Nick is ~~ enjoying ~~ an all-too-rare opportunity to get out into the spring sunshine. He has noted the lack of agricultural efforts within the city limits of Capital, but the park is at least green, and Kat by his side makes up for a lot.
Katsura is enjoying not only the spring sunshine, but Nick's enjoyment of it too.
Nick is eating a cheese sandwich as he steers them towards a small pond.
Nick: Are you sure you don't want a bite?
Katsura: No, thanks. But if there's still some carrot sticks I'll have one.
Katsura knows that Nick likes to feed her, but bread and cheese sounds too heavy.
Nick shows his subtlety as a Companion by handing Kat a carrot stick, while adding a little bit of ~~ anticipation of crunch ~~ to his projection by focusing on the lettuce in his sandwich.
Katsura smiles at Nick's ploy and nibbles the carrot.
Nick isn't seriously worried that Kat won't eat, but it's the little details that make the difference between adequate and great. He likes to keep his hand in, also: not all channels are as cooperative with regards to nutrition as Kat.
Nick reaches the edge of the pond, and looks at the last quarter of his sandwich, which thanks to sloppy sandwich-making (or maybe -eating) technique has almost no cheese.
Nick: Shall we feed the ducks the rest of this?
Katsura: If you like.
Katsura can zlin that Nick is adequately fed for now.
Nick takes his time pulling a small bit of bread off, attracting the attention of a mallard pair. He tosses the bread just in front of the male and watches a dozen other pairs start to converge at his contented quacking.
Nick hands Kat one of the pieces of bread.
Katsura tosses the bread off to the side of the crowd, near another pair.
Nick notes a seagull soaring over the water towards them. He breaks another piece of bread off and waits until the gull is hovering before him before he tosses it.
Nick shakes his head as another gull steals the offering.
Nick: Hey, there! Wait your turn.
Nick tosses a piece to the first gull. He then hears a frantic honking as the ducks feel neglected.
Nick: I should have dropped by the kitchen before we left, and gotten a stale loaf.
Katsura: Next time.
Katsura enjoys watching and zlinning Nick enjoy himself. The park isn't very rural, but it's better than indoors, for him.
Nick has been trying very hard to be good, but he's been going a little ~ stir crazy ~ .
Katsura: Let's make a point of coming out here more often. Let's make time for it.
Nick: I'd like that. There will be ducklings soon, at least until the turtles eat them.
Katsura: Oh, dear. Well, that's nature for you.
Nick: Think what would happen if they all survived. No small child could play here without getting bitten.
Katsura: True. There seems to be plenty of ducks anyway.
Llarrin has been sailing the wonderful new toy boat his mother made for him, but it's now becalmed just out of reach near the edge of the pond. He tried pulling it back with a long stick, but only succeeded in knocking it a hand's breadth farther out. He is now weighing the relative merits of going home without the boat, or going home with muddy feet.
Nick notes Llarrin's difficulty. He tosses the last bit of bread to a lady mallard, much to her mate's dismay, and brushes the crumbs off his hands.
Nick: Hey there, do you want a hand getting your boat back?
Llarrin looks up with a start.
Llarrin: Oh, yes, please, Tuib. Er, Sosu.
Llarrin has noticed that the Gen is with a Sime with a Farris nose, and drawn the logical conclusion.
Nick wanders over to inspect the situation.
Llarrin: I tried to get it with a stick, but it just made things worse.
Llarrin doesn't want this helpful stranger to repeat his own mistake.
Nick: That happens sometimes. How deep is the lake here, Kat?
Katsura: It's pretty shallow near the shore. Maybe knee deep by the boat.
Katsura figures she doesn't need to point out that it's still really cold -- the ice hasn't been out of it for long.
Nick looks down at his trousers, sorely ~~ tempted ~~.
Llarrin: My Ma made it for me. It's brand new. ~~ anxiety ~~.
Nick: Well, we can't let such a fine craft remain lost at sea, can we? Is this the stick you used? The one that didn't work?
Nick picks up the stick and inspects it.
Llarrin: Um, be careful. I nearly fell in when I tried.
Nick: It's a good stick, but the end here is straight. It can only push, not pull. What we require is a real boat hook, like they use on real boats. Have you ever seen one of those?
Llarrin: You mean those things that look like a giant crochet hook?
Katsura enjoys watching Nick interact with the boy. He's so much more comfortable than with the bigwigs they've been dealing with lately.
Llarrin is actually thinking of the rescue hooks kept beside swimming pools. He's never spent much time watching boats.
Nick: Yes, one of those. They can pull as well as push. Now, I think with a little bit of effort, we can turn this stick into a fine boat hook.
Katsura also enjoys children more than power broker types, but learning to deal with the latter is part of her training as future Sectuib of an influential House.
Nick: This stick will make a fine handle. All we have to get is a hook. Let's see...
Llarrin looks around, but can't see anything that looks like a hook.
Nick reaches into his pocket and pulls out a few coins, a scrap of paper, a paper clip, and a pocket knife.
Nick: I don't think those will help much. What's in your pockets?
Llarrin turns out his pockets, revealing a couple of small coins, some string, and a bottle cap.
Llarrin: Well, we've got something to tie the hook onto the stick with, if we can find a hook.
Llarrin separates out the grubby length of string and offers it to Nick.
Nick accepts the string ~~ gravely ~~.
Nick: That's good. What's in your pockets, Kat?
Llarrin notes with ~~ dismay ~~ that the boat seems to have drifted a bit farther out since they began speaking.
Llarrin: We'd better hurry, Sosu, or soon nobody will be able to reach it.
Nick: Wait a moment. Kat, do you still have one of those carrot sticks?
Katsura: Um, yes. Here.
Katsura hasn't done more than nibble on the stick Nick gave her. She hands it over.
Nick carefully lashes the carrot stick to the wooden stick with the piece of string, tying it tightly.
Nick: There. That'll make a fine boat hook.
Nick checks the boat again, noting the greater distance from shore.
Llarrin: But the carrot's just as straight as the stick. ~~ puzzlement ~~
Nick: Yes, but you see how I've tied it on at an angle?
Llarrin: Yeah. Um, but won't it just fold flat as soon as you try to use it?
Nick: Not the way I've tied it, if I'm careful.
Nick sits down on a nearby bench and starts taking off his shoes.
Llarrin: Oh. Okay. ~~ mixed skepticism and trust ~~
Nick strips off his socks as well, then rolls up his trousers to above his knees. He wades into the pond towards the boat, careful of his footing, trying not to project too much ~ cold feet ~ at Kat.
Katsura doesn't let the cold feet she zlins affect her expression. Gens have to be allowed to do what they like, without nannying.
Llarrin is ~~ awed ~~ at the freedom of a grown-up, who can get muddy feet and not be disciplined for it.
Nick takes three steps, ~ enjoying ~ the mud squishing between his toes, then reaches out and deftly snags the toy, pulling it towards him.
Nick reaches down and scoops up the toy, lifting it in ~~ triumph ~~.
Nick: There we are!
Llarrin: Thank you, Sosu. Thank you.
Nick: You're welcome.
Nick wades back to shore and surrenders his prize to its owner.
Nick: It's a very nice boat.
Katsura: It is indeed.
Nick swishes the mud off one foot before stepping out of the water, then cleans the other foot.
Llarrin: My Ma made it, and she's real good at making things. She makes furniture for lots of people.
Nick: Does your boat have a name?
Llarrin cradles the boat in his hands, considering.
Llarrin: It didn't. But now I think I'll call it... um, what's your name, Sosu?
Nick: Nick. Nick ambrov Sat'htine.
Nick says his new name with more ~~ pride ~~ than he ever felt using his grandmother's name.
Katsura smiles with pleasure at Nick's pride in his House.
Llarrin: "Sosu Nick's Return". Is that a good name?
Nick: It's a fine name. I'm honored.
Nick is, too.
Llarrin: Then that's what it will be. And before I sail it again, I'm gonna make a proper boat hook.
Nick sits back down on the bench, brushes off his feet, and starts replacing his shoes.
Nick: Yes, you'll have to get something better than this one. It won't work once the carrot wilts.
Llarrin: My Ma has lots of scrap wood. I'll find a piece the right shape to make a good hook.
Nick: It's a good thing the carrot was nice and crisp, and the ducks weren't too hungry.
Llarrin recoils in ~~ dismay ~~ at the image of a duck biting off the carrot stick just before Nick snagged the boat.
Llarrin: And I'll glue it to a nice long stick. Waterproof glue, the tarry kind.
Nick: That will make a fine boat hook.
Llarrin: And I'll put string around it too, just to be sure.
Nick: A string's important. It's like rope. All big boats have a good supply of rope.
Llarrin: Rope for a boat this size would have to be string, wouldn't it?
Nick: Yes, it would.
Llarrin pictures adding a little coil of gleaming new string to the deck of his boat.
Llarrin: And I'll make a tiny little anchor out of... well, out of something or other, and maybe some oars for when it's becalmed again, and... well, all kinds of stuff.
Llarrin doesn't realize he's picturing a boat so heavily laden that it would surely sink.
Nick: It's going to be quite a boat, I can see that.
Llarrin: And I'll paint the name on in bright red... er, blue... um, what's your favorite color, Sosu Nick?
Nick: How about blue, with maybe a little green in it, like Hajene Kat's scarf?
Llarrin: Yeah, I can do that.
Llarrin is already thinking about what colors of paint his Ma has on hand, and how to combine them to get exactly that shade. He's torn between rushing home to get started right away, and spending a few more minutes with this wonderful Sosu.
Nick finishes tying his shoelaces and rolls his trousers legs down. He ends up looking reasonably respectable, at least by his standards, although the ~~ chilled and dampish ~~ feet somewhat spoil the illusion for Simes.
Llarrin: Well, I, um... I guess I'd better get going.
Nick: All right. Tell you Mom that we really liked the boat she made you.
Llarrin: I'll tell her. And thanks again, Sosu. Hajene.
Katsura: You're welcome.
Nick watches Llarrin walk towards the entrance, then reaches down to pick up the improvised "boat hook".
Nick: That's a lucky kid. I had to make do with bark "boats".
Nick decommissions his improvised tool, putting the string ~~ absentmindedly ~~ into his pocket and tossing the carrot stick to an interested gull.
Katsura: You really like kids, don't you, Nick?
Nick: Yes. They have the freedom to pretend the world is what it ought to be, rather than what it is. It would be chaos if all the grown-ups did that, but... it's nice to visit that sort of place, every now and then.
Katsura: The lucky children, with good people to look after them. And ones who don't have to fear turning Sime.
Katsura's recent experiences out-T have affected her viewpoint.
Nick shakes his head.
Nick: The kids who aren't so lucky do the same thing. Maybe more so. How else could they live?
Katsura: I suppose so.
Nick: Now we grown-ups: we have the opportunity to actually change things, so we have to pay closer attention to reality. Like our meeting with Senator Tsibola's staff, which begins in... how many minutes?
Katsura: About as long as it will take us to get back and get our paperwork together and get over there if we leave now.
Katsura is glad to zlin Nick's feet warming up.
Nick throws one last ~~ wistful ~~ look at the lake, then offers Kat his arm, out-T style.
Katsura smiles and takes it, giving it a light squeeze with her tentacles, not in out-T style.
Nick rather ~~ enjoys ~~ the variation.