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[personal profile] selenias
Title: Only In Passing
Author: [personal profile] lavendre
Fandom: Tales of Zestiria
Characters/pairing: Rose/Alisha
Prompt: Sappho #1
Rating: all audiences
Word Count: 940

Notes: One down for the Sappho prompt table challenge. Estranged Rose/Alisha.

Come to me now: loose me from hard
care and all my heart longs
to accomplish, accomplish. You
be my ally.

“You could have wrote me, you know. That’s what most people do. I’m sure you have a means of keeping paper from getting rained on that most of us don’t. Or -- don’t tell me. You didn’t have a pen.”

Rose was uncharacteristically quiet. The meeting hall in Ladylake had tall windows and a sharp, flat roof. The floor was kept polished and swept morning and night, scattered with chairs and lined with blue-green runners. She couldn’t see them, but knew the seraphim sat somewhere unobtrusively, perhaps by the banked fire, where the muted cushions and soldier's benches were kept prim and proper. Alisha had been anticipating her departure for days, but there was always some matter with the nobles that kept her from where she most adamantly wished to go.

She stood outside with her troupe, members of the former Blue Valkyrie brigade, and looked toward the lake entrance. There, at the end of the bridge --

Alisha pushed her platter across the table, not minding the noise it made or the nervous, dry look the barkeeper slipped across the room. “At least, if you’re going to be sullen, eat something, would you? You look terrible.”

Rose picked up her fork with little enthusiasm. “You sure know how to make a girl feel better about herself.”

“I’ve claimed no such thing,” Alisha replied dryly. “I was prepared to be absent for the next four months, and you weren’t going to tell me be you’d be stopping by,” she accused. She raised her hand when Rose opened her mouth to protest. “Don’t even. You’re no good with words when you’re distracted.”

“Fair enough.”

Rose ate in silence, tearing a buttered roll into bite-sized pieces before eating it. Alisha ignored her and flipped through her bag before she found the cause of everyone’s trouble, a small bound book with faded glyphs on the front. She pulled it from the bottom where it was nestled against a week’s worth of rations and shoved it across the table.

When she looked up again, Mikleo was standing there, fingers hurriedly flipping through it.

He met her startled gaze with a scolding, chastened look. “You actually went into the temple for this? I told you we’d be here to find it!”

“Yeah, that was kind of the point of visiting,” Rose grumbled.

“I know, but I’ve been out in the fields lately and had the time. It wasn’t hard to search for. Your description was good.”

Out in the fields? Rose mouthed at her, and Alisha squinted.

“Were there traps?” he asked quickly.

“A few -- but I recognized most of them. Don’t worry, I didn’t stick my neck out that much.”

“Well, thank you for that. Rose would be very angry with me if you had.” Rose protested irritably into her soup, to no one’s concern. Mikleo walked around the table to squeeze her shoulder apologetically, and then was off again, a stride in his step that told Alisha she wouldn’t see him again before they parted ways tonight.

“You’re probably not going to see him again until he opens those gates, you know. In fact, I probably won’t see him either!”

“I know,” Alisha said firmly. She picked at a groove in the table with her nail until it’s splinters came loose. “I know. Let’s just say I think this will occupy him for a while.”

“So you’ve noticed.”

“I may not be present, but that certainly doesn’t mean I’m any less apt than usual. That book he wanted so badly -- he wants it for Sorey, right?”

“Yeah.” Rose smiled grimly around a mouth full of rye bread. “We’ve all had a bad feeling about the gates to Camlann. And as you know, It’s hard denying him.”

Alisha smiled a little. “I don’t think he means to be so manipulative. He’s too easy to sympathize with. That’s our problem.”

Rose looked stricken. “A-alisha.”

She held up her hand. “Just say thank you. That’s simpler, and you don’t sound like a fool when you say it.”

Rose slumped in her chair, sighing. “Ugh. If you could let go of being angry about that for one minute, you’d see I’m trying to apologize here.”

Alisha sipped at her cold tea. “Oh, I know you are. I’m just being difficult.”

“I’m sorry that I haven’t written you in so long. It’s not because I didn’t want to hear back from you--”

“You can’t even write me just to tell me you’re doing okay? A letter would have found me sooner or later. There are couriers, you know. They won’t all get eaten by hellions.”

Rose took a sip of water before she spoke again, looking annoyed, then amused. “You know what? If you’re so concerned about all this, then come with me.”

Alisha leaned her weight on the table. "Rose, I am not going to make a pact with you again.”

“I’m not asking you to. I am, however, holding you responsible for Mikleo’s desertion. I clearly need an extra brain now, since you think mine is so incompetent. Would it help if I told you you’re my favorite squire?”

“Favorite by default, you mean?” Alisha smiled into her hand. “That’s hardly bribing. I have a troupe of my own I have to be there for.”

“That’s true. But just... at least know that the offer stands. Refuse it or take it, whichever. I’ll be glad if you do, but I’ll understand if you don’t. How’s that?”

Circumstances certainly weren’t better, but when were they ever? Alisha kicked Rose under the table gently.

"Is that a yes?"

“Finish your lunch and then go buy some paper," she said curtly. "I’ll think about it.”
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