Nick comes back to the suite he shares with Kat, slightly grubby but grinning with ~~ amusement ~~.
Katsura smiles back.
Katsura: Now what?
Nick has a smudge of dirt on his nose, which somehow manages to emphasize the looks he inherited from his father and grandfather.
Nick: It seems we are the victims of our own success.
Nick: The Senator's mother was talking to me in the greenhouse just now. It seems that she's hit on a plan for our future.
Nick's nager is ~~ sparkling ~~ with suppressed laughter.
Katsura gets up and goes to Nick, ~~ affectionately ~~ wiping the smudge from his normal-sized nose.
Katsura: Tell me.
Nick: She's decided that we should accompany her back to her home, where you can tend her hands while I tend her roses.
Katsura: And she described the advantages of these jobs, too? Room and board and pocket change?
Nick: And a quite generous degree of autonomy, for a servant.
Katsura: Half-day off every month, for transfer?
Nick: She's willing to go to a half day every two weeks. She really wants her roses tended to.
Katsura: I can tell she's serious about that, if she's willing to have a Sime in the house. Or do I have to live in the stable?
Nick: I don't think she's yet considered the upheaval it would cause in the servant's quarters.
Katsura: I suppose that means that she's getting used to me, sees me more as a person and less as a demonic, or at any rate, socially unacceptable, Sime.
Nick: I hate to disappoint her, but I think I'm going to have to decline her kind offer.
Katsura smiles again, and hugs her Donor.
Nick hugs back, shaking his head ruefully.
Nick: Technically, I'm thinking about taking a job that doesn't pay anything, although it does include room and board. Good medical benefits, too.
Katsura's heart leaps in anticipation...
Nick grins broadly.
Nick: I still don't understand why Hiram didn't settle on a less... troublesome... recruit, but I've decided to accept the offer anyway.
Katsura: Oh, Nick!
Katsura hugs him harder and bursts into tears of ~~ joy ~~.
Katsura: Oh, I'm so glad.
Nick lifts Kat and swings her around in a circle.
Nick: You're a crazy bunch of people, you know. I guess I'll fit right in, at that.
Katsura: All the fruit trees you can stand to prune!
Katsura opens her nager, inviting deep engagement.
Nick ~~ reaches ~~ with his own nager to merge it with hers.
Katsura: Oh, Nick. I'm so glad.
Katsura reaches up to stroke his throat with a lateral.
Nick leans down to kiss Kat's nose, which is after all one of her more prominent features.
Katsura moves the kiss to her lips.
Nick responds with ~~ enthusiasm ~~. He's well aware that Kat isn't really interested in sex at this point in her cycle, but he's equally ~~ attracted ~~ to the channel as the woman.
Katsura places all four laterals on Nick's neck to enhance the intimacy of the lip contact. She runs her handling tentacles into Nick's hair and beard.
Nick reaches up to stroke a finger gently down one lateral sheath.
Katsura shivers and sighs. It's much too early for intil, but the intimacy is wonderful.
Katsura: Oh, Nick... naztehr...
Katsura starts crying again.
Nick: Naztehr. I like the sound of that.
Nick kisses the tears away.
Katsura: It's such a pleasure to be able to say it.
Nick chuckles suddenly.
Nick: You know, I think this finally gives me an excuse to not wear a shenned Tecton uniform when I work! Or at least, it will when I have some Sat'htine livery to wear instead.
Katsura laughs and retracts her laterals.
Katsura: Let's sit down.
Katsura is feeling a little unsteady from the strong emotions deeply shared.
Nick collapses onto the couch, pulling Kat down beside him.
Katsura snuggles up to him.
Nick feels very ~~ contented ~~.
Katsura, still deeply engaged nagerically, shares the contentment.
Nick: Do you think Hiram can get the politics straightened out soon, so we can go... home?
Katsura: I hope so. We'll send him a telegram that you've decided, and that we want to go home as soon as we can.
Katsura hugs Nick again.
Katsura: Our home.
Nick shakes his head.
Nick: You know, this feels a bit different from the last time I acquired a House full of family.
Nick: For one thing, they don't all look like me. Some of them have rather large noses, for instance.
Nick kisses the nearest example again.
Katsura: I'm looking forward to all the transfers we'll share over the years.
Katsura shivers with anticipated pleasure and holds Nick's forearm in a gentle tentacle grip.
Nick gives a ~~ rueful ~~ shake of his head.
Nick: That's kind of you to say, when our previous transfer was more satisfying for me than for you.
Katsura: Rimona thinks you can probably match me eventually.
Nick gives Kat a squeeze.
Nick: Good. I want you to be as happy with our transfers as I am.
Katsura: What you gave me out in that snowbank was wonderful.
Nick: You couldn't live on it long-term, though. Not and stay healthy.
Katsura slides her laterals along Nick's arm without tightening her handling tentacles.
Nick ~~ enjoys ~~ the sensation of ronaplin.
Katsura: We'll talk to Rimona and Hiram when we get home, work something out that will increase your rating but still let us share transfer sometimes, until you match me.
Katsura knows there are some crash methods of upgrading a Companion, but isn't going to suggest them.
Nick: I was a decent match for D'zoll. He's not rated that far below you.
Katsura: Rimona was impressed that you were able to serve Wise Snake so readily, despite starting out so late. She thinks you must be unusually flexible. Our transfer upgraded you a bit, even though I wasn't really trying to.
Nick: Riyyh is nothing if not flexible. I suppose at least some of it is heritable.
Katsura: Even if we never become an ideal match, I'll still look forward to taking transfer from you whenever I can.
Katsura: I suppose we'd be best off swapping with D'zoll and Shorsh this month.
Katsura: And then maybe we can all go home together.
Nick: I hope that won't upset Shorsh.
Katsura: No, he suggested it. He outrates D'zoll by a fair margin, so swapping will make better matches for all of us.
Nick: Good. I'd hate to start out by treading on the toes of my naztehrhai.
Katsura: We try to keep our egos out of transfer assignments. We try to be as objective as we can. Jealousy can be so destructive.
Nick: Indeed. Especially when someone is going to get shorted badly, no matter what you do. No Sime faces shorting willingly.
Katsura: We've got a large enough pool of both channels and Companions at home that that seldom happens.
Katsura turns to her Companion.
Katsura: Nick, you know we have more Farris-capable Companions than Farris channels. Some months you'll be serving a channel you outrate, and some months you may not serve transfer. Not often, but sometimes. We try to keep good matches together as much as possible, but we have to do periodic swaps to prevent dependencies.
Nick: I know that an entire Householding is different than what I had with Snake and Arat, but I'm not going to be faced with many strange channels who are afraid of me, either.
Nick still finds the memory of his last transfer ~~ frustrating ~~.
Nick: That's been the hardest thing to endure, since I left the Dam. The channels who assume that I'll junct them if I have half a chance, or even kill them out of some perverse spite.
Katsura: Once you're pledged, you'll be Nick ambrov Sat'htine. If Sat'htine isn't good enough for outsiders, nothing is. Besides, if you go out working at a Tecton site, you'll be with a Sat'htine channel, and the local Controller won't be able to reassign either of you without your consent.
Nick wonders if he'll ever be able to develop Kat's blithe assumption of privilege.
Katsura squeezes Nick's arm.
Katsura: So we should tell D'zoll and Shorsh, and celebrate your decision. I can take a provisional pledge, to make you legally our naztehr, before we go home, or we can wait until Hiram can fully pledge you.
Nick: Under the circumstances, it might be best to make sure that Sat'htine has an unassailable legal claim on me, before we go back in-Territory.
Nick has to admit, if only to himself, that while he respects Hiram, he is much more committed to his heir.
Katsura: Taking your pledge will be my first official act as Sectuib-apparent. Well, other than standing in for Sectuib at some really boring Tecton functions.
Nick gives Kat a squeeze.
Nick: Well, then, isn't it high time that you started getting some chances to practice the interesting parts of the job?
Katsura: I'm glad the audience will be small -- just the two witnesses!
Nick: Do you think Shorsh and D'zoll will report it to the Tecton if we get the words wrong?
Katsura: None of the Tecton's business. It's an internal Householding matter. You'll be ours then, not theirs.
Katsura squeezes Nick's forearm.
Katsura: I'm so glad. From the first time I zlinned you, I found you so attractive...
Katsura isn't going to add "and so badly abused".
Nick: Until you found out who I was, from how I heard the tale.
Katsura: But after I got over my surprise my goal was to help you recover from all that bad treatment. Not entirely unselfishly, of course.
Nick makes the unwarranted assumption that Katsura is referring to his treatment at the tentacles of the Tecton, rather than at Snake's and Arat's.
Katsura means both.
Nick: The most satisfying way to tell off bullies is to make it blindingly obvious that they have no power to make your life miserable any more. If you can do that and still remain in full zlin of them... well, that's revenge with cream on top.
Katsura: You'll have the power and majesty of Sectuib and the Householding behind you. A Companion in Sat'htine.
Nick thinks about that for a moment, then shakes his head.
Nick: I wonder how long it will take to get used to being one?
Katsura: I've been thinking of you as my Companion for some time.
Katsura blushes a little.
Nick smiles, making his nager ~~ shimmer ~~.
Nick: Just like a channel to stake her claim to a Gen early and often.
Katsura squeezes Nick's forearm.
Katsura: My Gen. Our Gen. Your channel.
Nick: Yes. And my renSimes and donors and children, too.
Katsura: Indeed. All yours. All ours.
Nick: You know, I've never had that kind of riches.
Nick gives her a squeeze.
Nick: I think I could get used to it, though.
Katsura rests her head on Nick's solid Gen shoulder and sighs with happiness.