June 30, 2016 by Lyn
Ambrus had always found Shira Pelletier a little bit intimidating. Something about the way she looked at people – men, adult men, really, and she was one of the few that counted him in that category – made him antsy.
Today, it took an effort of will to knock on her door. He was fairly certain she wouldn’t really quarter him and bury the parts in unmarked fields, but only fairly certain.
She looked like she wasn’t in a bad mood, at least, when she opened the door. Not yet, anyway.
“Ambrus? Do come in. What can I do for you?”
He shut the door behind him, trying not to feel like a difficult student. “I need to talk to you about one of your Students,” he told her, focusing on the bear skull on display on her back shelf.
“One of my students?” she asked, tone immediately shifting towards the defensive. “Is there a problem?” Reading her, the implication seemed to be a mash-up of What problem they have did you discover and What problem have you caused for one of my students. It put him on the defensive, his shoulders hunching forward.
“Not one I had any say in causing, ma’am. It’s Shahin.” He paused, hoping she knew what he had only recently learned. “And Emrys.”
“Ahhh.” Shira nodded in understanding, her body language becoming more receptive. “I see.”
He nodded, glad she seemed to understand. “If she asks you – if they do – it’s all right to tell them. They’re going to need to know eventually.” He winced. Sooner probably would have been better.
“You don’t think it’d be better for them to hear it from you?” she asked quietly, then pursed her lips as she continued, almost as if she were reading his mind. “Although you may have a point.”
“I don’t know if Regine would let me tell them,” he pointed out softly. Even more softly, he added, “I haven’t asked.” It was true, and also a soft way out of saying what they both understood: Emrys wouldn’t appreciate hearing it from him, now, and Shahin might feel the same.
“I’ll tell them, if they ask, then,” she agreed.
“Thank you.” He nodded, almost a bow, and let himself out. As much as Shira intimidated him, this was the easiest of these visits he had to make. She at least hadn’t needed to be convinced to come around to his point of view; she understood the need for what he was doing, accepted that the children had a right to know. Then again, of all the professors here, she approved the least of the project. Drake would be another matter altogether.
It was with somewhat more trepidation that Ambrus knocked on his door, although the lawyer answered it genially enough.
“Come in, Ambrus. To what do I owe the visit?”
Ambrus repeated the line he’d used with Shira: “I need to talk to you about one of your students.”
“One of mine?” He could feel the professor’s mind working, accessing and cross-referencing information from the halls of memory, where students were neatly stacked and filed by number. “That will be Emrys, then. So this is a personal matter.”
“Yes,” he nodded, his shoulders relaxing a little bit. “Very personal.”
Drake folded his hands together, resting them in his lap as he leaned back in his leather armchair. “Go on, then.”
Now, Ambrus was really nervous. “They’ve gotten engaged… Shahin and Emrys.”
“I’m aware. They complement each other well.”
Damnit, he was going to make him spell it out. Ambrus squirmed. “Considering their circumstance, they ought to,” he hedged.
“Ahhh, is that your worry? No matter. There don’t seem to be any negative consequences for our race, although it does tend to magnify traits inherent in the bloodline. But, our lineage has always been strong. In fact, with some experience to temper him, I can see Emrys shaping himself to be like me. They’ll be fine.”
Our lineage… our lineage?
“Was there anything else?” the professor asked calmly.
“Ah,” he gathered his thoughts. “If they ask, I’d like you to tell them. And… how long have you known?”
“Since before either one of them first set foot in this place. And yes, it may be time.”
“And…” how did he phrase it in Drake-ese? “That you were in my lineage?”
“I do find it prudent to keep track of these things. I thought it interesting that Regine brought us together again, if only by chance.”
“Interesting.” Ambrus nodded numbly. “She’s often interesting.”
“If that’s all, then, I do have some work to attend to.”
“Of course.” Ambrus fled, more on his mind than when he’d entered.