February 1, 2019

1.18 You've Got a Friend in Me

S.
Believe me, this job isn’t as glorious as it seems. I used to think this job would be the most ideal - I have power and titles. What more could anyone ever ask for?
Instead, it’s mostly paperwork and making sure overpowered children don’t cause any collateral damage when they throw tantrums.




Being honest, it’s nice to have a chance to converse with someone who doesn’t regard me as either their babysitter or their figurehead. I must say I selfishly look forward to these letters; I meant only to aid you in your recovery, yet it seems you’re aiding me far more than I ever anticipated.
I think a lot on my past life. I never realized just how tightly I held onto it.
It just seems as though I'm just now starting to rouse from a terrible dream.

~~~~~~

Agonin,
It is a strange shift for me as well. I find myself remembering more about my life as time goes on, but the amount I actually desire to know is dropping rapidly. Isn’t there a saying about being unaware can make people happier? I wish I could know less. 




You are certainly not the only one who benefits from these letters, I assure you. So long as you won't tell on me, I was quite hopeless before I got the first one. No one here seemed to understand... I longed for someone familiar.




One person in particular, but he's long passed. It's so hard to wake up and be all alone. All of my family.. my friends... gone. 
I wonder if they missed me?
It all happened in a blink - all those years gone.

~~~~~~

You endured way too much at his hands. It truly doesn't feel fair.
I'm certain you were missed, my lady. You seem far too vibrant to not be, if that's not too forward to say. I'm glad to hear you're settling in where you are. I've not yet heard from Stein, however I will alert you when I do. I certainly hope he's not been harmed, but I have little jurisdiction in the spheres of other gods' Circles. 



I'll look into it, though. If one of the gods oversteps a boundary, I can step in. Maybe if I dig around I'll find something. 


~~~~~~

I appreciate it greatly, Agonin. Stein has told me COUNTLESS times how busy you are, like he thinks I'm simple or something and didn't hear him the first time. Ridiculous, honestly. Perhaps I'm being nosier than I should be, but what - pray tell - do you do as a god? 



Alas, I mean not to belittle, please do not think I do, mostly just that I never encountered such hierarchy prior. I have no idea what you do daily, or what all gets... regulated? Is that even the right word? 
Vocabulary was never my strong suit. 


~~~~~~

That's a good question, and one I'm not certain I'll have a satisfying answer for. It varies on a day-to-day basis. In a way I represent Order. I run the Circle's higher court system. I hear cases and make judgments. I deal in public disaster relief and humanitarian aid.
Honestly, writing this out makes it seem like I'm nothing but a jarhead as I don't really do much of this myself. I set the system and let those who work beneath me do what they need to do. If I'm getting involved, people are usually very concerned. My high priestess Minha manages a lot, including keeping me from 'sleeping' on my desk, apparently. 


In a more passive sense, my existence regulates certain strains of magic currently being utilized by some magical sources, but saying that outright really makes me feel as though I'm a useless lump meant to just sit and exist. 
That's just not a thought I live comfortably with in my own head.
Oh, on another note, I heard news regarding Stein, he's very much alive and well. He's signed on with the God of Magic. I imagine Majnun will be keeping him very busy in exchange for his safety.


~~~~~~

Oh I'm going to make him eat dirt for not writing me sooner! I just got a letter from him today as well. He has the gall to imply I might've been worried for him too! I mean, I was, but still! The nerve! 'I'm sorry for making you worry,' oh you'll be sorry! 
My nursemaid used to say that to me, you know. 'Oh, you think you're sorry? I'll make you sorry!' 
Regardless, you should know I think you not a jarhead in the slightest. Though I did giggle at the word for several minutes, that's my only confession. You write in language I am very familiar with, however there are still some words that are so new to me.


Also, as soon as I'm able to figure out how I can attach more than paper to this notice, I'll work on making you a nice desk-pillow. Not for sleeping, of course, but for... resting ones eyes.
Now, as someone who is not worried for Stein, I merely wish to ask you... as an... objective outsider... if you feel Stein might be in... any danger with this God of Magic.
Once again, it is not because I'm worried, more just that I... am... of a curious mind to know more.

~~~~~~

Now it's my turn to laugh, oh I used to hear that from the nursemaid in the house I grew up in too, thankfully it was never directed at me. I suppose it is a strange word choice I use. Forgive me, slang is usually not what I lean into when I speak normally. I just never quite adapted. 
My lady gives me too much credit, and also takes the words straight from my lips. I try to tell her that, but she never listens. Calls it 'sleeping,' and reminds me I have a bed somewhere I can use. 
There would be no greater honor than to rest my eyes on such a desk pillow, but my lady should not trouble herself. 


As for Majnun, he is a very unique and strange fellow, and also someone I call a friend. He's unusual and odd, but harmless.
Well, most of the time.
At least some of the time? 


As much as I hate to admit it aloud to anyone, he and I tend to think on a very similar wavelength, as we're from... well he's from the Era just following our own. He's been one of the few people I can actually relate with, and in full aware of the irony, he's kept my sanity due to that.
Yes, the god known for insanity gave me sanity. Perhaps I'm truly not sleeping enough... Regardless, if you have any questions regarding the gods, that's one area I feel particularly well versed in... be it for a worried mind or just a curious one. 

~~~~~~


No, truthfully I should get better at learning it. I made a new friend recently - his name is Jonnie - and he's been helping me little by little with the whole... new language bit of joining up with the world as it is now. It's been a difficult transition overall, but I'm hopeful that maybe things are starting to improve? The last prison place I stayed in, I think you called it a Library (though I don't really understand why) was so stifling. 


If I might speak between us in hush, it felt so much like my last prison when I was trapped with... well, you know. Even writing his names is difficult on the best of days. For the longest time I just thought it was an extension of his tricks. He used to do that to me in my sleep sometimes. I'd dream that I made it out - that I broke free - and reality would twist and twist until there wasn't anything real left to discern. I swore I was losing my mind. 
Being able to see the sunlight... the stars... all of it makes me feel like I'm finally free. 
That, and these letters, in a way. It's something I control for once.


Also, I know what Stein told me, but it feels ridiculous to me that you're using a letter to know me by. It feels unfair to you, so please, call me Sol. 
It's not really my name, but everyone has taken to calling me it, so I'm getting more used to associating it with someone wanting my attention. You've been a true gentleman speaking so kindly to me thus far, despite me being far lower in status than you - and even encouraging me to not use your title. This is the least I can do. 
Besides, coming from you might help it start to feel more natural. 


Please take care,
- Sol. 



"Hey, hey, Sol! Over here!" Jonnie's eyes were bright as he flagged down Soliana from his booth.


Soliana smiled to him as she made her way over and sat down with a happy hello back at him. She was finally comfortable enough to walk around in town mostly alone.


Well, she never really truly went alone, as the people who lived here actually started to recognize her. And she, them.


It reminded her a bit of the town she grew up in - small, yet friendly. It was comforting, yet colder here. Much colder. That was getting harder and harder to get used to as the autumn season started to set in.
"Did your class do alright for today's dance?" Soliana straightened her dress as she adjusted into the foam booth.


Yet Jonnie made a face and Soliana knew things hadn't gone well. "We didn't get to have class today."
"What, why?!"
"Jeanette and her crew told me they needed the studio. I couldn't even practice in the smaller studio because I'd just get in their way. Bullshit, really." Jonnie rolled his eyes with irritation. "Thankfully I was alerted enough in advance to let the kids' parents know to not show up. Otherwise, I would've had a whole host of other problems on my hands."


"Jeanette doesn't like many people, does she?" Soliana frowned, "what a parvenu."
Jonnie choked on a laugh, grinning at her. "A what-now?"
"A parvenu! A... person who thinks they're above the status they are! That's what my father would call someone like that anyways."


This made Jonnie laugh aloud. "Girl, I swear you crack me up." He watched Soliana's eyes go wide before he held up a finger, "that means you make me laugh. And yes, Jeanette usually has a rock in her shoe, honey, but she really doesn't like me." 



Soliana's brow furrowed. "But why? You're very easy to like."
"Aw, that's sweet!" He shook his head as he continued, "no, she and I have some... differences." 
"Differences?"


This made Jonnie pause and he sat up a little straighter, his face seeming conflicted. "Yes... well you see, she doesn't like me because I'm of a less... conservative mindset."
Yet Soliana's brow did not unfurrow and Jonnie realized he'd have to elaborate further. He leaned in closer on the table, taking in a careful breath as he did so. When he spoke, his words were quieter, though not completely hushed, "well, you see... I like men."


It took a moment to register on her face, and then he watched her face go from confused to slightly surprised, then finally she looked nervously around the room, as if checking to see who might hear her.


When she looked back she leaned in closer on the table, which made Jonnie lean in to meet her quiet response: "me too." 



Soliana watched as Jonnie slapped the table with voracious laughter. It took him a while of laughing before his words could finally come together into a coherent phrase: "gods Sol, where have you been all my life, huh?"


Jonnie reached to take a drink of his water the owner of the diner, Asta, had dropped for the two of them while they talked.
"Does that mean Jeanette likes girls then?"


Jonnie spit his water out before his hand swung to cover his mouth and he coughed, struggling to get air. He cleaned his hands up, laughter kicking up again as he shook his head. Finally he reached over and gripped Soliana's hands on the top of the table. "Never let this world change you, girl! You are perfect just as you are."


Soliana laughed a little, her head slumping in slight exasperation. "I'm missing the point again, aren't I?"
"No, dear, you've got the point just right. I wish more people had your understanding of the world." His face was a lot more serious. "A lot of people in this world will be mean to you based off things you don't have much control over, like your skin color, your race, the language you speak, or the people you're attracted to."


Soliana frowned. "That's... That's terrible!" Yet the longer she sat on it, the more familiar the idea grew. "I suppose they did have that when I was growing up... but it was different." Classist. 
Jack's face flashed over her eyes and she frowned. "I wasn't permitted to marry someone who was... beneath me. So I guess I shouldn't sound so surprised, should I?"


It was Jonnie's turn to have a furrowed brow. "You make it sound like you grew up a long time ago, girl."
Soliana's eyes widened. Right, she hadn't told him about that. "Uh... I'm kind of from 2,000 years ago, it would seem."
Jonnie nodded seriously, "I feel you, I feel like I was born in the wrong era too, but hey, at least this era has fantastic pastries."


It was an easy acceptance between her and Jonnie, and she liked it all the more. It made her feel more attached to the world she lived in, just like her letters to Agonin and even, begrudgingly, her letters to Stein. She'd spent so much of her life keeping her thoughts and opinions to herself, and now she lived in an era where she could express them freely.
Maybe it was time she started?


"Jonnie, I'm glad to know you." The words felt a little strange to say - almost like she'd get in trouble - yet she continued on anyways. "I'm glad you're my friend."
Jonnie seemed to light up at that, and she knew it was worth what she said. "Oh Sol, I'm glad you're my friend right back at you. Like they say in the grand old Toy Story - 'you've got a friend in me!'" He sang the last bit in a strange tune.


"...Toy... story?"
This made him stop for a moment, eyes widening. "You've never seen the movie Toy Story, before?!"
She had to stop and think on this. She'd heard that term before... movie. Yes, Chrysanthemum and Isidore had taken her to 'see a movie' once at a fancy building in town. It was magical.
"Have you seen any Disney movies?" Jonnie now pressed her in her silence.


Soliana pursed her lips before giving a half smile. "Well, I saw a movie at that one building in town once. Is that a Disney?"
Jonnie shook his head as Asta stopped by, waiting to ask them what they wanted to eat. "I have so much I need to teach you. We'll start this weekend - with the classics of course, and work our way forward!"


She didn't know if he actually took her seriously when she told him what time she came from, but in a way something told her it didn't really matter. Jonnie was a patient and kind friend.
A friend.
There was something catchy about that tune he had sang, and life was all the more worth living.

 ~~~~~~

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3 comments:

  1. Such beautiful chapter. If I have to describe it in one word it would be hope.

    The letters between Soliana and Jack were so bittersweet to read because there are so many indications that show who is the person who writes but obviously they can't make the connection because what would be the odds of being them, right?

    Jonnie! I said I love him? Because I do. So much character potential. And his and Sol growing friendship is brilliant.

    Oh and I love the nickname Sol for her. I don't know if it's on purpose or is my spanish brain reading Sun but I think is a fitting name for her new life. The sun rises even after the darkest nights.

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  2. Haaaa I really liked that fade effect you did for the letters!
    God this pulled at a lot of heart strings, they SO CLOSSEE, Sol jack is soo closeee. IS HE GOING TO CLICK THOUGH, Sol I mean would he totally make that farfetched to link to his Ana from like thousands of years ago(wheezes in pain)
    I also really liked this little extra into a god’s life that Sol pulls for us lol, thnks for that love
    And we finished off with Jonnie and like the best reaction EVER lmao. ME TOO. snorrrrt

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  3. Noooooo.... I need more chapters T_T dammit! This is the sucky part of playing binge catch up... I'm now all caught up (and if you didn't sing that last bit, shame on you lol).

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