It Takes Time
J'ackt stood in the center of the sparring grounds, hefting the wooden
practice sword with ease. Though he went through the motions, his mind
was elsewhere, his movements mere muscle memory and less focused than
they normally were. There wasn't as much pleasure in it as he usually
took; there were few willing to spar with him and those still learning
weren't in his class nor did they like having the bruised or cracked
knuckles they sometimes left with. It left him frustrated more often
than not; striking at a practice dummy was, to put it simply, boring
"Hey there," N'vanik said as he walked up. "Need to blow off some steam?"
He turned to greet N'vanik, with no small degree of relief. "Yes."
There was no hesitation in his reply. "I haven't sparred with anyone
decent in a turn, at least."
"Does that mean you consider me decent?"
J'ackt arched a brow. "Probably the closest thing in the Weyr to
decent. You'd be better with actual practice." He gave a half smile
and tossed a wooden sword towards N'vanik. "Catch."
The Weyrleader caught it easily. "I might work on it if I didn't have
all this Thread to worry about." And he had other priorities for his
"Pesky Thread. Ruins workouts every single time." J'ackt replied dryly
as he swung his sword in slow easy loops to warm up. "At least
practice so I'll have more of a challenge."
"Maybe I need to find you more work so you have less time to
practice." N'vanik shook his arms to loosen up.
J'ackt took his stance with an arched brow. "You've got your
wingsecond for all the extra work." He beckoned with his hand.
"Besides, need an outlet."
"Fighting Thread not enough for you?" N'vanik dashed in for a strike.
J'ackt side stepped and easily parried. "You telegraphed that." He
flicked his sword towards N'vanik in response. "No. I like being
active. Besides, I need even more of one, lately. Thread doesn't fall
"How are you doing with all the family stuff?" N'vanik went for
another attack, but shifted at the last moment.
That was enough to distract him, and N'vanik scored a hit on his arm.
J'ackt's breath came out in a hiss as he parried, too late to avoid
the strike. His frown became a scowl. "I'm not." He lunged for his own
attack aiming for the ribs.
N'vanik jumped back and blocked, the wood clicking sharply as their
practice swords collided. "Don't suppose you wanna talk about it?"
He flicked the practice blade at N'vanik's arm in response, aiming for
a blow with a frown. "Which part? My new aunt or the new father?"
Their swords met again. "Both. Either."
J'ackt slid back to watch for an opening, but his jaw was tight. "I
don't know what to do about them."
"Are they nice? Are they jerks?"
J'ackt flicked his sword forward, aiming for a quick strike against
N'vanik's arm, but it was obvious that his mind wasn't wholly on the
sparring now. "I can't say that they're either. "
N'vanik made more thrusts and blocks, though he wasn't intent. He
thought the physical activity might make it easier for J'ackt to talk
about a difficult subject. "Maybe you need a little more time with
them to figure it out then."
J'ackt frowned at the idea. "Don't want to, honestly." He parried the
thrusts, settling into a routine of strikes and parries. "Don't know
what to talk about or even say to them." His lips thinned. Seeing his
aunt was like seeing what his mother could have been. It was painful.
Seeing K'yne...he still didn't know how to feel.
"Do you know why they weren't part of your life before?"
J'ackt snorted as his body flowed into the familiar rhythms of
sparring practice. "I know why they say they weren't. They didn't know
If that was true it would explain a lot. "Do you think they're lying?"
"I don't know. " He suddenly stopped, dropping the tip of his sword to
the ground. "But I hate them for not checking. They both said they
cared about my Mam. How could they not try to find her? I would have."
N'vanik lowered his sword as well. "Not everyone is as determined as you."
His brow quirked upwards, but then he shrugged in admittance. He
leaned on the practice sword as he fell silent, then looked back up at
N'vanik. "I could have been normal." He struggled to continue, but the
words came anyway. "I think that's why i'm so angry. I'm fecked in the
head and I know it, and I could have been normal, and my mam might
still be alive. She...she wouldn't have had to die like she did. And I
could have..." His brow knit. "Fardles, N'vanik, I've had to kill and
steal and..." He shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. He
hadn't meant to admit to the first. "I've done things I shouldn't have
had to do. And now that I know it could have been different..."
"It's hard to realize how much better your life could have been if
just one little thing was different." N'vanik patted him on the
shoulder. "They should've been there for you and they weren't. You
don't owe them anything. But on the other hand, you deserve to have
people in your life _now_ that care for you, and maybe your aunt and
this surprise father might be those kind of people."
He looked at N'vanik and spoke softly. "How can I trust them?"
N'vanik sighed. "To be honest, you can't. Trust takes time to build,
especially in a situation like this. But that's okay."
He didn't mind the touch, or the pat by N'vanik. He didn't shrug it
off, but accepted it as the comfort that it presented. "How do I not
be angry at them?"
"That takes time too."
Exhaling through his nose, J'ackt rubbed his temple. "Time." He gave a
short, humorless laugh. "Got that, I guess." He looked up at N'vanik.
"You know I'm here for you, yeah?" N'vanik wanted to remind him that
some things hadn't changed.
Last updated on the April 10th 2018