The Ballad of Brian (draft)

Brian woke to a knock at his door.

His mother.

He looked down at his companion. Flurry hadn’t budged a bit. Only his head peaked out through the blankets. Brian didn’t want to disturb him.

Very carefully, more carefully than he’d done anything else in his life, Brian extracted himself out from under Flurry.

He met Lorraine at the door.

“Good morning, Mother.”

“Good morning, Son, did you sleep well?”

“I did,” Brian laughed. “The best sleep I’ve ever had.”

“I’m glad,” Lorraine said. “Breakfast is ready, if you’re hungry.”

“Already?” Brian checked the time. “Oh, I suppose it would be. Mother, I overslept!”

“Oh, that’s nothing to worry about,” they said. “For the best sleep ever, you ought to get as much of it as you can. There’s nothing urgent to be done today. You rest as long as you like.”

“You’re starting to sound like Father.”

“Well, you’re starting to sound like a Human. Always concerned with work and productivity. It’s not healthy, and I won’t have you succumb to such horrid thinking.”

“Mother, I just want to contribute to the community. Everyone else always is.”

“And so are you,” Lorraine said. “You help with the hunt, patrols, and with the First Snow celebrations. You do more around here than you think. Now why don’t you fuel your future contributions with a good meal?”

“Er, yes. Mother, I… Mother, I have a guest.”

Lorraine looked at him.

“It’s not Jess? You wouldn’t be so nervous inviting her.”

“No, it’s not Jess. It’s. a new. friend,” Brian said, the term seeming inadequate now.

Lorraine’s brows rose mightily.

“I… made a snow sculpture, and he came to life yesterday, so I brought him home. He’s still asleep.”

And then she smiled. “Oh that’s wonderful, Brian! I’ll ask the kitchen staff to send up another plate.”

“Thank you,” Brian said, relieved she was taking it so well. He supposed he didn’t have anything to fear. Out of all his family, Lorraine was the most agreeable. He was more worried about what his father would say. Or his grandmother!

Oh, Angel would start a lecture on how Snow Elves are a gift from Bliza or something. They’d be at the table for hours!

Brian hoped there truly wasn’t anything on the royal schedule today.

They wouldn’t be getting to it any time soon.

“Oh, Mother!” Brian said, almost forgetting.

Lorraine turned back to him.

“Could you send for some clothes as well? Flurry only has nothing to wear.”

“Oh my,” Lorraine’s lips spread far too widely to call it a smile, yet remained too closed to call it a grin. “You mean to say you found a strange Elf in the nude?”

“Mother!”

Lorraine laughed as she went on her way.

Brian shut the door. Harshly.

Flurry was awake.

[add description of Flurry]

[elaborate on the putting the coat back on scene]

“That was my Mother,” Brian said, lacking something else to say.

Flurry nodded.

“You’ll like her! And she’ll like you. They all will! Surely,” Brian said. “She’s sent for some clothes for you. The shower’s through there, if you’d like to wash first.”

And wash up Flurry did.

Now rather than saying anything along the lines of “you clean up nicely”, Brian instead went the clever route of not saying a word.

That is because his brain of hamsters forgot how to use any words at all, included signed ones.

His eyeballs, however, worked just fine.

And so it came to be that this was the scene Conrad walked into. Two new adults blushing mightily in various states of undress. The sort of thing Conrad always dreamed about at that age.

“Delivery~” he said far too chirpily.

“Conrad!” Brian screeched. “Shut up!”

“I’m not saying anything.”

“Yes, you are! Get out! You’re banished from the kingdom!”

“Your father would veto that in a heartbeat.”

“Then I’ll stab him so it doesn’t beat anymore.”

“Enjoy your morning, gentlemen~”

“Shut up!” Brian slammed the door behind the fucker.

He took a deep breath.

“That’s Conrad,” he eventually said. “My father’s… my father’s.”

Flurry laughed: a cute little thing, just like Flurry himself. Brian wanted to inspire more of it.

Flurry’s new clothes fit him handsomely. Netted armbands and a matching tank, a belted skirt frayed at the hem that was longer in the back than the front, with black leggings and boots. All topped with a hooded cape.

Now, someone with all their faculties would wonder why their mother would send their friend such a thing. But Brian’s faculties had long since left the room.

“You look good,” Brian said.

Flurry smiled. “Thank you,” he signed. “You should get ready too.”

“Er, yes!”

Brian scurried off to wash up and dress.

He reappeared resplendent in ??? what are clothes fuck SOMETHING FEMME but casual -flips the fucking table- what the hell do you wear when your wardrobe isn’t 100% hoodies, t-shirts, and jeans???

Suffice it to say, Brian was not the only one enchanted.

“Are you…?” Brian reached out his hand, withdrew it, and reached out again.

Flurry swept up Brian’s hand and kissed it before locking arm in arm [we will fix this sentence later].

Flurry’s face seemed set with determination. If anybody was ready to meet their in-laws, it was him.

“Oh, my god…” Brian said when they entered the dining room. No less than a small feast had been laid out. Lorraine was next to the head of the table, which wasn’t unusual, but the head of the table was not occupied by Alvar. Instead, it lay empty, as well as the other seat next to it.

“Brian!” said Alvar, ambushing the both of them. Her attention was immediately magnetized to Flurry. “Oh, excellent, you’ve brought your Snow Elf. And how are you, my dear?”

Brian was very confused. Flurry, however, simply bowed.

“I am honored to meet you, my queen,” Flurry signed afterward.

Alvar seemed taken aback.

“My child, there is no need for formalities here,” she said. “If there were, I ought to be formal with you.”

[alvar’s hair in long braids??? idk maybe alvar is more of a short-haired sorta gal]

“Really?” and now, Flurry seemed confused. “Why so?”

“You are a Snow Elf! Brian! Tell me you know what this means?”

“Er…” Brian was saying every swear word in his head at least twice. “It means. I… he was a snowman who came to life???”

Alvar made a pained noise.

And at that moment, Felix entered the room without a care in the world. Or more accurately, if something needed to be cared about, he would not do so.

“This is your fault!” Alvar said to Felix. “My grandson knows nothing of the gods! Do you want them thinking he’s disrespectful like you?”

Felix only closed his eyes because if he showed Alvar rolling them, he’d be in big trouble, grown or no.

“I am no more disrespectful of the gods as I am of any other person,” said Felix. “Such as that one.” He pointed to Flurry. “Mother, who is this?”

“He’s Flurry: a Snow Elf,” Lorraine said.

[yeah i know Lorraine never got Flurry’s name, we’ll fix it in post]

“Brian’s Snow Elf,” Alvar added with waggling eyebrows.

Brian closed his eyes, and thus he didn’t see Flurry’s own shooting up. Allos made such a big deal of everything. They were insufferable! Brian couldn’t even count on aspecs and arospecs [does aspec refer exclusively to those on the asexual spectrum? look up later. might be acespecs???], what with Lorraine and Conrad’s behavior earlier.

But before Brian got to go too deep into that thought, Alvar stole everyone’s processing power.

“Bliza doesn’t allow just anyone to care for her charges. To become a Snow Elf’s companion is a great honor! And thus their arrival ought to be treated as such.”

“And just why is it such an honor?” Felix asked.

“Did I teach you nothing of our family’s history!?” Alvar screeched. “Every one of our ancestors who has had a Snow Elf companion went on to have a long a prosperous rule; and every one who has mistreated a Snow Elf has had their reign cursed, if not halted that very year! Your great-great-great-grandparent, Monarch Isabeau, reigned for one-thousand years following the union between thon and Snow Elf Alexander.”

That seemed to start to sway Felix. A thousand years was nothing to sneeze at, even for those who were technically immortal.

“In our family, a Snow Elf is a sign that the gods bless your rule,” Alvar continued, smiling at Brian. “Or they would, if you ruled. The crown doesn’t quite pass around as frequently anymore, haha!”

“Still,” Felix said, voice resonating with how unimpressed he remained, “how do we know that this Snow Elf in particular is anything good?”

“Dear!” said Lorraine.

“No people are a monolith,” Felix said.

“And no person deserves judgement before there is anything to judge,” Lorraine said.

“There is plenty to judge!” Brian spoke up. And all at once, the adults, the well-established adults, looked to him. “I judge him well! He’s wonderful, and I don’t care how godly or godly-adjacent he is; I love him!”

To his father in particular, Brian said, “You’ll see.”

The silence only stopped when Brian headed to his regular seat at the table.

“This meal is to honor Flurry’s arrival, and to thank Bliza for entrusting him to you,” Alvar said. “Flurry, you are to sit at the head; while, Brian, you are to sit by his side.”

“Really?” Felix said. “And what has Flurry done to deserve such a thing? If we are waiting to pass judgement, we sure are passing favorable judgement quite quickly.”

“He’s a guest, Felix,” Lorraine said. “Your mother always abdicates her seat for a guest of the private table. And since he is Brian’s guest, he should have the next seat.”

“And you do as well because?”

“Because Lorraine was the first to meet Flurry, of course!” Alvar said.

Brian had nothing against tradition. A lot of them were really cool! But sometimes there was a more rote memorization than reasoning for his taste, at least before he studied them. And he hadn’t studied this tradition at all…

“Actually,” Flurry signed, “the first to meet me we Conrad, not Lorraine.”

Alvar’s eyes went wide.

“Conrad!” Alvar’s voice became increasingly distant as she scuttled out. “Conrad, confound-it, boy! Where are you?”

Lorraine’s laughter could be heard in the background of Felix’s groan.

Unfortunately for Conrad, Alvar eventually found him. Conrad, upon seeing Flurry, immediately groaned, “Oh great, a Snow Elf meal.”

“You know about this?” Brian asked.

“Of course!” Conrad said. “What chamberlain wouldn’t?”

“Can we just eat now?” Felix said. “Surely, you don’t want the food to go cold for your precious snowflake.”

“Snow Elf,” Lorraine said.

Felix breathed deeply. Lorraine reached out and squeezed his hand three times. Felix took another deep breath, calmer. He reciprocated the gesture. His glares at Flurry lessened.

For that moment.

Brian didn’t blame his father for his protectiveness. Godly origins and intense feelings aside, Brian did just meet Flurry, and he did just bring him home without properly introducing him to anybody.

Brian decided not to tell Felix about how Flurry had spent the night. The food would go cold before he could remind Felix that he was an adult and he could have strangers in his own bedroom if he wanted.

Felix had once been under the impression that since both Brian and Lorraine were ace, Brian would never bring guests that way. Alvar had straightened Felix out, thank god. But since Brian had been so annoyed by the situation at the time, he’d brought a guest over every night just to get on Felix’s easily gotten on nerves. It was glorious! And the sex had been pretty good too.

[ah the ultimate ace mood: mentioning sex in passing but also wanting to go back and reread what you just wrote without having to reread the sex in passing passage]

[add in details about meal. do they make breakfast chowders? i would eat a breakfast chowders. chowders are delicious.

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