theravenboy: (house in the hills)
[personal profile] theravenboy
Bran collected Jane at the Tywyn station a few hours ago, just before dinner. Afterwards, Bran, Cordelia, Jane and Margaret are holding pleasant, quiet conversations in the parlor and waiting for Will to arrive in his rented car.

Date: 2007-11-07 05:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
The sun sets early, this late in winter. To Will, coming from New Zealand, it's a little disorienting; it's also strangely comforting. Here are the stars of his childhood, arching overhead in the great mountain-rimmed bowl of the sky.

These are familiar roads, as familiar by now as those humped shapes of mountains. It's well before the children's bedtimes still when Will pulls into the drive, parking neatly beside the dark shape that is Bran and Margaret's vehicle.

Slinging his rucksack over his shoulder, he heads towards the welcoming light of the front door.

Date: 2007-11-07 05:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"I suppose," Will grins, stepping gratefully into the warmth of the doorway. "Gets one all turned around, these transatlantic flights -- I've no idea what time my body thinks it is. Oh, lovely--" This to the house, with its Christmas cheer.

"Hullo, everybody," he adds to the room.

That small smile, warm and friendly, is just the same as it was when he was younger, though his face is now lightly lined with ambiguous middle age; just the same, too, is the deep grave stillness beneath, but that sits more naturally than it did when he was a boy.

Date: 2007-11-07 06:08 am (UTC)
veryvorkosigan: (sigil)
From: [personal profile] veryvorkosigan
Just the same as when he was younger -- and just the same as when he was (will be?) much, much older.

Cordelia's standing at the far end of the room, and as everyone crowds forward to greet Will, their backs are to her.

Which is fortunate, as it means nobody -- except possibly Will himself, who has always seen more most -- sees the look on her face as she stares at him, one hand to her mouth.

Date: 2007-12-06 05:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
Will catches her eyes over the crowd of almost-family, and smiles again, small and perhaps understanding, before he turns his attention back to the eager question of one of Bran's grandchildren.

If he sees her initial reaction, he shows no sign. But that, with Will Stanton, has never been a guarantee of anything.

After the first press of greetings, he works his way across the room to her, coat and scarf abandoned now. "Hullo, Cordelia."

That tone, soft and friendly and a little wry, hasn't changed either.

Date: 2007-12-06 05:46 am (UTC)
veryvorkosigan: (direct)
From: [personal profile] veryvorkosigan
"Hello, Will." Calmer, now; the initial reaction has passed.

She reaches out to take his hand. "How long has it been?"

As usual, with Cordelia Vorkosigan, the empty pleasantry is not empty in the slightest.

Date: 2007-12-06 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"I am seventy-five, same as Bran there."

Will's half-smile is a complicated thing; amiable on the surface, but Cordelia, too, has always had sharp eyes.

(His age is not exactly a secret in the Davies family, but neither is it advertised. For many of them, it's simply one more odd thing about Will, that he never looks older, and they haven't bothered to figure out just how old he must be; his voice, now, is pitched quietly.)

"If that answers your question."

Date: 2007-12-07 03:44 am (UTC)
veryvorkosigan: (direct)
From: [personal profile] veryvorkosigan
It doesn't, exactly -- but the fact that he thinks it will is something of an answer in itself.

"Really. It doesn't seem like anywhere near that long."

Date: 2007-12-09 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"Mm."

"How long has it been for you, Cordelia?"

Date: 2007-12-09 05:51 am (UTC)
veryvorkosigan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] veryvorkosigan
A glance around, not so much to see if anyone's listening as to remind Will that someone may be.

"Seems like barely a year."

Date: 2007-12-09 07:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
Will's aware of where everyone is, and who's listening to what, and how loud his voice is; he has been having conversations like this, after all, for a very long time.

So he only nods, unruffled and blandly thoughtful, at least to the casual eye.

"Bran said," he says with a quick small smile, "you didn't expect to find yourself here for the holidays."

Date: 2007-12-09 07:26 am (UTC)
veryvorkosigan: (direct)
From: [personal profile] veryvorkosigan
"Not in the least." Cheerful, but the cheer is a thin layer over something else now. "And to tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure how I'm getting home yet. My travel plans are in some disarray."

Date: 2007-12-09 08:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"I shouldn't worry about it too much," Will says easily.

"Something will work itself out in the end, I'm sure."

Date: 2007-11-07 06:15 am (UTC)
jane_drew: (elderly but still smiling)
From: [personal profile] jane_drew
Jane turns her head at the greeting, and stands with everyone, a smile on her face.

"Will," she greets, her smile bringing out the laugh lines on her face. "It's good to see you."

Date: 2007-11-14 06:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"Oh, it's small," Will answers cheerfully. "Half restoration and repair, half new. I've two assistants, half-time -- only a few years out of university, both of them. Huhana's a designer, and David's better with the repair, so it all works out."

Amiably, "They're young; I can make them deal with most of the routine customers."

Date: 2007-11-14 06:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
Will grins. "My father did it to me, too. Seems only fair."

"Get them used to the drudgery early, and all."

Date: 2007-11-19 06:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"Nice enough," Will says amiably, either oblivious to or ignoring Bran's hope. "Not so very different from England, really. I've a good neighborhood -- near a school, lots of families. Newly built, though, that school. It's not a very old neighborhood. Quite different from Harpsden and Huntercombe."

Date: 2007-12-06 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
Will grins, just a little and briefly, at the old nickname.

"Not as such. Not the buildings and all. But ten years ago or so the school was built, and a lot more families started moving in."

Date: 2007-12-06 05:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"I have."

But he knows, of course, what Bran's really asking -- what he means by friends, and that it's not just acquaintances to smile at and ask after -- and so he adds, after, "A few."

William Stantz's friends. It's the same, and it's entirely different.

"Friends enough. I am not lonely, Bran."

Date: 2007-12-06 06:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"I hadn't planned otherwise," Will points out, amused.

Below the amusement... well.

They're good enough friends, Ahmad and Lee and Caroline and the others, but Bran knows him better than anyone else, in this world or Milliways. Bran and Jane are the only ones who know Will Stanton, these days, and the only ones who know all of what that means.

Date: 2007-12-06 06:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
Will nods. "Now and then."

It's not a home, and it's not his world. The distinction is important.

But there are many reasons to stay in touch there.

Date: 2007-12-18 04:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
Will slants an amused glance at him, but only says cheerfully, "I shall."

"She says happy Christmas, by the way."

Date: 2007-12-18 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"The Festival of Lights, but I'm not sure it's quite that time yet. A headache to keep straight, all of that for everyone."

Date: 2007-12-20 03:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
"No," Will says, amused. "No, I've been fine. Not even a cold, this spring."

"How have you been, Bran?"

It's almost an idle pleasantry.

But, perhaps, not quite.

Date: 2008-01-08 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sign-seeker.livejournal.com
Will grins at the old joke. "Lucky, that," he agrees.

It's an answer, and it's a deflection, and Will knows he won't get any more details.

He'll ask Margaret later, perhaps. Her face will tighten and her eyes will drop, and Will will know -- as he must, as they both do -- that she is thinking that Bran is mortal, and Bran is frail and old, and Will with his just-greying brown hair and round middle-aged face is none of those things. But she'll give him more of an answer than her husband has.

But for now, he grins at the old joke, and at the Christmas around them, and lets the matter go.

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Bran Davies

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