs freely this time. "Whatever you say, man. Are you gonna finish that?" 


Caleb pushes his half-finished drink over to her. He should not get more tipsy tonight.


He tries to make an excuse as he stands up from the table, but all that comes out is, "I am... heading to bed, Beauregard. Have a nice evening." 


"Bye," Beau says, still visibly amused. She stands up, too, and wanders across the room to where Jester and Yasha are whispering to each other. Caleb passes out of the room before he sees her sit down. 


He should talk to Yasha about getting a pressed flower book for himself, he thinks, and then half-buries the thought and all its implications in his mind.






Caduceus wakes up early to the sound of his and Fjord's door creaking open. He can't tell what time it is exactly, but the light coming in the porthole is faint, and the sensation of waves rocking the floor he stands on is nearly nonexistent, as it never is after sunrise, so it must be pre-dawn.


Grabbing his staff from its position beside his hammock, he bemoans his lack of darkvision. 


"Who's there?" he asks, trying to keep his voice steady.


"It's me!" comes the response from the darkness, and Caduceus relaxes. 


"Rather early in the morning, isn't it, Nott?" he asks. She must need something, to come into their room at this hour, and he takes a moment to sigh internally before climbing out of bed, slipping on his fuzzy slippers – a gift from Jester – and standing.


Peering towards the door, Caduceus can make out the gleam of reflected light from Nott's eyes a few feet away.


"I need flowers," Nott says without further prompting. 


Caduceus tilts his head at her curiously, but doesn’t ask. “Well,” he rumbles, “I happened to pick some up from that last island we stopped at, and so did Ya—”


“Can I have them?”


Caduceus decides he’s too tired to keep up with Nott’s enigmatic personality this morning, and shuffles over to his things to dig out the blue sprigs. He tries to be quiet in order to keep from waking Fjord up, but several things fall and rattle as he searches. 


“Here,” he says finally, turning and giving the small bouquet to Nott. She flashes a grin at him and dashes out of the room in the time it takes Caduceus to blink.


“Thanks!” she yells behind her, and Caduceus sighs as he watches Fjord stir in his hammock.




Caleb wakes up in the late morning to blue flowers woven through his hair and a note tucked in his hand that says, in messy but readable handwriting, ‘sorry. looked like you were having a bad night. hope these help your luck.’


He smiles.  






During one of their weeks of rest, on an evening where their whole group is hanging out in the common room, Nott sidles closer to Caleb. She hops up on the back of his chair, balancing precariously. 


“What—” Caleb starts, and then feels her fingers run through his hair. She’s done this before, but rarely, and it has been a long while. As the tangles are tugged out, he relaxes despite himself and the group’s eyes suddenly on them. 


“Aww,” coos Jester, and then, as Nott starts to weave in the flowers, “Ooh!” 


Jester bounces a little, knocking into Beau sitting next to her. “Can you do me next? Please?”


“Sure!” Nott chirps. “They’re good luck.” She speeds up her braiding, and Caleb feels her leaving a few more gaps than she normally would in her haste. 


After a preciously short while, Nott leaps down from her perch. She pulls another handful of flowers out of her pocket while she runs over to climb onto the couch next to Jester, taking the opportunity to step on Fjord’s toes as she goes. He yelps and pulls his legs back, a few moments too late.


Caleb turns away, and tries to ignore the flame of jealousy threatening to devour him. He already got his flowers, and perhaps only Yeza before him, but that makes the fire worse, and he has to think about something else.


Frumpkin leaps up into his lap at the barest telepathic nudge, and Caleb buries his face in the fey cat’s fur (trying not to muss his hair) while nobody is paying attention to him. He is a truly stupid man, isn’t he.




Nott stops Caleb, before they head back up the stairs of Essek’s house with their friends. She tugs on his sleeve, and takes out the handful of flowers she saved from their last trip out of Xhorhaus, placing them gently in his large hand.


“For good luck.” She says, trying to keep a grin on her face for him. This might be the last time she’ll have the opportunity to give him flowers; to protect him, however symbolically, from terrors real and imagined and remembered in his sleep. 


Caleb takes the bundle and tucks it behind his ear almost absentmindedly, catching her gaze and not looking away. 


“Nott- Veth- flowers could never be enough to keep my luck fair when you’re not there beside me,” Caleb says, kneeling on the stairs so he can look into Nott’s eyes more closely. “I won’t stop you from leaving, if this works, but I do— I do wish you’d stay.”


Nott glances away. “I— we’ll see,” is all she manages to say. Caleb can almost always see what she’s thinking, know what’s wrong at a glance; it’s usually comforting, but lately it's been terrifying. She swallows, trying to summon the last of the courage her latest nip of alcohol gave her, and starts up the stairs again.


“Let’s do this.”



"One more thing," Caleb says nervously. "Or–two, sort of, but–"


"What?" Nott asks patiently. She takes her leg back out of Marion's bathtub, turning to face him once more. 


Caleb shifts his kneeling stance so he can reach his largest pocket. He pulls out the crown without having to look at it; he's been rehearsing this for days. 


It's a full, beautiful thing– it took Caleb nearly two hours at the florist to figure out what he wanted. Said florist had tried to educate him on meanings, but Caleb knew No–Veth– wasn't likely to care. 


The flowers –roses, daffodils, orchids, you name it– are mainly yellow, red, and orange, but there are small blue blooms tucked in here and there, and the bottom is flush with warm green leaves. 


Jester makes a noise of awe somewhere behind his back, and he hears with unfortunate acuteness Yasha's intake of breath. 


Praying that neither will make a scene, he places it on her head and adjusts it tenderly, keeping his eyes locked on hers although he knows his face is letting her see all the things he could never say out loud.


"For good luck," he says.


When she emerges, an hour later, glowing and happier than Caleb has ever seen her, she’s still wearing it.