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it's. only. her. cinnamentality.
and you couldn't tame it if you tried
[Tales of Graces f] Boats. 
8th-Jan-2016 03:44 am
red night sky
Title: Boats.
Fandom: Tales of Graces f.
Pairing: Hubert/Cheria.
Words: 928.
Summary: The truth revealed — why does Hubert like boats so much? Also some other stuff, I guess.
Rating: B for Belated.
Notes: More stuff in the same ‘verse as this. I had this draft lying around for the past several months because I felt like there should be more to it, but now I'm lazy. Just imagine Hubert and Cheria being cute as they sit by the seaside watching the boats come in.

Hubert is no stranger to Lhant’s western port, but it’s been quite a while since he’s visited it with leisure in mind. Not only that: this is the first time he’s brought Cheria with him for that purpose. Busy as they’ve both been, it’s been difficult to find time to spend together outside of sharing the same bed at night. Even today they can only manage an early lunch before parting again to attend to their individual duties. But it’s enough, especially with the advent of more favorable weather after a long string of brisk days fraught with rain.

The two of them sit outdoors under the shade of a striped awning, waiting for their food to be brought out. The docks lie in full view of their table, lined with ships and bustling with all manner of traveling folk: sailors, tourists, merchants, and likely a few pickpockets hidden in the crowd. Foselos is a dark, glimmering strip in the clear blue sky, as though sunken beneath ocean waves — but of course that’s only to be expected, given the nature of the Ephinean atmosphere.

“So this is what you used to do with Lord Aston as a kid?” Cheria asks, her chin in her hands. “Go down here and eat?”

Hubert nods. “More or less. I never was entirely sure back then what Father was up to when he brought me here. But we would always leave early in the mornings, and he would let me sit outside to watch the boats coming in while he conducted his business. Once he was done, he would treat me to lunch before returning to town.”

“Just you, or...?”

“Well, sometimes Asbel came along. But usually we left far too early for his liking.”

Cheria laughs. “I bet he was mad about being left behind.”

A ghost of a smirk flits across Hubert’s face. “He was more upset when we didn’t bring back anything for him.” He glances out at the docks, where another ship — modest-sized, likely a private vessel — is just pulling in. “Asbel took every chance he could to explore outside of Lhant, but he always got bored so easily here at the port. I liked watching all the different people traveling in and out, but he would have rather have been a traveler himself.”

She smiles. “That sounds like him, all right. Did you ever think about traveling yourself, though? Is that why you liked boats so much?”

Hubert thinks on this for a moment. “Mm...it’s true that I did spend quite a bit of time imagining seafaring voyages and such. But mostly I liked the way the boats looked. I remember one time a sailor took the time to explain to me the relationship between a boat’s form and its function — how its structure dictated its strengths and weaknesses. I thought that was fascinating, the idea that you could know exactly what something is meant for just by looking at it...” At Cheria’s peal of laughter, he frowns. “What? What’s so funny?”

“Sorry,” she apologizes, waving a hand. “I didn’t mean...it’s just that...well, it kind of sounds like how we all thought as kids, doesn’t it? We took everything for granted and didn’t really question a lot of things. We thought that what we saw would be what we were going to get. The world seemed a lot simpler back then. I thought for sure that Asbel was going to be lord of Lhant, and I was going to die before I turned eighteen.”

“Yes, well...I had no idea what was to become of me as a second-born son.”

Cheria winces a little. “I guess it wasn’t so simple for you, huh.”

Hubert shakes his head. “No. But I understand what you’re getting at.” He rubs at his chin. “You could say that our uncertainties as children were much purer. We just couldn’t conceive of certain complications at that point in our lives.” Like, say, being adopted by a foreign family to be raised as their political tool despite it being against the very wishes of one’s biological father. “I assumed that I would be some sort of advisor to Asbel once he took up the lordship, but nothing was set in stone. My tutors often told me that with as smart and hard-working as I was, almost any path was open to me.”

“But you didn’t have anything that you wanted to be when you grew up?”

“Not a particular occupation, no. I only felt that I should be helping Asbel somehow.” He chuckles lightly. “I suppose things have come full circle in that regard.” After all, not only had he taken up the lordship after Asbel’s death, he’d also taken Cheria under his wing as a bereaved not-quite-a-widow-but-close-enough. Still cleaning up after his older brother, even when said brother was dead.

What would you think of me now, Asbel? Of us?

“I think Asbel would be proud of you,” Cheria says. “And grateful.”

Hubert gives her a partly aggrieved look, and Cheria just giggles knowingly. It’s uncanny, sometimes, the way she seems to read his mind. On the other hand, it’s nice having someone so attuned with him. He hadn’t ever thought such a thing was possible until recently. Certainly it wouldn’t have occurred to him to expect it in his marriage with Cheria.

But, as he has increasingly become aware of, some things just can’t be known at a glance. The orderly part of Hubert dislikes the element of surprise...but the circumstances have taught him to better appreciate it for the gift that it is.

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