★ WHEN MY HEART IS MADE FROM GOLD AND FORGIVENESS SEEMS TOO BOLD
Brief irritation and embarrassment flashed across her expression, the short roll of her eyes and light huff that passed her lips giving her away. He hadn’t necessarily spoken his amusement out loud, but his eyebrow made it clear enough, and Hazel wasn’t about to feel stupid for asking a question like that. People kept classics and foreign novels on their shelves for the purpose of decoration instead of reading more often than not, and at first impression, Bastille hadn’t exactly struck her as the literary type.
Apparently, she was wrong.
She hardly had time to defend her position before the boy was speaking with a foreign tongue - one Hazel recognized quite well. Her eyes snapped from the surrounding landscape up to his lips, fixated on the way his deep voice curved over the word without struggle. It had been so long since she - not even, because never had she heard someone speak the dead language when it wasn’t coming out of her own mouth. Distantly, it sounded wrong to her, like he shouldn’t be speaking it because it wasn’t supposed to be a used dialect in this timeline, but the displaced thought was muted by Hazel’s excitement. There was a beat of fear as she realized that he could have understood everything she had said in Latin under her breath, but that faded the more he talked.
“Id non credo. Ego have umquam tam expedite Latine loqui possum quasi lumen aliquod probitatis!” Hazel beamed, the language falling off her tongue in a rush. She paused, sucking in a breath as he went on about Ovid and descriptors, nodding. “Ego - ” Deus, once she got going, the language switch in her brain got stuck, and she had to physically stop in order to remind herself to speak English. “I’ve never read any Ovid - or books - but I do agree that the original has to be better than the recounted thing. Sequels are rarely better than the first movie, anyway.” She flicked her hand at the wrist, dismissive but excited.
Hazel faced forward again, smiling to herself and tucking her bottom lip under her teeth. She felt like she could float - felt like she could just lay there in the grass and stare at the sky forever, the sun brushing kisses against her skin and the clouds forming pictures in the sky. There was something about talking out loud and knowing that someone could understand and respond in the same language was so inexplicably thrilling that she had to suck in a breath, her fingers thrumming against her legs. Arion was looking at her suspiciously, head curved just her way and ears canted in opposite directions, paying attention to both her and Bastille. Hazel stuck her tongue out at him.
Bastille grabbed her attention again with something that sounded like an afterthought. German and French, huh? Hazel felt herself nod her acknowledgement, because hey, that was pretty cool. As he went on, Hazel huffed, a smile tugging at her lips because: “Well now you’re just showing off.” It was a good natured jibe; she genuinely thought it impressive that he could speak six languages. She was also warming up to him just a bit, the floodgates having opened due to the newfound knowledge that she knew someone else who spoke Latin. Apprehension was still heavily present in her mind when she teased him, but he didn’t seem like the type to lash out.
Not in the way that Mother did, anyway.
Hazel fell quiet at the intrusive thought, mood darkening ever so slightly. Grass rustled beneath her feet as she walked; a hawk screech in the distance had Arion jerking his head up at its shrillness. Everything she did always, always tied back to her past: everything she said, everything she did, every way she moved. It was all tainted by the ridiculous, paralyzing fear that someone would come at her the same way Mother did - that she would never escape it, and would be forced to live in its shadow. Hazel kicked at a rock, ignoring the slight sting in her toes. Couldn’t she just live her life in peace?
“You - what?” Hazel was torn out of her rapid descent into real irritation and shame by a very sudden, very surprising offer. She found Bastille resting a hand on Arion’s neck - which the colt didn’t seem to mind - and a faint blush blooming high on his cheekbones. Damn, Hazel didn’t think he had it in him to be embarrassed. Nevertheless, she almost did a double take. Almost had to ask what they were talking about, actually, because her thoughts had derailed so completely.
Hazel’s lips parted in her surprise, feet halting as she turned to face the boy. Arion seemed to take offense to the fact that she was no longer moving and snorted disdainfully before continuing on towards the ruins. Meanwhile: “To - to -” and suddenly she was grasping at straws, unable to think of the English word in her complete and utter surprise. Hazel blinked, closed her mouth, and tried again. “Legere?” Well, Christ. That wasn’t what she wanted. Whatever. It got her point across.
He looked uncertain for the first time that Hazel had met him, and found that the look irritated her. It didn’t look right on his face. Regardless, a full-on grin lit up her expression, and she looked like she didn’t know what to do with herself. “I would literally love anything you taught me, crappy or not.” She assured him. Because heck, absolutely.
And oh, back to this? Hazel’s fingers, previously alternating between drumming against her sides again or curling into fists to contain her excitement, flew out in both directions, exasperated and running on her newfound good mood. “Just thought I’d recount it, y’know, in case.” She shoved her hands into her back pockets, biting back a smile and - great, now she was blushing. Hazel shrugged. “I don’t know what Percy Jackson is, but...congratulations?” She offered, thoroughly ruffled and anxious to continue towards the ruins.
Hazel pushed onward, still inwardly glowing. She was going to learn how to read. She was going to read fairy tales and adventures and action and mythology. Bastille didn’t seem like the teacher type, but Hazel couldn’t care less. If he sat there and read willingly to her every night and she didn’t learn a word, she would still walk out of his room, bright and happy.
When he finally gave her his name - which, yeah, she didn’t have, because he’d been in such a grumpy mood on the border - her eyes flicked up again, and she nodded. “Nice to meet you then, Bastille.” She said.
(translation, just in case google fucks it up: “I cannot believe it. I have never met someone able to speak Latin so fluently!”)
— hazel — "speech"
— seven months — the ascendants — tags
— ★ c) miithers