At this point, Kurt knows exactly how Altina takes her tea: two teaspoons of sugar with a dash of milk. She never lets his efforts go to waste of course, downing the drink with her pancakes as she does during her mornings in the Vander Training Hall.
It has become something of a bit of a routine, staying overnight at the Vander Hall. Convenience is what she labels it. After all, it was in the heart of Erebonia. She could easily get to Heimdallr station and go wherever the Intelligence Division decided she was needed.(Again, not that she ever needed to take the train, when Claimh Solais worked just as well). And Aurier had been so insistent. She couldn’t refuse that kindness.
The truth is that there’s nothing but stagnation between them. The frozen time, the unfinished lessons, the failed duties. She is here because she is waiting—waiting for something. A purpose she can no longer fulfill. Some kind of initiation, she thinks, as she watches the Vander disciples’ crescent-like swings.
Kurt, on his end, is rather accommodating compared to her. He allows her to use the guest room once typically reserved for a certain bard. The older Vander brother was rarely home to protest. If the accommodation bothered Kurt himself, he certainly never let it show.
If he is disquieted by her expecting gaze boring into him on foggy, gloomy mornings, he’s never made a sound. For a boy that had once been torn by being unable to meet every expectation, he has grown into a man capable of enduring the silent ones.
He can still fulfill his mission. He can still abandon the life he’s created to compensate for the emptiness of Cedric’s disappearance. It wouldn’t have been a burden. They were born to die to someone else.
On the day of the entrance ceremony, you asked me my reason for being in Class VII. It has changed from ‘because I should’ to ‘because I want to.’
When did every aspect of her become ‘because I should?’
It’s not a mistake, she thinks, as Kurt thumbs the photo of Cedric she gave him months ago.
It’s not a mistake, she thinks, as she watches his eyes shimmer with an unknown emotion when she confers upon him knowledge of the Ouroboros Enforcer he’d never wished for.
It’s not a mistake, she thinks, as she watches him teach his disciples, a duty a far cry from the one conferred to him at birth.
(Much like her.)
She waits for him to snap at her. To reprimand her insistence, for reminding him of his cloying optimism that someday, his highness would return back to his normal self, his loving and docile self that believed in Kurt’s protection.
But he does not, for he is far too kind. So he allows her to suffer that emotion in silence.
Her instructor had taught her to live. That was his sacrifice.
This was an emotion the Instructor never taught her to overcome.